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A true classic for DIY synth makers and circuit benders, the Atari Punk Console can kick out some ear-catching square waves. It’s easy to build and a lot of fun to play around with. It may be challenging to make traditional music with an APC, but hey, there’s enough of that around already, right?

Subscribe to the Collin’s Lab Podcast in iTunes, download the m4v video directly, or watch it on YouTube and Vimeo.

Oh, and here’s a schematic for the APC I built in this video:
(The 556 timer chip is shown in two parts in order to emphasize the two separate timers included in the IC.)

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!



  1. Hmmmm….already made crystal radios with my Cub Scouts. May need to do this to really annoy the parents……

  2. Hmmmm….already made crystal radios with my Cub Scouts. May need to do this to really annoy the parents……

  3. Hmmmm….already made crystal radios with my Cub Scouts. May need to do this to really annoy the parents……

    1. that’s one lucky troop!

  4. Mark says:

    The APC was how I learned to solder…. good times

  5. Santiago Ozafrain says:

    Hi! Nice video. I’ve tried this project and encountered two problems. The first one is that the potentiometers don’t work gradually, the changes are too abrupt. I couldn’t get 1M and used 500k ones, my guess is that that’s the problem. And the other one is that the output is too low. I plugged it to my guitar amp but the volume is very low. I used a 1k resistance instead of the 4.7k before the output, can this affect? Thanks, sorry for my english. Bye, Santiago.

    1. Saulo Silva says:

      Maybe you are using a logarithmic instead of the linear potentiomer, that makes this abrupt changes. i guess…

  6. pitfall…..i love that game

  7. Mike Wittmer says:

    I found these videos yesterday…very cool! I’m an instant fan.

    I’m trying to find a couple of parts used in the video for this project. 1. the power jack soldered to the board which Colin attaches his 9v bat to. 2. the little rings he installed to support the pots.

  8. Zomby mike says:

    I would really like a good look at the bottom of that completed board. Take a snapshot for me?

    1. josh says:

      same here dude

  9. William says:

    i am a noob at electronics, i have no idea what to do, do you think it is possible for a noob like me to do this project?

    1. Jason says:

      Im a noob to and i did it.

  10. a fellow electronics hobbiest says:

    i was wondering were i could find schematics for this using 2 555 timers… instead of 1 556 timer… my spare parts are limited!

  11. a fellow electronics hobbiest says:

    wait… never mind… the schematics you posted should work!

  12. giedriuszzz says:

    I make this AFC with two NE555, forked perfect.

  13. mosantos says:

    I’m having some troubles :(
    yesterday I make this circuit and it worked perfectly.But today I can’t make it work??
    I’ve not change it.
    Anyone can help me?
    Sorry for my English :)

  14. graehme says:

    just built a homemade motherboard from scratch. took me 4 years to plan and make and now im done. Only works with a special home built security card that plugs into the motherboard to make it run or it will not work. built in ram of 512 mb running a os that i paid my buddy to make. and alot of pic processors combined to make it compare to a pentium. Supports only my custom made video card that has a custom slot to attatch to motherboard. Video card has a whopping 256 megabytes of ram and core clock of 400mhz. Reads floppy disks only. no cd’s.

  15. Thijs v Beers says:

    could it be split in half, like two circuits. one with a potentiometer to pitch a constant tone, and one with a potentiometer to break a tone. I`ve got two small containers an apc cant fit in but half an apc can maybe, if you have any other ideas for small noismakers I would like to get them.

  16. Blinkyblinky says:

    What is the synth you are playing with in the beginning?

  17. johngalt says:

    In the audio he says it is the Sound Lab synth. It is from
    YOu can check google for links.

  18. Nick Latocha says:

    I decided to create a similar sounding patch in Max/MSP for those who aren’t too hot on soldering…..

    Although not truely authentic is creates a decent stepped tone sound.

  19. Dylon Jamna says:

    Are those 500k or 1m ohm potentiometers?

  20. Bill says:

    Can someone please list me all the components needed to make this exact device please?

  21. Brad says:

    I made this, but only the potentiometer controlling pitch is working. There is nothing wrong with the potentiometer so what could be wrong?

  22. sam says:

    What kind of capacitors?