555 PWM Motor Controller




Introduction: 555 PWM Motor Controller

About: Hi, my name is Nikodem Bartnik. I'm 19 years old. I am into designing, making, programming and electronics. In the future, I want to start a company and make my own products. As for now, you can find my work o…

I often face a situation when I want to test a motor, sometimes for my projects, sometimes just to see if it works. The simplest solution is just to connect it to a battery or some kind of power supply and that's ok but what if you want to control motor speed for example by PWM? You have to use Arduino with motor controller, connect all of that, program it and then you can use it, but that's a lot of work. What if there is simpler solution for that. So I started thinking if I can use something else then microcontroller to create PWM signal, and I thought about world's most popular integrated circuit (IC) the 555 timer. I already made few things with 555 timer like my useless machine, so I thought that it can also be used to create a 555 PWM motor controller. After quick research on the internet I found out how to create that kind of circuit, it's a little bit tricky because it's not a standard configuration of 555 timer. Thanks to this small project I can test my motors and prototype new projects on the go everywhere I am. So are you ready to see how I made it? Let's dive in to it!

Quick note from a sponsor of this project:

JLCPCB 10 boards for $2: https://jlcpcb.com

Step 1: Parts

For this project you will need just few components, you can buy them in local shop or online, here are links to banggood, you can buy them really cheap. Most of the links are bigger quantities of those elements but you will definitely find use for them in future projects.

Step 2: Schematic, PCB and Breadboard

Above you can find schematic of this circuit if you want to connect that on a breadboard. If you want to make PCBs you can also find there .ZIP with all of the files including schematic, PCB layout and gerbel files. This PCB was designed in KiCAD - free software for designing PCBs. If you would like to buy PCB for this project you can check out my Tindie store, there is a PCB for this project and few other PCBs for my projects. Here is link to my store: https://www.tindie.com/stores/Nikodem/

I sell on Tindie

Step 3: Soldering

There is not a lot of components to solder, all of them are THT so this project is beginner friendly, perfect if you want to learn soldering. Just start with the smallest components and cut out legs of them if they are too long then move on to the bigger components and so on. Soldering shouldn't take more than 20 minutes. Be careful while using soldering iron, it's very hot, you don't want to touch it.

Step 4: Connect Motor

Once soldering is done you can connect a motor to screw terminal on the PCB. If you don't have a motor with wires you have to solder two wires to it's connectors and then screw the other ends of cables to a screw terminal. Use a flat screwdriver for that and be gentle it's easy to break those small components.

Step 5: How to Power It?

Good thing about 555 timer is that it can be powered with a voltage from 4,5V up to 16V. For bigger motors I am using 12V power supply with a DC jack (standard DC jack, the same that is used in Arduino UNO), you can use smaller and bigger voltage within this range, but remember about nominal voltage of your motor. If I have to power smaller motors I am using batteries or my lab bench power supply.

Step 6: Play With It!

The last step is the best one! Just have fun with your new project :) I hope it gave you a lot of fun and will be useful for you. I will definitely use it as a tool in my workshop. Don't forget to leave a comment down below and <3 if you like my project. If you will build one, share it on social media and tag me! Thanks for reading :)

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Happy making everyone ?

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    4 Discussions


    5 months ago

    Here is my take on the 555 timer motor controller, this shows how to go about modification of the circuit, and how to avoid needing the PCB (can just use veroboard)


    Question 11 months ago

    I want to build a controller like this that allows CCW and CW rotation with a centering control pot instead of using a DPDT switch to change DC polarity. I'll appreciate your help. thanks.


    11 months ago

    I like the clean layout of this page, and the video was 'to-the-point', not boring - well done.


    2 years ago

    I made this on a breadboard. Works and runs cool even with a motor as a load, but, does not come to a complete stop. Perhaps I did something incorrectly. I used 1N4001 for the diodes. Thanks for the project. The included KiCad files are greatly appreciated, makes thing much easier!