# How can a flip flop alternate between two clocks, turning one off and the other on and repeating?

I am just experimenting with flip flops and am pretty confused about alternating between two clocks. Right, so I want a pulse to be sent to a flip flop first after 18 seconds and then after 2 seconds and then again after 18 seconds.

For this purpose, I have made two 555 timer ICs which generate 18s and 2s pulses respectively. What I have been struggling to do is to, after the 18s timer IC generates a pulse, activate the 2s timer IC and deactivate the 18s timer IC and after the 2s timer IC generates the pulse, I would like to deactivate it and activate the 18s timer IC.

What I want? I want the flip flop to get a pulse after 18seconds, then after 2 seconds, then after 18 seconds and then 2 seconds and so on.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

• Safely switching between two asynchronous clocks is a complex process. I think it would be easier if you use a 2 sec clock and add a circuit which makes from that a pulse after 9, 1 and 9 'clock' pulses. – Oldfart Apr 29 '18 at 19:09
• Your requirements are hidden by the attempt to explain a possible solution. Forget any possible solution and state what you require and not what you think might work. – Andy aka Apr 29 '18 at 19:13
• @oldfart I am sorry, I couldn't quite understand that. Can you please rephrase it. I'll be much obliged. – Parker Queen Apr 29 '18 at 19:19
• @ParkerQueen The clocks are not linked together, so they will drift apart and bear. Think about direction indicators on two cars. The suggestion is just to have $one$ clock, and then have a counter which gives out a pulse every 1 then 9 pulses from this single clock. – awjlogan Apr 29 '18 at 19:51
• @ParkerQueen easiest (and best!) solution is to just use the lowest common denominator of your two durations. 17 and 3 are both prime, you'd have a 1 Hz clock and then trigger on 3 then 17. Actually quite a fun exercise in digital design :) Basically you generally want only a single clock in your circuit (for quite a few reasons beyond this example). – awjlogan Apr 29 '18 at 19:59

Probably, the most simple way to produce the clocking signal you need is to produce a single clock $Q$ with a period of 20ms and a 90% duty cycle: by inverting such clock (for example by using a NOT gate or a single fast transistor inverter) you will get another clock $\overline{Q}$ with the same period but with a 10% duty cycle. Each of this waveform is shown below: Then, the original clock signal will provide the 18ms pulse, while the inverted one will provide the 2ms, for example by ORing the outputs of the following simple RCD trigger circuit: simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab

By calling $t_1$ the trigger generated by feeding $Q$ to the input the of the above circuit and $t_2$ the one generated by $\overline{Q}$, these signals have waveforms similar to the following ones: And ORing the two triggers you'll get the following composite one: A few notes

1. You can use one 555 to generate $Q$ and then inverting its output: however the simplest way is perhaps to generate both $Q$ and $\overline{Q}$ by a single, properly designed, astable multivibrator.
2. The RCD trigger circuit show above is simply an analog differentiator: $R$ and $C$ control the duration of the trigger pulse, while $D$ rules out the negative pulse which would otherwise appear during the falling of the input squared wave signal.
3. This is an hybrid analog/digital solution to your problem: if you need to work with only logic gates, perhaps the solution to which awjlogan alludes is the best.