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Project Notes

#460 The CANary

Playing with a popular 74HC14 bird chirp effect by Wilf Rigter and making a CANary sculpture.


Here’s a quick demo..



Wilf’s Bird is a pretty famous “bird chirp” sound effect by Wilf Rigter. I last saw it used in Kelly Heaton’s wonderful bird sculpture, a Hackaday Circuit Sculpture contest winner.

Circuit Design

The effect is produced by the missing of a couple of Schmitt oscillators running on a 74HC14.

  • the primary oscillator is modulated by an LDR
  • a secondary oscillator mixes the signal for a piezo speaker

Note that the “HC” series 74HC14 Hex Inverter with Schmitt Trigger Inputs is really required. A 74HC04 without Schmitt Trigger inputs can just about work but is hard to stabilise, and an LS series 74LS14 will not work.

The circuit is optimised for around 3.3V supply. At higher voltages, oscillation can fail.

Breadboard Build

A quick breadboard build to verify behaviour..




Here’s a test on the breadboard..


CANary build

Wiring it all up on a an old coke can, here is the CANary:


Credits and References

Project Source on GitHub Project Gallery Return to the LEAP Catalog

This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LEAP GitHub repository.

LEAP is just my personal collection of projects. Two main themes have emerged in recent years, sometimes combined:

  • electronics - usually involving an Arduino or other microprocessor in one way or another. Some are full-blown projects, while many are trivial breadboard experiments, intended to learn and explore something interesting
  • scale modelling - I caught the bug after deciding to build a Harrier during covid to demonstrate an electronic jet engine simulation. Let the fun begin..
To be honest, I haven't quite figured out if these two interests belong in the same GitHub repo or not. But for now - they are all here!

Projects are often inspired by things found wild on the net, or ideas from the many great electronics and scale modelling podcasts and YouTube channels. Feel free to borrow liberally, and if you spot any issues do let me know (or send a PR!). See the individual projects for credits where due.