Worthy’s Displays

To count participant votes in the “Worthy” project, I need 28 counting displays, two displays per wall segment.


Each display must have five digits to prevent counter overflow during the one-week Burning Man event. Since I could not find sufficiently large pre-made displays with more than four digits, I had to make my own.


Each display board has a pair of five-digit displays and a pair of plugs for pushbuttons. It took two tries to get the printed-circuit board design right, and several hours to solder everything.


I now have fourteen boards assembled (one per wall segment), and two spares. Fourteen blank custom printed-circuit boards cost $390, and the electronic parts for the boards cost $410. So that’s $800 ÷ 14 = $57 per wall segment display. There’s more to buy (power supplies, pushbuttons, connectors, wire), but the assembled counters are the largest part of the electronics cost.