LED Chaser

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I don't know why, but people like blinking lights. You see LED chasers everywhere, in TV shows (Knight Rider), movies, and store windows. This schematic is my version of a simple 10 LED chaser. There is no 555 timer used because at my local electronics store they are over $4 Cdn. Instead, an oscillator made up of two sections of a 4011 NAND gate is employed. This chip is very inexpensive and extremely common.


This is the schematic of the LED Chaser


Total Qty.
R111 Meg 1/4W Resistor
R21100K Pot
R311K 1/4W Resistor220Ohm if using blue LEDs
C110.1uF 16V Ceramic Disk Capacitor
U114011 CMOS NAND Gate
U214017 CMOS Counter
LED1-1010LEDs Of Any Colour
MISC1Board, Sockets For ICs, Knob For R2


  1. Use R2 to adjust the "chase rate".
  2. You may need to use a lower value resistor if you wish to use blue LEDs. Try 220 Ohm.
  3. You can also use incandescent lamps instead of LEDs. Use transistors to drive them by connecting the base of the transistors to each of the outputs of the 4017 through a 1K resistor. Connect one end of the lamp to the positive supply. Then connect the other end to the collector of the transistor. The emitter then goes to ground. Depending on the lamps, you may need power transistors that are heat sinked.
  4. C1 may be replaced with a larger value for a slower "chase rate".
  5. If you have problems with weird circuit behavior, try replacing R1 with a 33K resistor, and increasing C1 to 1uF.
  6. If you plan to use this circuit in your car, be warned that in some areas it is illegal to have red, blue or yellow flashing lights unless you are an emergency vehicle.

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LED Chaser (to use as clock)
Wednesday, December 25, 2013 10:39:29 AM
I got metal circular disc (taken of old round café table) which want use as clock face. how can I convert above schematic to use on 60 led's? give you idea I place 60 leds (lets say white) round near edge of disc and want led 1 on and all leds from 2-60 are off for period of one second then when led 1 is off led 2 is on and all rest leds are off etc same as led 3 on leds 1,2, thru to 60 off. when gets 60th led minute led (lets say red) 1 is on with leds 2 thru to 60 off (just like seconds but at minute intervals. then when get hours lets say banks of 4 leds (say blue) 12 oclock set are on and all banks 1 thru to 11 off till next hour where 1 turned on and banks 2 thyru to 12 off any ideas please many thanks
LED Chaser
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 3:56:37 PM
I would like to know how to change this from just an LED chaser to an LED chaser manually operated and that stops randomly. Some type of push button to activate and once released continues for two to five seconds seconds and stops. I am supposing a push button with a timer be added. But I need to be shown where. The chasing LEDs can't start until the button is pushed and can't stop until it has timed out. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
LED Chaser
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 2:03:18 PM
is there any way to make the led chase counterclockwise then clockwise.. would like to know how to do that..
max Henderson
LED Chaser
Tuesday, April 06, 2010 9:11:34 AM
hey, i have a pretty poor understanding of how all this works and suck at the physics/technical aspects, however all that important stuff aside I really want to create this, however slightly modified. instead of having one led in each place, i want to attach a relay, and to this relay hook up say 10 leds, the idea being that i create something that looks like a dart board with the light 'rippling' out like the surface of water. was hoping for any advice as to how to do this all, i know it's ambitious for someone that is way out of their depth, i still really want to do it, any help that anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated i have just bought all the stuff listed here online, should be with me in the next couple of days
LED Chaser
Friday, March 26, 2010 1:15:52 AM
can you mail me the latest (improved version) of the circuit? because i want to make it for my workshop project.
LED Chaser
Thursday, January 14, 2010 7:40:03 PM
I removed the section that uses the nand gates and attached a long wire to pin 14 of the 4017 and held it in the air and it worked!
LED Chaser
Friday, September 11, 2009 5:57:20 AM
hahahahahaha, you got detention for it not working?!? Your teacher is a stupid SOB.
LED Chaser
Thursday, September 03, 2009 12:22:10 AM
this circuit failed me and i got a after school detention because it didn't work.
Todd Longwell
LED Chaser
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 9:58:11 PM
I dont know the first thing about any of this, but i need help; wheather itsLED, flourenscant, or aregular bulb set up, i need someones help. i needa setup that when i hit a switch, 5 to 7 bulbs turn on and the chase or blink or something. dont kow the first thing about it, im a 12 volt man, but usd all my options. email me if you can help, please, thankyou.
LED Chaser
Tuesday, September 01, 2009 4:33:39 PM
If you wish to use a 555 to replace the 4011, consider a CMOS version of the 555 as a; National semi LMC555, Maxim 7555 or TI TLC555. They use less power and do not require a capacitor couple across the supply.
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