Electronics Components: Integrated Circuit Data Sheets - dummies

Electronics Components: Integrated Circuit Data Sheets

By Doug Lowe

Before you work with the electronics of a specific type of integrated circuit (IC), you should download a copy of the data sheet for the IC. An IC datasheet contains loads of useful information. In addition to basic information such as the manufacturer’s name and the IC part number, you’ll find information such as:

  • A description of what the circuit does.

  • Detailed pinout descriptions that tell you the purpose of each pin.

  • A diagram of the internal circuitry of the chip. For simple circuits, you may get the entire detailed diagram. For more complicated chips, you’ll get a conceptual diagram instead of a detailed schematic.

  • Detailed electrical specifications, such as maximum voltage you can feed the circuit via the VCC pin or the maximum current loads for output pins.

  • Operating conditions such as maximum and minimum temperatures.

  • Charts and graphs that illustrate the circuit’s behavior for different operating conditions.

  • Formulas for calculating operating characteristics of the circuit. For example, if the operation of the circuit depends on an external RC (resistor/capacitor) circuit, you’ll get formulas for calculating how these external components will affect the operation of the circuit.

  • Sample circuit diagrams.

  • Mechanical descriptions including dimensions.

IC datasheets are available from many sources on the Internet. Use a search engine such as Google to search for the IC part number and the word datasheet. For example, to find a datasheet for a 555 timer chip, search for 555 datasheet.