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CD Switch

Status: Complete

In the realm of assistive technology, a switch (aka "ability switch") can be anything from a plastic button to a muscle twitch sensor.  This album is a great look at the variety of switches that are available.  These switches are almost always wired to a 3.5mm (1/8") mono plug, and can be connected to anything with a matching jack. They are used with power wheelchairs, computers, speech devices, toys, remote controls, and so on.

The problem is that switches are expensive.  A basic Jellybean Switch or Buddy Button costs around $50-60 (USD), for just a plastic button.  While these are worth their weight in gold, the price is still a bit steep, especially in the low-budget/non-profit world of assistive technology.

Sometimes, it's handy to make your own.

Fortunately, a switch is a very simple thing.  It's just a circuit closing, just two wires touching.  We will use less than $10 (USD) worth of parts to let a person press a surface (in this case a CD), and touch two wires together.  R. J. Cooper also sells CD Switch Kits for about $10 (USD) each, in packs of five or ten.

Save the left over scraps from this project, as you can use them to build a No-Solder Battery Interrupter , which you can use to let this switch control toys and other devices.

I have posted an Instructable, so that anyone can easily make their own CD Switches.  I suggest making one of these along with a Solderless Battery Interrupter, as they work well together, and the battery interrupter can be made of the scraps left from building the switch.

PDF version of the Instructable is also available.

This project was also posted on Hack A Day.

Copyright © 2012 Gavin Philips. All rights reserved.