An artist working with electronics and electronic media, based in Brooklyn, NY

Posts tagged “Solar

Solar Buddha Machine – Voltaic Systems

For those of you who don’t already know about the FM3 Buddha Machine, here’s the scoop:

The Buddha Machine is a small plastic box that plays meditative music composed by Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian. (source: fm3buddhamachine.com/)

The device is inspired by electronic prayer boxes, popular in China, that play back looped recordings of Buddhist prayers. Instead of prayers, the Buddha Machine plays back various ambient music loops. The duo behind FM3 have even enlisted artists to contribute material for special editions, as in the Gristleism, developed by the industrial group, Throbbing Gristle, securing the device’s status as an alternative distribution format.

I documented and posted my modification to enable the Buddha Machine I to not only run from solar, but to charge NiMH AA batteries. It’s super simple! Check out my Solar Buddha Machine post on Voltaic System’s blog.


DIY Renewable Electricity: Solar and Dynamos

DIY Renewable Electricity: Solar and Dynamos
a class taught by Phillip Stearns @ 3rd Ward

Where does your electricity come from?

To contextualize the complexities of energy production we’ll look at the life cycle of the materials and energy used to harness electrical energy from our environment. We will investigate the most prevalent electricity generation methods and the industrial processes involved in mining, refining and burning the fuels used in each. We will then create our own renewable power generators as an alternative means of powering our energy-hungry electronics.

In this workshop we will focus on creating a small solar array strong enough to charge a couple of AA batteries. We will also build simple dynamo generators that convert a permanent magnet DC motor in a device that generates electricity from mechanical energy. These power sources can be used in future electronics workshops offered at 3rd Ward.

Instructor

Phillip Stearns is a practitioner of sonic and visual arts; music composer and performer; electronics sculptor and installation artist. He views technology as a site for exploring the global society-environment system and how changes in the relationship between society and environment manifest in our technology—particularly as solutions to a cascading set of problems created by contemporary culture. Through the medium of networked systems, his work explores the horizons of information, politics, noise, control, proximity, subversion, corruption, interconnectedness and interrelatedness. Central to his practice as a visual artist and a performer are the use of custom electronics, hand-craft, hardware hacking, media technologies and iterative processes marked by a judicial use of materials, restraint, simplicity, a careful balance between conceptual depth and playfulness. He has presented, performed, lectured, exhibited, led workshops and screened works at various festivals, conferences, residencies, museums and institutions around the US, Latin America and Northern Europe.

Enroll in the DIY Renewable Electricity Workshop today:

3rd Ward Basic/Custom Member Price: $80 + $50 Materials Fee
Nonmember Price: $100 + $50 Materials Fee


Proto-chiptune 100% Solar Powered @ Maker Faire

Maker Faire 2011 in NYC is chock full of some amazing projects.  The sheer quantity and variety of makers showcasing work is staggering.  To see everything is definitely more than a two day affair.  This year I was invited to present a self-built solar powered music making system for 3rd Ward, where I currently teach the art of making DIY Synthesizers and small scale solar charging systems.

This solar music making station (Protochiptune Project) is powered by a Voltaic Systems 15 Watt panel connected to a 7.5Ah 12V Seal Lead Acid Battery.  A 10A solar charge controller does all the power management to drive the music synthesizer’s three 5 Watt amplifiers.  The microchips used are from the 4000 series CMOS digital logic family, including such chips as: hex inverting buffer (40106), 12-bit binary counter (4040), 8-to-1 selector switch (4051), quad 2-input AND gate (4081), and divide by n counter (4018).  These chips are used together to produce a range of pitches and rhythms that can be sequenced or programmed by moving jumper cables on the breadboard, making a mini patchable modular synth.

At Maker Faire, kids were really attracted to the crazy jams coming out of this thing.  Those who were bold enough were allowed to move some of the jumpers around on the board and make up their own musical patterns.


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