Sonic Screwdriver meets TV-B-Gone


[furrysalamander] has a friend that is a really big Doctor Who fan. It happens that this friend has a birthday coming up, and [furrysalamander] wanted to get her something amazing. A Sonic Screwdriver is always a great gift, but [furrysalamander] wanted to put his personal touch on it. He ended up adding a TV-B-Gone to [10]‘s screwdriver, turning a fictional deus ex machina into a functional device.

The body of the Sonic comes from this replica of [10]‘s screwdriver from Think Geek. Inside, the screwdriver has space for a battery a circuit board to control the lights and sound normally expected of a sonic screwdriver. [furrysalamander] added a freeform circuit composed of an ATtiny85, a transistor, LED, and a few resistors to add the ability to turn just about any TV off.

Of course [furrysalamander] needed to program the ATtiny with the TV-B-Gone firmware, and lacking any AVR development tools he used a Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins to write the firmware to the microcontroller. That’s something we’ve seen before, but [furrysalamander] is a champ for including the process in his Instructable.

The end result is a Sonic Screwdriver that doesn’t work on wood and can’t break a deadlock seal. It turns off TVs just fine, though, and looks great to boot. You can check out a demo of [furrysalamander]‘s sonic in action after the break.


  1. furrysalamander says:

    Hey! Thanks for posting my project. If you don’t mind though, I’d rather go by furrysalamander!

  2. Nick Johnson says:

    I have to say, this is a really awesome hack. You should make up conversion kits!

    • I’ve actually considered it a lot over the past few days, but my only concern is how hard it was to fit everything inside. I suppose you could forgo the external oscillator, but I’m not sure how that would effect how well it works. That, and there’s the initial cost of making the kits to sell. Maybe this summer I could do something like this instead of my crappy job I had last year.

      • arachnidster says:

        You could definitely forgo the oscillator. If you want to test this, try reprogramming your existing device with the fuses that cause it to use the internal 8MHz oscillator; I think you’ll find that it works just fine.

        Another option for shrinking it down is to move to SMT parts. With a decent soldering iron and a cheap pair of nonmagnetic tweezers, it’s at least as easy to do large pitch (like SOIC, 0806 etc) surface mount parts as it is to do thru-hole.

  3. I wonder if I’ll win that youth contest on instructables now… *shakes fist* Too bad they haven’t processed my entry yet.

  4. I really like the fact that it takes a while to find the right code for the TV. Makes it authentic. Now one could wave it around like Dr. Who in the show. An instant on or off would not be as gratifying.

  5. Eveready Bunny says:

    Theoretically maybe this could fly a IR helicopter that would be so freaking cool. or possible just crash someone else’s ;)

    As for setting it to random patterns it would make quite the impression when pointed at a home theater system and would freak out people so much I NEED ONE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. strider_mt2k says:

    So much potential here. I love the idea of reading and playing back codes too.
    What a cool project!

  7. kiwiwni says:

    How ’bout a MKII version that shuts off all cellphones within a hundred feet?.

  8. Kristof says:

    I’m still waiting for somebody to put bits and pieces from Oyster card into sonic screwdriver and use it to move around London… :)

  9. Azurus Nova says:

    I would not mind a little kit for the one I have. Would be really fun messing with people. :P

  10. Mitch says:

    Are you sure a 330 ohm resistor is enough to through the transistor into saturation mode?

  11. riycou says:

    Do a kickstarter or something that might get you motivated a bit more!

  12. Caractacus Potts says:

    This is a fantastic hack furrysalamander! Though I must confess, when I first saw this I did a certain amount of shaking my fist at the sky. I’ve been working on a SonicPen (like from the Adipose Ep) for a friend of mine as a birthday present and the core of it is a TV-B-Gone. I’m tweaking my design though after reading your instructable, thanks for a good read and confirming that not only can it be done but that the results are great too!

    • furrysalamander says:

      Yes, it’s definitely difficult, and you CAN leave out the oscillator if you burn the fuses to not use one, but it’s worth it. My friend thinks I’m amazing now.

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