Introduction: Mini Futuristic Skee Ball (Phase 2)

About: UI/UX Designer, 3D Artist, Video Game Creator, Rug Tufter, Woodworker, and Tinkerer

This is a continuation of a previous Instructable. Please see Phase 1 in order to get the steps needed to get to this point in the process. This can actually be done in the middle of Phase 1, so I will make sure to mark in it where to jump to this one. The materials you will need for this phase:

1. 14 total LEDs using two different colors - 7 of each color. The choice is yours, and I picked Red and Blue as my two colors. Yellow and green or any other two colors would also work fine. I purchased mine here:

2. 14 total 200ohm resistors. If you use different colors these may need to be adjusted. I will help you with this later on in the Instructable. You can also change the resistor value based on the lights being used. This is explained in the next section.

3. Soldering iron and solder. (*I am not showing any of the actual soldering or teaching you how to do this. You can find out how to solder on other Instructables or on YouTube. Plus, I am not good at it.)

4. Lots and lots of wire - around 10-12 gauge. I used at least 150 feet of wire for my skeeball machine.

5. Hot Glue gun and glue. A few sticks are all that is needed.

6. Light Duty hand stapler, masking tape, and a black marker.

7. Electronic Buzzer. I used an old, gutted Xbox controller for this feature.

8. Twist on wire connectors. You need approximately 6 of these common wire connectors. *Optional - used to secure any wire connections.

Update (Oct 2019):
After I had my machine wired up with these LED lights, a helpful member showed me their lighting upgrade. Instead of using stand alone LED lights, he used strip lights around each hole. The wiring is the same, but instead of connecting to a single light you connect to a LED strip. The lighting is much more improved with this technique. He wired the strip lights for me, so I am unable to go into details on the process. Just keep this in mind if you would like brighter lighting on your machine.

Step 1: Know Your LEDs

This is a basic LED, we are now going to learn how to wire 14 of them into the skeeball machine. But first, a little lesson on LEDs that you can skip if you already know how they work.

The LEDs I used have forward voltages of 2 volts for the red light, and approx 3 volts for blue lights. We are giving each LED Light 5 volts of power, which is too much for them to handle. This is why we add resistors to each LED light. They lower the voltage going to the LED so it doesn't blow out. This is where we calculate the resistor value needed for each light:


So, the resistor value for an 2.0v red LED with a 20ma current rating would be 150ohms and the formula would be:
R = (5-2.0) / .020 = 150 ohms.
It is always acceptable to use a higher resistor value for a slightly dimmer LED, but lower than proper values will damage the LED. I only had 200ohm resistors on hand, so I used them for both lights. However the reds would be brighter using 150ohm resistors, and the blue could use 100ohm resistors. Any lower and the lights will blow out or have a very short life span. This is important if you go with different colored lights. The package should say the LED voltage so just use the formula above to see if they will need different resistors. It makes no difference if the resistor is on the positive or negative side of the LED. I went with negative post and stuck with that decision for all of them.

Step 2: Test Run (optional But Highly Recommended)

We are about to do a lot of work and blindly hope it is all connected properly until the very end. Scary! So, let's first make sure that you know what you are doing and that this is going to work. Test run time. If this works out, the rest is cake. You should have extra LED lights, so pick two extras for testing. Follow the diagram. Solder 200 ohm resistors to each LED's negative post. Chain the red power cord from the PC molex cable to each LED's positive post, and also to the Bank Voltage Select slots on the LEDWiz. After the resistor, solder a wire to the resistor that goes to the "1" output slot on the LEDWiz, and the other LED goes to the "2" slot. Open the LEDWiz Control panel (supplied). The directions to use this program are described in detail in the 5th step of this guide. If your lights are controllable, congrats! If not, check all your connections and maybe just try to get one light working first. Now It is time to move on to the real thing.

Step 3: Let's Get Wiring

At the end of the day, the wiring is going to be a complicated mess visually. Wires are everywhere! Hopefully someone figures out how to be more organized about wiring, but mine is pure chaos. This is why it is a good idea to mark all of the wires with masking tape and labeled (Ex: 10 red) if a light needs to be replaced in the future. Start by unscrewing the scoring area and flipping it over so that the 100 targets are still at the top.

How this works in a nutshell:
Each LED is mounted in place, their positive posts and the bank voltage slots on the LEDWiz are all connected to each other via a wire chain which is connected to the red wire on the PC molex power adapter of the PC. This supplies each light with 5 volts of power. The negative post on each LED has a resistor on it. After that there is a wire that goes from the resistor to the correct output slot on the LEDWiz. That is it!

Begin simple: Separate the two colored LEDs from each other. Trust me, they all look the same turned off. You'll need 7 of each color. For ease I used 200ohm resistors, but as mentioned earlier you can use 150ohm for red and 100ohm for blue if you have them on hand. Solder the one appropriate resistor to each LED. I picked the negative side of the LED (short post) but you can use either side. Once these are done we need to chain a wire from each LED positive post to each other. I did all of the wiring on the table before mounting the lights. This way I could focus on labeling the wires and getting them to be the correct lengths.

Step 4: Mounting the LEDs

I mounted my lights fairly early in the process in order to try and keep the wiring somewhat organized and to have a better idea of the lengths needed for all of the wires. You should mount the lights the same way for each numbered hole. I went with red on the left and blue on the right as seen in the test photo. Since you are working on the underside of the scoring area the lights are reversed (red on right) - as it is on the left when the scoring area is flipped back over and mounted right-side up. My process for mounting the lights was, in my opinion, poorly executed. Better said, it can be improved and I leave that to you to try mounting them better. The challenge is to get the LED lights connected from underneath where they still shine through the holes without touching the ball as it comes through the scoring hole. I used what I had on hand: hot glue. I put a small spot of hot glue on the table, and pressed the LED up to it just past the hole's edge. The light isn't wired yet, so placing them is pretty simple as long as you are careful not to touch the hot glue. I welcome any suggestions on improving the placement and mounting of these LED lights. Once the LEDs are all connected it is time to use the diagrams and know-how from step 3 to finish the wiring in the next step.

Step 5: Finish Wiring the LEDs and Testing

There isn't much more to it at this point. The LEDs are all glued or mounted somehow in place. We know that all of the positive posts (the ones WITHOUT the resistors connected) need to connect to each other, all ending at the PC molex Red wire. Then, you connect one wire at a time to the resistor connected to the negative post on each LED light. Carefully staple and move the wire to the top of the skeeball machine, then back down to where you put the LEDWiz. Connect this wire to the LEDWiz slot labeled in the key on the wiring diagram. I'd also put some tape on the wire near the LEDWiz and labeled which light the wire is connected to for future troubleshooting. I recommend fully connecting one light first, then testing it before moving on. The last thing you want is to connect everything just to find out none of them work. On mine I had some loose connections on the positive chain, and none of the lights worked. It took me a while to figure out the problem, so make sure one works before moving on to the next light. Once all of the lights are connected, fire up the control panel. That is part of the LEDWiz software that you can download in the final step. Right click on the LEDWiz icon on the control panel and select Open Panel. On the panel click on LumAura Control to test your lights. On the LumAura Control Center click on the numbers to send power to those connections. Example: click on 1 in the control panel and the 10 red light should illuminate - click1 again to trun it off. Test everything and fix any loose connections. Flip the scoring table back to normal and reconnect it to the table. Add the new files posted in the final step and enjoy!

Step 6: Adding in a Buzzer

Let's face it, we spent a decent amount of money to get this point so let's use every slot available to us. The LEDWiz has 16 output slots, and so far we've used 15 of them (14 lights, and slot 16 is the siren relay). That leaves us with one more slot remaining. I figured, why not add a buzzer to distract the player during key times in certain games. You are welcome to get any low watt electric device for this feature. I chose to get an Xbox controller and use the small spinning motor that the controller uses for the vibration feature as my buzzer. My first test I removed it and attached it to a piece of wood. After a few days the wires were so small that they broke. Next I decided to cut the controller in half since the controller has a spot in it that keeps the wires from moving when the motor spins. SO, I gutted the controller, cut it in half, then put only the vibration motor back into the one controller half. You use the same technique as before to connect your buzzer - the positive wire connects to the power chain, and the neutral black wire connects to the LEDWiz slot 15. Open the control panel once it is connect and select the slot 15, the buzzer should go on until you click on it again. We now have a way to distract the player, as you'll see when playing TimeBomb.

Step 7: The Files

Here are the files for the games with lighting effects. Phase two files


  • Most games are complete, but I am constantly tweaking and enhancing them.
  • Time Bomb is over half-way done but playable. I doubt anyone will get past the amount of levels that are playable without cheating.
  • Added lighting effects to classic Skeeball and also SkeeWars.