Hans Camenzind, 555 timer inventor, dies

Karl W4KRL W4KRL at arrl.net
Fri Aug 17 09:19:25 CDT 2012

Hans Camenzind, 555 timer inventor, dies

Brian Fuller 

8/15/2012 7:38 PM EDT


SAN FRANCISCO--Hans Camenzind, the Swiss emigre analog guru who invented one
of the most successful circuits in electronics history and introduced the
concept of phase-locked loop to IC design, passed away in his sleep at the
age of 78. The news was reported today (Aug. 15) by
<http://online.sfsu.edu/%7Esfranco/> Sergio Franco, an emeritus professor of
electrical engineering at San Francisco State University in an email. 

 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_R._Camenzind> Camenzind came to the
United States in 1960 and worked for several years at some of the storied
names of the newly developing semiconductor industry: Transitron, Tyco
Semiconductor, and Signetics. 

In 1971 he joined the ranks of entrepreneurs by founding InterDesign, a
company specializing in semi-custom integrated circuit design. It was there,
working under a contract with Signetics, that he
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/555_timer_IC> invented the 555 timer.
Signetics commercialized the device in 1972, and it went on to become one of
the most successful in the industry's history. The device, used in
oscillator, pulse-generation and other applications, is still widely used
today. Versions of the device have been or are still made by dozens of major
semiconductor vendors, including Texas Instruments, Intersil, Maxim, Avago,
Exar, Fairchild, NXP and STMicroelectronics. 

Camenzind also introduced the idea of phase-locked loop to design and
invented the first class D amplifier.

Camenzind was a prolific author with interests as diverse as
<http://www.designinganalogchips.com/> electronics textbooks and the history
of the industry ("
<http://www.amazon.com/Much-Ado-About-Almost-Nothing/dp/0615139957> Much Ado
About Almost Nothing") to a book on God and religion (
"Circumstantial Evidence") he wrote under the pen name John Penter. He
received an MSEE from Northeastern University and an MBA from the University
of Santa Clara, and, during his career secured 20 patents. 

Private family services are scheduled this week. A remembrance of Hans' life
will be held at 2 p.m. PDT on Sept. 9, in the
&ei=czAsUMTkE4bliAKd0IGYCw&ved=0CIMBEPwSMAQ> Shoup Park Garden House in Los
Altos, Calif. Friends and colleagues are welcome. In lieu of flowers, the
family would prefer donations in Hans' memory to the
<http://www.computerhistory.org/> Computer History Museum. To RSVP and for
information on donations, please see camenzind.org/hans/ (requires

He is survived by his wife Pia, his daughter Sue (Erol Kirelik), his sons
Robert (Amy), Peter (Lisa), Tim (Marie) and nine grandchildren. 



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