Handheld Farkle Really Sparkles

Farkle is a classic dice game that only requires 6 dice and a way to write down scores based on the numbers rolled. Even so, this type of game isn’t inherently portable — it would be fairly difficult to play on a road trip, for instance. [Sunyecz22] decided that Farkle would make an excellent electronic game and got to work designing his first PCB.

This little game has everything you could want from a splash screen introduction to a handy scoring guide on the silkscreen. After choosing the number of players, the first player rolls using the momentary button and the electronic dice light up to indicate what was rolled. As long as the player rolled at least one scoring die, they can take the points by selecting the appropriate die/dice with the capsense pads, and either pass or keep going. The current player’s score is shown on the 7-segment, and the totals for each player are on the OLED screen at the bottom.

The brains of the operation is an Arduino Pro Mini. It controls two MAX7219s that drive the 42 LEDs plus the 7-segment display. A game like this is all in the code, and lucky for us, [Sunyecz22] made it available. We love how gorgeous the glossy 3D printed enclosure looks — between the glossy finish and the curved back, it looks very comfortable to hold. In the future, [Sunyecz22] plans to make a one player versus the computer mode. Check out the demo and walk-through video after the break.

The capsense modules are a great touch, but some people want a little more tactility in their handheld games. We say bring on the toggle switches.

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Slot Machine Has A Handle On Fun

For some reason, when slot machines went digital, they lost their best feature — the handle. Who wants to push a button on a slot machine, anyway? Might as well just play video poker. [John Bradnam] seems to agree, and has built an open-source three-color matrix slot machine complete with handle.

In this case, you’ll be losing all of your nickels to an Arduino Pro Mini. The handle is an upgrade to an earlier slot machine project that uses three 8×8 matrices and a custom driver board. When the spring-loaded handle is pulled, it strikes a micro switch to spins the reels and then snaps back into place. Between each pull, the current score is displayed across the matrix. There’s even a piezo buzzer for victory squawks. We only wish the button under the handle were of the clickier variety, just for the feels. Check out the short demo video after the break.

If you’re not a gambler, you could always turn your slot machine into a clock.

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A Digital Magic 8-Ball? Signs Point To Yes

[FacelessTech] was recently charmed by one of our prized possessions as a kid — the Magic 8-Ball — and decided to have a go at making a digital version. Though there is no icosahedron or mysterious fluid inside, the end result is still without a doubt quite cool, especially for a project made on a whim with parts on hand.

It’s not just an 8-ball, it also functions as a 6-sided die and a direct decider of yes/no questions. Underneath that Nokia 5110 screen there’s an Arduino Pro Mini and a 3-axis gyro. Almost everything is done through the gyro, including setting the screen contrast when the eight ball is first powered on. As much we as love that aspect, we really like that [FacelessTech] included a GX-12 connector for easy FTDI programming. It’s a tidy, completely open-source build, and there’s even a PCB. What’s not to like? Be sure to check out the video after the break to see it in action.

Believe it or not, this isn’t the smallest Magic 8-Ball build we’ve seen. Have you met the business card version?

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An Arduino Controller For Hot Air Handles

In general, the cost of electronic components and the tools used to fiddle with them have been dropping steadily over the last decade or so. But there will always be bargain-hunting hackers who are looking to get things even cheaper. Case in point, hot air rework stations. You can pick up one of the common 858D stations for as little as $40 USD, but that didn’t keep [MakerBR] from creating an Arduino controller that can be used with its spare handles.

Now to be fair, it doesn’t sound like price was the only factor here. After all, a spare 858D handle costs about half as much as the whole station, so there’s not a lot of room for improvement cost-wise. Rather, [MakerBR] says the Arduino version is designed to be more efficient and reliable than the stock hardware.

The seven wires in the handle connector have already been mapped out by previous efforts, though [MakerBR] does go over the need to verify everything matches the provided circuit diagrams as some vendors might have fiddled with the pinout. All the real magic happens in the handle itself, the controller just needs to keep an eye on the various sensors and provide the fan and heating element with appropriate control signals. An Arduino Pro Mini is more than up to the task, and a custom PCB makes for a fairly neat installation.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen somebody replace the controller on one of these entry-level hot air stations, but because there are so many different versions floating around, you should do some careful research before cracking yours open and performing a brain transplant.

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Tiny Circuit Sculpture Keeps The Night Watch

If you’re planning to get into circuit sculpture one of these days, it would probably be best to start with something small and simple, instead of trying to make a crazy light-up spaceship or something with a lot of curves on the first go. A small form factor doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t also be useful. Why not start by making a small automatic night light?

The circuit itself is quite simple, especially because it uses an Arduino. You could accomplish the same thing with a 555, but that’s going to complicate the circuit sculpture part of things a bit. As long as the ambient light level coming in from the light-dependent resistor is low enough, then the two LEDs will be lit.

We love the frosted acrylic panels that [akshar1101] connected together with what looks like right angle header pins. If you wanted to expose the electronics, localize the light diffusion with a little acrylic cover that slips over the LEDs. Check it out in the demo after the break.

There’s more than one way to build a glowing cuboid night light. The Rubik’s way, for instance.

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DIY Pocket MP3 Player

When [Neutrino-1] saw DFRobot’s DFPlayer module, he decided he wanted to make his own retro MP3 player. This tiny module comes packed with a ton of interesting capabilities such as EQ adjustment, volume control, and a 3 watt amplifier amongst other things. It can even play ads in between songs, should you want such a thing.

Controlling the DFPlayer module is easy using serial commands from a microcontroller, making it a convenient subsystem in bigger projects, and a potential alternative to the popular VLSI chips or the hard to come by WT2003S IC. [Neutrino-1] does a good job walking readers through the build making it fairly easy to remix, reuse, and reshare.

With the hardware sorted, all you’ve got to do is flash the firmware and load up an SD card with some MP3s. There’s even a small Python GUI to help you get your new player up and running. [Neutrino-1] also introduces users to the U8g2 display library which he says is a bit more feature-rich than the common Adafruit SSD1306 library. Great job [Neutrino-1]!

While you’re here, take a look at some of our other MP3 projects.

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Arduino Magnetic Board Is Anything But Boring

Magnets (especially those ball magnets!) are endlessly fascinating, aren’t they? It’s almost dangerous to combine them with LEDs, because how are you supposed to get anything done with something like [andrei.erdei]’s Arduino Magnetic Board beckoning from beyond your keyboard?

This tons-of-fun board uses ball magnets to light up RGB LEDs as they roll around on the sexy Plexiglas field. Underneath the LED matrix is an orchestra of 36 reed switches — those little glass gas-filled grains of rice with axial leads that snap together or fly apart in the presence of magnetic fields. The LEDs are controlled with an Arduino Pro Mini, and so is the 8Ω speaker for sound effects.

[andrei.erdei] has already developed a few applications for this delightful desk toy, and they’re all on GitHub. There’s a chase game that involves tilting the board to catch the next red dot with the magnet, a light painting game, and a sequencer that mimics the ToneMatrix. Roll past the break to check out the series of short demo videos.

Want to play with reed switches but can’t source any at the moment? You could just make them yourself.

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