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:
- Portable, portable, portable.
- Battery powered, preferably can be charged in the car or by solar. At least 4 hours battery life.
- 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)
- Bright enough to be visible in daylight, but also accommodate low light conditions (night, cloudy conditions)
- 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.