The IC 4017 can be considered as one of the most useful and versatile chip having numerous electronic circuit applications.
Technically it is called the Johnsons 10 stage decade counter divider. The name suggest two things, it’s something to do with number 10 and counting/dividing.
The number 10 is connected with the number of outputs this IC has, and these outputs become high in sequence in response to every high clock pulse applied at its input clock pin out.
It means, all its 10 outputs will go through one cycle of high output sequencing from start to finish in response to 10 clocks received at its input. So in a way it is counting and also dividing the input clock by 10 and hence the name.
Understanding pinout Function of IC 4017
Let’s understand the pin outs of the IC 4017 in details and from a newcomer’s point of view: Looking at the figure we see that the device is a 16 pin DIL IC, the pin out numbers are indicated in the diagram with their corresponding assignment names.
The pinout which are marked as outputs are the pins which become logic high one after the other in a sequence in response to clock signals at pin#14 of the IC.
Therefore with the first clock pulse at pin#14 the first output pinout in the order which is the pin#3 goes high first, then it shuts off and simultaneously the next pin #2 becomes high, then this pin goes low and simultaneously the preceding pin #4 becomes high...... and so on until the last pin #11 becomes high.
To be precise, the sequencing movement happens through the pinouts: 3, 2, 4, 7, 10, 1, 5, 6, 9, 11...
After pin#11 the IC internally resets and reverts the logic high at pin #3 to repeat the cycle.
This sequencing and resetting is successfully carried out only as long as pin#15 is grounded or held at a logic low, otherwise the IC can malfunction. If it is held high, then the sequencing will not happen and the logic at pin#3 will stay locked.
Please note that the word “high” means a positive voltage that may be equal to the supply voltage of the IC, so when I say the outputs become high in a sequential manner means the outputs produce a positive voltage which shifts in a sequential manner from one output pin to the next, in a “running” DOT manner.
Now the above explained sequencing or shifting of the output logic from one one output pin to the next is able to run only when a clock signal is applied to the clock input of the IC which is pin #14.
Remember, if no clock is applied to this input pin#14, it must be assigned either to a positive supply or a negative supply, but should never be kept hanging or unconnected, as per the standard rules for all CMOS inputs.
The clock input pin #14 only responds to positive clocks or a positive signal and with each consequent positive peak signal, the output of the IC shifts or becomes high in sequence, the sequencing of the outputs are in the order of pinouts #3, 2, 4, 7, 10, 1, 5, 6, 9, 11.
Pin #13 may be considered as the opposite of pin #14 and this pin out will respond to negative peak signals, if a clock is applied to this pin, producing the same results with the outputs as discussed above.
However normally this pin out is never used for applying the clock signals, instead pin #14 is taken as the standard clock input.
However, pin #13 needs to be assigned a ground potential, that means, must be connected to the ground for enabling the IC to function.
In case pin #13 is connected to positive, the whole IC will stall and the outputs will stop sequencing and stop responding to any clock signal applied at pin #14.
Pin #15 of the IC is the reset pin input. The function of this pin is to revert the sequence back to the initial state in response to a positive potential or supply voltage, meaning the sequencing comes back to pin #3 and begins the cycle afresh, if a momentary positive supply is applied to pin #15.
If the positive supply is held connected to this pin #15, again stalls the output from sequencing and the output clamps to pin #3 making this pinout high and fixed.
Therefore to make the IC function, pin #15 should always be connected to ground.
If this pinout is intended to be used as a reset input, then it may be clamped to ground with a series resistor of 100K or any other high value, so that a positive supply now can be freely introduced to it, whenever the IC is required to be reset.
Pin #8 is the ground pin and must be connected to the negative of the supply, while pin #16 is the positive and should be terminated to the positive of the voltage supply.
Pin #12 is the carry out, and is irrelevant unless many ICs are connected in series, we will discuss it some other day. Pin #12 can be left open.
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Application LED Chaser Circuit using IC 4017 and IC555
The following example GIF circuit shows how the pinouts of a IC 4017 is usually wired with an oscillator for obtaining the sequential logic high outputs. Here the outputs are connected to LEDs for indicating the sequential shift of the logics in response to each clock pulse generated by the IC 555 oscillator at pin#14 of the IC 4017.
You can see that the logic shift happens in response only to the positive clock or positive edge at pin#14 of the IC 4017. The sequence does not respond to the negative pulses or clocks