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Thread: 70s Style Color Organ

  1. #1
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    Default 70s Style Color Organ

    I was talking with another member here and the topic of the old 70s color organ came up. OK, here's a question- how many people here spaced out to these back in high school? (my hand is raised).



    The reason I ask is this- I have a current Lumia projector in the works, and I thought it would be nice to be able to modify it by adding a mode that controls modulation via sound input. I have a modern version of a color organ that blinks LED's, but I have found that this one is more of a peak level meter than a true notch filter that segregates frequency bands. Another thing that I would seek in the ideal circuit is the ability to modulate with intensity, rather than a mere on/off flicker.
    There are plently of kits out there, but after much looking, I am not sure any of them possess the specific attributes I require.

    I have a toy "spy microphone" that has a sensitive mic and preamp, so I thought that might serve as a starting point. It seems like most of these circuits use what amounts to a speaker crossover to split the incoming sound signal into its respective bands. It shouldn't bee too difficult, but then again I am no EE. If anyone has any suggestions or thoughts, let me know!

    -Mike


  2. #2
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    Default

    My Grandfather and I built some when I was around 10.
    He owned an Electric lighting business.

  3. #3
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    FLASHBACKS!!

    Heathkit, mid-70's -

    Three strings of Christmas lights behind a cool lens and frame, synchronized to the treble (yellow), mid-range (blue), and bass (red).
    Coolest Christmas lights / music gadget I ever saw, until the Light O Rama system came on the scene a few years ago!! (Christmas '09 should be entertaining ).

    Also had the plasma light bulb (duh!), and then - I discovered lasers....
    RR

    Metrologic HeNe 3.3mw Modulated laser, 2 Radio Shack motors, and a broken mirror.
    1979.
    Sweet.....

  4. #4
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    mixedgas is online now Infinitus Excellentia Ion Laser Dominatus
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    [quote=Stuka;86931]FLASHBACKS!!

    Heathkit, mid-70's -

    Three strings of Christmas lights behind a cool lens and frame, synchronized to the treble (yellow), mid-range (blue), and bass (red).
    Coolest Christmas lights / music gadget I ever saw, until the Light O Rama system came on the scene a few years ago!! (Christmas '09 should be entertaining ).

    You just had to go and mention that, now I'll have that "wizards in winter" youtube in my head all day...........

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  6. #6
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    [quote=mixedgas;86941]
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuka View Post
    FLASHBACKS!!

    Heathkit, mid-70's -

    Three strings of Christmas lights behind a cool lens and frame, synchronized to the treble (yellow), mid-range (blue), and bass (red).
    Coolest Christmas lights / music gadget I ever saw, until the Light O Rama system came on the scene a few years ago!! (Christmas '09 should be entertaining ).

    You just had to go and mention that, now I'll have that "wizards in winter" youtube in my head all day...........
    Yep - and hopefully, in my front yard for the holidays!
    (Although probably not NEAR as elaborate as the youtube video!!)
    Last edited by Stuka; 03-12-2009 at 09:57.
    RR

    Metrologic HeNe 3.3mw Modulated laser, 2 Radio Shack motors, and a broken mirror.
    1979.
    Sweet.....

  7. #7
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    Unfortunately, I am much to young and have never seen one of these in person. I was thinking about building one, and actually watching youtube videos yesterday. Does anyone know of any plans online to build one? It looks like they are not that sound responsive though.
    - instinct

  8. #8
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    Yeah, I had one of those when I was 16. Cutting edge stuff back then.

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    Are those LED's or little coloured incandescent bulbs?

  10. #10
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    Back in the ancient days (70's), they were good old unreliable incandescent light bulbs!!

    LEDS would probably be much more reliable and generate a lot less heat...
    RR

    Metrologic HeNe 3.3mw Modulated laser, 2 Radio Shack motors, and a broken mirror.
    1979.
    Sweet.....

  11. #11
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    Default I got a pro built unit

    I found this thing on e-bay some yrs ago and it still works. It is a 4 channel unit with High, Med High, Med, and Low with the ability to set the response rate. I know a little about the unit because the builder put the info inside as to who it was built for and when. It was built in 1974 for a club in LA. It works great and will handle up to 1k watts per channel. It has a big heat sink inside and a small fan. Here are s couple of pic's of it.
    I know it dates me but I can remember when there was a complete wall of these at DisneyLand in the America Sings building that they used to entertain the people before the show started. It was quite something back then.
    Steve Wall

  12. #12
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    Cool

    Not quite a light organ, but this picture from SELEM 2008 shows an LED display (behind Aaron) that James Lehman built himself. The multi-colored LED squares would change color on their own, based on an internal timer. I'm sure you could connect them to a PIC and control them in groups to simulate a light organ though.



    Adam

  13. #13
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    One way to approach building one of these would be to get hold of an old Pulsar Masterpiece 108 lighting desk and a 4 or 6 way analogue dimmer pack. You can pick up a good, used 108 for under 200 and they have superb 4-channel sound to light built in; they can also control both analogue and DMX dimmers so are very versatile. Analogue dimmers have rather fallen out of favour so can be had for very little money. Ebay is a good place to start looking...

  14. #14
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    lol, Your never to old or young to stare at color organ for hours. I still have the original Heath kit color organ from radio shack. I am really bummed though as I lent out the instruction kit manual to someone interested in recreating it and never heard from him again. But I still have the light.

    Recently I turned it on and the power sensor knob stripped so it turns on but I can lower or raise the sensitivity but when that is fixed it runs and looks 100%

    I don't have it in front of me to take pics but it roughly 80x80 inches by 3 inches deep and has a star-burst pastern similar to the star-burst you see on the ceiling of old skate decks and walls. It has two speaker wires that plug into the back of amps or speakers.

    I have to get that out again and fix the sensitivity knob.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattatya View Post
    lol, Your never to old or young to stare at color organ for hours. I still have the original Heath kit color organ from radio shack. I am really bummed though as I lent out the instruction kit manual to someone interested in recreating it and never heard from him again. But I still have the light.

    Recently I turned it on and the power sensor knob stripped so it turns on but I can lower or raise the sensitivity but when that is fixed it runs and looks 100%

    I don't have it in front of me to take pics but it roughly 80x80 inches by 3 inches deep and has a star-burst pastern similar to the star-burst you see on the ceiling of old skate decks and walls. It has two speaker wires that plug into the back of amps or speakers.

    I have to get that out again and fix the sensitivity knob.
    THAT'S THE ONE!!

    I got mine direct from Heathkit, and remember having a WONDERFUL time imbedding all those frickin' lights in the interior panel.

    Still, it was cool!!!!
    RR

    Metrologic HeNe 3.3mw Modulated laser, 2 Radio Shack motors, and a broken mirror.
    1979.
    Sweet.....

  16. #16
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    I know this thread is super old but I found some Color Organ assembly instructions

    Pictures2.jpgColor Organ Schematic.jpgParts List.jpgAssembly.jpg

    I need to pick up Part P1 on the kit assembly page to get mine back up and running.

    This thread is old but did you end up making something out of your idea with the lamina

    project?



    Here is a couple other good reads from Popular Electronic

    Really crappy service manual for the Hamond color Organ
    http://www.archive.org/stream/Hammon...art21_djvu.txt


    http://www.swtpc.com/mholley/Popular...PE_Jul1966.htm
    http://www.swtpc.com/mholley/Popular...PE_Sep1969.htm
    http://www.tinaja.com/glib/musclrog.pdf

  17. #17
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    Default color organ seller

    Hi guy's (and girls) Found a seller on Ebay that regularly sells color organs. I bought one and it seems to work great. You can see them on youtube if you type dynamodob in the seach bar.

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