I started off the project by researching into the thousands of things that can be done with Arduino’s, including scouring youtube for inspiration:

AND was taken in by this project, a liquid life-bar for video games using led’s and water:

And also videos like, sound reactive led’s:

I now wanted to combine water and music in one entertainment system.

I began to research into audio and water set up’s in Arduino:

Water solenoids

This princetronic post was a huge help in creating my first 3 week project using extracts from the code and the authors knowledge of Arduino.

I search for the most suitable components required to make the rig for sound reactive led’s, as I wanted this to be goal at the end of the 3 weeks, to have the led’s reacting to the music and then move on to use water.

Before the mic arrived I used a photoresistor as an analogue read to get to grips with the code shown here:

I bought this sound sensor from sparkfun which with the use of the useful setup guide helped me learn about adjusting the gain and which type of signal I wanted to read from the microphone, digital or analogue as well as the three signals that could be read from the mic I wanted the envelope signal which gave the most accurate interpretation of the sound as the gate signal was too simple (on/off) and the voltage signal simply went and down with the sound, where the envelope signal mapped the sound Decibels (Db) closely.

I also wanted to use RGB led’s to get changes in light with the volume of the music in Db.

How they work:

Unfortunately due to other projects becoming increasingly pressured. I was unable to integrate these into the rig before presentation, I did however research into how it’s done and bought them :-/

When the mic arrived I used the code provided by sparkfun to get to grips with its sound calibration:

I then used the mic with one led reacting to music first:

Then 7 led’s with sound reaction.

The final result did not turn out as well resolved as hoped and I would have liked to have created more an alluring surround to the little entertainment system, but ran out of time.

Here is the final code I used for the part 1 VU meter.

int DA = A0;

int noise = 16;

int sensorvalue = 0;

void setup()


pinMode(3, OUTPUT);

pinMode(4, OUTPUT);

pinMode(5, OUTPUT);

pinMode(6, OUTPUT);

pinMode(7, OUTPUT);

pinMode(8, OUTPUT);

pinMode(9, OUTPUT);


void loop()


sensorvalue = analogRead(DA);  //Read the analog value

if (sensorvalue >= noise) { //Compare analog value with noise

digitalWrite(3, HIGH);

digitalWrite(4, HIGH);

digitalWrite(5, HIGH);

digitalWrite(6, HIGH);

digitalWrite(7, HIGH);

digitalWrite(8, HIGH);

digitalWrite(9, HIGH);




digitalWrite(3, LOW);

digitalWrite(4, LOW);

digitalWrite(5, LOW);

digitalWrite(6, LOW);

digitalWrite(7, LOW);

digitalWrite(8, LOW);

digitalWrite(9, LOW);



Here is a video of the Final part 1 sound detector working to drumming.

The link below takes you to me to my youtube page where all of the mini projects I have enjoyed playing around with, to learn about the hardware and software can be seen.

Everything from simple blink through to photo resistors and servo’s

The learning about microphones and frequency helped me progress quickly through the audio stage of the part 2 project.

At the end of the 3 week submission I found this interesting video on ‘’Cymatics’’ and sound vibration with water and small granules.

Which inspired me to make a project based around a resonance tray and use the sound sensor with it with led’s.

Unfortunately I did not take it forward as it would have been unsuitable as the frequencies required to produce grain patterns would require a versatile speaker and amp as well as making unbearable noise for listeners. :-/


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