I ordered some Varicap Diodes for radio experiments but decided to learn how to use them by making a Varicap LED 555 Flasher. You should think of getting Varicaps they are really fascinating.
My Hackerspace got an awesome package of really awesome Electronics Components, among them several 555 which I know can be rigged into making an Astable Multivibrator that uses Capacitors and Resistors to make a timer. Usually you can use a variable resistor to change the frequency of the square waves. You can also utilize a variable capacitor instead of a single value capacitor to change the frequency as well.
As you may or may not know, variable capacitors are hard to come by, so a solid state device has been invented to deal with this.
A varicap diode, varactor diode, variable capacitance diode, variable reactance diode or tuning diode is a type of diode whose capacitance varies as a function of the voltage applied across its terminals.
So lets get going
Step 1: What You Will Need
Bill of Materials
1 9V Battery
1 1MΩ Potentiometer
2 1KΩ 1/4 Watt Resistor
1 4.7KΩ 1/4 Watt Resistor
1 555 IC
Various Polarized Capacitors
2 Varicap Diodes of the same value
You can buy Varicap Diodes on Jameco this is an example: http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?search_type=jamecoall&catalogId=10001&freeText=varactor+diode&langId=-1&productId=2125430&storeId=10001&ddkey=http:StoreCatalogDrillDownView
Step 2: Insert the 555 IC
Insert the 555 IC into the breadboard
Step 3: Pins 2 and 6
Connect pins 2 and 6 of the 555 IC with a jumper cable as shown.
Step 4: 555
Connect pins 4 and 8 of the 555 IC
Step 5: Resistors
Connect a 1K Ohm resistor between pin 7 and the +9V rail of your Breadboard
Step 6: Resistors
Connect pins 2 and 7 with a 4.7K Ohm resistor
Step 7: Capacitors
Connect your fixed value capacitor of any value in this case 10µF between pin 2 of the 555 and GND or the negative rail of your Breadboard. Mind the polarity of your capacitor if it is electrolytic.
Here is some information about Electrolytic Capacitors
Step 8: Resistor
Connect your other 1KΩ resistor to pin 3 and any other hole in your breadboard. This is the output of the 555 that goes to an LED.
Step 9: LED
Connect your LED's Anode to the rail on your breadboard that comes out of the output resistor.
Step 10: LED
Connect the Cathode of your LED to the GND rail of your breadboard.
Step 11: 555
Connect pin 1 of the 555 to GND and pin 4 of the 555 to the Positive voltage rail of your breadboard.
Step 12: Varicap Diodes
We are going to make a Voltage Divider to control the Capacitance of the Varicaps, and we can do that with a 1MΩ Potentiometer.
Connect two jumpers in such a way that the edge pins of your potentiometer are hooked up to +9V and GND as shown in the picture.
Step 13: Voltage Divider
Connect a jumper that can bring the controlled voltage output of your potentiometer to a rail of your breadboard as shown in the picture.
Step 14: Varicaps
Look for a notch located at the top of your Varicap diode, this constitutes the Cathode of it, connect the two Varicap in the way shown in the schematic and the picture.
On the schematic disregard the Inductor!
Step 15: Varactor
Connect one of the Anodes of the two Varicaps and connect it to pin 2 of the 555.
Connect the other Anode of the Varicaps to GND.
Step 16: Finished
I will try to add some more schematics soon for you all!
Check out the video below for a demonstration.