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555 timer IC 1

555 timer IC
The 555 Timer IC is an integrated circuit (chip) used in a variety of
timer, pulse generation and oscillator applications. The IC was
designed by Hans R. Camenzind in 1970 and brought to market in
1971 by Signetics (later acquired by Philips). The original name was
the SE555 (metal can)/NE555 (plastic DIP) and the part was described
as "The IC Time Machine".[1] It has been claimed that the 555 gets its
name from the three 5 kΩ resistors used in typical early
implementations,[2] but Hans Camenzind has stated that the number
was arbitrary.[3] The part is still in wide use, thanks to its ease of use,
low price and good stability. As of 2003, it is estimated that 1 billion NE555 from Signetics in dual-in-line package

units are manufactured every year.[3]

Depending on the manufacturer, the standard 555 package includes

over 20 transistors, 2 diodes and 15 resistors on a silicon chip installed
in an 8-pin mini dual-in-line package (DIP-8).[4] Variants available
include the 556 (a 14-pin DIP combining two 555s on one chip), and
the 558 (a 16-pin DIP combining four slightly modified 555s with DIS
& THR connected internally, and TR falling edge sensitive instead of
level sensitive).

Ultra-low power versions of the 555 are also available, such as the
7555 and TLC555.[5] The 7555 is designed to cause less supply Internal block diagram

glitching than the classic 555 and the manufacturer claims that it
usually does not require a "control" capacitor and in many cases does not require a power supply bypass capacitor.
The 555 has three operating modes:
• Monostable mode: in this mode, the 555 functions as a "one-shot". Applications include timers, missing pulse
detection, bouncefree switches, touch switches, frequency divider, capacitance measurement, pulse-width
modulation (PWM) etc
• Astable - free running mode: the 555 can operate as an oscillator. Uses include LED and lamp flashers, pulse
generation, logic clocks, tone generation, security alarms, pulse position modulation, etc.
• Bistable mode or Schmitt trigger: the 555 can operate as a flip-flop, if the DIS pin is not connected and no
capacitor is used. Uses include bouncefree latched switches, etc.

The connection of the pins is as follows:

Pinout diagram
555 timer IC 2

Pin Name Purpose

1 GND Ground, low level (0 V)

2 TRIG OUT rises, and interval starts, when this input falls below 1/3 VCC.

3 OUT This output is driven to +VCC or GND.

4 RESET A timing interval may be interrupted by driving this input to GND.

5 CTRL "Control" access to the internal voltage divider (by default, 2/3 VCC).

6 THR The interval ends when the voltage at THR is greater than at CTRL.

7 DIS Open collector output; may discharge a capacitor between intervals.

8 V+, VCC Positive supply voltage is usually between 3 and 15 V.

Monostable mode
In the monostable mode, the 555 timer acts as a “one-shot” pulse
generator. The pulse begins when the 555 timer receives a signal at the
trigger input that falls below a third of the voltage supply. The width of
the output pulse is determined by the time constant of an RC network,
which consists of a capacitor (C) and a resistor (R). The output pulse
ends when the charge on the C equals 2/3 of the supply voltage. The
output pulse width can be lengthened or shortened to the need of the
specific application by adjusting the values of R and C.[6]

The output pulse width of time t, which is the time it takes to charge C
to 2/3 of the supply voltage, is given by
Schematic of a 555 in monostable mode

The relationships of the trigger signal, the voltage

on C and the pulse width in monostable mode

where t is in seconds, R is in ohms and C is in farads. See RC circuit for an explanation of this effect.
555 timer IC 3

Bistable Mode
In bistable mode, the 555 timer acts as a basic flip-flop. The trigger and reset inputs (pins 2 and 4 respectively on a
555) are held high via Pull-up resistors while the threshold input (pin 6) is simply grounded. Thus configured,
pulling the trigger momentarily to ground acts as a 'set' and transitions the output pin (pin 3) to Vcc (high state).
Pulling the reset input to ground acts as a 'reset' and transitions the output pin to ground (low state). No capacitors
are required in a bistable configuration. Pins 5 and 7 (control and discharge) are left floating.

Astable mode
In astable mode, the 555 timer puts out a continuous stream of
rectangular pulses having a specified frequency. Resistor R1 is
connected between VCC and the discharge pin (pin 7) and another
resistor (R2) is connected between the discharge pin (pin 7), and the
trigger (pin 2) and threshold (pin 6) pins that share a common node.
Hence the capacitor is charged through R1 and R2, and discharged only
through R2, since pin 7 has low impedance to ground during output
low intervals of the cycle, therefore discharging the capacitor.

In the astable mode, the frequency of the pulse stream depends on the
values of R1, R2 and C:
Standard 555 Astable Circuit


The high time from each pulse is given by

and the low time from each pulse is given by

where R1 and R2 are the values of the resistors in ohms and C is the value of the capacitor in farads.
note: power of R1 must be greater than

To achieve a duty cycle of less than 50% a diode can be added in parallel with R2 towards the capacitor. This
bypasses R2 during the high part of the cycle so that the high interval depends only on R1 and C.

These specifications apply to the NE555. Other 555 timers can have different specifications depending on the grade
(military, medical, etc).
555 timer IC 4

Supply voltage (VCC) 4.5 to 15 V

Supply current (VCC = +5 V) 3 to 6 mA

Supply current (VCC = +15 V) 10 to 15 mA

Output current (maximum) 200 mA

Maximum Power dissipation 600 mW

Power Consumption (minimum operating) 30 mW@5V, 225 mW@15V

Operating temperature 0 to 70 °C

Many pin-compatible variants, including CMOS versions, have been built by various companies. Bigger packages
also exist with two or four timers on the same chip. The 555 is also known under the following type numbers:

Manufacturer Model Remark

Avago Technologies Av-555M

[8] CSS555/CSS555C CMOS from 1.2 V, IDD < 5 µA

Custom Silicon Solutions

ECG Philips ECG955M

Exar XR-555

Fairchild Semiconductor NE555/KA555

Harris HA555

IK Semicon ILC555 CMOS from 2 V

Intersil SE555/NE555

Intersil ICM7555 CMOS

Lithic Systems LC555

Maxim ICM7555 CMOS from 2 V

Motorola MC1455/MC1555

National Semiconductor LM1455/LM555/LM555C

National Semiconductor LMC555 CMOS from 1.5 V

NTE Sylvania NTE955M

Raytheon RM555/RC555

RCA CA555/CA555C

STMicroelectronics NE555N/ K3T647

Texas Instruments SN52555/SN72555

Texas Instruments TLC555 CMOS from 2 V


Zetex ZSCT1555 down to 0.9 V

NXP Semiconductors ICM7555 CMOS

HFO / East Germany B555

555 timer IC 5

Dual timer 556

The dual version is called 556. It features two complete 555s in a 14 pin DIL package.

Quad timer 558

The quad version is called 558 and has 16 pins. To fit four 555s into a 16 pin package the control, voltage, and reset
lines are shared by all four modules. Also for each module the discharge and threshold are internally wired together
and called timing.

Example applications

Joystick interface circuit using quad timer 558

The Apple II microcomputer used a quad timer 558 in monostable (or "one-shot") mode to interface up to four
"game paddles" or two joysticks to the host computer.
A similar circuit was used in the IBM personal computer.[9] In the joystick interface circuit of the IBM PC, the
capacitor (C) of the RC network (see Monostable Mode above) was generally a 10 nF capacitor. The resistor (R) of
the RC network consisted of the potentiometer inside the joystick along with an external resistor of 2.2 kilohms.[10]
The joystick potentiometer acted as a variable resistor. By moving the joystick, the resistance of the joystick
increased from a small value up to about 100 kilohms. The joystick operated at 5 V.[11]
Software running in the host computer started the process of determining the joystick position by writing to a special
address (ISA bus I/O address 201h).[12] [13] This would result in a trigger signal to the quad timer, which would
cause the capacitor (C) of the RC network to begin charging and cause the quad timer to output a pulse. The width of
the pulse was determined by how long it took the C to charge up to 2/3 of 5 V (or about 3.33 V), which was in turn
determined by the joystick position.[12] [14]
Software running in the host computer measured the pulse width to determine the joystick position. A wide pulse
represented the full-right joystick position, for example, while a narrow pulse represented the full-left joystick

Atari Punk Console

One of Forrest M. Mims III's many books was dedicated to the 555 timer. In it, he first published the "Stepped Tone
Generator" circuit which has been adopted as a popular circuit, known as the Atari Punk Console, by circuit benders
for its distinctive low-fi sound similar to classic Atari games.

Pulse-width modulation
The 555 can be used to generate a variable PWM signal using a few external components. The chip alone can drive
small external loads or an amplifying transistor for larger loads.
555 timer IC 6

[1] van Roon, "pg. 1" (http:/ / www. sentex. ca/ ~mec1995/ gadgets/ 555/ 555. html)
[2] Scherz, Paul (2000) "Practical Electronics for Inventors," p. 589. McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics. ISBN 978-0-07-058078-7. Retrieved
[3] Ward, Jack (2004). The 555 Timer IC - An Interview with Hans Camenzind (http:/ / www. semiconductormuseum. com/ Transistors/
LectureHall/ Camenzind/ Camenzind_Page2. htm). The Semiconductor Museum (http:/ / www. semiconductormuseum. com/ ). Retrieved
[4] van Roon, Fig 3 & related text.
[5] Jung, Walter G. (1983) "IC Timer Cookbook, Second Edition," pp. 40–41. Sams Technical Publishing; 2nd ed. ISBN 978-0-672-21932-0.
Retrieved 2010-04-05.
[6] van Roon, Chapter "Monostable Mode." (Using the 555 timer as a logic clock)
[7] van Roon Chapter: "Astable operation."
[8] http:/ / www. customsiliconsolutions. com/ products-for-ASIC-solutions/ standard-IC-products. aspx
[9] Engdahl, pg 1.
[10] Engdahl, "Circuit diagram of PC joystick interface"
[11] Engdahl, "Joystick construction" (http:/ / www. epanorama. net/ documents/ joystick/ pc_joystick. html#introduction).
[12] Engdahl, "PC analogue joystick interface" (http:/ / www. epanorama. net/ documents/ joystick/ pc_joystick. html#pc_interface).
[13] Eggebrecht, p. 197.
[14] Eggebrecht, pp. 197-99

Further reading
• IC Timer Cookbook; 2nd Ed; Walter G Jung; Sams Publishing; 384 pages; 1983; ISBN 978-0-672-21932-0.
• IC 555 Projects; E.A. Parr; Bernard Babani Publishing; 144 pages; 1978; ISBN 978-0-85934-047-2.
• 555 Timer Applications Sourcebook with Experiments; Howard M Berlin; Sams Publishing; 158 pages; 1979;
ISBN 978-0-672-21538-4.
• Timer, Op Amp, and Optoelectronic Circuits and Projects; Forrest M Mims III; Master Publishing; 128 pages;
2004; ISBN 978-0-945053-29-3.
• Engineer's Mini-Notebook - 555 Timer IC Circuits; Forrest M Mims III; Radio Shack; 32 pages; 1989; ASIN

External links
• Single Bipolar Timer, Texas Instruments, 30 pages, 2010. (
• Single CMOS Timer, National Semiconductor, 12 pages, 2010. (
pdf) Down to 1.5 V at 50uA.
• Single CMOS Timer, Diodes Inc, 11 pages, 2006. ( Down
to 0.9 V at 74 uA.
• Single / Dual CMOS Timer, Intersil, 12 pages, 2006. ( Down to
2.0 V at 60 uA.
• Dual Bipolar Timer, Texas Instruments, 16 pages, 2006. (
• Quad Bipolar Timer, NXP / Philips, 9 pages, 2003. (
• NE555 datasheet collection. (
• Surtell, Tim (2001). 555 Timer Circuits - the Astable, Monostable and Bistable (
article.asp?1) Electronics in Meccano.
• Hewes, John (2010) 555 and 556 Timer Circuits ( The
Electronics Club.
555 timer IC 7

• Falstad, John (2010) Java simulation ( of 555 oscillator

• Roca, Juan Carlos Galarza (2007) Using NE 555 as a Temperature DSP (
ne555.htm) "The Parallel port as an Input/output Interface" (unpublished book)
• NE555 Frequency and duty cycle calculator (
phtml) for astable multivibrators. 2004. Notes 20% inaccuracy.
• "Eagleapex" (2007) Time-lapse [[intervalometer (]
for SLRs using a 555].
• Van Roon, Tony (1995). "555 Timer Tutorial" (
Tony van Roon (VA3AVR) Website. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
• Engdahl, Tomi (1994). "PC analogue joystick interface" (
pc_joystick.html). Retrieved 2009-06-06.
• Eggebrecht, Lewis C. (1983). "Interfacing to the IBM Personal Computer". Sams Publishing. ISBN
978-0-672-22027-2. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
Article Sources and Contributors 8

Article Sources and Contributors

555 timer IC  Source:  Contributors: (void*), **mech**, 42murr42, 6hug99ko, A8UDI, Abdull, Actam, Adam1213, After Midnight,
Ahoerstemeier, Alan Liefting, Alansohn,, Allmightyduck, ApusChin, ArmadilloFromHell, Ataub2qf, Audriusa, Avenged Eightfold, Aznium, Bill (who is cool!), Bobo192,
Brighterorange, Bromskloss, Brouhaha, Btilm, Bubble-boy-115, CSSINC, Can't sleep, clown will eat me, Chkno, Click23, Colin555, CyrilB, DARTH SIDIOUS 2, Dgies, Dicklyon, DireWolf,
Discospinster, Dtgriscom, Dubkiller, East of Borschov, Ebarnett, Electron9, Elonka, Ercrt, Ettrig, Excirial, Fduraibi, Flicovent, Flsp70, Foil166, Frap, Gene Nygaard, Giftlite, Gilliam, Glane23,
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Jack1993jack, Jacksonmiss, Jcmaco, Jcurie, Jerry teps, Jmundo, Jncraton, Josh the Nerd, Jtcampbell, Kansan, Kay Dekker, Keenan Pepper, Kimphill, Kiu77, Kraftlos, Leonard G., Lexein,
Lissajous, Llamadog903, Longhair, Luna Santin, MER-C, Mallred, Marek69, Materialscientist, Mermaid from the Baltic Sea, Mihtjel, Mikebest, Mikeblas, Mikeo, Mikespedia, Mindmatrix,
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Terry caborn, Tetraedycal, Thatguyflint, The Canadian Roadgeek, The Thing That Should Not Be, ThreeE, Toffile, Towel401, Truthanado, Turidoth, Ubernerd, WaltBusterkeys, Welle4,
Weregerbil, Whiner01, Wser, Wtshymanski, XU-engineer, ZenerV, 331 anonymous edits

Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors

Image:Signetics NE555N.JPG  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Gvf, Shooke,
Stefan506, 1 anonymous edits
Image:NE555 Bloc Diagram.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:BlanchardJ
Image:555 Pinout.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Inductiveload
Image:555 Monostable.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Inductiveload
Image:NE555 Monotable Waveforms (English).png  Source:  License: Public Domain
 Contributors: User:BlanchardJ, User:Jacksonmiss
Image:555 Astable Diagram.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: jjbeard

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