A regular car horn is fine, but lacks finesse for more subtle communication. For example, some car horns aren’t particularly adept at short indicatory honks, and can only blare loudly regardless of the situation. For a fancier solution, [Tom Hammond] whipped up a custom car horn capable of playing a wide variety of sounds.
The system uses the Adafruit Audio FX board. This is a unique part, which is designed to enable people to build sound-based projects without the need for a microcontroller or any other similar hardware. Instead, the device can be connected to a computer over USB in mass storage mode, and its 16MB in-built memory can be loaded with sound files. It then plays these when buttons are pressed, hooked up to its 11 trigger inputs.
The Audio FX board has its output hooked up to a 120W amplifier, which then feeds into a pair of 15W PA-style horns. These are incredibly loud devices, though lack bass, so they’re really only good for throwing low-quality sound out in a noisy environment. For a car horn, that’s perfect.
The result is that [Tom] can press a number of buttons on his dash to play different sounds, from courtesy honks to animal noises and obnoxious sound effects. The great thing is that the sounds in question can be easily customized to the user’s tastes. [Tom] also deserves a tip of the hat for explaining in great detail how to actually install the project in the average car.
We don’t often see car horns around these parts, though they do make for an awfully loud alarm clock. If you’ve got your own nifty car accessories that you’re cooking up, be sure to drop us a line!