Advent Calendar for Geeks





Introduction: Advent Calendar for Geeks

About: I like to play with electronics and other fun stuff, modify things to make them more useful or just more funny, putting things together that seem not to fit to make funny stuff. Sharing ideas make the world ...
The "Advent Calendar for Geeks" is a perfect present for your nerdy friends. It has some awesome features like:
  • looks really nerdy
  • you just need to buy the parts, your nerdy friend has the fun making it
  • 24 different switching stats
  • no glue, no soldering
  • all parts are re-usable
  • easy to make
  • including batterie!
Okay, it is a simple counter circuit involving two 7-segment displays and two counter-ICs. Every day of December you can push the button one time to count until December 24th.

Step 1: Parts

Here is what you need:
  • a breadboard
  • 2 7-segment displays, common cathode
  • 2 IC CMOS 4026
  • 2 resistors 10k
  • 2 resistors 330
  • 1 capacitor 47nF
  • 1 momentary push button
  • 1 9V battery
  • 1 battery clip
  • wire
Buy these parts, put them in a gift box and give it to your friend! Let him / her have the fun of making the advent counter!

Step 2: Make It

Stick the parts to the breadboard like shown at the graphic. Wire the second IC and the first display like the other one. At the graphic I just wired one display to make it clear and avoid a messy rat nest.

Step 3: Have Fun

Connect your calendar to the battery. The display should show number 00. At December 1st you can push the button the first time! Push it only one time a day to have pushbutton-fun all along holiday season!

Bonus: At December 24th you can take it apart again and have a some cool parts for later projects. Or you can solder it to a protoboard and save it for next year.

Happy Holiday!



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    30 Discussions

    I thought that this looked like a fun project but am having trouble with a couple things.

    Firstly, in the text below your diagram you write that we should wire the second IC like the first one. To a total novice like me (or the friend I might give this to) following this instruction is far more complicated than you might think. It would be much more helpful if there were a complete diagram to follow.

    Secondly, I noticed that the breadboard in your photo is not the same one in the diagram. It may be that the breadboard in the photo just isn't as long as the one in the diagram, but it looks like there are also two red wires at the very right edge of your breadboard which aren't in the diagram at all.

    I hope that you can clear these things up cos I'd really like to do this project. Thanks for posting it.

    4 replies

    The two wires you are missing connect the power lines of the breadboard. In the diagram they are on the left close to the battery.

    I did not wire the second chip in the diagram because it would end up in a big mess, but you can simply wire it like you did with the first one. Thats all the same.

    Hope it helps a bit. Feel free to ask if you have any question!

    Hi Mischka,

    I was wondering what the function of the 47nf capacitor was for. Is it to stop double triggers of the counter?


    globo has made a 5 step build instruction (see comment on top). Think it can help you!

    Thanks to you for your reply and your instructable and to Globo for his kid-friendly instruction sheet! Merry Christmas!

    can you please give a video which shows the working of the circuit


    4 years ago

    Is it possible to make This a 31 day calendar?

    you would need some more parts, counters, an oscillator, maybe a chrystal if you want to make it a relialble alarm clock... check out this intructable for example

    Hey I am just using the Fritzing programme now and was wondering what are the serial numbers on the black rectangles on the middle of your breadboard, just so I can find the right ones.

    1 reply

    The rectangles are ICs or "chips", the number is the name of the chip.

    I think this project is purtty dern cool...BUT JUST A about Making the assembly small enough and put it on a PCB and then into a Project Enclosure. Also rig it up to use an external power source so you dont have to buy could also do this same thing and enclose it into a tree topper like object, and put it on your tree so EVERYONE can see it...

    Is it possible to add a 555 timer so that once you start the clock, it will continue to count down daily instead of pushing the button daily? I am sure there is a arduino type of procedure, but I am looking for a way to do this with limited skills and compoents. Any thoughts....anyone? .....Bueller.......Bueller.......Bueller?
    Thanks to all!!!

    1 reply

    You may wire the 555 in astable mode and use the output as a trigger for the first 4026 (instead of the push button). The resistor and capacitor must be very big and I guess it would not be very accurate. But possible.

    what is the name of the program you used to create this breadboard schematic?