As opposed to most timer circuits, this month’s Mini Project is intended for very long periods. A switchable divider chain using two 4040 counter ICs allows periods of up to 194 days (yes that’s 6 months) to be timed with great accuracy. Almost any other period shorter than the maximum may be set up, and all without a microcontroller or indeed any sort of exotic component!It started out as a relatively simple project — a timer to remind us (and friends) to take our wheelie bins out ready for collection once a week (or month). The original intention was to make the timer drive a voice/record playback module programmed with a snappy message. However, for the purpose of this Mini Project, such an extension was deemed too complicated, so a rather simpler ‘time-out’ warning device was chosen, although it is still possible to hook up a voice module if you want to.