Quiz Game Controller using "Lights and Sounds Buzzers" and Arduino

Picture of Quiz Game Controller using
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Quiz Game Controller Schematic.jpg
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Jeopardy style quiz games are favorites for creating excitement and educational instruction at the same time.  Teachers, summer camp counselors, and even industry educators find this type of game to help generate interest and involvement from the participants.

The idea behind the game is simple, but sometimes finding a device that will perform the "first to respond" lockout function can be problematic.  Here is YAQGC (Yet Another Quiz Game Controller :) based on some pretty neat lighted buzzers and an Arduino put in to a project box.

While the "Lights and Sounds Buttons" from Learning Resources were designed as "stand alone" devices, a few modifications allows them to be connected to and controlled by an Arduino controller.  The "Lights and Sounds Buzzers" make a professional looking and fun implementation of a Quiz Game controller.

The buzzers are modified to plug into a base unit and provide "button press" signals and accept an "activation" signal.

The control box houses the Arduino Uno, the reset button, and four LEDs.

While the button modifications are a little tedious, intermediate soldering skills and patience will produce a nice looking and fun to use Quiz Game Controller.

In addition to capturing the first to respond "winner", the controller also captures 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place in order of button press.  The order is indicated on the control box LEDs.  Of course the beauty of having a programmable controller is tuning it to just the way you want it.  Other game modes are possible, including "Wheel of Fortune" modes, although this version of the Arduino program only implements the "Jeopardy" style game.

Let's get started!

YouTube demo of completed system

Background and instructions on
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hrttele2 days ago

Very cool. I also used an Arduino board but I had a little different setup. I used construction helments and placed the button and the light on it. So it has the silly factor when people play at weddings and such. Check it out on youtube.

ledelato8 months ago
I would like to duplicate this project with around 15 buzzers instead of four. What's the limiting factor on the number of buzzers I can use?
projectnotions (author)  ledelato2 months ago

Sorry for the delay in responding. For this particular implementation, almost all the I/O on the Arduino is used for the 4 buttons. 4 Input to check for a button pressed. 4 Output to control the lights/sounds on the buttons, and 4 more output to control the local LEDS. So it's pretty extravagant in use of 3 I/O for every color. The advantage was that pretty much all the components are in the Arduino. Certainly there are ways to multiplex, but usually that will add extra components. I considered for a next project, going wireless, and as a part of that enabling more buttons / colors. Thanks for your comment.

killoverme10 months ago
Hi I was just curious, do the button still work alone? Like flash and make the sound or are they now tethered to the control?
projectnotions (author)  killoverme10 months ago
As you suspect, the buzzers no longer work alone.
Daanii10 months ago
Thanks for the great Instructable. The "Lights and Sounds Buzzers" seem better than the Staples Easy Buttons that others seem to use. I haven't tried to follow your directions yet, so it's hard to tell how it will go. Parts are on order.

But I did have trouble following the way you used the jacks. I'll take a look at your website. Some pictures of the jack placement within the buzzer would help a lot.
Rudz11 months ago
I am working on a project with 12 buttons and was struggling with timing of button presses. After taking a similar approach as yours, it looks the Arduino Keypad library can do all the hard work for you. My initial sketch looks like you do simple reads and the function tells you the order of presses.
projectnotions (author)  Rudz11 months ago
Nice! The Keypad library looks perfect for keypads, keyboards, or similar "matrix" type of arrangements. In the case of the four physical buttons, they are not connected in a matrix without creating one in the control box, and, they each have individual +V voltage levels due to having their own batteries. Also since I'm "hacking" the buttons, I have to live with the fact that a button press is providing +V when pressed. So, I feel fortunate that the Arduino had enough I/O pins where I could just bring in each button press line individually. It does present problems for expanding past 4 buttons, but that step is probably wireless anyway. Sorry for the long winded reply, and thanks for the tip about the Keypad library!
Rudz11 months ago
If you are looking for an easy way to do schematics for Arduino, check out the free Open Source program called Fritzing.
projectnotions (author)  Rudz11 months ago
Thanks for the tip, I will check it out! It was a pain doing the schematics with Power Point!
icsnerdics11 months ago
have you thought of using interrupts?
using a queue data structure, so the first interrupt push inside the queue the winner and so on for the others, it sounds easy peasy to me.

btw nice work
projectnotions (author)  icsnerdics11 months ago
Thanks for your comment. The Arduino UNO only has 2 interrupt inputs so it isn't an obvious one button per interrupt line solution. Thanks again.
the "Arduino" platform only has 2 interrupts, not the atmega uC. :)
btw what i was trying to tell you is to share a single interrupt bus and then with something like a simple resistor array (DAC like) convert the voltage drop on those pull-up resistors to recognize which button has been pushed.

ex: first 4 buttons working on 5 volt, split this voltage by 4, and size resistors for each step, then wire those point to each button.
so the first one will be at 1,25V the second at 2,5V and so on.

the only pitfall is how you store this voltage drop after the rise of the interrupt, and to answer that you can use a latch or a dirty trick like a cap with a high-Z path to ground.
andreyeurope11 months ago
Nice project. Good job. I'm learning now how to play with an Arduino. I hope someday I'll publish Arduino projects too. :D
projectnotions (author)  andreyeurope11 months ago
Thank you. We will look forward to seeing your project!

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