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Today you can buy flashing LEDs; a simple two-lead component that requires only a power supply to produce even flashes of light.

LM3909 Datasheet PDF

They look for all the world like any other LED, though embedded in the plastic dome is an integrated circuit to do all that flashing work. There was a time though when a flashing LED was something of a big deal, so much so that National Semiconductor produced a dedicated chip for the task.

That part is now long out of production, so [Dillon] has implemented the LM circuit using discrete components on a small PCB designed to take pins and fit the footprint of the original. Why on earth might a reborn LM be of interest to him, you ask?

LM Datasheet(PDF) – National Semiconductor (TI)

The internal schematic is in the data sheet found in the files section of his projectso he was able to implement it relatively easily using common parts. It still requires an external capacitor just like the original, but there is space on-board should you wish to put it there. Recreations of classic chips using discretes are nothing new, we recently brought you a reborn PSU regulator chip made in That kind of takes all the challenge out of getting 1. Some time around I potted one in epoxy with a D cell.

Lost it in a move. Might still be blinking for all I know, but I doubt it. It works just fine with 1. One of them got stuck into the peephole of my dorm room. If you stood in front the the door and looked closely, you could see it blinking in the external lens. I need to change the AA battery about once a year it seems.


It still sits in a crappy chunk of pcb I tossed it in, but have never gotten around to replacing it. Well, some people are blessed with a personality that can keep small electronics running longer than relationships. Just connect the LED on a solar panel and leave it outside. It will blink with a frequency of about 11 microHertz. Lots of jitter but it will run for a long time.

My neighbors have deployed a considerable number of those already. Interestingly, they illuminate when the sun is NOT shining on them. Some kind of magical power source inside that turns off during the day, somehow. Leithoa It was a joke, son. The BoM of a typical garden-variety solar-powered garden light is just four or five components: No toxic CdS required.

Though, ironically, the cheap ones use a NiCd cell…. Self contained blinking LEDs are nothing new.

(PDF) LM3909 Datasheet download

It could flash an LED with a forward junction voltage that was over 1. Also, if you took the time to look the chip up, some cells outlived their shelf life when flashing with it. The chip was designed to have a full time flashing LED built into flashlights that did not discharge the batteries so you could locate the flashlight in the dark. It had nothing to do with the size or color. Somebody here finally get it.

The was a single chip charge pump that could light and lm309 an LED when the power source was below the forward bias voltage of the LED. Someone here designed a replacement: Oddly, when the battery expired on mine, it managed to take the IC out at the same time.

I was surprised that there was enough energy in the system to achieve that. My father and I built a business around datashheet chip from The battery got wrapped with a sticker promoting or commemorating… whatever.

I still have several tubes of chips, and I still make one on occasion as gifts. I think we grew up together in Orange Park.


Did you have strobes on he corners of your mortarboard for graduation? Anyway, one of my very first adtasheet was a blinky soldered directly to a nicad cell from an old rechargeable toy. The human eye responds to peak intensity rather than average intensity.

The LM can be configured to modulate the flash with a 2kHz clock to further reduce power consumption while still appearing the dataasheet. This is how modern LED flashlights got to be so efficient the bulb is only lit a small fraction of the time.

For specific purposes, this device datashert way better than a generic LM Trying to make a emulate it is just silly. The is an analog timer building block. It was a sad day when the last one was made. Maybe he should have rolled his own capacitor too. Will this one flash an LED for two years? LM chips are still available. I always loved getting chip data books back in the day because they were usually jammed full of interesting and sometimes off-the-wall applications.

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Thanks [Drew Fustini] For the tip. The schematic is available in the interwebs. Power the LED with a thermocouple array datasheft the back of the i7. Not mentioned above … The human eye responds to peak intensity rather than average intensity. Everything has limits, a 0. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email required Address never made public.