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Lesson 4.5: Atari Punk Console on the scope

The Atari Punk Console is a popular circuit that uses two 555 timer chips 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[1] and later called “Stepped Tone Generator” in “Engineer’s Mini-Notebook – 555 Circuits” by its designer, Forrest M. Mims III (Siliconcepts, 1984).[2] 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 with volume control to the circuit which was originally designed to drive a small 8-ohm speaker.

The Atari Punk console is an astable square wave oscillator driving a monostable oscillator that creates a single (square) pulse. Check it out!