Fairground Dexterity Game - How to control the Lights/LEDs that determine a win?

Hi All

I have been tasked with building a fairground type dexterity game. It will essentially consist of three switches that need to be pressed in the correct order to get a "win"

I can build the game fine, but controlling the lights is beyond me. I asked the question elsewhere and was directed down the Arduino route.

This is what it needs to do:

Each switch will control a light, 1, 2, and 3. If the three switches are pressed in the correct order (1 2 3) then a green "win" light will illuminate. Press the switches in the wrong order (1 3 2) and a red "fail" light will illuminate.

Then of course it will need a re-set ready for the next competitor.

So my question is: Which board or kit will best suit this project?


You say "press the switches".

Generally I think of pressing buttons and flipping or toggling switches. Some clarity there will likely help. Switches might be easier to work with but nice beefy arcade style buttons would likely be good for a fairground type set up.

Is the order in which the switches need to be set/flipped fixed? Or would it change every time- the user must respond to a presented pattern like a Simon game?

Is there speed required or can the order be achieved without regard to time?

The switches would most likely be a micro switch or small contact switch.

The game will be putting a large object into a hole, but can only go in one way (it's related to the work we do, and will be a silly, fun game at an expo)

The order will always be 1 2 3.

There will be no time limit.


Okay. Then it sounds like you want on/off switches and not momentary hold-them-down type buttons. Maybe nice big toggle switches.

Any Arduino will pretty much do- this seems simple, go cheaper.

5 volts into 3 switches, then to LEDs indicating when each switch has been thrown, then to ground.
An Arduino pin on each of those lines, LED side of the switch.
2 more pins, one for a success light, one for a failure light.

Sketch to read the pins, high means the switch has been flipped.
If they come in the right order, write out to success pin, otherwise write to failure pin.

If your success and failure lights are bigger than LEDs (requiring more current), the success and failure pins could write to transistors instead of direct to lights.

Probably a number of ways to reset, easiest might actually be the physical reset button on the Arduino. Not sure.

If all that sounds right, we could probably work up a schematic and a sketch.

So my question is: Which board or kit will best suit this project?

Just about any Arduino will do; Uno is the standard.

Bigred, that sounds perfect.

Switches would need to be a pressure type, so they are switched when the load presses down on them (I'll search RS components for the right ones) but will be a closed when pressed.


"large object in a hole"

...that then presumably triggers the switch. I see now.

I would guess a lever switch at the bottom of the hole would be a good choice.

Maybe something like one of these:

With that kind of switch and a game situation, you will definitely have uneven inputs so you will need to debounce the switch inputs.

So, shove objects in hole. Trigger individual lights per hole to provide user feedback. Arduino tracks this. If switches are triggered 1-2-3 Ardunio lights a green reward light, otherwise a red failure light.

Reset then is the issue. Operator would pull stuff out of the holes and then ideally want a just a quick button or toggle to reset the whole deal. I think a nice big mashable arcade button to the Arduino reset pin might work there.

Maybe something like:

For reset, you can simply trigger it on an object being removed - if the operator is removing things, it must be game over. You just need to ensure that the debounce is sufficient to avoid a false reset.

I can envision an operator fumbling with an object hitting a switch a few times, or a kid pounding something up and down. I would think a separate hard reset button that can't get messed up by unexpected or unpredictable behavior would be better. Maybe somebody only plays half a game. Having the thing reset once things are pulled out of the holes makes sense and might be more elegant, but I would urge "bullet proof" over fancy. Maybe both? If it doesn't reset for some reason once the stuff gets pulled out, the reset button would be there.

I think a little LED to tell the operator the system is ready for input (either on initial operation or reset) would be good as well.

Now I'm going to have to make a schematic and think about a sketch just for fun. Ha.

Thanks for the replies.

My gut feeling is big reset button for the operator to press for the next competitor. Keep it as simple as possible.

I'm also thinking that rather than an LED after each switch, have a relay to power a larger lamp as the onlookers will be not that close. A large lamp would be more visual.

So the basic mini or leonardo should do the job?

Now as this seem to be a lot simpler for you clever chaps I have a possible addition to the game.

The actual game will be in two parts, the first being a variation of the wire and buzzer game. The object will be passed through this part first with the switching part second.

Making the buzzer part of the game is easy, probably the most basic circuit diagram there is, but it would be nice to get it all into one nice box of trick for the operator to handle. It could of course just be packaged in one box and thinking about it now I don't want to add any complication which could cause a failure. This will be part of a competition where scoring is involved so they must work correctly at all times to keep the competition fair and even.

:~ I'm not sure what a "wire and buzzer game" is.

Like these??:

I'm also thinking that rather than an LED after each switch, have a relay to power a larger lamp as the onlookers will be not that close.

You know they make LEDs that will hurt your eyes to look at them?

I would guess plenty bright. Put enough of those together and you would light up a room. Or you could use 12v lighting. Or mains power and a relay.

How did we go from "silly, fun" to "competition"?

Yes that's the type of buzzer game.

This will be a bit of fun inside a competition to break up the stress a little. That being said I want to ensure there are no chances of something going wrong as there will be (very low) scores associated to it.

Super bright LEDs like the ones linked will certainly do the job.

So as it stands I want:

a 5v power supply leading to three switches, these will then have an inline LED before going to the board (which one yet to be determined). Then some code used to say "did the three switches get pressed in order 1,2,3" if yes light "win" LED if no light "fail" LED.
The 5v power will also be running to the board.
All this contained in a nice box with a reset button replacing the button on the board.

Sounds simple enough.

Maybe something like this. Hopefully others will correct any mistakes I have made.


When you refer to grouping the failure/success LEDs, I presume you mean to make them more visible?

Looks like I need to go shopping now. Is there any particular board you would recommend? It looks like either the Mini or Micro will cover all I need.

Is there any particular board you would recommend?

Any Arduino will pretty much do- this seems simple, go cheaper.

Just about any Arduino will do; Uno is the standard.