DIY Electronic Scoreboard

A couple years ago, I decided that it would be nice to have a wireless electronic scoreboard that I could bring to my daughters’ softball games.  The problem is that I didn’t know anything about electronics.  So…I started learning.  About a year ago I started working on the scoreboard in earnest.

My design statement was to develop a scoreboard with the following attributes:

  1. Portable, portable, portable.
  2. Battery powered, preferably can be charged in the car or by solar.  At least 4 hours battery life.
  3. Large enough to be visible from 30-40 feet away, but not necessarily big enough for display on the homerun fence about 220′ away.  (see #1)
  4. Bright enough to be visible in daylight, but also accommodate low light conditions (night, cloudy conditions)
  5. Wirelessly controlled by a common hand held device (iPhone, Droid, Netbook, etc.)

After much research, and I mean MUCH research.  I probably spent more time on research than on the actual building of the scoreboard.  Really.  Anyway, after much research, I developed the following components, that when combined, meet my design criteria.

  • Power – 11.1V LiPo 4000mAh battery, 3.3V Switch Mode Power Supply for micro and logic power.
  • Digits – A total of six digits, each driven by a TLC5916 constant current LED driver with shift register.
  • Microcontroller – An AVR based development board that I built during my time learning by building the $50 robot and other projects.
  • Wireless – A WiFly GSX board purchased from Sparkfun.  What I thought would be the hardest part of the project, turned out to be one of the easiest parts.
  • Enclosure – The first enclosure I’ve ever built.  It turned out better than I ever expected.
  • Control Software – Software used to control the score board.  Well, I’ve got a bunch of work yet to do here.

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