The Sportable 3306LED02 Baseball Scoreboard

This post has nothing to do with radio engineering but is full of geeky goodness, nonetheless. My son is playing Little League again this year. This is his first year in the majors division, and I have to say, I have been thoroughly enjoying watching his games. There is, of course, one minor glitch in the matrix; the scoreboard, which occasionally looks like this:

Little League Scoreboard, missing LED segments
Little League Scoreboard, missing LED segments.

Now, that is more of an annoyance than anything else. I know what inning it is and what the score is. Truth be told, most of the time the scoreboard is being run by one of the parents (read: a mom) and they can become distracted at times. Very often, the ball/strike/out count is not correct, which in turn causes the home plate umpire to angrily stare up and the scorekeeper’s window.


As I was saying, more of an annoyance…

Regardless, I thought to myself; jeez, I fix things, perhaps I should have a go at that sign. So I spoke to one of the Little League board members who were more than grateful for any assistance I could render.

Thus, one afternoon, after work, I got the ladder out and started poking around to see what I could learn.  These signs are relatively simple.  Each digit on the sign has one circuit board.  Each circuit board has seven segments.  Each segment has fourteen LEDs in series.  There is a Toshiba ULN2803APG, which is a 16-pin darlington driver, and an LM 317 voltage regulator which is fixed with a 62-ohm resistor.

Scoreboard single digit circuit board
Scoreboard single-digit circuit board
Approximate schematic scoreboard circuit board segment
Approximate schematic scoreboard circuit board segment

After poking around with the DVM for a while, I determined that the bad segments were due to open LEDs.  I measured the working LEDs and determined that each LED was dropping about 1.7 volts.  I took a board home with me and rummaged around in the parts bin until I found some orange 5MM LEDs that matched the voltage drop of the ones on the board. I confirmed my ladder-top troubleshooting findings on the workbench using the DVM in diode mode.  I also noticed that the Fluke DVM had enough current to light the LED, thus making troubleshooting much easier.  There were three bad circuit boards with various segments out.

Scoreboard LED voltage drop
Scoreboard LED voltage drop
Scoreboard individual LED testing good
Scoreboard individual LED testing good

A few minutes with the soldering iron and presto:

Scoreboard, repaired
Scoreboard, repaired

Sign repaired.  I little further research and I found that an Everlight MV8104 LED (Mouser part number 638-MV8104) is a near-perfect replacement.  Literally, a 23.3 cent (US) part.

In all fairness to the company that makes the scoreboard, this unit was new in 2003 or 2004.  It has spent at least 11 years outside in upstate NY, which is not a tender climate.  They will replace the digit circuit boards for 175.00 each, plus $25.00 shipping.  My repair work used 9 LEDs ($2.10) plus about two hours of troubleshooting and repairing vs. $600.00 plus perhaps an hour to replace the boards.

Modern Art

After replacing a burned-out FM antenna for one of our clients, the question became; what do we do with the old antenna?  There were several options:

  • Throw it behind the transmitter building and let weeds and poison ivy grow over it
  • Take it to the scrap yard to get whatever money we could for it
  • Give it away to somebody
  • Turn it into a fountain

I have scrapped these old antennas before, they are made mostly of hard yellow brass, which does not net too much at the scrap yard.  In fact, by the time I finished removing the Radomes and separating the metal, I had more time for the job than it was worth for both myself and the client.  Therefore, I present to you the ERI LPX lawn fountain:

ERI LPX2E Rototiller FM antenna used as a fountain
ERI LPX2E Rototiller FM antenna used as a fountain

Upon completion, my wife and daughter, who are natural-born skeptics, even had kind words to say. It seemed like a simple project at first; enlarge the dry well for the basement sump pumps and install some type of mounting base for the old antenna. It turned into a little more than that.

Mounting base for ERI antenna fountain
Mounting base for ERI antenna fountain

It took several hours of backbreaking labor, a concrete form, and a few bags of ready-mix concrete to create the mounting base. Several wheelbarrow loads of gravel, some rocks from the old wall in the woods, and a pond pump from the hardware store round out the installation.

ERI LPX2E Rototiller FM antenna fountain
ERI LPX2E Rototiller FM antenna fountain

I am not sure what else to say.

Bumper Stickers

I found this box of bumper stickers at a transmitter site the other day. And you might say “A box of bumper stickers, wow.” which would be nearly identical to the reaction I had. But then I started looking through them and realized that many were from the eighties and early nineties.

It is sort of like a way-back radio promotions time machine.  On the back of most of these bumper stickers, there is some type of offer; 10% off, $2.00 off, etc from different local businesses.  You remember those things; tire repair shops, miniature golf, non-chain restaurants, and fast food places, retail stores that aren’t Walmart, and so on.  There were several that had bumper sticker spotting contests, including one, where if the bumper sticker was spotted covering another radio station’s bumper sticker, they would stop you on the spot and give you $1,500.00.  Now that is exciting!

I picked a few of the more interesting examples:

Radio Station bumper stickers
Radio Station bumper stickers

Being an engineer and coming upon new, unknown data, I decided to quantify it.  Therefore I made a spreadsheet of all the different radio stations and any other information I could find on the back of the bumper sticker:

Call Sign or IdentifierFrequencyLocationDate
92 MOO92 FM????
94.9 ZHT94.9 MhzColorado1998
B.Rock97.7 MHz??
B9696 FMChicago, IL1990
CFX-9595 FMCentral Michigan??
FM 9696 FMMontreal, QC1985
Groove 103.1103.1 MHz????
KAKS KISS 108108 FM????
KATD95.3 FM????
KAT-FM92.9 MHz????
KATT100.5 MHzOklahoma City, OK1988
KBBY95 FM????
KBOO90.7 MHzPortland, OR1986
KBPI105.9 MHzColorado??
KCFO102 FM??1984
KCFX101 FMOverland Park, KS??
KDKA1020 KHzPittsburgh, PA1986
KEDG103.5 MHzKern County?1993
KENO AM Stereo1460 KHzLas Vegas, NV1988
KEGL97.1 MHz????
KFMG107.9 MHzSan Diego1983
KGBX1260 AM????
KHIP93.5 MHzSan Francisco, CAEarly 80’s
KHTR103 FMSt. Louis, MO1983
KIIS102.7 MHzLos Angeles, CA1988
KISS 108 FM108 FMMedford, MA1992
KLBS1330 KHz????
KLZX93 FM??1989
KMEL106.1 MHzCA???
KMEL106 FMCA?1990
KMET94.7 MHz????
KMGX104 FM????
KMJI100 FMEnglewood, CO1986
KNCI98.5 MHz????
KOMP92.3 MHzLas Vegas, NV1986
KOUL103.7 Mhz????
KPXI100.7 MHz????
KRKO1380 KHz??1990
K-Rock1310 AM StereoAlbuquerque, NM1989
KRQR97.3 MHzSan Francisco, CA??
KSHE95 FMSt. Louis, MO??
KSHE95 ?St. Louis, MO1995
KTAR620 KHzPhoenix, AZ??
KTYD99.9 MHz??1984
KUFO98 FM????
KVIL103.7 MHz????
KXOJ100.9 MHz??2000
KXXX105.3 MHzDane County?1990
KYMS106.3 FMCA ??1986
KYNK1430 AM????
KYST Radio Alegria920 KHz????
KZOK102.5 FM????
KZST100 FMSanta Rosa, CA??
KZZP104.7 MHz??1989
Pirate Radio100.3 MHz????
Pirate Radio 100.3100.3 MHz????
Power 104104 FMHuntsville, AL1986
Power 106 FM106 FMLos Angeles, CA??
Q-105 & 1380 AM105 FM/1380 AMTampa, FL??
Q-106.5106.5 MhzSt. Louis, MO1989
Q-9494 FMCookeville, TN1983
Rock 103103 FMMemphis, TN1984
Rock 105105.9MHzNashville, TN??
Rock 107107 FMPA1983
Top 106 FM106 FM????
TV-69Channel 69Gainesville, FL1986
WAAF107 FM????
WAIL99.5 FMKey West, FL1987
WALK97.5 MhzLong Island, NY1992
WAPE95 FMOrlando??
WAZY 96 ½96.5 MHz??1990
WBAP820 KhzDallas, TX1986
WBFG97.7 MHzEffingham, IL1987
WBT1110 KHzCharlotte, NC??
WCBW105 FMSt Louis, MO??
WCCC106.9 MhzHartford, CT??
WCKX106.3 MHz????
WCNX1150 KHzMiddletown, CT1984
WCUZ101.3 FM/1230 AMGreenville, SC1987
WDVE102.5 MHzPittsburgh, PA??
WGN720 KHzChicago, IL1986
WHHU Y-102102 FM??1988
WHLY106 FMOrlando, FL1986
WHTZ Z-100100 FMNew York, NYEarly 90’s
WIYY98 FM????
WIZN106.7 MhzBurlington, VT1990
WJMX106 FM????
WJZM1400 AM????
WKLH96 FM????
WKVT92.7 MhzVermont1992
WLIZ98.7 MhzDetroit, MI1985
WLLZ98.7 FM????
WMAS95 FMSpringfield, MA1990
WMAS1450 AMSpringfield, MA1990
WMJQ102 FMGainesville, FL1993
WMLI96.3 MhzDane County ?1989
WMMQ92.7 MHzLansing, MI1985
WMMS100.7 MHz????
WNEW102.7 FMNew York, NY1989
WNFI I-100100 FMOrmond Beach, FL1984
WOVR103 FM ??
WPSC88.7 (TV-6)Wayne, NJ??
WQUT101 FM??1986
WQXM98 FMTampa, FL1983
WRKT104 FM/1300 AMBroward co, FL1984
WRO95 FM????
WRQK107 FM 1986
WRRO1440 KHz????
WRSI95.3 FMGreenfield, MA1985
WRX103.7 Mhz????
WSHO SHO Radio98.3/103.5 FMSchenectady, NY1989
XX FM 9595 MHzHonolulu, HI1986
Y-9595 FMSt. Louis, MO1988
Z-100100 FMNew York, NY??
Zeta 94.994.9 FM??1987


Well, if anyone is interested in any of these, contact me off line.  There were some other, generic stickers like “Good times, Great Oldies” that did not have any identifying information.