Wednesday, October 19, 2011

8 Step Sequencer with 555 Timer and 4017 Decade Counter

I set this one down some time ago but it was my goal was to build an 8 step sequencer with a 555 Timer and a 4017 Decade Counter.
I know this shit is old school but you gotta learn somehow.

4017 decade counter
555 timer
perf. board or bread board

Some knowledge of the 555 Timer is helpful.

 I picked up a few 4017s from Jameco Electronics  for like .40 cents each.
The rest of the stuff I got from a local Radio Shack.
The 555 timer produces an oscillating square wave, which triggers the 4017 decade counter IC, 8 of which its outputs are connected to LEDs. I have the counter set to reset after 8 steps, by simply connecting the next output pin to the reset pin. The green wires are the outputs of the 4017.
For an example check my video.

Suggestions and/or inspiration would be greatly appreciated. I may pick this project up again.
  • Should each output of the 4017 Decade Counter be connected to a separate tone generator?
  • Should I connect all of the outputs to the same tone generator and vary the frequency of the tone via a potentiometer connected in between each out output of the 4017 and the tone generator? ...and if so some direction as to the implementation would be greatly appreciated.


  1. the video is pretty cool. i think it would be cool to connect them to separate tone generators. can you make the lights go in reverse order also?

  2. This is a touch beyond my level but I'll be watching to see what you do!

  3. Really great, I like it too much.The project is pretty and clean

  4. Major.Mack its not talent. It is just a desire to be doing anything other than what I am supposed to be doing. I will say that it is definitely an exercise in patience because I have very little.
    Thanks for the comment.

  5. I have a PAL198X. Look it up if you're interested, it has to do with making music though.

  6. this is awesome man, great work with everything

  7. Nice one man.. Keep up the good work

  8. Great work. I'm planning to build something like this myself and I was wondering how you managed to reset the counter after 8 steps? You help would be much appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Connect the next output pin to the reset pin.