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[25 June 2020] My mum came across one of these "Brian the Robot" toys originally from

It's pretty crappy (thanks all the same mum!), but I was wondering if I could do something with it.

Before testing it I looked on Youtube and saw that it simply plays a cycle of audio snippets when the button on the front is pressed. It's supposed to move along when pulled back (like a toy car) but mine is clearly broken in this regard. It has the name "BRI4N" on the back, in the style of a vehicle number plate, which is why I was given it.

It takes 3 x LR44 button-cell batteries so I ordered some to test the thing... It works.

I had seen some Youtube videos of people 'circuit-bending' such electronics but it seems this toy's circuitry is too basic.

For now, I have put Brian the Robot to use on the Page Not Found page.

[08 August 2020] I recently acquired a 'Science Fair' [read more on the Electronics page] and began reading the included manual and learned about the 'potentiometer'. I remembered this from the circuit-bending videos I'd watched on Youtube, and figured out how I might use it on Brian.

This video I watched illustrated the basics; I needed to remove a resistor and swap it for a variable one.

Sadly Brian didn't have a resistor, but what he did have was a pair of blank pads on his small circuit board labelled 'R'. I suspected this stood for Resistor and meant it was an optional surface mountable component for the board. Two nearby components were labelled each as 'C', I assumed for capacitors.

According to the Wikipedia page on SMT (Surface-mount technology), which is what this is, Capacitors are usually blank, as can be seen above and below, whereas typically a Resistor of this type would have a three-digit number on.

When I looked closely I could just about see that the two resistor pads were joined together by a trace on the board. I confirmed this with my circuit tester. I then cut through the trace and tested again; the continuity was now broken between the two pads.

I then soldered wires to each of the pads and tested again. If I joined the wires then Brian worked as normal. I then rigged Brian up to my newly acquired Science Fair, well its potentiometer at least, to see what would happen...

It only gave me the ability to control Brian's speaker volume, and not do any funky circuit-bending [I can see that the R1 leads immediately to SPK (speaker)]. Oh well. At least he doesn't have to be so shouty now. [perhaps I can 'bend' the sound of his voice in other ways?] Back to the Page Not Found page he goes for now.

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