Need some help from electrical/sound wizards

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Hecubus114

Sr Member
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Okay, so this isn't a prop per se, but I couldn't think of a better resource/group of people who could guide me in what I am trying to accomplish. If this needs to be deleted because of that fact, so be it.

We have a fake fireplace in my house. Luckily, right where I wanted it to sit, covers an outlet powered by a wall switch. So, flip the switch on, fire starts up. No heat, no smoke. What it doesn't have is any sound. What I would like to do is create a device that creates a fire crackling sound when the fireplace it turned on. Something that will loop for the entire duration of the switch being on (so an endless loop).

Before anyone says it, I know one item exists that kind of does this, but it doesn't quite work the way I want, and I've heard the sound/speaker is not very good.

I figured some of the members here with sound board and electrical experience could help me out. Thoughts?
 

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Pitbull

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Below are different ways you can play your sound file.
Screenshot_20200410-200245_Samsung Internet.jpg
 

Hecubus114

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
While that does seem capable of doing what I am thinking, its still beyond my knowhow for this kind of stuff o_O ha - I may just have to commission someone to build be something...
 

xl97

Master Member
You got a bit more work ahead of you if you want this to be (ultimately) connected to the light switch in your wall (MAINS) power..

Which is not something just anyone should be messing around with.

* Most of these standalone/Arduino based solutions run at +5v

So you'd need to BUCK that down first..

(unless you are trying to power it some other way?)

Seems to me the best way to go about doing this would be, if its ON.. its playing.

And not having to worry about any sort of pin/switch detection... (and any sort of voltage divider to see when the light switch is on...if that is even how'd you go about it when messing with MAINs voltage)
 

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Hecubus114

Sr Member
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Yeah I mean something I could just plug into a power strip/wall outlet would work, and would be ideal to be honest. Then I can have the fireplace and sound device just be on whenever the wall switch is providing power.

It’s one of those things - I know it is very much possible (and relatively simple), but I don’t have the first clue how to create it.
 

xl97

Master Member
You could 'easily' use a phone charger then.. as they provide a stable +5v output/source.. and enough current.

All the stuff above means... if the switch is GROUNDED and the audio file is named correctly.. it will play and loop (should pretty simple for you)
 

Jintosh

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
rif.jpg

This says play on micro-sd card insertion. I would wonder, if the card is already inserted, if it would play when powered on. Not sure. :unsure:
It's also powered by a standard wall micro-usb power cord without modification.

Substantially cheaper. I'm going to order a few and test it if you want to wait. They're through eBay.
 
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Kokanee

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I have to say an adafruit audiofx board w amp plugged into a usb charger and triggered to start when powered on would do the trick nicely. Super easy to do.
 

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Jintosh

Master Member
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View attachment 1285806

This says play on micro-sd card insertion. I would wonder, if the card is already inserted, if it would play when powered on. Not sure. :unsure:
It's also powered by a standard wall micro-usb power cord without modification.

Substantially cheaper. I'm going to order a few and test it if you want to wait. They're through eBay.

Okay, I got my board and it works great. It takes a micro-sd card and you power it with a standard micro-usb power cord. You can hook up a speaker up to 2w. As soon as you provide power, it starts playing the first mp3 audio on the card. I had it hooked up to my desktop computer speakers and it played great sound.

This is a low cost option that requires no programming to play automatically when powering on.
 

Jintosh

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Great! One other question: does it loop, or stop when it plays everything?

It does not loop. However, it will play all songs on the card. You could put One-hour-blocks of fireplace sounds on it. You should get 10 to 12 hours of audio on a 1gb micro-sd card. So, really, that's as good as looping. If you need more than 12 hours of sound, simply use a bigger card and more recordings. It always starts over on track 1 when power is cut and restored, so you just have to flip the wall switch off and back on again to reset if you really do hit the end of the card.
 

Hecubus114

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Okay, I got my board and it works great. It takes a micro-sd card and you power it with a standard micro-usb power cord. You can hook up a speaker up to 2w. As soon as you provide power, it starts playing the first mp3 audio on the card. I had it hooked up to my desktop computer speakers and it played great sound.

This is a low cost option that requires no programming to play automatically when powering on.

Okay, so....

I got this board, and everything worked exactly as expected. Only thing I am unsatisfied with is the quality of the audio coming out of the speaker I got. Between being a small, cheap speaker and being hidden behind the fireplace, it has a very shallow, muffled sound. The fire crackling loop I am using sounds more like water trickling because of this.

if I were to get an AC powered speaker, would I still be able to connect this board to it? Or, do you have any other ideas on how I can get richer sound?
 

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Jintosh

Master Member
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Okay, so....

I got this board, and everything worked exactly as expected. Only thing I am unsatisfied with is the quality of the audio coming out of the speaker I got. Between being a small, cheap speaker and being hidden behind the fireplace, it has a very shallow, muffled sound. The fire crackling loop I am using sounds more like water trickling because of this.

if I were to get an AC powered speaker, would I still be able to connect this board to it? Or, do you have any other ideas on how I can get richer sound?

The board supports a 2w speaker by itself.
However, a powered speaker is advisable. (instead) That's why I mentioned that I had hooked it up to my desktop computer speakers. ;)

I should have mentioned that my desktop speakers are a pair of powered BOSE speakers and hooked to the aux out on the board.
The sound will be as good as the quality of speakers you hook to it. The board itself has great sound.
 
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wackychimp

Well-Known Member
Where will the speakers live? On the mantle or something? If I were tackling this I'd look into a loud MP3 player that takes an SD card. Then you could put in the card with a 15 minute loop of crackling.
 

Jintosh

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Where will the speakers live? On the mantle or something? If I were tackling this I'd look into a loud MP3 player that takes an SD card. Then you could put in the card with a 15 minute loop of crackling.

He needs it to autoplay when power is put to it from a wall socket. MP3 players don't do that.
 

xl97

Master Member
I would mention the DFPlayer is (roughly) the same thing, (especially for this use) and only costs about $3.00 USD

It too has onboard DAC/AMP... but also output pins for external amp/power speakers..

If you are NOT using a microcontroller, I'm not 100% sure if the volume defaults to MAX or not.. (but there is pins you can connect to change that, without a microcontroller)

I think the Adafruit approach is probably the more user friendly of the too however.
 

Hecubus114

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks everyone for the input. Yes, I would like the sound to go on and off with the flip of the wall switch. To try and build off of what I have already assembled, I ordered some computer speakers with an aux input. My hope is that with these positioned behind the unit at each side, pointed outward (through the small gap that exists between the wall and the fireplace), this will eliminate the echoey sound I am currently getting, as well as give me better sound quality.

The largest obstacle now is get the sound out without getting muffled or echoed too much. I don't want the speakers to be visible. So I suppose we'll see how the next experiment goes once the computer speakers arrive.

Thanks again everyone. I've been wanting to do this since we moved in over a year ago.
 

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