I used new LEDs in constructing my replica scoreboard. The difference speaks for itself.
Here's a couple of close-up shots, without flash (to show how bright it is) and with (to
give a glimpse of the construction details).
Layout and assembly took several weeks of evenings, watching the Science Fiction channel and soldering over 100 joints. I was quite pleased to plug it all in and have it work the first time. For the most part, I did point-to-point wiring, using a Radio Shack wirewrap stripper to break the insulation and push it down to bare the wire where I needed to attach it to a socket pin or LED leg. There are 16 LEDs in two groups of eight giving two sets of 7 bus wires going to the two controller chips. There is also a single wire going from each LED to one chip or the other, and about 9 wires that connect the controller chip to the outside world. The design is fairly straightforward, once you see how the LED controllers have to be used (8 segment lines for all LEDs, 8 individual control lines, 4 bits of data, 3 bits of digit select, chip select, power and ground).
Given that I spent over $35USD in parts and invested over 20 hours in planning, layout and assembly, I would seriously recommend that anyone who is considering rolling their own should investigate other opportunities for purchase. I would rather have bought one used than build my own, but at the time, there were none for sale and had not been in months. As it turned out, I finished my replica about three days after I received a real scoreboard. In case I haven't scared you off, here's a few links to get you going...
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