555 Chip - The Circuit Heartbeat

The 555 chip gives an electronic timer. The chip was cheap, reliable and easy to manufacture. This led to widespread adoption among both engineers and electronics enthusiast. Over time several other common functions would be adopted for use. Versatility allowed the IC usage as an Oscillator, Pulse-Generator or Flip-Flop. Over a billion units originate annually resulting in applications of every kind. Nearly all devices have some variant of the 555 chip providing the circuit heartbeat.

When to use

The 555 chip performs as a circuit heartbeat making excellent options for the beginner. Anywhere a timed function occurs the IC will prove useful. Classic novice projects include pulsing LEDs. A Pulsing LED displays both the timed ability of the schematic as well as the requirements for the power to cut. By gaining an understanding of the logic the 555 chip will give a regular beat. All electronics run on this logic.

Learning the Math

Using a 555 chip to give a heartbeat requires the circuit to use several components. Depending on usage one to two resistors and two or more capacitors are generally required. The 555 chip starts with a regular pulse and the values of the components control the behavior of the circuit. Creating a regular beat inside a circuit needs some math. For a beginner performing this operation will greatly expand your understanding of electronics and how they interact. Saving time with a calculator will also help if you are in a hurry.

Every Schematic

Practically every schematic in existence needs some type of timer. Mastery of the 555 chip circuit provides the foundation for understanding all electronics and how they give the heartbeat of a circuit.


There are several different types of packages that represent different functions even though they are all timers at heart. These include such options as the 556 which has two timers instead of the typical one. The SE555 chip circuit not only provides a heartbeat and durability built for military specification requirements. When exposed to extreme temperature this variant still operates. The 558 and 559 contain four timers if significant timing functions fit your needs.


The 555 chip circuit heartbeat fulfills the basic tasks of all designs. The regular pulse allows for many functions including timing lights to controlling elaborate electronics. Since creating the first 555 chip the circuit fulfilled the last need of the heartbeat of practically every design since.