Picture of Remote Controlled Arduino Scoreboard using LED Strips
SB-Circuit- Full Scale Model (1).jpg
SB-Circuit- Full Scale Model (2).jpg
SB-Circuit Model (1).jpg
SB-Circuit- Full Scale Model (1).jpg
SB-Circuit- Full Scale Model (2).jpg
SCOREBOARDS ARE EXPENSIVE!  Not only that, very large 7-segment LEDs are expensive, too!  Scoreboards can give your team a sense of legitimacy.   After looking at scoreboards all over the internet, I thought to myself, hey, I don't need to buy a scoreboard, I Could Make That!
My idea was to make a scoreboard for our softball team utilizing an Arduino, an IR remote control and LED strips.  I decided to use LED strips to make large 7-segment LEDs because it would cost less than buying large ones.  My idea is to make the scoreboard for less than $100.00.

The scoreboard displays the visitor and home team scores to 2 digits, the inning to 9 and the outs to 3.  Since our league doesn't count balls and strikes, I ommitted them but they can be added in a similar fashion to how the outs were done.

The segments are controlled with an Arduino Mega thru 74HC595 shift registers and TIP-120 NPN transistors with 220 Ohm resistors. The scoreboard circuit was created using copper tape that was adhered to an IKEA table top.  The scoreboard is powered from any car 'cigarette' lighter, a 12V battery or a Booster Battery Jumper module.  It can also be powered using a 9V-12V wall wart.     

Watch the Video.

Step 1: Parts & Tools Needed

Parts List:
5 - 74HC595 Shift Registers
38 - TIP-120 NPN Transistors with the TO-220 Package
38 - 220 Ohm Resistors
5 Meters of Red LED Strip (300 LEDs) 
Arduino Mega
Ikea Table Top
Roll of 5mm X 50' Copper Tape (Sparkfun)
Remote Control (buy one or repurpose an old one)
IR Receiver (VISHAY - TSOP34838)
Black Electrician's Tape
Vinyl Letters - 2" High
12V battery or other power source

Soldering Iron

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PiratesDieff2 months ago

Hi! I made a double-sided Arduino shield pcb for my scoreboard. My first pcb & it works! :)

The shift-registers are daisy chained.

Great job I am still sitting with an issue that I tried the three pin shift but cannot get the code to work

Thank you. Here's my layout, and my code based on Boscopsoultrane's.

scoreboard_circuit imprimé.png

Thanks a mil ,great job on the design.

You're welcome. I got a lot of headaches over that design lol

Please send me your layout board schematic and code
Please post your board schematic and layout
boscopsoultrane (author)  PiratesDieff2 months ago
great job, it looks really good! i am glad you were able to get it done. will you be posting an instructable for it?

Thank you!
I don't know. English is not my native language, and I'm not very knowledgeable about electronics or programming.

JMorton31 year ago

Following the pin-out you used for the digits, I saw that you basically kept everything together in threes - except for the Visitor 10's. Any particular reason why you split that one up, or could they be reassigned to keep the wiring together as the other 4 digits?

jasit JMorton39 months ago

I would love to see your printed circuit board layout, I am in the process of building a football scoreboard and was just about to start that.

JMorton3 jasit9 months ago
This is how the boards turned out.
Scoreboard Driver.jpg
soul1974 JMorton39 months ago
Hi do you have a schematic for the board you made it .
JMorton3 soul19749 months ago

Here is the schematic of one of the driver circuits on the board. The board drives four of the digits - hence the Quad 7-Segment Driver Board title.

Quad 7-Segment Driver Board.gif
soul1974 JMorton36 months ago

I have a question or two and i beg you to help me please?

1.Does the arduino supply the leds with g and the 12v power supply or can just the arduino.

2. I dont know where to insert the code for the shift registers supplied by http://lucidtronix.com/tutorials/40

boscopsoultrane (author)  soul19746 months ago

1. the arduino cannot supply 12volt. The 12 volts (or even 9V would work) is supplied by a power supply. I used a 9 volt supply I had (also known as a "wall wart"). The arduino only controls thru the shift registers the switching of the transistors.

2. The tutorial shows you where to put it. The tutorial does it in a way that is different than what I used. You would have to experiment with their code in order to implement into my code. I did not use byte and did not daisy chain. I cannot help you code something that I haven't done myself. I would use just two digits with the two tenths and hundredths shift registers and see if I could control the output with my arduino.

Sorry for the confusion. what I am trying to ask is can I supply the ground to both the shift registers and the led's with the arduino with out using the 12v ground and only using 12 + for the led +. since I am powering the the arduino and led's from the same 12v power supply
boscopsoultrane (author)  soul19746 months ago

the ground for the leds goes thru the arduino, that is what you are switching. The arduino changes the ground with the transistors which grounds the lights you want to light at any given time.

I would not power the arduino with 12volts because the voltage regulator on the arduino has to bring it down to 5volts, and I think that 12volts would be too much to run thru the arduino, it will heat up and damage it.

I do not understand what you mean by not using the 12v ground, how will it work if you don't use it?

soul1974 JMorton38 months ago
with this new layout what are the pins on the arduino . I have an arduino uno what pins would I use
soul1974 soul19748 months ago
led's are set out now all I need is to get the code to work with 3 pins and the ground and 5v
soul1974 JMorton39 months ago


Please have a look below and tell me if this is correct . There are a few unanswered questions?

1. on your sketch there in front of the tip120 circles with a strip through what are those and number 8 does that connect to a separate 12 v.

2. on the screw terminal you have 8 , 1-7 is led what is the 8 th used for.

soul1974 soul19749 months ago

Sorry Wrong One Below is the correct one

jasit soul19749 months ago

Take a look at how you connect multiple 74hc595 chips together, they can be daisy chained so that you only need to use 3 pins (plus 5v and Gnd) to the arduino.

soul1974 jasit8 months ago
Do you have a code for the arduino to run the three pins
jasit soul19749 months ago

you are also missing you 12 volt output to the red dots on your 8 pin connectors and the 12v gnd should be connected to the 5v ground. I think you are missing connections to the gnds and 5v connections on each of your 74hc595 chips.

JMorton3 soul19749 months ago

To answer your first question - the circles with the line drawn through it are just representations of the screw terminals. The 8th terminal is used to carry +12VDC to the digit (each segment of that particular display).

jasit JMorton39 months ago

@JMorton3 I created a copy of the schematic in KiCad, did you want to go over it?

soul1974 jasit9 months ago
hi do yo still have the drawing and could you pm it to me please .

Thanks for the reply
jasit JMorton39 months ago

It looks awesome. I was starting my layout today. And after seeing this, I have to rethink my whole process. I was originally going to make each segment it's own pcb board. but I love the looks of yours. Question, It looks like you are using separate pin sets from arduino to run each of the segments. or do you have it setup that way so you can jumper them in what ever order you want? Again,Awesome Job on the layout.

JMorton3 jasit9 months ago

Thanks! The three output lines from the Arduino (clock, latch and data) control just the single 7-segment display connected directly across the board from those wires. I have since seen a scheme where the three wires could be used to control two 7-segment displays - but that would be another board or a rework of this one. The reason I went with this size is that I could get the three boards (2.5" x 3.8") done for the $75 charge that expresspcb wanted, and each board could handle 4 digits.

soul1974 JMorton37 months ago
Any luck with your design yet and code
jasit JMorton39 months ago

From what I read, here is a sample link


the bits will over flow from the each of the registers, so if you send 32 bits, it will use the first 8 bits then over flow the 24 bits then over flower the 16 bits and so on. I haven't tried it. you might just need to solder one wire and use it as jumper pin 9 from the 74HC595 to the pin 14 of the next one. I am definitely a beginner at this, At $75 I think I will go the same route.

Would you be willing to share your pcb file, if not that's totally fine. I did find this for your gerber conversion


boscopsoultrane (author)  JMorton39 months ago
that looks really great, good job!

Thanks! I am now redesigning the original boards to allow for the daisy chaining of the 74HC595 chips if desired as well as the screw terminals and RJ45 socket outputs - whichever one is desired.

soul1974 JMorton39 months ago

any iput would be aprreciated

soul1974 soul19749 months ago

Revised drawing added in the pin outs for additional boards

JMorton3 soul19749 months ago

I just noticed that your LED strips are drawn with +5 volts on them - but you have the +12V from the TIP120s wired to them - make sure that the LED strips are 12V not 5V before trying this.

soul1974 JMorton39 months ago


Could i use 2n3906 instead of the tip120 and what ampage must the 12v be

JMorton3 soul19749 months ago

The 2N3906 would be used for a common cathode display - and since this is a common anode display, I would recommend the 2N3904 - see the circuits as shown on this page: www.rason.org/Projects/transwit/transwit.htm

soul1974 JMorton39 months ago

Thanks for the input my question still stands will 2n3904 work

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