Picture of Q&D-Poor man's-Skinner-Sadist-Jeopardy game
In this instructable you will learn how to make a Q&D-Poor man's-Skinner-Sadist-Jeopardy game .

First off, the disclaimer: I'm not responsible of whatever you do. You have to know that with a great power comes...bla-bla-bla. Just be careful and remember that electricity reserves respect. While the energy involved in this project is generally safe, it can be fatal (or at least very harmful) given certain special conditions, so just to play on the safe side:

- Never mess with little children or pets, even with their consent, just say no.
- Avoid old or sick people (mainly with a heart condition or with a pacemaker (or a peacemaker gun).
- Remember that using the device on body parts other than the extremities can be dangerous (you never know what nerve are you killing).**

Ethical disclaimer:
In connection with the Milgram experiment and to avoid any ethical dilemma for the Arduino, I used the LED library; doing this way I fool the Arduino into thinking he is only deploying innocent LED blinks to the players. Arduino is only obeying the evil orders of the authority figure and is not aware of the pain of the players, please don't judge him.

By now, maybe you are wondering: "What's a Q&D-Poor man's-Skinner-Sadist-Jeopardy game?, do I need one?, is it for me?" well, if you are ready to start an epic journey to the world of power, irresponsibility and electronics to create a device capable of make the players learn something by the always effective power of pain and shame... you might be ready to receive the knowledge.

Given that, let's continue with the description on the next step.

The above video may not be entirely real, it would contain minor creative licenses.

**For those faint of heart or just coward (like me after too many accidental shocks while working on this) I designed an alternate feedback system . Instead of shocks it just shares vibrations with a vibromotor, it is still fun if you place it in body places where the vibration results very uncomfortable, like over the inferior part of the eye, behind an ear or whatever weird place you can imagine.

>obligatory Milgram reference here<

Awesome project!
good project, i something similar in principle could be built without the capacitor. it would still give 400 volt shocks but at a lower ampage. yorkshirepud 's mention of an i phone app could be improved by somehow rewiring a (very cheap smart phone capable of running the app) so that rather than playing a sound(or whatever it does) it could shock the slowest player.
Great project! If you want a quick and cheaper alternative however, consider the iPhone/Android phone app 'I Buzzed First!' - it's a smartphone networked gameshow buzzer app - only $1 per contestant.
cuachalanga (author)  yorkshirespud2 years ago
Sounds good, but without the Sadist part I shall call it: "iSissy Buzzed First" :] The good news are that with a micro and a little of code at the smartphone side, one could add the sadist flavor.
cophoff2 years ago

I love your project. I'd like to just use the buzzers and your quiz flash file. But how do you do then to just connect the buzzers to flash and forget about the arduino module?


cuachalanga (author)  cophoff2 years ago
That's very simple: if you have the buzzers just connect them to the PC (via the USB plug) and use any software to map the buttons to the keyboard (I recommend AutoHotKey and the code is already in this instructable). Then just use as usual. You can just grab the files from this instructable, ignore the Arduino part and use as is... it will work with no further modding :]. Tell me if you have problems and share some pictures of the people playing.

I've been trying for days now to make a flash file that connects both buzzers, but I can't make it work.
Could you please help me with this or send me on the right way.
I can't speak spanish so sometimes I struggle in the code.

thanks anyways,


thanks for your fast reply,
well I think my problem is that my laptop doesn't recognize the buzzers. When I check device manager, I see a little yellow warning icon at the standard usb device. (check image) Do you have any solution for this?

cuachalanga (author)  cophoff2 years ago
A quick Google search leads to a you tube comment (and the possibility to control also the LED inside the buzzers! if I have time I will try this the next weekend). Try to change the driver manually, tell Windows the buzzers are a USB Input Device.

and how do I change it manually?
I can't see where I could do this...
cuachalanga (author)  cophoff2 years ago
Me neither :D, remember: Google is your friend. If you happen to resolve your issue, tell us how, one never stops learning.
Okay, so I tried the buzz controllers on an older pc, and it all worked, despite the fact that the serproxy software said that the COM ports couldn't be connected, but I'm glad it worked.

Now, I don't want to be difficult, but is there any way to connect more buzzers? I'm planning to have a quiz with 6-7groups or so.
I understand a bit of adobe flash so I think I'll find it myself, but if you would know how, you're always welcome to give me some advise. For example: Do I need to change things in the serproxy files? ...


thanks for all your help :)

cuachalanga (author)  cophoff2 years ago
Great!, I haven't tried with more than one hub, theoretically there should be no problem. And the Serialproxy don't play a part if you don't plan to use an Arduino. You just need to modify the Flash file to add more players and use the AutoHotkey script to map more keys. Share your results and if you need help with the Flash file just tell me.
I have been studying your flash actionscript codes for two hours now.

what I've learned:
- change the timer's time
- translate almost everything

that's it, but I'm glad I've found how to change the timer.

I do have some questions:
- At the end of th quiz there is a question about BPD, but it's not integrated in the xml file. Is it possible to delete this question? or what's the purpose of this?
- Did you already find a way to fix the scoreboard at the end? :-)
- Could you help me with that flash file, adding more buzzers would be a great help...?

thanks a lot,


well, I finally got my buzz controllers connected to my pc as HID devices.

What you have to do:

go to devices and printers. right click on the unrecognized device under other devices. Then uninstall drivers. And then you have to manually install drivers, choose that option. And then click: install driver from device.And that's it.

I'll try the flash code right away.
Ethical disclaimer: In connection with the Milgram experiment and to avoid any ethical dilemma for the Arduino, I used the LED library; doing this way I fool the Arduino into thinking he is only deploying innocent LED blinks to the players. Arduino is only obeying the evil orders of the authority figure and is not aware of the pain of the players, please don't judge him.
westfw4 years ago
I would replace the original flash cap with a much smaller one. Otherwise you're counting on other factors that may or may not be present to keep the shock withing a reasonable level. A full flash cap worth of charge is WAY beyond fun&games (it may be limited by the other components here, but I'd rather not have that potential anywhere nearby.)
TOCO4 years ago
cuachalanga (author)  TOCO4 years ago
Thanks! I hope you try one day.
I am amazed by how many replies that I got from people by simply posing cool on their instructables that I think are very interesting, cool, and well done. I will do that more often. I would love to do something like this but during the school year no time. I have science olympiad, computer club, computer club lan parties, school work, rc hobby, I want to build a couple robots, and getting physical activity. (as a nerd who is lasy but somehow not fat that is hard to do other than the short periods of walking down the hallways at school during passing period.
There are MUCH safer ways of doing this that are just as "shocking"

Just try oscillating 1.5V at a low frequency, it will "shock" a person, and is much safer during construction and safer during use, and it's safer for your microcontroller. This is how a shocking pen usually works.
cuachalanga (author)  frank260801154 years ago
This also uses 1.5V, the magic is done by the transformer. The construction and implementation is, in fact, as safe as your good practices allow (don't look at mines).

While I have to confess my blatant ignorance about the method you are referring me to (I used to think the shock-spark can only be achieved by High voltage means, high enough to break trough your skin natural impedance), I'm confident the optical isolation is enough to keep the integrity of the microcontroller.

Remember that while voltage is "High Voltage" the energy amount is really low.
This project does not shock you with 1.5 volts, it shocks you with over 400 hundred volts. The circuit in the camera steps up the voltage from 1.5 to 400 to charge the capacitor, and then when the flash is fired it steps it up to over 1000v. Since you're tapping off the capacitor and not modifying the circuit any, you're using somewhere around 400 volts for this circuit.

This has a very real danger potential (pardon the pun). I've used these in a lot of circuits. Since its DC and its isolated to just one hand you're probably alright, but its still dangerous, and can cause nerve damage.

The amount of energy stored in the capacitor is actually very large, since it is charged up over time. This can (and has to me) easily create burn marks on the skin, and more importantly, burn nerves under the skin.

To make this remotely "safe", I would limit the current output to 8ma with a 50k "cowards" resistor.

Franks suggestion of a 1.5V oscillating circuit is much safer though. Not trying to knock you here, its a nice project, and I'd be hypocritical if I said I haven't used cameras in similar ways, but it is dangerous.
cuachalanga (author)  RickO54 years ago
:), yes you are absolutely right, I said it uses 1.5V because it really is using 1.5V to feed the transformer. I have to point out that the voltage stays around 330V at a very low amperage, (the 1000V secondary transformer works only to ionize the path across the flash tube and is not used in any way here).

Your 50k resistor recommendation is good for the people who doesn't know what awaits them (and fears for his life). From my experimentation, at 50k two thirds of the experimenters report a minimal response ("It tickles"). At 20k or 10k the sensation is tolerably enough for most of the people and still makes you feel alive.

Conclusion: 20k-10k is a "good" optimal point between fun and pain. Decrease at the risk of the user if your strong and immature players boast of his masculinity.

Thanks for your concerns.
One of those shocking pen toys is basically a relay that is wired to oscillate the reed.
dheiden4 years ago
Definitely stay away from people with "peacemakers"...
cuachalanga (author)  dheiden4 years ago
Jajajajajaja... that's the kind of mistakes that can change your life. Thanks (now it's corrected).
76543214 years ago
I've experimented with camera capacitor shocky thingies, and wouldn't a direct short of the capacitor cause burn marks on the person's skin?
cuachalanga (author)  76543214 years ago
Hi, good point, while a direct spark could be powerful enough to make you regret the idea to touch the capacitor, the "Coward resistor" and the "closed circuit time" (if such a thing exists) prevents a full blow energy transfer... at the end of the day the players sensations range from small "pellisco" to hard "pellisco", it all depends on the subject and the "Coward resistor" (even without resistor the contact time and the impedance of the circuit diminishes a good deal of the punch.

But yes, it could burn your skin if certain weird conditions are met :)
Oh ok, lol I'm so going to make this. Muhahahahaha
cuachalanga (author) 4 years ago
"Cicle" should be "Cycle" on the Diagram #1... sorry.