How do basketball arcade scoreboards work?

Hey everyone,

I am looking for some insight on how basketball arcade systems keep track of  scores.
Some use infared sensors and others use clickers/triggers, but I have no idea how/where they're implemented.

Here's a popular system:

I am doing a project which will require me to use an arduino microcontroller and thought this would be cool.

Output would be on a 3 digit led display, hopefully noone scores above 999 lol


sort by: active | newest | oldest
prodigy9 (author) 3 years ago

In this image there is a IR emitter above the rim and a IR receiver below the rim, I don't really understand how this works... unless maybe they are both angled and the signals intersect? If so, what would happen if a ball covers the top sensor but doesn't end up going it? Thank you caitlinsdad for the advice!

prodigy9 (author)  prodigy93 years ago


The plastic covering the emitter and receiver may actually be shaped lenses focused on a certain point where the beam reflects off the ball falling through and past the hoop. Maybe you can "see" where the beams are shining by looking at it through a cellphone camera or webcam. Invisible IR shows up red. Try looking at when you press your TV remote to see the IR light.

prodigy9 (author)  caitlinsdad3 years ago

I just found the image online from:


How would the beam reflect off the ball? Wouldn't the ball have to be shiny/reflective like a mirror?

Ah, its seems like it each of the thingys are combination emitter/receiver. There may be a little plate/wall like blinders on a horse between the elements. It's like shining a flashlight on your hand. The ball just needs to "glow" a bright spot that the receiver is sensitive enough to register as a change in light. You may want to place three sensors vertically to confirm that it passes the hoop and drops further down the net to score.

caitlinsdad3 years ago

Easiest one to make is just a paddle switch that the ball hits when it goes through the hoop. You would need a sensitive PIR sensor or one that has an IR LED or laser shining on it to break that beam of light when the ball passes through the hoop. The ball is not a "warm" body it can detect unless it can sense light and shadow. It is then just a matter of programming your arduino to read the sensors and count, display and reset for a new game. Good luck.