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Electronic circuits that use the 555 Timer

555 Timer Circuits

555 Timers are fun and a great way to start learning electronics

Common Mistakes When Using a 555 Timer


Here are some mistakes to avoid:

1. Pin 7 gets connected to the 0v rail via a transistor inside the chip during part of the operation of the 555. If the pot is turned to very low resistance in the following circuit, a high current will flow through the pot and it will be damaged:



2. The impedance of the 100u electrolytic will allow a very high current to flow and the chip will get very hot.   Use 10u maximum when using 8R speaker.



3. The reset pin (pin 4) is internally tied HIGH via approx 100k but it should not be left floating as stray pulses may reset the chip.



4. Do not draw 555 circuits as shown in the following diagram. Keep to a standard layout so the circuit is easy to follow.



5. Here's an example from the web. It takes a lot of time to work out what the circuit is doing:



The aim it to lay-out a circuit so that it shows instantly what is happening. That's why everything must be in recognised locations.

Here is the corrected circuit: From this diagram it is obvious the circuit is an oscillator (and not a one-shot etc).



6. Don't use high value electrolytics and high resistances to produce long delays. The 555 is very unreliable with timing values above 5-10 minutes. The reason is simple. The charging current for the electrolytic is between 1 - 3 microamp in the following diagram (when the electro is beginning to charge) and drops to less than 1 microamp when the electro is nearly charged.
If the leakage of the electro is 1 microamp, it will never fully charge and allow the 555 to "time-out."



7. Do not connect a PNP to the output of a 555 as shown in the following diagram. Pin 3 does not rise high enough to turn off the transistor and the current taken by the circuit will be excessive. Use an NPN driver.