Introduction: How to Make an Electronic Metronome

Picture of How to Make an Electronic Metronome

In this Instructables we will build and Electronic Metronome using simple electronic components found in any Electronic store and tools that you probablle already have.
Before we start making one, lets answer some basic questions like:

1. What is a Metronome and what does it do?
-A Metronome is a device that produces regular ticks (beats).

2. Who invented the Metronome?
-The mechanical Metronome was invented by Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel in Amsterdam in 1812. Johann Mälzel copied several of Winkel's construction ideas and received the patent for the portable Metronome in 1816.

3. What types of Metronomes are there?
   a) Mechanical Metronomes
   b) Electronic Metronomes ( the one we will be making)
   c) Software Metronomes

4. Who uses Metronomes?
-Metronomes are used by musicians when practicing in order to maintain a constant tempo.

5. How is tempo measured?
-Tempo is measured in beats per minute (BPM). Metronomes can be set to variable tempi, usually ranging from 40 to 208 BPM.

6. Why would I want a Metronome?
- If you are a proud owner of an instrument, any kind ( guitar, piano, tuba, trumpet, violine...) you have to have a Metronome in the home. If you don't own any instruments you can use it to make your self fall asleep. 

If you decided to build your own Metronome, then lets head to the next step and see what we need for this project!

Step 1: Components

Picture of Components

The components that we need for our Metronome are:

1.  2 x  LED  ( I used blue ones, but you can use any colour you want)

2.  2 x 22uF 16V polarised capacitor

3.  LM 555 Timer Chip
4.  8 pin chip holder (optional, but I suggest that you use it anyway)

5.   250K ohm Potentiometer

6.  3 x 1K ohm Resistors

7.  Proto-board ( dots ) (The size of my board is 5cm X 9cm)

8.  9 V Battery clip

9.  8 Ohm Speaker   ( Picture 1 and 2)

10.  Some thin wire. I suggest you use solid wire for this project ( Picture 3)

11. 9V Battery

All of these components can be bought in you local Electronic shop. Here are some online stores where you can buy all of these components and much much more!

Lets move on to the next step and see what Tools we need!

Step 2: Tool

Picture of Tool

Not many tools are needed for this project. Tools that we need are:

1. Wire Insulation Stripper Pliers (To pull of the insulation of the wires) (picture 1 and 2)

2. Wire Cutting Pliers (picture 1 and 2)

3. Needle Nosed Pliers (picture 1 and 2)

4. Solder

5. Third/Helping hand with magnifying glassed (Optional) ( I used one of these because it really helps when it comes to soldering )

6. Desoldering tools:
a) Desoldering pump
b) Desoldering Wike
( In case we make a mistake while soldering)   (picture 1 and 4)

7. Soldering Iron (picture 3)

8. Hot Glue Gun (picture 5)

Step 3: Schematic

Picture of Schematic

Lets take a look at our schematic before we start building it.
As you can see right away, the hearth of this project is the LM 555 timer chip.
( the 3rd drawing shows the functions of the 555 timer chip pins)

Our Connections are:
-Pin 1 of the chip is connected to pin 6 via the 22uF capacitor. Pin one is also the base ( 0 V supply)
-Pin 2 is connected to pin 6
-Pin 7 is connected to pin 6 via the 250K Potentiometer
-Pin 4 is connected to pin 8
-Pin 4 is also connected to pin 7 via the 1K Resistor
-The speaker is connected to pin 3 via the 22uF capacitor and to pin 1

Later in the Instructables we will go into details and trough all the remaining connections.

Now, lets start making our Metronome !

Step 4: Planning Your Metronome

Picture of Planning Your Metronome

Before we turn on our soldering iron and start making connection we need to plan how our Metronome will look like.
Take the 4 most important components ( Speaker, 2 LEDs, LM 555 chip and the Potentiometer ) and plan where they will be located on your board.
As you can see on the picture below, I put the 2 LEDs on the top, the speaker in the middle, the potentiometer on the bottom and between them the chip.
How will you arrange the components depends on the shape and how long and wide your board is.

Step 5: Connecting Everything Together

Picture of Connecting Everything Together

Now it's time to fire up our soldering iron and start connecting everything together.

As you can see this step is a bit long with lots of text and pictures, but when you finish this step you should have your own working Metronome.

Make sure to check out all the image notes!

There are a lot of pictures in this step so on the right bottom of every one there is an image note that displays the number of the photo.

Lets get started ! ! !

* Take the 8-pin chip holder and place it on the board where you want to solder it and solder it. Note where the little curve is, it is important that you place the chip in the right direction. (pictures 1 and 2)

* Cut a small piece of wire, about 4cm and strip the insulation of the ends. (picture 3)

* Use the wire to connect pins 4 and 8 by soldering them. (pictures 4 and 5)

* Take another small piece of wire, also about 4cm with stripped ends and use it to connect pins 2 and 6 by soldering it. (picture 6 and 7)     (You should get something that looks like in picture 8)

* Use the 1K ohm resistor and solder it to pins 4 and 7. I soldered one end of the resistor to pin 4 directly and the other end I soldered to one end of the wire and ran the wire to pin 7.  (pictures 9, 10 and 11)

* Take the potentiometer and solder it to the board ( picture 12 ) The potentiometer runs from pin 7 to pin 6. Take small pieces of wire and use them to connect the pins from the potentiometer to the pins of the chip holder. (pictures 12, 13, 14 and 15 )

* Lets take our capacitor (picture 16) and solder its longer pin to pin 6 on the chip holder and its shorter pin via a wire to pin 1. (pictures 17, 18 and 19) (You should get something that looks like in picture 20)

* Take the 9V battery clip and solder the RED wire to pin 8 and the BLACK wire to pin 1.  (pictures 21and 22)

* Now it's time to mount our 2 LEDs. My LEDs are going to be on the top of the board so I am running a wire from pin 8 to the upper part of the board. (pictures 23 and 24)

* The next step is to solder the 1K resistor to the wire. (picture 25)

* Take the LED and put it so that you connect the end of the resistor to the longer, positive pin of the LED. (picture 26)

* Next step is to connect the negative, shorter end of the LED to pin 3 via a wire. Than to that same connection add a resistor. ( pictures 27 and 28)

* Add the second LED by connecting the longer, positive pin to the other end of the resistor and the shorter, negative pin to pin 1 of the chip holder via a wire. (pictures 29,30 and 31)

* Now lets take the second 22uF 16V capacitor and solder its longer, positive pin to the connection where the first LED and the second 1K resistor join. ( pictures 32 and 33). Leave the negative, shorter pin of the capacitor hanging for now. (picture 33)

* It's time to take the 8 Ohm speaker and solder 2 wires on each pin of the speaker. The wires should be about 10cm long. ( pictures 34, 35 and 36)

* Take the wire that is soldered to the negative pin of the speaker and solder it to pin 1 of the chip holder ; Take the wire that is soldered to the positive pin of the speaker and connect it to the negative pin of the capacitor that we left hanging. (pictures 37 and 38)

* Now that you have everything soldered together it is time to put in the LM555 timer chip. (pictures 39 and 40)

Lets move on to the next step and test our creation !

Step 6: Testing and Troubleshooting

Picture of Testing and Troubleshooting

Take your 9V battery and connect it to the 9V battery clip of your Metronome.
You should get regular beats from the speaker.
When you hear the first beat 1 LED should light up while the other is off. When you hear the second beat the LED that was on should go off and the other that was off should light up.
By turning the potentiometer the BPS ( Beats per Second) should increase or decrease, depending on witch way you turn the knob of the potentiometer.


- Make sure that you put in the chip the right way.

- See if the speaker is wired correctly.

- The capacitor may be connected in reverse. It is important for the positive, longer or negative, shorter pin of the capacitor to be connected where it should be.

- Make sure that you connected the potentiometer like it should be. Once I soldered the potentiometer wrong and the circuit did not work. By quick reconnecting I got the circuit working.

- See if the battery clip is connected like it should be. Red wire to pin 8 and Black wire to pin 1, not the other way around.

- If just one LED is not working, its polarity is reversed so you need to unsolder it and reverse the pin configuration.

If you have a problem and you checked all these above, fell free to send a PM or leave a comment below regarding your problem!

Step 7: Optional

Picture of Optional

By now you have your working metronome that ticks and blinks.

This step is just for enhancing and making your Metronome more appealing and practical.

* Because the Metronomes potentiometer will be constantly used, to make sure that the 3 solder connections don't fail I added some hot glue on the bottom to make it stick to the board. (picture 1)

* You can take a small piece of thin wood board or as i used a small piece of the solder board that was left and hot glue it to the bottom so that you make your Metronome stand. For this, it is very helpful to have the third hand as you can see in the picture. (pictures 2 and 3)

* You can take your insulation tape or duck tape and cover the back of the Metronome where all the connections are. This is good in case it gets in contact with water in any way. I first put the tape but didn't  really like how it looked. Fortunately I found out that my Metronome fits perfectly in an old Floppy box. (picture 4)

Step 8: Done!

Picture of Done!

You are DONE!

You have your own electronic Metronome that you build yourself!

This makes a great gift for for anyone who plays an instrument.

Thank you for viewing my Instructables!

Please rate and leave a comment!

If you have a any questions or suggestions on how to improve the Metronome, feel free to send me a message!

Thank you!



TritzB (author)2017-08-14


And thank you for posting this. For a special application we would need to modulate the output signal, can you help with this.

Most appreciated.

DaniD3 (author)2016-01-18

thank u bro i am searching this ckt for long time as i forgot the word metronome .now i am going to build it .I need another favor ,.in this circuit we are using a pot for adjusting the tempo. can we adjust it with tap tempo switch or something ,.i use yamaha psr i425 keyboard in it to set the tempo we use a switch named tap tempo in it ,.i like that style of setting input ,.it will be also useful for selecting the right tempo that i need

if it is possible please give me circuit to give input like i need

this will be useful for thousands of musicians

thanks in advance

if u already know that style please send me or text me at ill send video of that tap tempo

axeman3d (author)2011-02-02

Hello, I have a question, can I use 22uF 50v polarized capacitors instead of the 16v?

ankur sharma (author)axeman3d2015-12-24

yes you can

MROHM (author)axeman3d2011-08-03

Why Not??? Beats running to the store everytime you need a part!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ankur sharma (author)2015-12-24

it's working
but how to increase volume

ankur sharma (author)2015-12-24

not working
using capacitors 50v ,10 micro F
and giving 5v input

BrendanTheSequeira (author)2015-02-01

if i want to replace the 2 leds with a motor ......what do i have to change?

freeeasymoney (author)2013-12-14

Both leds light up at once!

oliboy_48 (author)2010-01-04

what if i want to connect an earphone and where will i place it?..i'm planning on using it for my drum playing...thanks..

comodore (author)oliboy_482010-01-17

You would connect it to the same two wires where you connect the speaker.....afterall, an ear phone is like a small speaker.... now I can't really tell you witch value but you would probably need to put in a resistor.... Depends on the earphone.....

I would need to look into it and tell you if any other extra components are needed!

Keep in touch!

oliboy_48 (author)comodore2010-01-20

ok...thanks a lot...

vignesh1230 (author)oliboy_482010-02-23

or you can wire a 3.5mm headphone jack where the speaker is supposed to be. Means you can plug in a headphone and dont have to wreck a really good headphone for one purpose ^.^ hole i helped

cjasonhand (author)vignesh12302013-01-16

Could I use a 1/4 inch jack with same components?

comodore (author)vignesh12302010-02-23

even better  idea!  :)

lonenome (author)2012-05-17

Thanks for the help the nice detailed pics really helped make this project move along. Is there any reason why u did not put this in a case ? I would think the speaker would benefit from a en closer.

etgalim (author)2012-02-06

Hi :) Great project. THX. I'm working an a simple design interaction project and I was wondering if someone can help modifying the circuit for my needs. (This circuit is as close as it gets to what I need) I need the metronome to work as a audible clock making the "TIC TOK" sound in a one sec. intervals. and every one hour (3600 sec. or 3600 TIC and TOKs) a LED should work for one min. (60 TICTOKs) and be turned off. The 2 LEDs in this projects are not needed. Can it be done with this circuit? Thanks all, ET

moabs21 (author)2011-09-23

Thanks for the tutorial, man. This is my first test:

Later I will make a project box.

callwizard (author)2011-04-18

Thanks a lot for this a noob @ this electronic, still u made me understand how this has to be done.compared to other metronome tutorial this one is more understandable..but a small could have also added how to make this work using a switch...anyways thanks.

Jorgitsss (author)2010-04-11

I build that but I hear very slowly, How can we increase the volume of the Speaker

comodore (author)Jorgitsss2010-06-05

Did you try putting a fresh battery? Are you sure that you bought the right speaker?

Jorgitsss (author)comodore2010-06-05

yes, try new battery, new speaker... new all ... and the desing is the problem i found this layout and solve my problem thanks for responds * R1= 100 K ohms//R2,R4= 10 K omhs//R3= 1 K omhs * Pot:1 M ohms *:C1=1 micro F/ 16 V or more C2=10 micro F/16 V///C3, C4=100 micro F/16 V. * TR1=2N2904 TR2=2N2219 * 555

MROHM (author)Jorgitsss2010-12-28

Nice design here!! The 2 transistors should give plenty of punch to the speaker.

comodore (author)Jorgitsss2010-06-12

I am really glad someone took my desine and iproved it! My hat goes to you Jorg! :) So everything works fine now? :)

Guitar_slave (author)2010-03-28

 You can use NE 555, LM 556, NE 556... 
It's strange...that IC is very popular and you can find it almost everywhere :D


MROHM (author)Guitar_slave2010-12-28

The 555 timer(Born 1970) is 40 years old this year and still found in countless applications! You can purchase these guys almost anywhere. There is also a CMOS version(Low power application) of these guys too.(for portable or outdoor use)

MROHM (author)2010-12-28

Awesome!! Our old friend the 555 timer is yet another application! Another Fun project to build.

resol31 (author)2010-08-26

Is the third pin of the potentiometer ever used? -did I miss something?

Lenny24 (author)resol312010-11-27

Yeah, they are. But in most cases, a Pot is used as a variable resistor, which only has 2 Pins.

suchit_mehrotra (author)2010-06-19

I made as above and it is pretty good.There is a bit of problem .That volume level of the beat is low and practicing it wit a guitar makes the low sound difficult to hear.

noob_for_life (author)2010-06-11

This is great.  Clean.  Straightforward.  Accessible.  And I really like your explanations.

My son and I were thinking about making a metronome which would have his drum teacher's voice yelling "COUNT!"  This looks like a good start.  Would you (or someone) please suggest enhancements so we could add our own sounds?


comodore (author)noob_for_life2010-06-11

Well, a few ideas come to my mind and the first is that you buy a voice record/playback circuit or pull it out of a toy... You basically use the metronome schematic as a switch that switches on the record/playback circuit. Here is an example of a toy that has a record/playback circuit... I bought a couple of these toys and they are pretty easy to hack and mode... Good luck ! Please don,t hesitate to PM me and ask if you have any more questions or some suggestions! Thanks! :)

rravenn (author)2010-05-09

im trying to do it and make it work but the intervals between beat are too long i don't know whats wrong with it can you help me how to fix it?

comodore (author)rravenn2010-06-03

You probably got the wrong potentiometer or didn't connect it in the right way...
Try playing with the potentiometer and get back to me!  :)
Good luck!

thewizard42 (author)2010-04-12

I made one in my electronics class exactly like this :D 

comodore (author)thewizard422010-04-18

Ah, I wish I had electronic classes!  :)

thewizard42 (author)comodore2010-04-18

Yea its a technical school so i picked if for my shop. 

TSC (author)2010-03-23

Sweet I wish I could build this !!!!!!!

luudvig (author)2010-02-25

I built it and it works geat! =D

stexmetalac07 (author)2010-02-06

gari svetli mi samo 1 dioda i do konstantno znaci ne treperi ili neki trip nego samo svetli i nista :P pomoc?

comodore (author)stexmetalac072010-02-06

Meni se jednom to desilo....metronom sam pravi puno puta.... i nikako nisam mogao da skontam u cemu je problem.......sve sam proverio...... na kraju sam odustao i napravio novi...
Proveri da ti kondenzatori stoje kako treba.... takodje proveri da nije 555 chip falican.....  to je to sto mogu da ti dam od saveta....

stexmetalac07 (author)comodore2010-02-10

 kontam da mi je pregoreo 555 timer posto nisam koristio postolje a nemam lemilicu za podesavanje temperature tako da sam kupio novi 555 i postolje i sve skinuo sad moram opet da radim.. :P

comodore (author)stexmetalac072010-02-10

Good Luck!

stexmetalac07 (author)comodore2010-02-11

 eee, hvala brate na step-by-stepu mnogo je pomoglo :) uspeo sam konacno :D

Guitar_slave (author)2010-01-29

napravio Radi kao zmaj!Brzica 

comodore (author)Guitar_slave2010-01-31


fatfoohy (author)2010-01-17

is there any way that i could use a 200k potentiometer as opposed to the 250k? even it resulted in limited functionality

comodore (author)fatfoohy2010-01-18

Hmmm... I think it would work buy it would just be more sensitive....

fatfoohy (author)comodore2010-01-18

alrighty thanks, I'll be sure to post how it works

comodore (author)fatfoohy2010-01-19

Good luck and have fun!

About This Instructable




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