[Patrick's] latest Instructable walks us though making a clap clap on / clap clap off type of switching circuit, similar in use to that sometimes popular commercial product seen on TV. He does this by using a standard electret microphone, half of an LM324 op amp, a voltage comparator and a PIC micro controller.
The operation of the device is as simple as its wiring, the microphone picks up sound and produces a signal, that signal is stripped of its DC component and fed into the op amp, after 2 stages of amplification the signal passes though a voltage comparator, and if the sound was loud enough a timer is triggered on the pic. Two claps within the specified amount of time, the micro then switches on a relay which can toggle your outside appliance (keeping the load in mind).
On the last page [Patrick] also gives a rough outline of how to make a single clap on / off variant using a 555 timer and some flip flops. Join us for a quick video after the break, and be sure to check this one out.