Long Live the 555!

If you homebrew at all, chances are you’ve used the 555 timer. EETimes.Com has recently run the article, “The 555: Best IC Ever Or Obsolete Anachronism?” that attempts to divine why it’s so popular and to suggest some alternatives to this part, which was designed in 1971.

As to the popularity of the IC, the author, Louis Frenzel, says:

I read somewhere recently that millions of new 555s are made each year and that the total sold to date is easily greater than 1 billion.

No bad for a chip that’s nearly 40 years old.

Frenzel goes on to suggest some more modern alternatives, including the:

While technically, these are all worthy replacements for the 555 in various applications, they are undoubtedly not as widely available. At any rate, the article is an interesting read if you’re into this kind of thing.


  1. It is nice to see the 555 IC alive and well after all these years!


  2. Ah, the 555 Timer IC. It is just a fad…it will never last :-)

    73, Bob K0NR

  3. As a transition from building circuits using discrete components to building them using ICs, the 555 seems ideally suited for use in the classroom. I am a novice (i.e. don’t know much about electronics), but simple steps to build a strong foundation can never be a bad idea.

    Thanks for the link to the article. I’ve copied it and added it to my “digital library”.

    Hope the other article on the sunspots improving turns out to be correct. ;)


    Ronny, KC5EES
    Austin, TX

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