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How to crack 74hc154

How to crack 74hc154

An overview of 74hc154

The 74hc154 is a 16-pin digital CMOS integrated circuit that acts as a 4 to 16 line decoder or demultiplexer. It takes a 4-bit binary input and activates one of the 16 output lines based on the input code.

Some key features of 74hc154:

  • Wide operating voltage range of 2V to 6V
  • High noise immunity
  • Low power consumption
  • High speed performance
  • TTL compatibility

The 74hc154 contains 4 input pins for the control signals, 4 input pins for the binary data, and 16 output pins. It is useful in addressing memory locations, driving display modules, and other applications where one input needs to be routed to one of many outputs.

74hc154 Pinout

Below is the pinout diagram for the 74hc154:

Pin NumberPin NamePin TypeDescription
1G2AInputInput A2
2G2BInputInput B2
3G1InputInput 1
4A0InputInput 0
5Y7OutputOutput 7
6Y6OutputOutput 6
7Y5OutputOutput 5
8Y4OutputOutput 4
9Y3OutputOutput 3
10Y2OutputOutput 2
11Y1OutputOutput 1
12Y0OutputOutput 0
14Y15OutputOutput 15
15Y14OutputOutput 14
16VCCPowerPositive Supply Voltage

How 74hc154 Works

The 74hc154 takes the 4-bit input code on pins G2B, G2A, G1, and A0 and activates the corresponding output pin.

For example, if the binary input is 0110, this would activate output pin Y6. The highest order bit is on pin G2B and the lowest order bit is on pin A0.

The chip uses the following logic:

  • Pins G2B and G2A enable the selected 1-of-4 group
  • Pin G1 selects between upper and lower groups
  • Pin A0 selects specific output in group

By changing the input code, you can route the active output to any of the 16 pins Y0 to Y15.

There are two enable inputs – Output Enable (OE) and Chip Enable (CE). Both need to be low for the outputs to be active. If CE is high, all outputs are deactivated high.

Where 74hc154 is Used

Some common applications of 74hc154 4-to-16 decoder ICs:

  • Memory Addressing – Used along with counter ICs to generate address lines for memory chips
  • 7-Segment Display Driver – Drive common cathode or common anode 7-segment displays
  • Input Multiplexing – Route one input signal to one of many destination pins
  • I/O Expansion – Expand microcontroller I/O lines to control more devices

Other uses include keyboard encoding, digital logic switching, and other selection and routing applications.

Steps to Crack 74hc154 Security

Now that we’ve covered the basics of how the 74hc154 works, let’s look at how to crack devices and systems that use it as a security measure.

1. Identify the 74hc154 Chip

First, identify whether the target system is even using a 74hc154. Look for the 16-pin DIP chip with the correct pinout on the PCB. Also look for accompanying logic chips like counters that provide the input code.

If you see a 16-pin chip combined with a 74hc161 counter, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a 4-to-16 decoder.

2. Analyze Inputs and Outputs

Next, trace the input and output signals to understand how the decoder is being utilized.

  • Where do the enable and data input signals come from?
  • Which output pins are used for what function?

This will give you a sense of the logic so you can determine how to manipulate the outputs.

3. Override or Bypass Inputs

There are a couple ways you can approach cracking the system:

  • Override Inputs – Use clips or pins to override the existing input signals. Force specific data, enable, or counter lines high or low.
  • Bypass Chip – Desolder the 74hc154 and connect input to desired output. This completely bypasses the decoder.

Overriding the inputs is usually simpler than fully desoldering and bypassing the chip.

4. Decode the System

Finally, test all input combinations and observe the outcomes. Activate each output line one by one to see what functions or mechanisms are controlled by each.

Take notes on the results so you have a decoder table you can reference later.

With some patience, you can map out the entire decoder logic and gain control of the target system functions.

Tips for Cracking 74hc154 Circuits

To recap, here are some useful tips when you encounter a 74hc154 decoder:

  • Use clips/pins to override input signals rather than desoldering initially
  • Analyze accompanying logic chips like counters and shift registers
  • Activate outputs sequentially to observe system responses
  • Build a decoder table to document input codes vs outputs
  • Look for unused outputs as potential vulnerability points
  • Check enable pins even if valid input applied
  • Leverage outputs that manage access control or disable alarms

With practice, you can learn to recognize 74hc154 circuits quickly and have the knowledge to defeat any systems using them.


What tools do I need to hack a 74hc154 system?

  • Digital logic probe to monitor signals
  • Clip leads or jumper pins to override inputs
  • Soldering iron in case chip needs removal
  • Digital multimeter for basic signal analysis
  • Oscilloscope for higher resolution signal viewing

How can I determine the existing input code?

  • Use the logic probe to analyze input pins and detect the pattern
  • Trace inputs back to source chips like counters
  • Correlate output signals to the possible input combinations

What if I don’t have a datasheet for the 74hc154?

  • The pinout and basic functioning is standardized
  • Use a generic datasheet for the 74hc00 series CMOS logic family
  • Apply trial and error testing of pins to deduce functionality

Is it easier to just desolder and bypass the chip?

  • In most cases it’s simpler to just override the inputs
  • However bypassing can provide more control if full access is required
  • Removing the chip carries risk of board damage if not done properly

How do I protect my own systems against 74hc154 hacking?

  • Use additional access control chips like passwords, keys, etc
  • Design redundant checking of enable signals
  • Encrypt/randomize input codes to make override difficult
  • Use active monitoring to detect pin tampering
  • Select different logic family chips to increase obscurity

So in summary, with the right tools and techniques, the 74hc154 decoder can be bypassed or controlled to gain access to critical systems relying on it for security. Leverage the guidance provided here to tackle your next 74hc154 target!

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