EE-110 Introduction to Engineering & Laboratory Experience Saeid Rahimi, Ph.D. Lab Timer: Blinking LED Lights and Pulse Generator

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1 EE-110 Introduction to Engineering & Laboratory Experience Saeid Rahimi, Ph.D. Lab Timer: Blinking LED Lights and Pulse Generator In many digital and analog circuits it is necessary to create a clock pulse (square signal) using a DC battery or power source. A very common and inexpensive component for this purpose is the 555 timer. This timer comes in different specifications and in this lab we will use a LM555CM chip. The pin diagram of generic 555 timers is shown below. These timers can be used to create a single pulse signal (monostable) or a repetitive pulse signal (multistable). The monostable application is used when a light or motor is to be turned on only for a specific period of time. An example is a motion detector security light that turns on for a preset length of time. The multistable application is utilized in circuits requiring a clock signal or for turning lights or devices "on" and "off" repeatedly. In both cases appropriate RC time constants are used. In this lab we will experiment with the multistable features of the timer. Online you may be able to find many applications for the monostable operation of the timer. The role of the RC time-constant can be observed visually and quite clearly in the following example, which is one of many circuits employing the charging and discharging of a capacitor through a resistor. The role of various values of R and C can be clearly displayed in 555 timer circuits. This timer is used commonly in circuits that generate oscillating square wave signals. One can adjust the duty cycle of the signals by adjusting the values of the capacitors and resistors. The timer is also used in circuits that use a trigger signal to turn on the output for a desired length of time. The values of R and C in the circuit will determine the length of the time that the output will remain on or "high". However, in this part we will construct a circuit that makes two or more LEDs blink alternatively. The blinking speed is controlled by the values of a resistor and capacitor in the circuit. Let us first become familiar with the pin diagram of a 555 timer: 1

2 A Multistable 555 Timer Circuit The purpose of this experiment is three-fold: The first is to enjoy observing the blinking lights and the second (and more serious) is to control the blinking speed by changing R 4 and C 1 values in the following circuit. Finally, we will try to find appropriate C 1 and R 4 values for a particular blinking period, for example, one second. There is a correlation between the blinking speed (period) of the device and the R 4 C 1 time-constant. Use online resources to obtain the specification sheet of the 555 timer and record at least three of its important parameters in a table. Make yourself familiar with the current and voltage ranges suitable for this device. What is the maximum output current and input voltage for this device? What is its maximum power rating? 555 timer type (ID) Max input voltage Max output current Power rating Carefully draw the circuits in your lab book and record your calculations. List the component values and record the waveforms as observed on the scope. V1 R1 200Ohm_1% 5 V LED1 R2 200Ohm_1% 555 NET_8 R3 1.00kOhm_1% R4 22kOhm_5% LED2 C1 100uF-POL 2

3 Measurement 1: Construct the above circuit. Note that 555 timer is a chip with 8 pins. When looking at the chip from above (top view), the pin to the left of the notch is pin #1. In this part of the experiment we will not use pins # 4 (lower left) and pin #5 (lower right). The chip is powered by a 5 V DC source. You can use the Discovery Scope for the 5 V source. The RC combinations control the timer's threshold at pin #6. The output of the timer (pin#3) oscillates between high (on) and low (off). The oscillation frequency is obviously a function of the values of the resistors and the capacitor. A large RC time constant results in lower blinking frequency (longer duration). Select C 1 to have a capacitance of a few µf. Choose a larger capacitance if the blinking speed is too fast. Make sure you connect the diodes in such a way that their anodes (usually the longer legs) are closer to the power source and their cathodes (usually shorter legs) closer to the ground. You can adjust the brightness of the diodes by adjusting the current limiting resistors connected to them in series. Observation: Observe the blinking lights controlled by the 555 timer and the resistors and capacitors connected to it. Select three different values of C 1 and observe the corresponding change in the blinking speed. Create a table and note your observation of the off and on periods. Calculation: For the values given in the circuit diagram, monitor the blinking "off" and "on" intervals. Estimate the "off" and "on" times (N) by counting the number of time the diodes blink in one minute. The duration one blink would be 60/N. Calculate R 4 C 1 or R 3 C 1 time constants and compare these time constants with your estimation of the length of on and off times. Show your results in a table. C 11 T 1 C 12 T 2 C 13 T 3 Measurement 2: In this part construct a slightly different circuit using only one LED. The idea here is: (1) to design a different "on" time compared to "off" time, and (2) to create fast pulses by reducing the RC time constant. Choose the capacitor C 1 in the range 10 µf µf. V1 R3 10kOhm_5% 5 V R2 10kOhm_5% C1 100uF-POL 8 U1 VCC 4 RST OUT 3 7 DIS 6 THR 2 TRI 5 CON GND 1 LM555CM A R1 200Ohm_5% LED1 B 3

4 Note that the pin arrangement for the timer is a different compared to the circuit of the first part of the experiment. The "on" and "off" times (duty cycle) for the generated pulses of this circuit should follow the formula: t off = R 3 C 1 and t on = t off R 2 C 1 According to the above formula, for a perfectly square wave of 50% duty cycle R 2 should have zero resistance (shorted). Calculation: Calculate t off, and t on using the capacitance and resistance values that you used in the circuit. Do the calculated on and off times correspond to your observation of the times in the next part? Construct the circuit with the given values of resistances and capacitance C 1 and observe the blinking light. Use the simple time measurement technique described above to estimate the on and off times and compare your calculation with the actual observation. C 1 t on calculated t on measured % error t off calculated T off measured % error Observation: Record the duty cycle for the above parameter. Change the value of R 3 and observe a shift in the duty cycle. Measurement 3: Now replace the large capacitor with µf capacitor (or smaller). The LED no longer blinks and appears "on" all the time. Why? The blinking frequency is too high for your eyes to see. In order to see the signal going through the LED, connect the probes of your oscilloscope to points A and B and observe the signal. Carefully draw two cycles of the signal to the scale and explain how you can make this signal perfectly square. Use the cursors in the Lab scope or DS to measure the length of on and off times. Determine the duty cycle of the waveform. C 1 t on from scope T off from scope 4

5 A Monostable 555 Timer Circuit (optional) The purpose of this circuit is to generate a single pulse (monostable) using a push-button switch or other means of triggering the output pulse. The trigger pulse in the diagram is delivered to the rigger pin (# 2) and the reset pin (#4). The duration of the output pulse can be adjusted with the values of R 1 and C 1. The LED in the above circuit is attached to the output of the times and will light up for the duration determined by the 10 k resistor and 0.01 µf capacitor. Students are encouraged to search the Internet for various applications of the 555 timer for creating a monostable pulse. For example, one can use this circuit for turning a security light on for a specified length of time. 5

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