If you want to learn more about circuits and logic, why not do it on one of the classic chips?
It’s not often that I get to plug a chip that’s as old as I am. But the folks at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories have made a circuit board kit based on the NE555 integrated circuit that was launched in 1971.
Called the “Three fives” kit, it’ll set you back US$35.
For that price, not only do you get a board that’s based on the original datasheets for the 555 timer chip, you also get it in a design that looks like a 555. Yep, right down to the eight little legs made from machined PVC foam.
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories estimate that the kit, with board, resistors and transistors, should take about an hour to construct, and it requires some soldering. You can then use it to build 555 timer circuits and oscillator circuits – such as those used to control the joysticks in the original Apple II.
The circuit’s size – and its reusable thumbscrew terminal posts – makes it a great little kit for learning logic and circuit design. The creators note that you can use probes to monitor what goes on inside the circuit, too.
If you just want to bask in the design prowess of the NE555, you could opt to get an Evil Mad Scientist 555 footstool, instead.