Since I'm a total beginner in the musical/synth/stuff-that-makes-sound universe I wanted to try something easy to start learning how the basic "synth principles" works.

To achieve that, the whole Internet itself seems to agree that the Atari Punk Console is the perfect project for starters, so the goal was pretty clear: build an APC.

Using two 555 timers in different modes the APC is a square wave generator that produces a peculiar sound that remind and old Atari console.
I found some useful information about how it works in this post on (and here is a Collin's Lab video with a cool circuit build) so I took that as my initial approach to the device (with lots of searches soundwave-related, of course!).

My design is the same that appears in the Atari Punk Console page on spanish wikipedia with some minor changes:

  • 500k potentiometers instead of the 470 suggested
  • A 200 resitor next to the first potentiometer to avoit a 0-resistance scenario there
  • A blinking led near the output
  • A "mute button" to create cool effects by muting the output (needless to say I don't know how to use it properly, but it works as expected!)
  • A mono-output mini-jack port (taken from an old mp3 player with left and right channel soldered together)
  • Electrolytic capacitors instead of the ceramic ones (basically I ran out of ceramic capacitors, so...)

The enclosure is a small case from a broken alarm proximity sensor I had around my desk. I thought it would be cool to put the circuit inside, so with some holes and some glue the magic was done and everything fitted together in a fancy way (it's not going to win a solder contest but it's pretty solid and gets the job done!).

It was a fun and interesting weekend-ish project (I think this one took two or three fragmented days around a full week or so) and, despite my musical habilities, maybe I try something more complex some other day.