David Findlay

Badminton Scoreboard

My wife and I play badminton every Friday with a couple of friends. We have a great time, but we’re usually so busy chatting as we play that we keep on forgetting the score.

My friend suggested that I ought to make a scoreboard, so here we are. I knew I would need a display, some buttons, and a microcontroller, and that for simplicity the microcontroller should be Arduino-compatible. As I was looking at displays I came across the M4 receiver at Adafruit. It’s a simple RF receiver with four digital output pins; you press a button on a key fob and the matching digital output goes high. The range is supposed to be in the 20-30 feet range, and so it ought to work for my needs. Using key fobs instead of buttons on the scoreboard means I can make the scoreboard smaller too.

Here’s what I’m using:

I wrote an
Arduino sketch that watches for the button presses and adjusts the score accordingly. Here are the controls I decided on:
  • Keyfob A button: left player + 1
  • Keyfob B button: right player + 1
  • Keyfob C button: left player - 1
  • Keyfob D button: right player - 1
The sketch knows the scoring system of badminton, so when the game is over it makes the display blink. Any key press after that resets the score to 0-0, ready for the next game.

It pretty much worked first time, except that the range of the key fobs in my prototype is only about 18 inches. I noticed that if I remove the display the range improves dramatically, so I think it’s just that I’m powering the Arduino from USB and there’s not enough current to power the receiver and display properly. That shouldn’t be an issue when I switch to a battery pack. [
UPDATE: Yup, that’s what it was: the range is fine when powering it from a 4xAA battery pack.]

Here’s the working prototype:

Badminton Scoreboard Prototype

And here’s the sketch: