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PICAXE Plays Music

One of the most popular uses of PICAXE chips is in sound orientated projects. Both the new PICAXE-14M and PICAXE-28X1 support the 08M 'play' and 'tune' commands, which allow the PICAXE chips to play mobile phone ring-tones directly via a piezo sounder.


But what if you want to play real songs or sounds? The most obvious answer is to record your sound as an MP3 file and play it from the PICAXE chip.

Unfortunately, though, MP3 files are very large and no microcontroller, PICAXE included, has sufficient memory to store many files.

Fortunately a company called FDTI (, based in Glasgow, Scotland has produced a very neat ‘VMUSIC2’ module ideal for this type of application.

The VMUSIC2 module

The FTDI VMUSIC2 module is shown below. It is supplied in a neat plastic enclosure but this is very easy to pop open if you want to look inside! The enclosure has a bi-colour LED, a headphone socket and USB thumb drive socket on the front, while on the rear there’s an 8 wire connector to connect power and control signals.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Here's the VMUSIC2 module, shown at left with the earphone and USB sockets and below opened out to show the workings. Don't worry about the unused pins. Between the two pics are the connections to the VMUSIC2.

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