Introduction: The Game Timer

Hello and welcome to this in new instructable. In this in instructible i will teach you how to make a countdown timer that can be used for 2 player board games. This countdown timer gives each player 2 minutes to make a move. I made this because most of the time I have to wait a long time before my opponent makes a move and i get bored. When you finished this tutorial you will have a full functional Game Timer.

I should note that English is not my motherlanguage. My native language is Dutch, therefore the documents are also in Dutch. However this is no problem for the code. Also if I make a grammatical error please let met know so I can improve it.

And If something is unclear please let me know so I can improve it.

Step 1: Step 1: Necessities

for this tutorial you need the following items:

- 40 x 40 cm MDF wood with a 4mm width.

-An Arduino Yun

-2 arcade buttons

2 push buttons

-a 10 x 4 display with I2C and backpack.

- a half breadboard

-4 male to female wires

-4 resistors

-at least 21 wires(male to male)


-soldering iron

-A micro SD cabel

-the arduino software

-acces to a lasercut machine

-wood glue

Step 2: Step 2: the Display

The first thing you want to do is to make the display work. For this to work you are going to need your arduino, the wires, the breadboard and ofcourse the display.

First you need to attach the display to the arduino. you do this by putting the display in front of you facing towards you. on the left side of the display you will see 4 pins sticking out of it's back. There 4 pins are from the backpack. You will need to take male to female wires and attach the female side of the wire(the side with the hole) to the pins from the backpack. then you connect the wires in the next way:

-the top wire is going to the analog ground in the arduino.

-the second top wire is going to the plus side on the breadboard.

- the third top wire is is going to the SDA on the digital side of the arduino.

- the bottom wire is going to the SCL othe digital side of the arduino.

To make the display work we are now going to connect the arduino to the breadboard. we are going to do this by taking a male to male wire and putting one end in the 5V port on the analog side of the arduino and the other side in the plus side of the breadboard.

To test if the connection is good, take your micro SD cabel to connect your computer(usb-cabel) with the arduino(micro sd). If your arduino is working correctly there should be a green light on the arduino and the display should go on.

Now you are going to need the software from arduino you installed. download the file from above and open it in the software. Now you want to upload the file to your arduino. You can do this by simply click on 'upload' in the arduino program. if this is not working you need to go to 'tool' in the arduino software and select the right serial port.

Congratulations, you succesfully connected the display and let it work.

Step 3: Step 3: Soldering

the next thing we are going to do is create the buttons.

In order to do this we are going to need the follow items:

- 8 male to male wires

- 4 buttons


-soldering iron

the first thing you want to do is create a small layer of tin over one side of the male wires. you can do this by heating the end of a wire for one second with a turned on soldering iron. then hold the tin in the end of the wire and the tin should melt. spread the tin over the end of the wire so that there is a layer formed over de end of the wire. now let the wire cool down and let the tin stol around the end of the wire. You need to repeat this process 4 times. At the end of this you should have 4 male to male wires with one end tinned(a tin layer) and the other and not tinned.

Now we are going to take a button. You can see that each button has to metal parts sticking out. We are now going to heat up those metal parts for one second and then add tin on top of those metal parts.

Step 4: Step 4: Connecting Wires

Now we are going to attach the wires to the breadboard. The first thing you are going to do is to connect the upperside and downside of the breadboard. take two wires and use them to connect the upper-plus side of the breadboard to the down-plus side of the breadboard. Then connect the upper-min side of the breadboard to the down-min side of the breadboard.

In the next part we are going to connect the buttons to the arduino and make them functional. If you understand the next paragraph, you can repeat that 3 more times on the breadboard on a different arduino port(11,10 and 9).

first you take a wire and connect the down-plus side on the breadboard to D1 on the breadboard. Then you are going to put a wire connected to the arcade button to E1. the other wire connected to that arcade button you need to connect to F3 on the breadboard. Then you need to connect a wire between H3 on the breadboard to port 12 on the digital side of the arduino. Now you need to connect a wire from the down-min side of the breadboard to A6. Here comes a unusual part. You need to add a resistor from G3 to C6 on the breadboard. After you done this I must congratulate you. You just make the first functional button.

Now we are going to do the exact same thing but on a different place on the breadboard and with a different button. there are the connections we are going to make with the wire:

-bottom-plus side to D10

-bottom-min side to A15

-arcade button wire #1 to E10

-arcade button wire #2 to F12.

-digital port 11 to I12

-resistor from G12 to C15

Now you connected the second button. Now you understand the set up. herefore I believe you can do the other 2 the same way.

Step 5: Step 5: Design

Now you have a complete working Game Timer. However, it doesn't look very good with all those wires. Right now we are going to make it pretty. We are going to make the box. In order to make this you need acces to a lasercut machine. You need to put the document above('') on a usb-stick and put it in a computer that is connected to a lasercut machine and upload the file to the machine. Then you put the wood in the machine and turn the machine on and the lasercutting can begin.

Make sure you do not cut the text 'reset' and 'on/off', but engrave it. Also you will need to copy and paste one side 2 times. this is because those parts will form the bottom.

Now you have the parts, we are going to put it all together.

-Put the display in the front side of the box en let is stick with tape. this is now the display shelf.

-Make the 2 arcade buttons stuck to the top side of the box(the one with the two holes)

-Take the wood glue and glue 2 sides together. this is now the bottom shelf.

-Glue the display shelf on top of the bottom shelf.

- Glue 2 wooden sides on the right and back side of the bottom shelf. The only wooden part you haven't used now is the side with half a hole in the midden-bottom.

-now you need to remove the non-sticking part of the breadboard and put the breadboard against the inner right side of the box. Now the breadboard will stick to the side of the box.

-now you need to attach the arduino to the middel of the box on the bottom. You can use tape to do this.

-now we are going to glue the top of the box(with the 2 arcade buttons on top of the box.

- the last thing we need to do is to use tape at the top of the side with the half hole. we use the tape to connect it the top of the box. now the box can open and close.

Congratulations. You made a Game Timer.


Step 6: Final Step: Challenge

Know you have what i have and know how it is build maybe you can improve it. This is the challenge I want to give you. Here are some ideas for improvement.

-Add sound when the time is up.

-Create your own bigger buttons.

-make wooden box with a slanting side where you put the display in, so that you can see the display better.

If you have improved the Game Timer please let me know, I am very interested in the result.