Switch Board by Martin Andersen and www.ideaalab.com

Never play with a switch board before (like me)?  Well, this baby is worth checking out.  Over the years I have seen various switch boards for sale and they have all been very expensive.  More expensive than Martin Andersen’s Switch Board.  I never saw it in action other than in internet videos and they never really grabbed my attention.  Until now!  I have changed my mind after playing with Andersen’s Switch Board brought to you by www.ideaalab.com.  As I describe below, the Switch Board is a great magical toy that is so much fun to perform.  It is extremely interactive with your spectators who enjoy this trick much more than I imagined they would.


Once you learn the Switch Board routine, you show that each switch turn on the light across from the light bulb.  You can hand out the Switch Board to the spectators and they can play with the lights and see that it is simple; switch 1 turns on the light in position 1 and so on.  Then, however, you ask the spectator to switch all the light bulbs around in different positions and the switches (which are covered with colored removable plastic tops) turn on the color appropriate bulb.  So, if the first blub was red when you started, the top of the switch had a red cap.  But, when you move the red bulb to a different position, the first switch with the red cap on it still turns on the red light.  Then you move all the plastic colored caps to different switches and the red switch in a new position turns on the red light and the same goes for all the different colors.  Then you can move the caps across from the colored bulbs and they turn on the right color.  There is nothing special about the plastic caps and no one will think it is specially designed.  You can take a plastic cap off the switch and it won’t turn on a colored blub, but if you put in a white light bulb in the corresponding slot, then it will turn on.  You can switch 2 light bulbs and the color matching switches will still work.  You can take on plastic cap off of one switch and put it on top of another switch so there are two colored plastic caps and then both those lights turn on.  So, for instance, you take the yellow cap off the switch and put the yellow cap on top of the blue switch so you can see both caps and that one switch will turn on both the yellow and blue lights.  You can take off any colored cap (let’s say green) and leave the switch on and the green light will turn off even though the switch is still on.  There is a very cool prediction effect in which the spectator arranges the lights in an order and it matches what the performer set up on the Switch Board.  There is so much here and because this is an open source platform you can program your own Switch Board however you like.

Although the effect may sound a bit dry, trust me, your spectators will really get a kick out of this.  The Switch Board is not something that anyone has seen before and it is memorable and fun to play with.  I love the fact that the spectators have such a hug role in playing in selecting what color blub and cap goes where.


What you get with your 245 Euro purchase (approximately $275) is a high quality switch board with 4 slots for different color lights (Red, Blue, Yellow and Green).  There is a switch across from each light and the open battery compartment is on the top of the Switch Board so you see and can remove the battery.  The Switch Board is a touch less than 4 inches long and 2 and-a-half inches wide.  It is just a bit longer than a playing card.  The base is about 5 or 6 playing cards thick.  The beauty of the Switch Board is in its’ simplicity.


The Switch Board comes in a beautiful silver metal box with form fitted foam that holds the Switch Board, two rechargeable batteries, 14 lights (three of each color and two white lights) and several colored plastic caps that fit on top of the switches.  You get a micro USB charger for the batteries, a product registration card (some ideaalab stickers) and some nuts and bolts that are needed to attach an optional sold acrylic case, which is sold separately.  You also get a Quick Start Guide, which is a small pamphlet.


The instructional video and written instructions are password protected and hosted on the www.ideaalab.com website.  There is a ton of information and ideas on the website and it took me a very long time to get through it all.  The instructional videos are taught by Andersen and dubbed into English. There are many videos and many written instructions that are clear to understand, but it will take some time to go through it all and learn how to use the Switch Board.  I needed to take notes on the videos which helped me remember how to do the various effects.  You will be required to remember some combinations to make this work and the order of the effects, which is why I took notes.  Learning the trick can be daunting, but it is worth it.  I would suggest a bit of practice so you can get your presentation down cold.


Everything you need is provided and once you charge the batteries, you are ready to roll.  I found that when the batteries were starting to get depleted and almost entirely out of juice that the blue lights would not light up and then the green started to fade.  The easy solution is to keep the two batteries charged and don’t leave a battery in the Switch Board.


As I mentioned above, this is a unique trick and baffling for your spectators.  This is a trick that can be done in a strolling situation, in a small parlour setting and with friends and small groups.  I was very impressed with the quality of the product and can highly recommend this to anyone that is interested in this effect.