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Motors are the driving force behind many maker experiments, from hobby projects to more sophisticated robotics applications. Curious if it would be possible to reduce these generally complex motor controllers to a handful of common components, we set out on our latest hack, Projects in Motion: Control Three Types of Motors with 555 Timers.

Using little more than resistors, transistors, capacitors, wire, and power, along with at least one 555 timer and a pinch of CMOS logic, we were able to breadboard circuits capable of driving three common motor types: DC, servo, and stepper motor. In fact, our first experiment consists of only six parts: a potentiometer, DC motor, hookup wire, breadboard, two 555 timers, and a power supply. With only these parts, we were able to build an H-Bridge circuit, capable of driving our motor forwards and backwards.

But the real joy of this project is showing what is possible with a common 555 timer – this robust, versatile component’s hackability is seemingly limitless! Whether you want to perform a Light Theremin on stage, are curious about cybernetics, want to build a quiz show circuit, construct a radio, or even make a simple LED blinky, the 555 timer makes it possible!

The video below shows each of our motor hacks in action, and if you mod any of these circuits into your own experiments, be sure to send us an email of your build!

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Nick Normal

I’m an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!


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