Remote Controlled Arduino Scoreboard using LED Strips

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.
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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

Step 2: A Quick set-up of the circuit

Picture of A Quick set-up of the circuit
Cut the LED strips into 6-LED long segments.  Tape the segments temporarily to the tabletop.  

Test the 7-segment by setting up the circuit on a breadboard and running a quick, simple code.  Use the remote to change the numbers 0-9.

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JMorton37 months 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 JMorton34 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 jasit4 months ago
This is how the boards turned out.
Scoreboard Driver.jpg
soul1974 JMorton34 months ago
Hi do you have a schematic for the board you made it .
JMorton3 soul19744 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

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

boscopsoultrane (author)  soul19741 month 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)  soul19741 month 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 JMorton33 months ago
with this new layout what are the pins on the arduino . I have an arduino uno what pins would I use
soul1974 soul19743 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 JMorton34 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 soul19744 months ago

Sorry Wrong One Below is the correct one

jasit soul19744 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 jasit3 months ago
Do you have a code for the arduino to run the three pins
jasit soul19744 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 soul19744 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 JMorton34 months ago

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

soul1974 jasit4 months ago
hi do yo still have the drawing and could you pm it to me please .

Thanks for the reply
jasit JMorton34 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 jasit4 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 JMorton32 months ago
Any luck with your design yet and code
jasit JMorton34 months ago

From what I read, here is a sample link,199995.0.html

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)  JMorton34 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 JMorton34 months ago

any iput would be aprreciated

soul1974 soul19744 months ago

Revised drawing added in the pin outs for additional boards

JMorton3 soul19744 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 JMorton34 months ago


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

JMorton3 soul19744 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:

soul1974 JMorton34 months ago

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

JMorton3 soul19744 months ago

The 2N3904 would work - but with a much lower current handling characteristic - than the TIP120 - with the display wired in common-anode mode. The 2N3906 would require the display being wired as common-cathode.

soul1974 JMorton34 months ago
Thanks , it is difficult to get tip 120 where I stay and I am only using 12 volts
soul1974 JMorton34 months ago


The program does not have 12v option

JMorton3 soul19744 months ago

This appears correct to me.

jasit soul19744 months ago

looks right, on the left side you have the input lines, if you want to continue the daisy chain, then you would put output lines on the right hand side, include the 5v, GND, L, D, C and the L happens to come from pin 9 so that you can continue it onto the next board. you should also include your 12v input to a 8th pin of each segment and joint the 12v GND to the 5V GND

soul1974 JMorton34 months ago
Please post your layout of the daisy chain . keep up the good work your ate a inspiration to us all.
JMorton3 soul19744 months ago

Here is a tutorial on daisy-chaining the 74HC595s: This explains how to use pin 9 of a previous IC to pin 14 of the next IC - so you will only need one serial line, one latch line and one clock line. One three outputs from the Arduino to drive 28 outputs - gotta love it!

JMorton3 jasit4 months ago
I used ExpressPCB to make the three boards (2 for the scoreboard & one spare). My 'artwork' was made using their software, but I have since found someone online who can convert it to gerber files so that they can be made elsewhere.
racataca JMorton36 months ago

Hello.I have all the components ready, but do not see where is the code for Arduino.Thank you.

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