Sunday, 23 April 2017

DIY Motion Activated Tremolo guitar pedal

Hello Everyone!
Guitar pedals and music effects are very interesting to experiment with, so I decided to come up with something new and original. Using minimum possible components I made a circuit that simply breaks and rejoins the connection between the guitar and the amp. But thats not the catch,
This pedal can be controlled without coming in contact with the pedal. 
Weird, right?
The setup uses an ultrasonic sensor (Popularly, used for obstacle avoidance in robots) to calculate the distance from the pedal, and activate the effect accordingly. Also the closer you move towards the pedal, the more shallower the effect gets. 
Well, if I've got your attention and your head is bubbling with ideas,  here is , how I made it!-

Step 1- Watch the video-

Step 2- Get the parts-
1. An Arduino ( Uno or Nano) ( a clone would also do the trick)
2. A single channel relay (an electro-mechanical switch)
3. (1/4 inch mono sockets) x2
4. Ultrasonic sensor module (HC SR04)
5. A toggle switch
6. A DC socket ( to use external power supplies between 6-12V)
7. Some wires (of-course)
8. An Enclosure( Preferably, not metal, to reduce noise)

Step 3- Wire it up!

I've tried my best to make the diagram as clear as possible, however if you face any problems, just leave a comment.

Step 4- Upload the code to the Arduino
If this is the first time you're using an arduino, do some googling and get acquainted with basic arduino programs.
Simply copy-paste this program onto your arduino IDE, Heres the code-

const int trigpin =8; //this section is to tell the arduino what connects where
const int echopin=7;
int relay=10;
int distance;
long duration;

void setup() {
  // put your setup code here, to run once:
pinMode(trigpin,OUTPUT); //initializing OUTPUTS AND INPUTS


void loop() {
  // put your main code here, to run repeatedly:
  digitalWrite(6,HIGH); //we'll use pin 6 as a 5V powersupply for the ultrasonic sensor
  digitalWrite(4,LOW); // to use pin 4 as ground
  digitalWrite(12,LOW);// to use pin 12 as ground

  if(calculatedistance()<60 && calculatedistance()>=30){ //to activate the switch when an obstruction is 30cm-60cm away from the sensor
  digitalWrite(10,HIGH);// to break the connection between the guitar and the amp
   digitalWrite(11,HIGH);// for the indication LED
  delay(120);// a small pause
  digitalWrite(10,LOW);//to rejoin the connection
  digitalWrite(11,LOW);// for the LED...
  delay(120);// and another pause

  else if(calculatedistance()<30 && calculatedistance()>=20){

  else if(calculatedistance()<20 && calculatedistance()>=5){
else{ digitalWrite(10,LOW);
int calculatedistance(){// to calculate the distance using the sensor
  digitalWrite(trigpin, LOW);
  // Sets the trigPin on HIGH state for 10 micro seconds
  digitalWrite(trigpin, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(trigpin, LOW);
  duration = pulseIn(echopin, HIGH); // Reads the echoPin, returns the sound wave travel time in microseconds
   distance= duration*0.034/2;
  return distance;

And thats it, it should work if you've done everything correctly.
Now that you've got it to work the way I designed it, you can use this as a base for a bigger and better project :). Let your creativity overWrite my code.
You would have realised that the relay is a bit noisy.
For sure, using a relay for this purpose is not the best idea, but is definitely the easiest way to go about it. If you're interested in improving on this you could read about( or if you already know), using a transistor as a switch for this purpose. 

Stay Creative

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Weekend project- DIY TV remote controlled car

Its pretty cool that we can control many appliances in our home wirelessly through IR systems. Perhaps is that all ? In this blog, ill be sharing an interesting use of the TV remote other than its conventional use of controlling the TV. 
So, you can make your own TV remote controlled car by following the video and the resources.
1.The video
2. The circuit diagram

3. Link for the IR remote library.

4. List of main parts

  • An Arduino Uno,
  • DC motor shafts,
  • L293x motor driver,
  • TSOP 1738 IR receiver,
  • 9V battery,
  • Jumper wires( of-course)

5. And of-course the code for the arduino

// Written and debugged by Siddharth Kothari,
#include <IRremote.h>
int leftmotora=8;
int leftmotorb=9;
int rightmotora=10;
int rightmotorb=12;

int RECV_PIN = 11;

IRrecv irrecv(RECV_PIN);

decode_results results;

void setup(){
  irrecv.enableIRIn(); // start the receiver

  pinMode (11, INPUT); //pin 11 connects to the IR receiver (tsop1738)
  pinMode(8, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(9, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(10, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(12, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
  if (irrecv.decode(&results)) {

  if (results.value==0xE0E08679){ // When the forward button is pressed
   digitalWrite(leftmotora, LOW);
   digitalWrite(leftmotorb, HIGH);
   digitalWrite(rightmotora, LOW);
   digitalWrite(rightmotorb, HIGH);
   if (results.value==0xE0E006F9){ //when the backward direction, button is pressed
   digitalWrite(leftmotora, HIGH);
   digitalWrite(leftmotorb, LOW);
   digitalWrite(rightmotora, HIGH);
   digitalWrite(rightmotorb, LOW);
   if (results.value==0xE0E0A659){ //to turn left
   digitalWrite(leftmotora, HIGH);
   digitalWrite(leftmotorb, LOW);
   digitalWrite(rightmotora, LOW);
   digitalWrite(rightmotorb, HIGH);

    if (results.value==0xE0E046B9){//to turn right
   digitalWrite(leftmotora, LOW);
   digitalWrite(leftmotorb, HIGH);
   digitalWrite(rightmotora, HIGH);
   digitalWrite(rightmotorb, LOW);
   if (results.value==0xE0E016E9){//THE STOP BUTTON !!
   digitalWrite(leftmotora, LOW);
   digitalWrite(leftmotorb, LOW);
   digitalWrite(rightmotora, LOW);
   digitalWrite(rightmotorb, LOW);

  irrecv.resume(); // get ready to receive the next signal

Simply copy-paste this in your arduino IDE and upload it, ensure that you've change the hexadecimal values for the remote buttons as per your remote.
If your receiver doesn't read the value correctly (doesn't give the same value every time you press the button) try using a different remote.
Let the 0x in every if statement remain as it is, it is to declare that the datatype of the value ahead is hexadecimal. 
changes made in the hexadecimal value should follow this syntax-

If you're done with making this, and everything's working perfectly fine, you might want to add some more features, you can do that by simply adding more if statements following the syntax-

if (results.value==0xE0E016E9){
  //add whatever you want to, for example ,switch on an led
digitalWrite(13, HIGH);

I'll leave the rest to you, let your creativity overwrite my code :)


Monday, 25 January 2016

Born to Compete?

" As soon as you're born, they make you feel small,
   By giving you no time, instead of it all,
   and the pain is so deep that you feel nothing at all" 
No kiddo, it's not your fault, it's in the atmosphere.
The race is unidirectional aimed at engineering. India has been successful in breaking previous records of rat races. The concept now targets traditional mindsets having the philosophy of science being superior to arts related subjects. Globally the equality of subjects is understood perhaps, not in all parts of India. With the increase in the no. of applicants giving JEE, an exam common for all Indian engineering institutes, coaching classes for the same have come up. The story doesn't end here, the coaching classes have their own entrance exams. Now the animal has a tail as well, there are separate tuitions to crack the exams of the coaching classes that help you crack, the Joint Entrance Examination. This makes climbing the ladder, even harder. But thats not the problem, is it?
The problem is that many students are often forced to climb this ladder. Students forget their potentials and abilities when they make ATTEMPTS to enter the rat race. IIT is moksha. 
Now, taking a panoramal view. India's population- Incredible India. With 12 lakh people having a common dream of engineering applying for the same exam and ironically for the same college/s that can accommodate 10,000 students at max, is it technically impossible for 12 lakh people to accomplish their dreams at the same go. Out of which many are giving the exam halfheartedly. Its rather an obvious fact that there are going to be many falls from the ladder, some at the beginning and some all the way from the top. Failure often leads to mental depression and psychological disturbance. 
Dear parents and students - Explore and let explore. Today's world has amazing courses to offer that one would have ever dream't of, and the best part is whatever you learn, there are people looking forward to employ you. There are often stories with people having combinations like - Psychology and Buddhist philosophy and economics. They have proved conventional thinking wrong. We all begin with these thoughts, the risk of falling seems to be considerably high. These days those angels don't seen to appear before us and say- 'Ask for a wish'.
Children grow up being successful engineers but end up missing a very a beautiful age of childhood. Which isn't very much worth missing. 

With all due respect and regard I do not mean to express hatred for any institute or subject. All I want to say is that eye-patches need to be removed the world is way broader and non linear enough. All one can conclude is that the education system needs to be RE-ENGINEERED :)

Design Thinking for Banzzzzzas you're born, they On thenhheiIts 

Wednesday, 30 September 2015


Its been a long time since I last blogged. An amazing idea struck me in my dreams. Living in an atmosphere of competition, most of my conversations with people kick start this way,
"So, young man, what do you plan to do in life?"
"Haven't decided yet........."
I'm tired of this question. Most of my friends joined private coaching classes in 8th grade. I felt all this was just a commercial activity to become a billionaire. The rat race finishes at IIT ( A well reputed engineering college in India). People feel that you're abnormal when they hear you say, " I don't plan to take up engineering". So I finally decided to blog out everything straight from the heart and write everything in first person.

Many ideas of mine were quite a lot based on 'The secret life of Walter Mitty'. I read many inspiration stories on Facebook and G+. I finally understood one thing for sure, You can never go hungry if you're educated. I've decided I will live an experimental life, a life without those burdens of insurance, money, buying and selling land and all such activities.

I'll just go where the road takes me and roads never end.........
Learn from nature and experience. I don't like the idea of settling down with one occupation and one house and the concept of getting old. The soul remains young till death. Ofcourse, with age comes experience. Its all in the mind. Just enjoy the present, let tomorrow remain a mystery. 

And why settle with one job? for money?
Money does matter and it will catch up if you're doing the right work. I dream to live a hundred lives, everyday would be a new one. One day I'll work a waiter in the restaurant, another day write a book, teach in an NGO. 
Who cares about reputation? oh yeah, so now I'm caught........that's probably the only thing everyone cares about, followed by money. 
This reminds me of an interesting person I met, a year ago. By profession, he worked as an investment banker in New York for sometime. He is also a talented photographer. So one day his thoughts gave a twist to his career. He decided to give up investment banking and become a dedicated photographer . So, he walked up to a gallery to set up his photographs. The curator explained that there are to ways of setting up photographs, one is to get less or no money for it and set it up with your credits clearly mentioned. The other way was exactly the opposite, that you sell your photographs for quite a good grab but without owning any copyrights i.e You won't be the owner of your own photographs. 
Now, every photographer would dream to be famous and would want to be clearly credited for the dedicated work. That was exactly the case he was dealing with. Since he gave up investment banking, he was no longer earning...........
So he chose the first option and took the money not the credits. He regretted this decision for fighting passion for glory.  
No-one would want to become famous before completing the basic financial needs.
What I learnt from him was-
'Don't let your passion be your occupation'
Because if you dedicate your passion for money, creating a fine masterpeice would be out of bounds and you would rather look at the fastest way to finish the job.
So I'll do what I enjoy doing but will keep a separate room for passion.......
And the magic of music will light the way ...🌟🌟🔱
So, what do you say??


Monday, 13 April 2015

Alleppey Travel Guide

Planning a vacation in South India?
Don't forget Alleppey !
The name explains it all- Alleppey: A small happy town. Alleppey is situated in the coastal area of Kerala. This place is known for beaches and backwaters.
The perfect place to have the 'Houseboat Experience'. We've seen it in the movies, now lets see if its true ! Alleppey is home to 800 houseboats. The South Indian colors come alive here, it becomes hard to find an ordinary white colored house. Houses, Houseboats, clothes and banners are bright and vibrant in colors. All this reminds me of a song sung by The Beatles, 'Lucy in the sky with diamonds' that starts with- Picture yourself in a boat in a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies..... 
Houseboats in Alleppey- Siddharth Kothari

Lets not get diverted to music, how can one forget houseboats ?
Being made for tourism, all houseboats are beautifully crafted and named. All tourism companies usually feature a houseboat picture in Alleppey on their pamphlets ! To be honest, houseboats are an excitement for a few hours and then they become boring, after all its just another houseboat......
Its not worth booking a houseboat for an overnight stay, as they dock the houseboats on the shore at night. After 6:00 pm they remain stationary to avoid accidents in the middle of the river. To be honest, once you're in the houseboat, it's just a houseboat. While experiencing the houseboat adventure, you come across many tiny islands. They are worth visiting. You can always ask the sailor to stop by one of those islands and have a look around. Long rows of plantations and flowers on the island all add to the feel of the place.
Houseboat blends with the shades of nature

"Houseboat View"
"Shades of nature"

The Alleppey Beaches and Backwaters- 
Alleppey is known for its beautiful backwaters. Actually this town, interestingly has a beach on its one end (facing the Arabian Sea) and the backwaters run along its length and breadth. The other end of Alleppey faces the silent Vembanad lake. Despite being a tourist destination, the beaches are clean and not crowded. This, is where you can spend a lot of time just watching the waves coming in. Many movies are shot here. Rows of houses are built along the backwaters. Lots of beautiful lazy resorts line the backwaters.
A beach in Alleppey

Lets not forget that Alleppey is a part of India's most literate state- Kerala. People around here are quite friendly and the concepts of equality of occupation are well spread among the masses. I happened to wave my hand to hire an autorikshaw (A local 3-wheeler Taxi) to find a good restaurant to dine in. Suddenly, an auto-rickshaw driver caught my action and came to us. I told him that we were looking for a restaurant. All he said was-"Hop on".
He made no mention about the fare, which was a matter to worry about as it was now upto him, how much he would charge us.
However, the worry didn't last long. He took us to a decent restaurant and when we got off, I asked," How much is it?"
"Low price, No problem, sir"
"Is 40 okay?"
"Even 30 would do"
Hearing this we felt satisfied and handed him a Rs. 50 note without any hesitation. Such tiny incidents enhanced my stay in Alleppey. 

If Modi's ideas are being implemented anywhere, it has to be Kerala. The railway stations in Kerala have to be the cleanest ones compared to the others that I've seen in India. They are well adorned with flowers and tiny plantation nets along the platform. Waiting for the train in the burning March heat, I was trying to keep myself busy. Just then, a bystander threw a biscuit wrapper. My eyes were fixed on it, just then another traveler picked it up and threw it in the dustbin. THIS, is something hard to find in other parts of India. I felt guilty, for not being the one to pick it up. It seems that many of us have misunderstood John Lennon's saying.
"You may say, I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one,
 I hope some day, you join us, and the world, will live as one"
Many of us follow a similar thought-
"Cleanliness....hmmm....quite right.... But how much can this tiny thing dirty the environment? besides that, I'm not the only one doing so........."
If we keep this in mind, our country will never progress. This thought can only be eradicated by 100% literacy and that is exactly what the Government of Kerala did. By investing in human resource, Kerala has now become a much cleaner and better place to live in.
Alleppey Railway Station

Alleppey railway station

If you happen to book a vacation here, trust me, do not book the Hotels online. Since most of them are built along the backwaters, the pictures of the resort can be very misguiding. People often book the resort, just after they have a glance at the pictures and come to know they face the backwaters ! Hotels and resorts often turn-out to be very different from what you see on the internet.
The best way to select the right hotel would be to hire a ferry boat and roam around, and whenever a decent resort is spotted, stop by and check it out! In this way you can't go wrong and the search for the right place becomes interesting...............

Monday, 30 March 2015


Munnar, Kerala (South India)
Visiting South India?
Be sure to visit Munnar! A hill station in Kerala..........

Truly an escape from the remaining South India's burning heat, Munnar stands as a hub of tourism. Munnar is a hill station 130 kms away from Kochi (the city in which the Kerala Airport is located). Tea plantations and all the agricultural stuff never excited me, but after my visit to Munnar, I changed my views. The entire hill station is stocked with tea plantations, and is probably the best place to buy organic Indian spices. Tea is planted along the slope of the hills. To reach them, one must be an average trekker! You can spend hours roaming around them and exploring other areas near them. You can find a variety of flavored and organic refreshing tea with the exotic aroma. The fun sparks out in having a thick block of chocolate ice-cream in the burning heat. Did I mention, Kerala is the only state in India having 99.9 % literacy? Literacy has resulted in clean streets and proper management of resources. The amazing arrangement of houses and long continuous roads could be an inspiration for other cities. The population is equally distributed throughout the city. The hill station, from the view of a high flying helicopter would look like colored Lego pieces placed on a green base. The houses are painted bright and vibrant in shades of green, blue, yellow, orange etc, unlike those usual whites and grays in other states of India.
A tea plantation in Munnar,Kerala

'Colored pieces of lego on a green base' :)
Being rich in flora and fauna, Munnar has many flower gardens. 'The Rose Garden' is among the popular tourist attractions on the hill station. Its a great stress buster, walking through the nurseries and plantations accompanied by cool breeze. The hill station is also well populated by wildlife sanctuaries. 

A view from the Munnar flower garden
Entire Kerala (despite being a tourist destination) faces a major problem of clean drinking water. Hotels, shops, restaurants and even local residents use packaged drinking water for daily consumption. This way, you end up spending a lot just on drinking water. The best way to address the problem would be to carry your own large sized water bottles and always be on the look for Public water filters and be sure to refill from every jug in the restaurant.

Munnar, being situated at an elevated height and having less pollution, makes a great place  for star-gazing. Be well equipped with your telescope !
If you happen to plan your vacation in Munnar, I would recommend that you book your stay in 'Anna Homestay', located in Chithrapuram (9 km away from the main city). 
A navigation board, so that you can obtain the contact number :)

 Reading the word- 'Homestay' you get altogether a different idea of what the rooms would look like, but this one is out of the ordinary....
Veranda outside the rooms 

The owners are very friendly and helpful. Papachan, the owner of this place has a perfect taste of interior design and arrangement of rooms. The rooms are well equipped with large glass windows, lamps, clean balconies and also the key-card system.
It is built more like a resort - A one storied building for this very purpose, labelled rooms, key cards for electricity etc add to the feel of the place.The place looks beautiful at night. However, this place is not equipped with WIFI. The 'packaged drinking water problem' continues here. Since it is a home-stay, you may have a chat with the owners and customize your breakfast. The best part of this place is, its a stone's throw from the TEA PLANTATIONS !

A well known attraction in Munnar is Punarjani (meaning- traditional village), A stage for the traditional arts of Kerala. It is located in the 2nd mile, Pallivasal, Munnar. They stage two daily shows here- Kathakali and Kalaripayattu.

Kathakali is a world famous highly stylized Indian Classical Dance Drama- known as the king of performing arts, performed in a kothambalam (art performance temple) by skilled artists.

Kalaripayattu is an ancient traditional martial art of Kerala reknowned as 'mother of all martial arts'. It has a long tradition and later many techniques of this art were adopted into martial arts like karate, Kung-Fu, judo etc. The performance includes body control exercises, fight with metallic weapons like sword, shield, spear, dagger etc. Its something worth watching. The fights were fast and short, amazingly performed feats. I did click a few pictures but watching such feats live, altogether create a different effect.

Kalaripayattu- A feat- Somersault through the fire ring

Kalaripayattu- Led Sticks

Kalaripayattu- A dangerous feat involving fire lit sticks

                                                                                      Siddharth :)

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


Hey there guitarists,
How often do you run out of picks ?
Accepting the ugly truth that a pick is just a piece of plastic or maybe a cut out from nylon sheet, why should you spend a few bucks on them? Knowing that they will break soon.............
Here is the solution- Make your own custom translucent blue picks !!
Making picks isn't that hard and would take barely 5-6 minutes. The best part is that you can actually bend them and also have your custom pick with your band name on it ! Anyways here's how you do it !

So the first step is to select a DVD. The visual difference between a CD and a DVD is that CD's are white on their reflective side and DVD's are blue on their reflective side. So what we need is the BLUE one. In case, you're stuck-

All DVD's are made of two layers - The cover and the projection layer. We want the projection or the translucent layer. To separate it, all you have to do is make a cut on its edge (circumference) and separate it out. We won't be needing the opaque plastic cover so you can throw that. And if some of that sparkly stuff is stuck on the translucent area, don't worry ! That can be used to make the FANCY ones....
I know its difficult to explain, So I guess the GIF animation should explain it all.

Now, this is easy. On the translucent CD, using a real pick and a permanent marker trace out the pick shape that you want on the CD. So trace out as many picks as you can to fully utilize the CD. Keeping the pick steady, while tracing it might be a difficult task. So I suggest, while doing this use the index finger and press the pick downwards and then trace it. Be creative and find your way to do this :)

Step 4 -CUT IT OUT !!
Simple- Use a good pair of scissors and cut out your traced picks! Do this with a steady hand and cut it cleanly in one go without stopping.
Step 5 -SAND IT
Smooth-en the edges using a sanding machine or by hand using sand paper. And you're ready to rock !! Optionally you may make your band logo or some graphic on them once you're done with sanding.
And that's it !! You can also make picks with old credit cards and Cheetos Tazos :)
I hope this works for you! If you're stuck at any step, do leave a comment and I'll get back. HAPPY PICKING :)
                                                                                        - Cheers