Jameco and Instructables.com donated a buncha weird parts to Noisebridge, including LED's, crystal oscillators, 555 timers, Russian capacitors.... Thank You, JameCo and Instructables!

Our mission: make something that does something. Not as easy as it sounds.

The result:
A 9-volt battery driving an LM317 power-supply outputting 5 volts, driving a tiny sliver of crystallized rock into resonance at one-and-a-half thousand vibrations per second, divided in half, 8 times, by a binary counter, down to a speed of about six vibrations per-second, driving an LED. 

Meaning, we made a light blink 6 times per second. Then we added two more LED's for different blink rates. All without a microcontroller, arduino, or attiny. And i'm happy to say, not one 555 was used. This was my design goal (since everybody uses 555's for everything).

Here's how to do it. 

(you may need to give the animated gif at the top of this page a moment to load).

Step 1: Gather Parts & Tools

Cost: about $15, not including tools.
Free, if you come to Noisebridge and raid our component shelves, 2169 Mission St, San Francisco.

Parts you'll need:

-a breadboard, about $4
-McCoy M55310/08-B01A crystal oscillator, or any crystal oscillator running at anything under 2 kHz, about $1 (this frequency range might be hard to find, we only found one distributor)
-LM317 voltage regulator (any manufacturer), about $fiddy cent
-one or more LED's, different colors, about $1
-SN74LS590N binary counter with output register, or any binary counter with output register with 8 or more bits, $fiddy cent
-2 capacitors, about $1
    -1 uf
    -0.1 uf. (if you're using caps with capacitor encoding, the numbers on the caps will be 104 and 105).
-1 kOhm trimpot, $fiddy cent
-1 resistor, about 250 ohms, pennies
-9 volt battery, $2
-battery clip, $fiddy cent
-insulated hookup wire, non-stranded, about 22 gauge thin, $4
-hot sauce, priceless

Tools you'll need:
-frequency counter or oscilloscope

The photo shows some of the parts donated by JameCo and Instructables.
<p>Thank you for posting this. It is quite interesting.</p><p>The very best. </p>
<p>This may be a stupid question, for which I apologize for in advance. Why can't the crystal exceed 2kHz? Thanks in advance!</p>
No question is stupid. The idea is to be able to see the blinks. If the crystal is too fast, the blinks will be too fast to see-- it will appear as steady on. At very fast crystal, you might notice a difference in brightness of the different LEDs, but I'm unsure without trying.
Hi, can we use something else than a binary counter? Thanks!
<p>The purpose of the binary counter is to divide down the crystal oscillator until it's slow enough that you can see the individual blinks. You might be able to use a decade counter, BCD counter, up/down counter, some flip-flops in series.... anything that divides your input clock into a slower clock. How much you need to divide it down depends on the speed of your crystal clock. The faster the clock, the more you'll have to divide it down before you can see the individual blinks. </p>

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