Tsukure Mad Labs Decimal Counter

A decimal counter is a chip designed to count the number of pulses or events that occur in digital circuits. These chips show the output in the decimal form or 1 to 99... form. So if we have a 12 bit counter, then it can count only 12 clock pulses or 12 events. These chips memorize the events and show the count of events at output port. The chip memorizes the event and shows the output in decimal form, hence the name DECADE COUNTER. what decade counter does it each time a pulse is appeared at clock pin, it counts it and stores the value. 

Here we are going to use a 10 bit DECADE counter. The counter chip is CD4017BE.With a 10 bit DECADE counter; we can count events up to 10. So it would take 11 clock pulses for the chip to reset itself to zero.

These counters have limitations for working voltage and clock frequency. When these limitations are not considered the chip may damage permanently, so one should pay attention while selecting the canary counter.

The circuit starts at clock pin, here we pull down the clock pin to ground through a 1KΩ resistor. This is to be done because the binary counter is a rising edge type. So whenever a positive rising edge is generated at clock pin the counter recognizes it as an event and increments the binary output by one.

Now the clock is provided with a button, so for every button press there will be a positive peak at the clock pin and hence an event. The DECADE counter has a capability to drive the LED directly so there is no need for resistors at the end of binary counters LEDS. The MR (Master Reset) of binary counter must be pulled down at any time, leaving it open might cause unpredictable results at the LEDS might blink randomly.

The capacitor is for neutralizing the bouncing effect of the button. In the absence of capacitor, the counter may count the events occurring wrongly.

Every time a peak is passed the counter considers it as an event and increments the output by one for every passing event, once it reaches it limit to track the events it automatically resets to zero and starts again to count the pulses. And for the output it provides the event number as binary output through pins 3,2,4,7,10,1,5,6,9,11,12. In LSB (Least Significant Bit) to MSB(Most Significant Bit) fashion. so if the event count is seven the pin “6”will be high and so the corresponding LEDs glow. To reset the counter to zero under any stage connect the MR pin of counter to +5V, this resets the counter to zero.

Components used in this module...

Find out more about the components used in this STEM Module.

Let's Get Started!

Below you will find a list of bits to gather before hand, followed by a detailed schematic. Using a breadboard lay out the components and connect them together as shown. Alternatively you can purchase this module from our shop and simply solder the components in the places indicated on the quality assured printed circuit boards provided.


What You Need...


1 104 (100nF / 0.1uF) Capacitor (Ceramic)
1 CD4017 Integrated Circuit (IC)
10 5mm Blue (Diffused) LED
1 Tsukure Mad Labs - Decimal Counter PCB
1 1K
[ Brown, Black, Black, Brown ]
Resistor (0.25 Watt)
1 220R
[ Red, Red, Black, Black ]
Resistor (0.25 Watt)

NB: Any resistor colour codes specified relate to 5 band resistor codes, the 5th band has not been shown intentionally. The 5th band indicates the resistor tolerence, we use only the highest tolerence resistors in our products.

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Let's Get Building!

We to build, so let's get to it! Gather your components as specified in the components list above, or simply order one of our project packs and tip the contents out onto your table or desk.

Solder station warmed up! Snips at the ready! Here we go!


Step 1) Getting Started

Before we begin placing components and soldering we should first place your components in a small tub so that they don't roll off your table or get lost.

Lay the PCB out infront of you and take a close look at all the components we will be using.

Furher explanations and detailed specifications of all these components can be found in our Wiki.


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