Our scoreboards are so easy to repair, even I can do it!


I want to tell you a story, a true story, that happened to me this winter. First, a little background information.


My name is Eve Julian. I am the Sales and Support specialist for IST. I also coach the Boys Swim and Dive team at Ottawa Hills High School in Grand Rapids, MI. That is where I swam in high school, and it is also the home of the very first ever IST alphanumeric scoreboard. That board was designed by my father, Dick Farnsworth. It was assembled by my high school girls swim team in 1991 and has been in continuous use at Ottawa since then. While I do work for IST, I am in no way an engineer. My specialty is the software. I don’t know a whole lot about the hardware side of things – I typically leave that to the techs and engineers.

At the beginning of the 18-19 boys season we had some issues with the scoreboard either not coming up or randomly putting nonsense up on the board.  I had Dick come to the pool and change out the master controller. This scoreboard is his favorite, since it was his first, and he’s really the only one who knows how the old tech works. It worked great for about 2 months, until the morning of our OHHS Invitational.

The Story

On Saturday morning at 7am I arrived at the pool and fired up the scoreboard, but nothing happened. I tried powering it off and on again (yep, that really does work sometimes), and this time I got some junk to show up. A little desperate, I climbed up on top of the motor for our pool cover, unplugged the master controller on the scoreboard, plugged it in again and ran the test again. The board worked great. Then 15 minutes later I looked up and realize that it was putting up nonsense again.

Knowing that Dick was out of town and diving was going to start in less than an hour, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I climbed back up to the bottom of the scoreboard and started fiddling with the master controller. I discovered that if I gently wiggled the connector, the board would light up, but after a moment it would go back to showing junk data again. As I looked closer, I realized that one of the wires leading into the connector had broken off.

I climbed back down and went in search of my building maintenance supervisor. Fortunately, he wasn’t far away and he was able to find me a small screwdriver and a too-big pair of wire strippers. Armed with these tools I climbed back up to the scoreboard. I removed each of the wires from the connector, carefully stripped them back a little farther, reinserted them into the connector and plugged it in.

Eve Julian repairing the scoreboard while Hasting Dive Coach Todd Bates shows his support.

My assistant coach powered the board back up and it came right on with all the correct data. Still sitting on top of the pool cover motor I raised my arms in triumph and shouted, “I am awesome!”. Only then did I look up and realize that the bleachers were filling with diving parents and fans. Oops! I’m sure they thought I was pretty odd. The scoreboard ran perfectly for the rest of the season, so that was awesome indeed.

The Moral of the Story

Our scoreboards are designed to be user maintainable. If *I* can figure out how to re-wire a connector to the Master Controller, anyone can. If you can’t fix it, we can. It’s designed so that the important parts (LED Panels and controllers) can be removed and shipped to us. We’ll repair it and send it back. We can fix any age of scoreboard, including the 28-year-old original one. You should consider IST Scoreboards. They are low maintenance, have all the information that you need, are easy to read and last FOREVER!

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International Sports Timing, Scoreboards, Grand Rapids, MI
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