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Noisetoy Nobatt

The Noise Toy kit by Loud Objects is an easy build that delivers some impressive bit-bleeping goodness. After some simple soldering, you’ve got an excellent little synth-noise generator that can double as a programmable experimenter’s board – great for those interested in microcontroller sound synthesis.

Next week, we’ll go into more detail regarding such programming hackery – until then, onto the build!

Update: Sound samples added!

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If you’ve soldered before, putting the Noise Toy together is a breeze – and if you haven’t, it’s a good project to get you started. Here’s a rundown of the process –

Parts list
Noisetoy 0 Partslabelled
The kit comes with the following:

  • A – Printed circuit board

  • B – 3.5mm stereo jack
  • C – 2 momentary tactile switches
  • D – ATTiny85 AVR chip + socket
  • E – 5-pin female header
  • F – CR1220 coin cell battery
  • G – 12.5mm coin cell battery holder
  • H – SPST toggle switch

Step 1 – Programming header
Noisetoy Step1Alt
Place the 5-pin female header into the board in the “PROGRAM” area. Hold it in place with a pair of pliers or tape and flip the board over. Solder each pin to each silver pad – hold the iron tip between the two for 1-2 seconds then melt a bit of solder into where they meet.

Step 2 – Tactile switch
Noisetoy Step2
Orient each tactile switch so that the legs bow outward to the longer sides of the board. Snap them into place, turn the board over and solder each of the legs.

Step 3 – Chip + socket
Noisetoy Step3
The chip comes already placed in its socket. Place it in the board below the power switch area, ensuring the round notch on the end matches the white outline as above. Chips aren’t fond of excessive heat – so avoid holding the iron to each pin for more than a few seconds while soldering all 8 to the pads. Optionally you could remove the chjp from its socket before soldering and replace after, but take care not to bend the pins.

Step 4 – 3.5mm (headphone-style) jack & battery holder
Noisetoy Step4
You can place the jack and battery holder at the same time – support them with tape/pliers, turn the board over and solder away.

Step 5 – Toggle switch
Noisetoy Step5
Place the (relatively enormous) toggle switch on the board as seen above, and while supporting it from below solder the four points that contact the square pads. The switch’s lugs are somewhat thick, so you’ll have to heat them with your iron a bit longer than the previous parts before the solder takes. This can make the metal portions of the switch quite hot – if you use fingers to keep it in place, hold it by the plastic lever portion.

Step 6 – Coin cell battery
Noisetoy 7 Battery Place
Slip the battery into its holder, positive (shiny) side up and make sure it sits squarely (or circley?) in place.

Step 7 – Done!
Step 6 - Done!
Plug into the jack and blast away! You can use headphones, a stereo, or any amplifier but keep in mind this is a “Loud Object” – get a feel for the levels before cranking the volume. Use the tactile switches to control the output in various ways – the kit comes preloaded with one of Loud Objects’ programs and they each sound quite different. Check out some samples -

“Stereo” sample

“Birdlane” sample

Stay tuned! – next week we’ll explore different ways to use the kit, including uploading and hacking new programs!

Collin Cunningham

Born, drew a lot, made video, made music on 4-track, then computer, more songwriting, met future wife, went to art school for video major, made websites, toured in a band, worked as web media tech, discovered electronics, taught myself electronics, blogged about DIY electronics, made web videos about electronics and made music for them … and I still do!


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