Digital Dice Designing with Seven Segment and ESP32 Using Arduino IDE

ESP32 is a compact power conserving microcontroller that has a number of GPIO pins allowing us to interface with many sensors. ESP32 can interact with a wide variety of electronic devices, including seven segment displays. By using ESP32 microcontroller, it is possible to easily control the state of each segment in a seven-segment and design a random digital dice or pseudo number generator.

This article covers following content:

1: Introduction to Seven Segment

A seven-segment can display numerical information using a microcontroller program. It consists of seven individual segments, each of which can be lit up or turned off independently to create various numerical characters.

A seven-segment display works by illuminating different combinations of its seven segments to display numerical characters. Each segment is controlled by an individual pin, which can be turned on or off to create the desired numerical character. When the segments are illuminated in the correct combination, the numerical character is visible to the viewer.

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When using an ESP32 microcontroller to control a seven-segment display, the ESP32 sends signals to the specific pins on the seven-segment display, telling it which segments to turn on or off in order to display a specific numerical character.

2: Seven Segment Pinout

The seven-segment display typically has 10 pins, with one pin for each segment, one for the decimal and two common pins. Here is a table of the typical pinout:

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Pin Number Pin Name Description
1 b Top Right LED Pin
2 a Topmost LED Pin
3 VCC/GND GND/VCC Depends on Configuration
4 f Top Left LED Pin
5 g Middle LED Pin
6 dp Dot LED Pin
7 c Bottom Right LED Pin
8 VCC/GND GND/VCC Depends on Configuration
9 d Bottom LED Pin
10 e Bottom Left LED Pin

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Each segment is labeled as a, b, c, d, e, f and g. The common pin is typically used to control all of the segments at once. The common pin is either active low or active high depending on the display.

3: Seven Segment Types

Seven segments can be categorized in 2 types:

  • Common Cathode
  • Common Anode.

1: In a common cathode all negative LED segment terminals are connected together.

2: In a common anode seven segment all positive LED segment terminals are connected together.

4: How to Check a Seven Segment is Common Anode or Common Cathode:

To check the type of seven segments we just need a simple tool – Multimeter. Follow the steps to check type of seven segment display:

  1. Hold the seven-segment display firmly in hand and identify pin 1 using the pinout explained above.
  2. Take a multimeter. Assume a red probe for positive (+) and black probe of a multimeter for negative (-).
  3. Set multimeter to continuity test.
  4. After that check working of the meter can be checked by touching both positive and negative probes. A beep sound will be produced if the meter is functioning properly. Otherwise replace the batteries in your multimeter with a new one.
  5. Put black probe on pin 3 or 8 of the multimeter. Both these pins are common and internally connected. Select any one pin.
  6. Now put the red or positive lead of the multimeter on other pins of seven-segments like 1 or 5.
  7. After touching the red probe if any segment glows the seven segment is a common cathode.
  8. Interchange the multimeter leads if no segment glows.
  9. Now connect the red lead to pin 3 or 8.
  10. After that put black or negative lead on the remaining pins of the display. Now if any of the segments of the display glows then the seven segments are common anode. As in COM anode all segments’ positive pins are common, and remaining are joined with negative supply.
  11. Repeat steps to check all other display segments one by one.
  12. If any of the segments does not glow, then it will be faulty.

Here is a reference image for a seven-segment test using a multimeter. We can see red probe is at COM pin 8 and black is at segment pin so we are using Common Anode seven segment:

5: Interfacing Seven Segment with ESP32 and Push Button

To interface a seven-segment display with an ESP32, you will need the following materials:

  • An ESP32 microcontroller
  • A seven-segment display
  • Push Button
  • A breadboard
  • Jumper wires

ESP32 interfaces with seven segment displays in simple steps. First, we have to design a circuit for which we need to discuss the schematic first.

5.1: Schematic

To design a digital dice using seven segments first we need to design the circuit given below and connect seven segments with push button and ESP32. Using the below reference schematic connects your ESP32 board with a seven-segment display and a push button connected at pin D23.

Following is the pinout table for ESP32 connection with a single seven segment display. A push button is also connected at D23:

Pin Number Pin Name ESP32 Pin
1 b D2
2 a D15
3 COM GND/VCC Depends on Configuration – Common Cathode/Anode
4 f D19
5 g D21
6 dp Dot LED Pin
7 c D4
8 COM GND/VCC Depends on Configuration – Common Cathode/Anode
9 d D5
10 e D18

5.2: Hardware

Below image shows the hardware of ESP32 connect with push button and seven segment:

5.3: Installing the Required Library

After connecting seven segments we need to install a library in Arduino IDE. Using this library, we can easily program ESP32 with seven segments.

Go to Library manager search for SevSeg library and install it in Arduino IDE.

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6: Designing a Digital Dice Using ESP32 and Push Button

To design a digital dice or pseudo number generator using ESP32 a push button is needed. Pushbutton will send a signal at the digital pin of ESP32 which will display a digit on seven segments. Every time the button is pressed a random digit from 0 to 6 will be generated on seven segments using the Arduino function.

6.1: Code

Open IDE and connect ESP32. After that upload the given seven segment code to ESP32:

#include "SevSeg.h"  /*Include seven segment library*/
SevSeg sevseg;       /*Seven Segment Variable*/  
int state1;          /*Variable to store pushbutton state*/
#define button1 23   /*ESP32 pin for pushbutton */
void setup()  {
pinMode(button1,INPUT_PULLUP);  /*Assign button as input*/
  byte sevenSegments = 1;   /*Number of seven segments we are using*/
  byte CommonPins[] = {};   /*Define common pins*/
  byte LEDsegmentPins[] = {15, 2, 4, 5, 18, 19, 21};  /*ESP32 digital pins defined for seven segment sequence pin a to g*/
  bool resistorsOnSegments = true;
sevseg.begin(COMMON_ANODE, sevenSegments, CommonPins, LEDsegmentPins, resistorsOnSegments);/*configuration of the seven-segment */
sevseg.setBrightness(80);  /*Brightness of seven segment*/
randomSeed(analogRead(0));/* shuffling the sequence of dice number generation*/
void loop()  {
state1=digitalRead(button1);  /*Read pushbutton state*/
  if (state1== LOW){         /*LOW state when pushup button is pressed*/
    for(int b = 0; b <=6; b++){
       sevseg.refreshDisplay();/*displaying the for loop values on seven-segment*/
int i=random(1,6);/* generating the values for dice */
     sevseg.setNumber(i);  /*displaying the dice values on seven-segment*/
     sevseg.refreshDisplay(); /* refreshing the seven-segment display after every iteration */
     delay(1000); /* time after which the for loop will run again*/

Code started by calling the SevSeg library. Here we created variable state1. This variable will store the current state of the pushbutton.

After that we defined the number of segments, we are using with ESP32. LED segment pins are defined for ESP32 boards. Change the pin according to the type of ESP32 you are using.

Any of the ESP32 digital pins can be used.

Next as we are using the Common Anode type, so we have defined it inside the code.

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In case of Common Cathode replace it with below code.

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At last using the random(1,6) function ESP32 will generate a random number and display it on seven segments.

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6.2: Output

Output shows random digits printed from 1 to 6.


In conclusion, Using ESP32 with Push button and Arduino code, we can easily control the state of each segment in a seven-segment display, allowing for the creation of custom real time random or pseudo number generators. We can use it in playing multiple games such as dice.

About the author


I am an Electrical Engineer. I love to write about electronics. I am passionate about writing and sharing new ideas related to emerging technologies in the field of electronics.