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.
LED Chaser
Saturday, August 29, 2009 6:41:34 AM
i really like the circuit but it would have been a little more impressive if it worked from 6volts .if you can please send me the circuit
amruta from india
LED Chaser
Friday, July 17, 2009 4:35:54 AM
i am really very thankful to the designer of this circuit. It really worked. I will suggest that use 555 timer ic instead of 4011 then your circuit will work properly.
LED Chaser
Saturday, March 07, 2009 5:12:43 AM
To construct a led chaser with more then 10 channels and with various effects with simple circuit diagram.
LED Chaser
Tuesday, March 03, 2009 5:57:26 AM
my circuit does not work, i followed the circuit but it does not really work, what should i do?
LED Chaser
Monday, February 16, 2009 9:44:36 PM
Well I had stopped working on this circuit, bu t i decided that i was gonna work on it and i am done but revised the circuit(had help with it), i got rid of the 4011 because they fry so easy and used a 40106 trigger and got rid of 1m and .1uf cap changed to 1uf and 47k, works like a champ if anyone wants this circuit just email me and i will send it.
Alex From Greece
LED Chaser
Monday, October 13, 2008 4:19:56 AM
BSman. Gn is the negative.See left of the R3(at the cornering).But i don't understand either about the 2 power supplies.maybe the second is because of the LEDs. This is my second try on electronic circuits.my first was a "Door Open Counter".My real question is how will i be able to connect a 555 timer istead of a 4011 NAND chipset. E-mail me please as soon as posible.
LED Chaser
Friday, October 10, 2008 6:45:21 AM
Where can I buy pre-built chasers? I've tried to build my own and frankly I suck!
Thursday, September 11, 2008 6:41:06 PM
Ok so i am only 15 and have pretty much self taught myself all i know but this is my first real comlex circuit and i have a couple questions: 1: how many NAND gates do i need and how do i wire them(which pins) 2: How do i connect the leds to the counter ( what pins to connect to) 3: why is there 2 postive 9v inputs an no negetive (mistake right) 4: will smd capasitors and pots work and how do i wire them I think these are all my questions but i have a more detailed post on the forums....or i will soon at least
LED Chaser
Thursday, August 07, 2008 8:47:57 AM
If i would like to use 555 IC in this circuit so what can i do for this if any one have circuits for this please mail to me.Thanks to Sender in advance
LED Chaser
Friday, August 01, 2008 2:02:27 AM
This was my first LED project i built in 90s' . Nice work.
Charles S
LED Chaser
Tuesday, July 22, 2008 2:16:20 AM
This could be done without the 4017 (U2) by connecting the inputs of the 3rd NAND gate in place of U2, and the 4th gate to the output of the 3rd gate ... so a line of nand gates 4 long. at the outputs of gates 2,3, and 4 connect a LED, or better yet a transistor maybe a 2n2222, 2n3906, or even 2n3907 to drive more LEDs without loading down the feedback loop from gate number 2. This would work because the least number of LEDs to make the chasing effect is 3. To make a long string of chasing lights its simpler to stack sets of 3 where L1x is the first to come on, and L2x is the second, and the L3 set is thrid. L1a-L2a-L3a:L1b-L2b-L2c and so on
LED Chaser
Sunday, July 20, 2008 5:55:45 PM
Is there a way to use a 3v supply instead of a 9v supply and still maintain the same brightness??
LED Chaser
Saturday, July 05, 2008 5:56:04 PM
will this system work on a 7.2v battery? wana run it as under car lighting.
LED Chaser
Saturday, June 14, 2008 3:45:41 PM
http://bp2.blogger.com/_ffjPYcOAHFc/SFHjWnbFbrI/AAAAAAAAAAg/gLB3eAbPTT0/s1600-h/artbot+servo+driver.jpg Above is a similar circuit I made to run a servo, but it's the idea using a 555 timer for the pulse input to the 4017 and the outputs from the 4017 are supposed to just vary randomly the speed of the servo, but you can put LEDs there with appropriate resistors instead. Use a multimeter to get a voltage drop over the circuit/sections and use an LED calculator (http://led.linear1.org/1led.wiz) to come up with the resistors you need. Dim LEDs are probably the result of improper resistors.
LED Chaser Facts
Monday, June 09, 2008 8:00:29 AM
Hey! I am doing this for a high school project. But, I need more information. Where can I get more facts about this and something called the 401?? My teacher keeps asking me for it. Thanks in advance.
LED Chaser
Sunday, June 08, 2008 12:40:46 PM
sound like curcuit does not work

(Editor's notes: Works fine...)

LED Chaser Help
Wednesday, May 21, 2008 7:36:24 AM
I am trying to do this for a school project in electronics, but does anyone have specific instructions/help? I am a new beginner and want to try something new for a good grade.
LED Chaser
Tuesday, May 20, 2008 9:19:37 AM
If the LED is not blinking, try RC oscillator instead of NAND Gates. And 14th pin just needs square pulses.
LED Chaser
Thursday, May 15, 2008 5:04:14 AM
i try a LED chaser on live wire but i cant find the correct components
LED Chaser
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 2:02:34 PM
plz help me sir the led on board is not at all working,they are dim and and they are not running ...........can you give me a solution to recover it ................................................... Thank you for having your time sir
LED Chaser
Sunday, March 30, 2008 11:18:44 PM
Will it make a diference if i use different colors mixed together to make this unit. Looking at blue and white mix possibly red to. Thanks for your time.
LED Chaser
Saturday, March 29, 2008 5:58:23 PM
hello please can you tell me if there is a way to link 2 together i am trying to make a 32 led light chaser please help me. i can follow olanes but not very good at designing
LED Chaser
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 11:34:42 AM
plz help me.this circuit is nat at all working.the led's are dim and they are not running.sir,you can e-mail me
LED Chaser
Saturday, February 16, 2008 11:16:20 AM
when you said another way to make leds chase from left to right was to use 1n914 diodes did you mean i have to do this to make them chase or does the original config you mapped out already do this as well
LED Chaser
Monday, February 11, 2008 7:42:57 PM
Hi, I like your circuit but I am wondering if I can use lamp instead of LED. My lamps are turned by 6V and 300mA each. Which power transistor I should use to do so? Please advise, thank you. I believe the output from 4017 is only 0.5v and 10mA.
LED Chaser
Tuesday, February 05, 2008 2:16:49 AM
Chris Hatcher... I didn't have any luck trying to reach you by email. I would like to learn just what design of chaser you are interested in. Perhaps, you could try to email me. Regards, Gadgeteer
Chris Hatcher
LED Chaser needed.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 2:45:57 AM
I am a celebrity photographer and I need to make a LED Chaser light for my camera. I would do it myself but I don't have this inclination to do this type of thing. Is anyone interested in making one for me for some extra cash? Email me if you might be interested. Thank you.
LED Chaser
Sunday, January 27, 2008 5:05:06 PM
I was wondering do i need to alter anything for it to hook directly to a 12v source ?
LED Chaser
Monday, January 14, 2008 6:53:08 AM
Just the thing I need to run the lights in my pinball playfield :)
LED Chaser
Saturday, January 05, 2008 4:23:39 PM
Hello! I replaced the 1M resistor with one 10k resistor, because the led's went totaly crazy with the 1M resistor :/ I also replaced the 100k pot with one 1M pot because i wanted it to chase slower..... Now it works great :-)
LED Chaser
Monday, November 26, 2007 6:33:44 AM
Can the chaser be altered in any way to have the LED's fade from one to the other instead of a instand switch
LED Chaser
Friday, November 23, 2007 3:28:35 AM
This circuit will work with a 5 VDC supply, but the leds will not be as bright as with 9 VDC.
LED Chaser
Thursday, November 22, 2007 9:07:03 AM
what is the use of LED chaser.. Can you give me a common problem, why LED chaser must be use.. thank you..
LED Chaser
Monday, November 05, 2007 7:05:28 PM
how can i make this chaser work with 5v of power because thats all i have to work with this so can you help me out how
LED Chaser
Saturday, November 03, 2007 4:52:52 AM
Another way to make the leds chase both left and right is to route dual outputs of the 4017 to each of 5 leds though 1N914 diodes. So, 4017 outputs 1 and 10 would couple, via the diodes, to Led 1... outputs 5 and 7 would couple , via the diodes to Led 2... 6 and 4 to Led 3... 9 and 2 to Led 4... 11 and 3 to Led 5.
LED Chaser
Sunday, October 28, 2007 5:15:10 AM
In answer to the question posted on Oct. 12, 2007... the Chaser can be configured to sequence in both directions (ala Kitt) by re-arranging the leds, i.e., numbering from left to right: 1,10,5,7,6,4,9,2,11,3. BTW, I found that a 555 worked better than did the 4011 in this nifty little project. Thanks, Aaron.
Mike Knight
LED Chaser
Friday, October 12, 2007 12:23:34 AM
Wondering if the chaser sequences the leds in both directions, as on the front of Kitt? Thank you.

(Editor's notes: No.)

LED Chaser
Thursday, September 27, 2007 8:05:08 AM
do u have any led strip controller?
LED Chaser
Thursday, August 30, 2007 11:07:31 AM
it should be great
LED Chaser
Wednesday, August 29, 2007 1:15:27 PM
I would like to use something like this in my children's church, but I am looking at 30 LEDs. I would also like them to go end to end (like in Night Rider or Battlestar Galactica-80's version), back and forth. could you tell me how to do that??? I have no skill at designing circuts, but if given a schematic, I can usually do ok. Thanks for your time. Darin Roberts www.kidpreacher.org
LED Chaser
Saturday, August 18, 2007 9:33:00 AM
pls why my not count right?
LED Chaser
Saturday, August 18, 2007 8:33:07 AM
This circuit works much better with a 555 timer...$.79 @ radio shack. .25 on Ebay. For an eight channel flasher simply disconnect pin 15 from ground. and connect it to pin #2, and omit the last two LEDs.
LED Chaser
Wednesday, August 15, 2007 10:01:21 AM
I suggest replacing the two 4011 sections with 4069 sections, because some 4011s (and other CMOS gates) configured in this type of oscillator often cause miscounting in the 4017. 555s are also notorious for causing miscounting in these types of circuits.
LED Chaser
Friday, August 10, 2007 8:59:00 AM
i want to know the construction procedure and working of led chaser.
LED Chaser
Monday, August 06, 2007 12:09:39 AM
sir can i have the pcb design?

(Editor's notes: If the design is not on the page, there isn't one available.)

LED Chaser
Wednesday, July 25, 2007 9:39:37 AM
i want to know the construction procedure,operation and application of the 10 LED CHASER.
socrates sagragao
LED Chaser
Wednesday, July 11, 2007 11:45:06 PM
what are the values of each LED to be used?
socrates sagragao
LED Chaser
Wednesday, July 11, 2007 10:04:52 PM
Sir how do i connect the U1 and U2? Can you please send me a pcb for this circuit diagram.
LED Chaser
Monday, July 09, 2007 7:50:41 AM
if you can order things online, mouser.com or digikey.com have the parts cheep!
LED Chaser
Friday, July 06, 2007 4:47:07 AM
fab circut work really well
tunde tairu
LED Chaser
Thursday, June 28, 2007 8:41:19 AM
How would i change the circuit diagram if i wanted to use a mix of red and blue LED's?
LED Chaser
Wednesday, June 27, 2007 7:19:48 AM
pls sir how is this LED Chaser look like after construction or after preparation
LED Chaser
Monday, June 25, 2007 11:09:37 PM
how 8 channel chaser light work? can u describe the circuit
LED Chaser
Friday, June 22, 2007 8:26:16 AM
LED Chaser
Sunday, June 03, 2007 4:47:50 PM
i need a pcb please
LED Chaser
Sunday, May 20, 2007 10:09:07 PM
i need a pcb for this
LED Chaser
Monday, May 14, 2007 11:46:10 AM
can u post me a chaser
LED Chaser
Monday, May 07, 2007 5:01:30 AM
woo... i dun noe how to know the pin 1 2 3 about pot
LED Chaser
Friday, April 27, 2007 12:34:06 AM
How would i change the circuit diagram if i wanted to use a mix of red and blue LED's?
LED Chaser
Wednesday, April 25, 2007 7:16:06 PM
I need the project on this led chaser if possible 4 me to get it. Thank u
Carl Black
LED Chaser
Tuesday, April 24, 2007 10:51:29 PM
You can buy this pre-fab from Lunar Accents Design: http://www.lunaraccents.com/applications-LED-automotive-lighting.html
LED Chaser
Tuesday, April 24, 2007 3:45:30 AM
LED Chaser
Thursday, April 19, 2007 10:47:57 AM
Does anyone have a pcb plan they can post. I think this would help anyone wanting to build. Please let me know.
igor IGIS electronics
LED Chaser
Thursday, April 19, 2007 5:11:39 AM
Hello i have PCB if who want i can send on e-mail.
LED Chaser
Tuesday, April 17, 2007 12:04:12 PM
I'd like it !
LED Chaser
Monday, April 16, 2007 3:25:25 PM
Exactly how slow can these be turned down to.
LED Chaser
Friday, April 13, 2007 9:34:41 AM
tell me that are nand gates available commonly in market.? And are these LEDs going to perform just like the ones in knight rider?
LED Chaser
Saturday, April 07, 2007 3:50:17 PM
i think this is neat
LED Chaser
Friday, March 30, 2007 1:50:34 PM
I'd not recommend using this in cars: flashing lights of ANY kind are illegal in the US, iirc, other than turn signals.
adam moore
LED Chaser
Monday, March 26, 2007 4:25:58 AM
is it big???
robbie patterson
LED Chaser
Thursday, March 22, 2007 9:42:02 AM
how long would it last
LED Chaser
Monday, March 12, 2007 12:57:18 PM
this circuit sucks
LED Chaser
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 10:34:31 AM
tell me how it workss...

(Editor's notes: Your best bet is to ask technical questions in the forum instead of here.)

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