04 May, 2010

Atari Punk Circuit

The Atari Punk Circuit was designed as a beginners' project by the venerable Forrest Mims, III. I built it as a prototype of a much grander project still to come, once I get around to making those flex resistor circuits for it. The Atari Punk circuit uses 2 555 integrated circuits (or 1 556), which is a timer circuit, and slaps resistors downstream of the inputs to vary the rate at which it pulses and capacitors on the outputs to modulate that pulse into a continuous and audible waveform. In this iteration I used 2 10K Ohm linear potentiometers as resistors. The 1st one modulates the frequency of the output wave, thus changing pitch; while the 2nd one is bridged across 2 input pins to provide destructive interference and noise upon the 1st wave, thus making buzzy distortion.

Shortly after running it in the video above, I connected this circuit to a power supply without checking what it was set to first, and promptly burnt one of the 555s out. Smoke and everything. Luckily, I have a replacement and will be putting it back together once I've wired up some flex bars in the place of the current linear potentiometers, even though linear potentiometers are dead sexy.

I have no idea how this relates to molecular biology. Yet.

1 comment:

Forrest M. Mims III said...

Nice work--especially including the scope. Too bad about smoking the 555. Not sure what would cause that. Forrest M. Mims III