Chapter 2

The Fabulous 555 Timer Chip

In This Chapter

arrow Discovering the 555 timer chip

arrow Configuring a 555 timer chip

arrow Putting the 556 dual-timer chip to work

arrow Building basic 555 timer chip circuits

The 555 timer chip, developed in 1970, is probably the most popular integrated circuit (IC) ever made. By some estimates, more than a billion are manufactured every year. Its popularity is well deserved.

The 555 is a single-chip version of a commonly used circuit called a multivibrator, which is useful in a wide variety of electronic circuits (see Book II, Chapter 6, for more). You can use the 555 chip for basic timing functions, such as turning a light on for a certain length of time, creating a warning light that flashes on and off, producing musical notes of a particular frequency or controlling the position of a servo device (read more about servos in Book VII, Chapter 4). The list goes on and on.

In this chapter, you find out how to use this versatile chip in a variety of circuits. We explain how the 555 works and what each of its pins does, and you also view and build a variety of common ...

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