The following article explains how to build a simple IC 555 based tachometer circuit which can be used for directly measuring any frequency over an analogue volt meter.

What is a Tachometer

A tachometer is a device which is used for measuring vehicle engine RPM. Thus, it is basically used for checking the performance of the engine and helps an auto mechanic to understand the condition of the engine so that it can be corrected or optimized as per the desired specs.

Generally a tachometer may be considered an expensive equipment as these are highly accurate and intended for obtaining correct RPM rates of the concerned engine under test.

The conventional units are therefore very sophisticated and generate highly accurate results while testing.

However it doesn't mean that a simpler version cannot be built at home. With electronics at its best today, making a tachometer circuit at home isn't at all difficult. What's more the results obtained from such circuits are fairly accurate and provides the required data for assessing the overall working condition of the system.

Simulation and Working


The circuit diagram shows a simple configuration utilizing the IC 555. The IC is basically configured as a monstable multivibrator.

The pulse is derived from the spark plug and fed to the end of R6.

The transistor responds to the pulses and conduct in accordance with triggers.

The transistor activates the monostable with every rising pulse of the input.

The monostable stays ON for a particular moment each time its triggered and generates an average ON time at the output which is directly proportional to the average trigger rate.

The capacitor and the resistor at the output of the IC integrate the result so that it can be directly read over a 10V FSD voltmeter.

The pot R3 should be adjusted such that the output generates the exact interpretations of the fed RPM rates.

The above setting up must be done  with the help of a good conventional tachometer unit.


Parts List


R1 = 4K7
R2 = 47E
R3 = CAN BE VARIABLE 100K POT
R4 = 3K3,
R5 = 10K,
R6 = 470K,
R7 = 1K,
R8 = 10K,
R9 = 100K,
C1 = 47n,
C2 = 100n,
C3 = 100n,
C4 = 33uF/25V,
T1 = BC547
IC1 = 555,
M1 = 10V FSD meter,
D1, D2 = 1N4148

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