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What is an Atari Punk Console?

An Atari Punk Console is an electonic musical instrument that produces "low-fi" sounds that resemble classic Atari console games from the 1980s, with a square wave output similar to the Atari 2600.

Who invented it?
There are 3 people who contributed to the final instrument which is called an Atari Punk Console. Hans R. Camenzind invented the 555 timer IC, Forrest M. Mims III designed the Stepped Tone Generator and Kaustic Machines called the circuit the Atari Punk Console beucase of the "low-fi" sounds that resemble classic Atari console games from the 1980s it makes

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 "Stepped Tone Generator", was published in a Radio Shack booklet: "Engineer's Notebook: Integrated Circuit Applications" in 1980 and then 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.


This is the schematic with a 556




Atari Punk Console (Stepped Tone Generator)

Forrest M. Mims III: Atari Punk Console

Forrest M. Mims III: Atari Punk Console


This is my very first Atari Punk Console. I was built from a kit that I bought from Jameco Electonics. They have some of they coolest kits. This one has a built in 8 ohm speaker for your instant and portable enjoyment. This one has been sold.

More info...

Clear Box Atari Punk Console

Clear Box Atari Punk Console


My Clear Box Atari Punk Console is a truly unique APC. The firstly and most prominently unique feature is the clear case. This one has and auto color changing RGB LED. This one has been sold.

More info...

Blob Atari Punk Console

Blob Atari Punk Console


The one and only Blob Atari Punk Console. This one only opertion in one mode, the red button. This one has been sold.

More info...

Cube Atari Punk Console

Cube Atari Punk Console


The Cube Atari Punk Console. The big knob on top is the power switch. Nothing else to fancy about this one. This one has been sold.

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Atari Punk Console Pro

Atari Punk Console Pro


This is The Atari Punk Console Pro. The output is a 1/4 inch mono headphone jack which makes it Pro since it can be hooked up to standard musical equipment. It has a high quality LED Bezel and a high quality toggle switch for the power.

More info... / Buy Now $65

Atari Punk Console Pro 2

Atari Punk Console Pro 2


This version of the Atari Punk Console is unique in that it has 2 CV inputs for some really crazy sounds. The middle 8th inch Mono Jack is the output. The middle larger knob is for volume control.

More info... / Buy Now $75

Atari Junk Console

Atari Junk Console


This version of the Atari Punk Console was designed by Synthrotek and is really makes some cool Asteroids type sounds.

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Vibrati Punk Console

Vibrati Punk Console


This version of the Atari Punk Console was designed by LushProject, it's unique design features and additional Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO) which modulates the Atari Punk Console.

More info...

Jedi Punk Console

Jedi Punk Console


This is an Atari Punk Console inside a vintage 1980's era Darth Vader shapped Starwars Action Figure Case.

More info...

Piano/Organ Synthesizers

Atari Punk Music Box

Atari Punk Music Box


This is my first of the piano/organ type console. It has a power switch on it to save battery life when not in use.

More info... / Buy Now $50

Piano Punk Console

Piano Punk Console


The second of my piano/organ type Atari Punk Consoles. You can play melodies with this one. Each of the buttons is indivually tunable. This one has been sold.

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Golden Boy Toy Organ

Golden Boy Toy Organ


This one has 11 buttons and two knobs. The light in the center is also a button. It's golden and it's a toy organ.

More info... / Buy Now $125

Sequencer Synthesizers

8 Step Sequencer Music Box

8 Step Sequencer Music Box


This 8 step sequencer is based off the music box 555 timer circuit on 555-timer-cuicuits.com The big knob on the top right is also the on/off switch and a 500k potentiometor unlike the rest which are 100k. It also has an 8th in headphone output jack which can drive just about any speaker or amplifier.

More info... / Buy Now $100

10 Step Sequencer Music Box

10 Step Sequencer Music Box


This is my 10 Step Sequencer Music Box. It has a 1/4 inch mono audio jack. Two operation modes, single note and continuous flow.

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Other Synthesizers

Warbler Punk Console

Warbler Punk Console


The Warbler Punk Console is half an Atari Punk Console and a Mad Blaster Warbler Alarm. You can adjust the sound of the Alarm with the black knob by pressing both the red and black buttons at the same time. It has a large speaker in the box as well for some lound noisy fun.

More info... / Buy Now $110

Laser Punk Console

Laser Punk Console


This console has a light sensative resitor on the top, and Blue LED that lights up when its playing a tone and a mono RCA output.

More info...

4093 NAND Synth

4093 NAND Synth


This is the 4093 NAND Synth. This synth is really fun and easy to operate, just turn on the power switch, plug in your amp with the 1/4 inch mono jack and start making noise! The controls are a button, 3 switches, 4 knobs.

More info... / Buy Now $125

Arduino Projects

Diavolino (Arduino)

Diavolino (Arduino)


The Diavolino (Arduino compatible) board is one of the coolest looking Arduinos built on a red circuit board. This one was made from a bare bones kit.

More info...

Other Electronics

2.5 Watt Mono Audio Amplifier

2.5 Watt Mono Audio Amplifier


A hand built audio amplifier of 2.5 watts.

More info...

3 Watt Mono Audio Amplifier

3 Watt Mono Audio Amplifier


A hand built audio amplifier of 3 watts.

More info...

Single Channel Color Organ

Single Channel Color Organ


A light organ is an electronic device which automatically converts an audio signal (such as music) into rhythmic light effects.

More info...

TV Tennis Game Console

TV Tennis Game Console


A popular game like pong you can actually play on your TV. 1 or 2 players.

More info... / Buy Now $80

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Build your own now!

Soo, you want to build your own atari punk console? What better place to start than with a kit for your first one. If your not confident in you ability to do it with just a schematic and handfull of parts on a blank proto board then buy a kit from one of these great vendors. They are very easy to build and you don't need to know anything about schematics really. Just put the parts through the right holes and solder them in.


Atari Punk Console Kit Lynx

Atari Punk Console KitManufacturer
Atari Punk Console Kit
Synthrotek Atari Punk Console
by Synthrotek
Synthrotek
Forrest M. Mims III: Atari Punk Console Kit
Jameco Atari Punk Console
by Jameco
Jameco Atari Punk Console

Atari Punk Console PCB
Sarph Atari Punk Console PCB
by Sharph Hal (PCB only)
Sarph Atari Punk Console PCB

Atari-Noise Board
by Cavan Fyans

Atari Punk Console Kit
by Maker Shed

Atari Punk Console Kit
by Jimmie P Rodgers

Atari Punk Console Kit
by GetLoFi

Vibrati Punk Console
by Lush Projects

Atari Punk Console
by Pixelkit (Russia)


Atari Punk Console Parts Lynx

Synthrotek
Music From Outer Space
Atari Punk Console PCB - in my opnion the best one
Jameco Electonics.
Ramsey Electronics
All Electronics
Goldmine Electronics
Deal Extreme DIY Part
Quality Kits

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