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IC 555 Based Simple Digital Stopwatch Circuit

In this article we'll study a digital stopwatch design configured around the very popular IC LM555 in conjunction with a 4-digit counter IC with multiplexed 7-segment output drivers (MM74C926).

Written and Submitted by: Jennifer Goldy

Circuit Operation

IC MM74C926 is internally made up of a 4-digit counter, an output latch up stage, a npn output responsible for sourcing driver networks for common-cathode, 7-segment display and an internal multiplexing circuitry with four multiplexing outputs.

The multiplexing circuit stage also includes an in-built free running oscillator, and does not rely on any additional external frequency generating network.



The counter is designed to proceed on a negative rising of the clock signals.

The clock signal is manufactured by the timer IC LM555 (IC1) and impressed over pin 12 of IC2.A higher signal on reset pin 13 of IC2 resets the IC to zero logic.

Reset pin 13 is associated with +5V by means of a reset push-on-switch S3.

The moment S2 is is pressed even for a fraction of a second, the count figure is rendered to a zero logic, transistor T1 responds with a trigger and it resets IC1.

This enforces the counting to start in a situation wherein S2 is in ‘off’ condition.

Circuit Diagram

A low logic signal on the latch-enable input pin 5 (LE) of IC2 latches the count in the counter module into the on chip set output latches.

In an event when switch S2 is switched ON, pin 5 is forced to go low and thereby the count figure is allowed to be saved in the latch section of the IC.

Display-select pin 6 (DS) ascertains if the figure on the counter or the stored count in the latch may be shown on the display or not.

In case pin 6 is held low the figure in the output latch section is enabled to get displayed, however if pin 6 is rendered with a high logic the count stored in the counter is illuminated over the connected display.

On an occasion when switch S2 is switched, the base of pnp transistor T2 is linked with ground ensuring that it begins operating. The emitter of T2 is rigged with DS pin of IC2.

Consequently, whenever switch S3 is switched ON, reset pin 13 of IC2 is coupled with negative through the transistor T1 making sure that the oscillator is inhibited from generating clock pulses. This operation is executed to implement a synchronization between IC1 and IC2.

At the first level, reset the module in order to enable the display to show ‘0000.’ Next disconnect switch S2 for the stop watch to initiate its counting the periods. In case you wished to inhibit the clocking of the chip, simply switch OFF the control S2.

The given rotary switch S1 may be opted for selecting the many different time intervals at the output of the astable multivibrator (IC1).

The proposed digital stopwatch circuit will work off a 5V supply inputs. The circuit may be easily fixed and built on a general-purpose PCB.

You may want to enclose the entire circuit in a metallic cabinet with slots built for four 7-segment displays, rotary switch S1, start/stop switch S2 and reset switch S3 in the dashboard plate of the selected encloser.

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About the Author

I am an electronic engineer (dipIETE ), hobbyist, inventor, schematic/PCB designer, manufacturer. I am also the founder of the website: https://www.homemade-circuits.com/, where I love sharing my innovative circuit ideas and tutorials. If you have any circuit related query, you may interact through comments, I'll be most happy to help!



25 thoughts on “IC 555 Based Simple Digital Stopwatch Circuit”


  1. Howdy, Friend! Interested to Learn Circuit Designing? Let's Start Discussing below!
  2. Hi

    I need to display the time in seconds and milliseconds.
    Format 99.99, example ….. 17.46 sec

    How to enable decimal point between the 2nd and 3rd digit?
    Any alternate for MM74C926 ?

  3. Hi Swagatam,

    I am not if you got the message posted on your contact site, so therefore I am sending it again.

    I need a countdown timer with a relay which can be set to 1 to 5 minutes.
    I would like the timer to show the preset time on 7 segments e.g. 3 min. = 180 or 3.00
    When the time counts the 7 segments shall show the remaining time.
    When the time is up the relay must switch off.

    I don’t have Arduino and no skills in PIC programming yet.

    Can you help me out with a circuit / schematic?

    Thank you in advance,
    Henrik

    • Hi Henrik, your earlier comment became lost in the contact page, which has some glitch.

      as for your requirement, showing how much time is left digitally can be difficult since I do not have the idea with me at the moment.

      however the relay mechanism can be easily implemented using a 4060 IC timer with a transistor relay driver circuit.

  4. This circuit will display the result on all the four 7-segments only in seconds or on two 7-segments in minutes and on two 7-segments in seconds

    • It's a counter circuit, which will count the number of pulses fed by the IC555, so it has nothing to do with seconds, or minutes or hours….if the 555 is set with 1Hz pulse then the counter will on counting at the rate of 1 second per count until 9999 count is reached.

  5. which DMM voltage test function am i expected 2use when testing the CD4017 output while it is oscillating is it vac or vdc bcos i used vdc when i got d 2v but wen i used vac i got 4v which of them is corect

  6. sir i am clocking the CD4017 with NE555 monostable pulse width modulator. And anoda NE555 astable multivibrator is then driving the monostable pwm through its trigger pin at a frequency of 478KHz(r1=1k, r2=100k, c=15pF) for the NE555 astable multivibrator. And r1=5.6k, c=330pF for the monostable pwm. But its control pin is held high with 10nF. Help me!

    • 2V for a 8V supply is quite low, it could be due to low duty cycle from the oscillator, make sure the duty cycle of the oscillator is 50%, only then you can expect a 4V from the outputs.

  7. I am using 80 pcs led in series with diode bridge and 10 ohm 0.5w resister (one at positive end and one at negative end) without any electronics capacitor and ppc capacitorto to drop down the voltage. But every day one , two .. led getting burned and I have to find and replace it ? PPC capacitor must needed and then use the number of led as per ppc cap specifications ??

    • without a capacitor it could be suicidal, a capacitor is a must.

      led current will depend on the capacitor value, not the quantity

  8. How can one test the output voltage of a CD4017 with a DMM when d CD4017 is powered from 8v supply and clocked at a frequency of 478KHz and pin 10 and 15 are connected 2geda?

    • check it in the normal way across any of the output pin and ground, the result should be approximately 50% of the supply value.

  9. Hai, the circuit diagram is in low resolution and not able to read the values of the components in the diagram. Could u pls post a little bit high resolution pic???
    THanks…

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