Introduction: A More Annoying Noise Maker (Version 1.0)

Picture of A More Annoying Noise Maker (Version 1.0)

Anything is possible with the 555 Timer IC. You can pick one up from Radio shack and all of a sudden a whole range of new micro projects open up. Most of which make lights flash or make noise....annoying noise......very annoying noise. It is for that application most people buy a 555 Timer, to annoy someone! In this Instructable I will show you how to build " A More Annoying Noise Maker". Using this circuit you will be able to not only make annoying noises, but be able to change the pitch and tone using two variable resistors. So in theory we are really creating a really cheap, annoying, cool noise generator. So lets get started!


555 Timer IC
Variable Resistors or a Adjustable Power Resistor, you will need two (your choice, choose one with only two pins if possible)
0.1 uF capacitor, you will need two (the ID number on the side is 104)
100 uF Capacitor
A speaker around 4 ohms to 16 ohms
A regular switch
9 Volt battery
a 9 volt battery clip
& A project box / case

Step 1: Building the Circuit

Picture of Building the Circuit

Follow the diagram provided at the bottom. if you wire every thing together and remember your polarity and connect every thing to the right pins on the IC you should be set to test it out. Once completed the circuit (if fitted with a small speaker) can fit into a mint tin or another small case. FYI: The fourth pin on the IC is not used in this project.

Circuit Diagram Legend

C1: 0.1 uF Capacitor (marked "104")
C2: 0.1 uF Capacitor (marked "104")
C3: 100 uF Capacitior
Spk 1: Speaker of your choice
Sw 1: On/Off Switch
+/- 9 volts: 9 volt battery Terminals


Step 2: How the Circuit Works

Picture of How the Circuit Works

The timer acts as a switch controlled by the resistors on pins 6, 7, and 8. The resistors basically control the pulse, timing of pulse, and even the pitch and tone of the pulses (only in audio circuits). The capacitors are basically there to control the pulsing current so it does not do any harm to other components. Once a power source is connected the timers internal circuit starts to pulse, the variable resistors control that pulse right away and that signal is sent to the speaker. So instead of having to try out multiple resistors, you only really need to do is simply turn the dial of the variable resistor and set it to the sound you like; and if you don't like it a day or two later you can change it with absolutely no solder. Just a screw driver or your fingers!

Step 3: The Annoyance

Picture of The Annoyance
Time for a test! Take it to your workplace or school and drop it in your emenys desk or garbage pail. If all works as planned you should hear them screaming and trying to find out where that noise is comming from. Another option is to just hold on to it and annoy others around you in a movie theather. Exactly what you do is up to you! Just remember to get a good battery so the sound lasts along time!

The video below is the actual circuit in use.

Step 4: Troubleshooting

Picture of Troubleshooting

If you don't hear a thing coming from your speaker its time to adjust or check the following:

-Too strong variable resistor.
-Short's Ex: two wires should be separate are touching.
-Solder bridges.
-wrong components.
-Too much or too little supply voltage.
-Bad connections.
-If you used a metal box to house the circuit I suggest you cover the inside with paper or plastic.
-Your components are damaged or really old.
-And you could have just followed the circuit diagram wrong.

If you still have trouble getting it to work leave a comment and I will try to assist you as soon as possible.


tafelice (author)2011-04-08

very nice instructable. Haven't built it yet, but I believe I can. No mention was made of the volume. Is it full volume or variable. How can you get more volume. Thanks again.

jj123 (author)2010-04-08
What about pin 7? Those arrows on the diagram dont really make it clear.
TXTCLA55 (author)jj1232010-04-08

My apologies the arrows are what i thought would be a good representation of the variable resistors. the Arrow is the input, and the resistor par is the output. NOTE: project works best with variable resistors with two pins not three.

numenius (author)2010-01-09

I made this as a first electronic  project to build and learn from and it's worked great. **Thanks for featuring this build** - I've tried other projects(with no luck)  and this is the first one I've had success with and have learned a little about the 555 in the process. So thank you for that.  Now I'm going to try fixed value resistors to set it to permanent tone/rate before turning it loose on the world! (also 2  variable resistors are too expensive to lose - or at least here in the UK - though it's also set me to thinking of starting to recover these from old equipment being thrown away) Can anyone who has made this make comment on how long it would last with a button cell?

Pyro Fiend (author)2009-05-10

Wow, Tytanium had my same questions. Didn't see that. Sorry for taking up space in your comment box for repetition. But can I use a 8 Ohm Speaker, because these are extremely common? But seriously, THANK YOU TXTCLA55!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE this Instructable. I haven't attempted to build it yet because I just found it but this is cool and simple and hopefully easy. I just am not an experienced solderer because I don't own a soldering gun so I will have to use my schools as I don't have any bread board. Ah, well. THANKS AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TXTCLA55 (author)Pyro Fiend2009-05-10

yes you can! Any speaker ranging from 4 to 16 ohms.

adnimo (author)TXTCLA552009-10-24

 provided you don't exceed 200ma of current (you'll burn the ic if not).

Pyro Fiend (author)2009-05-10

Can this thing go to high frequencies? If not, how can I change the values of the resistors and/or capacitors to make it really high frequency? Your instructable ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not kidding. Beautiful diagram. Simple too. And you use commonly available parts, no Igntion Coils or Plasma Pulse Tube Resonator Thingers in sight! Oh, and if I use a variable resistor with three prongs, which ones do I use? Can I use a photoelectric cell (aka photo resistor)?

TXTCLA55 (author)Pyro Fiend2009-05-10

Woa you wrote all lot! Thanks by the way for the very nice comments. OK, for this comment. You are using photo resistors. First off yes it can do extremely high frequencies, just choose a low resistor. Secondly Well have I got news for YOU! I actually built a light theremine using them and I hope to get the ible finished writing a couple of hours so if you want you can use them in that project. as for the 3 prong variable resistors (if ya got em) just connect or test two pins. hope this helped!

adnimo (author)TXTCLA552009-10-24

 actually you should always connect the 3, two of them provide full resistance and the other one is for the wiper, low resistance will always proveil but in the case of a failing whiper, your circuit won't fail, it'll just work at the maximum rated resistance for that specific variable resistor.

bigdeee (author)2009-07-31

Great generator! I've actualy been looking for a 555/556 tone generator more along these lines. Thanks for posting.

Unit042 (author)2009-07-12

Not to be snooty, but the capacitor's (C3) bottom side was drawn upside down. The curls should be going downward.....

Pyro Fiend (author)2009-05-24

Luckily, pretty much every resistor I own ends in a gold band, but some have five bands. However, for the HIGHER FREQUENCIES, what is the BEST resistance value? Thank you!

TXTCLA55 (author)Pyro Fiend2009-05-24

OK, low resistance equals higher sound. Capacitors don't matter. All the caps are doing is simply controlling the current. Hope this helps.

Pyro Fiend (author)TXTCLA552009-05-25

Thank you for the help. Just one thing I don't get. HOW low should the resistors be? I feel kind of stupid, but is low resistance 100 ohms? Or is is 10K? OR it 220 ohms? Or is it 1K? I don't understand HOW LOW is low. If I use 100 Ohms, will it be inaudible to all humans, or will it just be a high-toned beep? Will it be 17 Hz so that some humans hear it and others don't??????????????? I feel like I am being annoying, but I am not good at soldering and I don't have a soldering gun (i use my schools) and I can't retake the circuit apart. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TXTCLA55 (author)Pyro Fiend2009-05-26

well look at it this way... the "K" means 000 three zeros. so 10k is actually 10 000 ohms, thus a 100 ohm resistor would be lower than a 100k ohm resistor. Some place around 10 ohm and 10k ohm should be your high tone beep. As for your solder problem. try a bread board, from a store or online. this will allow you to plug in components and take them out again, no solder!

Pyro Fiend (author)TXTCLA552009-05-27

Alright, GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!! THANKS!!!!!!!!!!! YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pyro Fiend (author)2009-05-10

Please help me, though. I am not sure about the High Frequencies because I have never used 555 timer ICs before and I just bought two of them. If you know how to get to high frequencies, I would LOVE it if you would tell me. Thanks!!!!

TXTCLA55 (author)Pyro Fiend2009-05-10

Low resistance resistors.

Pyro Fiend (author)TXTCLA552009-05-18

Hold on. How do I know if my Photoresistor is low resistance. The label says: NSL - 4950 9840. I don't know what this means. Can I use a standard resistor instead of a variable resistor of some sort so that I know it is low resistance? And how low is low? Do you mean 100 ohms, or 10K, or something else? Please Help Me!

TXTCLA55 (author)Pyro Fiend2009-05-18

Yes, if you want to try it with some standard resistors use ones with a gold band and only four colours (including gold) and just play with it. If you however still want to use the variable resistors, go to radio shack and pick up a pack of 10. they come in a range from 5K-10K; one of those has to be the one you want. Hope this was helpful!

Pyro Fiend (author)TXTCLA552009-05-24

Wait a second. I'm still confused. If I use two 5K resistors (5,000 Ohms) then I can get High Frequency Sound? Or do I need lower resistors than that to get the High Frequency? Also, can I use higher Capacitors than 0.1uF, or will that lower the sound more? Usually the less capacity, the higher the sound, and the more capacity, the lower the sound, but it might be different with 555 timer ICs. How low is low with the resistors to get really high frequency (i want about 16-20 Hz, if that helps you answer my questions)? Please Help Me! THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pyro Fiend (author)2009-05-10

How do you get your instructables to appear online? I can't get mine to show up when I enter Key Words.

TXTCLA55 (author)Pyro Fiend2009-05-10

I dono :P Use really weird tages I guess. Like make your own porno! or, 5 easy ways to get fast cash. thats the type of stuff i some times use. Or if you dont want to do that, just list every word in the tilte ones plus the wrong spelling.

Pyro Fiend (author)2009-05-10

Tytanium, Capacitors aren't rated in "k", you know that right? I think the value is in Micro Farads. That's what I've read.

TXTCLA55 (author)Pyro Fiend2009-05-10

That is true. There are two ratings. One is just Frads (F), normaly reserved for huge transformers (like the ones that power your house). And then there is Micro-Frads (uF), the ones normally used in consumer products; like a radio.

Tytanium (author)2009-05-02

Would there by any chance be an alternate rated type of cap that i can use beside .01uf?

Tytanium (author)Tytanium2009-05-03

Also all i can get is a low hum from the speaker that is only audible when you put it right up to your ear... I have no idea what could be wrong, i must have made a mistake somewhere but i just can't find it.

TXTCLA55 (author)Tytanium2009-05-04

Hold on...It could just be your variable resistor has a very high resistance. Have you tried others? Ones with a low or medium resistance?

Tytanium (author)TXTCLA552009-05-04

The only other variable resistors that i can find have anywhere between 3-6 pins.. Could i possible see a picture of the type that you used?.

TXTCLA55 (author)Tytanium2009-05-05

sure here is the lik to the photo:

Tytanium (author)TXTCLA552009-05-05

Thanks, I saw that before i think.What is the range that those variable resistors are capable of?. Even when i use just plain resistors i still don't achieve sound.

TXTCLA55 (author)Tytanium2009-05-06

OK, so its not the resistors is is probably your speaker or your 555timer. Go to radio shack and pick up a timer IC (about 5 bucks) and try that. If you still can't get it to work use a different speaker 4Ohms is the best choice. Other than this i have run out of ideas. Sorry.

TXTCLA55 (author)Tytanium2009-05-03

I do not think its the caps that are the problem... I would suggest using only one low rated pot. So to set this up put the middle pin of the pot to pin 6 on the thimer and the other two pins to pins 6 and 8 on the timer. This should get som sound out of it.

TXTCLA55 (author)TXTCLA552009-05-03

Sorry I ment: Put the middle pin on pin 7 and the other two pins to 6 and 8.

Tytanium (author)TXTCLA552009-05-03

I forgot to mention that I tried putting some 2 pin variable resistors instead and still cant get a sound other then a really low hum even with adjustments made with a screw driver.I have tried a few different 555's (NE555) ,not quite sure what else to try but i will get some pictures of the build and the exact components that i have used.I am thinking now that maybe i have just been unlucky and the components are dead.

TXTCLA55 (author)Tytanium2009-05-03

Well that could be the cause too. i would think its the 555 that needs to be replaced not the other components. but send me te pics anyways and i'll have a look.

Tytanium (author)2009-05-01

Hmm still having no luck.

TXTCLA55 (author)Tytanium2009-05-02

Well the only thing I can suggest is that you would have to use regular resistors and connect them to the 7th pin. Just play around with different ones until you either hear a sound that you like. If you still are having trouble send me a pic or schematic of the one you have. Best of luck! -TXTCLA55

Tytanium (author)2009-05-01

Hey this thing is pretty cool and i would love to use it to be annoying.I tried to build one but i could not get it to work.I followed the schematic the way that i understood it but was unsuccessful.I had a bunch of parts laying around which is what i used.For the variable resistors i used potentiometers(i liked the fact that they use a knob) that i got out of some salvage electronics that i keep around for the components.The potentiometers that i used have 3 pins, i don't own a multimeter so i took a guess and tested them separately using a battery and an led in a simple circuit and managed to dim/brighten the led.Unfortunately when i added the potentiometers into your circuit i may have mixed something up because i could not get any sound other than a crackle in the speaker.Maybe i need to use a different speaker?. I would really like to get one of these things to work because it would be quite amusing for awhile lol. If i take a picture of the circuit without the potentiometers added would you be able to help identify if i made an error during the build?.I also think that i have used the correct capacitors as well..the capacitors that you used that are stamped "104" would that be 104k?.The other capacitor is 100uf and is 10v?. Thanks,

TXTCLA55 (author)Tytanium2009-05-01

woa! lot of writing..OK.. well I suggest you try to find some variable resistors, if not you can do three other things; A) keep trying different ways to get the potentiometers working, B) try and find something close to what I used, or C) use photoresistors (as I am going to be doing in my next version). I found my variable resistors in a old radio I simply unsoldered the connections, tested them in multiple arrangements and eventually got it to work. As for your speaker I would suggest you try to use one rated for 4ohms then try adding smaller speakers. And as for the capacitors....I don't really know what they are rated for so that is why I wrote what was on them, but the other cap is in fact a 100uf. I hope this helped! please feel free to ask any more questions! Cheers -TXTCLA55

Capt. Howdy (author)2009-04-10

Cool. Evil thoughts a brewin'. I'm gonna build this and add an LDR and put it in a halloween skull and "lose" it in front of my skanky biker chick neighbors house. I can't wait to watch the lights go on and off as her drunk @@@ tries to find the source of her annoyance.

TXTCLA55 (author)Capt. Howdy2009-04-27

Its pretty versatile. I would recommend you use a proto board. This saves the wire mess and connections are more solid.

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