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Timer Circuits With 4060B

Build a reliable timer to switch devices on and off -

from 30 seconds to 24 hours
electronics | electric circuit
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There are many applications for which a timer is very useful to turn a device on or off
automatically after a preset interval - for example, switching off an irrigation system
after 30 minutes of use, turning off a battery charger to prevent overcharging, etc.

Timing short intervals of milliseconds to minutes can easily be achieved using a NE555
timer chip. Unfortunately, this device is not suitable for timing longer intervals, and so a
suitable alternative is required.

Binary Counting with the 4060B

The 4060B (pictured above) is a CMOS binary counter. Using a resistor and a capacitor,
the counting speed can be set by the user very easily. The pins of the 4060B integrated
circuit output the running count in binary as shown below:

0 = 0000000000
1 = 0000000001
2 = 0000000010
3 = 0000000011
4 = 0000000100
5 = 0000000101
6 = 0000000110
7 = 0000000111
8 = 0000001000

Each of the binary 1's and 0's is called a bit (much as the numbers 0,1,2...8,9 are called
digits in the decimal number system). The furthest right bit represents 1, the next to the
left represents 2, the next represents 4, the next 8, the next 16 and so on doubling every
time you move one position to the left. Therefore 000010000 is binary for 16, and
000100000 is binary for 32.

To keep things simple, let's assume the count is increased by one every second. The
rightmost bit (the 1's bit) will be off for one second, on for one second, off for one second
and so on...

0000000001, 0000000010, 0000000011

The fifth bit from the right (the 16's bit) is therefore off for 16 seconds (when the count is
0-15), then on for 16 seconds (when the count is 16-31), then off for 16 seconds (when
the count is 32-47), and so on.

With this knowledge, we can make a very accurate timer utilising our 4060B binary
counter chip. Let's say we want a 16 second timer: we start the 4060B counter from 0,
and wait until the 16's bit goes from 0 to 1. At that exact time we know that 16 seconds
have elapsed. Similarly if we start the counter again, and wait until the 32's bit goes from
0 to 1, we know that 32 seconds have elapsed.

A timer which can only time, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, and so on seconds would not be
very useful, but since we can adjust the speed of the count, any time interval from
seconds to 24+ hours can be accurately timed.

4060B Timer
A schematic of the 4060B chip is provided below:

The pins labelled in red Q4-Q14 are the binary outputs: Q4 for the 16's, Q5 for the 32's,
Q6 for the 64's and so on up to Q13 for the 8192's, and Q14 for the 16384's.

Just three external components are required to control the 4060B counter - two resistors
and one capactor. The frequency of the internal oscillator (i.e. the speed of the count) is
set according to the equation given at the bottom of the schematic below:
Since Q14 represents the 16,384's and Q4 represents the 16's - we know it will take 1,024
times longer (16,384 / 16) for Q14 to flip from 0 to 1 than it takes Q4. So, for an example
2-hour timer (=7,200 seconds), we just need to fine-tune the circuit so that Q4 turns on
after 7,200 / 1,024 seconds = 7.03 seconds, knowing that if that is done correctly, after
exactly 2 hours Q14 will flip from 0 to 1.

Putting Together the Timer Circuit

The circuit shown above (from Ron J's Circuit Page) is a timer which energises a relay
after a preset time has elapsed. It can be set to time an interval from 30 seconds to 24

The orange arrow labelled Range should be connected to a pin on the 4060B chip
selected from the RANGE table. If for example, you require a timer to time 3 hours,
connect it to pin number 1 on the chip since that pin corresponds to the time range 2hrs to

3 hours is 10,800 seconds, and we are using the output from pin 1 to trigger the relay.
Looking at the SETUP table entry for pin 1 we see that we divide our target time (10,800
seconds) by 256 to obtain the on/off time for the yellow LED at pin 7 = 42.28 seconds.
Therefore, if we adjust the potentiometer R4 so that the yellow LED turns on after
approximately 42 seconds, we'll know that the relay will be energised after approximately
3 hours.

The diode D1 makes this a one-shot timer. This means that after the programmed time
delay of 3 hours, the relay will stay on until the circuit is reset. If the diode is omitted
from the circuit then you get a repeating timer with the relay off for 3 hours, on for 3
hours, off for 3 hours, and so on until the circuit it reset.

NEW For a repeat timer with different ON/OFF durations - for example, 1 hour OFF, 1
minute ON, 1 hour OFF, 1 minute ON etc - click here to read our new article Repeat
Timer Circuit.

Buy a Timer Circuit

This is one of the most complicated circuits discussed on the REUK.co.uk website.
Therefore, if you need a timer circuit for a particular application, email neil@reuk.co.uk
with details of your exact requirements and we'll happily put together a bespoke solution.
NEW Have a look at the new REUK Super Timer - our all new repeating relay timer
circuit which can be programmed with ON and OFF durations from 1 second to 99 hours.