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