Your New Musical Butler

This robotic musician uses miniature solenoids to tap out melodies on a toy xylophone. The Adafruit Grand Central M4 controls each of the eight solenoids using CircuitPython, one of the fastest growing programming languages, specifically designed to simplify experimenting and learning. 

This guide demonstrates how to build your own robotic xylophone rig, and how create your own melodies in CircuitPython.

The Electronics

Top down shot of a Adafruit Grand Central M4 Express featuring the SAMD51.
Are you ready? Really ready? Cause here comes the Adafruit Grand Central featuring the Microchip ATSAMD51. This dev board is so big, it's not...
Out of Stock
Top view of disassembled Mega protoshield for Arduino
This is an extra large proto-shield, specifically designed for the Mega! It comes with PCB, two buttons and a full set of stacking headers. You can stack this shield easily since it...
Out of Stock
Mini Push-Pull Solenoid wired to Trinket, activating back and forth
Solenoids are basically electromagnets: they are made of a coil of copper wire with an armature (a slug of metal) in the middle. When the coil is energized, the slug is pulled into the...
$4.95
In Stock
N-channel power MOSFET in TO-220 package
When you need to switch a lot of power, N-channel MOSFETs are best for the job. These FETs can switch over 60A and 30V and are TO-220 packages so they fit nicely into any breadboard or...
$2.25
In Stock
 10 pack of 1N4001 Diodes
This here is a 10 pack of the classic 1N4001 power blocking diode. These are good for reverse polarity protection (put it between your DC power jack and circuitry to avoid a...
$1.50
In Stock
5V 2A Wall Wart switching power supply
This is an FCC/CE certified and UL listed power supply. Need a lot of 5V power? This switching supply gives a clean regulated 5V output at up to 2000mA. 110 or 240 input, so it works...
$7.95
In Stock
USB cable - USB A to Micro-B - 3 foot long
This here is your standard A to micro-B USB cable, for USB 1.1 or 2.0. Perfect for connecting a PC to your Metro, Feather, Raspberry Pi or other dev-board or...
$2.95
In Stock
Angled shot of Premium Male/Male Jumper Wires - 20 x 12 (300mm)
Handy for making wire harnesses or jumpering between headers on PCB's. These premium jumper wires are 3" (75mm) long and come in a 'strip' of 20 (2 pieces of each...
$1.95
In Stock
Front shot of JST-PH Battery Extension Cable.
By popular demand, we now have a handy extension cord for all of our JST-terminated battery packs (such as our LiIon/LiPoly and 3xAAA holders). One end has a JST-PH socket, and the...
$1.95
In Stock
Hook-up Wire Spool Set in box with 6 colorful wires coming out
Perfect for bread-boarding, free wiring, etc. This box contains 6 spools of solid-core wire. The wire is easy to solder to and when bent it keeps its shape pretty well. We like to have...
$15.95
In Stock
Angle shot Female DC Power adapter - 2.1mm jack to screw terminal block
If you need to connect a DC power wall wart to a board that doesn't have a DC jack - this adapter will come in very handy! There is a 2.1mm DC jack on one end, and a screw terminal...
$2.00
In Stock
Red and black multi-size wire stripplers, closed
These are the finest wire strippers we have used, and if you have to do a lot of wiring, you will agree! They have soft rounded grips - very comfortable to use, and precision ground...
$14.95
In Stock

Materials

  • Xylophone
  • Wire strippers
  • Laser cutter and acrylic (optional)

Doing some prep work ahead of time can simplify this build immensely. Trimming and setting aside the wires you'll need can save yourself confusion later on. Follow this image to find and set aside what you'll need before diving into building the circuit.

Play On

Read on to learn how to build your own robotic musician!

This guide was first published on Feb 18, 2019. It was last updated on Feb 18, 2019.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Jul 22, 2022.

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