APC (Atari Punk Console)





Introduction: APC (Atari Punk Console)

About: ``§§§§§ §§ ``§§§ `§§``§§ ``§§§ ```````§§ §§§§§

The Atari Punk Console (aka the Stepped Tone Generator) is basically a simple sound synth that is made using only two 555 timer ICs.

Step 1: Ingredients

The parts you need are:
2x LM555 timer ICs
2x 500k potentiometers
1x 10 uf electrolyctic capacitor
1x .01 uf ceramic disk capacitor
1x .1 uf ceramic disk capacitor
1x 1k resistor (brown, black, red, gold)
1x 8 ohm speaker
1x 9 volt battery and clip
1x pad-per-hole perfboard
lots of wire

The tools you need are:
soldering iron
wire snippers
desoldering pump (or bulb/wick)
optional but very recommend: helping hands tool

Step 2: Put It Together

I used a small piece of pad-per-hole perfboard and used solid core wire as jumper wire. I used stranded core wire for connecting the pots to the board.

Step 3: And You're Done!

Hook it up to a nine volt battery, and you're done! Have fun pretending you're playing an old videogame!
video download: video



    • Casting Contest

      Casting Contest
    • Clocks Contest

      Clocks Contest
    • Make it Move Contest

      Make it Move Contest

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    Does the voltage on the 10 uf capacitor matter? I have a 10 uf 25v capacitor and I'm not sure if it will work.

    How many APCs could I run on a single 9v? I'm making something using 4 basic APCs but do not want 4 batteries in 1 noise maker. I assume I could run at least 2 on 1 battery. Any input or ideas?

    Josh what is the voltage of the 10 uf electrolyctic capacitor? Thanks in advance!

    2 replies

    Anything over 9 volts would work if youre using a 9 volt battery, the voltage rating on a capacitor is just the maximum voltage it can withstand before blowing so any amount > 9 volts would be perfect.

    hey man, finally done making an APC. I mixed and matched info from other sources but youre the one who influenced me to make one.

    I added a 50k pot in series to the 500k pot in the astable 555 and changed the pot for the monostable to 50k. I also added in a slide switch and an LED. also changed the supply from being a battery to being powered by a wall wart.


    Yes of course! I had to use two 555 timers because i could find a 556 anywhere. I was really young when I made this and didn't realise you can get literally any part on the internet for 1/10 the price!

    Can the potentiometers be replaced with a form of static resistor? I'm working on a project that requires no potentiometers or actual wires, all the components will be soldered straight to a 556 IC

    4 replies

    I don't see why not, but that kind of ruins the point of having a synth if you can not change the pitch, but yea I guess you can choose a resistor somewhere inbetween

    I understand, I might leave one in for pitch control, but I'm trying to make a replica of Doctor Who's sonic screwdriver.

    If all you want is one tone or something that doesnt have a stepped tone effect, I'm sure there's simpler designs with just one 555

    500kohms and 0 ohms

    Great project. The middle pin goes to positive, where does the other pin that isn't ground go?

    1 reply

    It doesn't matter, you are not using it so you can leave it disconnected. You are using the potentiometer as a variable resistor, not as a voltage divider so you are only changing the resistance between the ground and the middle pin, the resistance between the middle pin and the unused pin is not used at all.

    Great stuff! This is one of the first main things i've put together without some form of microcontroller at the heart of it. I got started in electronics with an Arduino, followed by a Picaxe, followed by a TI Launchpad.

    Thank you for making my first venture into "real" electronics fun! =)

    1 reply

    Your welcome, I'm glad you liked it!

    fantastic - can't even describe how much fun i have been having with this!

    I only had 1M log pots hanging around but they sound pretty great with a 10k resistor

    1 reply

    I'm glad you like it

    Ordering on line would help.

    Actually, 50K pots I found give the real stepped tone effect.