Category: Geekerama

I Really Really Need One Of These

For my Monday morning commute.

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I Was First!

In readiness for the Christmas Quiz – which we have every year at the big family get-together – I wanted some Quiz Buzzers, to stop the arguments over who shouted first.

The ones I used last year – which I built many years ago, from a circuit in one of the electronics magazines – worked well, but there were too many wires spread across the tables and chairs,  between the push buttons and the control unit.  A Health & Safety nightmare!

And so this year, I looked around for a wireless version. They are bloody expensive to buy (300 quid and up, from what I could see), so a homebrew version would have to be the order of the day.

After a bit of searching on the internets, I found a wonderfully simple Arduino design from a German chap called Felix. I say ‘simple’ but of course, all the cleverness is in the software. 

His design only allowed for two buttons though and I wanted four.  I thought that I would be able to figure out how to add more, from his code, but my coding skills are rubbish and I couldn’t make head nor tail of it… it might as well have been in Greek!  So, I dropped him a line asking if he would be so kind as to amend his code to allow for more buzzers. 24 hours later, he’d done so. Splendid fellow!

I then added a little bit of simple code of my own, to allow the Master control unit to give an audio alert when any button had been pressed, as I found in testing that it was quite easy for a player to lock the other players out, by pressing his button and then just keeping it covered with his hand, so no-one could see (Harry, you little cheat!).

I won’t go into the circuit here, or the code, as that can all be downloaded from Felix’s GitHub Repository.  But, if you plan on building one, I’m happy to supply my extra bit of code for the audio alert – which I feel is a definite requirement.

The Arduino Nano boards were sourced from ebay, along with the NRF24L01 radio modules for a very reasonable price. The big buttons are 60mm ones from Arcade World and are very good quality. The Tupperware came from Sainsbury’s.  🙂

I’m pleased to say it all works wonderfully.

I just need to put a quiz together now!

Ch… ch… ch… changes

Well, I think I made that a lot harder than it should have been!

To be fair, there was a hosting problem – which young Mr Jones discovered (thanks for your help, Bren) – and once that was resolved, it put things back on the right track.

But then I had an issue with a corrupted mySQL database which, in hindsight, I think is probably not actually corrupted at all.

And then there was the theme. I had problems getting the site to look how it used to and just couldn’t figure out why. Turns out, the theme that I use,  got a major upgrade whilst my site was down and in the new version, things were quite different.

And buggy.

A couple of conversations with the developer, resulted in a further minor upgrade being rolled out, which fixed the issues I was having.

So, things are now up and running again, and I can go back to writing the usual drivel, for your delight and delectation.

But I have made some slight changes.  The problem with the database, led me to believe I would be better off starting afresh and archiving all my old posts. But, as I say, it turns out that there might not actually be a problem with the database, and so I could try to resurrect it within this blog.  But I really can’t be arsed. And so, I shall make all the old posts available as an archive site, which I’ll put a link to… when I get round to it.

I’ve also decided to drop my old Radio blog. I found running two blogs, too much work – it’s hard enough just doing one! And so, anytime I feel inclined to write something about radio or electronics it will appear here… much to your delight, I’m sure.

 

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