Tag Archives: 555

Maker Faire New York 2013

Maker Faire New York 2013 Logo

Maker Faire New York is almost here! We’ll be in the Atmel booth, showing a few of our favorite AVR projects, including Meggy Jr RGBArt Controller, and Octolively.

We’ll also be bringing our new Three Fives timer (despite it not having any microcontrollers). The schedule for the fair is up, so if you’re in the area, you can start planning your weekend now.

Making the Legs for the 555 Kit

555 Legs 1

This past week we introduced our “Three Fives” discrete 555 timer kit, which comes with a set of “legs” to make it look like a (DIP packaged) integrated circuit. In that introduction, we mentioned that the legs are machined and formed from PVC foam. But what exactly does that mean? Here (in gory step by step detail) is how we make them!

Continue reading Making the Legs for the 555 Kit

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.

Some gems from the 555 Contest

This spring, we’ve had the honor to help judge the 555 Contest organized by Jeri Ellsworth and Chris Gammell.

Now that the scores have been received from final-round celebrity judges Hans Camenzind and Forrest Mims, Jeri and Chris will be announcing the results of the contest live on uStream, today (Wednesday April 20) at 9 pm EST.

To help get you in the mood for the results, here are just a few of our favorites that you may not have seen, in no particular order– hopefully some of these will be amongst the winners!

A beautiful working model of a 555 constructed of discrete components installed in the Encyclopedia of Integrated Circuits.

DSCN1232

555 Timer based Music Box Player


LED Dominoes

Flashus Bulbus, an array of blinking bulbs

555 Adding Machine by Alan Yates

555 AM Radio by Eric Schlaepfer:


Rather brilliant 555-based POV display by Michael Noland, writes out “555” in space, using nothing but 555s:

This Atari Punk Sequencer just rocks; check out the video.


Pavel Hanak built the most pure 555 circuits that we’ve ever seen: Astable Multivibrators Built Solely From 555s. No external resistors or capacitors, just the internal resistance and capacitance of up to 20 additional 555s. (Clearly an insane genius!)

So that’s just a taste of all the awesomeness from this contest– we hope you’ll tune in
live on uStream, today (Wednesday April 20) at 9 pm EST to see the winners.