Cymbal Monkey

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4) Prepare the Cymbal Monkey

  • We’ll be using a cymbal monkey that’s distributed by Westminster toys in this example. This clever device runs on two AA batteries. Hacking it for our purposes is quite simple. There’s a switch on the bottom that connects the two batteries into the circuit. We’ll attach a couple wires to extend that switch outside the case, to where our XBee is. Monkey see, monkey do? Let’s go.

  • This is the switch and battery door on the bottom of the toy. There’s a latch that swings away to allow access to the batteries. Go ahead and open it.
  • Use a phillips screwdriver to remove the two screws on the inside of the battery door.
  • Solder two wires to the back of the battery contacts as shown. These will extend the connection so you can bridge it externally. The brown wire in this case is connected to the Ground side of the battery.
Replace the inside of the battery door with its two screws. Keeping the slider switch in place will seat the battery contacts best, plus it looks good and will be another way to test the monkey’s operation. You may want to clip away a bit of plastic so the wires can sneak out the back. Here we’ve snuck them around the outside of the hinge. You could also drill a little hole in the back to present your monkey at his most professional look.
  • We made it easier to attach the other end of the cymbal monkey wires to the breadboard by soldering some male headers onto it as shown. With batteries in the monkey, it will perform for you any time you connect the two pins together. You’re done with the hack and much closer to some sweet monkey music!

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