Avionics News May 2020 - 48

series
B Y

T H O M A S

I N M A N

Flip-flop
Circuitry
I

n the realm of politics, we tend not to like
politicians who flip-flop. In electronics, flip-flops
have many uses. Over the last few months, we have
been building toward this discussion of flip-flop circuitry.
We started in February with a description of logic gates.
In March and April, we continued with multivibrators and
ended with two, which are buried deep within the flip-flop
circuitry discussed this month. Those studying for ASTM
International's Aircraft Electronics Technician certification
exam should spend time memorizing the truth tables
associated with flip-flop circuitry.
Flip-flop circuits are constructed from logic gates.
When engineers tie flip-flops together, they can be used
as counters or registers. In other words, they can do math.

In addition, like the bistable multivibrator discussed last
month, they can be used as memory. The following includes
descriptions of four types of flip-flop circuits: the R-S, D,
T, and J-K types. Although flip-flops can be constructed
from individual logic gates, engineers will design circuits
using chips that contain two or more flip-flops within them.
The symbols for these circuits are all a rectangle with
various lines leading in or out to show the various inputs,
outputs and triggers. All of these circuits are triggered in
some way. Some are triggered by a voltage level, while
others are triggered by a change in voltage or on the edge.
For level-activated flip-flops, like the logic circuits
discussed in February, negation symbols in the form of
small circles are used to show when a logic low, or 0, is

Figure 1: An
asynchronous R-S
flip-flop symbol and
its truth table

48

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Avionics News May 2020

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