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How to wire up the console so switches activate sounds???

Started by whovian-almighty, Dec 03, 2011, 01:56 am

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Hiii all! started my TARDIS console, but one question I would like to know is how do I make switches/buttons activate sounds of the TARDIS? I'm low on cash as I'm spending most of it on wood, stain and compoments, but can you give me some tips on how i would do this? i want to flick a switch and the TARDIS sound comes on, how?

please i really need help with this.
So, all of time and space, everything that ever happened or ever will, where do you want to start?


Yeah, I'll second this - at the moment we're using an old minidisc machine for the effects - my son has a really good sense on timing when he starts the mini disc for take off and so that he throws the demat switch at precisely the point when the Vwoorp Vwoorp sound fx start - then he rushes around the console like a mad thing, and finally sets the bell off on landing!

I've looked at the sound card type devices like talking labels but I have yet to buy any.

I must get around to it, but I'd be interested in other people's ideas.


Dec 04, 2011, 05:37 pm #2 Last Edit: Dec 04, 2011, 05:43 pm by galacticprobe
I've seen other projects where people have used switches/buttons wired into computers to initiate specific sounds when certain buttons are pressed. It involves inputs and software, and I don't have a clue as to how they go about setting it all up, but someone on here must have done this or know how it's done. Maybe someone who does, or knows someone who does, could write up a detailed tutorial - "TARDIS Console Switch, Lever, and Buttons Wired Into Computers For Sound FX For Dummies"? (Or for someone like me, titled "...For Complete and Utter Blithering Idiots".)  ;D

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"

wayne venomous

Look up "Hacking an MP3 player" on Google - there's a few tutorials on how to get an MP3 player to be activated via remote switches. It involves physically dismantling the MP3 player and soldering wires to the play button contacts. Shuffle type MP3 players are best for this as they don't have any complicated menu systems to get through.

You could also use a DVD player (they still play audio CDs) and hack the remote control, again by soldering the wires onto the play button. Most DVD players have track number buttons on the remote too so you could solder wires onto the track number contacts and use this to allow the buttons on the console to play specific tracks. You could even burn a DVD with audio and program the menu system to do specific tasks i.e. return to main menu after each track is played etc etc.


Hey there,

I am using a keyboard with a MIDI output on it and putting it up to speakers I will be setting up inside the console and also around the console and program the keys to play while I do stuff so I can eventually pull a lever and the sounds go through the keyboard to the MIDI system and generates a sound.

You make the whole of time and space your back yard and what do you have, a back yard... I can't see it anymore but you can, and when you see it I see it - Matt Smith, 11th Doctor


Aug 19, 2018, 10:55 pm #5 Last Edit: Aug 19, 2018, 10:58 pm by rubendebusscher

Maybe this can help (if any help is still needed) It plays different .wav files for each button, and buttons can actually be replaced by all kinds of controls, allowing you to suit your needs I believe.  Arduino is known to be pretty low cost, and can actually be used for most possible functionality your console might have (controlling lights, motors,...).



I have a half working plan where an ardunio is acting as a keyboard input to a laptop, the laptop then has a soundboard where keys are linked to sounds.

Its worked marginally in practise but its an effort to get my console wired up at events, as it has to be torn down repeatably.
Kind Regards,



A couple thoughts that don't sound entirely relevant to what you've described, but I'll throw them out in case they help with brainstorming: 

I'm probably never going to get around to building my console, but if I do, a number of switches will serve real purposes:  Turning on lights, moving the time rotor...  There's an old electronic game that will make old electronic game sounds when I turn it on and push buttons.  I'll put thumbscrew pull panels on each of the components so I can change batteries and such.  But that probably wouldn't help with something like an MP player of a dedicated computer because even if you had it set to "play" and wired the control to the power, that would just cause the sound source to reboot--unless you had the control wired to the speaker volume and everything just played continuously, which sounds Rube Goldberg even by my standards. 

The other thing, I was in some thrift store looking for I forget what and they had some basic home studio soundboards for sale.  Buy one of those and use it for 1 section of your control panel and you've got a way to activate sounds with switches and 1/6th of your console sorted in 1 fell swoop. 
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.


Aug 22, 2018, 04:32 am #8 Last Edit: Jul 03, 2019, 04:37 am by warmcanofcoke
Quote from: davidnagel on Aug 21, 2018, 12:39 pm
I have a half working plan where an ardunio is acting as a keyboard input to a laptop, the laptop then has a soundboard where keys are linked to sounds.

...its an effort to get my console wired up at events, as it has to be torn down repeatably.

Just a thought, David, but are you using wire harness connectors, or wiring things individually? If you could wire each panel's controls into one harness for that panel and have a quick connect plug where all the wires come in, then you'd only have to connect and disconnect six things when you set up and take down your console (maybe seven things of the central column is wired separately).

I know you probably know what I'm talking about, but for the benefit of those that don't have any electrical or electronics background, here's an example of the sort of plug I'm talking about:





Anyone who's been inside a computer (desktop or tower) will recognize some of these wiring harnesses. With connector kits (shown in the first image, unassembled) you could make a harness any length you need so long as you've got the wire. Then each panel on the console (and the column) would be "plug-and-play". Set-up and take-down wouldn't be such a chore then.

I hope some of my babbling is helpful.

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


Quote from: galacticprobe on Aug 22, 2018, 04:32 am
I hope some of my babbling is helpful.

Always! And thanks for the suggestion. I did get half way to what you've suggested at some point but I "thought" too small and it didn't work. I hadn't considered bigger cables/connectors to master a bunch of stuff. Thank you!
Kind Regards,