Create your own Interactive LED Beer Pong Table!
This instructable will guide you through all of the steps to in order to create a one-of-a-kind beer pong table complete with cup detecting RGB pods, automatic ball washers, a 32x12 ping pong ball LED grid, side LED rings for spectators and an RF interface to communicate wirelessly with a PC! It will teach you everything from theory of operation to modifying the table to suit your needs. First, I will take you through the modification and wiring of the table before we dive into the software side of things.
The toughest part about this project is just getting it started. There is a lot of prepping and labour to do before you can get anything real exciting working. However, if you can stick it out until you get the 32x12 LED grid in place, you will do just fine. Once you get up to that point, you can really start to see the potential for the table and it makes working on it a lot more enjoyable. I worked on this table on and off over the course of one year. If I were to build another one and had a set schedule of 8-hours per day to work on it, I could easily finish it within one week. The majority of the time that I spent on this project went into prototyping, development and writing the software rather than actually assembling the project.
Now come and take a tour with me through this Instructable and let us find out if you are up for the challenge!
Daily Planet on the Discovery Channel did a short segment with me on this project. If you are interested in seeing it, check it out here .
As of right now, all is on track to have a PCB kit ready for early December. I am still working out of town until the first week of November which has hindered some development of this project. I have made an LED grid which is completely encased in a silicone mat with a 50-pin connector for quick setup. I have had a small snag with some solder joints in the silicone breaking after rolling/unrolling the mat too many times. I want it to be able to flex for the ease of shipping. I have ordered some special wire and am going to take another crack at finalizing it in one weeks time, which will hopefully prevent the solder breaks.
As for the PCBs, I did some touch-ups on the second revision and confirmed proper operation of the LED grid by just having the PIC microcontroller control it, rather than the HT1632C drivers. This saves money on components, but more importantly, it cuts down the number of connections for the LED grid because I do not have to split the grid in half for the second HT1632C driver, I just control it as a true 32x12 (supports up to 32x16) grid.
Along with that, I have added an IR remote for ease of control, a bluetooth module breakout connector, an SD card for uploading animations designed on a computer, a breakout for a small 16x2 LCD screen. There are also many extra PWM outputs, 4x proper MOSFET motor drivers and a detachable VU meter breakout which can support the MSGEQ7 graphic equalizer for even greater responses from audio. It should be pretty slick and the first fully finalized PCBs are on their way to me right now, which will allow me to build a fully functional ready to ship kit or table. Stay tuned!