DIY 7 Segment Display

Introduction: DIY 7 Segment Display

About: I am an avid LED cube lover, and a lover of all things electronics. I majored in Triangle playing, and I am the head solder sponge wetter at LightcubeZ.

The reason for this Instructable is because I found it very difficult to find a tutorial on how to make a 7 Segment Display.

I know, everybody is using those fancy integrated displays, made by Kingbright or some other reputable electronics manufacturer, but what I really wanted was something that I could call my own.

So here it is, the DIY 7 Segment LED display. It is very ghetto since its inception, it was really created just so that I could learn how the insides or guts of it worked.

There are two types of display, the Common Cathode and the Common Anode. Today we are making the Common Cathode, as it is the most commonly used!

Lets get started shall we?

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Step 1: How a 7 Segment Display Works

Typically a 7 Segment LED display, is surprisingly made up of 7 segments of LED's or lights!

Each segment is labelled from A through to G and then controlled by various Integrated Circuits (Such as the CD4026) that will then in turn supply electricity to each segment in a pattern that hopefully creates some numbers for us.

Common Cathode means that every Cathode of the LED is connected together and sent to the Ground.

Common Anode means that every Anode of the LED is connected together and sent to the Vcc or Positive.

Most applications will use the Common Cathode.

In some places you can also use the Decimal Point.

Step 2: Parts List

For this project you will not need very much!

* 21 LED's (Any colour, its up to you!)

* Breadboard

* Jumper Wires

This is all you will need to make a basic display, consisting of 3 LED's per Segment.

Step 3: Making the Display

As you can see in the Circuit Diagram, it is very straight forward to make this. I will leave the creativity up to you, as you can really design this in a lot of ways, you can use fancy plastic cases, or you can dead bug style it or just make it in a breadboard.

Simply arrange the LED's in groups of three, so that you have 3 LED's for segment A, 3 LED's for segment B and so on an so forth until you have something that resembles a display.

All you have to do now is connect the Cathodes of the LED's TOGETHER, and each Anode from each segment together.

Afterwards, you should have 1 cable for the Cathodes, and 7 cables for the Anodes, labelled A,B,C,D,E,F,G respectively.

These cables will then go to a Display Driver, which I will cover in another Instructable.

I hope that I have explained everything carefully!


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    2 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Very fun project! I have always found the 7 segment display very interesting to work with.


    Reply 4 years ago

    It was very fun to make indeed, and a great learning tool!