Atari Punk Stick Puts A Synth In A Joystick


The Atari Punk Console, a tiny synthesizer based on the ubiquitous 555 timer chip, is the first build de rigueur for any budding electronic wizard wanting to build musical devices. With just a handful of caps, resistors, and a pair of pots, the APC is a fabulously fun and easy build made even cooler by [Pat]’s addition of a joystick.

The circuit of the Atari Punk Console consists of a 556 chip – basically two 555s put into the same package – and a pair of potentiometers to control the frequency and output of this very basic synth. Since most joysticks are just two pots arranged on an X-Y mount, [Pat] thought it would be cool to control his APC without twiddling knobs, and instead sweeping a joystick around.

After acquiring an old Microsoft joystick from his local Goodwill, [Pat] wired up his Atari Punk Console to the joystick, using the ‘fire’ button to turn the output on and off. The result is everything between a low machine gun-like tone to a nasal square wave that will hopefully keep pace with your chip-based audiophile friends.


8 thoughts on “Atari Punk Stick Puts A Synth In A Joystick

  1. This is what you might well end up with if someone from the 80’s tried to cross a stylophone with a theremin. An interesting sound, although this may take a while to truly master as a musical instrument (:
    All the same nice work, well done (:

  2. Nice job on getting this built.
    This comment submitted 5 years ago. Sorry, but controller apcs showed up probably 2 weeks after the “renaissance” of Mims project several years ago. I always find it funny to read the apc builder forums as it is truly the blind leading the blind with a little internet tough guy thrown in. Same as Grumpy Steve (or whatever that syphilitic pig humper is named) on the Arduino forums. Everyone has a different schematic and no one knows why C2 is in there lol. Even the instructional vids are bad. Perhaps this is the gauntlet that will finally compel me to make some youtube guides. It would be great if Nic Collins would release some of his course work in video format online as he actually knows what is going on and does not obscure facts with idiocy like Ghazala or Ray Wilson (another complete d-nozzle) does.
    Sorry to rant there. Enjoy the tunes, Pat :)

  3. Awesome build. Great synth(s). That’s the great thing with digital instrument sythesis is that people with your abilities can turn almost anything into a digital instrument.

    On my blog I have a some thoughts on an expression controller built into a midi keyboard that would allow for variable side to side expression on each of the notes. There’s enough distance between the keys for a keyboard player to get some expression out of it, maybe a pitch bend or a filter sweep or just make it assignable. Nice build!

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