If you're old enough to remember the Atari, then you probably remember all those "high tech" tones that it produced. Those beeps and whines were the very lifeblood of our favorite old school games. While a mint condition Atari may be hard to find these days you can easily recreate the sounds of an Atari using only a few parts stuck on a breadboard.
The Atari Punk circuit gets it's name because it produces similar sounds to the old Atari game systems. This design has been around since the 70s and often still goes by it's original name of a Stepped Tone Generator.
In this guide I'm going to run through how to make two different Atari Punk setups on a breadboard. One that uses variable resistors to control the sounds (turn style knobs) and one that uses light sensitive resistors (CDS Cells).
Step 1: Parts
The parts you need for this setup are rather common and decently cheap to buy.
Jumpers (You can make your own)
9V Battery Clip
556 Timer Chip (You can also use two 555 timers as well)
8 Ohm Speaker
1K Ohm Resistor
(2) 500K Ohm Variable Resistor (Potentiometer)
5K Ohm Variable Resistor (Potentiometer)
(2) 0.01uf Capacitors
(2) Light Sensitive Resistors (CDS Cells
(2) 0.22uf Capacitors
470 ohm resistor
Total Time: 20-30 minutes
Total Cost: $10 (More if you need a breadboard)
The optional parts are used if you want to make the circuit light sensitive, or if you want to add an LED for fun filled lighting. You could also ditch the 5K Ohm Variable Resistor and use a set resistor, but then you'd have no volume control.
Alternately you could always have one Variable Resistor and one Light Sensitive Resistor in the circuit. The nice thing is you can easily swap both types in and out, which is the nice thing about a breadboard.
Most of these parts can be found at any electronics hobby store. If possible, avoid Radio Shack and you'll pay three times as much as you really need.
All Electronics and Electronic Goldmine have most everything you need. If you'd like to save yourself some trouble and get everything in one nice little kit, why not try my fun filled website BrownDogGadgets.com. We have a ready to go Atari Punk Kit that even comes with some fancy knobs to impress your friends and family. 72% of all sales go to all natural doggie chew toys.