# 1.2.5.AK Clock Signals The555Timer

```1.2.5.AK Clock Signals: The 555 Timer
Introduction
Almost all development tools used today in digital electronics have an internal clock that can
be integrated into your circuit design. There are times however, when you may want to
generate your own simple clock signal and not depend on the internal clock of your
development board or equipment like a function generator or digital writer.
The 555 Timer oscillator is one of the most common circuits used in introductory electronics.
It is a favorite among beginners because of its low cost and ease of design. These are
precisely the same reasons the 555 Timer is used in the Random Number Generator design.
In this activity you will simulate and create a 555 Timer oscillator. You will observe the effect
that varying the value of its resistor and capacitor values has on the oscillation frequency and
duty cycle.
Procedure
1. For the 555 Timer oscillator circuit shown below, calculate the frequency and duty
cycle of the output signal based on the component values shown.
T = 0.693(330Ω + 2x330Ω) x 22µF = .0151s = 15.1 ms
ƒ= 1 ÷ .0151s = 66.2Hz
DC = (660Ω ÷ 990Ω) x 100 = 67%
2. Use the CDS to enter and simulate the 555 Timer oscillator circuit. Use the
oscilloscope’s markers to make the necessary measurements. Determine the
Digital Electronics ANSWER KEY 1.2.5 The 555 Timer – Page 1
frequency and duty cycle of the output signal. How do these values compare to the
calculated values?
The difference between Marker 1 and Marker 2 in the figure above shows a period of
15.1ms.
ƒ = 1 ÷ 15.1ms = 1 ÷ .0151s = 66.2Hz
The difference between Marker 1 and Marker 2 in the figure above shows a Time High
of 10.1ms. Recall that the period was 15.1ms.
DC = (tH ÷ T) x 100 = (10.1ms ÷ 15.1ms) x 100 = 67%
How do these values compare to the calculated values? Should be the same.
3. Repeat steps (1) and (2) for each set of component values in the table shown below.
Note that the shaded areas are the values that were measured from the original circuit.
Digital Electronics ANSWER KEY 1.2.5 The 555 Timer – Page 2
RA
RB
C2
Period(T)
Frequency(ƒ)
tH
tL
Duty
Cycle
100 
330 
22 F
11.6ms
86.2Hz
6.6ms
5ms
57%
330 
330 
22 F
15.1ms
66.2Hz
10.1ms
5ms
67%
560 
330 
22 F
18.6ms
53.8Hz
13.6ms
5ms
73%
330 
100 
22 F
8.1ms
123.5Hz
6.5ms
1.6ms
80%
330 
330 
22 F
15.1ms
66.2Hz
10.1ms
5ms
67%
330 
560 
22 F
22.2ms
45.1Hz
13.6ms
8.6ms
61%
330 
330 
10 F
6.9ms
144.9Hz
4.6ms
2.3ms
67%
330 
330 
22 F
15.1ms
66.2Hz
10.1ms
5ms
67%
330 
330 
47 F
32.3ms
31Hz
21.5ms 10.8ms
67%
4. Review the results of the data collected in step (3) of the procedure.

What effect did varying the RA have on the frequency and duty cycle?
As the resistor value for RA increases; frequency (ƒ) decreases and Duty Cycle
(DC) increases.

What effect did varying the RB have on the frequency and duty cycle?
As the resistor value for RB increases, frequency (ƒ) decreases and Duty Cycle
(DC) decreases.

What effect did varying the C2 have on the frequency and duty cycle?
As the capacitor value for C increases, frequency (ƒ) decreases and Duty Cycle
(DC) remains constant.
In the previous activity you created a 4-bit counter that counted from 0-15 in binary.
We used a provided clock source. (Internal clock in the development board or a
software generated clock source).
Digital Electronics ANSWER KEY 1.2.5 The 555 Timer – Page 3
Using what you have learned about the relationships between RA, RB, C2 and how
they impact the frequency output of the clock signal, create your own 555 Timer
oscillator circuit on your development board.
(Note: The simulation was helpful in determining how RA, RB, and C2 impact the 555
Timer oscillator design. However, the software simulated frequency can be affected
by the processor on your computer. The frequency rate may appear slightly different in
limited by the resistors and capacitors available.)
Simulation
5. Using the Circuit Design Software (CDS) use the clock signal of the 555 Timer to
trigger the 4-bit binary counter you created previously.