What Is Race Around Condition?

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In the world of digital electronics, where rapid data processing and precise timing are crucial, certain phenomena and conditions can affect the proper operation of electronic circuits. The “Race-Around Condition” is one such concept that engineers and designers need to be aware of. In this blog, we’ll delve into what the Race-Around Condition is, how it occurs, and its significance in digital circuit design.

What Is Race Around Condition?

The Race-Around Condition is a situation that arises in digital circuits, particularly in flip-flops and other sequential logic elements. It occurs when there is a feedback loop within a circuit, and the timing of signals within that loop is such that the circuit oscillates rapidly between two unstable states. This condition can lead to unpredictable and undesirable behavior, potentially causing errors in digital systems.

Key Elements In The Race-Around Condition:

  1. Feedback Loop: The Race-Around Condition typically involves a feedback loop where the output of a digital circuit is fed back to its input.
  2. Setup and Hold Times: Digital circuits have specific timing requirements, including “setup” and “hold” times. The setup time is the minimum time before the clock edge when data must be stable for the circuit to correctly capture it. The hold time is the minimum time after the clock edge when data must remain stable.
  3. Clock Signal: The clock signal in sequential logic circuits is essential for synchronization and triggering the operation of flip-flops and other devices.

How The Race-Around Condition Occurs?

The Race-Around Condition occurs when there is a timing mismatch between the clock signal and the data input signal within the feedback loop. Here’s a simplified example to illustrate how it can happen:

  1. Imagine a simple SR (Set-Reset) flip-flop with a feedback loop.
  2. The Q output of the flip-flop is connected to its R (Reset) input, creating a feedback path.
  3. When the clock signal transitions from low to high (a rising edge), the SR flip-flop attempts to set its Q output to 1.
  4. However, if the data input (S) also transitions to 0 at the same time as the clock edge, it sets the Q output back to 0 due to the feedback.
  5. This process continues rapidly, with the Q output oscillating between 0 and 1. This unstable state is the Race-Around Condition.

Significance And Impact

The Race-Around Condition is highly undesirable in digital circuit design for several reasons:

  1. Unpredictability: It leads to unpredictable behavior in the circuit, making it challenging to ensure reliable and consistent operation.
  2. Power Consumption: Rapid oscillations consume unnecessary power, which can be wasteful in battery-powered devices.
  3. Data Corruption: In practical applications, the Race-Around Condition can result in data corruption and errors, which can have serious consequences in critical systems.

Mitigating The Race-Around Condition

To prevent or mitigate the Race-Around Condition, designers use various techniques:

  1. Proper Clocking: Ensuring that clock signals are well-timed and meet setup and hold time requirements is crucial.
  2. Synchronous Design: Employing synchronous design methodologies, where all circuits operate on the same clock signal, can help prevent timing mismatches.
  3. Logic Design: Careful logical design, including the use of edge-triggered flip-flops and feedback paths with appropriate logic elements, can eliminate the potential for race conditions.


The Race-Around Condition is a phenomenon in digital electronics that can lead to unpredictable and undesirable behavior in digital circuits. Engineers and designers must be aware of this condition and employ proper design techniques and timing considerations to ensure the reliable and stable operation of digital systems. By addressing the Race-Around Condition, they can help create electronic devices that meet the high standards of performance and accuracy expected in the world of digital technology.


What Is The Race Around Condition?

Race Around Condition In JK Flip-flop – For J-K flip-flop, if J=K=1, and if clk=1 for a long period of time, then Q output will toggle as long as CLK is high, which makes the output of the flip-flop unstable or uncertain. This problem is called race around condition in J-K flip-flop.

Why Is It Called Race Around Condition?

Since clock pulse is more than the propagation delay, so within one clock pulse the output will keep on toggling again and again and it may become indeterminate. This is known as the race-around condition. 2. Race Around condition occurs because of the feedback connection.

What Is Race Around Condition And How It Can Be Overcome?

The problem of race-around condition and the uncertainty of output can be avoided by increasing the delay of the flip-flops. For that, the delay of the flip-flops must be greater than the duration of the clock signal, i.e. Δt > T.

What Is Race Around Condition And Toggling?

Race around condition happens when output triggers a change in output. A change in output may change the output again and again before it settles….. making the output indeterminate and toggle in the same clock pulse. Toggling is when a particular input give different outputs different times.

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