I made this 4-bit binary adder, with the great help from this great person here,

enter image description here

and it works like a true charm. I thought that this adder, however, is only for "simple" adding, so I tried to find a way to make it work for numbers in the two's complement system.

So the circuit should (?) have a probe that shows when there's overflow.

I thought that might a AND-3 gate with the first two switches (S1, S5) and the final carry probe as inputs, but that's not quite of a solution.

Do you guys have any idea?


1 Answer 1


Two's-compliment overflow is not very simple when it comes to the logic involved. Have your XOR gates handy.

For an addition operation, the overflow bit should be set if the sign is the same for both operands that were being added, but different from the sign of the result (an XNOR and an XOR).

For a subtract or compare operation, the overflow bit should be set if a positive number (sign=0) is subtracted from a negative number (sign=1) and the result is positive, or if a negative number is subtracted from a positive number and the result is negative (I'll let you do that one).

For the subtract, it might be simpler to involve CARRY in the logic.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Seems right, but for addition, is it an XOR gate followed by a XNOR or the other way around? \$\endgroup\$
    – Coursal
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 21:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking that the XNOR would be first, but now I see that it isn't as easy as just two gates. I will try to work up a table and schematic. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 23:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it's the XNOR first for the two MSB and then the XOR with the XNOR and the final carry as inputs. \$\endgroup\$
    – Coursal
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 18:21

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