Picture of LED Hat Display with Pong
Pong Hat Schematic.bmp
A while ago, as my first microcontroller project, I made a Pong game on a 5x7 LED display, but then nothing became of it. Recently I was given a hard hat as part of a uniform (for an engineering competition) and told to customize it, and remembered pong.

In this instructable I will show you how to make a scrolling LED display and how to install it in a hard hat. It also plays pong!

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
-2 10k potentiometers
- 3 4.7 kOhm resistors
-4 SPST toggle switches
-1 5x7 bicolour LED display
-1 8 pin dipswitch
-1 Hardhat
-1 atmega168 microcontroller (or arduino)
-1 28 Pin 'skinny' socket
-1 breadboard
-1 3.7V lithium polymer battery
-Hot Glue

-Soldering Iron
-Hot Glue Gun
-Wire Stripper
-Hobby Knife
-Plexiglas Cutting Knife
- Microcontroller Programmer (optional)

Step 2: Solder the Display

Picture of Solder the Display
Pong Hat Schematic.bmp
For the first step, you need to solder wires to the display. You will also need to solder one switch from the dip switch between the two colours' cathodes for each row. To make it clearer I have attached a schematic of the display in the pictures (click the [i] on the picture to get the full sized version).

For the next step I used switch 8 for a 'travel mode'. This is so the hat isn't accidentally turned on in a bag and drained.

Step 3: Solder the Power Connections

Picture of Solder the Power Connections
For this step you need to solder the microcontroller socket to the breadboard. Then solder all of the power connections to the microcontroller socket pins. If you are unsure which pins to solder, there is a good reference here.

Step 4: Attach the LEDs to the Board

Picture of Attach the LEDs to the Board
Pong Hat Schematic.bmp
Now you need to attach the wires coming off the LED display to the breadboard. To help with this see the attached schematic, or you can look in the code in the intro to find the output pins on the arduino.

Step 5: Solder Switches

Picture of Solder Switches
Pong Hat Schematic.bmp
Next solder the switches to the breadboard. I have again attached the schematic in the pictures of this step.

For each switch, it is one contact of the switch connected to the corresponding microcontroller pin and the other to the positive voltage. There is also one resistor from the input pin to ground for each switch.
well thats a really nice project
I am Greek and the letters ertw are greek so i wonder if they or u are related to greece someway
i cant though find their meaneing i would love an answer
reggae_boyz4 years ago
UOIT being represented rather nicely, good job.
thejuggler6 years ago
Does ERTW stand for Electronics, Robotics, Technology, W00T?
J_Hodgie (author)  thejuggler6 years ago
Nope, Engineers Rule The World.
love the hard hat and love the choice of song.
J-Five6 years ago
Cool But I think someone had just too much time on their hands.
bumsugger6 years ago
puzzlefreak7 years ago
That was simply awesome. Nice project.
Patrik7 years ago
Very cool project! And just ever so slightly geeky. :-D

That 5x7 LED display is a great find, by the way - $1.49 for 70 LEDs! That's just over 2 cents per LED - must be some sort of record...

Since you're at an engineering school, I assume ERTW stands for Equal Rights Towards Women. Now, can I get my bonus points? ;-)

Google - is there anything it can't do?
J_Hodgie (author)  Patrik7 years ago
Thanks for the comment. Not quite, but it is in the link.
it's engineers return to work, i think this because you say the hat is for an engineering project.
Derin Patrik7 years ago
yes it cant give me pages for my school reports
sidgug7 years ago
Great project. Well done. I will be able to learn a lot from studying your code. I'm just not sure about the bi-colour display. Will I need to change much in the code if I just hook it up to a single colour matrix? Thanks for posting the code.
J_Hodgie (author)  sidgug7 years ago
No, I just controlled the bi-colour display in the hat through the dip-switches above it, so the code is already in one colour.
you are a genus but im only 10 and cant do this but i'll probaly try i'd put it on my math book need some thin to do lol
Thornburg7 years ago
It is so awesome, yet so random. I am impressed. +1 Favorited
clamoring7 years ago
Very very nice work. I was looking for an Arduino project. This looks like just the thing!
DamionLee7 years ago
That's a nice Instructable. Almost has me ready to go into the attic to find my old hard-hat. Think I may have to find some other housing for it instead. Well done.
ongissim7 years ago
Awesome! This is similar to this; only your led matrix is in landscape, which makes pong much easier to play! Nice job.
noremakk7 years ago
Is there a way to program the display using a Mac?
J_Hodgie (author)  noremakk7 years ago
Yes, there is. There are also some more resources at
maker127 years ago
dj whatever7 years ago
OMG we have the same heli. I have an Instructable for this!!!
gmoon7 years ago
Nooooo liner?? Canya nay wear it, laddie? (awwwww, you get a + anyway. Nice job.)
J_Hodgie (author)  gmoon7 years ago
There is a liner, it is propping the helmet up in the main photo. I just removed it to take a picture of the finished electronics. And thanks for the comment.
mrmath7 years ago
You got my vote for the LED contest.
J_Hodgie (author)  mrmath7 years ago
455H0137 years ago
Hey, do you go to UOIT? Also, engineers rule the world
455H013 455H0137 years ago
Replying to myself, it says you do on step 9. I'm a second year mech eng.
J_Hodgie (author)  455H0137 years ago
Yes I do, I am in second year mechatronics.
darkmuskrat7 years ago
I agree with Gorillaz, this is cool
Incredible job. Reminds me a lot of Kiteman's UV Ray light Instructable.
stourleyk7 years ago
Oh, I thought it said, "with bong." My bad.
nagutron7 years ago
My lord. This just reminded me of one of the funniest Overheard in New York posts of all time:

And What Part Will the Helmet Play in That?

Nerdy hipster to friends: You want nerdy? You know what I did today? I worked on this robot helmet I'm making on my floor. Yep, a robot helmet complete with LED lights -- for my girlfriend. See? That's love right there.
Girlfriend, explaining: I told him we could have butt sex.
Nerdy hipster, emphatically: But not until I finish the helmet!

--L train
Kiteman7 years ago
Very nice - the long pots make it look quite impish, but aren't they vulnerable to getting knocked off? Maybe shorter knobs would have been better?
J_Hodgie (author)  Kiteman7 years ago
Thanks. The long pots are very sturdy, no risk there, so it is basically what you want (or to get the more authentic pong feeling)
Hey what engineering competition are you talking about? FIRST? an awesome hard hat
J_Hodgie (author)  angelicgundam907 years ago
The competition is the Ontario Engineering Competition. Thanks.
Love it, but where's the video?
J_Hodgie (author)  fungus amungus7 years ago
Thanks, and I' m going to do that tonight.