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Fruit & vegetables as a CV source?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author Fruit & vegetables as a CV source?
Kaput
I know - it may sound like a joke to some, but I have just connected a potato to the pitch CV input of an oscillator.

I was reading up on 'fruit batteries' and couldn't resist trying them with the modular.

The potato has zinc and copper electrodes stuck into it. These are connected to a 1/8" standard euro jack lead, via crocodile clips. I'm getting about a volt from the potato! It's working as a CV adder to the pitch control, it's bizarre.

What happens when the electrolytes deplete? Will I get a wavering in pitch, or other oddness?

Has anyone else tried similar experiments? Tell me your findings, I'll be very interested to hear from you.
DerHeinrich
It works. two friends of mine have an ongoing project called Fruitpower.
I too have participated in several of their performances with a Eurorack suitcase.
And indeed fruits do run out of power like batteries. Important: don't eat the fruit after use!
Basically all fruits work. It's fun!

These are my friends in performance

ollepetersson
I've seen this being done before but not with eurorack. Now give us some audio of your fruit sallad compositions thumbs up . Maybe you can do some CV processing as well? And affecting it by chopping up the fruit hihi

/Olle
Samwise
Quote:
I'm getting about a volt from the potato!


Are you sure it wasn't 1.2 volts?

flx
DerHeinrich wrote:
Important: don't eat the fruit after use!

Why?! What happens?! You can't just post something like that and not explain the horrible things that will happen to people not following your advice! zombie
Kaput
DerHeinrich wrote:
It works. two friends of mine have an ongoing project called Fruitpower.
I too have participated in several of their performances with a Eurorack suitcase.


Great video! thumbs up

I'm going around my kitchen right now, with a multi-meter, checking out different fruits and vegetables. The humble cherry tomato seems to be a winner in terms of current output so far. hihi

The potato I have connected to my oscillator is still generating CV, even after a couple hours in constant use. The pitch has dropped a few semitones.
Kaput
Samwise wrote:

Are you sure it wasn't 1.2 volts?


According to my multi-meter, it was just under a volt from the potato. A rechargeable AA battery was giving me the expected 1.2v, though.
Kaput
ollepetersson wrote:
Maybe you can do some CV processing as well? And affecting it by chopping up the fruit hihi
/Olle


I'll be giving this a try for sure. I was thinking of chopping up an apple and applying various slices to different CV destinations. Could be fun.
billsship
That video is great! Thanks for the idea. I've got a potato sitting on the counter. Maybe if I stick it in the oven it'll turn into an LFO!
DerHeinrich
Kaput wrote:

Great video! thumbs up

I'm going around my kitchen right now, with a multi-meter, checking out different fruits and vegetables. The humble cherry tomato seems to be a winner in terms of current output so far. hihi

The potato I have connected to my oscillator is still generating CV, even after a couple hours in constant use. The pitch has dropped a few semitones.


Thanks! I'll pass on the compliments hihi

The high point of some of their shows was often the cutting of a pineapple, you could hear the voltage drop with every slice being taken off It's peanut butter jelly time!
LeFreq
There's actually a lot of cool fruit-instrument uses on the 'net, from modular synths to MIDI controllers.

Cool stuff.
thumbs up
anselmi
wavecircle
I do this experiment at college with my students. It's all about the reactivity series. If you can replace the copper with silver or gold you should get a higher voltage output. The fruit is just a transport mechanism for the electrons.

It's an interesting experiment, it would be nice to try some group 1 metals but they don't tend to last long in moisture. Aluminium should be more reactive than zinc but it has such a high rate of oxidization it's a pain. In the context of CV though and getting something "musical", if you use polished aluminium it will start to oxidize, this results in a decreasing voltage against time. TRY IT!
Kaput
anselmi - I love that video (and nice track!).

wavecircle - Thanks for the insight. I'll try replacing the zinc with some kind of aluminium and see what I get. Very interesting stuff.

I'm wondering... if I connected loads of CV destinations to one source, would the power drain more quickly, due to the heavier load?
sduck
Point of order - you don't have to put euro in the title of this thread - this would apply to all formats. I know some of you don't realize this, but there are other formats besides euro.
jonah
I'm surprised you aren't already noticing irregularities.

-run a few in series

-will also work with wet, salted paper towels in between your electrodes. The duration has a lot to do with the moisture, with paper towels it might be easier to make them right on the verge of not working.

-you could add a capacitor to smooth it.

-can be nice noise/random source if you amplify it.

-supposedly, magnesium works as a metal. Could you crush up vitamin supplements or something?
Kaput
sduck wrote:
Point of order - you don't have to put euro in the title of this thread - this would apply to all formats. I know some of you don't realize this, but there are other formats besides euro.


Good point - my thread was moved from the euro forum anyway. I made it euro-centric in haste, actually - I just happened to be using it at the time and didn't think past that. Mr. Green

I have other formats too.

Title changed. thumbs up


jonah - thanks for those ideas / thoughts. I have thought about the amplification, but the paper towels idea is something I have yet to try! More experimentation today, I think.

One experiment I tried yesterday was using a small strip of kitchen foil in place of the zinc electrode. This conducted less current and was noticeably 'dirtier', giving a more unstable result. Sounded great when applied as a CV.
Dcramer
So could you try passing an audio signal through a fruit? Could it function like a filter of sorts?
nrvana8775
Ha, this is so awesome!

What other sorts of natural things produce waveshapes?
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