Making a simple clap switch

A clap switch is a fun project for beginners. It switches on and off electrical appliances with a sound of clapping hands. Today we will discuss about making a simple clap switch that operates when it detects two clapping sounds in a row. It uses an electret microphone as a transducer for converting a clapping sound into an electrical signal. The microcphone output is amplified by a transistor and is then sent to the PIC12F683 microcontroller which performs an ON/OFF switching action when valid claps are detected.

Making a simple clap switch

Simple clap switch using a condenser mic and PIC microcontroller


The clap switch requires a transducer at the input to convert sound vibrations from clapping hands into electrical energy. An electret microphone or simply mic (OBO-04FN-0B) is used for this purpose. The output from the mic is very low in magnitide and so we need an amplifier circuit to boost the detected sound signal. The following circuit diagram shows the mic along with a single transistor amplifier. When there’s no sound, the collector voltage (Vout) of the transistor, which is saturated, is approximately 0.2V. When the mic detects a clap sound, the voltage across it drops suddenly. Since the condenser mic’s output voltage is coupled to the base of the transistor through capacitor C1, the base-emitter voltage is also lowered and as such the base-emitter junction is less forward biased or cutoff (in case of high clap sound). Therefore, every time a clapping sound is detected, there is a sudden peak arising at the collector voltage.

Schematic Making a simple clap switch

Sensor part

The following picture shows the peaks in the collector voltage due to multiple clap sounds. You can see the peak voltage can go as high as 4.0V depending on the loudness of the clap. This waveform of the collector voltage is captured using Digilent’s Analog Discovery device.

For more detail: Making a simple clap switch

Current Project / Post can also be found using:

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  • latest clap switch circuit diagram

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