Introduction: Metronome

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

So, you have built an electric cigar box guitar and started to get playing, only to realize that you don't know how. In fact, you can't even keep time. Your playing keeps getting faster and slower. It sounds like you need a metronome. A metronome is a device that helps you keep a steady time when you are playing an instrument by making a tick at a regular interval that you pre-set. If you have a little bit of electronics knowledge, it is very simple to build an electronic metronome.

Step 1:

- TLC555/TLC555CP LinCMOS Timer (8-Pin DIP) (Model: TLC555/TLC555CP | Catalog #: 276-1718)
- (x2) 10µF 35V 20% Radial-lead Electrolytic Capacitor (Model: 272-1025 | Catalog #: 272-1025)
- 10K-Ohm Horizontal-Style Trimmer (Model: 271-282 | Catalog #: 271-282)
- 1K Ohm 1/4-Watt Carbon Film Resistor (Model: 271-1321 | Catalog #: 271-1321)
- (x2) Red LED with Holder (Model: 276-084 | Catalog #: 276-084)
- 8-Ohm Mini Speaker (Model: 273-092 | Catalog #: 273-092)
- 500K Ohm Volume Control with Push Switch (Model: 271-002 | Catalog #: 271-002)
- Hexagonal Control Knob (Model: 274-407 | Catalog #: 274-407)
- Multipurpose PC Board with 417 Holes (Model: 276-150 | Catalog #: 276-150)
- Project Enclosure (5x2.5x2") (Model: 270-1803 | Catalog #: 270-1803)
- Fully Insulated 9V Battery Snap Connectors (Model: 270-325 | Catalog #: 270-325)
- Enercell® Alkaline 9 Volt Battery (Model: 23-853 | Catalog #: 23-853)

Step 2: Build the Circuit

Build the circuit according to the schematic, with the exception of the LEDs, the speaker, 9V battery connector, and the potentiometer. Those will be wired in later.

Step 3: Wire the Pot

Wire a black wire to the center pin on the side of the potentiometer and a red wire to the right pin.

Wire a red wire to the center pin on the bottom of the potentiometer. Wire another red wire to either of the side pins.

Step 4: Mark and Drill

Flip the case on it's side and measure 3/4" in from each side. Center both of these holes along the other axis. Drill them both with a 3/4" drill bit.

Step 5: Insert LEDs

Install your LEDs into the case and fasten them in place.

Step 6: Mark and Dril More

Flip your case up on its small side and make a perfectly centered mark. Drill a 3/8" hole using the mark as a guide.

Step 7: Potentiometer Time

Install the potentiometer into the 3/8" hole in the side of the case.

Step 8: Draw a Star

On the side of the case with the LEDs, make a mark that is dead centered. Make two 1/4" spaced marks to each side of this center mark to make a plus. Make two more similar marks at each 45 degree diagonal to form a star pattern.

Step 9: Drill

Drill through all of these marks with a 1/8" drill bit.

Step 10: Wire It Up

Wire the LEDs and the speaker to the board as shown in the schematic.

Wire the side connections of the potentiometer to the board as the potentiometer shown in the schematic.

Wire the red wire of the 9V battery connector to one of the red wire on the bottom of the potentiometer. Wire the other red wire from the potentiometer to power on the circuit board.

Finally, wire the black wire of the 9v battery connector to the ground plane on the circuit board.

Step 11: Glue

Hot glue the speaker to the inside of the case in front of the star pattern. The speaker should be able to cover all of the holes when you look at it from the outside.

Step 12: Power

Plug in the 9V battery to power up the circuit. It might now turn on. If it doesn't turn on, press down on the potentiometer knob to engage the power.

Turn it off.

Step 13: Case Closed

Fasten the case closed with screws.

Step 14: Knob

Attach the knob to the potentiometer shaft to finish it off.

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26 Discussions

how can you solder the wires when you never see the bottom where they connect

1 reply

you need to view the schematic diagram where the components connected it will help and guide you..

Wow! Finally, I found a good circuit for my metronome. I have practiced playing guitar and i am sure this device could help to improve my timing and speed skills ;).. Instead of buying one i decided to make.. thanks for sharing. :)

I bought the parts to be able to this project. I noticed you used a 10k resistor instead of the trimmer. Since I already bought the parts would I just solder the bottom two connections on the bottom of the trimmer and leave the stop free or should I go and get a resistor? If you could get back to me that would be great, thanks.

where does the horizontal trimmer go the pictures don't show it being used

In the parts list it says "10K-Ohm Horizontal-Style Trimmer", but I don't see that anywhere else in the instructable. Is it really needed, or can i just use 10k resistors?

I tried this several months ago and it didn't work out, but now i have way better tools and more knowledge with electronics. I'm going to try it again, hope it works!

Great Instructable! Mine turned out great!

photo-2013-07-31 3:55 PM.jpgphoto-2013-07-31 3:55 PM.jpg

i just built this circuit according to the schmatic and it seems to swing slightly... is there a way to correct this? if you are going to play with a metronome you need everybeat to be the exact length, not everyother one to be slightly shorter...i was reading online about getting the 555 to output a 50% duty cycle, but i cant seem to translate that into building this metronome! any idea? or maybe im making it up and it is perfect :p

I'm in the middle of building this - and thanks SO much, by the way! Assuming I ever succeed, my boys (learning piano now) will love it - and I'll score points as the cool geek dad...

SO - it would be SO helpful if you could also supply a physical wiring diagram (beg, beg?) for the actual PC board? (MAKEzine does this - it's VERY helpful!) I know it's a short hop for electronics whizzes from the schematic - but hey, they don't need the instructable, either, if it comes to that!

I totally get the schematic, conceptually, but when it comes to figuring out how these 3 things all connect and then are connected to the ground bus, etc. - I'm pulling my (little remaining) hair out. I'm TRYING to guess from your photos, but that's maybe 40-50%, and even then it's maddening...

MAJOR thanks if you can help!

1 reply

please help... just like dsmith said can the 10k ohm resistor be used to replace the trimmer mentioned in the parts list? Really want to start soon but don't want to screw it up

Good!!! ovservationnn But we Adjust the metronome in an Similar or same tempoo!!

your parts list has a 10k ohm horizontal trimmer, but instead you used a 10k ohm resistor. Would the trimmer have done anything that the resistor couldn't do? Just wanted to clarify this part before I started building.

BTW, somebody12345 the total cost was about 30$, unless you have a buddy at RadioShack who can let you use his discount, it brings the cost to 17$

Great Instructable :) ...Have built it, and now adapting it to a machine of mine.|
Only one question though, Is it possible to set the Tempo? or timing? ... with a rotary switch or something? Im not too tech-savy... so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. MGF

1 reply

Both 1K resistors meet with the plus side of the capacitor and pin 3 on the chip.