[Lab] Help finding a timer to control memory wire

Ken McKinnon klmckinnon at rogers.com
Wed Mar 25 20:30:39 EDT 2015

Just to be clear, are you refering to Shape Memory wire or nitinol 
(nickel titanium)?
The 555/556 will do the trick for very fixed motion, but you need 
multiple, one for the heatup, one for the cool down cycles, but in 
general, using something with smarts would be better.  In this case, 
pulse width modulation (PWM) is the way to go, excellant control and 
ramping of heating/cooling cycles under control.  The Arduino's have 
some (physically) smaller cousins that use the Arduino IDE, etc if you 
are familiar with that.  Otherwise, Microchip makes some excellant 6 pin 
(10F and 12F series) processors that have on board PWM with free 
compilers, etc, giving a very small footprint, smaller even then the 555.

If you really want/need to do it without smarts, you could even do it 
very old school with a astable multivibrator using transistors, but the 
footprint would be likely be larger than the 555 and it's associatted bits.


On 2015-03-25 2:19 PM, Molly Mask wrote:
> Hi, I'm a part of an electronic media art class at Uottawa and I'm 
> working on a project right now that involves memory wire. I'm looking 
> for a fairly compact/simple way to control a power source to the wire 
> without the use of an arduino. I've looked into using a battery power 
> source for the voltage I need to activate the wire, but what I need is 
> a timer solution that will allow me to control the activation of the 
> wire to allow it to grow and contract and to not burn the wire out. So 
> far I have looked at using a time delay relay and a 555timer. The 
> 555timer seems most promising-- Is there anything else I should be 
> aware of or look into before going down this route?
> Thanks
> Molly
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