Finally built a Farnsworth (with electronics)

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jedibugs

Well-Known Member
Other than a really-not-very-good Ramona Flowers Hammer, this is my first actual prop build. It's also my first time ever working with electronics, so I'm extra happy with the results.

My goal was to make a Farnsworth that behaves as much like the QMx as possible. I think I came pretty close. The only real differences, functionally, are that the QMx has an adjustable activation delay for the ringer from 0-10 seconds, while mine has 4 options: 0, 3, 5 and 10 second delays. The QMx also has a vibration motor to coincide with the ring tone, and mine has none. I found a perfect motor for the job, but the only way I could wire it to my sound board would have had it buzzing a long, solid buzz any time the Farnsworth was active.

I also made one intentional change (as explained in the video below): On the QMx, the led flashes when ringing and goes off for the "On" mode. On the show (for the 3rd season, at least), the led continues flashing when it's on, exactly the same as when it's ringing. I just thought that having the light steadily on when the Farnsworth is active made more sense. So it blinks when ringing, on when on, of when off. It may not be screen accurate, but I prefer it.

Anyway, here are the internals of the Farnsworth:


Now, that's not very pretty, especially when compared to the QMx:


So I used some poster board to tidy/conceal most of the mess:


And here's the completed piece:


I've always liked a grey screen over a black one, because it's supposed to be a CRT screen, right? Like Philo Farnsworth invented? So I went with grey. I also definitely wanted a glass screen, even though I wouldn't be able to get that little edge you get with the plastic ones... Glass just makes it seem a little more real to me.

I'm a little disappointed in the Faceplate... The Farnsworth logo is off-center, the speaker grille isn't cut out (I colored them in with Sharpie) and the holes for the brads were so big that I had to solder the back of the brads so they didn't fall through. But it is brass and I knew it wasn't quite right when I ordered it... I just wanted it fast and the member I bought it from got it to me from literally the other side of the world in amazing time. Over all, quite nice, but if Szyntax's new run materializes, I'll be replacing it.

And, in case anyone is interested in the back of the faceplate (I always am):


And a video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V2gP-B02U0

Over all, I'm quite happy with it!!
 
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Interceptor6

Sr Member
That's just perfect!
I really need to go the "sound" route, but electricity and I don't see the world in the same light.
 

jedibugs

Well-Known Member
That's just perfect!
I really need to go the "sound" route, but electricity and I don't see the world in the same light.
Like I said, this was my first time attempting anything of the sort. The sound module I used was less than $20 and about an hour of experimentation gave me the results I was looking for.

Oh, and did I mention that all my sound files are the same production-used files that QMx uses? (I posted the download link in the Farnsworth Discussion thread).
 

Rassilon

Well-Known Member
“Your first ever build you say” well I think for your first build, I would say you have assembled & completed a very nice Farnsworth.

Are you looking to do any other builds. :)
 

jedibugs

Well-Known Member
“Your first ever build you say” well I think for your first build, I would say you have assembled & completed a very nice Farnsworth.

Are you looking to do any other builds. :)
Thank you, sir!

I'm hoping to get Claudia's Farnsworth built and a Tesla as well. I have very little in the way of tools, so I have to keep stuff pretty simple for now.
 

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Rassilon

Well-Known Member
My fist build was my Tom Yardley Jones design Tardis, never had any wood working tools at the time.
And no idea even how to even work with wood, as I have always worked with steel, so working with wood was something new, but by the end of the Tardis build, and a Dalek or 2, I had enough wood working tools to build a house.
 

CJ 617

Sr Member
Fantastic job on your build!!!! I wish I had the expertise to put some sound effects to mine.....all I've managed is wiring up the red led
 

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jedibugs

Well-Known Member
Fantastic job on your build!!!! I wish I had the expertise to put some sound effects to mine.....all I've managed is wiring up the red led
No expertise needed, honestly. I got the 300 second USB sound module from electronics 123, a $10 soldering iron and some solder from radio shack and watched a 5 minute video on YouTube on how to solder. The rest was trial and error, figuring out what to wire where and only soldering it down once I'd figured it out.
I did make a wiring diagram to help me once I'd figured it out... I'm sure it could be more clear, but it was the best I could do at the moment, having never attempted something like that before.
 

Kingpin

Active Member
Brilliant build, and I support making the indicator light steady when the Farnsworth is "in use"... thanks for posting the wiring diagram as well, if I end up finally getting a build started, this is the electronics layout I want to equip it with.
 

CJ 617

Sr Member
No expertise needed, honestly. I got the 300 second USB sound module from electronics 123, a $10 soldering iron and some solder from radio shack and watched a 5 minute video on YouTube on how to solder. The rest was trial and error, figuring out what to wire where and only soldering it down once I'd figured it out.
I did make a wiring diagram to help me once I'd figured it out... I'm sure it could be more clear, but it was the best I could do at the moment, having never attempted something like that before.
Thanks for posting the diagram...that certainly helps me, cheers :)

I will get around to tackling adding this feature to my farnsworth, and now you've given me the confidence! Thanks
 

jedibugs

Well-Known Member
Thanks for posting the diagram...that certainly helps me, cheers :)

I will get around to tackling adding this feature to my farnsworth, and now you've given me the confidence! Thanks
Glad to help!

I've been paying off the QMx FX version via eLayaway since it went on sale and, after putting this together, I just can't imagine showing off essentially the same thing and saying: "I bought it myself!" So I canceled my order yesterday. (that extra money I'm getting back will help pay for the new iPad I ordered yesterday!)
 

Odin21100

New Member
Very nice job Jedibugs,

i was wondering if it would be possible for you to send me some details on the build if that is ok. Like where you got the sound files for the chip what sound chip you used (300 second USB recording module WITH LIGHT SENSOR or 300 second USB recording module), did you have to attach an LED and what sequence you put them into the software to get such a great result from your farnsworth and what you used for the screen?

Cheers in advance for any help.

Peace Out

Odin21100 (Arthur)
 
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jedibugs

Well-Known Member
Hi Odin,

The sound files can be found here: http://db.tt/fbmHydNi

These are the exact uncompressed sound files used on the production of the show. They were supplied to QMx who, in turn, put them into the Farnsworth iPhone app. I was able to access my iPhone's file system and get the files out of the app directly.

As for using those files, you'll need to add a little silence to the end of the ring in order to get the proper gap between rings when looping. I can't remember exactly how much I added, but I just sort of ear-balled it.

I also found that the sound module doesn't read those sound files exactly as they are so you'll need to open them in your audio editor of choice (Audacity works well and it's free) and Save As a PCM wav file. You don't need to do any editing (other than the aforementioned silence for the ringing loop), just open and save as. Then they'll work just fine.

Fr the delay settings, I just used my audio editor to make silent files of appropriate length and put them at the front of the playlist.

I actually need to re-make all my configurations for the sound board because I had to delete the windows partition from my computer and forgot to save those files. So, I'll probably do that this week for my next build and I can post the files so all you have to do is import the config file and point it to where you've got your wav files. Viola!

And the sound board is the most basic 300 sec module. No need for any light or motion sensors.

There is a red LED built into the module, but I removed it and added my own, brighter one connected with wires rather than soldered directly on so that I could have a little more leeway in placement of the board.

And the screen... It's actually a glass radio dial from a 1939 Ford. It can be purchased here: http://www.parts123.com/parts123/yb.dll?parta~dyndetail~Z5Z5Z50000024q~Z5Z5Z545383~P6.00~~~~S3HB0MDJEQ16614732124q~Z5Z5Z5~Z5Z5Z50000024Q

It's $6 plus $10 shipping and it fits perfectly!

Hope this helps,

-Shawn

Very nice job Jedibugs,

i was wondering if it would be possible for you to send me some details on the build if that is ok. Like where you got the sound files for the chip what sound chip you used (300 second USB recording module WITH LIGHT SENSOR or 300 second USB recording module), did you have to attach an LED and what sequence you put them into the software to get such a great result from your farnsworth and what you used for the screen?

Cheers in advance for any help.

Peace Out

Odin21100 (Arthur)



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
 

Zombie Killer

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Looks great, sound is the only thing i need to get to finish mine. I need to check out electronics 123.
 

jedibugs

Well-Known Member
One more thing, Odin...

If you're interested in building a Farnsworth, the absolute hardest part to obtain is the Brass Faceplate. Lucky for you, there's currently a run underway in the Junkyard with ONE spot left open for someone to jump in. The link is here: http://www.therpf.com/f13/brass-farnsworth-faceplates-only-one-spot-left-143465/

I'm administrating the run while legendary member Russrep actually makes the plates. If you want in, just reply in that thread.

If you need any reference or info on where to buy other bits, most of the most important info is in the very first post of this thread: http://www.therpf.com/f9/farnsworth-discussion-65867/

Good luck mate,

-Shawn


Very nice job Jedibugs,

i was wondering if it would be possible for you to send me some details on the build if that is ok. Like where you got the sound files for the chip what sound chip you used (300 second USB recording module WITH LIGHT SENSOR or 300 second USB recording module), did you have to attach an LED and what sequence you put them into the software to get such a great result from your farnsworth and what you used for the screen?

Cheers in advance for any help.

Peace Out

Odin21100 (Arthur)
 

Odin21100

New Member
thanks for all the info jedibugs it been a great help will now start pricing and saving to start my build.

if you are planing on another run of faceplates could you give me a buzz I'd be interested in a couple of them.

Peace Out

Odin21100
 

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