Bathroom Closed - No Swimming, By the Order of the Amity PD
July 12, 2013 7:43 AM   Subscribe

How can we make music play when a door is closed?

My boyfriend and I just moved into an apartment with TWO BATHROOMS, which is nuts, so we're going with a Jaws theme in the one guests'll use. We'd really like to go completely over the top here and have it so the Jaws music plays whenever the door is closed. The door would only be closed when someone's in there, the door is at least cracked open all other times because it's where we keep the litterbox.

Is there a way to set this up that doesn't require damaging the walls, use of power tools, or any electrical knowhow whatsoever? We have a cheap mp3 player, if that helps, and access to a variety of hardware stores and Radio Shacks.
posted by troika to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Given your restrictions, I would buy an mp3 doorbell (hopefully not wireless) and use a magnetic switch on the door to drive it.
posted by plinth at 8:06 AM on July 12, 2013

The MP3 doorbell is a tidy solution, but be sure the device can handle the opposite case. You want the tune to play when the door closes, not when it opens.

If the player doesn't have the option to choose the open/close state, then find a proximity switch that is "normally closed" and goes to the "open" state when the door closes. The player will believe the door has opened and start the playback.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:32 AM on July 12, 2013

As JoeZydeco notes, a doorbell's default response to a temporarily pressed switch (the doorbell button) is to play something. You are asking, it seems, for something to play for the duration the switch is depressed (door closed). A doorbell simply rigged to a door switch (activated by closing the door) will play the Jaws theme through once, entirely (I presume entirely), but it would probably continue playing to the end even if you only zipped in for a cotton ball and shut the door for the 10 seconds. This also depends on the switch; some devices are tripped on as soon as the switch is depressed; others wait for the switch to be released. I once got an earful from someone who spent a few minutes with their finger on our front door "buzzer" which was actually a bell that didn't go off until you released the button. So we never heard a thing from this nuisance.

By the away, if you could get ahold of someone with knowhow, you could use a variation of this device, which plays the Mario timer-panic music to coerce people to leave an office once they've overstayed their welcome.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:42 AM on July 12, 2013

Feel free to shoot me a message if you want some help with electronics. I live in DC and have been known to solder for beer.
posted by exogenous at 9:04 AM on July 12, 2013

Best answer: It seems like you could also rig something up with the light switch, since presumably it'll be on when the door is closed. Put a 60 second delay in so that the guest are, um, fully engaged in their bathroom activities before the music starts.
posted by COD at 9:47 AM on July 12, 2013

Sounds like a fairly simple Arduino project. Just a sensor tripped when closing the door and a speaker.
posted by Brian Puccio at 4:26 PM on July 12, 2013

An mp3 player constantly playing. Hook up a speaker to it. Cut one of the speaker wires, strip off a bit of insulation from each end and attach them to the door frame, separated by a little gap. Put a piece of metal on the door, so that when the door closes the metal covers the gap, completing the circuit.
door open = circuit open = no sound
door closed = circuit closed = speaker making sound
posted by Sophont at 11:53 PM on July 12, 2013

Response by poster: We went with the mp3 doorbell option and it works like a charm. We have a delay on it as well, I think, which is the funniest thing. Brilliant suggestion.

Thanks, everyone!
posted by troika at 10:12 AM on August 6, 2013

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