[circuit-bending]  greenarrow.gif (132 bytes)
a bender's guide

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[circuit bending]
[exploring the art]
[how it works]
[direct wiring]
[photo resistors]
[solar cells]
[humidity sensors]
[reset switch]
[line outputs]
[other techniques]
[closing words]

There is the rare chance in this try-at-your-own-risk art, that a component might overheat and burn out. Or even pop. In Reed's 30+ years of bending circuits such a pop has only happened once. An external power supply of too high a voltage was accidentally applied to the circuit. Half a transistor was tossed across the room. Even though in Reed's experience such a thing has never occurred while bending a device operating on its own correct internal batteries, eye protection should be worn.

More likely, the downside of this odd art is the possibility of destroying the target device through overheating an internal micro-component within an integrated circuit. This rarely occurs, but it does happen. However, circuit-benders find this occurence out-weighed not only by the unique instruments capable of being created, but also by the opportunity to buy audio toys, even complex sampling keyboards and human voice generators, for a few dollars each at second-hand shops. These outlets will supply the bender's workshop with a differing and endless supply of experimental musical instruments to discover.

Perfect targets for circuit-bending are audio games and toys that already produce interesting, good-sounding voices. Synthesized human and animal voices, as well as imaginary and musical sounds reside within many of these gadgets. As mentioned, musical keyboards, even sampling keyboards, turn up at these second-hand stores now and then.Keyboards often produce chance (aleatoric) music when circuit-bent. Reedcalls these circuit-bent instruments Aleatrons. (Casio SK-1 article here, Aleatron gallery here). These games/toys/keyboards can often be bought for a few dollars each.

Carrying a supply of batteries, 4 "AA"s, "C"s, and "D"s, will allow you to try the devices at the stores before buying.

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