October 10, 2009

Countdown Timer using 555 Timer

Countdown Timer:-
In this Countdown Timer project, a 555 IC, a counter IC and a transistor switch to activate a relay either ON/OFF (mode selected by a jumper) as soon as the counting period is over. The circuit consists of an oscillator, a ripple and two switching transistors.

The 555 is configured in the standard astable oscillator circuit designed to give a square wave cycle at a period of around 1 cycle/sec. A potentiometer is included in the design so the period can be set to exactly 1 second by timing the LED flashes. A jumper connection is provided so the LED can be turned off. As soon as power is applied to the circuit counting begins. The output pulse from pin 3 of the 555 is fed to a the clock input pin 10 of the 14-stage binary ripple counter, the 4020 (or 14020.).

parts required:-



Ripple Counter:-

The counter output wanted is set by a jumper. Ten counter outputs are available: 8/16/32/64/128/256/512/1024/4096 and 8192 counts. If the 555 is set to oscillate at exactly 1.0Hz by the on-board trimpot then the maximum timer interval which can be set is 8192 seconds (just over 2 hours.) At the end of the counting of the countdown timer period a pulse is output on the pin with the jumper on it. The 14020 ripple counter advances its count on each negative transistion of the clock pulse from the 555. So for each output cycle of low-high-low-high the count is advanced by two. It can be set to an zero state (all outputs low) by a logic high applied to pin 11.

In this circuit C3, R4 and D1 are arranged as a power-on reset. When power is applied to the circuit C3 is in a discharged state so pin 11 will be pulled high. C3 will quickly charge via R4 and the level at pin 11 falls thus enabling the counter. The 14020 then counts clock pulses until the selected counter output goes high. D1 provides a discharge path for C3 when the power is disconnected.

You can change the components values of R1 and C1 to set the 555 count frequency to more than 1.0 Hz. If you change the count to 10 seconds then a maximum timer delay of 81920 seconds, or 22.7 hours, can be obtained.


The output from the 4020 goes to a transistor switch arrangement. Two BC547 are connected so that either switching option for the relay is available. A jumper sets the option. The relay can turn ON when power and counting start then turn OFF after the count period, or it can do the opposite. The relay will turn ON after the end of the count period and stay on so long as power is supplied to the circuit. Note that the reset pin of the 555 is connected to the collector of Q1. This enables the 555 during the counting as the collector of Q1 is pulled low.


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Electronics is the study and use of electrical that operate by controlling the flow of electrons or other electrically charged particles in devices such as thermionic valves. and semiconductors. The pure study of such devices is considered as a branch of physics, while the design and construction electronic circuits to solve practical problems is called electronic engineering.

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