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I need to drive 6 - 3" 7 segment led displays.  Each segment has a forward voltage of 11v.  The approach I would take with a regular 7 segment would be to use a 7447 but since the voltage requirement is higher I am not sure what to do.  Should I use a 7447 to drive transistors that will drive the leds?  Any tips are appreciated!
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Should I use a 7447 to drive transistors that will drive the leds?

Certainly one option: it keeps the code base small.
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Any recommendation on what transistor to use?
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That's a function of the current needing to light up the leds.
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5-10mA
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In that case, any of those small signal bjt / mosfet will work.
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Thanks dhenry...  As a novice, I appreciate your knowledge greatly.
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I need to drive 6 - 3" 7 segment led displays.  Each segment has a forward voltage of 11v.  The approach I would take with a regular 7 segment would be to use a 7447 but since the voltage requirement is higher I am not sure what to do.  Should I use a 7447 to drive transistors that will drive the leds?  Any tips are appreciated!

Just use the SN7447 as normal, it will drive up to 30V - its an open-collector device so only sinks current (upto 40mA per segment).

Note the SN74LS47 has less voltage and current drive (15V, 24mA), but should still handle your displays.
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I was actually looking through the data sheet today and noticed that.  I didn't realize they went up to 30v.  Thanks!
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The 7447 does not have any latching function. I'd go with 83 cent (avnet.com) TPIC6B595 shift register with high current/high voltage open drain output.
Daisy chain 6 of them, 6 SPI.transfer()s to update the display.
MOSFET outputs will run a lot cooler than 7447 as well.
Create an array with your font, pull that data & write it out.
Code:
// update display
digitalWrite(SS, LOW);
for (x=0; x<6; x=x+1){
SPI.transfer(fontArray[x]);  // fontArray[] = {B00111111, B00000110, }; etc with 1 = segment on
}
digitalWrite(SS, HIGH);
[code]
[/code]
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I think the OP is talking about a muliplexing the displays so only one 7447 is needed (but 6 high-side switches needed to do the digits?).

Given the high-side isn't 5V then the digit switching would be a bit tricky.  Using one chip per digit might make sense (although a lot more
complex wiring-wise compared to a multiplexed set up).  If so then constant-current low-side drivers would be more useful than the TPIC6B595
to avoid 42 resistors that would be needed.  One 16-output constant current driver per two digits would mean only 3 chips and 3 pins to drive
everything (but the bcd to 7-segment conversion would need to be in software).  I think a 12V supply might just be enough overhead?

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"(although a lot more complex wiring-wise compared to a multiplexed set up). "

Really. I would have considered that less complex. Wire up the TCIPs with SCK, SS, in parallel, daisy chain the data line.
Use  for_next loop to 6 SPI.transfers to send the data out.

This board here will do most of the job for you. Just add the digits and current limit resistors.


* Assembled_board.jpg (2077.69 KB, 2810x2560 - viewed 27 times.)
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Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years. Check out the ATMega1284P based Bobuino and other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  www.crossroadsfencing.com/BobuinoRev17.
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