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Atari Punk Crab

A 555 timer Atari punk console for all the bleeps and bloops.

Ahhhhh, the good old days, when the bleeps and bloops of video games emitted from your local arcade and Atari reigned supreme. There is nothing like the sound that is heard ringing from Pong, the wakka wakka wakka of Pacman, and the beautiful squiiink of your blaster in Space Invaders. The Atari Punk Crab creates these nostalgic sounds and then some with the squeal and wahwah of pulsating electricity created by two 555 timers.

The Atari Punk Console is based on a circuit first published in a Radio Shack booklet in 1980, dubbed the “Sound Synthesizer”. It was invented by designer Forrest M. Mims III. More recently, Kaustic Machines renamed the circuit the “Atari Punk Console” because the low-fi sound resembled the Atari games from the 80s. The circuit is an astable wave oscillator that drives a monostable oscillator to create a single square pulse. If none of that last sentence made sense, no worries, grab the parts, throw them on your breadboard and you’ll soon understand what a “monostable square pulse oscillator” sounds like.

The Atari Punk Crab is just another step in my exploration of the 555 timer and all the things we can build with this stellar little chip. We will be doing both breadboard and PCB designing in this tutorial.”

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