SoundBytes Cicada



The SoundBytes Cicada is a simple, fully self-contained sound module that plays a realistic scissor-grinder cicada song.  With this sound module, the more the merrier!  Place several units together or spread out around the layout.


  • Scissor-grinder cicada song sampled from actual audio
  • Every unit is unique!
  • Use several units together to create a realistic "chorus"
  • Integrated speaker & volume control
  • Easy to install and use
  • Ideal for adding ambient sound to timber or river scenes
  • Powered from 5 to 24VDC
  • 20mA idle current, 80mA average draw while playing, 160mA maximum

Note:  Please do not use old model railroad power packs as a DC supply.  These often produce large output spikes far in excess of their nameplate voltage ratings, are not suitable for powering modern electronics, and will damage SoundBytes modules.  Please read this article for more details.

Sound Samples

Scissor-grinder Cicada

Electrical Connections

The SoundBytes module needs 5-24 volts of clean direct current (DC) power to operate.  Connect the white wire to GND to activate the sound.  Leave the white wire disconnected to turn the sound off.

Red Wire = 5V to 24V
Black Wire = GND
White Wire = GND to activate

The volume can be adjusted by using a small screwdriver to turn the white, square potentiometer on the PCB.

Here is an example showing the SoundBytes module connected to a toggle switch:


1.25"(L) x 1.25"(W) x 1.25"(H)


The complete gEDA design files are available on GitHub.


  • $19.00

  • 3 or more $17.00
  • 10 or more $15.00
  • 10 in stock

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News & Application Notes

SoundBytes Cicada Primer

The MesquiteBelt posted a great primer video on using the SoundBytes Cicada sound module. Although specific to the Cicada module, it applies equally well to the other SoundBytes modules as well.

SoundBytes on Burr Stewart’s BN Layout

Burr Stewart recently installed some SoundBytes Crossing Bells on his Seattle region Burlington Northern layout. Take a look at his operations and modeling!

Simple SoundBytes Switching

We’ve gotten the question a number of times about how to turn the SoundBytes modules on and off with a switch.  It’s actually really easy, but since the question gets asked, I figured I’d do a very quick write-up on it.

First of all, the module requires a clean DC power supply of between 5 and 24 volts.  (Note:  PLEASE do not use old toy train power packs for this.  They do not provide clean DC power, and it’s often far, far over the ratings of the module.  Please read this for more details.)  The positive side connects to the red wire, and negative / ground connects to the black wire.

To activate the sound player, the white wire needs to be electrically connected to the negative side of the power supply (the black wire).  You can do this in any number of ways: a single-pole switch between the white wire and the black wire (SPST or SPDT, either will work), or a push button between black and white wires, or if you want it to play continuously, just connect the black and white wires together permanently.   To stop the sound, the white wire should remain disconnected (meaning the switch is off or open).

Here’s a simple diagram showing how to wire it to a toggle switch:

SoundBytes + Scale Sound Systems

Did you know… The SoundBytes module was designed with the help of our friend jt Burke over at Read More...

Leap Day 2022???

Are you missing Leap Day this year?  Honor February 29th with 29% off all SoundBytes modules, now through March 5!

Dwarvin’s Railroad Crossing

If you’re in the market for a simple railroad crossing system, take a look at Dwarvin’s Lamplighter Flasher and Integrated Railroad Crossing.  Dwarvin’s easy-to-use, fiber-based Lamplighter – which comes with our TrainSpotter detectors and SoundBytes bell module – makes a painless way to add crossing signals to your layout.  Give it a look!


Infesting model railroads, one SoundBytes module at a time.  Or three.  Three are certainly better than one.  Get yours today before their life cycle ends.



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