So here it is the final presentation. This is a complete over view of what goes into building an Atari Punk Console. I used Autodesk Maya to render the parts and show the assembly of the PCB, as well as the electrons flowing around the PCB. The videos was edited together in Adobe Premier. Bay Area Circuits manufactured the PCBs and I got the parts for assembly at Frys electronics. The total build cost was about $15, and took about 10 min to do the assembly.
The Atari Punk console is an astable square wave oscillator driving a monostable oscillator that creates a single pulse. The two controls, are for the frequency of the oscillator and one to control the width of the pulse. The controls are usually potentiometer but the circuit can also be controlled by light, temperature, pressure etc. by replacing a potentiometer with a suitable sensor (e.g., photo resistor for light sensitivity). Most of the time there is also a power switch (often a toggle switch) and a volume knob.
Background on the Atari Punk Console:
The Atari Punk Console (commonly shortened to APC) is a popular circuit that utilizes two 555 timer ICs or a single 556 dual timer IC. The original circuit, called a “Sound Synthesizer”, was published in a Radio Shack booklet: “Engineer’s Notebook: Integrated Circuit Applications” in 1980 and later called “Stepped Tone Generator” in “Engineer’s Mini-Notebook – 555 Circuits” by its designer, Forrest M. Mims III (Siliconcepts, 1984). It was named “Atari Punk Console” (APC) by Kaustic Machines crew because its “low-fi” sounds resemble classic Atari console games from the 1980s, with a square wave output similar to the Atari 2600. Kaustic Machines added a -4db line level output to the circuit which was originally designed to drive a small 8 ohm speaker.