Minimal Blinky Project Makes The Chip The Circuit Board

We’ve got a thing for projects that have no real practical value but instead seek to answer a simple yet fundamental question: I wonder if I can do that? This dead-bug style 555 blinky light is one of those projects, undertaken just to see how small a circuit can be. Pretty small, as it turns out, and we bet it can get even smaller.

[Danko]’s minimal circuit is about as small as possible for the DIP version of the venerable 555 chip. The BOM is stripped to the bone: just the chip, three resistors, a capacitor, and an LED. All the discrete components are SMDs in 0805. The chip’s leads are bent around the package to form connections, and the SMDs bridge those “traces” to complete the circuit. [Danko] shows the build in step-by-step detail in the video below. There’s some fairly fine work here, but we can’t help wondering just how far down the scale this could be pushed. We know someone’s made a smaller blinky using a tiny microcontroller, but we’d love to see this tried with the BGA version of the chip which is only 1.4 mm on a side.

Cheers to [Danko] for trying this out and having some fun with an old chip. He seems to have a bit of a thing for the 555; check out this cute robot sculpture that’s built around the chip.

16 thoughts on “Minimal Blinky Project Makes The Chip The Circuit Board

    1. Was going to say…Blinking LED’s are already a thing. You can’t adjust them like you could this 555 based version but a uC based version of this might make a smaller footprint.

  1. And where does the battery go? It would be cool if this creature harvested its power from wireless signals but this is just… well… a 555 with small components soldered to its legs, just like every hobbyist has done at some point.
    Cutting away the resin to about the guts of the 555 would be cool or at least burry the components into the resin by drilling away some of it and flush-mount them.
    However, the SMD version of the 555 might work just fine, as stated in the article. Might wanna try that sometimes but as [sneakypoo] says: a blinking led will do the trick just fine.

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