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When you have kids, they compete for things. When you have four kids that are pretty close in age, they compete for EVERYTHING. I figured it might be a good idea to add some structure to their competition, so I decided to “gamify” it.
With this set of buttons, only the first button to be pressed will light up. None of the other buttons will light until the main reset button has been pressed (which turns off all active lights).  The code is very simple and easy to understand, plus there’s a ton of room for expansion with this idea! You could add teams, scoring via an LCD screen, buzzer noises, etc.

If you want to look through or use my code, you can download it below.

Download Arduino code


Here’s a simple wiring diagram for a single button for simplicity.


I cut down some scrap 3/4″ plywood into 4 1/2″ strips.


I used that strip to set a stop block on my crosscut sled.


This allowed me to cut the strip down into perfect squares, five for each player box.


For each player, I glued three of those pieces together. I only glued around the outside of the squares as there’s no need to glue the inside.


These got clamped up to dry.


On the bandsaw, I cut into the square and removed the majority of the square from inside.


I added glue to the entry cut and clamped it to dry.



I picked four squares to be the tops, and marked the center point by drawing lines from corner to corner.


Then each top got glued on to one of the hollowed out squares.


After they were dry, I drilled a 1 1/8″ hole in the center of each top panel.


I drilled four countersunk holes in the bottom panels then screwed them on to each box.


On the disc sander, I flattened all of the sides.


Then I rolled over each edge on the belt sander to add a round over. This isn’t completely necessary but is good since these will be used by kids.


I cleaned up the corners and top face with a quick sanding.


I cut down more plywood exactly as before, except twice as long in one direction.


I followed the same process as earlier to make the larger control box.


All five boxes got a couple of coats of spray lacquer.


I needed four conductor wire for the controllers, so I cut the ends off of a regular phone cable and stripped the outside insulation.

Screen-Shot-2016-03-30-at-2.53.06-PMI cut four sections of wire to the same length and stripped both ends of each wire.


This is a look at the wiring for a single button. Four wires from the button/led go to a perf board. That board is connected to the Arduino Uno with two wires for 5v and ground on one end.


The wires from the LED and button each go through a resistor, then are connected to pins on the Arduino. Each button is connected the same way, but it’s simpler to look at one at a time.


I followed the same process to solder on the other four player buttons and one main reset button (although it doesn’t use the LED).


When opening the boxes, I marked each piece so I knew how to close them correctly.


I inserted the arcade button and screwed on the nut that came with it.


In the top (bottom) layer of plywood, I notched out a slot big enough for the phone wire to pass through.


Then I inserted the button into the button housing and super glued the wire into the slot leaving the box.


Then I just screwed on the bottom of each box.


I tested each one to make sure they worked before moving on.


On the control box, I added the button then held the perf board and the Arduino to the TOP of the box with one screw each.


I cut slots for the four player wires and a power wire, then glued them all in place.


I added some hot glue to the jumpers going into the Arduino to hold them in place, since they will be hanging upside down.


I screwed on the bottom, then tested everything.


Can you tell they were excited? 🙂