Good, there's been some discussion while I was gone

While I was in class I drew up some stuff. Here goes:

Table showing segment/Qx association/bin/hex conversion:

Table showing hex value for the numbers 0-9 (tested and working!

Idea 1: Connecting the displays with only shift registers (for a total of 3 wires per group of displays):

Idea 2: Connecting the displays with a shift register and either a 2-to-4 line decoder (for multiplexing the displays) which would need five wires, or using a transistor (missing resistors - just a block diagram) for each display, for a total of seven wires per group of displays:

Now, some of these ideas may not even work, I was just trying to come up with ideas, to prove that Im serious about doing this (and not just trying to con you guys into doing my work for me!). So far, Idea 1 with one shift register per display seems the best, as the coding would be the easiest - I expect it would go something like this:

temp * 100 // remove the decimal (decimal hardwired on second display)

for each number in temp, starting with the 1's value

look up hex in table // if we need a 0, shift out 0x3F, etc

shift out

may be completely off, but hey, Im trying!