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Gauntlet electronics suggestions

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Hello all.

I'm building the computer/bomb gauntlet for a friend, and trying to figure out how to do the electronics, particularly the countdown timer.

I've bought PCB kits and assembled them without problem for other props (such as the Ghostbusters Proton Pack), however I'm not sure the best (and least expensive) way to do the gauntlet's electronics.

As a note: I've never done anything with arduino or anything similar. I also at times have a tendancy to over-think and over-complicate things that should be relatively simple.

So far the easiest thing I can think of is just to get an old used phone and build the gauntlet around that, but I'd also rather have simple LEDs instead with a switch and battery pack.
I've also seen binary clocks which, in theory could work, if I could get them to go backwards.

Is there anyone that can assist and point me in the right direction?

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