Electronics for Magicians 2, Part 1 by Jon Thompson

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Tom Frame
Posts: 1057
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Del Ray
Location: San Francisco

Electronics for Magicians 2, Part 1 by Jon Thompson

Postby Tom Frame » February 11th, 2011, 12:09 pm

Electronics for Magicians 2, Part 1 (Ebook) by Jon Thompson $15.09
41 pages, 58 photos, illustrations and schematics
Available at: http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/elect ... ems/left/1


Jon Thompson is back with his latest book on the construction of electronic wizardry. This installment picks up where the first volume left off. While it will help to have read the first book, its not necessary. Oh hell, buy it anyway, just to be sure.

The author writes well and does a very good job of teaching the construction of these modules. The photos, illustrations and schematics are clear and invaluable.


The Two Cobras: You gotta love that scaly, phallic imagery! Mr. Thompson describes the hazards of using a soldering iron and Superglue. He provides precautionary handling tips and recommendations for dealing with burns and getting stuck to yourself.


Next we are introduced to the wonders of Operational Amplifiers and Timer Chips, which will be used in conjunction with a bunch of other components to build the magical modules.


Sound Detector Module: This module functions not only as a sound sensor but also as a vibration sensor. It wont record sounds, but it will produce a steady and strong output whenever the level on its input goes over a threshold level set by the performer.

If you place the module against a table with the microphone face-down, it will pick up the vibrations caused by anything moving on the tables surface. When set to the highest sensitivity, the module can pick up the sound of air passing over the microphone when you wave your hand over it.

The inputs of the Operational Amplifier possess a cool property known as high impedance. This attribute allows it to detect very tiny amounts of current. How tiny? The static charge in a human body can be easily detected. This means that the sound sensor can be easily converted into a human touch sensor!

This is a very cool apparatus with many potential applications. I like it.


Power Output Module: To boost this rather flaccid signal, the author describes the construction of a module that converts it into a signal that is much more virile.


Sneaky Pre-show Work: Mr. Thompson modifies an audio recorder so that it becomes sound-activated for a specified period of time. By placing the recorder in a room with your pre-show guests, you can tape conversations and later sift through them in search of personal information that you can use later in your show.

The part of me that believes that people are entitled to their privacy feels that this manner of data acquisition is sick and bad and wrong. Holy high-heeled Hoover, youre covertly recording private conversations!

But from a performers standpoint, theres gold to be mined in them thar hills. Lies manipulation and deception are the primary tools of our art, so why should we resist using this method of intelligence gathering? Some performers are willing to employ whatever methods necessary to rock the crowds world.

This is a clever gizmo. I like it even though Ill never use it.


Sance Shocks: The author teaches the construction of a device that will interrupt the power to a battery operated transistor radio or other audio output device. If theres sound in the room, it will remain switched off until theres enough silence to register with the sound detector. Silence causes the radio to start playing.

Mr. Thompson also describes a sneaky way to modify the radios case so that it will act as the input to a touch sensor module. If a participant picks up the radio it will instantly turn off.

These are cool gadgets. I like them.


Flash Igniter: We learn how to construct a sound-activated heating coil for setting off flash products, producing aromas in the sance room, or creating other heat-initiated effects.

This is another sly device with numerous applications. I like it.


I enjoyed this book. It contains a number of inspirational ideas and devices. If youre a fan of Mr. Thompsons first book, buying this volume is a no-brainer.


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"There is more to consciousness than meets the mind's eye." - Frame

Jeff Haas
Posts: 946
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: San Mateo, CA

Re: Electronics for Magicians 2, Part 1 by Jon Thompson

Postby Jeff Haas » February 11th, 2011, 2:39 pm

"Holy high-heeled Hoover!" is my favorite phrase of the week.


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