# Logic circuit to handle incrementing by 1

You can use cascaded full adders to add any two binary numbers together. Is there a circuit for when I only want to add 1 (incrementing the value)? Is there a similar circuit for subtracting (i.e. adding 0b1111 1110)? I'm working with 8 bit numbers, but this applies for all word lengths.

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A circuit besides a full adder? You could just use one where one set of inputs is static, either 00...01 (++) or FF...FF (--) You could optimize/eliminate some of the input gates with the knowledge of constant inputs. –  Nick T Dec 14 '10 at 15:45
@Nick T, I was thinking of doing this but wasn't certain how to approach it. –  Thomas O Dec 14 '10 at 15:53
You could feed the carry-in line, but I suspect you don't have access to silicon... –  tyblu Dec 14 '10 at 22:50

Let's see. In a simple ripple carry adder, sum,carry-out = a + b + carry-in

c[0] = carry-in
for i in n
sum[i] = a[i] ^ b[i] ^ c[i]
c[i+1] = (a[i]&b[i]) | (a[i]&c[i]) | (b[i]&c[i])
carry-out = c[n]


Now if we want to compute sum,carry-out = a + 0 + 1, set b[] = all 0 and simplify:

c[0] = 1
for i in n
sum[i] = a[i] ^ c[i]
c[i+1] = a[i] & c[i]
carry-out = c[n]


which is simpler. Subtraction by 1 can be similarly simplified (exercise for reader: what is b[] and carry-in in that case?)

Happy hacking!

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If you're talking about discrete logic, like 7400 series logic, then the chip you're looking for is called a counter. Two 74191 (4-bit up/down synchronous counter) chips cascaded will give you what you want, and there are other chips that do a similar function.

If you want the most compact way to add '1', then you could use half-adders for each bit instead of full adders. Not too sure about subtraction though.

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Thanks. I'm considering building a transistor computer so whereever I can save transistors it is good. –  Thomas O Dec 14 '10 at 15:53
Transistor computers are easy to make when you're building the transistors on a single silicon wafer :) –  W5VO Dec 14 '10 at 16:07
Food for thought, if you're talking about making a discrete transistor CPU: The Intel 4004 (4 bit CPU) has 2300 transistors (excluding main ROM/RAM, and I/O. –  W5VO Dec 14 '10 at 17:01
@Thomas: I don't want to discourage you, but even the most simple CPU needs a few thousand transistors and the more components the greater the chance that something is wrong somewhere. I wouldn't want to debug it anyway. Why don't you build one with standard 74HCxx logic? This may increase your chances considerably, and it should be a serious challenge too. –  stevenvh Dec 14 '10 at 17:14
@stevenvh Actually I should have written relay computer and it's been done before (web.cecs.pdx.edu/~harry/Relay/.) I doubt I'd actually build it, but it would be a design project to do in my spare time. –  Thomas O Dec 14 '10 at 17:29