Go Down

Topic: Theremin as a Capacitive Sensing Device (Read 18742 times) previous topic - next topic



I've followed your tuto to build the theremin with the arduino.
I've bought all the component today.
And it just don't work. :(
I'm using a mac with the last version of arduino (0021) and a Arduino mega 1280.
I'm using a breadboard and a steel wire (about 1mm length)
I've check the schematic 10 times and everything seem to be alright.
It drives me crazy!

its a problem with the mega 1280

the frequency input is fixed to the t1 timer input on the mega 8/168/328
in the code:
int pinFreq = 5;

the mega 2560 and 1280 has this pin not mapped to the pin header
you can try to solder a thin cable directly to that pin or just use a arduino uno.



I've change the Arduino Mega for an Atmega 328.
And it just works fine!
Thank a lot!


What kind of range do you get with this theremin?

Background: I'm brainstorming how to sense people passing on the sidewalk near my yard, to make a Christmas light display somewhat interactive - ie: each of several subdisplays activates as somebody passes their sensor.  So I'm thinking of several cheap sensors placed maybe 10' apart along the sidewalk side of the yard.  I'm considering PIR sensors, but then it occured to me that if I could get cheap Theramin circuits, I might be able to get somewhat of a range as well (eg: the lights in one location get more active as you get closer).  Accuracy is not important, and the omnidirecitonal sensing of a theramin (vs PIR or ultrasonic or IR distance) would be an advantage.  The antenna might be hidden in a display item.

Compensating for slow drift would be good, to avoid false triggers.

Thanks for any hints from your experience with theramin circuits.


Would it be possible to use four hex inverters instead of four NAND gates?   :smiley-roll:


Totally new to this but.... I can't even open the .pde file. What is that?! :)  It's a small file so I'm assuming a .doc or something. Any Mac versions of this document?

Thanks in advance!


use the arduino IDE for mac http://arduino.googlecode.com/files/arduino-1.0.1-macosx.zip. it opens the .pde files so you can program it to your arduino.ur arduino.
http://dduino.blogspot.com all my Arduino/electronic projects!!!

{NEW} Getting Started, Learning, Reference + FAQ PDF!!:


I think we can make also a parking sensor (without those horrible holes you have to make to insert ultrasound sensors).
I think we can use a strip of aluminium tape (that used in kitchen )
Any idea?


hello dear arduino people!

how can i modify theremin with midi output from arduino 2009 board?
I want also audio output and midi output.
Code for that?

Thank you so much!



Your theramin looks great. I`m trying to build the same, but will be generating all the audio in MAXmsp6. I have it running with an ultrasonic sensor, but the sensitivity isn't as good as I hoped so would like to build a sensor like yours. I`m presuming the circuit diagram you provide includes the audio output sound processing? could you give me any tips on how to make just the sensor so I can feed the readings into MAX?




Hi, my son and I are newbies to this. He's blown away by your idea and would like to build one for his 7th grade science fair project and was hoping for a parts list for the oscillator build.
Any help you can give is greatly appreciated.


also, I cant seem to open the .pde file either, using Windows.
Any advice?


Would it be possible to use four hex inverters instead of four NAND gates?   :smiley-roll:

Yes. Actually the fourth one is redundant, so you could even have two sensors with one hex inverter chip. Of course, the counter/interrupt stuff becomes more complex then...


iam trying to improve the theremin circuit. Therefor i would like to change the capacitor inductor setup.
My aim is to generate a higher frequency, hence i hope for a higher precision on shorter distances.

Did somebody made any experinces with different components ?

Is it useful to use components with values far below the given values ? For example 10µH -> 1µH

Is there any other possibility to increase the precision ?

Kind regards

Go Up

Please enter a valid email to subscribe

Confirm your email address

We need to confirm your email address.
To complete the subscription, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Thank you for subscribing!

via Egeo 16
Torino, 10131