Build an Electronic scoreboard with Bluetooth connectivity via iOS ap

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Chris Forbes, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. Chris Forbes

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 4, 2015
    2
    0
    I realise that this may be really outlandish for a project but I would like to know if it is possible to:

    1. Build a multi sport scoreboard with perhaps 9 digits and possibly even a countdown timer and horn( I know this sort of thing has been covered a few times in here already so that I am not worried about)
    2. Build in a bluetooth transfer system to hook up to an iOS application that I will be designing myself

    I have 4 or 5 months to do it, but am I being crazy with no experience in this type of thing? I can read all sorts of books, have electrical engineers and electricians help me but I need to know if this is a stupid project that will take far more time, energy and brain power than I have.

    Cheers
     
  2. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    6,072
    3,844
    It is very possible if you use
    - Microcontroller (preferably pre-built arduino module so you can start quickly)
    - bluetooth module compatible with arduino AND iOS device. (I am not sure these modules exist)

    - slightly more challenging programming but more compatible would be
    - Raspberry pi system on a chip board running Linux
    - WiFi adapter
     
  3. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
    1,008
    351
    I know nothing about iOS programming but I have done some Android Bluetooth programming and it is fairly straight forward. The easiest way to communicate with the MCU driving the score board may be to use a bluetooth serial module. This just connects to the MCU UART and so the MCU can just treat the data like any other serial data.

    Google iOS bluetooth programming to get a feel for what is involved on the iOS side.
     
  4. elec_mech

    Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008
    1,513
    193
    Welcome to AAC.

    It is certainly possible to do this in the time frame you've given, but it will depend a great deal on how much money, time, and experience/drive you have to dedicate. Let's start with some questions:

    1. What's this for? School project, a sports team you support, etc.? Why do you want to do this?
    2. Where will the scoreboard be located, indoors or outdoors? If outdoors, will it be in use during the day (in full sunlight), evening/night, or both?
    3. What's your experience with electronics? Have you built a circuit before? Can you solder? Have you programmed a microcontroller? Not a big problem if the answer is no to all of the above as long as you're willing to learn, but it helps us to have an idea of your abilities.
    4. How are your fabrication skills? Can you build a suitable enclosure for this?
    5. How tall do you want the digits to be? Or perhaps a better question first: what is the maximum distance someone needs to be able to see/read the display?
    6. Can you tell us or perhaps draw a picture on a napkin and post a photo of how you want the display to look? Example - Team A Score: XX, Team B Score: XX, Countdown Time: MM:SS. We need to know what each of the nine digits is for. In my example, there are eight digits total: two (00-99) for each team's score and four for time (00-99 minutes and 00-59 seconds).
    7. We assume this will NOT be battery-powered and that you will have access to wall power, is this correct?
    If you have no experience with microcontrollers, I personally like the PICAXE. It's cheap and it uses Basic programming which is very easy to get started with. Coupling a PICAXE with a serial Bluetooth receiver like sirch2 suggested should work, but I can investigate further if you choose to go this route.
     
  5. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
    4,887
    1,017
    You will need to use a microcontroller. EBay has an easy to use Bluetooth transceivers. Just got one in but no time to play with it. With nothing else to do 4-5 months is doable but it will take you time to learn micros.
     
  6. Chris Forbes

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 4, 2015
    2
    0
    Thanks so much guys, yes it may seem like an insurmountable task for one with little knowledge in this area, but I am willing to learn!

    It is a school project, I am not 100% on this particular idea as I need to get my head around how much effort it will take. It is supposed to be a joint project between sons/dads (although based on historical efforts at the school it has been mostly dads!). The scoreboard will be located outdoors and used in full sunlight and will have 240V power access. I have not built a circuit before but have done some research on this site as to what is involved in making a scoreboard - that side looks reasonably doable. I have also looked at how to build an app that will underpin this system. I know that Arduino has some pretty cool stuff that may help with the bluetooth transfer.

    I think I can have the cover fabricated, if not I have people that can probably help me. I would think that it would be at max, 50m away from anyone wishing to view the score. As to the display set up, I have not put a great deal of thought into that as of yet, as I wanted to see if the basics were possible first. I can certainly do that perhaps over the weekend.

    Thanks once again all of you, you are very kind to give me so much support and info so quickly.
     
  7. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    6,072
    3,844
    Give up the blue tooth - only good for 30m under the best of conditions and most devices are designed for 10m or less.

    Look up wifi modules. Easily connect to laptop or ipad. Again 50m might be difficult but more likely than bluetooth. The modules are available on eBay for about $5.
     
  8. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
    1,008
    351
    I don't think he's saying the phone will be 50m from the scoreboard but the spectators will be <50m away, i.e. he was indicating size/brightness of the display.

    @Chris_Forbes - you will get lots of help here and elsewhere on the MCU->Display end of it. If I were you I would really drill down on the iOS side to the point of installing the Apple development environment and actually finding out what is involved in writing a simple app and getting it on the phone.
     
  9. elec_mech

    Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008
    1,513
    193
    Good point brought up - Chris, what is the maximum distance the iOS device will be away from the scoreboard and still need to work?

    For an outdoor display, this is going to be a lot of work and money. I strongly suggest you peruse this post. This gentleman build an outdoor display for his soccer club (finished product pictured on post #413 on last page). It doesn't have an iOS interface, but it will give you an idea of work involved to bring your idea to fruition. If still want to pursue this, we're happy to advise you. :)
     
Loading...