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Hans Camenzind, 555 timer inventor, dies

8/15/2012 11:38 PM EDT
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Brian Fuller2
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re: Hans Camenzind, 555 timer inventor, dies
Brian Fuller2   8/15/2012 11:58:14 PM
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Another analog giant passes... a big loss for the industry and an inspiration to generations of engineers.

US Made
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US Made   8/16/2012 12:24:53 AM
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555 timer, remembering my undergrad day. Simple but powerful concept. great innovation. Thxs

Patk0317
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Patk0317   8/16/2012 10:26:27 AM
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Sergio was my professor at SFSU in the 80's. I have fond memories of getting photo copies of a new chapter each week of his Op Amp book that he was writing at the time. I have recently read (but cannot remember exactly where) that you can make almost anything using 555s. We are getting to the days when many of the innovators are gone. Williams, Pease, Jobs and now Camenzind. The real question is where is the next wave of innovators going to come from?

nicolas.mokhoff
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nicolas.mokhoff   8/16/2012 6:28:11 PM
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I believe you are correct. There was a need to innovate in the 555 era. Now it is more packaging and marketing; trading brain cells for eyeballs, and it will get worse. For every exceptional innovation, there are many more tweaks to the innovation, at least in electronics.

ANON1255185289979
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ANON1255185289979   8/16/2012 8:06:42 PM
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Please do not equate Jobs with Camenzid. Jobs was a Marketeer with a great sense of product. He innovated by using the inventions of others in new styling and packaging. Camenzid was an inventor and an engineer. His invention was the core or key component of many other inventions and together brought innovations to the public through myriad companies.

Patk0317
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Patk0317   8/18/2012 10:44:31 PM
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I am equating them in the sense of innovators. Jobs was not an engineer, but he did change the world as did Camenzid.

ChrisGammell
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ChrisGammell   8/16/2012 3:20:37 PM
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Hans was generous enough to help out with judging the 555contest 2 years ago. It was really great getting to correspond with him and even better getting to see all the fun things people did with the 555 chip.

ChrisGammell
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ChrisGammell   8/16/2012 8:10:12 PM
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The site is down right now, but if people are interested in seeing some of the amazing things people did with the 555, type "555contest" into YouTube or Google. Lots of amazing entries.

pcamen
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pcamen   8/16/2012 5:51:51 PM
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He really enjoyed helping with the judging of that contest.

BobsView
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BobsView   8/16/2012 8:15:31 PM
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Before microprocessors were readily available, I designed a bazillion machine controllers using the 555 Timer in Sequential Logic. Never had a failure or had it lock up from a power glitch. I had the internal circuitry memorized and used it in ways it was never designed to be used by utilizing the various transistors and functions available through the pins. I still remember the page number in the Sighnetics Data Book it appeared on, page 6-49, and that was 30 years ago. The best, and most useful chip every designed...

damngoodengineer
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damngoodengineer   8/16/2012 8:26:56 PM
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Go to his website and download his book on designing analog chips: http://www.designinganalogchips.com/ Maybe you then will be one of our future gurus - like he wanted you to be.

daleste
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daleste   8/17/2012 2:46:05 AM
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Thanks for the pointer to his book. I will enjoy this read! I hope some of the young engineers are reading this so that we will have the next crop of analog gurus.

MIchael
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MIchael   8/16/2012 8:51:17 PM
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Without the work of what people Camenzind did, Steve Jobs couldn't have done anything. Different people with differentskills, but someonehas to invent the basic technology first. Where would we be without folks who cando that?

William.Hood
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William.Hood   8/16/2012 9:12:47 PM
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I'm putting into production soon a simple design that uses the 556 device. It really is amazing what the "old school" technology can still do for little money.

jnade
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jnade   8/20/2012 7:44:06 PM
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The 556 was twice as good as the 555

BobsView
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re: Hans Camenzind, 555 timer inventor, dies
BobsView   8/16/2012 9:28:42 PM
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A VP at a company I was working at 15 years ago insisted on me using a computer to run a piece of production machinery. Because this type of machine has a lifetime exceeding 30 years, I argued against it because of reliability concerns. I was overruled. The computer-controlled machine has had to have numerous computer upgrades over the years to keep up with industry-wide hardware and software changes at great cost in downtime and reliability. The machines run on 555 Timers are still running 30 years later without a failure and are still in production. The computer controlled machine now needs to be completely redone at enormous cost because the hardware is too outdated to upgrade any longer. The moral is, just because we can go "digital" doesn't mean we should.

Biomed
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Biomed   8/17/2012 1:49:49 AM
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The 555 was a Hybrid. it wasn't pure Analog.

jg_
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jg_   8/18/2012 5:37:02 AM
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You should have chosen the 8051 - only slightly younger than the NE555, and still going strong!!

brony
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brony   8/16/2012 9:46:27 PM
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As so many people, since a very long time, I (we) used that 555. A great brain we will miss. Rest in peace.

DaveMcGuire
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DaveMcGuire   8/16/2012 10:07:23 PM
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I grew up hacking on 555 circuits, and I design them into commercial products today. Hans Camenzind, you changed the world for the better. Thank you. Rest in peace.

Michael.Karagosian
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Michael.Karagosian   8/16/2012 10:08:47 PM
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Hans was my second employer, and one I will always remember. He was a brilliant analog designer. He left his post as head of R&D at Signetics, and launched Interdesign with the purpose of bringing analog integration to a broad market of products that otherwise could never afford it. The 555 was Interdesign's first project - he sold it back to Signetics for a flat fee, with no royalty. Interdesign was very successful, though, and he did well. Hans' enthusiasm and energy was infectious. For a young engineer, he was a wonderful man to work for. May he rest in peace.

arppix
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arppix   8/16/2012 10:34:24 PM
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Wow...I remember when the 555 came out - I was 12 years old, learning electronics in my basement workshop. It definitely had an impact on me - I spent hours playing with it along with opamps and TTL devices. Recently I bought some for a small hobby project and had fun all over again. How many designs are still relevant and useful after 40 years? Not many...RIP Mr. Camenzind.

brucer1
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brucer1   8/17/2012 1:19:50 AM
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The 555 was my intro into designing with ICs. I learned electronics in the Navy circa 1960 and understood only vacuum tube technology until the mid 70's when I bought a book which I believe was call the "The 555 cookbook" and a Powerace bread board. It was an epiphany, no more huge transformers,rectifiers or capacitors for filament current or plate votage; gone were sockets with all kinds of nasty wiring. Just sweet clean 5 vdc, a symmetrical caterpillar of an IC that you just push into a matrix of holes,some jumper wires and the next thing you know you've got a circuit that can do something. 46 years later and I have to say that changed my life! Thanks, and RIP Hans Camenzind, you've done more for me than the sum of the rest of my education. Bruce Grossman Chief of R&D EZtimers Manufacturing

GREAT-Terry
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GREAT-Terry   8/17/2012 1:54:58 AM
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Yep 555 is one of the fantastic device ever been used. LTC's timerblox may be another follow on product line that expand the functionality of multiple 555 features.

Biomed
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Biomed   8/17/2012 2:19:31 AM
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Honestly I never knew WHO invented the 555 or PLL I just thought was a product of semiconductor Cos. But when the new method of Controlling motor speed w/o losing torque known as "Pulse width modulation" PWM and the controllers were a box of 3 cards full of discrete components and analog circuits. Nobody was thinking of using the 555. so, I thought that if running the 555 in Astable multivibrator mode and using a VR you in effect could change the duty cycle and thus the duty cycle of the square wave output. PWM!! I used such a circuit along with a NPN power tab and VOILA!! worked Perfectly. All in circuit One inch square or less. So, I can say I was one of the first, if not the first, to utilize the 555 for PWM in motor control So, now that I know who made such versatile device; HAPPY TRAILS Buddy!! Thanks.

kg5q
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kg5q   8/17/2012 2:42:08 AM
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What a useful and great part - I have used it for years and I expect it still gets designed in to circuits and systems every day. I suspect if you tried to initiate the 555 timer in many of todays bean-counter run technology companies you would not be able to get approval to move forward with it. The approval staff (of usually all non-technical people who have not been a customer or called on one for a living) would say - "for the business case to be approved I need to know the one customer that will buy millions" and if you said - " millions of people will design that into millions of applications" they would say "not enough data... denied!!! The golden age of semiconductors.... before finance and operations ruled the earth engineers did we went to the moon-and the US and our companies were financially strong I miss those days! RIP Mr. Camenzind - I hope your tombstone says " I did not need a business case - I made one on my own"

krh
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krh   8/17/2012 3:12:13 AM
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555...Swiss army knife of analog ICs...brilliant...

PETER.WEISSKOPF
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PETER.WEISSKOPF   8/17/2012 4:08:12 AM
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In 1980 I used a 555 timer to build a temp controller for an thermopile cooled IR detector. It was not PWM but simply a fixed pulse width frequency modulated waveform driving a buck switching circuit. OP-amp comparator built in, and elegantly simple circuit was what I recall. Pete Weisskopf

Kinnar
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Kinnar   8/17/2012 9:15:11 AM
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It is a very sad dismissal, Thanks to eeTimes it made us knowing about the great inventor. We are still using the 555 in the undergraduate studies as a basic IC to teach the applications of Analog Integrated Circuits. I am also glad to know that the same person had invented the first Class D amplifier.

Testing and servicing
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Testing and servicing   8/17/2012 10:06:27 AM
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The time has taken away the inventor of timer It's an bigger loss to the field of Electronics

Sheetal.Pandey
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Sheetal.Pandey   8/17/2012 10:45:58 AM
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555 timer. We all electronics engineer know this being basic fundamentals. But how many know the inventors. I guess the text books and also the industry should do something to make sure the inventor's name becomes as popular as what he invented.

pavila
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pavila   8/17/2012 12:26:17 PM
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I remeber the radioshack notebook of 555 in my school in the 70's Then later i used in teaching a new enginierrs Thanks for all

fat58
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fat58   8/17/2012 1:05:13 PM
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An inpiring IC even here in Argentina, I enjoyed using it in many projects. Rest in peace Hans.

rubinstu
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rubinstu   8/17/2012 1:24:53 PM
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My first electronics book (which is still sitting on my shelf in my office right now) from when I was a kid was a Radio Shack 555 "handbook." I built a bunch of those blinkers, whizzers, sirens, sensors, etc.! With all respect to Professor Camenzind, this is a reminder that we are all monostable...

hfserran
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hfserran   8/17/2012 1:55:04 PM
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Incredible man. Incredible talent. Incredible circuit.

Douglas K McClelland
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Douglas K McClelland   8/17/2012 5:33:51 PM
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Yes all the old wizard that revolutionized the industry, are fading away. I remember the 2 guys at National Semi that did the most radical things, like double emitters on a transistor ( Dobson I think ). Unfortunately I remember Signectics as the absolute worst data sheets, that almost cause major engineering expenses. I always had to check the pin out on their part data sheets against the National catalog to get it correct.

Michael.FlieslerQA
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Michael.FlieslerQA   8/17/2012 6:03:41 PM
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I interviewed for a part-time position with Hans in the early 70s. As I recall, the Interdesign office was in downtown Sunnyvale, and the interview was held at the old Tao Tao Chinese restaurant. Didn't get the job, but fondly remember the 555 timer. Interdesign also made chips which contained analog building blocks, which could be interconnected with a single metal mask. Hans was ahead of his time.

tuslog1964
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tuslog1964   8/18/2012 4:56:55 PM
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Anyone else remember the e-mails that claimed that the 555 would cease to function when Y2K rolled around on 01 01 00? As usual with these e-mail originators, they had total ignorance of how they worked.

Aloke Kumar
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Aloke Kumar   8/18/2012 9:22:49 PM
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8/18/2012 555 is not merely another circuit idea.It's a philosophy.Time,not dependent on supply voltage.The entire community will remember you Camenzind.

arodulfo
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arodulfo   8/21/2012 8:40:13 AM
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Back in 1978 I was also learning electronics with valves, plate voltages and grid control. A bit outdated already. Next year, the new Electronics teacher introduced us to the transistor, the diode, the op-amp and so on, and pushed us to think analog and to devise ways to combine them with capacitors, resistors and other components to build useful things. He also introduced us to the 555, among other IC's, and proved the wizardry of analog design could be mastered and made to seem even easy. Now that I know who was the wizard capable of casting the first spell, I can't help but regret his passing. We need many of those wizards, even more now. I'm sure his designs will keep being used in the future and many people will benefit from them. Mr. Camenzind has a place in Heaven. May he rest in peace.

boblespam
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boblespam   8/21/2012 4:03:12 PM
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Today I just put a SE555D in my design, a big controller for an electric roadster. It will wake-up the whole system. May Mr. Camenzind live forever through his inventions.

OmegaMan
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OmegaMan   8/21/2012 5:57:56 PM
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I remember the 555 fondly too. However, in my experience, when I was designing circuits in the 80s and 90s, there was a stigma attached to using this chip. I was told by numerous older, experienced engineers that the 555 was "glitchy" and unreliable, and that a REAL circuit designer would NEVER use the 555. I wonder if there were problems with the original design, or were there other reasons for this attitude? I personally loved using this chip and never had any problems, but I was hesitant to use it in new designs for fear of being laughed out of the design review.

boblespam
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re: Hans Camenzind, 555 timer inventor, dies
boblespam   8/22/2012 12:07:37 PM
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problems may arise when using long timebases, with a big capacitor. But it most of designs it's not the case.

agk
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agk   8/23/2012 1:23:58 PM
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All the young school students learning electronics from me are given with a project to start with 555 chip with a thermistor,IR Tx Rx LED's,piezo buzzers,LDR and multi color LED's. This is such a great chip always works correctly and gives the kids a strong motivation to learn electronics.Thanks to the inventor.

iskustvo
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iskustvo   8/26/2012 5:18:16 AM
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????? ????? ??? ???????? ???????? ? ??????? ????. ????? ?????????? GREAT RESPECT TO GRAND SCIENTIST PROF. PETRE MACEDONIA

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