The University of Southampton

A-Level Physics Music Mixer Kit

This initiative has been developed in partnership with the UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF), and with the sponsorship of organisations including Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), and the ERA Foundation.

Music Mixer Kit

The Music Mixer circuit board incorporates core electronics concepts suitable for A-level Physics students.

The music mixer circuit combines two audio signals, for example music from mobile phones, enabling users to control the volume by experimenting with different electronic components, learn about electronic sensors (e.g. LDRs) and resistor dividers.

The design aims to expose all components and demystifies electronics for students.

The board also has dedicated sections for determining Planck’s constant – by measuring and plotting the voltage and current through four differently coloured LEDs – and experimenting with capacitor discharge.

The kit is currently not available to purchase, but limited numbers are being provided to schools for free. Schools/colleges interested in receiving kits, or organisations interested in sponsoring the scheme, can join our mailing list to find out more.

We are building teaching resources around these boards. If you would like to contribute resources, please contact us.

UK Electronics Skills Foundation
The Institution of Engineering and Technology
Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Music Mixer Section

Music Mixer Section

This introduces potential dividers using an audio mixer circuit. The board has two audio input channels that are mixed together using an amplifier. The volumes of the two channels are controlled by potential dividers where the resistor values can be changed or exchanged with LDRs, or other resistive elements, to control the level of each channel.

Video Tutorial

This tutorial video walks viewers through the typical use of the Music Mixer and the experiment described in the accompanying exercise notes.

Capacitor Discharge Section

Music Mixer Section

This allows students to explore the discharging of series and parallel capacitors through different resistances. Jumpers J1 and J2 allow the capacitors to be connected in series or parallel.

Video Tutorial

This tutorial video walks viewers through the typical use of the Capacitor Discharge Section part of the kit, and the experiment described in the accompanying exercise notes.

Planck’s Constant Section

Planck’s Constant Section

This allows students to estimate Planck’s Constant by measuring the voltage and current characteristics of a range of different colour light emitting diodes (LEDs). A spreadsheet is provided for students to enter measured values, and estimate Planck’s Constant.

Video Tutorial

This tutorial video walks viewers through the typical use of the Planck’s Constant part of the kit, and the experiment described in the accompanying exercise notes.

More About Electronics

The videos below enable you to find out more about the Music Mixer kit, and the electronic engineering principles that make it work.

Potential Dividers

This video explores the potential dividers on the Music Mixer kit, how they are used to mix the two input channels, and the wider applications of this technology.

Operational Amplifiers

This video explores the functionality of an operational amplifier, how it is used in the Music Mixer kit, and some of the other uses of this widely used electronic component.

Troubleshooting

If the Music Mixer does not work, first of all:

  • Check the power is switched on; the power LED will be lit. If the power LED does not light, replace battery (rechargeable batteries are fine) and remove all wires from board. Ensure you do not directly connect “V” to “GND”.
  • LED1-4 will only light when an ammeter is connected between TP6 and TP7 and a jumper is connected above the LED.
  • Check that the audio inputs and output jacks are firmly seated.

If the Music Mixer still does not work then please email us.

About The Team

The A-Level Physics Music Mixer Kit has been created by the following team from the University of Southampton and UK Electronics Skills Foundation:

Dr Daniel Spencer

Daniel is a Lecturer in ECS, and is leading the development of the A-Level Physics kits.

Dr Alex Weddell

Alex is a Lecturer in ECS, and is leading on professional development activities using the A-Level Physics kit.

Dr Geoff Merrett

Geoff is an Associate Professor and Director of Outreach in ECS, and founded the A-Level Physics kit project.

Stewart Edmondson

Stewart is the CEO of the UK Electronics Skills Foundation, and has led on securing funding to get the kits into schools.

Contact Us

For information on when kits are available, and other developments in the project, please join our mailing list.

For any other enquiries, or to contribute resources, please email kits@soton.ac.uk.

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