Make this Simple Tachometer Circuit

A tachometer is a device which is used for measuring vehicle engine RPM. Thus, it is basically used for checking the performance of the engine and helps an auto mechanic to understand the condition of the engine so that it can be corrected or optimized as per the desired specs.


Generally a tachometer may be considered an expensive equipments as these are highly accurate and intended for obtaining correct RPM rates of the concerned engine under test.

The conventional units are therefore very sophisticated and generate highly accurate results while testing.

However it doesn't mean that a simpler version cannot be built at home. With electronics at its best today, making a tachometer circuit at home isn't at all difficult. What's more the results obtained from such circuits are fairly accurate and provides the required data for assessing the overall working condition of the system.

The circuit diagram shows a simple configuration utilizing the IC 555. The IC is basically configured as a monstable multivibrator.

The pulse is derived from the spark plug and fed to the end of R6.

The transistor responds to the pulses and conduct in accordance with triggers.

The transistor activates the monostable with every rising pulse of the input.

The monostable stays ON for a particular moment each time its triggered and generates an average ON time at the output which is directly proportional to the average trigger rate.

The capacitor and the resistor at the output of the IC integrate the result so that it can be directly read over a 10V FSD voltmeter.

The pot R3 should be adjusted such that the output generates the exact interpretations of the fed RPM rates.

The above setting up must be done  with the help of a good conventional tachometer unit,



Parts List

R1 = 4K7
R2 = 47E
R3 = CAN BE VARIABLE 100K POT
R4 = 3K3,
R5 = 10K,
R6 = 470K,
R7 = 1K,
R8 = 10K,
R9 = 100K,
C1 = 47n,
C2 = 100n,
C3 = 100n,
C4 = 33uF/25V,
T1 = BC547
IC1 = 555,
M1 = 10V FSD meter,
D1,D2 = 1N4148


The above circuit can be further simplified as expressed by Mr. Abu Hafss through the following diagram:

Please note that since the image color is inverted, the electrolytic capacitor's white bar signifies negative and the black bar denotes positive terminal of the capacitors. 



C5 in the above diagram could be any value between 3.3uF and 4.7uF @ 25V


Share this

Related Posts

Previous
Next Post »

58 comments

comments
November 17, 2012 at 5:18 PM delete

can u correct those resistor values? ....Sir...and can u explain how does it work or the working of that meter?.......

Reply
avatar
November 17, 2012 at 5:34 PM delete

The values are all correct.

The meter just provides an average value equivalent to the frequency that's fed to the base of the transistor and thus helps us to figure the frequency magnitudes.

Reply
avatar
December 3, 2012 at 6:17 AM delete

Where does the bottom side of R4 terminate? Is that to be connected to PIN 2 on IC 1? Along with top side of C2? Diagram isn't conclusive. Thanks for the insight!

Reply
avatar
December 3, 2012 at 8:01 AM delete

R4 bottom lead is connected with C2 and not with pin#2 of the IC.

Reply
avatar
Anonymous
January 24, 2013 at 6:45 PM delete

what is simple value of resistor r2=(47E)?

Reply
avatar
February 16, 2013 at 11:38 AM delete

Another explanation: The 555 IC is set up as a monostable or one-shot. That means that every time a pulse comes in through T1 and C1 to pin 2 if the IC (the trigger input), the output (pin 3) switches high. It stays high for a fixed length of time that is determined by R3, R4 and C2. So it's putting out a train of pulses with a set width but with a frequency that varies with the speed of the engine. This results in a square wave with a varying duty cycle. The higher the RPM, the less time there is between pulses, so the voltage out of the 555 is high for a greater percentage of the time. When you filter or integrate this signal (R7 and C4), it becomes a DC voltage that is equal to the average voltage out of the 555. As the engine RPM increases, the frequency of the pulses increases, so the time between pulses decreases as the pulse width is constant. This results in an increased DC voltage going to the meter through R8. I haven't done the math for this circuit, but the pulse width should be set to something less than the cycle time at the desired max RPM (cycle time is 1/frequency. Example: Max RPM = 10,000. Max Freq. = 10,000/60/2 = 83.3 Hz (assuming you're taking the input from a spark plug wire; if you're taking it from a coil primary, the formula must include a factor for number of cylinders and the frequency would be 4 - 8 times higher)). Cycle time = 1/83.3 = 12 ms (milliseconds). I would set the 555 to a pulse width of about 10 ms.

Reply
avatar
February 16, 2013 at 2:26 PM delete

That's a very good explanation, thank you!

Reply
avatar
Anonymous
February 22, 2013 at 5:42 AM delete

Hello Sir, can i use a couple of LEDs that will lights up as the RPM increase/decrease the LEDs also appeares like a running lights back and forth accordingly instead of the 10v FSD meter. how can it be done Sir?


Thanks,
Jane

Reply
avatar
February 22, 2013 at 1:15 PM delete

Hello Jane,

I have discussed this concept with one of the other readers earlier, please refer to the following article comment section, the last few comments discusses how to do it.

http://homemadecircuitsandschematics.blogspot.in/2011/12/how-to-build-inexpensive-frequency.html

Reply
avatar
Anonymous
March 8, 2013 at 2:47 PM delete

Hi ,

Nice article and fairly easy to try. I have question though, its stated that pulse is to be drived from spark plug. Does it mean we have to take pulse htom Electric coil that sends pulse to spark plug ?

Reply
avatar
March 8, 2013 at 4:45 PM delete

Hi,
thanks! yes the input trigger can be taken from the spark plug hi-tension wire....... or if you have any similar corresponding pulse source, it would do the job, no issues.

Reply
avatar
Anonymous
May 10, 2013 at 11:34 AM delete

good day how can you convert to attach a led bargraph design to the output instead of using a meter?
thankyou

Reply
avatar
May 10, 2013 at 1:43 PM delete

good day, you can connect the output of the above circuit to the input of the following circuit (across the 1M resistor) for getting a bar graph effect.

http://homemadecircuitsandschematics.blogspot.in/2012/03/how-to-make-vibration-detectormeter.html

Reply
avatar
Anonymous
May 12, 2013 at 7:18 AM delete

ok sir thank you i will try

Reply
avatar
Anonymous
June 17, 2013 at 3:08 AM delete

You give the value of R9 as 100K. I don't see any R9 on the schematic.

Reply
avatar
Anonymous
June 17, 2013 at 9:31 PM delete

Ok thanks. R1 and R2 don't make any sense either. R1 is 4700 and connected in series is R2, 47 ohms. R2 would have no effect.

Reply
avatar
June 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM delete

actually there should be a 0.1uF capacitor connected across the junction of R1/R2 and ground then it makes sense, however all these are not too critical so you can just use R1 and eliminate R2.

Reply
avatar
Anonymous
July 2, 2013 at 4:06 AM delete

Hi
i need a circuit which detect when main 220 volts goes down to 180 to 185 or 190 so the secondary source UPS or generator should start,now secondary source works when black out but not when volts become low or decrease.Also some times specially in summer,their voltage become very low around 130v so how we can detect so our secondary source should be started .
Thanks

Reply
avatar
July 2, 2013 at 8:37 PM delete

You can try the following circuit, just replace the LED/resistor portion with a relay and wire its contacts for the specified changeovers. Also replace the central 33K resistor with a 10K resistor.

http://homemadecircuitsandschematics.blogspot.in/2013/05/low-battery-indicator-circuit-using-two.html

Reply
avatar
Anonymous
July 5, 2013 at 6:56 AM delete

what if my power supply is 24VDC? could i use the same circuit? thanks.

Reply
avatar
July 5, 2013 at 12:05 PM delete

No, you will have to make it into 12V for applying to the circuit.

Reply
avatar
Anonymous
August 23, 2013 at 4:06 AM delete

Looking to build this circuit for test equipment for a single cylinder engine. Thought I would wrap the input wire around the spark plug wire. Any help/advice on the input signal?

Reply
avatar
August 23, 2013 at 7:14 PM delete

make R6 into 100K 1 watt, that's all.

Reply
avatar
October 18, 2013 at 10:58 PM delete

I'm looking to build a simple adaptor to make a standard 4 cylinder tachometer work for a 2 cylinder engine. I know I am straying this thread but do you have ideas for a simple "pulse doubler" I can run between the tach and ground side of coil?

Reply
avatar
October 20, 2013 at 10:39 AM delete

You can refer to Fig15 in this link, it shows a simple pulse doubler circuit:

http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/lm567.pdf

Reply
avatar
Anonymous
October 28, 2013 at 12:23 AM delete

Swag, I was looking into building a tach for jet ski use, it seems this design would work. The problem with a lot of what is currently avail. is a slow refresh rate on current ones. It looks like the FSD is where the rpm is displayed? Do yo have any insight you would be willing to share?
Keith

Reply
avatar
October 28, 2013 at 8:31 PM delete

Hi Keith,

"Slow refresh rate?" I could not understand this, can you elaborate? The above circuit would respond accurately to frequencies between 1kHz and 50kHz so it would satisfy most applications well, though..

Reply
avatar
December 29, 2013 at 6:52 AM delete

Dear Swag, this is a great job you've done for making DIYs. I have a simple question that, how the input wire can be connected into the spark plug wire? Do I need to cut the wire shield and attach the input wire or can I wrap the input wire over the spark plug cable?

Many thanks.

Thiru.

Reply
avatar
December 29, 2013 at 5:35 PM delete

Dear Thiru,

Thanks! no, please do not cut anything....the input to R6 can be taken from the spark plug head where the hi-tension wire of CDI is normally screwed, while the ground of the circuit can be simply connected with the vehicle body or the battery negative...that's all is required.

Reply
avatar
January 25, 2014 at 6:46 AM delete

Hi Swag! I've been looking for a DIY tach like this so I'm very happy to find your blog. I have a question, Can I wrap the input wire into the spark plug wire for a single cylinder scooter engine like this? http://i259.photobucket.com/albums/hh302/turbostang331/TrailTechTach/P1060053.jpg

Thanks

Reply
avatar
January 26, 2014 at 8:08 PM delete

Hi Cesar, yes you can connect the input directly to the spark plug, make sure you also connect the circuit negative with the "ground" of your scooter.

Reply
avatar
March 1, 2014 at 4:21 PM delete

Hi Swagatam sir!, may u plz reffer about what voltage range is suitable for input?

Reply
avatar
March 2, 2014 at 9:58 AM delete

Hi Ramkumar, voltage is not important, it can be of any value...the frequency is only relevant with the input

Reply
avatar
May 16, 2014 at 11:51 PM delete

Swag thanks for this Tach, if I want to use it with a 4 cyl engine, and take the pluses off the Coil, is there enough adjustment in R3, to divide the pluses by 4?

Reply
avatar
May 17, 2014 at 10:34 AM delete

Thanks Davis, I am afraid the above design cannot be used for the application...it would produce only the average of the 4-stroke pulses, and there's no way to isolate the readings.

Reply
avatar
November 11, 2014 at 5:17 AM delete

Hello sir, i am building this circuit to use it in my project as a frequency to voltage converter. My question is will this work for my needs? i am running a DC motor at 40 RPM and using an optical sensor to get the frequency of the motor and feeding that frequency as the input to this circuit. Then convert that to voltage and use that voltage as the feedback to my PI controller (which is part of the whole project) please suggest if this will work for me or not.

Reply
avatar
November 11, 2014 at 8:09 AM delete

Hello Vippy, yes it will work, please refer to the following link which shows the actual design, so that you can get a better idea of the circuit:

http://easy-electronic-circuits.blogspot.in/2014/02/simple-tachometer-circuit-or-revolution.html

Reply
avatar
November 19, 2014 at 7:23 PM delete

Hi Swagatam

I made this circuit with slight changes:

R6 = 1k
R2 removed
D2 removed
C4 = 100µF

It is working quite fine but with a difference of 500 RPM. For example, if the actual RPM is 7,500 the voltmeter shows 7V instead of 7.5V. Adjusting the preset R3 gives 7V. Any tip for rectification?

Reply
avatar
November 19, 2014 at 7:51 PM delete

Hi Abu-Hafss,

please refer to the following article, it shows a similar but a refined design, the extra capacitor at the output probably helps provide better accuracy for the measurements, you can try it out:

http://easy-electronic-circuits.blogspot.in/2014/02/simple-tachometer-circuit-or-revolution.html

Reply
avatar
April 14, 2015 at 11:26 AM delete

can this circuit be connected with LM3914 for LED (replace the motor)

Reply
avatar
September 26, 2015 at 2:21 PM delete

Hello sir' can u plz tell that how fsd meter looks like and what's the other source that I can use in place of fsd meter.

Reply
avatar
September 28, 2015 at 11:20 AM delete

hello shivansh,

it looks like this:

http://ericiow.brinkster.net/images2/RoundMeter1.jpg

nothing will work except an moving coil FSD meter

Reply
avatar
October 10, 2015 at 12:32 AM delete

sir i want a detailed explanation for this tachometer as i want to install it im my project named Black Box for Car
where it will be used as to check RPM and give info. to GSM module amd module will forward it to the required no.

Reply
avatar
October 10, 2015 at 11:13 AM delete

Ashish, I have already explained it in the above article, if you have specific questions you can feel free to put them forth.

Reply
avatar
October 17, 2015 at 7:19 PM delete

greetings sir
can I use multimeter to get the output ?
and does sparkplug has any specifics ?
please reply quickly sir
many thanks

Reply
avatar
October 18, 2015 at 9:01 AM delete

Mayank, you can use needle type multimeter...Sanwa type, DMM will not work

Reply
avatar
October 18, 2015 at 9:02 AM delete

I did not understand your second question.

Reply
avatar
October 22, 2015 at 12:35 AM delete

greetings sir
thanks sir 4 your quick reply
and sorry for wrong question
why are we using a sparkplug and any replacements??

Reply
avatar
October 22, 2015 at 8:35 PM delete

Mayank, sparkplug are designed to generate sparks at their terminals through two parallel contacts inside the engine ignition chamber.....these sparks ultimately result in operating engine piston and the vehicle.

Reply
avatar
October 22, 2015 at 8:37 PM delete

...sparkplugs has no replacement in Liquid fuel vehicles, it can be eliminated in electric vehicles.

Reply
avatar
December 6, 2015 at 7:18 PM delete

Hello there .

Im interested in using this circuit for monitoring the RPM of a G200 Honda engine ( 4stroke , fires plug 1 per revolution ) .

So the signal should be taken from the sparkplug wire directly ? Or can i use the killswitch wire ?

And for the output , is it possible to monitor with a digital multimeter or just an analog voltmeter ? And can the output be used to hook up to a signal wire for a tachometer ?

Reply
avatar
December 7, 2015 at 11:07 AM delete

you can take the input from the CDI terminal where the pickup signal is fed.

Reply
avatar
December 25, 2015 at 7:40 PM delete

Hi Abu-Hafss, What is the value of C5, used in the modified circuit?
For what application did you use it?
How did you take the input?

Reply
avatar
December 26, 2015 at 9:19 AM delete

Hi Mohan, it can be a 3.3uF/25V or a 4.7uF/25V capacitor.

Reply
avatar

Readers are requested not to include external links while commenting. For consulting a diagram, upload it on Google Drive and provide the link here.