Introduction: How to Make an Electronic Piano With a 555 IC

Picture of How to Make an Electronic Piano With a 555 IC

In this instructable i hope to be able to show you how to make a simple toy piano using a 555 timer ic and a few basic components. This my first electronics project on perfboard and there are probably much more sensible ways of laying out the parts, it would have been easier to set them apart more but i didnt do that.

Step 1: What You'll Need

6 x 1K resistors
6 x small buttons
1 x 10k resistor
10u and a 100n capacitor
555 timer chip
8r speaker
small piece of perfboard
battery clip and switch
wire leads
solder + iron
470 ohm resistor and a led

Step 2: Breadboard

Picture of Breadboard

I started of by making the circuit on a breadboardso i could see how it worked and how to fit it onto the perfboard

Step 3: Adding the Chip

Picture of Adding the Chip

i soldered the ic straight onto the board, it would have been more sensible to use a socket to plug it into but i didnt have this step i also soldered the 10u capacitor onto pin 3, they are connected by a solder bridge on the bottom of the board. be careful with the polarity of the capacitor, the longer lead is the positive end and this is attached to pin 3, the negative end also has a grey stripe on to show its negative, putting it in the wrong way round can damage the capacitor.
the pins on an ic dont go from left to right they go anticlockwise around the chip starting at the pin with the circle above it

Step 4: Adding the Buttons

Picture of Adding the Buttons

i first layed out the buttons in a line across the top. i had to leave room for the resistors to go along the top so i left two spare rows above the buttons.i used the leads i had cut of the capacitor to connect the negatives of the buttons.

Step 5: Resistors

Picture of Resistors

to make the piano work you need to add the 1k resistors between the points of the button. Then use a solder bridge to conect the parts up underneath the board

Step 6: 10k Resistor

Picture of 10k Resistor

i conected the 10k resistor to the last button. the black circles represent where the battery leads are going to go

Step 7:

Picture of

i added a jumper wire from pin 7 to a hole next to the 10k resistor, i added the last 1k resistor and soldered it next to he end of the jumper wire and connected them all together with a solder bridge, i used one of the legs of the resistor to conect the jumper, 10k resistor and the 1k resistor to a hole next to where the positive battery lead will go

Step 8: More Jumpers

Picture of More Jumpers

i attached jumpers going up to the positive terminal from pins 4 and 8. i will make a solder bridge underneath the board to connect together all the wires that need to be attached to ground

Step 9: Pins 2 and 6

Picture of Pins 2 and 6

pins 2 and 6 need to be connected and then attachd to the negative end of the buttons. the 100n capacitor is also placed beside the two jumpers. th lead from th capacitor is bent down and used to conect to another lead which is connected to ground.i used this lead as a ground rail.

Step 10: Attaching Pin 1 to Gound

Picture of Attaching Pin 1 to Gound

 ran out of space on top of the board so a jumper so i connected pin 1 to the ground wire using a jumper under the board

Step 11: The Speaker

Picture of The Speaker

i attached the speaker to pin 3 of the chip through the 10u capacitor, and put the other wire through a hole above the ground wire and soldered it in.

Step 12: Adding Power

Picture of Adding Power

put the wires from the battery holder into the board. into the black holes we marked earlier. the positive goes in the left hole,negative in the right. Solder them in. Make a solder bridge between the round wire and the negative wire you just soldered in and solder all the wires that come from positive in the diagram (1k resistor, pins 8 and 4) together with a solder ridge

Step 13: Testing

Picture of Testing

It now should work, check all your joints and work through the schematic, making sure you put it together right, then take a deep breath and plug in the battery... It should make a noise when you push one off the buttons, if not then check everything is right, eg. is the capaciter the right way round? 555 ic upside down? if it stll doesnt work then the components might be faulty.

Step 14: Adding a Switch

Picture of Adding a Switch

Cut he red wire between the battery and the board, strip the ends and solder them to the prongs of a switch. one to the middle and one to the outside prong. You should cover the joints in heat shrink tubing or tape to make them stronger

Step 15: Adding a Led

Picture of Adding a Led

Adding an led that shows when it is on is useful as this circuit gives of no sound when i not being played, a led will stop you forgetting to turn it off. Solder the resistr to the positive terminal and the other end to the positive lead of the led (the longer one). Then take the other lead and solder it onto the ground. the led should come on when the device is powered

Step 16: Finishing Of

Picture of Finishing Of

This circuit is incredibly easy to modify as its so simple, you could replace a resistor with a LDR to create a solar therimin, or change the resistor values to get different pitches


CimpoiașuM (author)2017-11-06

Hey, I was wondering if I could use 4 - pin pushbuttons. I don't have 2-pin push buttons.

mrambazamba (author)CimpoiașuM2017-11-19

Ýes you can.

MonaL18 (author)2017-10-04

Speaker is always humming/on... please tell me what is the problem?

prasanna.ganesh96 (author)2017-03-31

what is alternative of 8r Speaker?

Billgrahammusic (author)2016-10-10

I'm bread boarding this circuit. The basic astable oscillator portion is no problem, but when I wired a switch in (a normally open momentary switch) it behaves the opposite of how I expect (there's a constant tone, and when I press the button it interrupts the tone.). Any ideas?
Thanks very much

SagarS66 (author)2016-05-20

Sir.. Where should i use the potentio meter?

Astrolux (author)2016-03-29

Why did you replace the 1K Ohm resistor with a 2K Ohm trimmer potentiometer?

sholtob (author)Astrolux2016-04-09

To allow it to be a bit tunable and increase the range of pitches it could play

Astrolux (author)sholtob2016-04-10

Okay, now i get it. Thank you! :)

totoru (author)2016-01-09

hello and thank you to you for your project. I have a big problem. I have reproduced the same thing but no sound . Why? I tried to replace some components but they function all well. Thank you in advance for your answer.

skmkedar (author)totoru2016-04-08

Just checkout any fault in soldering.

sholtob (author)totoru2016-01-10

Are the buttons orientated correctly? do get get different voltages going coming from the buttons when you press them? have you tried configuring the 555 as an astable oscillator so you can test that the speakers are working and you have enough power to drive them? also double check every connection is correct, almost all the problems I have with electronics are due to incorrect assembly and a circuit rarely works first try. hope this helps, all the best

shahrukht (author)2015-12-14

if i connect a led it wont produce sound without led its working fine what can be the issue?

sholtob (author)shahrukht2015-12-16

What value resistor did you use? does the LED light up?

CourtneyH15 (author)2015-11-19

What is the recommended battery voltage to use?

sholtob (author)CourtneyH152015-11-20
the operating voltage for a 555 timer is 4.5-16v so any that outputs between them, 9v is probably easiest or 4 AA's would work and last longer.

3eprabu (author)2015-09-18

There is a beep sound every second ,even without pressing the switches . any idea how to eliminate the beeb sound plz ?

tabish101 (author)2015-04-09

Any idea how to make it a touch piano using LDR replacing switch? According to logic LDR reduces resistance in light, so how can LDR be used to play sound only when we put finger on LDR?

an_26 (author)2014-11-11

can we use piezzoelectric buzzer here? instead of a speaker?

malderman (author)an_262015-03-20

I don't think that would work. The buzzer only produces one sound. The speaker would produce the different tones of the "piano". Good luck!

aman56thakur made it! (author)2015-01-25

nice instructable....... I added a LED to..

raveenak (author)2014-12-12

Hey....This has been very helpful for my project,but den may i know how i could do d same using an arduino board ?

Thanks in advance :)

raveenak (author)2014-12-12

Hey...This has been very helpful for my project, but may i know how i could do d same using arduino?

Thanks in advance!

susmitha95 (author)2014-08-27

could you decribe the working of the circuit

aaroncmears (author)2014-01-20

Hey, would this still work with a 100u capacitor in the place of a 10u?

Sankhedekar (author)2013-09-14

Hey this project is superb... Could u plz upload the video...i wanna listen the sound when different keys r pressed...I Need this idea to implement on Piano Staircase but need some help from u.....Could u plz guide me for what changes i need to do....I wil be using it for 10 to 12 steps...and wanna connect a high power speaker and supply...Wil the sound be differentiable n clear....? plz do help...

samaddon (author)2013-02-23

Hello, can you tell me what's the value in numeric code is printed on a 100n ceramic capacitor (like :104 or and other number for 100n). And tell me which type of resistor the 10k resistor is it's variable or simple the circuit shows the resistor is variable but you have used a simple resistor ? give a clear answer please!

acerpeng229 (author)2012-10-31

Hi, nice one. hey, did you know that pianos have the black keys? if so, how do i add buttons on it to make it like a real piano.

sholtob (author)acerpeng2292012-11-02

i made a better version which includes the black keys and is in theory tune-able

maniacccc (author)2012-10-14

Extremely useful..tnx it works perfectly n ya u can add extra switches if u want!
Adding a pot btwn speaker n capacitor can help in tuning the piano as per ur requirements!

jello23 (author)2012-08-31

Made mine with a smal through-hole piezo buzzer instead of a speaker, but i wish there where a simple and cheap way to give it some nice enclosure, any tips or ideas?

amp625 (author)2012-08-28

hello, i built this and everything works great, but i was wondering if there is any way to hook up LEDs to individual buttons. I have been trying and it's either one works or the other. Any suggestions?

Rush_2112 (author)2012-05-16

I like the Kalimba Idea! Very funny!

lonenome (author)2012-05-15

Nice one took me a few try's to get it right but this was a nice project i had fun and my kids did after i was done. Good work thanks for the project

cc67 (author)2012-02-29

if more buttons are inserted, do we need more voltage than 9V? and can we use any speakers beside 8Ω??? thanks

sholtob (author)cc672012-03-22

you could still use the same battery, i have made another one thats more complex and that has more buttons and runs on only 6v. i have uploaded it to instructables

cc67 (author)sholtob2012-03-23


cc67 (author)2012-03-21

is the 10K resistor a potentiometer? And if it is one, how do you connect pin 1 to the gnd?

sholtob (author)cc672012-03-22

yes it is, i didnt have one so left it out, the pins are conected line in the schematic and the arow represents the middle pin

DavezDesignz (author)2012-03-09

anyway to sustain the notes for a period of time?

sholtob (author)DavezDesignz2012-03-09

only by holding down the button, unless you used a microcontroller or much more complex circuit

thehowdyin3d (author)2012-02-06

how much does this cost in the end?

sholtob (author)thehowdyin3d2012-02-08

i allready had the speaker and buttons, 555s cost around 20p and the rest of the components are cheap so probably 2 or 3 pounds if you bought it all separatly

CSE251 (author)2011-12-23

thank you very much .. I got it now ^^

CSE251 (author)2011-12-23

thank you guys I've just finishing the circuit and it works ^-^

but I really wanna understand the concept of how the buttons works and how each button makes a different sound ?

sholtob (author)CSE2512011-12-23

when you press a button it makes electricity flw throughthe resistor into the chip, the further allong the buttons the highe the resistance as the electricity has to go through more, the resistance is what defines the musical note, you could substitute the buttons for a potentiometer and have smooth gaps between the notes

Maco21 (author)2011-12-07

hi,can i have PCB of this beautiful project,please please :)

CSE251 (author)2011-11-30


sholtob (author)CSE2512011-11-30

8r means 8 ohm, i think it stands for resistance, you can buy them online or dig one out of a cd player, i have used other values but i don't know if that is bad for them although it seams to work

Robot Lover (author)2011-10-11

I suppose that more buttons could be added no?

About This Instructable




More by sholtob:LushOne Modular Synth Laser Cut CaseDigital ZoetropeAtari Punk Organ, a simple 555 synthesizer
Add instructable to: