The “Three Fives” Discrete 555 Timer Kit

555 kit

We’re pleased to announce our newest kit, the “Three Fives” Kit, a kit to build your own 555 timer circuit out of discrete components. Here’s a way to re-create one of the most classic, popular, and all-around useful chips of all time.

The kit is a faithful and functional transistor-scale replica of the classic NE555 timer integrated circuit, one of the most classic, popular, and all-around useful chips of all time. The kit was designed and developed as a collaboration with Eric Schlaepfer, based on a previous version (pictured here), and adapted from the equivalent schematic in the original datasheets for the device.  There have been a few other examples of circuits like these (such as the one that we featured in our article about the 555 contest), but we really like how this one has come together.

555 kit

The kit is designed to resemble an (overgrown) integrated circuit, based around an extra-thick matte-finish printed circuit board. The stand— which gives the circuit board eight legs in the shape of DIP-packaged integrated circuit pins —is made from machined and formed semi-rigid PVC foam.

555 kit

To actually hook up to the giant 555, there are the usual solder connection points, but there are also thumbscrew terminal posts that you can use with bare wires, solder lugs, or alligator clips.

555 kit

One of the really cool things about having a unintegrated disintegrated discrete circuit like this is that you can actually hook up probes and monitor what happens at different places inside the circuit.

555 kit

So that’s our new “Three Fives” Kit (shown above with an original NE555 for scale). It’s not quite as big as our 555 footstool, nor as tasty as our edible version, but it’s a great little circuit, and it’s got legs.

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6 thoughts on “The “Three Fives” Discrete 555 Timer Kit

  1. A few months ago I’ve built also one myself. It’s a great way to learn to learn about logics, transistors and of course the 555. An opamp would also be great!

  2. That’s awesome
    When I was in high school I saw a schematic for a NAND IC, and I I dis-integrated one of the gates into transistors. It was then that I realized, these chips are the same circuits I’m building, just on a micro-scale (obviously built by elves with tiny soldering irons).
    I would love to see an LM386 op-amp kit.

  3. Yes. I would love an op-amp. I’m going to buy one of these for my instrumental analysis class.

    • The LM386 is not an op-amp. Not even a little bit. However, the Jensen JE990 is a very impressive discrete op-amp module available from John Hardy, and the datasheet online actually has a full schematic of the device. And you can build it! And if you do, John Hardy will be happy for you rather than angry! I highly recommend building the JE990 circuit yourself, it is a great learning experience about op-amps.

  4. This product has a big potential to put the circuit diagram on the silk screen and have actual components instead of symbols. What other reason is there to have an oversize IC?

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