CD4060 – A Binary Counter With a Built-In Oscillator

Pinout for the CD4060 IC

The CD4060 is a CMOS chip with a binary counter and oscillator included. It can be used to produce selectable time delays or to create signals of different frequencies. This is because it has a built-in oscillator module that only requires a few passive electronic components.

From only two resistors and one capacitor it can create 10 different frequencies . That makes it a very interesting chip, especially for those interested in audio and synthesizers.

Pin Overview

Pin NamePin #TypeDescription
VDD16PowerSupply Voltage (+3 to +15V)
GND8PowerGround (0V)
Q3-Q91-7OutputCounter outputs
Q11-Q1313-15OutputCounter outputs
CEXT9InputConnection for external capacitor
REXT10InputConnection for external resistor
CLK11InputClock input/Oscillator pin
RST12InputResets the counter
Pin overview for the CD4060

What is a Binary Counter with Oscillator?

A binary ripple counter is a circuit made up of D flip-flops in series. The output of one is connected to the CLK input of the next. The CLK input of the flip-flop on the left is the counter input.

4 D Flip-flops in series, creating a binary counter
4-stage binary counter

Instead of just four flip-flops like in the example above, the CD4060 has 14 flip-flops in series. This means it can count up to 16383 (the maximum value of 14 bits).

It also has a built-in oscillator that makes it possible to create a clock pulse to automatically increase the counter. This makes the CD4060 a timer circuit that can be used to select between different time delays (or frequencies), depending on which Q-output you use.

For example, if you choose values for the resistor and capacitor so that the oscillator creates a clock pulse of 1 Hz, it means it will increase the counter every second. So for an 8-second delay, you can use output Q3. Or for a delay of 2 hours and 16 minutes (8192 seconds), you can use output Q13.

The Missing Outputs Q0, Q1, Q2, Q10

For some reason, the CD4060 lacks the outputs Q0 to Q2 and Q10.

I haven’t found any official info on why those outputs are omitted, but the most probable theory I’ve read is that the 4060 is an upgrade of the 4040. The 4040 had 16 pins, so they might have removed some of the bits to be able to add an oscillator and a higher bit count with the same amount of pins.

How To Use The CD4060

First of all, you need to connect the VDD pin to your positive supply terminal and the GND pin to your negative supply terminal. You can use a power supply voltage between 3V and 15V. Although, some versions of the 4060 chip support up to 20V. Check your datasheet for exact values.

To activate the oscillator, connect a resistor from the REXT pin, a capacitor from the CEXT pin, and a resistor from the CLK pin, and connect all three of them at the other end:

How to set up the built-in oscillator of the CD4060
CD4060 Oscillator Configuration

The frequency is given by this formula:

Frequency f (Hz) = 1 / ( 2.3 * Ct * Rt )

Note that Rt needs to be much lower than R2 for the formula to be correct.

If you want to reset the counter back to zero, use pull the RST (Reset) pin HIGH. Normally, you need to pull this LOW for the chip to work.

Use any of the Q pins as your output to control whatever you want to control. They become HIGH after:

  • Q3 goes HIGH after 23 = 8 clock pulses
  • Q4 goes HIGH after 24 = 16 clock pulses
  • Q5 goes HIGH after 25 = 32 clock pulses
  • Q6 goes HIGH after 26 = 64 clock pulses
  • Q7 goes HIGH after 27 = 128 clock pulses
  • Q8 goes HIGH after 28 = 256 clock pulses
  • Q9 goes HIGH after 29 = 512 clock pulses
  • Q11 goes HIGH after 211 = 2048 clock pulses
  • Q12 goes HIGH after 212 = 4096 clock pulses
  • Q13 goes HIGH after 213 = 8192 clock pulses
Pinout for the CD4060 IC
CD4060 Pinout

Using a Crystal with the CD4060

Want to use a crystal for better precision?

That’s possible. This type of oscillator is called a Pierce Oscillator.

The datasheet of the CD4060 does not say much about how to choose values for this. But I found a similar chip, the 74AHC1G4210. It works like the 4060, except that it only has one output instead of several.

It gives a bit more info in its datasheet:

A typical crystal oscillator schematic is shown in Figure 8. R1 is the power limiting resistor, its value depends on the frequency and required stability against changes in VCC or average ICC. For starting and maintaining oscillation a minimum transconductance is necessary, so R1 should not be too large. A practical value for R1 is 2.2 kΩ.

How to setup cd4060 with crystal / pierce oscillator
Screenshot from the datasheet of 74AHC1G4210

What Crystal To Choose?

Let’s say you want to use the 4060 IC as a frequency divider to get 500 Hz. What crystal do you need?

Q3 needs 8 clock pulses to go from low to high. And another 8 to go from high back to low again. So it needs 16 pulses for one complete cycle (frequency period).

It’s the same for every output, so we can use this to find the theoretical crystal frequency you’d need to get 500 Hz from a given output:

  • For Q3 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 16 = 8 kHz
  • For Q4 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 32 = 16 kHz
  • For Q5 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 64 = 32 kHz
  • For Q6 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 128 = 64 kHz
  • For Q7 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 256 = 128 kHz
  • For Q8 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 512 = 256 kHz
  • For Q9 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 1024 = 512 kHz
  • For Q11 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 4096 = 2.048 MHz
  • For Q12 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 8192 = 4.096 MHz
  • For Q13 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 16384 = 8.192 MHz

Not all these exist as crystal values, it’s just an example of how you can find viable crystal frequencies for a given output. But the 2.048MHz or 4.096MHz are both pretty common and will give you 500 Hz.

CD4060 Example Circuit – Adjustable Timer

Here’s a practical example that you can build with the 4060 chip:

4060 Example Circuit - adjustable relay timer

To build this circuit you’ll need:

  • A 4060 chip, such as the CD4060BE
  • A rotary switch with as many positions as you’d like timer options
  • A 100 kΩ resistor (R1)
  • 0.22 µF (C1)
  • A 1 MΩ resistor (R2)
  • An NPN transistor (Q1)
  • A 1kΩ resistor (R3) to limit the current through the transistor
  • A relay

With the chosen values for C1 and R1, you get a frequency of:

Frequency f (Hz) = 1 / ( 2.3 * 0.0000022 F * 100000 Ω) = 1.98 Hz

So we have about 2 clock pulses per second. And we can thereby find the time delay before each output goes high:

  • Q3 goes HIGH after 23 = 8 clock pulses = 4 seconds
  • Q4 goes HIGH after 24 = 16 clock pulses = 8 seconds
  • Q5 goes HIGH after 25 = 32 clock pulses = 16 seconds
  • Q6 goes HIGH after 26 = 64 clock pulses = 32 seconds
  • Q7 goes HIGH after 27 = 128 clock pulses = 1 minute and 4 seconds
  • Q8 goes HIGH after 28 = 256 clock pulses = 2 minutes and 8 seconds
  • Q9 goes HIGH after 29 = 512 clock pulses = 4 minutes and 16 seconds
  • Q11 goes HIGH after 211 = 2048 clock pulses = 17 minutes and 4 seconds
  • Q12 goes HIGH after 212 = 4096 clock pulses = 34 minutes and 8 seconds
  • Q13 goes HIGH after 213 = 8192 clock pulses = 1 hour, 8 minutes and 16 seconds

Alternatives and Equivalents for 4060

You likely find the 4060 IC marked as CD4060, NTE4060, MC14060, HCF4060, TC4060, or HEF4060. Usually with a few extra characters at the end (Ex: CD4060BE).

This has to do with the manufacturer of the chip and the technology used. But the functionality and the pins are the same.

If you can’t find any of these chips in your local electronics store, check out my list of online stores with several options to buy from.

If you can’t find the 4060, you could try one of the following IC alternatives with binary ripple counter. But note that you’d have to create the oscillator yourself:

  • 4020: 14-stage binary ripple counter (No oscillator)
  • 4024: 7-stage binary ripple counter (No oscillator)
  • 4040: 12-stage binary ripple counter (No oscillator)

4060 Datasheet

Download the PDF datasheet for the IC 4060 here:

CD4060B (Texas Instruments)
HEF4060B (Nexperia)

Go back to the full overview of the 4000-series integrated circuits

17 thoughts on “CD4060 – A Binary Counter With a Built-In Oscillator”

  1. I have built a crystal controlled CD4060 circuit to produce a 200Hz output but would ideally like a 500Hz output also. Presumably because of the fixed dividing function of the CD4060 I would not be able to achieve this using a single crystal.

    My question is what crystal frequency would I need to produce 500Hz or is there any other way I could use the CD4060 to produce both frequencies?

    Reply
    • Hi Paul,

      You’re right, you won’t be able to get both frequencies from one crystal on this chip.

      In theory, there are 10 different crystals you could use to get 500 Hz:

      For Q3 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 16 = 8 kHz
      For Q4 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 32 = 16 kHz
      For Q5 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 64 = 32 kHz
      For Q6 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 128 = 64 kHz
      For Q7 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 256 = 128 kHz
      For Q8 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 512 = 256 kHz
      For Q9 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 1024 = 512 kHz
      For Q11 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 4096 = 2.048 MHz
      For Q12 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 8192 = 4.096 MHz
      For Q13 output, you’d need a crystal of 500 * 16384 = 8.192 MHz

      Not all these exists, it was just an example of how you can find viable crystal frequencies for a given output. But the 2.048MHz or 4.096MHz are both pretty common and will give you 500 Hz.

      I’ve updated the article with this info.

      Best,
      Oyvind

      Reply
  2. Useful but there’s an error in your f calculation. You specify C1 as 0.22nf but used 2.2uf (0.0000022) in the equation. If you had used C1 as planned then f= 19.76kHz.

    Also in the line above you mean C1 and R1 not R2.

    Reply
    • Hi, if you have a clock source, then you can connect that directly to the clock pin on pin 11. And you can leave pin 9 and 10 unconnected.

      Reply
  3. Hi,

    For testing opamps I thought it would be interesting to use this ic to produce a nice range of frequencies, but wasn’t aware that it does not have Q0-Q2 outputs, spoiling much of my plan.

    Is there a 4060-like ic with those outputs, or should I just accept that I need to use an extra ic to make an external oscillator and use the 4040?

    Can I use a 74HC-series ic to make this oscillator, or would the “1”‘s of too low voltage?

    Thanks for your advice.

    (BTW I was planning to use a 4MHz crystal.)

    Reply
  4. Can you use a 504KHz ceramic resonator? Will it work that low with the caps shown? Or do I need to increase the capacitors? I want to divide by 32 to get 15750 Hz. Thanks.

    Reply
    • I have no experience with ceramic resonators. But I had a quick search, and looks like those should have the capacitors integrated (if it’s a three-pin). So I think you should be able to connect like in the crystal example, just without adding capacitors.

      Reply
    • Yes, that should be possible. If you connect the highest bit from the first chip into the clock input of the second. But note that the clock input is inverted, so you should invert the signal before connecting it into CLK if you want to make sure the second chip is updated on rising edge like the first chip.

      Reply
  5. Look like there are pin differences between manufactures. And this chip is from Nexperia HEF4060, 2021, with no Q10 /1024 or Q14 /16384. But the Texas Instuments version, CD4060, 2003, has no Q3 /8 or Q11 /2048.

    Reply

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