Introduction: How to Make a CLAP ON - CLAP OFF Circuit From Scratch - No Software Required

Hi all
This video is a very detailed tutorial about how to make a clap-on, clap-off toggler circuit that can either light up an LED, or turn a 5v relay on and off.  It is inexpensive, and easy to build.  The parts are less than $15 if purchased off of ebay.  You don't need to use all of this hardware.  You can use some of the electronic bricks talked about in the video to modify your own circuit.  This is a hardware based circuit, and it requires no software at all.  I'll be making other tutorials in the upcoming weeks.  I hope you enjoy this video.  It is long, but very detailed! 

In the video, I talk about the following electronic bricks, and I assemble and test as the video processes:
1) The microphone ciruit
2) The amplifier stage (To amplify the audio signal from the microphone)
3) The comparator stage (To create digital square wave)
4) The re-triggerable Monostable multivibrator stage (To turn hundreds of pulses into one single long pulse)
5) The toggler stage (Based on a JK flip-flop circuit)
6) The relay stage (To control AC devices)

I've created two other instructables on clap on/off circuits that rid the need of lots of hardware by using a programmed chip to do all the work.  They can be found here:

If you have any questions, I'll be more than happy to answer them.  If you have the parts, just follow along with the video, and you'll be able to re-create the circuit exactly.  Remember, the parts can all be found through ebay.    Thanks for watching, everyone!


djako89 (author)2016-02-15

Great circuit. It operates correctly other than one problem: Instead of
an output of 5 volts, I only get an output of 3.23 volts at pin 6 of the
LS109. It will not trip my relay. The LS109 has 5 volts going into it
at pins 1,2, and 5. #4 has 108mv input.What am I doing wrong? Thank you.

booeyboy (author)2015-06-10

Do you have any ideas on how I could make a sensor to pick up inaudible tones in an audio file which could be used to turn on/off specific puppet stages lights? I used to work in radio and we used tertiary cue tones on tape to trigger the next cart machine to play the next song or jingle or commercial. See for more information on what I am talking about.

JaredF1 (author)2014-11-09

Great Job!

Your video was clear and easy to follow.

You helped me out a lot.

Thanks again!

jensenr30 (author)2012-04-30

Great video! I really like it. I have one of arduino projects hooked up to the clapper that I built (from your video). This video is just one of your many videos that are awesome, and very in-depth. Your videos and instructable are amazing. You are one of my favorite instuctables users. Keep it up.

I noticed that your schematic in your video says that the 74LS123 (Monostable) has 14 pins. But my 74LS123 has 16 pins. Was that a mistake on your part? Or are there 74123 chips that have 14 pins?
The only 74123's I found on google had 16 pins.


vill.mendez (author)jensenr302014-10-08

I searched on the web how to use it so I connected the pins on the right way and it works :) thank ylu

vill.mendez (author)jensenr302014-10-07

Hi I noticed the same about 74ls123 do you find any solution about that? Thank you

jensenr30 (author)vill.mendez2014-10-08

I don't remember how I fixed that (it was two years ago).
But I don't think it was extremely hard.
I just looked at the datasheet for the 74LS123 and I figured out how to make a monostable pulse. Once you have the idea of a clapper circuit in your head, and what all the chips are supposed to do, you can pretty much just look at the datasheets for all the parts and figure out how to make each individual functional section of the circuit.

EngineeringShock (author)2014-10-07

Sorry guys. The 74LS123 has 16 pins. Not 14 pins. There pinout in the datasheet shows inputs/outputs for 1 and 2, as there are two on chip monostable multivibrators. Just use what I mentioned in the video, and ignore any pin that has a 2 in front of it.

kfry (author)2011-12-19

Might want to change this statement: "This is a hardware based circuit, and it requires no hardware at all".

EngineeringShock (author)kfry2011-12-19

Boh! That was dumb of me. Thanks for bringing that to my attention! I'll fix it right away!

Hi, thanks for the video, but i noticed that the 74ls123 have 16 pins and you say that it have 14 pins What can i do with that? thank you

shade450 (author)2014-01-03

Ishani11 (author)2013-12-04

hi, we were trying to implement this circuit, but the output was opposite to what we expected. The LED was ON throughout and when we clap it went off for a few seconds, after which it was ON again. Is it because a monoshot is triggered when the input is low? Could you please suggest a way to correct it? Thanks in advance :)

carmaster (author)2013-11-15


Why do you have to use so many parts?
Why not use one Common emitter transistor for amplification
Fed to the trigger of a 555 timer for multistable multivibrator
and one T Flip Flop

ichaudhary2 (author)2013-11-04

This is a great tutorial...We had a great time watching it...Thank you so much! :)

odilous (author)2013-09-13

i'll like to ask what is the use or application of this clap off clap on circuit?

Happe Hippo (author)2013-08-31

Fantastic job with the tutorial - keep them coming, please. Just made the circuit. I tested it with a PowerTail II switch (not UL listed either, btw) hooked to a lamp, since I'm leary of mixing high voltage and low voltage. I was able to drive that relay without the transistor. It took 16 mA when not connected; 22 mA when driving the relay. Too high of current consumption for battery power. Going to try the other clapper circuits now. Thanks again.

dreens (author)2013-08-10

This is awesome. Thanks Engineering Shock! No real prior experience, but after following you're tutorial and reading all the spec sheets I feel like a pro.

I hooked up the second one-shot included in the 74LS123N package after the first one to get a delayed pulse. Then I ANDed the two one shots and sent the result to the flip flop and now I've got a CLAP CLAP ON - CLAP CLAP OFF circuit :).

jasshopper (author)2013-04-18

Can you use this in any way to light up a 220VAC cfl?

WWC (author)2012-11-26

You video tutorials are top draw. Keep em coming.



sdemon (author)2012-09-15

can we use 74LS123D instead of 74LS123A monostable multivibrator,if yes please tell me its pin configuration.I cant get the output. please reply as soon as possible.

isadcari (author)2012-09-10

this is great! just one question is it posible to add diferent output no just on/off
for example if the output is 10v, is it possible to have 10, 5, 2.5 and 0v instead ?

akashson (author)2012-07-26

Hey I cant get 74Ls123A .what to do?I tried using 555 timer in monostable mode but output always remains even though when there is no sound.please help.

akashson (author)2012-07-26

Very nice video .I cant believe how easily you made me understand .I understood that from top to bottom .I hope you keep doing videos like this.Enjoyed watching every bit of it.
I will try it out today.Thank you.

jensenr30 (author)2012-04-30
here is what I controlled with my clapper circuit:


Neat! You're right about the 16 pin typo. Thanks for bringing it to my attention =)
Great work, and excellent circuit!


pfred2 (author)2012-05-01

I enjoyed it. This circuit must be good for palm circulation with all of that clap stimulus going on. I like to see circuits made with simple SSI integrated circuits as opposed to the hit it with a micro-controller method which is so prevalent anymore. I don't have anything against µCs but I think people use them too often, when some simpler ICs would suffice.

EngineeringShock (author)pfred22012-05-01

Yes, I agree. When I made my first clap circuit, I created a design similar to this. However, I do see the benefit of MCUs. A small PIC10F222 can allow for you to do all of this in one. no amplifier, multivibrator, or flip flop required. However, a lot of people are just getting into electronics, so it's helpful to show how to do it all without having to worry about programming =)

pfred2 (author)EngineeringShock2012-05-01

I looked up a PIC10F222 and was excited when I saw their low price! I became less enthusiastic after I saw what it would cost me with shipping. Now I see that in order to use the device I need a programmer too. Are there any other hidden costs I am missing? I've been into electronics for about 40 years now so I have piles of the old chips lying around. I could probably built 2 dozen of your clapper circuits without even digging too deep into my hoard. Nah, skip them fancy MCUs, I like working with my old junk. That is what is fun to me!

EngineeringShock (author)pfred22012-05-02

Which is why I made this instructable. No MCU required. My PIC version is much more versatile, but is not for people who do not have programmers. There are tons of cheap programmers out there, and once you have one, you can do so much more with one chip than you can do with 20 TTL or CMOS chips. Which is why they are far superior.

Aryamaan (author)2012-03-16

Hello Patrick nice video.
Could i use this whole circuit with a 9v battery.
Or i have to use 5v ........................
please reply

jensenr30 (author)Aryamaan2012-04-30

Unless all of your integrated circuits can handle 9V, just use 5V. You could, however, use the output from the JK flip-flop (Q) to control a transistor/relay that would switch a larger voltage/load.

TNT47 (author)2012-03-15

I need the parts dude i cant find them all in the video please make a list

pratip_banerjee (author)2012-02-29

Hi Patrick,
I am from India. Excellent video. Of late I have been bitten by the bug to learn electronics. Shall be glad if you can post a complete schematic. It shall help me compare your diagram from the one I have drawn after having watched your video. Also a total component list shall be helpful. If these info are already available, can you provide a link to see the same.

Bsk72 (author)2012-02-23

I love how this was dictated, very precise, very detailed.
please continue making videos like this one.
I work with relays every day and now I am able to explain it to someone else with some degree of confidence.
There should be more like this.
I love to learn and this is exactly how if you are hands on and visual like myself and cannot be there physically.
Thank You and Great Work!

archiesweet29 (author)2012-02-08

Please Reply as soon as possible . I have to submit the schematic and block diagram by tomorrow :P and I am supposed to use just 8085 uP and have to interface it with other ICs and Memory.. !! And have to do the programming in Assembly language..

archiesweet29 (author)2012-02-08

I was chgecking this vdeo. I am planning to make the clap switch using 8085v uP. Can you tell me how to make this using 8085?

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi there! My name is Patrick, and I am an electronics engineering technician who works full time as a lab tech, and part time as ... More »
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