TK-Talkie V3 Tutorial (Revised 8/30/17)

These tutorials are provided so that you can build a TK-Talkie for yourself...you can even build them for your friends. The license that comes with TK-Talkie does prevent the sale of them, however.

If you would like to make these AND sell them...well you can't ;)

HOWEVER, if you would like to sell them, then you should join our affiliates program.

TK-Talkie is a DIY voice effects project that is easy to build and easy to customize. This page will serve as the tutorial page for the latest version of TK-Talkie V3.

The previous tutorial showed how to modify an existing v2 to a v3. This revised tutorial shows how to build a v3 from scratch since the process has improved since then.

TK-Talkie is basically a two-part system consisting of the hardware and software. For this reason, hardware/software versions may not always run concurrent as the software and hardware can be modified separately from each other and still be compatible.

Current Versions:

Differences from V2:

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

  1. Before you begin your build, it is highly recommended that you read through this tutorial in its entirety at least once to familiarize yourself with the parts and steps.
  2. Do not plug or unplug the BLE adapter while the unit is powered. Since we are connecting to the power circuit of the board to power the BLE, you could interrupt this and potentially damage the board.
  3. Do not insert or remove the Micro SD card while the unit is powered. They don't like this very much and you could end up damaging the card.

Table of Contents

  1. Parts List
  2. Solder Pins to Teensy
  3. Microphone Connection
  4. Line-Out Jack
  5. Attach the BLE Wires
  6. PTT (Push-To-Talk) Button
  7. Attach the Teensy and Audio Adaptor
  8. Attach the BLE
  9. Prep the SD Card
  10. Upload the TK-Talkie Sketch
  11. Download the App, Test the BLE
  12. Congrats!

1. Parts List

TK-Talkie consists of a few hardware parts that you'll need to order. All required parts are listed below with links to where you can purchase them.

  1. Teensy 3.2 - https://www.pjrc.com/store/teensy32.html
  2. Audio Adaptor - https://www.pjrc.com/store/teensy3_audio.html
  3. Header Pins - https://www.pjrc.com/store/header_14x1.html - grab 2 sets.
  4. 1/8" (aka 3.5mm) Mono or Stereo Jacks (2 to 3 depending on how you want to build it). https://www.radioshack.com/products/radioshack-3-5mm-2-conductor-panel-mount-phone-jack You can find these cheaper on eBay or Amazon ;)
  5. Micro SD Card - You'll want a Class 10 card. 8 Gigs will be more than enough space.
  6. TK-Talkie Case (OPTIONAL) - This is a 3-D printed case for the TK-Talkie designed to be compact. You can download the 3D print files here (If you don't have a 3-D printer, you can upload the files to lots of online printing services, or order one from the TK-Talkie Store.):
  7. BLE Module - You can use either an original HM-10 or commonly found HM-10 clone called CC2541. You can read a short article on how the two compare and what to look for, but either one will work. Note: You CANNOT use an HC-06 or HC-05 module as these are not NOT BLE (Bluetooth Low-Energy) and will only work with Android, plus the software is setup for BLE only. ONLY BLE modules will work with both Android and iOS! If you search eBay for HM-10, 99.99% of them are actually CC2541's marketed as HM-10. Again, either will work, and the CC2541 costs less.
  8. M3x6mm Phillips Round Head Self Tapping Screws - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FXFILP2/ - These work great with the 3D-printed case.
  9. Optional (but HIGHLY recommended!) heat-shrink if you want to cover your connections. This not only protects them, but makes them stronger and more stress resistant. 3/32" size will work great.

Items Not Pictured

Of course there are other items/tools you will need:

NOTES ABOUT 3.5mm (1/8") JACKS:

While you're waiting on parts to arrive, go ahead and read through the rest of the tutorial to familiarize yourself with how it all fits together.

Items Not Pictured

Of course there are other items/tools you will need:

2. Solder Pins to Teensy

The first thing to do is to solder the header pins to the Teensy. There are only 15 and they should be broken down like the picture to the right.

I place them in a breadboard and then set the Teensy on top of them and solder in place.

The way I have them aligned, the micro-USB port is to the left when the Teensy is placed on top.

The remaining holes will be used to directly connect wires for the PTT (Push-To-Talk) button and the BLE module.

3. Microphone Connection

Cut a couple pieces of wire about 2" (inches) long each. The first pic shows you the distance from the Audio Adaptor to the opening for the microphone jack in the case.

We are going to be soldering these wires to the BOTTOM of the adaptor so that they tuck neatly underneath when the Teensy is mounted to it, so make sure they do not stick up too far from the solder point so that they don't hit the Teensy when its attached. You can test fit the Teensy on the adaptor to check it.

The adaptor has the microphone and ground connections clearly marked. After you have soldered the wires in, cut a couple pieces of heat shrink tube and slide them on. Then strip the other ends and tin them.

Next, grab one of the 3.5mm jacks and tin the ground lug (the larger one with a hole) and the left channel lug (usually opposite side of the jack.)

Solder the ground wire to the ground lug and the signal wire to the left channel lug. Slide the heat shrink tube up and heat it up to wrap the connections.

Once that's done, if you are going to connect a line-out jack, continue to the next step.

4. Line-Out Jack

If you are using the Rev A case with 3 openings (headphones, microphone, extra jack in the back) you will need to decide if you want to put a line-out jack or a PTT Button in the back. OR, if you are using the Rev B case with the extra opening, you can have both.

Cut 3 (three) wires approximately 2 1/2" to 3" long. There will be a ground, left channel and right channel (or you can do just the left channel if you just want mono.)

These wires will be attached from the TOP of the adaptor, but the connection points are marked on the bottom. Just be sure you solder them to the right connections.

I typically use green for left channel and red for right. The procedure is the same as for the microphone...after attaching, cut some heat shrink tube, strip and tin the wires, tin the jacks and solder everything together.

Remember on the jacks I am using (stereo) left channel is opposite the larger ground lug and the right channel is right next to the ground lug. Although, it doesn't REALLY matter if you get the left and right channels mixed up on the jack ;)

5. Attach the BLE Wires

In this step, you have a lot of options ;)

I like to use the Dupont 4-wire connections listed in the parts list because they make it easy to attach/detach the BLE if needed. You can, of course, decide how you want to attach the BLE. You can:

It's up to you. I am going to show you how to do it using the Dupont 4-wire connections.

First, cut the connector to approximately 3" (inches) in length including the connector.

Then test fit the connector to the board. You'll have to trim the connections used for the TX (transmit) and RX (receive) signals a little shorter (see pic.)

Again, you have options on how you want to connect this. I typically solder the connections to the bottom and sandwich the wires between the Teensy and Audio adaptor. This can be a little tricky, so you can also solder them to the top if you want. The Top View and Bottom View pics show how these would be setup (ignore the color of the wires...those are arbitrary.) The connections are:

  1. Power - this goes to the Vin pin on the Teensy (see pics.)
  2. Ground
  3. TX (Transmit) - This goes to Pin 0, which is the RX (receive) pin on the Teensy.
  4. RX (Receive) - This goes to Pin 1, which is the TX (transmit) pin on the Teensy.

We won't attach the BLE yet...we'll do that as one of the final steps after everything is together.

6. PTT (Push-To-Talk) Button

As I mentioned earlier, you can attach a PTT connection to your TK-Talkie.

If you are using the Rev A case, it has openings for the headphones jack (which is built-in to the Audio adaptor), a microphone jack (required) and an extra opening in the back for either a line-out or a PTT.

If you are using the Rev B case, you can have both the line-out and the PTT jacks as there is an extra opening in the front of the case.

In any case, BEFORE you attach the Teensy to the Audio adaptor, if you want to add a PTT, see the PTT Tutorial.

7. Attach the Teensy and Audio Adaptor

Now that all connections have been made, it's time to put the Teensy and the Audio Adaptor together.

Align the Teensy so that the micro-usb port is on the opposite side of the SD card reader on the Audio adaptor. Make sure the Audio adaptor is facing up (the SD card reader is on top) so that the SD card reader is sandwiched between the boards.

If you soldered the BLE connections to the bottom of the Teensy, you'll need to make sure they exit out of the side that will face the BLE cradle in the case (there will be a wide gap in the pins on the Teensy where they will fit...see pics.)

I use a small clamp to hold them together while I solder the pins to the underside of the Audio adaptor.

After you have soldered the boards together, you can trim the extra length off the pins (or do it before you solder...either way.) This is optional and won't affect how it all fits in the case.

8. Attach the BLE

Now it's time to attach your BLE.

As mentioned before, how you attach it is up to you. This tutorial shows how to attach using the 4-wire Dupont connector, so I'll be continuing from that step.

If you review that step, you'll see which wires are marked for power, ground, TX (transmit) and RX (receive.) Again, the wire colors are arbitrary, but I'm keeping them consistent in this tutorial in order to make it easier to follow. The important thing is that the wires are connected correctly. If you get them backwards...don't worry...nothing will blow up :)

In order to get the BLE to fit in the case, we have to switch the direction of the pins (if you have not removed them.) There are a couple ways to do this...you can heat up the solder on the bottom and twist them around, for example, but I find it's easier to just connect the BLE to the dupont connector, clip off the "state" and "en" pins (they are not needed) and then just bend the pins over with the dupont connector.

9. Prep the SD Card

Never insert/remove the SD card from your TK-Talkie while it is powered on, or the card could be damaged!

(This is actually true of all SD card readers...)

Before uploading the program to your TK-Talkie, go ahead and get your micro SD Card ready.

NOTE: - Your SD card should come ready-to-use, but if not, you can format it. DO NOT use the built-in formatting functions of your OS (Apple, Windows) as they are not really built for that. Instead, grab a copy of an SD card formatting utility like SDFormatter and use that. It's made just for SD cards.

Head over to the downloads page and grab the ZIP file that has all the configuration files and sounds (minus the background loops, which you'll need to download individually because they are pretty big.) Unzip and copy to your SD card.

The following files and folders should be on your card when you are done:

The sounds/, effects/, and loops/ folders do not actually contain any files. You can download them from the downloads page.

The folders containing the sound files are the defaults. You can actually create new folders to hold different types of sounds (for example, a new effects folder for sounds to use with a different costume) if you want. Those folders are specified in the configuration files of each profile that is located in the profiles folder The mobile app allows you to select the folders with the sounds you want for each profile, allowing you to separate your sounds by costume or share sounds between profiles.

10. Upload the TK-Talkie Sketch

Now that your TK-Talkie is complete you need to upload the TK-Talkie sketch. You can do this one of two (2) ways:

  1. You can do this using the Arduino software and the Teensy Loader. Follow the directions below to install this software (or skip ahead if you already have it installed.)
  2. You can download and install just the Teensy loader and upload the pre-compiled software. Visit the downloads page and follow the directions under the "Firmware Update" section.

Using the Arduino and Teensy Loader Software

If you are going install the TK-Talkie software using the Arduino IDE, the first thing to do is install the Arduino software. Currently, the TK-Talkie software is written to work with 1.8.0 and above. Download it and install it.

Then, download and install TeensyDuino. Both pages will have instructions on how to install them.

The Teensy board is compatible with Arduino and you can use the Arduino programming environment to write software for it. Teensyduino is a loader program that is used to transfer the compiled program to the Teensy and works on top of the Arduino environment.

Next thing to do is download the TK-Talkie sketch ("sketch" is a term used in the Arduino world to reference a program's source code.)

NOTE ABOUT DOWNLOADING SOURCE CODE: DO NOT copy and paste the source code files, especially Windows users! This will result in extra characters that will cause compile errors. If you get 'Stray \302' errors when you compile, this is why! Use the DOWNLOAD button to save the source code!

Download all the files from the TK-TalkieV3/ folder.

Next, follow these steps to get the sketch loaded on your TK-Talkie:

  1. Plug your TK-Talkie into your powered speaker with a 3.5mm (1/8") audio cable using either the Aux/Line-In on your speaker or the microphone connection. You can plug some headphones into the headphone jack...but it might be REALLY loud until you get your settings adjusted...you have been warned ;)
  2. Connect the Teensy with the USB to micro USB cable. Plug the micro USB end to the Teensy and the USB end to your computer. You should see the on-board LED light up. This means you have power ;)
  3. In the Arduino software, go to Tools > Board and make sure to select the correct board (in this case, Teensy 3.2/3.1).
  4. Go to Tools > Port and select the correct serial port (the one your Teensy is connected to)
  5. Go to File > Open and locate the folder where you downloaded the TK-Talkie files and open the TK-TalkieV3.ino file.
  6. Click the button in the Arduino program that looks like a checkmark. This pre-compiles the source code to make sure everything is ok. It should also trigger the TeensyDuino.
  7. Click the “Upload” button (the one that looks like an arrow pointing right.) If everything is connected correctly, the sketch should compile and load onto your Teensy. Then the board should restart and you should hear the STARTUP.WAV file play.

If the sketch doesn’t load (i.e. you get an error in the Arduino window), make sure your pins are connected correctly and that you have selected the correct board and serial port (see above.) Also make sure the volume is turned up on your speaker.

11. Download the App, Test the BLE

Now that your TK-Talkie is ready, all that is left is to download the app and connect to your device!

The app is available for iOS and Android. Click a link below to download it.

Here is the video showing how the app works...

12. Congrats!

Now that your TK-Talkie is complete...go troop and enjoy!

If you need any assistance with your project: