The 555 timer IC is an integrated circuit (chip) used in a variety of timer, pulse generation, and oscillator applications. The 555 can be used to provide time delays, as an oscillator, and as a flip-flop element. Derivatives provide up to four timing circuits in one package.
Introduced in 1972 by Signetics, the 555 is still in widespread use, thanks to its ease of use, low price, and good stability. It is now made by many companies in the original bipolar and also in low-power CMOS types. As of 2003, it was estimated that 1 billion units are manufactured every year.
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