Seeking guidance for first project

I am building a spaceship control panel for my sons bedroom and want some of the switches to trigger sound effects, I'm guessing this is a project that could be well suited to arduino?

I have zero experience of arduino so am looking for guidance with the whole selection process and wouldovd direction to similar projects if you know of any please.

Ideally I want to playback multiple mp3 files with a number of physical buttons and switches as the triggers.

All help is welcome. Thanks.

I guess I will need a computer to program things, I have a Windows 10 pc if that matters.

It's very feasible, although perhaps a little tricky as a first project. The number of switches/buttons you want to use will influence which Arduino you need. Google arduino mp3, that'll find you hardware and tutorials - Sparkfun and Adafruit both carry shields (Arduino daughter boards) that will play mp3s stored on a micro SD card. Just be aware that they need a bit of soldering before you can attach them to an Arduino.

You can start your project and start your learning adventure at the same time, cause that's exactly why Arduino was invented! Get a "tactile, momentary, SPST switch (aka a button), some colored LEDs, and an Arduino (the ubiquitous Uno is great for this, or a Nano, or Micro) any Arduino that has a USB port will work. You will also need some wire, and some resistors (330 ohm is a good value) and maybe a breadboard. Now make a device that will flash different LEDs when different buttons are pressed.

Once that works, you are on your way, and can start on the sound effects, etc!

I would recommend a Nano, a large breadboard and a df-mini mp3 player module. Also get some solid-core hook-up wire in several colours (red, black plus a couple of other colours), and some small tools like wire strippers and fine-nosed pliers. Also get leds, resistors and switches as mentioned above. You will also need a small speaker to connect to the mp3 player, 1W 8 Ohms should be fine.

Some large and easy to operate buttons and switches would be best for small hands. You will almost certainly have to do some basic soldering straight away to allow you to use them, and the speaker, with your breadboard prototype.

I would avoid Uno/Mega, as they are not really breadboard compatible, and would require use of those messy and unreliable Dupont jumper cables. Also avoid starter kits, they are full of cheap parts that you will never use more than once.

From what I have gathered so far it seems that polyphonic options are limited with arduino, and I might be better looking at something like a raspberry pie.

Single sounds looks easy with arduino with some promising options but I've not found something that can play multiple sounds mixed together.

Donkidonki: From what I have gathered so far it seems that polyphonic options are limited with arduino, and I might be better looking at something like a raspberry pie.

Single sounds looks easy with arduino with some promising options but I've not found something that can play multiple sounds mixed together.

You originally asked if you could play mp3 on an Arduino and with a shield you can.

I guess what you are saying is that you may have a number of alarm conditions each of which might have its own associated sound and several of these might require to be active at the same time. Providing there are not too many individual alarms it may be practical to have mp3 files for each possible combination of alarms e.g. if you had alarms for 'fire' and 'ground proximity' you might need three mp3 files; fire alone, proximity alone, and fire and proximity simultaneous.

I am not sure how much better the Pi is than the Arduino would be for this but I don't know much about Pi and sound. If some of the alarms are spoken warnings then the problem may be similar on both devices.

There is a lot of overlap between Ardunio and Pi and often either can be used. The Pi is strong on audio visual, the Arduino is strong on hardware interaction. A big difference between the two is that the Pi runs an operating system and the Arduino does not. The absence of an operating system makes interacting with hardware simpler and more predictable.

You should probably "storyboard" the Man Machine Interface the the spaceship is going to have first and then decide whether the Arduino or the Pi is the best solution.

Sometimes simple is best. I remember playing a Lunar Lander game where the attitude and thrust of an Apollo Lunar Module could be controlled. It had a very simple interface but with a realistic response to thrust and gravity, great fun to play.

The control panel has a mixture of momentary buttons and toggle switches along with a variety of Analog and digital meters. Currently everything gets 12v to run led lights and the meters.

It's to be a plaything rather than a simulator so looking for sounds like engines, shields, lasers and the like.

My lad is 7 and loves Starlord from the guardians of the galaxy movies, his room is being themed as his spaceship and the control panel is part of his desk.

Adding sound is very much a last minute idea, ideally I'd like something that could run through a set of pc speakers and be able to play sounds associated to each trigger. Currently there are about 10 switches.

I'm guessing I will have to buy some likely looking items and have a play.

If you want to play multiple sounds at the SAME TIME..

Then DFPlayer and/or Adafruit WaveShield or Adafruit SoundFX board will not be any use for you/your needs.

If you want to be able to trigger 1 sound per 1 button/switch.. then those are still viable options for you.

Depending on how many 'switches' you'll have in the end.. the DFPlayer and Adafruit SoundFX board can work standalone, meaning they do NOT need an Arduino to trigger playback of an audio clip.

With DFPlayer board going for roughly $3.00 USD.. with on board amp.. they are hard to beat!

DFPlayer support both .mp3 and .wav file formats... I prefer the later as they play quicker and loop better than an .mp3 with a bunch of meta data int he header..etc..

I considered an individual arduino per sound effect, the complicated part with that is I would like everything to play through a pair of powered pc speakers, not sure how to combine multiple feeds without some kind of mixer.

Donkidonki: I considered an individual arduino per sound effect, the complicated part with that is I would like everything to play through a pair of powered pc speakers, not sure how to combine multiple feeds without some kind of mixer.

I don't think it makes sense to use one Arduino per effect. You would use one arduino and then have it "choose" which sound file to play, with different sound files containing combinations of effects. Alternatively as @xl97 suggests you might be able to use multiple DFPlayers standalone. It really depends on how many individual effects there are, and you have not specified that.

https://youtu.be/dRIVKrzvYVQ

Does anyone know anything about this 8 channel player?

It looks ideal but there are no details listed with the video.

I am looking to play about 10 sounds which can all be played indepently and all at without cancelling each other out. 8 would be close enough.

How about this thing?

Disclaimer: have not used it.

... I am looking to play about 10 sounds which can all be played indepently and all at without cancelling each other out. 8 would be close enough.

With 8 sounds you would need to create 255 sound tracks to cater for all the combinations. Looping the tracks and swapping between different tracks without jarring might also be a problem so I am going off the track idea.

Using 8-10 DFPlayers might be possible but it too feels like the wrong solution.

The WAV Trigger suggested by @wildbill seems to have a lot going for it, though I have not used it.

Maybe look into a Teensy? I seem to recall it can play more than 1 audio clip at the same time.

WAV trigger says it can -AND- mix sounds too..

The wav trigger looks awsome, and it has a sister product for Mp3.

Wav would probably be better as the audio loops often work better when not compressed.

I may see if I can find a UK supplier and give one a try.

Thank you!

Job done!

Found a uk seller on EBay, £50 seems reasonable so ordered one.

It is pretty much perfect for my needs. 14 simultaneous tracks with inputs to switches, all up/down resistors are integral so simply wire direct to each switch.

It has advanced features if you control it via the optional ftdi card but even without that it has a good range of control options.

It’s configured via an ini file on the memory card and the setup app allows for pretty advanced options for the type and behaviour of each input. Much more than I need but ideal as once setup it is a simple on/off operation after that.

I will post a follow up should I find anything worth noting.

Thanks again for everyone’s help.

(I also ordered a raspberry pi 3+, kind of as an alternate solution but really just for me to play with!)

I'd be interested to see the final result - it sounds like it'll be fun.

Donkidonki: ...(I also ordered a raspberry pi 3+, kind of as an alternate solution but really just for me to play with!)

@wildbill's WAV Trigger find does sound good.

The pi will be good if want a graphical interface and there is no reason that the pi and arduino cannot communicate and work together.

It might be worth your while looking at existing game interfaces to get ideas.

Here is the lunar lander which I though was good fun, Apollo 11 was running on fumes by the time it got down so the lunar lander is quite realistic in a way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzdxjaVm_HQ

Another classic space game was Elite, a lot of the fun was getting your spaceship to match velocity and rotation with a spacestation for docking https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0czVxiEqNM

There is a modern version of Elite and it is interesting to see how things have changed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weAoY7kw2NM