This project flashes 18 LEDs at three different rates and you can use these to
create an eye-catching Christmas Decoration. The circuit is kept simple (and low cost)
by using the 4060B IC which is a counter and oscillator (clock) in one package.
This project must have a 9V supply, such as a PP3 battery.
It will not work with lower voltages and a higher voltage will destroy the LEDs.
The preset variable resistor can be used to adjust the oscillator frequency and this
determines the flash rate of the LEDs.
The IC limits the current to and from its outputs so the LEDs can be safely
connected without resistors in series to limit the current. The stripboard part of the
circuit is easy to build but the wiring for the LEDs needs care so detailed instructions
are provided below.
Using a battery (or power supply) with a voltage greater than 9V will destroy the LEDs.
resistors: 10k, 470k
preset: 47k (or 100k)
16-pin DIL socket for IC
LEDs × 18, 5mm diameter, red (or any mix of red, orange, yellow and green)
battery clip for 9V PP3
stripboard 13 rows × 18 holes
Building the Circuit
Begin by soldering the components onto the stripboard as shown in the
diagram above. Do not insert the 4060B IC at this stage.
Arranging the LEDs:
Cut out a suitable shape from stiff card (or similar material), such as the
Christmas Tree template.
Paint or colour the card at this stage if necessary.
Plan the layout of the 18 LEDs (suggested positions are marked on the template).
Drill 5mm holes for the LEDs - put the card on a piece of scrap wood
to do this without damaging the card or the table.
Push LEDs into the holes, they should be a fairly tight fit and glue
should not be necessary.
Label the LEDs D1 - D18 at random on the back of the card.
Wiring of the LEDs:
Use stranded wire for all the connections to the LEDs and solder all wires near to the
LED body so the leads can be trimmed short later on.
The wire colours are suggested to avoid confusion but you can use other colours if you wish.
For example you could use red and black as suggested but substitute yellow and white for the blue and green.
Cut all the LED short leads very short (as shown) to make identification easier.
Connect RED wire to link up all the LONG leads of D1, D2 and D3.
Remember to solder wires near to the LED body so the long lead can be trimmed short later on.
Connect BLACK wire to link up all the SHORT leads of D16, D17 and D18.
Use 3 pieces of BLUE wire to connect:
D7 short - D10 long
D8 short - D11 long
D9 short - D12 long
Use 12 pieces of GREEN wire to connect:
D1 short - D4 long
D4 short - D7 long
D2 short - D5 long
D5 short - D8 long
D3 short - D6 long
D6 short - D9 long
D10 short - D13 long
D13 short - D16 long
D11 short - D14 long
D14 short - D17 long
D12 short - D15 long
D15 short - D18 long
Connect the RED wire from the circuit board to the
RED wiring on the Christmas Decoration (connect it to any convenient point).
Connect the BLACK wire from the circuit board to the BLACK wiring on the Christmas Decoration
(connect it to any convenient point).
Connect the 3 BLUE wires from the circuit board to each of the 3
BLUE wires on the Christmas Decoration, they may be connected in any order.
Carefully check all wiring.
Trim the long LED leads.
Plug the 4060B into its holder.
Connect a 9V battery and switch on.
Using a small screwdriver, adjust the 47k preset variable resistor to give a
suitable flash rate for the LEDs.
Using a battery (or power supply) with a voltage higher than 9V will destroy the LEDs.
You can see from the circuit diagram that 6 LEDs are connected
in series between the +9V supply and 0V. Each LED requires about 2V across it to light,
so using a voltage of about 12V (= 6 × 2V) or more will make the LEDs conduct
directly, regardless of the 4060B IC. With no series resistor to limit the current
this will destroy the LEDs.