After building up one of our Three Fives kits, Ed wrote in to say:
I have been an electronics hobby enthusiast for well over 45 years building many, many kits, hacking my own stuff, others’ stuff, designing projects, etc. I have to say, your Three-Fives kit is truly the nicest commercially available kit I have ever had the privilege of assembling.
I was inspired to create a small, flexible wire harness with an 8-pin header on the end to effectively create an “In-Circuit Emulator” interface. You can prototype a circuit and then quickly pull the chip and insert the “ICE probe” and use a scope to probe any part of the chip you want to see what’s going on “under the hood.”
Thanks to Ed for sharing his project with us— and what a cool idea!
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!
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.
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.
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.
One of the really cool things about having a unintegrateddisintegrated discrete circuit like this is that you can actually hook up probes and monitor what happens at different places inside the circuit.
The succinct story of a modest little footstool– involving datasheets, cnc routing, laser engraving, plywood, glue, chips, all-thread, angle grinders, mountains of sawdust, dowel rods, spray paint, and a picture of a cat.
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.
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.