Electronic handbells for change ringing

Prompted by the sale of the last of the ActionXL motion controllers in April 2020 and a lack of suitable alternatives for use as dummy handbells with change ringing simulators on PCs, a small group of ringer-engineers came together to design, prototype and refine a USB handbell specifically for this purpose. The result is eBells - the first electronic Handbells for change ringing.

eBells

eBells

eBells are 3D printed in a durable plastic and contain motion detecting electronics that provide swing information to a ringing simulator app. They each plug into a standard USB socket in your computer, or a USB hub. The app interprets this data to sense the position when the bell would strike at handstroke and backstroke, playing the sound of a bell on receipt of the strike signal.

A pair of eBells can be used with Handbell Stadium on PCs running Windows, MacOS or Linux, or using Handbell Manager (available on Windows only) as an interface, one to four of them can be used with Abel, Beltower, Ringing Room, or Muster.

eBells are designed to have the look and feel of medium-sized handbells. The bell mouth is 90mm in diameter (approx handbell size 8C) and the bell height including cap is 70mm. The handle is 145mm giving an overall height of around 220mm. They weigh around 200g, and include a weight inside the mouth to help compensate for the difference between the density of plastic and a normal bronze handbell.

There are two buttons on the cap, which can trigger commands such as look to, go, stand and bob, depending on the simulator software being used. A high quality braided USB cable is provided to connect the bell into a computer USB port (USB2 or USB3). The cable can be replaced with an off-the-shelf USB to USB-C cable in the event that it gets damaged.

Below is an unboxing video that also demonstrates a pair of eBells being rung to a plain course of Little Bob Major on Handbell Stadium.

'Unboxing' eBells

If you would like your own eBells, you can buy them here.