Introduction: APC (Atari Punk Console)

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


mcstarcoin made it!(author)2017-03-10

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.

Abstractauditory made it!(author)2016-05-12

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?

Bunker+Secreto made it!(author)2016-04-24

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

josh1324 made it!(author)2016-04-24

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.

Bunker+Secreto made it!(author)2016-04-25

Thanks buddy!

elikumacore made it!(author)2014-06-03

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.

pyromaniac123456789 made it!(author)2014-01-21

Can you replace the two 555 timers with one 556?

josh1324 made it!(author)2014-01-21

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!

maxxion made it!(author)2013-02-25

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

josh1324 made it!(author)2013-02-25

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

maxxion made it!(author)2013-02-26

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

josh1324 made it!(author)2013-02-26

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

josh1324 made it!(author)2013-02-25

500kohms and 0 ohms

TobaTobias made it!(author)2012-01-24

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

aesquivel made it!(author)2012-07-20

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.

FjerrFjerrson made it!(author)2011-11-30

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! =)

josh1324 made it!(author)2011-12-02

Your welcome, I'm glad you liked it!

samswiftglasman made it!(author)2011-11-04

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

josh1324 made it!(author)2011-11-05

I'm glad you like it

blinkyblinky made it!(author)2011-10-29

Ordering on line would help.

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

GG_Beta made it!(author)2011-08-11

Mine sounds like an old modem, any ideas on how to make it sound better?

josh1324 made it!(author)2011-08-14

what are you using for a speaker?

Robot+Lover made it!(author)2011-07-11

Thanks for sharing! This could be simplified using a 556 timer. You should look into that! It's always good when you can simplify a circuit!

josh1324 made it!(author)2011-07-13

I was going to do that, but all we have in cape breton is just a couple of "the source" stores. All they had were 555s. And they were really expensive too! (like $5 each!)

Robot+Lover made it!(author)2011-07-14

Wow! that kinda sucks! Well heres a good site to buy ic chips and other components for cheap.


josh1324 made it!(author)2011-07-16

thanks for the link :3 its really good

vishalapr made it!(author)2011-07-07

This is really cool!Rated 4.5*!Have a look at my latest iblees!

josh1324 made it!(author)2011-07-09

I'm glad you liked it

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