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Binary, Binary Counters and Decade Counters


This lesson considers many different counters and the associated circuits. D-Type flip flops are examined as the building blocks of binary counters and binary is considered as the number system used by these counters. A derivative of the binary counter called a BCD counter is used to count from 0 to 9 in binary and is used to represent the decimal number system. 7 segment displays and their associated decoder circuits are used to display the outputs of counters in human readable form. Finally a decade counter that simply has ten sequential outputs is considered. This lesson has less questions than usual and needs a few more videos adding in the future.

Learning Objectives

Lesson Content

Reading: Start with an understanding of the binary number system. To understand counters it is necessary to know how the numbers 0 to 9 are represented in binary. There is no video for this page as it quite straight forward.

Reading: Binary counters. Read the first four sections covering 1 bit, 2 bit and 3 bit binary counters.

Video (9 min): A video showing the operation of a binary counter. The video starts with a 2 bit counter followed by a 4 bit counter and then looks at the RESET and LOAD operations.

Reading: Read the remaining four sections about RESET and LOAD operations and the use of counter ICs.

Reading: The 4510 counter IC is a 4 bit binary counter. Read about the operation of this counter and appreciate the meaning of binary coded decimal.

Reading: It is very useful to be able to display the output from a counter in a more conventional format. Read about how 7 segment displays can be used to represent the number 0 to 9 and also lots of different letters.

Reading: Converting the binary output of a counter to the correct inputs to a 7 segment display is the function of a display decoder. Read about the operation of the 4511 decoder including the ability to store the displayed output.

Reading: The 4026 counter conveniently includes a decoder and can be used to drive a 7 segment display directly. The 4026 does not include the functionality of the 4510 and 4511 combination but is simple to use.

Video (4 min): A short video about the very straight forward 4026 counter.

Reading: Finally read about a different type of counter. The 4017 decade counter has 10 outputs and does not count in binary. The 10 outputs are made HIGH is sequence, one after another. This counter is very useful for making sequences when combined with combinational logic gates.

Video (7 min): A demonstration of the 4017 counter in action.

Exercise: Complete the questions about counters and use the answers to check your understanding.

Lesson Review

Review your learning by working through the presentations or notes which summarise the website content.

Presentation: Powerpoint download. The binary number system and how it applies to counter circuits.

Notes: PDF download. Printed notes about binary numbers and how to convert between decimal and binary.

Presentation: Powerpoint download. All about 1, 2 and 3 bit binary counters and how to RESET to zero and LOAD a starting value.

Notes: PDF download. Binary counters including the REST and LOAD operations.

Presentation: Powerpoint download. Explanation of the 4510 BCD counter IC.

Notes: PDF download. Notes about how to use the 4510 BCD counter.

Presentation: Powerpoint download. All the different uses for a 7 segment display including numbers and a range of letters.

Notes: PDF download. 7 segment displays used to represent numbers and letters.

Presentation: Powerpoint download. How to use the 4511 display decoder.

Notes: PDF download. Operation of the 4511 display decoder.

Presentation: Powerpoint download. Details of the 4026 counter IC.

Notes: PDF download. Using the 4026 Decade counter with integrated display decoder.

Presentation: Powerpoint download. Using the 4017 decade counter.

Notes: PDF download. The 4017 decade counter.

Self Assessment

Complete either the questions (pdf download) OR the on-line quiz. They are the same questions.

Questions: PDF download. Questions about binary and decimal number systems.

Quiz: Quiz about binary and decimal number systems.

Self Evaluation

I can: