There are three avenues to getting LED display boards for building your GliderScore timing display panel:
- Purchase LED display boards from several popular third party distributors,
- Build your own 7-segment LED digits using 12v LED strips, or
- Build your own LED display cards using Open Source 10″ LED display PC boards.
Some points to keep in mind before you decide which LED boards to use:
- Common-anode only. Only displays that can be configured as common-anode are usable with the display interface.
- Per-segment current. Be sure to verify the per-segment current that a given LED display requires. The Standard display interface board can drive up to 150mA of current per segment, while the High Current interface board can drive 350-400mA of current per segment.
- Wide angle versus narrow angle LEDs. Generally speaking super-bright wide angle diffused lens LED displays (like the MXA037) are very usable in outdoor lighting conditions and work best with a red acrylic contrast enhancer filter (see info below). Super-bright clear lens LED displays will provide a longer viewing distance for a given amount of display panel power, again using a contrast enhancer filter, but at a cost of a narrower viewing angle. If you want to build only a single display then wide angle diffused lens super-bright LED boards are more versatile.
Third party LED display boards
Section last updated: Dec 7, 2021
This is the most popular route clubs have taken to date. The LED display board sellers listed in this section offer products that should be fully compatible with the GliderScore Display Interface. However, E-A has not tested all the listed LED displays and thus cannot guarantee they will work perfectly in your particular site’s application.
If you would like to suggest additions and updates to this section let us know.
Note: The 9″ MXA037 LED board is by far the best overall “value” (display size versus cost) that we have found.
QKits in Ontario Canada. They offer many of the MXA series of LED displays. Their price for the wide viewing angle (diffused lens) 9″ MXA037 is $33 USD + shipping. The narrow angle (clear lens) ultra-bright 9″ MXA004 goes for $40 USD. Their 10″ MXA079 wide viewing angle boards are $60 USD + ship and the 10″ narrow angle ultra-bright version MXA078 sells for $70 USD.
Kitstop in Australia. This seller carries a wide range of LED displays listed on this page. The 10″ red MXA079 and 9″ MXA037 are great choices for the display interface. Kitstop’s prices (e.g. MXA037) are not the cheapest but they carry a good stock.
Using 12v LED “strip lights”
A number of clubs have invested time to track down suppliers of LED strip lights to build your own 7-segment digits on your timing board plywood. You cut the strips to the length you want your segments to be. Here is one source (Amazon) of 12v LED strips courtesy of John Armstrong/AZ. If you are interested in exploring this option let us know and we will connect you with a few individuals who have done this. Using this method allows for building from normal size to much larger displays.
Open Source 10″ LED display PC boards
A third option is open to individuals who have better than average soldering skills and who are not pressed for time to build their LED timing display panel. In late 2021 several of our customers reported that they were having difficulty getting timely shipments on the 9″ MXA037 LED boards. Because of this an individual decided to design a 10″ LED display and lay out a 2-sided PC board with plated-though holes for the best soldering and reliability. This board design has been made available to anyone. This means for free you can get the files needed for placing your own PC board order. After you buy your own LEDs and resistors you can assemble as many boards as you like for 1/4 the cost of a new 10″ LED display board. A nice option!
Details available via these links:
RC Groups thread – Open source LED display board project (for F5J display panels)
Cloud drive folder with all the project files: link
Contrast Enhancer Filter Information
Regardless of the LED boards you use if they use red LEDs (which we recommend) then they will perform better if you mount a contrast enhancing acrylic sheet right up against the LEDs on your boards. Once you determine the size of filter sheet you need you can purchase it online at Tap Plastics. Their Transparent Dark Red acrylic sheet color is a nearly perfect filter for red LEDs.
One important timer board mounting tip: if you mount your assembled timer board so that it is perpendicular with the ground you may find that reflections off the contrast enhancer filter sheet interfere with visibility of the digits. If that happens there is a very simple solution: simply angle your mounted timing board down a few degrees. This will cause any reflections to be directed toward the ground and out of the field of view of your display panel digits.