VTech Apple Part 4 – Body Contacts

circuit bending vtech appleThe next stop on our circuit bending exploration of the Vtech Apple is going to be to add some body contacts. I really love body contacts as a control method as you can get a lot of range and really interesting tremolo effects with very little effort. The bend I’ll be adding them to is a second pitch modification I found while exploring the circuit. Oddly enough this bend seems to change between modifying the pitch up and down dependent on which mode the toy is set to (using the worm on the right side), On the modes where it lowers the pitch you can get extremely low droning noises using the body contacts which I’ve been really enjoying.

VTech Apple Part 1 – Kill Switch and Line Out

Vtech Apple Part 2 – Exploration and Pitch Adjustment

Vtech Apple Part 3 – Voltage Starve

Vtech Apple Part 5 – 555 Trigger Oscillator

Vtech Apple - Body Contacts CircuitThe above photo shows the two solder points on the board I used to produce these effects, Once I had attached the wires I experimented with a number of different control methods and components including potentiometers, resistors with switches and buttons, and even strings of capacitors and LEDs (too see what would happen). I was able to create a number of strange effects but the one I found most interesting and which worked most consistently was body contacts.

Once I’d settled on a control method I drilled holes in the case and threaded 2 screws through them. Though I used screws on this project there are really limitless materials you can use to create body contacts. Any conductive piece of metal should work so it is really a matter of taste. Some examples I have seen used include thumb tacks, guitar strings, conductive tape, pennies or nuts and bolts, the possibilities are endless.

Vtech Apple - Body ContactsOnce you have the screws threaded in place you simply solder the wires onto them. I try to strip a longer portion of the wire than normal and wrap it around the screw to ensure maximum strength and conductivity. To finish it off I typically apply a healthy glob of hot glue over each screw (liquid electrical tape also works if you have it) to hold them in place and to make sure nothing inside the case comes in contact with them.

Now you can close up the case and start playing with them. Try using different fingers to touch the contacts or different hands, tap on one contact as you hold the other or slide you hand back and forth across them. Take notice of the slew of interesting ways you can now control your device and above all have fun.

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