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555 contest

2011-01-20 14:58:28.477841+00 by Dan Lyke 11 comments

Dust off those hardware skills, the 555 Contest is coming. For those of you who aren't hardware nerds, the 555 is an IC designed by Hans R. Camenzind and brought to market by Signetics in 1971, and it's still going strong 4 decades later! With the addition of a few capacitors and resistors it can be a timer or oscillator, a switch debouncer, a frequency divider, a flip-flop, a touch sensor, and... well... I guess that's what the contest is about.

Forest Mims and Jeri Ellsworth are on board, so even watching from the sidelines should be awesome, once they work out the categories and such. So go over and help 'em make this a good one.

[ related topics: Hardware Hackery ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-20 19:05:52.076666+00 by: Mars Saxman

Huh. I've thought for a long time it would be fun to build a simple FM synth based on 555s run through Rc filters. One 555 running at note frequency gives your basic oscillator; a pair of one-shots triggered by note on / note off give you an envelope; and another 555 running at sub-audio rate is the LFO. A couple of BJTs and a fifth 555 might even give you phase modulation....

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-20 20:08:09.94334+00 by: meuon

Forest Mims and 555's.. Such memories. I wonder if I still have some breadboards and such in the boxes in my garage.. I burned up a lot of 741 op-amps, 555's and early LED's using the design notebooks of Mim's that Radio Shack used to carry.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-20 20:09:24.198853+00 by: hananc

555 sends me back to some good times with my breadboard and soldering iron, long abandoned.

I have suggested a category for the competition: Most imaginative/beatiful images generetaed by a circuit including only 555s and descrete components.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-20 20:31:42.166188+00 by: Mars Saxman

me too, meuon - those little books were my electronics foundation after I outgrew the 50-in-1 kit.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-20 20:57:47.906728+00 by: meuon

50in1.. Laughing.. with the bad springy connectors..and the little squares with a single component in them? I think I abused 2 or three of those at once. Drove my sister insane with alarms and things that made noise.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-20 22:23:35.418008+00 by: other_todd

The 50-in-1 kit has been improved in recent years. I have a Radio Shack model I bought last year. It has an actual breadboard with built-in power bus. I actually use it to testwire things. The only problem is that its onboard power is batteries; I'm trying to figure out if it's worthwhile to try to step down and rectify house current.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-20 23:56:57.081049+00 by: Dan Lyke

Todd, don't you have a handful of wall warts that already do that? I sure do.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-22 17:37:46.74206+00 by: Dan Lyke

A little background and history on the 555 and its evolution: http://monpjc.blogspot.com/2011/01/555-timer-hype.html

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-22 22:00:08.043961+00 by: Dan Lyke

And http://secretengineer.com/?p=646 if you need a little help getting started.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-23 01:44:17.484915+00 by: Dan Lyke

Rules and categories are up! http://www.555contest.com/rules-and-categories/

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-23 15:12:48.044895+00 by: jeff

Very cool to see this little piece of circuitry still hanging around and in wide use!