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Sound Engineering

  1. Feb 23, 2009 #1
    Hi All,

    I'm an ecology graduate student trying to do a bit of electrical engineering and having zero success. The goal: broadcast bird songs for about 6 hours each morning for an experiment I'm doing, preferably somewhat autonomously so I can have sufficient replication.

    I have a mini boombox connected to a 12V marine battery with an on/off timer in between. The problem is, when the timer interrupts power and then returns it to the boombox, I have to press the play button to start the track playing again (and if I leave the button taped down, it pauses play on the boombox). So my first question is: does anyone have an idea of how to design something that can make noise for 6 hours, then stop, then start again the next day better than this design? Alternatively, are there any "fixes" that would get around the fact that I need to press the play button every time power is returned to the system?

    I realize this question might be a bit more involved than is appropriate for this forum, but I'm just looking for some ideas. Thanks.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2009 #2


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    Science Advisor

    A PC or laptop with an alarm program and a 6 hour auto shut-off? A mac mini works pretty well, and you can use an Automator script to start up the computer, play an MP3 for a few hours, and then go back to sleep. There's also an alarm program called Alarm Clock 2 that does most of the above.

    If you're using a windows machine, you can dump an MP3 (or suitably modified link to, say, Winamp) in the Startup folder so it starts it up automatically after booting. You'd have to configure the bios to start automatically on power availability (some bioses have this setting available). Then you could continue using your timer.

    I'm sure there's something better and more configurable, and already included in some distribution of Linux or other, but this is just what I know.
  4. Feb 24, 2009 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Had to think about this one a bit, but how about this....

    Plug a powered speaker (like from a PC, or a better quality one) into the headphone output of the boombox. That should kill the boombox speakers, and route the sound out the powered speaker. Just put your timer switch on the powered speaker power input, and let the boombox run all the time.
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