L14, 555 Bistable Mode

A Bistable Mode or what is sometimes called a Schmitt Trigger, has two stable states, high and low. Taking the Trigger input low makes the output of the circuit go into the high state. Taking the Reset input low makes the output of the circuit go into the low state. This type of circuit is ideal for use in an automated model railway system where the train is required to run back and forth over the same piece of track. A push button (or reed switch with a magnet on the underside of the train) would be placed at each end of the track so that when one is hit by the train, it will either trigger or reset the bistable. The output of the 555 would control a DPDT relay which would be wired as a reversing switch to reverse the direction of current to the track, thereby reversing the direction of the train.

In this mode, the 555 timer acts as a basic flip-flop. The trigger and reset inputs (pins 2 and 4 respectively on a 555) are held high via pull-up resistors while the threshold input (pin 6) is simply floating. Thus configured, pulling the trigger momentarily to ground acts as a 'set' and transitions the output pin (pin 3) to Vcc (high state). Pulling the reset input to ground acts as a 'reset' and transitions the output pin to ground (low state). No timing capacitors are required in a bistable configuration. Pin 5 (control voltage) is connected to ground via a small-value capacitor (usually 0.01 to 0.1 μF). Pin 7 (discharge) is left floating.

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