The Floppotron

Here’s one I’ve been meaning to write for a while.

I’m continually amazed by how some people can make music out of nearly anything. Like the people who made credit card machines play the Super Mario Bros. theme. The undisputed king of this kind of music calls themselves Paweł Zadrożniak and they’ve invented something they call “The Floppotron.”

Floppotron?

See, kids, before everything went solid state, most computer storage devices used motors, belts, and cables to position magnetic readers where they needed to be on moving platforms. This is the basic premise behind everything from floppy disks to hard drives to inkjet printers. And, if you’ve spent any time with these devices, you know they aren’t silent.

Devices with precision servomotors make some very specific sounds. There’s clicking, buzzing, and a sort of “snnnnnnaaaaaark!” sound that kids from the 1980s and 1990s were quite familiar with. The trick is, if you reprogram these devices, you can make them make sounds in specific rhythms. You can even choose the pitch so it sounds like a song when you run a program.

And that’s just what the floppotron is.

Someone not only got all these parts together but hacked them and built a programming interface that not only includes lights but sound.

The sweet sounds of the servomotor

Here are a few hits from the Floppotron’s YouTube channel:

And, because this person wasn’t going to be outdone by a few credit card machines:

Gotta love the commitment

There are well over 50 songs that have been painstakingly recreated for your viewing pleasure here, and if you really don’t feel like you want to work today, you can make your way through all of them. Hey, those TPS reports can wait, right?

Oh, by the way, if you do feel like getting productive, I’m compelled to mention that you can find the best stuff for home office work or commercial electronics when you shop at Solid Signal.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.