Knight Rider Circuit for RC CARS - COMPLETE & WORKING - Updated 15th March 2012




About: Always modifying something ! Some Simple Rules.. * if you havent taken it apart - you DONT truly own it ! * Tinkering is a way of Life :) * Do what makes you happy :) * Never Give Up * Do unto other...

Just waiting on a capacitor and a 1k resistor to complete this instructable and i will also be adding a Variable POT not origionally included in the schematics but i will want to mount this onto a perfboard of the smallest possible size and because i have only just started learning electronics - the only way i learn is to throw myself in at the deep-end, so to speak!

Ive left Pictures of the ingredients as well as a list below for what you will need to procure for this awesome and inexpensive little circuit !!!!!!

1x NE555 Bipolar Timer
6x LED (Red)
8x 100R Resistor (1/4W)
2x 220R Resistor (1/4W)
1x 1K Resistor (1/4W)
1x 68K Resistor (1/4W)
1x 3.3 uF Electrolytic Capacitor (16V)
1x 4017 Decoded Decade Counter
1x 9V Voltage battery (also known more commonly as a PP3 Battery {i didnt know this!})
1 x 9v Battery Snap/Clip/Connector/whatever, lol

I bought EVERYTHING ABOVE from EBAY !!! - Nice & Cheap ! NOTE: if you buy resistors, best get them in packs of 100 or it is not worth buying them !

I cannot take credit for the full schematic of this circuit which you will find here and also an awesome forum for people like me who either have NO knowledge of how to put something like this together or that are learning electronics themselves - and if you really want to make this circuit yourself, please get involved in the forum here where you too can learn from the best there is !!!

This is now Fully-Complete, If you want to make this for yourself and dont want to see my messed up tries, skip straight to Step 4 !

Step 1: 1st Try !!!! --- What a Mess !!!

Okay so i couldn't let you folk suffer the absolute mess my 1st perfboard's wiring-work looked like so i decided to do it again in the next step, but ive left this here just to show off my very 1st perfboard in my life !!! (Ripe age of 34 so just goes to show that an old-Dog CAN learn new tricks, lol !)

Step 2: 2nd Try and a Lot Clearer, Neater and Less Solder on the Joints !

Here we go again ! lol
Okay okay, i really had to do this again more for me than you folk because i'm a perfectionist at heart so i had to get it looking-right, even tho the circuitry is going to be hidden inside its own enclosure but the thing is, I'LL know it was a right mess inside, lol !

Also i have better explained Step-by-step on the pictures what i had soldered in order so if any of you out there are as bad as i am with learning electronics, then hopefully this will take most of the headache away as it took me a few days of meticulously referring from 4-6 different diagrams culminating in the final and easier circuit i'm making at the moment !

Ive included the diagrams of the 2 IC chip pin connections here as well so you can see what pins ive been soldering, just also refer to the website i included at the beginning of this instructable for the actual owner of this circuit's video instructions, he's made it on a breadboard so i just adapted it to fit onto a perfboard to fit onto the shell of my RC Buggy !!!

Again, i take no credit for the creation of this circuit as it was not my idea as i've only just started learning electronics, i'm just sharing what i'm doing with it step by step because ive always asked 'electronics experts' in many many forums for help to try to get this circuit onto a perfboard but for months NO-ONE-AT-ALL has helped me out so ive done this to help out anyone that was in my shoes as SHARING IS CARING, FFS....

So called electronics help forums, yeah-right....

Anyhoo, i replaced resistor 'R2' with a 100k Trimmer POT and tuned the POT to the setting that i was happy with so that the speed of the chasing LED's were good enough for me !!!


Step 3: 3rd Time Lucky ! Lol

Okay so this time i'd finally done it !

Built onto a perfboard and with a short video to show it working and also a better clearer diagram to follow that i deciphered from just under 10 different diagrams and over 10 different help pages googled...

So without further ado, here's the Knight Rider Circuit that would be easy to make for someone like me with little to NO experience with soldering circuits !!!

Step 4: Full Step by Step Photo Instructable Thats Now Fully Functional ! (Updated, 26th Feb 2012)

Enjoy Folks, took me about half a day to solder together and was extremely satisfying to see my 1st ever circuit work 1st-time !!!

(Apart from being the 3rd try as my 1st two tries were so messy i couldn't make head-nor-tail out of my own damn work and had to come up with a better diagram to follow, lol !)

Ive left Pictures of the ingredients as well as a list below for what you will need to procure for this awesome and inexpensive little circuit !!!!!!

1x NE555 Bipolar Timer
6x LED (Red)
8x 100R Resistor (1/4W)
2x 220R Resistor (1/4W)
1x 1K Resistor (1/4W)
1x 68K Resistor (1/4W)
1x 3.3 uF Electrolytic Capacitor (16V)
1x 4017 Decoded Decade Counter
1x 9V Voltage battery

Step 5: Some Extra Finishing Touches, Just to Make It Look Pretty, Lol !

Okay i really couldn't stop fiddling with it..... The Knight Rider Circuit, i meant... lol

As this Circuit is going to be mounted onto my racing buddy's car, Homer, the biggest problem i think we will face is Vibration Damage so some drastic measures had to be taken to insure its integrity in-the-field, so-to-speak !!!!

Here's a few more picture's of the walk-through, for the Vibration-Damage-Prevention...!

Step 6: And Just to Show My Instructable Works Everytime....

I made another Knight Rider Circuit using NO SCHEMATICS, NO DIAGRAMS, NO GOOGLED PAGES & NO OTHER FORM OF HELP !!!!!!!

Here are both Knight Rider Circuits in action:



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    16 Discussions

    Joe Pixie

    Question 6 months ago

    Great Instruct. just a question , maybe you can help me. would it be possible to have your circuit only run from one side, like from left to right and then start at left again?
    and so on... ...


    2 answers
    offtherails2010Joe Pixie

    Answer 6 months ago

    Good day to you Joe ! apologies for the delay :)

    i know how you mean, an LED chaser that chases in one direction only instead of chasing back and forth;

    i know what you want but unfortunately im not too clever on how to wire it up like that, as ive always wanted the knight-rider back and forth chasing - but...

    Im sure it wont be too difficult to use your google-fu to find out how to get the LED's to chase in one direction only, from left to right then the LED's start again chasing from left to right - this would be an awesome effect too, im just so sorry i dont know how to do it, but if youve got this setup on a breadboard, im sure you can experiment with the cycles and the 555 timer
    You could use a cheap Arduino to program in this kind of effect AND you could use more than 6 LED's - i actually finally found a way to get a 10-LED segment to do the knight rider chasing and SHOULD really update this instructable to show how the Arduino code does it - its via a very intelligent chap online that actually deserves all the credit for this Arduino trick, i will dig out the info and update this post too if youre interested in using a cheap Arduino (£2-3 / or 4-5 USD) roughly :)

    Let me know if youre interested in this and i'll get on the case asap :)

    Joe Pixieofftherails2010

    Reply 6 months ago

    I would be interested Yes, but i really am a laimen when it comes to the arduino. never worked on it before, by the way thanx for the reply



    6 years ago on Introduction

    I have an Arduino, but making a Knight Rider light using it would have been to easy, and Arduino's aren't as inexpensive as this project. So far I've put together the breadboard version, but I'm going to put a pot. in the R2 position as you did, on a perf board. I'm relatively new to electronics also... Have you tried using 12v? Is it brighter or just last longer? I'm supprised you haven't gotten more response. Thank you for all pics and work you did on this.

    2 replies

    im so sorry for the really delayed response to this, ive been in and out of hospital all year so havent really had must time for anything !

    Thanks so much for your praise ! Really is highly appreciated !

    Im also into the Arduino Scene, only just got back into electronics after a 15 year lay-off lol !

    Yup, ive also tried this circuit from 12v and all that happens is the 4017 decade counter gets a little hotter (around 45°c instead of about 35°c when running from 9v) and the circuit lasts longer !

    Once again so sorry for the really late reply !

    I should be bringing out a few PCB's for these knightrider circuits specially for RC Vehicles, some ultra small ones using SMD parts as well as through-hole components !!


    My layout of your instructable is still laying on my breadboard. I bought more breadboards. I tried to get a clean layout using Fritzing but never did. I come to this site all the time but never noticed the message notification until today. Did you ever make the PCB's or get them manufactured for you?

    I just finished building this circuit and it works, but it seems to kind of run over both of the second to last LED's on the left and right but when sped up with the variable resistor it looks normal.

    do you absolutely need the resistors that go behind the led lights? because i dont have that many of those type of resistors and was wondering if i could take them out.

    6 replies

    You could but you will be shortening the life of the LED's - You might even BLOW them instantly !

    The Resistors limit the voltage going to the LED's, you can use anything from 680 Ohm to 1K resistors, its always best to have them in there also depending on what colour LED your using the resistors will need to match the VFD rating of the LED's...

    Do you know the forward voltage of the LEDs your using, and i'll calculate the needed resistors you need for them ?

    Hey thanks for the reply! I didn't know that they could blow like that either! lol,
    yea the LED's that I'm gonna be testing the circuit with can run with nine volts and there on this kit i have so i think they all ready have resistor in them. When i finish the circuit on an actual board I'm gonna have to get different LED's because i can't take those ones off the kit so i think ill have to get some more resistors for them. Thanks for the help!.

    No problem and your most welcome, anytime !

    Just let me know closer to the time for when your ordering the LED's and i'll offer some suggestions !

    i buy things like resistors, usually, in batches of 100 from ebay, depending where you are in the world, it only costs about £2 or $2 including shipping/postage from within your own country !

    If you cant find the right resistors or you live in a country where they charge stupid amounts for things like dirt cheap resistors, just send me a private message and i'll send some to you, got pretty much every value lol !

    This kit with the 9v LED's sounds interesting, do you have a link from where you got them by any chance ?!?

    Thanks! and yep i found a link to the kit i have, it also comes with a bag with resistors and about 14 different ic chips and and all that stuff the LED's that can handle nine volts are built into the board, here's the link to it in case you wanted to check it out
    and it also comes with two books with a bunch of other circuits in it

    Ahhh nice1 for the link, i just had to be sure lol !

    I suspected that the LED's may not have been able to handle 9v on their own and i was correct, lol !

    Okay so if you attempt to power these LED's with anymore than 3v then you will definitely blow them !

    But the colour of the LED's also correspond to the voltage needed to power them, typically these are the ratings for the colours below:

    Colour Voltage

    Blue 3.2v MAX
    Green 3.0v MAX
    Red 2.2v MAX
    Yellow/Orange 2.0v MAX

    If your unsure, always use a 1K resistor for powering up an LED, if your using a normal breadboard and not this electronics lab, then its real simple from there, drop the ohms in small increments if the LED brightness is too dim for your liking:
    so for example,
    Use the 9v battery, attach a batter clip onto it and put the wires into a standard breadboard then:
    choose a red LED, hook up the positive red wire to your breadboard and the 1st leg os a 1K resistor, second leg of the 1K resistor to the Long Leg of the LED (Anode) then the Short leg of the LED to the black wire of the 9v battery (Ground, or GND for short) and the LED will be quite dim, because Red LEDs typically have a forward voltage of approximately 2v, ish...
    Then disconnect the power from the LED and change the 1K resistor to a 680 Ohm resistor (or any resistor above 700 but doesnt have a 'K' after it !) the K stands for 'thousand' so a 1K resistor is basically 1000 Ohms.

    If you keep adjusting the LED's resistor like this till your happy with the brightness of the LED then you will never blow an LED, although, LEDs are so cheap nowadays and accidents do happen, i only recently blew an LED lol ! (just yesterday !) but thats the 1st LED ive blown in YEARS lol !

    Like i said, accidents do happen lol !

    wow thanks i never knew the voltage ratings of the LED's before! i just assumed that every one was just different and almost any voltage below 9 volts would work lol, that helped me understand how to find the right ohm resistor for LED's in the future, lol just yesterday I found out that infrared LED's dont much like 6 volts on there own it lit up a bright orange, made a weird noise then gave off this odd smell next time i get a tv remote i will remember to use a resistor before the LED lol