Strobe Light

Posted on Nov 6, 2012

This circuit typically uses a voltage around 300 volts for the main high voltage supply and needs a low voltage supply of typically 6 to 15 volts. 555 pin connections not shown above: 1 goes to ground / negative of both low and high voltage supplies. 4,8 both go to positive low voltage supply, of 6 to 15 volts. 7 does not get connected to anything. The 555 should not be a TLC555, but should be an LM or NE 555. The timing capacitor should be at least 100 picofarads. The timing resistor should be 1K to 5 meg. The pulse (flash) frequency (in Hz or flashes per second) is approx .72 divided by the product of timing resistance (in ohms) and timing capacitance (in farads).

This oscillator does not work well at frequencies above something like a megahertz. Since most strobes don't work well above 10 Hz or something like that, the timing capacitor would be a minimum of .01 uF in nearly all cases, usually at least .22 uF. For a typical variable speed strobe light with a flash rate adjustable from about .35 to 7 Hz, I recommend a timing resistor of 10K in series with a 200K variable one, and the timing capacitor would be 10 microfarads. For a 200K variable resistor, you can use the two sections of Radio Shack's dual 100K pot (271-1732) in series with each other. I recommend using the center terminal and the first one clockwise from it, of each section, in order to take advantage of the nonlinear resistance distribution ("taper") of this device. You are encouraged (but at your own risk) to try different timing resistors and timing capacitors to get the results you want. In the event you are trying to get a rapid flash rate and the trigger capacitor is not charging quickly enough, you can try a lower value for the resistor that charges it from the main high voltage. More Advanced Stuff For now, I advise people to get the Radio Shack "Engineer's mini-notebooks" on digital circuits and on 555 timer IC circuits. One IC that is good for some strobe stuff, especially multiple and unevenly spaced flashes, is the 4017. This is a decade counter with ten outputs 0 to 9. Connect a square or...

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