Another Ambassador Moment: Assembling the Adafruit Sound FX Board!

By Will Siffer

A Little Background

This project is a part of a much larger project I am working on, a 3-foot scale model of the Purdue Mascot, The Boilermaker Special. Since the real full-sized version makes sound and plays music, I wanted to make sure that my model could play the same sounds of the train horns and play some of the songs that the train plays. This left me looking for a device that could handle clean audio output, and I found the Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board.


What You Need to Get Started

The Adafruit Sound FX board comes with all the programming already done, so you will only need a few hardware components to get started:

  • 10 Pushbutton switches
  • Assorted jumper wires
  • A solderless breadboard
  • A Micro USB cable
  • Power supply
  • Speakers

Assembling The Board for Button Triggering

The Sound FX board is triggerd by connecting any of the pins marked 0-9 to ground. To do this, I used 10 pushbutton switches so I could practice with the triggered types. Something that I found very important with using this device is that it is powered with a USB power supply rather than a computer. After reading some of the documentation, I found that once the device is plugged into a computer, it boots into a "Flash Drive Mode" that prevents any audio from being played. 

Adding Songs / Using the Trigger Features

The sound board acts like a flash drive so all you need to do to add music and sound is to name the file the letter "T", then the number you want it triggered to from "00" - "09". So, for button 4 you would name the file T04. 

There are also different tags you can add to the end of the number:

  • LATCH - Press once to start, again to stop sound
  • HOLDL - Sound only plays while the button is being pressed
  • RAND# - Plays a random sound if there are multiple 
  • NEXT# - Plays the next # under the same trigger number

Wrap Up

The Adafruit Sound FX board is an amazing tool to simplify the audio production of any hobby project. The ability to add up to 11 different sounds with an integrated amplifier means that you don't have to waste time programming a media player and building a great-sounding amplifier!


Key Parts and Components

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