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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.
 
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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

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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

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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 one.in 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

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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

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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

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

Step 7:

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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

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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

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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

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 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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
tabish1013 months ago

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_268 months ago

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

malderman an_264 months ago

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!6 months ago
nice instructable....... I added a LED to..
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raveenak7 months ago

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 :)

raveenak7 months ago

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

Thanks in advance!

susmitha9511 months ago

could you decribe the working of the circuit

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

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...
samaddon2 years ago
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!
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acerpeng2292 years ago
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)  acerpeng2292 years ago
i made a better version which includes the black keys and is in theory tune-able

http://www.instructables.com/id/Atari-Punk-Organ-a-simple-555-synthesizer/
maniacccc2 years ago
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!
jello232 years ago
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?
amp6252 years ago
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_21123 years ago
I like the Kalimba Idea! Very funny!
lonenome3 years ago
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
cc673 years ago
if more buttons are inserted, do we need more voltage than 9V? and can we use any speakers beside 8Ω??? thanks
sholtob (author)  cc673 years ago
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 sholtob3 years ago
tnx
cc673 years ago
is the 10K resistor a potentiometer? And if it is one, how do you connect pin 1 to the gnd?
sholtob (author)  cc673 years ago
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
anyway to sustain the notes for a period of time?
sholtob (author)  DavezDesignz3 years ago
only by holding down the button, unless you used a microcontroller or much more complex circuit
how much does this cost in the end?
sholtob (author)  thehowdyin3d3 years ago
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
CSE2513 years ago
thank you very much .. I got it now ^^
CSE2513 years ago
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)  CSE2513 years ago
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
Maco213 years ago
hi,can i have PCB of this beautiful project,please please :)
CSE2513 years ago
IS THERE ANY SPECIAL MEANING OF 8R SPEAKER HERE.CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN.THANK YOU VERY MUCH
sholtob (author)  CSE2513 years ago
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 Lover3 years ago
I suppose that more buttons could be added no?