555 timer music instrument

Posted on Feb 7, 2014

A very simple music instrument/keyboard for playing music using a 555 timer chip circuit, a piece of paper and a pencil. To see it in action watch the how-to-make video below. And then I made the much fancier automatic music player in the photo below by making a playing head and a way to feed in a long sheet of paper with the musical notes represented as holes in the paper. To see it in action watch the

555 timer music instrument
Click here to download the full size of the above Circuit.

how-to-make video below. And then I made this far more robust one, with hand crank, loud speaker and everything. This was made for the 2013 Ottawa Mini-Maker Faire. Click here for full details of this 555 timer music player. Below are drawn the circuits used for the above music devices. The "paper and graphite resistor" refers to a sheet of paper with thick pencil marks drawn on it. This pencil marks acts as variable resistors. In the circuit below you can see it`s wired in series with the 6. 8 kilo ohm resistor. By moving the end of the red wire across the marks, the 555 chip sends different frequencies to the speaker. The two circuits differ in the shape of the pencil marks for the paper and graphite resistor and in the capacitance of one of the capacitors. In the circuit on the left the capacitor is a 0. 1 microfarad one and on the right it`s a 2. 3 nanofarad one. Using the smaller capacitor allows for thinner lines with higher resistance to be drawn between each rectangular mark for the graphite resistor. The higher resistance makes it easier to make marks that represent different musical notes. In the first circuit the contact is made by touching it anywhere with a wire. You can see this in the circuit diagram on the left above and in the photo below. In the second circuit contact is made as follows and as shown in the photos below. Each rectangular pencil mark represents a different musical note. Contact is made with...

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