Instructables
Picture of How to make the Atari Punk Console
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So talking with a friend I decided to make a synth, a basic but nice one. So I thought why not? So I'll add my contribution to the APC history!
The Atari Punk Console has a long history so you can check it here. 
I can tell you it was designed by the most famous Forrest M. Mims III.
It is called the Atari Punk Console because of the stepped tone generated is like the sounds emitted by the original Atari video game system. 

 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
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The electronic components you will need are: 
  • X2 555 Chip (You can also use a 556 Chip but for sake of simplicity I will use two 555)
  • X1 1K resistor
  • X1 .01 uF ceramic capacitor
  • X1 .1 uF ceramic capacitor
  • X1 10 uF electrolytic capacitor
  • X1 Female stereo jack 6,3 mm
  • X1 DC female jack
  • X2 50K (or 500K but I will use 50K because it seems to me the correct stepped tone sound)
  • X1 Switch (any really)
  • X2 Knobs (optional)
  • X1 Prototype board for soldering (I bought the smallest and cheapest)
  • X1 Enclosure (optional, I used a plastic ipod touch one)
  • X2 8 pin sockets (optional)

Other things you'll find around the house:
  • Soldering iron
  • Screwdriver
  • Tweezers
  • Wire
  • Wire stripper 

Step 2: The schematic

So it's actually very easy. 

First 555
Pin 1 goes to ground.
Pin 2 goes to .01 cap that goes to ground.
Pin 3 goes to pin 2 on the other 555.
Pin 4 goes to 9 Volts.
Pin 8 goes to 9 Volts.
Pin 7 goes to the pot and the resistor.
Pin 6 goes to the resistor and to pin 2 on the same 555.

Second 555
Pin 1 goes to ground. 
Pin 2 goes to pin 3 on the other 555.
Pin 3 goes to output.
Pin 4 goes to 9 Volts.
Pin 6 goes to .1 cap that goes to ground.
Pin 7 goes to the pot.
Pin 8 goes to 9 Volts.

Pretty easy, huh!

elikumacore2 months ago

NVM. fixed it. I used a 50k pot on the monostable and used a 500k and 50k pot in series for the astable. now my only problem is the volume pot, it suddenly jumps from real quiet to loud. I used a 10k pot foe thw volume.

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elikumacore2 months ago

hi, I just finished making my apc, but mine is powered by a 9v/500ma wallwart. I used a 10uf/160v capacitor and 1k resistor I found somewhere. I also used a 16ohm speaker, I can't find any 8ohms lying around.

for some reason it can't finish a whole octave, or the apc can't? or is it because of the parts I switched in?

here is a couple of photos.

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achamberlain37 months ago
Just a quick question, what wattage are your pots rated at? I tried to build one using cheap variable resistors, and the second pot (Controlling the Monostable oscillator) kept burning up. I believe mine are rated at only .20 A, or 200 mA. I bought a second breadboard so I can have plenty of real estate, I think it just might have been because everything was crammed so tight that a short happened somewhere.

KINDA-SOLVED: I tried a different of same idea, the APC using the 556. From collin's lab: http://makezine.com/2011/09/13/collins-lab-atari-p...

Well 1) It might have been a problem here as well, I realized I had the 1k resistor going only to pin 6 (because I placed the resistor between the pins). So at least when I plugged in the battery, I got no smoke.

But 2) I started playing around, at the lower values (~1k according to my multimeter) it started glowing. No smoke like last time, but still scary. Makes sense, due to I=V/R. Small res, big current….. So just my recommendation, look for something that has at greater than 200mA rating. Anyone have an idea?

faziefazie1 year ago
If I want to put a switch, where should I put in it?
TobaTobias (author)  faziefazie1 year ago
If you want a switch to turn on - off, you could solder it to the power jack. Hook ground to ground on the jack a 5 Volts on the jack to the other pole on the switch.
cbm7b51 year ago
Never mind, I used a breadboard and played around with different configurations. Leg 2 of pot to +9v, Leg 3 of pot to pin 7 of 555.
TobaTobias (author)  cbm7b51 year ago
Yes, and also remember to attach Leg 1 with Leg 2 as we are not using any logical values.
cbm7b51 year ago
Awesome instructable! This is my 3rd electronics project. My 1st was a simple LED, the second was a composite A/V mod and power switch repair on a Colecovision. I have a question about wiring the pots. The photos aren't clear, do you use legs 1 & 2 on the pots? I'm guessing the +9v goes to leg 1 and pin 7 on the 555 goes to leg 2. Is this correct?
Using two 555 timers is nice. Try using a single 556 if you can find one, it makes things a tad easier to wire up. (In my opinion.)

You can also use a CDS (photo resistor) instead of the variable resistors (knobs). Then you have a light controlled circuit. My students loved that.

Also, if you only have a single 555 chip you can always make a stripped down version of this. An ease project for those just starting out.
TobaTobias (author)  JoshuaZimmerman2 years ago
I will do a version with a 556, it was cheaper for me to get to 555.
Yep, I also tried it with some CDS, really cool. You get a nice atari theremin console!
Nice tutorial! I had a go myself but used a 556 instead. I found changing the capacitors can really change the tone!

www.myredhotcar.co.uk/blogg/?p=248

@myredhotcar
nlatocha, Can you tell me more about how you changed the caps? Like using a 50uf instead of a 10uf or what? I am very new at this, so any help will be appreciated!
@synthdust - I basically added sockets where the capacitors were and tried different values to get different sounds. Take a look at this image and the next one:

http://www.myredhotcar.co.uk/blog/led-distortion-pedal/sony-dsc-3/

It was just a case trial and error to be honest!

Nick
Every tried hooking it up through a guitar effects pedal, like and echo or flanger? I did. It sounds awesome! Check out http://youtu.be/ASVqshn26fk and http://ataripunkconsole.com/
TobaTobias (author)  powerman6661 year ago
Thanks, actually Im just working on a pedal. I have a distortion effect box that works quite nicely with this.
fugyeh2 years ago
How much would you say it costs to make one? I know I could look up each part but I'm in no rush :) Please let me know! Super rad by the way!
TobaTobias (author)  fugyeh2 years ago
Sorry for the late reply. I'd say about less than 10 dollars, already including the box and the 9v. Actually the 9v is the most expensive thing if you aren't using another power source.
Awesome. I will let you know how my APC comes out when I make it. Just waiting for the parts :)
Selmerman2 years ago
What voltage does the console operate on?
TobaTobias (author)  Selmerman2 years ago
On 9Volts. You can use a 9V jack or a simple 9V with it's connecter.
dcthulu2 years ago
I have done in 2 times and I dont get any sound, only mi 555 chips get really hot and I dont know why.
I am a beginner in this stuff, There's some pics, let me know whats is wrong please.
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TobaTobias (author)  dcthulu2 years ago
Hi! Sorry for the late reply. Well from the looks I really cant tell what is wrong. You should try changing the green capacitors for ceramic capacitors. What I do recommend is using a bigger board or even a breadboard before soldering. A breadboard costs next to nothing and is a really great way for prototyping and checking what is wrong without soldering.
If you need any more help please don't doubt to write. :)
No problem. I would try what you suggested. And I'm gonna get a breadboard the better.
Thanks for the reply.
alexwu22112 years ago
would it still work if I tried hooking up a MP3 instead of a 9V battery?
TobaTobias (author)  alexwu22112 years ago
I don't know, probably not because it needs voltage being sent.
seensaman2 years ago
Where do you get those 555 timers? Would I be able to salvage them from stuff around the house?
TobaTobias (author)  seensaman2 years ago
555 timers are recent chips, I think the best thing is to buy them or buy a 556. They are cheap. Look at this:
http://www.instructables.com/answers/Where-can-i-find-scavenge-a-555-timer-and-others/