Instructables
Picture of Interactive LED Beer Pong Table

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!

EDIT
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 .



UPDATE #3

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!

 
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rookiii27 days ago

First of all, thanks for the nice instruction. Don't want to know how much time it cost you to create it...However I decided to follow it and create a beer pong table on my own (one which can be folded in the middle in order to save place when it is not in use).

Now i am running into small issues while assembling the Master Control platine. I used the gerber files for v2.1 but it seems to me that the are some differents between v2.1 and the screenshot of the schematics Master Control "Document number 001".

I have uploaded two screenshots (each for the bottom and the top). I marked the components. On the top side, there it is R11, a solder pet which is not labled, and 5 "holes". On the bottom side it is only R12. Could you please help me? Is it possible that there are any schematics for the Master Control PCB v2.1? Thanks in advance.

BTW: Realy looking forward to get the led grid light up :)

Bottom.pngTop.png
Regax (author)  rookiii27 days ago

It looks like I had uploaded the schematic of the prior version. I had done some touchups, getting rid of an unneeded variable resistor, adding pull-up resistors for the TLC5940, etc.

The proper schematic has been uploaded in PNG and PDF format now. Anyways, the bottom side resistor that you have circled is R10, which is a 10k ohm value. I had replaced a potentiometer there with a fixed resistor.

As for the top side, the 5 holes are for the LM2576-3.3 switching voltage regulator. Make sure to have proper orientation of the pins, the first time I soldered it in I had actually reversed the chip. The center pads closest to the PIC are actually just extra SMD pads that are connected to AN5 & AN4, I broke them out from the PIC in case I needed to add any extra "features" to the table. Lastly, R11 on the top side is just a 10k pull-up resistor for the TLC5940. This ensures that all outputs are blanked on start-up and until the PIC takes control of the pin.

Thanks for pointing out that issue!

rookiii Regax27 days ago

Thanks for your reply. I assembled my PCB accordingly. After connecting both PCUs, any component begins to squeeze (actually i don't know which component causes this but i guess its the inductor. I disconnect the PCUs and checked the heat of all components. I noticed that L2, D5 and the LM2566 got really hot. Do you have any idea what might be the issue here? Do you have any clues what i can check in order to figure out the problem? I have attached my PCB...

IMG_4857.JPG
Regax (author)  rookiii25 days ago

I know that my first try I had the LM2576-3.3 flipped around and it was causing issues. Take a multi-meter and put it on continuity mode, cross-referencing each pin with the schematic and check to see if anything is shorting. Switching power supplies can cause a bit of high-pitched noise (mine didn't however), but it really seems in your case that something may be shorting or maybe something is soldered in the wrong orientation.

Give that a shot and let me know if it helps! Cheers.

rookiii Regax4 days ago

Finally I found the issue. Indeed there was a short on the master PCB. Now i am running into another issue regarding the LED Grid. In order to test functionality, i turn on all leds in the main application. The LEDs connected to HT1632 light up as expected but the LEDs connected to the second HT1632 do not. I measured the outputs which are passed to the anode of the grid and for LED driver 1, they are all at ~4.87 V but for the second one they are only 2.44. I also measured the VCC and of the second driver but it seems to be o.k. (~5 V). Do you have any idea what goes wrong here? Maybe any idea what i can do to investigate this issue? Thanks in advance.

Regax (author)  rookiiiyesterday

That seems like a tricky one. I would first take my multimeter and check across each row/column to make sure that there is no short in the LED grid. Next, I would check the orientation, making sure that I installed the HT1632C the right way on the PCB. Seeing as it is on the bottom of the PCB, you have to pay close attention as to which pad is pin #1, seeing as when you are working on the bottom of the PCB it is a flipped view from the top view of the board for the silkscreen.

If all of that is correct, I would then test each pin on the HT1632C with the next pin beside it to see if I could find any shorts there. Lastly, I would probably try a new HT1632C chip, taking the old one out and soldering in a new one in case the first was faulty.

You could even use a logic analyzer (if you have one) to verify that data is shifting out of the first HT1632C properly before going into the second one. Then check how the data is shifting out of the second one after you have verified the first one. I don't think this is the issue though, it seems that something is just connected up wrong on the second HT1632C. Let me know if any of that helps!

Parving8 days ago

I am very interested in buying pre-made components to this or just an entire table! Please let me know if that is possible at all. :D

Regax (author)  Parving6 days ago

It definitely is possible! I will post another update in the intro soon. I am still shooting for having the PCB kits available for Dec 1st. As of right now, all is on track.

kidkardiac11 days ago

do you have an estimate of how much this table would cost? I'm also interested in purchasing!

Regax (author)  kidkardiac6 days ago

I do not have an estimate right at the moment as I have not finalized the table design yet. I want to house everything in an aluminum table as it is lighter than wood and more durable.

backattack16 days ago

I would also be interested in knowing what the kit would include and how to buy them when available.

Regax (author)  backattack6 days ago

I intend to sell 3 kit versions. A PCB only version, a PCB with all included electronic components unassembled version and a fully assembled PCB version. There are a total of 21 PCBs for this project, 20 of them being the RGB pods. I am working on a website where I will be able to post updates and improvements for this project, as I do not want to mix it with this version of the beer pong table in this Instructable as I have made some changes to the new design. I will post a link in the intro to the new design once I have the site up and running.

Hey i am very interested in buying a table if anyone is making them. email me at bigemiceli@gmail.com

Regax please let me know any updates you have on a kit to make the table or full units. I am extremely interested in possibly buying some of the pieces or talking to you about making the table. My email is mrfergus@wisc.edu

Thanks so much for the help

AustinR11 month ago

If anyone would be willing to make a table like this for me i will pay good money! Just email me ajravenscroft@mix.wvu.edu

Regax (author)  AustinR11 month ago

I will have kits available for this soon, as well as selling full units on request if you're interested. It should be about 2 months time before I have everything ready to go, the new prototype has a lot of new features added to it also.

Cheers

Add me to the list! I want to know too. If you don't think the kits will be ready before december, is there a way I can buy the PCBs? It's the only thing I don't think I can handle.

And what will the kit include (or don't include)? I assume the table won't be included...but what else?

Thanks!

AustinR1 Regax1 month ago
Is there anyway of you contacting me when they are ready?
Regax (author)  AustinR11 month ago

Yep, I have your email from above.

jpbouche226 days ago

Where would I need to go to get one of the led controllers chips?

Regax (author)  jpbouche225 days ago

The HT1632C chips themselves can be purchased on eBay for $1 per piece (

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/5PCS-IC-HOLTEK-QFP-52-HT1632C-HT1632-GOOD-QUALITY-Li2-/191117179419?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c7f78ba1b). As for breakout PCBs, I am sold out of my last batch but have a few more coming in if you're interested.

.

mtveezy made it!1 month ago

Thanks for the tutorial man, it inspired me to create my own: http://youtu.be/mZWQJHbjwcA

pic.jpg
Regax (author)  mtveezy1 month ago

That's awesome, way to put a brand new spin on it! The wood work on the table seems really nice and finished too. Kudos!

This is amazing. as I'm not very good at building things from scratch, is it possible that you can build and sell one of these tables?

Regax (author)  javier.berrios.101 month ago

A full built table would end up being quite expensive. It's definitely possible for me to build a complete one, but the cost of the table, the build and shipping would be enormous.

I am on my final revision of the project and want to create an easy to assemble kit. I post an update at the bottom of the Intro step every month or so, but I should have all details hammered out and a kit ready to go by December/January at the latest.

cmccallum11 month ago
Thank you!
cmccallum11 month ago
Has the list of materials required been updated? I saw a few posts mentioning some minor errors and just wanted to know before I start purchasing the necessary parts. Thanks for the wonderful instructable!!
Regax (author)  cmccallum11 month ago

It sure is. I had mislabeled the SMD 0805 capacitors as ceramic capacitors and forgot to add a link for the LEDs on the LED grid.

All has been fixed and there are links to purchase the materials in the downloadable BOM in step #5.

Cheers!

_Djinni_1 month ago
I have been buying parts as I can afford them anxious to start putting it together. It sounds as if you will soon be able to provide the PCBs. I would love to know more, as homemaking them has been unsuccessful so far. To have them made I'm finding cost prohibitive.
Will the Bluetooth connect to the same spot as the other wireless chip.
Does the Pod CAM file make one pcb, or four?
I look forward to the next version.
Regax (author)  _Djinni_1 month ago

The pod cam version only has one pod in it. You can download a program called Viewmate (the limited free version) which will allow you to view the gerber files. Just drag the zip folder into the program and it will load it up, displaying each gerber layer.

The bluetooth module actually connects through the UART module, opposed to the SPI module that the nRF24L01+ uses. The reason I chose to go with bluetooth is because most devices already have it built in, thus reducing the need for a receiver PCB that needs to be plugged into a USB port.

Also, the fact that this project needs 20 PCBs for the RGB pods can make the project really expensive for a one-off. In high numbers, costs can be brought down considerably, so as long as there is still interest in the project, I will keep developing it. Just waiting on that LED grid before releasing everything! haha

Cr4nk2 months ago

Awesome instructable! Took me some hours to read and understand. How is it going with the RF-Code? Maybe you can start an Opensource project :)

Regax (author)  Cr4nk2 months ago

It took me many, MANY hours to write up... hahaha Glad you got through all of it though!

I plan on making my revised version a complete open source project! I have taken the nRF24L01 out of the new version though and instead communicate through a Bluetooth-UART module. This way people will be able to design their own apps to communicate with the beer pong table from a phone or any other device that supports a bluetooth module.

rodrila853 months ago

Have you looked into using LED strips instead?

Regax (author)  rodrila853 months ago

Actually I have. One could cut costs down just by using 12 LED strips, but then you would lose the functionality of controlling each pixel.

If you were to use an RGB LED strip with WS2812 chips (or a similiar chip), you could then control each pixel with full RGB functionality, however, they require VERY precise timing to be able to control them. On top of that, the cheapest that I could find was $10/meter and there are 12x 1.60m columns on this table. that comes out to around $192 for the LED grid.

rodrila85 Regax3 months ago

Thats a shame. I just finished wiring all the LEDS myself and it was a pain. Im planning on make 2. so I hope by the time im done with the first youll have that updated master PCB, because that is definitely my weak point. lol

Regax (author)  rodrila853 months ago

Hopefully! The updated master PCBs (I ordered 10) should arrive any day now, but it is the LED grid that is stalling me. The point to point wiring just isn't very feasible so I am exploring some other options right now. Also, I now keep the grid as one unit instead of separating it into two grids as I did in this Instructable. That alone removes 32 connections and four 8-pin connectors. That's what I plan on doing anyways, I still haven't prototyped it as I'm waiting for the boards.

But I'll keep you posted! I usually check for comments/messages everyday.

dangdal3 months ago

How do I buy this stuff?

Regax (author)  dangdal3 months ago

There is a BOM in the Instructable with a link where you can buy each component, or I am putting together kits that can be purchased for the revised version. I am still working on the prototype though, as it has a bit more features included in it.

elovelace5 months ago

Any luck on getting the PCBs professionaly made? I'm in for a set

Regax (author)  elovelace5 months ago

I'm still pricing out different manufacturers. I'm trying to find a good manufacturer with the best price per set of 24 PCBs.

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