Whack a mole project

Hi All, I’m trying to make an electronic “whack a mole” game, basically a board of 9 light up push buttons, a button will light up at random and the player has to hit that illuminated push switch, this will put out the light and another random button will come on, repeat for 30 seconds and then display how many buttons were hit in time.

I’m pretty sure the Arduino will be a good platform for this but I have no idea what “illuminated push buttons” I’d need (ratings etc) or where to get them (I’m in the UK).

Really appreciate any advice on this project, I’ve not touched electronics since a (very) little bit at Uni and looking forward to getting back to it.


The most important rating is going to be how much abuse it can take. I would suggest looking at buttons designed for arcade use: http://www.adafruit.com/products/1185

I would suggest looking at buttons designed for arcade use:

even heavier duty would be switches intended for childrens science parks.

Do you have a link to one? Google wasn't friendly with those search terms.

Thanks guys, I found some big buttons on amazon but when I asked the seller if they'd work with something like an Arduino they said no as they needed much higher power than the arduino would supply. Would appreciate some guidance on all the bits I'll need to get this hooked up.


The switch part shouldn't care, but the light probably does. What is "much higher?" If those switches end up being your best option, you will just have to look at methods to control a larger voltage for the lights. Not a big deal.

Post a link to that eBay page and we will have a look for you. As you are in the UK have you tried Farnell?

Might these work?



Video demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1jdjmbe1mM&feature=youtu.be&t=2m38s


These are the buttons I found,

Appreciate any tips on how to wire this lot together.


Ahh, 120V lamps in it. Not practical. The buttons that both retrolefty and I linked to would be pretty much the same, but a bit bigger and the lamp can be powered with a lower voltage. Note that they are the same, just different sources. It appears you must be in the UK, so you are better off finding a local source for them.

Ahh, 120V lamps in it.

Where did you see that? The title said Red LED switch http://www.amazon.com/Amico-Round-Button-Switch-Arcade/dp/B008MU3UM0 I saw a lot on the ratings of the switch but nothing on the light. If it is an LED it is not going to be 120V.

The ratings of the switch only specify the maximum voltage and current not the minimum.

Thanks Grumpy_mike, farnells a great website. What do people think of these? http://uk.farnell.com/cherry/kfb2ala2rbb/switch-pushbutton-spst-10a-250v/dp/1674427 Now I've found the arduino and the buttons what else will I need to get started? Apologies for all the questions but I'm a bit out of my depth here.

Also, how many of these switches could the arduino accept? I see its got 14 possible inputs but will these buttons take 1 for the led and 1 for the switch?


Since you will really only have one switch input at a time, I would use an 8-bit priority encoder (or more than one if you have more than 8 switches) such as the 74HC148. This will take the 8 inputs and reduce them to just three bits with the bonus of having a signal to let the arduino know that a switch was pressed. These can be cascaded to provide more than 8 inputs.

And for the LEDs, just do the opposite: use a 74HC138 which is a 3 to 8 demultiplexor. 3 signals will control 8 LEDs.

Together these reduce your pins from 16 to 8 (for 8 switches and 8 LEDs)

Hi folks, came across this. and just wondering is there a guide or anything? arduino code etc…

a newbie for electronics/microcomputers, but really interested.