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555 Timer Frustrating Me

  1. Hey Everybody!

    I have been using this page as a guideline to learning how to use a 555 timer:

    http://www.kpsec.freeuk.com/555timer.htm

    I have been trying to make an LED flasher by using a 555 Timer for the first time, but after 2 days, I have been unable to see my problem. I am using the astable mode schematic seen in the astable mode section of the page I have been using. I am using C = 10uF Capacitor,
    R1 = 10k, and R2 = 100k. I understand that this should yield about 40 blinks by the light according to the chart I am using.

    My problem is that after I build the circuit onto my breadboard, the light constantly stays on, and does not blink. I have also noticed that the 555 gets terribly hot, but I have no idea why. Also, I saw posts with people who were able to get voltage ratings on each pin. How would I do that, and is an analog multimeter accurate enough?

    Thanks in advance! Don't hesitate to ask me any necessary questions.
    Brandon
     
  2. jcsd
  3. negitron

    negitron 842
    Science Advisor

    The 555 should not get hot at all and the circuit diagram you linked to should work as drawn. Re-check each and every connection (assume nothing and double-check the pinout on the data sheet for your specific device); if you're absolutely certain they're correct then it's possible the 555 is bad. If you still can't get it working, a good-quality photo of your breadboard setup might be helpful to us.
     
  4. I have no access to a digital camera at this time, but when I do, I'll most definitely post those images. I used the timer in another circuit layout that drives a PNP transistor to make a speaker buzz like a siren, and that worked without any issues. Also, in my last post i meant "about 40 per minute", which I'm sure was pretty obvious anyway.

    Any recommendations will be most appreciated, as I cant be 100% sure if anything is correct if it isn't working as planned, or even if its wired correctly.

    Again, I will try and post images as soon as possible.

    Thanks
     
  5. negitron

    negitron 842
    Science Advisor

    Silly question: Are you wiring the LED between pin #3 (Output) and ground (0V) or between pin #3 and +Vs, and are you including an appropriately-sized current-limiting resistor?
     
  6. Between Pin #3 and +Vs, with a resistor just before the LED.

    (*Awaits emotional slap in the face :cry:*)
     
  7. negitron

    negitron 842
    Science Advisor

    There's your problem, I suspect. Connect the LED instead between pin #3 and ground with the cathode to ground. Assuming a +5 V output level and a 2.0 V drop across the LED (typical for standard red and green LEDs,) use a (5-2) / .010 = 300-ohm resistor (standard value 270-ohms is close enough) in series on either side.
     
  8. LED still doesn't blink sadly; solid red light.

    I am using a 6v (4aa) power supply, if it helps or explains anything.
     
  9. Redbelly98

    Redbelly98 12,036
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Does it matter? The duty cycle is nearly 50%, so either way should work.

    A few more questions to help with the troubleshooting:

    • What is the value of the current-limiting resistor (the one in series with the LED)?
    • What is the value of the source voltage Vs?
    • Is there a 0.01 uF cap between pin 5 and ground, as shown in the circuit here:
      http://www.kpsec.freeuk.com/555timer.htm#astable
     
  10. negitron

    negitron 842
    Science Advisor

    Depends on what +Vs is and what the logic level output of pin #3 is. If +Vs - Vout is more than the Vf of the LED, it will always be biased on. Best practice is to connect through to ground.

    An additional question: which flavor of 555 are you using? There are, for example, CMOS versions and TTL versions and they are not necessarily directly compatible.
     
  11. Redbelly98

    Redbelly98 12,036
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Okay, I was assuming Vo=Vs when the output is high -- that has been my (limited) experience. I was unaware that this is not in general true.

    Or better yet, provide the manufacturer and exact part number.
     
  12. negitron

    negitron 842
    Science Advisor

    Looks like for most flavors of 555, Vout(high) = Vs - ~1.7 V.
     
  13. chroot

    chroot 10,427
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I don't have much time at the moment to thoroughly consider the deductive paths the others here are taking you down, but I'm only concerned right now about your 555 timer getting very hot. I won't go into details, but often the only way for this to be possible is to run the part way above its rated power supply voltage, activating its ESD structures and drawing as much current as your (presumably) small wall-wart transformer can provide.

    Look up the datasheet for your exact 555 part on the manufacturer's website, and find its intended power supply range. Also, please explain to us how you're powering the part.

    (It's also worth mentioning that activating the ESD structures on a chip generally derates it -- damages it measurably, making it less reliable -- and continuously powering it above its intended supply range could destroy it pretty quickly.)

    - Warren
     
  14. negitron

    negitron 842
    Science Advisor

    He did say 4 AA cells for a total of 6 V. This seems to be well within the tolerances of all the common types of 555.
     
  15. 1) 330 Ohm
    2) 6v
    3) Yes

    EDIT: I am using an NE555N; also tried NE555P, but yields no difference. The data sheets for each model seem to allow 6v, where max volt is around 15v-18v for each. I am unsure of finding the exact manufacturers of each timer except by searching for the entire model number shown on the timer itself. The NE555P has nothing but NE555P on it, while the NE555N has "H2L937", which yields no results on Google.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2009
  16. chroot

    chroot 10,427
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Okay, from the look of it, the Fairchild NE555N does not have a current-limited output driver, and does not provide a plot of output voltage versus current (shame on them). I can only assume that if you short the output to ground or +Vs, you will draw enough current to damage the device. Check for this.

    - Warren
     
  17. I bring up again, how would I check for loose connections on my breadboard, and how to check ratings on each pin out properly with my multimeter.

    In other topics on this forum, many people have posted that information.

    Do I simply need to identify the voltage on each pin?
     
  18. negitron

    negitron 842
    Science Advisor

    Well, you can easily check the voltages on each pin, but you can't so easily check the currents. Best thing to do is to go to each wire and gently pull on it; if it comes out of the breadboard very easily, it's probably too loose and you should use a different connection point. You can also use your multimeter on ohms (or better still in audible continuity modem, if you have it) and ohm out between circuit terminals which should be connected with the circuit unpowered.

    However, since you have an overheating problem, it's probably not an open connection which is the issue, but a short. Check for continuity between points which should NOT be connected and correct as necessary.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2009
  19. Redbelly98

    Redbelly98 12,036
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Okay. I was fishing for some obvious error, but everything sounds right here.

    To check with a multimeter, I would first remove the diode, and also try a larger cap or resistors (about twice the value you have) so that the device should be on for at least 1.5 seconds, and off for at least 1.5 seconds. See if the output does what it should without the LED connected, and make sure that Vs is what it should be too.
     
  20. Just now made sure nothing is connected to anything else that it is not meant to be connected to; I'm assuming that is called continuity. I'm also quite sure that the timer isn't very loose since I have move the the timer 3 times from its original position since yesterday, and am now holding the IC in place with the end of my pencil's eraser just in case :shy:.

    @Redbelly: Doing that now, brb
     
  21. negitron

    negitron 842
    Science Advisor

    Also check your 10 uF cap. Remove the device from the circuit and fully discharge it. If it's an electrolytic, place the (+) probe of your meter in ohms mode to the (+) side of the cap and the (-) on the (-). If the cap is not shorted or pen, you should see an initially low reading which rises rapidly to infinity. If it's short, you'll see it read persistently near zero ohms; if open, you'll see an immediate reading of near infinity.
     
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