Gadget Freak Case #113: Turning a Flash Camera into a Coin Toss

December 10, 2007

Joe Groele of Allegany, N.Y., took a flash camera, added a few electronic components and turned it into a coin-tossing gadget. He converted the flash into a strobe, then he ran the electricity through a coil to create a magnetic field. "The changing magnetic field causes an electric current in the coin, called an eddy current, which produces an opposite magnetic field," says Groele. The nifty current makes the coin repel off the coil and into the air, thus tossing the coin.

The process of turning a camera into a coin flipper came with a few blips. Groele ran a few bumpy tests before a slight nudging of the coin turned into a full toss. Most notably, he discovered that working with high voltages "can be painful." He also says he should have been "more careful drilling holes in fragile plastic." Lastly, he found out he didn't have to destroy nearly as many cameras as he expected. But after numerous trials, he hit pay dirt: a contraption that routinely flips a coin.

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Amt Part Description

1 Subminiature toggle switch SPST 870-0351
3 100 O Resistor 895-0101
3 Diode 1N4007 950-1095
3 SCR 2N6509 TO-220 568-0539
3 Miniature Pushbutton Switch SPST 948-7193
1 Battery Holder; D Size 565-0161
1 Capacitor 10 mu F 400V dc 613-0250
1 Sidac, DO-92 846-0114

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