Building a game clock for Go or Chess

[Matias] is just getting into hobby electronics and decided to push the limits of his skill by building this game clock. He comes from a software design background and that really shows through in the UI design seen in the video after the break. We enjoy the journey through his prototyping process which started with an Arduino and a breadboard, and ended with this standalone timer.

After building the first working prototype with four buttons and a character LCD, he migrated to a plastic ice cream container as an enclosure. This worked well enough, but the flimsy case needed an upgrade. As he looked toward the next version he decided to move to an Arduino Nano board to save on space. The rest of the components were soldered to some protoboard, with a pair of pin headers to receive the Nano. The finished board is the same length as the Nano and only about twice as wide.

The box was modeled on the computer (it looks like SketchUp to us be we could be wrong) then cut from pieces of Masonite. It hosts the character LCD with a pair of arcade buttons for each player to shift the time burden to his or her opponent. The middle button pauses the game, and there’s a trimpot on the back to adjust the screen contrast. [Matias] managed to include a surprising number of settings which will make this little box useful for a wide range of game types.

Comments

  1. Joe says:

    Software people always build good UIs. From my software background Ive always gotten that comment and I just think it comes from the mindset of being a hardcore coder.

  2. Velli says:

    From concept to execution, the parts that shuffle electrons are good (and the arduino seems like an excellent compromise on cost v. time).

    Then we get to where good builds go bad. The enclosure didn’t need to be CAD, a pencil and ruler would have done quite well. A few taps on a calculator to do some trig for a miter here and there, and you’ve got a case worthy of the contents.

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