555 timer

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

The 555 timer IC was first introduced around 1971 by the Signetics Corporation as the SE555/NE555 and was called `The IC Time Machine` and was also the very first and only commercial timer ic available. It provided circuit designers and hobby tinkerers with a relatively cheap, stable, and user-friendly integrated circuit for both monostable and as

555 timer
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table applications. Since this device was first made commercially available, a myrad of novel and unique circuits have been developed and presented in several trade, professional, and hobby publications. The past ten years some manufacturers stopped making these timers because of competition or other reasons. Yet other companies, like NTE (a subdivision of Philips) picked up where some left off. This primer is about this fantastic timer which is after 30 years still very popular and used in many schematics. Although these days the CMOS version of this IC, like the Motorola MC1455, is mostly used, the regular type is still available, however there have been many improvements and variations in the circuitry. But all types are pin-for-pin plug compatible. Myself, every time I see this 555 timer used in advanced and high-tech electronic circuits, I`m amazed. It is just incredible. In this tutorial I will show you what exactly the 555 timer is and how to properly use it by itself or in combination with other solid state devices without the requirement of an engineering degree. This timer uses a maze of transistors, diodes and resistors and for this complex reason I will use a more simplified (but accurate) block diagram to explain the internal organizations of the 555. So, lets start slowly and build it up from there. The 555, in fig. 1 and fig. 2 above, come in two packages, either the round metal-can called the `T` package or...

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