7.2. Court Clocks

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Some time ago I was asked by Beaconsfield Squash Club to obtain some large display court clocks.

  • large display
  • Time Sync from internet
  • PoE
  • Cheap

Simple enough task. Well the last point is where we came unstuck, it turns out they aren’t cheap running anywhere from £150 and up. So I set about making some.

Simple idea, using an ESP822 Arduino board I can easily connect to WiFi get the time and then display to a bunch of LEDs to make a large display

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While this worked, I couldn’t get the diffusers to make the segments a nice solid colour and in daylight it was sometimes hard to read the digits.

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In the end I found a company in China who would make me a 2 digit 7 segment display at whatever size I wanted. So I order a bunch of them and set to work.

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Only downside now is that I needed 9volts to run the display rather than 5 volts and the ESP822 couldn’t drive that. So I needed to design a high power circuit to manage the displays. I also changed from a 5 volt PoE adapter to a 12 volt one and a few voltage regulators to bring it to the right levels for the different parts of the circuits.

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Final product cost about £70 each, with the highest price being the 7 segment displays by the time you include shipment from china.

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I ended up making 5 of these displays. They also do a little more than tell the time. They also have a stopwatch and Timer function, all controlled from a phone. They can also be slaved together so a single person can set a timer or stopwatch and press go and all the clocks will show the same.