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Author Topic: Use a 555 timer instead of a Crystal oscillator?  (Read 4923 times)

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Offline voyager2Topic starter

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Use a 555 timer instead of a Crystal oscillator?
« on: January 10, 2011, 07:33:34 AM »
Hi all,

An interesting thought just occurred to me:
Would it be possible to use a 555 timer circuit to control act as the timer for a microcontroller?
Google didn't really help, to many 555 timer circuit tutorials, not enough Q&A...
So do you guys have any ideas?


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Offline hopslink

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Re: Use a 555 timer instead of a Crystal oscillator?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2011, 08:11:13 AM »
Yes - it's possible to use a logic level square wave from any source, but why would you want to? Cystal or ceramic oscillators are far more accurate and compact, and most microcontrollers have internal oscillators which would be far simpler to use.

If your clock source doesn't have a known frequency then you won't be able to do any time based routines without lots of extra work, and things like serial communications will be extremely unreliable and probably won't work at all.

Offline Soeren

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Re: Use a 555 timer instead of a Crystal oscillator?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2011, 10:16:59 AM »
Hi,

An interesting thought just occurred to me:
Would it be possible to use a 555 timer circuit to control act as the timer for a microcontroller?
Apart from what's been said already, the standard (NE/LM/UA/etc.) 555 is ~500kHz max.
Regards,
Søren

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Please remember...
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Offline voyager2Topic starter

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Re: Use a 555 timer instead of a Crystal oscillator?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2011, 08:15:06 PM »
Interesting

Yes - it's possible to use a logic level square wave from any source, but why would you want to? Cystal or ceramic oscillators are far more accurate and compact, and most microcontrollers have internal oscillators which would be far simpler to use.

If your clock source doesn't have a known frequency then you won't be able to do any time based routines without lots of extra work, and things like serial communications will be extremely unreliable and probably won't work at all.
Exactly how accurate are 555 timers anyway?

Hi,

An interesting thought just occurred to me:
Would it be possible to use a 555 timer circuit to control act as the timer for a microcontroller?
Apart from what's been said already, the standard (NE/LM/UA/etc.) 555 is ~500kHz max.
Nice bit of info (saved)


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Offline Soeren

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Re: Use a 555 timer instead of a Crystal oscillator?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2011, 04:19:27 AM »
Hi,

Exactly how accurate are 555 timers anyway?

It largely depends on the value and types of the timing resistor and especially the timing capacitor.
Comparing a 555 circuit to the built-in RC oscillator of a controller, you have to consider that the latter is part of the same die, so will be more or less temperature stabilized ('though hotter when the controller works harder and vv), while with a 555, the components are prey to temperature changes no matter what the 555 does. Even a light draft can really muck things up and even in a sealed box the temperature changes in the 555 will make some turbulence.

How accurate?
Give a man a fish... Here's the pole.
Experiment! Test it!
That way you'll learn a lot about it - teachings that stick (contrary to what you're just told and forget in a short time).
If you do, try with different types of caps (they account for the major instability and temp-dependence) where the electrolyte is the worst (i.e. really bad) and NP0 caps is the best obviously.

How to measure:
If you have a frequency controller it's easy.
If you don't, program a microcontroller to count eg. 1,000 or 1,000,000 periods (or whatever will take you to say 10 to 100 seconds) and use a stop watch for the measure.
An X-tal controlled micro could be programmed as a timer or low frequency counter and if you've perfect pitch, or a (music) keyboard handy, arrange the frequency to be in the range loosely from 100Hz to 4kHz and compare with the musical notes.

If you want to learn about the 555 in general, get a couple and experiment till they smoke ;D
I'll recommend a thorough read of Tonys tutorial on the 555 and experiment while reading.
When you've been through all the circuits and all the text on that page, you'll know more about the 555 than many electronics engineers! And you'll have fun along the way.

And when you're done, checking out his capacitor tutorial might not be a bad idea.
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

Offline Admin

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Re: Use a 555 timer instead of a Crystal oscillator?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2011, 08:02:50 AM »
Crystals for microcontrollers tutorial ;) :P
http://www.societyofrobots.com/microcontroller_xtal.shtml

 


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