In the 556 timer, the timing is a function of the charging rate of the external capacitor. For long time delays, expensive capacitors with extremely low leakage are required. The practicality of the components involved limits the time between pulses to something in the neighborhood of 10 minutes. To achieve longer time periods, both halves of a dual timer may be connected in tandem with a `Divide-by`` network in between the first timer section operates in an oscillatory mode with a period of 1/fo
This signal is then applied to a `Divide-by-N` network to give an output with the period of N/fo. This can then be used to trigger the second half of the 556. The total time delay is now a function of N and fo.