Here’s a fun way to make your clothes more interactive-- you can turn a zipper into a switch for activating lights, sounds, and more using stainless steel conductive thread.

The switch works like a momentary pushbutton. As the zipper pull travels along the teeth, two pads of conductive thread are bridged, momentarily creating an electrical connection.

This connection can be sensed by a microcontroller like FLORA or GEMMA with an activated interal pullup resistor, or be used in place of a push button in circuits like the TV-B-Gone or audio FX boards.

The zipper switch is not delivering current, and should not be used to drive LEDs-- it's a very weak connection that is only made momentarily and not suitable for more than a few milliamps of current.

Find a metal zipper pull, not plastic. If it’s painted, use some sandpaper to sand it off.

The teeth of the zipper can be plastic or nylon, so long as the zipper pull is metal!

This guide was first published on Nov 18, 2014. It was last updated on Nov 18, 2014.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Nov 17, 2014.

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