The Electric Deck of Cards
This looks like a deck of cards, it feels
like a deck of cards, and it even handles like a deck of cards. But this little gadget
has a very shocking secret. In this project, you’ll see how Stuart Edge, was able to give
these lucky ladies, an electrifying first kiss. For this project, we’re turning a cheap disposable
camera, into an electric shocker that’s been disguised as an innocent looking deck of cards.
Your audience will have no idea there’s over 300 volts of electricity pumping through it.
The secret is in this modified shocker circuit hiding just under the surface. It’s powered
by a single AAA battery, and has a dial for cranking up the voltage. Taking a couple of
cards from the stack reveals the hidden electrodes, and you can see they’re charged with nearly
330 volts DC. If both of the pads are touched, it shoots out a wicked jolt of electricity.
You might get a better idea of how this feels, if we use the device to charge a capacitor
and touch some metal. Of course, in the kissing trick,
the power is significantly less, but still high enough, to feel the magic. Ok, to make
this gadget, Stuart gave me a fresh deck of cards, and some spares from his other kissing
pranks. I also picked up this disposable camera from the photo center of a local drug store.
This one was used, and in their recycling bin along with hundreds of others, so I got
it for free. If you want to find the exact same style, just look for this model number
printed on the casing. Alright, let’s get inside this thing by breaking the front panel
off, and this should expose the circuit board. Now there’s a good chance you’ll get shocked
if you try this bare handed, but releasing the board is as simple as pushing the plastic
catch to the side, and pulling upward. This is the circuit that drives the camera flash.
The various components are powered with a AA battery and work together to charge this
330 volt capacitor, which you can see stores a pretty nasty shock. Now we could use this by
itself, but it’s way too big to hide in a deck of cards. To do that, we’ll have to reverse
engineer the schematics, and shrink it down a lot. We can use something like a desoldering
iron to remove the 5 components we’ll need, and I’ve switched out the AA battery with
a smaller AAA battery to work with this schematic. Now this is the tricky part. We don’t have
room for bulky wires, so we’ll need to solder everything directly to the pins on the transformer. In a way that keeps the components in line, while maintaining a low profile.
For convenience in changing out the batteries, let’s incorporate a AAA battery holder. I’m
also adding a 1Mega Ohm tuning potentiometer, so we’ll be able to adjust the intensity of
the electric shock. This pot has 3 legs, but we only need 2, so let’s trim the one on the
right. Ok, it’s time to add some wire, and I scavenged this thin cable from some scrap
electronics We’ll just need to strip the ends, and solder them in place. This is a good time
to connect the potentiometer just behind the diode, so the dial is flush with the top.
Now let’s solder the shocker circuit to the battery holder so we end up with one wire
that attaches to battery positive, and an additional wire that attaches to battery negative,
and then continues on out. The circuitry here is streamlined and looking good, but it’s
very fragile, so I’ve wrapped a bit of paper around the edges to make a form, for adding
copious amounts of hot-glue. I’m hoping this will seep down into the gaps, and give the shocker circuit
more durability. That will need to cool for about 5 minutes, then we can peel off the
paper, and add a little more glue to any parts that got missed. To finish it up, I gave it
a new paper jacket, and a bit of black ink. Well that completes the shocker circuit, so
now it’s time to rig the deck. I’m thinking the best place to conceal the shocker will
be near the back, and it looks like it could be be a tight fit, but it should work. These
components, are shorter than the deick and stand about 40 cards high. That means there
are 12 cards here that won’t need any modification, but these other ones, are gonna need to
be cut. Since there are so many cards to cut, I made this plastic template to use as a cutting guide.
Holding the card firmly in place, we can use something like a razor, or this hobby knife
to make the cuts. I’ve also done this with scissors, but it’s harder, and the result
isn’t as clean. Alright, we’ve got 40 cards modified, and a quick alignment on the edges,
shows that the containment area is fairly uniform. Now we’ll need to grab a new card,
and mark where the circuit is gonna sit. I’ve cut a 1/4″ hole because we need some
stealthy electrodes, that will be smooth and lie flat so they can’t be detected. I’ll be
using this piece of conductive foil tape, that you could get at the hardware store.
You can see here how the tape gets folded inside the card, and once in position, it
can be trimmed, and smoothed out with a firm piece of plastic, like a credit card, or a
hotel room key. The other electrodes gets added on the opposite side, making sure there’s
a good gap between the two, and the finished base should look like this. The last 3 steps,
are to trim up the wires so they’re held in firm contact with the conductive metal tape,
add a bit of hot glue to the underside of the unit, and reinforce the connections to
ensure they won’t pull apart. Now the circuit is ready for operation, and when a battery
is inserted, this will deliver a continuous electric shock to anyone that makes contact
with the metal tape. The modified cards turned out to be a perfect fit, and since nothing
is glued in place, they can move freely, to give the illusion that it’s just a normal
deck. Now, if you’re concerned about accidentally shocking yourself, you can reduce the risk
by placing a card or two over the shocker pads. The remaining cards stack on top, and
our modification is complete. What’s really cool about this, is it even fits back in the
original packaging. But just for fun, Stuart picked up a little nicer carrying case. This
gives the trick a slightly more professional look, and makes it 100% ready, for his “electric
shock kissing prank”. To get the sparks flying, you can see Stuart holds one end of the shocker
pad, and uses his magic trick as a decoy, to get his volunteer to hold the other side.
The circuit will complete when they touch, and if the touch happens to be a kiss .. they
feel the magic. Well there you have it. Now you know how to convert a simple deck of cards,
into a stealthy secret shocker. If you like this project, perhaps you’ll like some of
my others. Check them out at www.thekingofrandom.com