7400 Series Guide: 74HC86/74LS86 (XOR gates)

This IC, often found as 74LS86 or 74HC86, is a chip with four basic XOR gates. The XOR gate is a logic gate – one of the most basic building blocks in digital electronics. The chip comes in a 14-pin package with the following pinout:

Chip package and pinout for the 74HC86/74LS86

In this guide, you’re going to learn what the 74×86 IC does and how to hook it up in a circuit.

What does the 74HC86 / 74LS86 do?

The 74×86 gives you four basic XOR gates that can be used individually. An XOR gate is a logic gate that outputs 1 (HIGH) if its inputs are NOT equal (one input is 1 and the other one is 0). In the truth table below, you can see what the output will be for any given input:

XOR truth table
Truth table for the XOR gate

How To Use This Chip

Like every other chip in the 7400 series, this IC needs to be connected to power before you can use any of the XOR gates inside it. Most 7400 ICs support a VCC voltage of 5V. One difference between the HC and LS version of the chip is that the 74HC86 supports 2V to 6V, while the 74LS86 supports only 5V.

Once it’s connected, you can use any of the four basic XOR gates inside.

7400 series IC connected to 5V on a breadboard
The 74HC86/74LS86 IC connected to power

Output Current

Each gate output of the 74HC86 can sink or source 4 mA when powered with 5V.

HIGH-Level Output Current: 0.4 mA
LOW-Level Output Current: 8 mA

74×86 Pinout

The 74×86 has 14 pins and contains four basic XOR gates laid out as shown in the pinout diagram below:

Pinout for the 74HC86/74LS86 chip
Pin NamePin #TypeDescription
1A1InputInput to the first XOR gate.
1B2InputInput to the first XOR gate.
1Y3OutputOutput from the first XOR gate.
2A4InputInput to the second XOR gate.
2B5InputInput to the second XOR gate.
2Y6OutputOutput from the second XOR gate.
GND7PowerConnect to ground.
3Y8OutputOutput from the third XOR gate.
3A9InputInput to the third XOR gate.
3B10InputInput to the third XOR gate.
4Y11OutputOutput from the fourth XOR gate.
4A12InputInput to the fourth XOR gate.
4B13InputInput to the fourth XOR gate.
VCC14PowerPositive power supply. Connect to +5V power.
Pin overview for the 74×86 IC

74×86 Circuit Example

Here’s a simple circuit you can build to test the XOR gates in the 74×86 IC.

The pull-down resistors pull both inputs to the XOR gate LOW when the buttons are not pushed. Push any of the buttons, and you’ll make the input pin HIGH. A HIGH on one (and exclusively one) input will turn on the output and thereby turn on the Light-Emitting Diode (LED).

If you push both buttons at the same time, the LED will not turn on. The LED will only turn on if you push one of the buttons and leave the other un-pushed.

To build this circuit, you’ll need the following parts:

  • 1 x 74HC86
  • 1 x Light-Emitting Diode (LED)
  • 2 x 10 kΩ resistor (R1-R2)
  • 1 x 1 kΩ resistor (R3)
  • 2 x pushbutton

Alternatives and Equivalents for 74HC86 / 74LS86

There are many versions of the 74×86 chip. They all have the same functionality, but with different specifications such as supported voltages and maximum current output.

Here’s a list of a few equivalents of this chip:

  • 74HC86 (High-speed CMOS)
  • 74HCT86 (High-speed CMOS, TTL compatible)
  • 74LS86 (High-speed TTL)
  • 74LVC86 (Low Voltage TTL)
  • 74AC86 (Advanced CMOS)
  • 74ALS86 (Advanced Low-Power Schottky TTL)
  • 74F86 (Very High Speed)
  • 74C86 (CMOS, similar to the 4000-series)

Some manufacturers also add a prefix, such as the SN74HC86 and SN74LS86 by Texas Instruments.

Can’t find the 74×86 anywhere? Then try one of the following IC alternatives:

  • 74×136 – Quad 2-input XOR gates (with open-collector outputs).
  • CD4030 – Quad 2-input XOR gates.
  • CD4070 – Quad 2-input XOR gates.

If you can’t find the 74×86 IC in your local electronics store, don’t worry, you’ll most likely find it in one of the stores listed on this page of online stores where you’ll find components and tools for all your electronics projects.

Datasheet for the 74LS86 and 74HC86 chips

Download the PDF datasheet for your version of the 74×86 here:

2 thoughts on “7400 Series Guide: 74HC86/74LS86 (XOR gates)”

  1. Good page. Are you sure R1 & R2 = 10K would work?
    I am using 74LS86 doesn’t work with that resistors’ value. Don’t know if 74HC86 will be working.

    • Hi Mike! The values for R1 and R2 should be good. They can be a bit higher or lower, but 10k is good.

      But the 74LS86 only supports 0.8 mA of output current when the output is high, so that’s probably the issue. It can sink up to 16 mA, so if you connect your LED and resistor from your plus to the output (instead of from the output to minus), then you should see something happen. The only thin is that the LED will be on when the output is 0 and off when the output is 1.


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