jump to navigation

555 Timer History Now Included September 30, 2009

Posted by datasheetreference in Uncategorized.

You can now learn the history of the 555 Timer IC in an interview with Han Camenzind, the inventor of the 555 Timer.   This may be the most popular chip ever invented.  Worth a read.


Hans, let’s start the Oral History with your recollections of the initial success of the 555 integrated circuit.

That 555 family was a total surprise.  I wanted to make it flexible, that was the whole purpose, but I didn’t realize it was so flexible.  There are applications now that still sound crazy to me.  And the quantity!  In the second year it moved to the largest quantity sold of any IC and it has stayed that way for 30 years.  The original application was as a timer and oscillator, but it has moved well beyond that.

According to the IEEE Spectrum article you wrote on the 555, there was reluctance at Signetics to invest in this product.  Is that right?

The engineering department at Signetics  – yes, they were a bit stodgy for a semiconductor company.  They were at the forefront.  They had tried everything.  It was a surprising reaction, and it was simply a reflection of the turf.  You know, they were designing and making operational amplifiers.
Was that their primary business?

Yes, the primary linear business, although I think the digital portion (RTL and DTL) was still much larger. For the linear, op amp was king.  So they figured that if I designed a circuit that replaced one or two op amps, that would cut into their sales.


No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: