Instructables
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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 #4

I have a few PCB kits ready to go for the improved Interactive LED Beer Pong Table. I have chosen to create a new Instructable for that beer pong table which is where I will post my site URL and the shop where the kit can be purchased. The new Instructable is needed, as it will show the full potential of the new table and how all of the features work. I have currently been asked to ship a table out to Daily Planet for them to have for a few days, so that is the table that I will be using in my new Instructable!

 
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Will the new improved table still be based off the wooden table or your silicone one ? And also I'm gonna end up buying the pre made pcbs anyway but is there any way I can like pre order them or how long will it take to make a new set if I don't get them before they sell out right away? I was hoping to finish table before Christmas and sorry I don't have a paypal only a visa debit
Regax (author)  Jakefossett12 days ago

Currently the table is still wooden. The new table itself won't be silicone, just the LED grid in the middle may be encapsulated in silicone. I have tested that and it does work but there may be a better way to do it.

I could make a pre-made kit, but I don't think that you would be able to have it done before Christmas once we account for shipping time and the amount of work that you'd have to do for the table. Also, you'd have to send a money order or cheque to me if you don't have Paypal. If you have a bank account you can actually link Paypal straight up to that, no need for a credit card. Might be something to look into if it's an option for you.

Ok thanks for the reply and another thing I noticed the revised table is a foot less in width so I already have made the 3x8 one with pre drilled led holes so how hard would it be to correct the length and would it cause any problem?
partyhouse10 days ago

Do you have a set of the boards available to purchase?

Regax (author)  partyhouse9 days ago

Yes. I have to finish the checkout portion of my site but if you want a set now for the new revision of the table it is $78.99 for all of the required PCBs (PM me for more details). We can just manually do the transaction over Paypal or you can wait until I have completed the site with a write-up and instructions to build the new version.

I would like to buy the new revision completed circuit boards if you have a full set available and can process the transaction through Paypal. Thank you
Regax (author)  partyhouse2 days ago

I just PM'ed you.

Yes, I would be interested in getting a set for the new version of the table and could process the transaction through Paypal.

This is an awesome project that I am extremely interested in trying out. Just a few questions though. How durable is this? I live in a high traffic house, is this table very fragile? If someone spills a cup will it fry the entire thing? would you have any suggestions for making it more durable if you see any weak points (durability wise) in the design as it stands above?

Also, can one choose not to include the ball washer to save some money? Would you recommend it, or is it pretty much essential?

Regax (author)  GogetaDBZ962 days ago

This one in the Instructable is quite durable and resistant to spills. It has an open bottom though, which I do not like. The Discovery Channel had me send them a table for one of their shows, so I made a new 2'x8' table and shipped it 3000Km's to them, it got there perfectly fine and worked as it was supposed too. Here is the new table, just a quick video showing it running basic animations:

If you spill on it, it is all sealed so no water should be able to get to the electronics. You wouldn't want anyone to jump on the table, as the legs may not withstand that, but that's not what it's intended for anyways.

And yep, the ball washers could be left out and would actually save you a lot of work. On top of that, you could use the ball washer channels on the PCB to control another set of LED rings or and LED sign of some sort. There are also a lot of extra channels on the PCB that aren't used, meaning a great deal of lights can still be added to it.

ndenny14 days ago
Do you pre make the whole thing or is it all seperate? How much is it for the whole thing pre made?
Regax (author)  ndenny12 days ago

I can pre-make the whole table but it would be very expensive. The amount of time that is needed (specifically for the LED grid) drives the labor costs way up. That is why I prefer to offer kits, although I only am offering PCB kits at the moment. I plan to extend that to a kit with PCBs and all components, then another kit with the option to have all of the components soldered to the PCBs and sold as modules so everything just has to be plugged in.

FriedrichB7 days ago

I am interested in buying a table built and ready to go... I wouldn't mind some simple assembly (like legs lol) but preferably with no wires to solder and nothing to build, cut, etc. You can e-mail me at cbbrown626@gmail.com

hello,

where did the get the motors and ducts for the ball washers? iv found the fan ducts on ebay, however there seems to be various motors when you search for the "24mm 13000 rmp 12v electric motor" if you by chance have the website you ordered the parts from that would be handy, thank you for your time.

Regax (author)  BigCountryBeerPong14 days ago

It looks like the listing has been taken down. You can pretty much use any motor with high RPM's if you're driving it with a higher amperage transistor or MOSFET. I had to be careful as any motor that drew more than 500mA was burning out the ULN2803 transistor array. So if you're just making the ball washers, just use any high RPM motor and modify the circuit to be able to power the new motor. If you're using my design with the ULN2803A transistor array, you'll have to find a low current high RPM motor. Careful though, on eBay a lot of the motors pull more current than what their specs say. It took me quite awhile to find those motors that worked :-/

cgranger14 days ago
When you posting link for new site and instructable
Regax (author)  cgranger14 days ago

Soon here. I have the table pretty much ready to go now, just need to attach the legs and polish up the revised code. This new one is getting shipped off to Daily Planet for a few days, so I'll do the write-up then. Here are a few photos of it. The last photo is a photo of the underside for the beer pong table in this Instructable.The new one is a little less messy under the hood ;)

20141206_004505.jpg20141204_224719.jpg20141205_185529.jpgIMG_1656.jpg
14_Tom27 days ago
Hello pcb is at once the components soldered ? And what cost . 1 x set. Or do you sell full table ? How much cost
Regax (author)  14_Tom18 days ago

The first kit is the PCB only kit which comes with 22 PCBs and costs $78.99. No components are soldered on the PCB only kit. For the full table, you would have to send me an email but it is really expensive with the shipping.

Cheers

cgranger20 days ago
Can you shoot me an email when you start selling kits I would like to purchase one
Regax (author)  cgranger18 days ago

You bet. I have 5 full sets to go, which doesn't seem like very many, but that's a total of 105 PCBs actually. So I have to sell them off first then order a larger batch. I actually have 10 Master PCBs right now but I only have 5 sets of RGB pods.

The PCB kit comes with a Master PCB (controls everything), 20 RGB pods and a 50-pin Breakout PCB for the LED grid. A total of 22 PCBs. I will be posting full documentation from the source code, to the BOM and where to purchase parts, and all of the features that it can handle.

Here is a photo of the PCB kit that I will be selling (I have blocked out the URL on the silkscreen for now).

PCB_Set3_NoURL.jpg
rookiii2 months 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)  rookiii2 months 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 Regax2 months 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)  rookiii2 months 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 Regax2 months 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)  rookiii1 month ago

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!

rookiii Regax1 month ago

Thank you for the input. I already tried out the most things and if i switch the cables connected to HT1632C #1 and HT1632C#2 the LED's which did not light up on #2, now do. The other which worked on #1 well, does not light up on #2. So there is definitely some error regarding the connection of the HT1632C#2 chip or a faulty / damaged unit. I expel connection issues by checking each pin and they are all connected / wired correctly. Even the signals look very good to me. So i guess it is the HT1632C driver itself...I already ordered some new ones but i only found some on ebay china which has ~6 weeks delivery time :/ But no problem since i have to create the 20 RGB Pods... :D

rookiii rookiii1 month ago

The new led drivers have been delivered earlier. I soldered a new one on slot #2 but exactly the same behavior. I programmed a while (1) which turns on all led's. I have connected no led's to the controller in order to exclude wire issues on the table itself. I measured the voltage on the output pins which will be connected to the anode pins of the led's and for driver #1 the voltage is 4,8 while the for driver #2 the voltage is 2,4. So all rows of #1 are 4,8 while all rows of #2 are 2,4. I checked all pins for shorts but all pins are connected correctly. General communication works also fine as both drivers change the state if i turn on / off all led's. Now i checked all VDD/VCC/GND pins as it seems to me that #2 receivces to less voltage but again everything fine. The VDD pins of #2 are at 4,8V (exactly like for the #1 driver). The GND pins are at 0 V. I have no more idea what i can check and i am wondering that the output of #2 is exactly 50% of the output of #1. Do anybody have any idea / point for this strange behavior?

Short: Communication works fine. Supply voltage is ~5V for both drivers. Output of #1 is 5V (as expected). Output of #2 is 2.5V.

Regax (author)  rookiii22 days ago

Sorry for such a late reply here. I saw this when I was working then it slipped my mind. I really have no idea why it is doing that. The only thing that I could recommend if trying to make the RJ45 patch cable as short as possible between the HT1632C Control PCB and the Master PCB. But even then, if one isn't working because of that, neither should the other. On page 16 of the HT1632C datasheet (http://www.adafruit.com/datasheets/ht1632cv120.pdf) it shows how to cascade these chips. As long as the OSC and SYNC pins are connected to each other across each chip, it should be working. You wouldn't happen to have a logic analyzer to be able to view the data that is being sent to the 2nd HT1632C would you?

jo43ght1 month ago
hey I'm Polish I am in the initial stage of the work, I question whether you are up for sale all ready PCB or the whole album? I would like to make it for the holidays to do everything With greetings from Polish
Regax (author)  jo43ght28 days ago

I currently have 5 full sets of PCBs ready to be sold. I will update the post in the Intro on Dec 1st with my website and where they can be purchased. Depending on how quickly I sell those sets, I will be ordering another batch with a much larger quantity.

jo43ght1 month ago
hey I'm Polish I am in the initial stage of the work, I question whether you are up for sale all ready PCB or the whole album? I would like to make it for the holidays to do everything With greetings from Polish
smartcart1 month ago
This is one of the most badass things I have ever seen. I am interested in purchasing a full table when I get back from basic and AIT in early June. My email is dunleavy.martin@yahoo.com, it would be much appreciated if you could contact me as soon as you have everything together to talk business. Thank you very much and keep doing you, it's incredible.
davidapye1 month ago

how much does it cost to make one of these tables? I want to know before I get started. can someone atleast provide me with a range.

Regax (author)  davidapye1 month ago

This cost around $500 for all of the parts and equipment, but the amount of labor/development put into it was quite high. I am set to release a PCB only kit which consists of all the needed PCBs to make a table exactly with this, plus more! (See Intro update for other features).

The PCBs are a pain to make, but in the new version there is only one main PCB whereas there is 4 main PCBs in this Instructable. Along with that single PCB, in the kit will be twenty RGB pod PCBs and a simple 50-pin breakout connector for connecting the LED grid.

I plan to sell the kit of 22 total PCBs for around the $80 mark. It would be much cheaper if the RGB pods didn't have to be PCBs, as the large quantity of them is what drives up the price. I don't have the exact price and BOM for the finalized revision of the table, but it will probably be around $60 - $100 worth of parts.

After that, you just need a lexan or acrylic sheet and a lot of time to wire up the LED grid! I have been working on a version of the LED grid which is just a silicone mat with the grid and LEDs inside of it (allowing it to be shipped). I will post pictures in the next update.

Cheers

Parving2 months 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)  Parving2 months 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.

kidkardiac2 months ago

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

Regax (author)  kidkardiac2 months 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.

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