Make your own mini-humbucker pickup from a scrapped electric toothbrush

Question: what do you do with a “wirelessly” re-charged electric toothbrush when its battery eventually dies?

Answer: salvage the tiny induction coil from inside the sealed body of the toothbrush handle. It’s ideal for making your own pickups. All it needs is a magnetic core and some patient, fine wiring work.

I glued a stack of a few 12mm diameter molybdenum magnets inside the coil’s bobbin, using a quick-setting epoxy resin. The results from a single coil pickup were so pleasing that I added a second, arranging the opposing magnetic senses and observing the required electrical polarities in order to make a mini-humbucker. I marked the magnets and the wires with red and black Sharpie pens to keep the assembly on track. The hardest part for me was stopping the fierce wee magnets from clumping together, so I used small clamps and glued them to a baseplate at two different times.

There are plenty more detailed photos in this shared Google Photos album of mine which might inspire you build your own version:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/i7Srwm8NHam78wHCA

Have fun!




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Comment by BrianQ. on April 10, 2021 at 9:14pm

Peter, did you measure the resistance of the pickup, is it loud?

Comment by Peter Bryenton on April 9, 2021 at 4:30am

My thanks to the anonymous pick for listing potentially useful sources of small coils. When the UK allows car boot sales to re-open, I'll be rummaging through some piles of old stuff {:/)

Comment by the anonymous pick on April 8, 2021 at 5:08pm

Very cool .  Vintage  electric razors ,  buzzer type door bells , some small fire bells  ,  old tattoo machines ,  aircraft headphones, wallwarts,   all have use-able  coils and parts too.

lots of fun to be had ;-)

 

Comment by Peter Bryenton on April 8, 2021 at 10:47am

Thanks Ray.

The coil which I salvaged is freely accessible inside the body of the toothbrush itself, not the one in the charger base unit. That's where I too was nearly stymied by all that potting compound resin. Then I realised that there had to be a "receiving" partner coil to enable the inductive charging energy transfer between base and handle.

I used what we in the UK call a junior hacksaw to carefully cut around the 2mm thick plastic casing. There's a photo of an open example in that album I linked to in the original post.

I'll be interested to see how you get on.

Comment by Southern Ray on April 8, 2021 at 10:38am

 Very cool. Big fan of alternative pickups.

I have a charger for  a brush, but under the plastic case, the electronics are encased in some sort of resin. Was yours encased like this and if so, how did you get it out of it? Thank you!

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