This circuit is used to slowly illuminate and fade a pair of red LEDs (light emitting diodes). The fading LEDs could be installed as 'eyes' in a small pumpkin or skull as a Halloween attraction, or mounted in a Christmas tree ornament. Or, they might be used as a fancy power indicator for your computer, microwave oven, stereo system, TV, or other appliance. In operation, a linear 3 volt (peak to peak) ramping waveform is generated at pin 1 of the LM1458 IC and buffered with an emitter follower transistor stage. The 22uF capacitor and 47K resistor connected to pin 2 establish the frequency which is about 0.5 Hz.
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You can make the
rate adjustable by using a 100K potentiometer in place of the 47K
resistor at pin 2.
The circuit consists of two operational amplifiers (opamps),
one producing a slow rising and falling voltage from about 3 volts to
6 volts, and the other (on the right) is used as a voltage comparator,
the output of which supplies a alternating voltage switching between
2 and 7 volts to charge and discharge the capacitor with a constant
Each of the op-amps has one of the inputs (pins 3 and 6) tied to a
fixed voltage established by two 47K resistors so that the reference
is half the supply voltage or 4.5 volts. The left opamp is connected
as an inverting amplifier with a capacitor placed between the output
(pin 1) and the inverting input (pin 2). The right opamp is connected
as a voltage comparator so that the output on pin 7 will be low when
the input is below the reference and high when the input is higher
than the reference. A 100K resistor is connected between the comparator
output and input to provide positive feedback and pulls the input
above or below the switching point when the threshold is reached.
When the comparator output changes at pin 7, the direction of the
current changes through the capacitor which in turn causes the inverting
opamp to move in the opposite direction. This yields a linear ramping
waveform or triangle waveform at pin 1 of the inverting opamp.
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