Step 3: 555 Timer: Monostable Mode Circuit

As I explained in the last step, a 555 timer in monostable mode will output a high pulse (of voltage ~Vcc) when the trigger pin in pulsed low.  The duration of this output pulse is dependent on the values of R and C in fig 4.  In the last step we calculated the duration of the pulse output from the 555 in monostable mode to be:

t = 1.1*R*C seconds
where R and C are the resistor and capacitor in series in fig 4. 

if we choose R = 10Kohms and C = 470uF
t = 1.1*10000*0.00047
t = 5.17 sec

This means that with a 10Kohm resistor and 470uF capacitor, a pulse low to the 555's trigger pin (pin 2) will cause the output to go high for 5.17 seconds. 

I built a circuit which connects the output pin of the 555 to an LED, causing the LED to light up for the duration of the pulse.  This way I would have a visual indication that my calculations were correct.  I connected the trigger pin of the 555 to a push button momentary switch, connecting it to ground when pressed.  Photos of the circuit are shown above, and the schematic is shown in fig 5.

Parts List:
555 timer Digikey LM555CNFS-ND
0.01uF capacitor Digikey 445-5297-ND
470uF capacitor Digikey P5185-ND
(x2) 10Kohm resistor Digikey CF14JT10K0CT-ND
470 ohm resistor Digikey CF14JT470RCT-ND
amber led Digikey C503B-ACN-CW0Y0251-ND
momentary switch Digikey CKN9018-ND
22 gauge jumper wire
5-15V power supply- if you don't have a bench power supply, try using a 9V battery and battery snap or use the 5V output from an Arduino

Wiring Info:
The schematic is shown in fig 5.  Connect power and ground to pins 8 and 1 of the 555 timer (red and black wires).  I used a 9V supply and battery snap for my circuit.  As indicated in the schematic in fig 5, connect a 0.01uF capacitor between pins 5 and 1.  Connect a 440uF capacitor between pins 1 and 6, make sure that the negative lead of the capacitor is connected to pin 1.  Connect pins 6 and 7 with a jumper wire (green).  Connect a 10K resistor between pins 7 and 8.  I left the reset pin floating, you could connect it to Vcc as well.

Connect an LED and current limiting resistor in series from the output of the 555 to ground.  The output pin of the 555 will output Vcc-1.2V maximum (the -1.2V comes from some transistors in the circuit that drop the voltage slightly).  My circuit was driven by a 9V supply, so the max output is 9-1.2V = 7.8V.  I used a 470ohm current limiting resistor for my setup, if you use a 5V supply you can use a lower current limiting resistor (like 220ohm), and for higher Vcc use a higher resistance (maybe even up to 1K).

Wire the momentary push button switch in series with a 10K resistor between Vcc and ground.  Connect a wire (yellow) from the junction between the switch and resistor to the trigger pin so that when the switch is not pressed the trigger pin is held high.  When the switch is pressed the trigger pin will drop to low.  See the schematic if this does not make sense.

Press the button.  The LED should light up for a time and then turn off.  If you time the LED, you'll find that it lights up for exactly 5.17 seconds, just as I calculated above.

You can experiment with switching out the 10k resistor or the 470uF capacitor (connected to the 555) to see how they affect the duration of the output pulse.  Remember, since t = 1.1*R*C seconds, increasing resistance or capacitance will always increase the duration of the pulse.

I wired up a 10Kohm potentiometer as a variable resistor and put it in my circuit in place of the 10K resistor between 555 pins 7 and 8 (fig 9).  This way by turning the knob all the way to one side, the LED stays on for 5.17 seconds, but when turned to the other extreme the LED turns off immediately after I released the button.  Turning the potentiometer to any position in between will cause a pulse duration anywhere from 0 to 5.17 seconds.
Thank you for this instructable! Question: if I set up the resistors and capacitors right, would I be able to create a 5 minute pulse? Or would I need a microcontroller? Probably a stupid question but I am very new to electronics
<p>Very detailed instruction set, Thank You for the explanation, I was struggling with trying to figure out how to get a 10% duty cycle on a &quot;blinker&quot; and this worked great. Again Thank You very much</p>
<p>Thanks sir, very nice and very clear.</p>
<p>Hi!<br>Is there any way to mix the mono and bistable mode? I mean pressing 1 button to turn it on the led, and keep it on untill press the other button (or the same button, this is not a critical issue) then after a time, the led goes off?</p>
<p>In the diagram pin 7 is connected directly to the pot and then to Vcc, but in your breadboard the pot goes to pin 6. Can you explain this discrepancy?</p>
<p>Nice article. One mistake though. You use a non standard layout for your astable circuit diagram. This is very amateurish.<br><br>http://www.555-timer-circuits.com/common-mistakes.html</p>
<p>put the mic at the trigger but light will only stay on for 5 seconds lol, i suppose this circuit is to trigger something for only 5 seconds after that its an off circuit</p>
<p>Thank you so much for the information you provided and used simple words.Can you please tell what is the use of capacitor in this circuit? Can anyon please...............answer?</p>
<p>Well, you could specify a little bit better what circuit you mean, but in general the use of the capacitors in these examples is because they need a very stable Voltage. The capicator insures this, ( just because of how a capacitor is build and where it is placed). Hope this helps.</p>
<p>hi . If i'm gonna change the momentary switch to a electret mic to make it a clap switch circuit. is it possible? what should be change on the connections?</p>
<p>You have an error in one of your equations. In point 3 you have:<br><br><strong>2/3*Vcc/</strong><strong>(Vcc - V0)</strong><strong> = 1- e^(-t / [(RA+RB)*C])</strong></p><p><strong>1/3*</strong><strong>Vcc/(Vcc - V0)</strong><strong> = e^(-t / [(RA+RB)*C])<br><br></strong>But this is not correct, it just happens to work for V0 = 0. This becomes a much larger problem in point 5 when you reuse the result to determine the amount of time the output is HIGH. <br><br>The way to calculate the time the output is HIGH is to subtract the time it takes to repeat the calculation from point 3, except solve for 1/3*VCC. Then subtract this result from the solution to point 3.<br><br>Your answer coming out correct is actually quite surprising. </p>
<p>does anyone know how to configure the 555 timer as a monostable multivibrator with a delay of about 100-500ms?? thx</p>
<p>T = 1.1 RC select C= 1uf @T= .1 sec R= T/1.1xC,,Do the same with T= .5 sec</p>
<p>This is exactly what i was looking for! I have little to no base in electronics and i'm trying to conceive a led dimmer in order to control a rgb led color. Your article mad me understand how a 555 timer worked and your equations will come in very handy! Thank you!</p>
<p>I'm planning on creating an astable multivibrator with as close to 50% duty cycle as possible. Thank you for the equations!</p>
<p>I followed your Astable guide to make a 200 Hz tone using Ra=2700, Rb=2200, and C=1uF. Was going crazy at first because I had two broken 555 chips in a row and didn't know. I wanted to say that this instructable is such good documentation to have, it is both thorough and informative -- thank you!</p>
<p>thanks for the post... the bistable circuit was exactly what i needed to toggle 2 hall effect sensors (A3144E) when all i had laying around were some 555 chips.</p>
<p>Im working on a model train layout, what i want is for a kid to press a button the train goes for 2 <strong>min</strong> then stops. the child does this 4 more times. after the train stops for the 5th time it activates a cool down clock for 10 min. it would have to work with electricity from an out lit. Any ideas? </p>
<p>I want this circuit, but I have 741 opamps in stead of the momentary switches. Can I connect the 741 output to the bottom of the pull-up resistors to set or reset the 555? or is some sort of buffering or isolation necessary between the 741 and the 555?</p>
question looking a building a 555 monostable mode can I use a switch that when trigger high, it will delay off after x seconds and stay off without the trigger input going back to low?
<p>Nice! Well written.</p>
<p>Hey everyone, I need to run a motor for a 3 second pulse, but only once, not a continuous on-off situation. and i need it to run in both directions. Is it possible to use this circuit for that or will i need something else? </p>
<p>sounds like you will need a microcontroller</p>
<p>Hi.. I have tried to make the monostable mode of 555 timer exactly as it is shown here for 5.17s pulse width. But i m not getting the output.The pulse becomes high when the push button is on but it comes to low only when the push button is switched off. I have checked the circuit connections numerous times but there is no error. Can you please tell me what might be the problem?</p>
<p>i had the same problem on my first trial,try changing your breadboard,and see it is works. :)</p>
<p>Thank you :)</p>
hi,pls am new in d electronic world but understand the basis.how can i increase or amplifer dc 2v to 12v dc to charge 12v battery.pls state all d component require and the diagram to build dis circult,and i want the 12v dc to constant. <br>thanks
For astable mode,when I added a load to output, the frequency increase. But it seems like the frequency is independent of load. Anyway to overcome it?
I'm not sure why that's happening, try putting a buffer between the load and the 555, use an op amp or transistor wired up like this: <br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffer_amplifier <br />
Thanks a million :)
Is there a way to adjust the low pulse so it's not 0?
nope sorry, these are digital circuits so 0 and 5V is all you can get. Do you have something specific in mind that you'd like to do?
I was looking for a way to make a pulse feature for my TIG welder. It's an inexpensive one and does not have a feature that helps control the amount of heat input to a weld. For my welder, it takes an input between 0 and 10v and, based on your amp settings, applies a percentage of the current to the weld. I'm looking for a way to take the voltage input and pulse it with the ability to adjust frequency, duty cycle and background (what % of the max voltage the low should be). I thought I might be able to use an op amp on the output of an arduino, but I am not well versed in electronic circuitry.
you can do this, but you will need to learn about biasing (also called dc offset) and amplification
plz, if i want to find the water level by using 2 plates capacitor, then i will connect the output of the timer to a f/v converter and display the voltage <br>which capacitor i should change with the 2 plates??
do you have any idea how to install into a XBOX360 Controller? can it be a two or three wire hookup?
no idea, can you give me any more info? what are you trying to do?
trying to hook it up so i have a rapid fire controller using a momentary on button, but no idea where to wire in the 555 timer at :/ since my controller doesn't have a crystal oscillator.
I've never tried modding a controller like that, but I know it's possible, do you have a schematic?
no lol i don't, that sure would be helpful though.
&quot;In the equation above, when RA is much larger than RB (you can ignore the RB terms) you end up with a duty cycle ~= 1 and when RB is much larger than RA (you can ignore the RA terms) you get a duty cycle =~ 1/2. So the limits of the duty cycle with the circuit shown in fig 2 are 50% to 100&quot; <br> <br>Note that this is not true. <br> <br>You can set r1 to 0, and this gives you a %50 duty cycle. The only reason to have a resistor at R1 is to modify the duty cycle, and to keep a straight VCC from burning up the internal transistor at pin 7. This can be rectified by adding a resistor at GND. giving you a pure 50% duty cycle for the full range of r2. <br> <br>Note that output is HIGH while charging through R1 + R2, and low while discharging through R2 only. IE the High duty time can never be smaller than the low duty time. limiting the duty cycle to greater than %50.
Why doesn't the &quot;print pdf&quot; or save file to .pdf functions ever work for this site!???
scroll down on the page...were you signed in?
Thank you for this. This compliments the datasheet nicely... <br>Does step 6 have the wrong schematic? How you have it wired and how the schematic says to wire it, appear to be different. (I am still a complete noob when it comes to a lot of this, so I could be completely wrong) <br>Shouldn't the variable resistor be tied directly to to pin 6 without the 10k ohm resistor in series? And the 10k ohm resistor should be between pin 6 and pin 7. At least that is how fig 14 of the datasheet appears to wire it.
great question, this schematic is for the 50% duty cycle oscillator, which is a type of astable mode. This circuit is great if you really need a square wave output (50% high, 50% low) as opposed to a pulse output, but one annoying thing about it is that the frequency is given by: <br /> <br />f = 1/(Ra+Rb) <br /> <br />so in order to change the frequency of the timer you have to increase both Ra and Rb, in the circuit I provided you increase Ra and/r decrease Rb and vice versa to change the frequency, which makes it easy to use a single potentiometer as both Ra and Rb so you can physically dial in your frequency by turning a knob. But if you want to learn more about the 555 timer I'd recommend trying this schematic out and seeing what happens when you start changing things!
Great 'ible, even if the part is older than the hills. <br> <br>All these circuits can be easily simulated using the free (as in beer) LT Spice circuit simulator (get it here: http://www.linear.com/designtools/software/ ) . You'll find the NE555 chip in the &quot;misc&quot; catalog of components. <br> <br>In recent years it has been possible to do most of the 555 's functions (plus many more) using low pin count (6-8 pins) uCs. It frequently takes fewer components and performance is less variable with temperature than a 555 circuit. Of course, uCs require a programmer of some sort, but once you have that you usually find all sorts of uses for uCs. <br> <br>
Dear sir, <br> In LT spice link u given it has many appli to download. in that which i need to download for this type simulation.(my id r.navaneethan1991@gmail.com)
Big Ditto re. LTspice! <br>Been using it for 10yrs now, awesome! <br>It does everything, free! <br>I highly recommend it. <br> <br>Actually, a great way to wet yer feet in controllers is Arduino. <br>Ive been playing with the Uno and Rainbowduino for a year now, and <br>the development tool is Way easier than <br>the other mfrs tools. <br>I wont go back if i can help it. <br> <br>Real coders scoff at it, but <br>its very easy to use. <br>That coming from a long time analog weenie. <br>
I'm a PIC man. <br> <br>I have limited experience with Arduino and it hasn't been very good. I am building a 3D printer that uses an Arduino ATMega2560 controller board. The firmware was developed by others, apparently on an outdated version of the Arduino IDE. The lastest Arduino IDE broke a lot of older Arduino stuff. I had to hunt down an old copy of the IDE, then I had to hunt down and fix an error because the mathematical function &quot;round&quot; was being defined in two places and the compiler didn't like it. All that screwing around was just so I could modify the source code for the printer firmware and upload it to the Arduino board. Documentation is practically nonexistent, so I had to wade through hundreds of posts on dozens of internet forums to find out what to do to solve the problem. <br> <br>PICs are well documented, the IDE works, the programmers work. Assembly language is extremely efficient, though it can be tedious. C compilers are available if you don't like the work required to program in assembly. <br> <br>I've seen too many Arduino projects where someone uses an Arduino to read a switch and turn on a light. Some people seem to use them as a matter of fashion rather than because their application actually requires some sort of intelligence. Meh!

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Bio: I'm a grad student at the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT Media Lab. Before that I worked at Instructables, writing code for ... More »
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