Visual Metronome Project

The Visual Metronome was developed using parts from the Animation Kit (#910-28088) as part of a single-day internal Parallax Hackathon. As a new clarinet player, I’ve struggled keeping time with an audible metronome and decided to try using the highly-visible WS2812 (NeoPixels) through acrylic.

The Visual Metronome has the following features:

  • Dial-set tempo in beats per minute (BPM) from 32 to 220

  • OLED showing the current BPM and the Italian tempo marking (grave, andante, allegro, prestissimo, etc) 

  • NeoPixel light flashing denotes upbeat (you choose the colors!)

  • PIR Sensor for automatic on-off control with human presence

  • Speaker for audible feedback

  • Code-configurable for other time signatures (2:4, 3:3, 6:8, etc)

Building and coding a Visual Metronome takes a day. The results of this project are worth the effort - you’ll have the most unique tool for whatever instrument you play and will have made an investment in artistic skills that improve one’s well-being.


Parts Required

The project is most easily done with the Propeller Activity Board because it has an A/D converter for the potentiometer tempo speed. If you prefer to use a FLiP Multicore Module, two pushbuttons could be used instead to increase or decrease the tempo. This project used the following electronic components:

  • (1) Propeller Activity Board WX (#32912)

  • (1) OLED (#28087)

  • (1) Circuit Overlay Board (#32999)

  • (1) 7.5V 1.5A Power Supply (#750-00009)

  • (1) 10K Ohm potentiometer with knob (source nearly anywhere)

  • Parallax Animation Kit (#910-28088), which includes the following:

    • (2) NeoPixel Ring - 12 x 5050 RGB LED (#28088)

    • (1) PIR Standard (#555-28027)

    • (1) Pack of wires (#800-00016)

    • (1) 200 mm Jumper Wires, MM 40-pc (#800-00066)

    • (1) 200 mm Jumper Wires, FF 40-pc (800-00062)

    • (1) Speaker (#900-00026)

      • The following parts from the Animation Kit were not used:

        • (2) Standard Servo (#900-00005)