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Friday, August 27, 2010

Building Blocks: Introduction

It’s pretty funny how my neighbors view my different projects. They’re always asking, “so…why don’t you just buy one of those on the internet?”, to which I reply, “none of those on the internet do exactly what I want them to do.”

This project is no different. I wanted an open scoreboard hardware platform that I can control from common wireless devices (mobile phones, netbooks, etc.) I also wanted a scoreboard that didn’t cost me $1000 and that I could actually repair myself. Well, I haven’t exceeded the $1000 mark, but it hasn’t been a cheap project either. Subsequent versions (i.e. those made by fans of the blog) should be significantly cheaper without all the trial and error (and error, and error, etc.)

When I began to plan this project, in earnest, I quickly decided that the best way to pull this off would be to cut the project down into building blocks. Mass produced products benefit from a single monolithic PCB that does everything. For me, that simply isn’t the case. This thing needs to be modular so that I can build the smaller building blocks, test them, and then move on to others. I’m going to detail each building block in a series of posts along with the files I used to create them.

The building blocks I am working on now are score digits, inning digits, balls/strikes/outs, microcontroller, and finally the wireless interface.

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