How can I make an LED scanner?

I've been looking for a detailed schematic for an LED scanner with 5-10 LEDs.  I want to use the least amount of parts possible without a micro controller.

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frollard7 years ago
I built the 16-stage scanner by bowden's hobby circuits. It worked a charm -- same as you describe. 4 stage hex inverter (performs the up/down flip flop, the 9th bit, as well as the astable oscilator to make the circuit go), 16 stage binary updown counter, and 2x 8-bit binary demultiplexer. sounds complex but SUPER easy: 
It was the brake light of my car :)

Simple version: 6 stage scanner using a 4017 decade counter and a 555 timer, and a few diodes... simple 555-drives-decade-counter circuit, with outputs mixed to make the scanner effect...
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 (decade output)
1 2 3 4 5 6 5 4 3 2 (hooked to led number)
lemonie7 years ago
You haven't said anything about scanning except that you want to do it.
How much money do you have and what do you want to scan?

I'd like to make a scanner, I'm working with HP scanners that I've hard glitch'd, but i'd like to get into the coding and creation of my own. As far as money is concerned, I can probably get a grant if the cost start running into the thousands.
metsfan1938 (author)  lemonie7 years ago
Sorry for for not being clear enough. By scanner i meant "sequencer" or "chaser". Like on the knight rider.
Oh right, I perhaps should have got that...
You've got two good answers there anyway, go with them.

KikiTay5 years ago

i've tried making my own and gave up, I spent a lot of money buying those kits on ebay but they are either too complicated or can only power a few LEDs at less than normal brightness. I found this circuit that solved my problems! I bought a few and used them to make LED costumes and many of my RC hobby and robotic projects. Pretty straight forward and easy to install though.

I found a similar one on but there's no links to buy it. hope it helps!

here's the link!
KikiTay5 years ago
jrigvd6 years ago
i'll give you a schematic in a PDF from a original scanner(in Dutch, srry, maybe you can translate it??)...

then follow the LED numbers like this:

just a bit tricky for me
orksecurity7 years ago
Should be lots of circuits on the web if you search for "cylon" or "kitt". One obvious solution would be a 16-bit shift register (two 8-bit shift registers chained set up as a loop), ORed "backwards" with one another so bit 0 of one is ored with bit 7 of the other and so on down the line, a clock to drive them, and a button and input wiring which would let you initialize them with only one bit being on. Use output of the ORs for the LEDs.

A bidirectional shift register plus one latch for direction which is set or reset when the top or bottom bit is encountered would also do the job.

Lots of other possibilities.