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In the present experiment, the student will experimentally verify the count cycle of the popular 744017
decade counter IC (commonly called the 4017 IC), and then employ it to synthesize a light sequencer
circuit in which 10 LED’s (or less) light up in sequence in response to positive edges of an input clock
signal. (The 4017 IC also allows the sequencing process to occur in response to the negative edges or
the input clock signal.)


The 4017 IC employs five D flip-flops with a master reset (MR) capability, with the flip-flops being
positive-edge-triggered or negative-edge-triggered by choice. Selected pages from the specification
sheets are attached. The pin diagram for the 4017 IC is given in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1. Pin diagram for the 4017 IC using symbols of the attached spec sheets. Note from the function
table in the spec sheets that, for positive-edge-triggering, pins 15 and 13 must be grounded.

The counter type employed by the 4017 IC is the so-called Johnson counter or the twisted-ring counter.
The internal circuitry of the 4017 IC is shown in Fig. 5 of the attached spec sheets, where it can be seen
that the IC is made up of five F flip-flops and that there are 10 outputs representing a decade counter,
i.e., Q0, Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, Q5, Q6, Q7, Q8, and Q9, plus an eleventh output called the divide-by-10 (or carry)
output. Normally, with five flip-flops, one gets five outputs; however, in the present IC, using a
combinational circuit (called a decoder circuit), the foregoing eleven outputs are generated such that
only one of the ten outputs Q0 to Q9 is HIGH between the times representing two successive positive
edges of the clock signal.

Fig. 2. Timing diagram for the 4017 IC set up to respond to the positive edges of the input clock signal

Notice that one cycle in the Q5-9 signal is obtained for every ten cycles of the clock signal. Hence the
terminology divide-by-ten counter. The count sequence of the counter is shown in Fig. 3 where a count
is taken as Q0Q1Q2Q3Q4Q5Q6Q7Q8Q9.

1000000000 → 0100000000 → 0010000000 → 0001000000 → 0000100000

↑ ↓
0000000001 ← 0000000010 ← 0000000100 ← 0000001000 ← 0000010000
Fig. 3. State diagram for the 4017 counter


Obtain a timing diagram and a state diagram for the basic Johnson counter comprised of five positive-
edge-triggered D flip-flops shown in Fig. 4.

Fig. 4. Basic Johnson counter comprised of five positive-edge-triggered D flip-flops


4.1. Connect up the circuit shown in Fig. 5, where a normally closed switch is connected to a +5V
supply at one end and to ground at the other end . This switch arrangement provides a manual
clock signal. Obtain the count cycle of the counter. You may connect an LED through a current-
limiting resistor at each of the output terminals. If you do not have enough LED’s, simply use one
LED together with a current-limiting 1k resistor as a probe.

Fig. 5. Experimental setup using a manual switch

4.2. Repeat step 4.1 but now use an electronic clock signal of frequency 10 Hz or so instead of the
manual clock signal, and also connect as many LED’s as you have available at the output
terminals. Do you see the expected sequencing of lit LED’s?
4.3. For step 4.2, obtain a timing diagram by using the oscilloscope as a probe for each of the outputs.
For timing reference, keep channel A of the oscilloscope connected to the clock signal while you
use channel B to probe each of the output signals.
4.4. How would you make a traffic light sequencing system with three LED’s (Red, Yellow, and
Green) such that the red light is ON for 4 s, followed by green light ON for 4 s, followed by
yellow light ON for 2 s? No experiment is required for this question.