DIY Gaming Kit

Introduction

I love video games!
And I’m sure that many of you out there can agree with me!
I’m also sure that many of you out there just don’t have the time to be playing games and may instead be focusing on their awesome electronics projects in school!
Which is why this month I’ve decided to assemble this awesome kit so we can enjoy both gaming and electronics!

This month’s kit features hand-held video games! or more specifically LED games!

The beginner gaming kit comes pre-programmed with the old school snake game, in which the objective is to collect as many dots as you can while avoiding yourself as you get longer!
The hobbyist gaming kit comes pre-programmed with not only the snake game, but Tetris and a drawing game!

Use the four giant push buttons to move up, down, left, or right and hit the reset button to, well, restart the game!

Now you can not only own an old-school game, but you can show it off to your friends and family and laugh at them for spending so much on their overpriced games!

Overview

The gaming kit comes with everything you need to build the kit including: a pre-programmed microcontroller, LED Matrix, input buttons, and more! (not including soldering iron, solder, and helping hands, wire stripper/cutters).

Provided in this guide are the step-by-step wiring instructions on how to connect the entire circuit together! Also, if you feel the need to modify the layout of the parts, we have included the schematic diagram for your convenience as well as the original source code for the game!

Be careful! This kit requires soldering! Don’t burn yourself and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated room! Also take short breaks often soldering too long is very exhausting!

Materials

Tools you will need

  • Soldering Iron with Solder
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wire Strippers

Tools that will help

  • Helping Hands
  • Some tape(hobbyist)

Beginner

  • 1 x Atmega8-16PU
  • 1 x 28-Pin Socket
  • 1 x HSN-1088AS 8X8 LED matrix
  • 2 x 74HC595N Shift Registers
  • 8 x 1k Ohm Resistor
  • 2 x 8 Pin female headers
  • 1 x Small Momentary Switch
  • 4 x Large Momentary Switch
  • 1 x Slideswitch
  • 1 x Double-sided tape
  • 1 x 3 X AA Battery Holder
  • 2 x 5cm x 5cm perfboard
  • 4 x Machine Screws
  • 4 x Nylon Spacers
  • 4 x Hex Nuts
  • 2 x 2 inch copper wire
  • 8 x pre-cut red wire
  • 8 x pre-cut black wire
  • 8 x pre-cut grey wire
  • 8 x pre-cut yellow wire

Hobbyist

  • 1 x Atmega8-16PU
  • 1 x 28-Pin Socket
  • 2 x 22pF Capacitors
  • 1 x 16Mhz Oscillator
  • 2 x HSN-1088AS 8X8 LED matrix
  • 4 x 8-Pin female headers
  • 1 x HT16k33 IC
  • 1 x 28-Pin SOP4 breakout board
  • 8 x 330 Ohm Resistor
  • 4 x 10k Ohm Resistor
  • 3 x Small Momentary Switch
  • 5 x Large Momentary Switch
  • 1 x Slideswitch
  • 1 x Double-sided tape
  • 1 x 3 X AA Battery Holder
  • 2 x 9cm x 15cm perfboard
  • 4 x Machine Screws
  • 4 x Nylon Spacers
  • 4 x Hex Nuts
  • 2 x 2 inch copper wire
  • 1 x pre-cut black wire
  • 2 x pre-cut purple wire
  • 3 x pre-cut red wire

 

Beginner Instructions

To guide you on piecing and soldering everything together, lets first identify the components of the device:
Beginner KIT

  • Microcontroller – The microcontroller contains all the algorithm and coding for our snake game.  It also receives user input commands and responds via output (in this case the LED MATRIX)
    • ATmega8 – Powerful chip that contains user written coding to control the pins of the chip!28-Pin Socket – This is a socket that holds a dual-in-line packaged chip or DIP with 28 pins.  We use this so we can easily remove the controller.
  • Input – These are the commands or actions the user (YOU!) to give to the device.   In this case the movement buttons.
    • Up – Moves the snake up.
    • Down – Moves the snake down.
    • Left – Moves the snake left.
    • Right – Moves the snake right.
    • Reset – This resets the controller.
  • Output – The response of the microcontroller in the form of an 8×8 LED Matrix.
    • 8×8 LED Matrix – 64 LEDs driven by two integrated circuits or ICs (shift registers).
    • Shift Registers – Used to control our LEDs in the Matrix.
    • 8-pin Female headers – We use these so we can easily remove the LED Matrix.
  • Power –  The power component is responsible for powering up our device! Includes power off/on switch and batteries
    • Power off/on – This is a switch that allows the battery to be connected to the device.
    • Batteries – This thing stores energy.  We need this to power stuff.
    • Power/Ground Rails – These are the 5V and ground lines we use to power our circuitry.
  • Wiring – Connecting components together with wires! -duh!
  • Enclosure – The stuff that houses and keeps our components together.  We’re using two 5cm x 7cm boards held together by screws/spacers/nuts for this kit!
    • 5 cm x 7 cm board – Perfect sized board to fit all of our components tightly together!
    • Screws/Spacers/Nuts – These are used to hold the two boards together creating a nice cube-like device!

 

1)Shift Registers
The first thing that goes onto our board are the shift registers.  We won’t be explaining much about shift registers right now, just know that in our application we are using it to control the rows and columns of the LED matrix.

Shift Registers
Both shift registers should be at the corners of the board. Also make sure that the semi-circle is pointing upwards.
Shift Registers Back
Solder the pins on the back of the board.

2)8×8 LED Matrix Headers
Next we will be adding the female headers. This allows us to easily remove the LED matrix from the board so we can use it for another project, or something.

Female Headers
Place the headers next to the shift registers. The two headers should be 8-holes apart.
Female Headers Back
Solder the pins on the back of the board.

3)1k Resistors
These 330 Ohm (Opps! the pictures show 1k Ohms!  Your kit will receive 8 x 330 Ohm resistors!)  resistors are used for limiting the currents going through the LEDs in the matrix.

Resistors
The resistors are placed next to the pins that corresponds to all the rows of the LED matrix.
Resistors Back
Solder the resistors in place.
Resistors Connections
…and solder them to the female headers as shown.

4)28-Pin Socket & Power Slideswitch
Next we will be adding the socket for our microcontroller.  Leave two rows spacing between the socket and the shift registers. This will be enough space for the LED matrix to fit nicely onto the board.

Microcontroller & Switch
Make sure the semi-circle is pointing left.
Microcontroller & Switch Back
Solder the socket and slideswitch into place.  Solder the socket enough so it won’t fall off.

5)Buttons
The game requires five buttons, a reset button, up, down, left, and right.

UP DOwN
Add the ‘up’ and ‘down’ buttons as shown. The buttons you will receive will be larger than shown and should cover the same pins.
UP DOwn Back
Solder the ‘up’ and ‘down’ buttons into place.

Buttons continued.

Next add the ‘left’ and ‘right’ buttons.

LEFT RIGHT
Again, the buttons will be larger than shown and pin locations are the same.
LEFT RIGHT Back
Solder the ‘left’ and ‘right’ buttons into place.

Buttons continued.
Finally add the small reset button.

RESET
The reset button is the right size and should fit nicely in the center of the board.
RESET Back
Solder the reset button into place.
Reset Ground
Also solder the two nodes shown in the circle.

6)Copper Power and Ground Rails
The two copper wires provided for you are used for power(top) and ground (bottom)rails.

Copper Prep
Cut the wires to fit onto your board.
Copper On
Solder the two wires onto the board. Be careful and use helping hands! Copper conducts heat really well and WILL BURN YOU!
To Copper
Solder the following circled points directly to the rails. The bottom right location may require a small wire.

7)Power and Butons
Things will start to get messy from here! Take your time and follow the COLORS carefully!
Using a unique set of colored wires, solder the pins as shown. These wires connect the microcontroller and the shift registers to 5V. These wires also connects all of our buttons to the microcontroller.

POWER

8)Ground Everything
Using another set of uniquely colored wires, solder the connections as shown. These wires connect all components to ground.
Ground

9)Spaghetti-Matrix Rows
Using another set of uniquely colored wires, solder the connections as shown. This part can get very confusing and messy. The best way to approach this is by starting from the middle top (the resistors) and work your way down.
You will notice that all of the resistors connects to the left shift register.

ROWS

10)Spaghetti-Matrix Columns
Using another set of uniquely colored wires, solder the connections as shown. These connections connect the ‘column’ shift register to the LED matrix female headers directly.
COLUMNS

11)Shift Register To Shift Register
Using another set of uniquely colored wires, solder the connections as shown. These connections connect the two registers together. At this point you may want to move wires around to get into tight areas.

Register to register

12)Shift Register To Microcontroller
Using the same set of uniquely colored wires as step 11, solder the connections as shown. Two connections will share a node as shown.
Register to controller

**Correction**
There is actually a mistake in the image above! Please correct the two connections at ATmega8 pins 17 & 18.
error

13)Battery
Solder the red wire of the battery holder to the slideswitch and the black wire to ground rail as shown.

Battery

14)Plug It In!
Insert the 8X8 LED Matrix into the female headers. Make sure the model number on the side of the matrix points left as this orientation matters!

The Matrix

15)Battery & Enclosure
The battery sits perfectly on the perfboard but requires something to hold it down. Tape the bottom of the battery holder with the double-sided tape.

Battery Tape
Double-sided tape on underside of battery.
Battery Held
Remove the other side of the tape and tape the battery on the board. Make sure the battery holder do not cover any of the corner holes, otherwise the machine screws won’t fit!

16)DONE!
FINALLY! Using the machine screws, nylon spacers, and hex nuts provided for you, assemble the two boards together. Plug in the microcontroller, flip the switch, and start playing1
Spacers
Ta da!

Soldering the HT16k33

The hobbyist kit comes with an HT16K33 IC and you will notice that the pin spacing on it are very small!

In order for us to wire this chip with the rest of the components, we need to mount it on a breakout board, or a board that converts the IC’s tiny spacing into something that is more convenient for our board!

This is a guide on how to solder the HT16K33 IC onto the breakout board.

1) IC and Breakout Board!


You will notice that the breakout board has two sides.  We will be using the side that fits the IC! (duh!).  Also, make sure that the semi circle points up on both the board and chip.  (In this case the chip has a tiny circle, this indicates pin 1 of the chip and should also point upward!)

2) Hold it down!

After you have positioned the IC on the board, use a piece of tape to hold the chip in place!

3) Soldering
Soldering surface mounted devices(SMD) can be tricky! Keep the following tips in mind:

Be careful not to use too much solder! Using too much might bridge pins together!
Use only a small amount and if solder builds up and form a ball at the tip of the solder remove it immediately!
Position the soldering tip on the edge of the soldering pad and the pin of the IC! Doing so will apply just enough heat so that the solder can melt into place!
Take your time! Rushing will make things worst and you may add too much solder!





4) Male Headers
After we have successfully mounted the IC on the breakout board, we need to add male headers. These headers will allow us to connect the pins on the IC to a standard spaced board (like a breadboard or our perfboard)



5)Male Headers continued
Placing the male headers onto our perfboard aligns the headers nice and straight.



When the headers are aligned solder the breakout board to the headers. DO NOT SOLDER THEM ONTO THE MAIN BOARD YET!! Follow the hobbyist instructions to know exactly where to solder the board.

The IC is now ready to be used with standard-sized perfboards and breadboards!

Hobbyist Instructions

To guide you on piecing and soldering everything together, lets first identify the components of the device:

  • Microcontroller – The microcontroller contains all the algorithm and coding for our snake game.  It also receives user input commands and responds via output (in this case the LED MATRIX)
    • ATmega8 – Powerful chip that contains user written coding to control the pins of the chip!28-Pin Socket – This is a socket that holds a dual-in-line packaged chip or DIP with 28 pins.  We use this so we can easily remove the controller.
    • 22pF Capacitors – These capacitors allow the Oscillator to be used at the appropriate frequency.
    • 16 Mhz Oscillator – External oscillator important for the speed of the controller!
  • Input – These are the commands or actions the user (YOU!) to give to the device.   In this case the movement buttons and actions button.
    • Up – Moves the cursor/snake up.  Rotates Tetris Piece.
    • Down – Moves the Tetris piece/cursor/ snake down.
    • Left – Moves the Tetris piece/cursor/ snake left.
    • Right – Moves the Tetris piece/cursor/snake right.
    • Action – Drops Tetris piece.  Place dot.
    • Reset – This resets the controller/game.
    • Brightness change – Change the brightness of the LEDs by increasing/decreasing its intensity.
  • Output – The response of the microcontroller in the form of an 8×8 LED Matrix.
    • Two 8×8 LED Matrix – 128 LEDs driven by one integrated circuit or ICs (HT16K33).
    • HT16K33 IC – Controls both rows and columns of the LED Matrix.
    • 8-pin Female headers – We use these so we can easily remove the LED Matrix.
  • Power –  The power component is responsible for powering up our device! Includes power off/on switch and batteries
    • Power off/on – This is a switch that allows the battery to be connected to the device.
    • Batteries – This thing stores energy.  We need this to power stuff.
    • Power/Ground Rails – These are the 5V and ground lines we use to power our circuitry.
  • Wiring – Connecting components together with wires! -duh!
  • Enclosure – The stuff that houses and keeps our components together.  We’re using two 9cm x 15cm boards held together by screws/spacers/nuts for this kit!
    • 9 cm x 15 cm board – Perfect sized board to fit all of our components tightly together!
    • Screws/Spacers/Nuts – These are used to hold the two boards together creating a nice cube-like device!

1)Microcontroller, Capacitors, and Crystal.
First add the 28-pin socket as shown. The board you received with your kit is blue but the number of holes are the same for both.



Solder the 28-pin socket in place.


Add the two capacitors and the 16Mhz Oscillator

The components should fit neatly on the board.



Solder the connections as shown.  Use the capacitor’s wires to connect to pin 9 and 10 of the socket.

2)HT16K33 with breakout board

After preparing the HT16K33 IC, place it on the board as shown.


The breakout board should be three holes down and far right of the perfboard!

Solder the breakout board in place.

3) Resistors!
The kit provided you with 8 x 330 Ohm resistors and 4 x 10k Ohm resistors.


Add a 330 Ohm resistor as shown.  We will be placing all 330 Ohm resistors vertically.


Solder the resistor in place.

Solder one end of the resistor onto pin 2 of the HT16K33  breakout board as shown.


Add the remaining 330 Ohm resistors.

Solder each resistor to its adjacent pin on the HT16K33 breakout board.


Add 3 x 10k Ohm resistors shown on the board.

Solder the 10k Ohm resistors into place.

Solder the 10k Ohm resistors to the circled connections.

4)8-pin female headers

The female headers allow us to easily remove the LED Matrices from the board.


Place the 4 x female headers as shown.  Leaving 9 holes in between

Solder the headers in place.  Its much easier to solder 1 header at a time.

Solder the following connections as shown.  Bridging the headers to the HT16K33 breakout board.

5)Slideswitch, reset button, and brightness buttons


Position the slideswitch, a 10k Ohm resistor, and three small momentary switches as shown.

Solder the components in place.

6)Up,Down,Left,Right, and Action buttons


Add the up, down, left, right, and action buttons.  Note that these are the large momentary switches.

Solder the buttons into place.

Solder together the circled connections.

7)Power and ground rails


Prepare two copper wires for power and ground rails.  These wires will go on top and do not touch each other!  Keep a good length to work with but not too short and too long.

Solder the wires at the top of the board.

This is what it should look like!

8)Ground wires

We will now begin soldering several wires onto the board!  Be careful not to burn the wires, use too much wires, or use too little!

Using the black wires provided, solder the connections as shown.

9)Power wires

Using the red wires provided, solder the connections as shown.

10)Columns

Refer to the circuit diagram if anything looks too confusing!

Using the purple wires provided, solder the connections as shown.  There are circled nodes in which two wires are soldered together.

11)Rows

These wires connect all the rows of the LED Matrix to the HT16K33 breakoutboard.

Using the red wires provided, solder the connections as shown.  These are the rows of the lower LED Matrix.


Continue soldering using red wires as shown.  These are the rows of the upper LED Matrix.

 

12)Buttons

Using red wires again, solder the brightness up, brightness down, action, up, down, left, and right buttons to the pins on the HT16K33 breakout board.  Note that there are circled nodes in which two wires are soldered together!

13)I2C – HT16K33 to ATmega8

The next two wires connects the HT16K33 to the ATmega8 micro-controller. These two wires connect these two chips via a communication protocol called I2C. I2C is a very powerful protocol that allows us to use only two wires between devices! We simply connect pins 27 & 26 of our HT16K33 chip (SDA and SCL respectively) to pins 27 & 28 of our Atmega8 (SDA and SCL respectively).


SDA & SCL of HT16K33


SDA & SCL of ATmega8

14)Battery

Phew! That took a while! We’re almost done!

Solder the battery holder’s wires as shown.


Tape the back of the battery holder with the double sided tape provided.

Remove the other side of the double sided tape and place the battery in the center of the second perfboard.

15)Finish!
Finally! We’re done! All that’s left is to plug in the microcontroller, the two LED Matrices, add batteries, and connect the enclosures with spacers.

Make sure the model number is on the left side of the LED Matrix as you place it on to the headers.


The screws, spacers, and hex nuts are provided for you.

Simply put a spacer in between the board, insert the screw through the boards and the spacer, and tighten with hex nut!

Do the same for the other corners and…

FINISH!  Flip the power on and start playing !

Resources

Arduino Files
Arduino Code here

Original snake game code by: link
Original snake, Tetris, draw game code by: link
HT16K33 Datasheet: link

HSN-1088AS 8×8 LED Matrix

Beginner Schematics

Beginner Circuit Schematic


Hobbyist Schematics

Hobbyist Circuit Schematic


  • Skyler

    Im pretty sure this is the next kit. Looks awesome!! So excited for this

  • Zachary Barnett

    That is a lot of wiring. Anybody have some tips for soldering so many wires? I typically end up melting the insulation on my wires, potentially shorting them out. Still, I like the possibilities presented.

    • Hey Zachary! There’s definitely lots of wires so we’ll be providing wires for this kit!

      For soldering this many wires, I first make sure my soldering tip and wires are well-tinted or pre-soldered. This allows heat to be easily transferred and makes everything much easier. Also use helping hands and/or tweezers to get in those tight spots!

      • Zachary Barnett

        Thanks, Kip. I think I’ll also clip on a heat sink as well, just in case.

  • Brandon Fa

    When will i be able to buy this kit?

  • Dylan Coates

    Well, looks like I’m going to have a lot of trouble with this one… My soldering skills are very poor. To make matters worse, I don’t even have a pair of helping hands :/

    • Joshua Post

      I was really intimidated by the Kipduino SMD part as well. I had to do it 3 times, but man is it satisfying when you get it all done and it works! I had to use basically no solder on my tip and just barely touch the pin to get enough solder to make it connect. I found that a better soldiering iron or even just a better tip than the inexpensive beginner stuff I had made a huge difference.

  • Alex Williamson

    I was looking to buy some of these 8×8 modules, but was concern about the wiring and programming. this kit is what the doctor ordered. Can’t wait to get started.

  • Jared

    I just finished my DIY gaming kit but when I turn it on it flashes for a split second and then it goes out

    • Joshua Post

      Going to need a little more to go on. Lets start by posting pictures of all of the main components from both the front and the back. If you turn it off and back on, does it flash again, or did it only flash once and then never again? Any response from any buttons?

      • Jared

        It flashes every time I turn it on and absolutely tithing happens when I hit any of the buttons

        • Joshua Post

          Going to be difficult to tell from pictures due to the amount of wire blocking views, but no way around that. Do you have a multimeter? If so, you can start testing for shorts or open circuits and verifying what voltage is getting everywhere.

          Also, review each cable to make sure it goes to the right place. Since it flashes every time you turn it on, it doesn’t sound like it has been permanently damaged. I haven’t got to do this project just yet, so not sure what else to recommend at this time. Often it is just one wire not connected or connected to the wrong spot that can do it.

        • Jimmy from Kipkay’s Team

          Try checking the solder connections. If not, see if the legs of the 8×8 matrix are properly being attached (sometimes when they are loose they will seem like they won’t turn on). If not, bend them inwards a bit. When we do these insert-into-socket things, we always find that sometimes they get loose because of soldering or just two parts being uncooperative.

      • Jared

        .h

  • Gheorghe Ciobanu

    I finished the kit, but first time I did it, I placed the ATMega chip upside down, nothing turned on, and nothing happened. Upon further investigation and looking for any solder joints or any mistakes I might have made, I have found that the notch on the chip is facing downwards, when in the pictures its facing upwards. I have switched the chip, to the correct position, but still nothing happens.
    Have I burned the chip, or what did I do wrong? I’m pretty sure my soldering and wiring is all correct.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Joshua Post

      I’m not certain if installing it backwards would burn it out or not. M
      Everyone always thinks they wired and soldered everything correctly. 🙂 If you have a multimeter, start by checking to ensure power is getting to your atmega and leds correctly. From there, keep working around to make sure everything is connected by testing for continuity with the multimeter.

      • Gheorghe Ciobanu

        Thanks Joshua. The atmega seems to have ~4.7V out of it. Unfortunately my multimeter doesn’t have continuity mode, so I can’t test each solder individually. I have attached some pictures of how the board looks like. And, yes, I did flip the switch 🙂

        • Joshua Post

          I haven’t built this yet, so if I say something completely wrong, just ignore/correct me.

          On the SMD soldering, double check the connections at 9/10 and 19/20 as they look awfully close to each other.

          Could you post a picture of your multimeter? Even my super cheap one has a Diode test mode you can use for continuity. It will show a 1 if the connection is open, and other numbers if it is connected. If it s 9 or less, you have a pretty unrestricted connection. If you can test that, I would start checking each of the pins from the SMD chip to wherever they get connected to something else, so you are testing your SMD, the headers, and your soldering to the Atmega or LED.

          I would also test the output of each pin of the Atmega and see what output you are getting. The schematics aren’t really telling me what goes on each pin, so it may be ok for some pins to have no output, but getting a documented list of what is getting some voltage out will be a good starting point.

        • Joshua Post

          Just an update. It appears that the instructions contain some errors as the ATMega chip is not connected to anything other than the oscillator. There should be somewhere it connects to the HT16K33 chip, but it isn’t shown anywhere. We have communication out to the design team and hope to get an update soon.

          • Gheorghe Ciobanu

            Thanks Joshua, I have checked ALL connection, each of the individually, and everything seems exactly as the instructions. I will definitely be on the look out for an update.

            Thanks for the help!

          • David Fries

            An additional step has been added, and the schematic has been updated. You’ll need to add two more wires, and cross your fingers that it will all work!

          • Sandy Le

            Hey Gheorghe!
            You need to add two wires shown here. Also refer to step 13 if you get lost.
            I hope this works for you! 🙂

    • Joshua Post

      One more thought. You did try flipping the power switch, right?

  • Michael LaFaso

    How do you go about switching the games?

    • David Fries

      Program your game and flash it to the ATmega8.

    • Jimmy from Kipkay’s Team

      You mean switching the game from snake to tetris? One of the buttons (I think the left most one) is the switch.

  • Kevin

    I am confused, i am looking at the wiring diagram before i build this and i do not see how the aTmega connects to the SMD chip or really anything at all besides power and ground. is that correct? if so what is the purpose of the aTmega chip then i this circuit if it isn’t connected to anything?

    • David Fries

      That was good thinking on your part to look before you leap. I did the DIY LED Bulb, and hadn’t opened this yet. I took a look at the schematic and instructions for the hobbyist kit and it is as you said. The ATmega8 is connected to the crystal and capacitors, power, ground, and a switch/resistor for reset, but nothing else. Pin 26 and 27 of the matrix controller chip are the SDA/SCL, the I2C communication pins, which should be what the microcontroller is communicating to it over. The circuit diagram and instructions show them each connected to a resistor and resistors connected to 5V. That makes no sense. I would expect them to be connected to pin 27 and 28 on the ATmega8. Hopefully the video tutorial will address this “The video tutorial will be up before April 18th 2015!”, maybe not.

      I’ve reposted the question to the KipKayKits group.

    • David Fries

      An additional step has been added, and the schematic has been updated. Please post if you see any other issues.

    • Jimmy from Kipkay’s Team

      A little late to the party but I think it’s been fixed and we’ve re-verified that everything works.

  • Sandy Le

    Apparently the instructions were missing the i2c connections from the Atmega8 to the HT16K33! It should be fine now.

  • Sandy Le

    Here’s mine! It took a while and I actually messed up and had to re-solder the HT16K33 chip until it finally worked 🙂

    • David Fries

      Way to go! It’s encouraging to others to see that some kits are successfully working.

    • Joshua Post

      Great! Thanks for sharing.

  • Jacob Bowman

    just wondering i couldn’t find anything online but are there any alternatives i could buy online for my gaming kit for the buttons as the way to control the game (not very specific question but i dont know how to ask it right).

    • Sandy Le

      Hi Jacob! Yeah, the buttons for this kit makes it hard to play.

      Here are some alternatives I found:

      https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10063

      https://www.adafruit.com/products/504

      the second one is the one used in the original here in:
      https://learn.adafruit.com/diy-3d-printed-handheld-pocket-game-tiny-tetris-snake?view=all#parts-and-tools

      • Jacob Bowman

        would it be an easy process replacing the switches with your joystick? how could i tackle that

        • David Fries

          Old school discrete joysticks shouldn’t be too bad. That is the joysticks that were a stick pressing one of four buttons like the Atari controllers. That involves replacing these switches with connections to the joysticks that make the right connections. Pretty much any joystick available now would have a potentiometer (or some other rotation sensor) for X and another for Y. You would pretty much have to hook them up to the analog inputs on the mirocontroller and then change the program to make use of them. That wouldn’t be so easy.

  • wastelandwonderer

    Hi
    I need your help. I have messed up soldering the ic chip and need help. I need help on tips to get it off, to test the chip to see if it still works (may have used to much heat) And if the worst has happened where I can get a replacement ic chip in the UK.

    • Joshua Post

      For getting the chip off the SMD board, the easiest way is some sort of heat source. I was lucky enough to have a heat gun from an embossing kit, but a hairdryer on high may generate enough heat as well. This way all of the solder can melt at the same time, and using some tweezers or pliers you can remove the chip while all solder is a liquid. You could try gently lifting while touching as many contact points as you can with a soldering iron, but chances of damage are pretty high.

      If you can confirm the chip is bad, you can e-mail [email protected] and ask them for options.

      • wastelandwonderer

        Hey dude thanks for the reply I went to my local tool shop and got a Desoldering tool. I think it did the job. I’ll continue with the build and see how it comes out. Thanks again. For your input.

        • David Fries

          What kind of a desoldering tool did you get? It might help someone else to know what has worked. You might want to check adjacent pads and pins with the multimeter set to resistance before starting to solder again to make sure you’ve gotten all the shorts out.

          • wastelandwonderer

            http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/electric-de-solder-pump-268mm-length-n37ch I went for this one but before reading the reviews which seem to be bad. I’ve only used this once and it worked fine. So I recommend it for now but time will tell. I also used thishttp://www.maplin.co.uk/p/flux-dispensing-pen-n63aa this helped the solder flow easy when using the desolder pump. Will check the break out board for shorts to make sure everything is okay. I’m not sure if my pictures upload as I can’t see them. I’ll try them again.

          • David Fries

            One picture came through, looks good. I have a solder sucker, I could see the advantage of having a heating element on the sucker, thanks, I didn’t realize something like that existed.

          • wastelandwonderer

            No worries. I’m learning as I’m going along. This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this. It is quite difficult. But I feel I’m getting better with each problem I’m solving. I’ve trying to find information on the best temperature to set my soldering iron. It seems to work best at 350c. Most sites sat to go lower. But when I do this it take forever to melt. Any tips.

          • Lavoz24

            I’ve discovered my soldering iron works best at 550 or above.

          • David Fries

            F? Mine only does up to 480 C.

          • wastelandwonderer

            Ok so I have finished it and have a problem the top row lights up and nothing else. Please help.

          • David Fries

            There are a lot of variables and I’ll keep changing it depending on what I’m doing. Which tip you use makes a big difference, nice clean and blunt doesn’t need as hot as a pointed one, as well as lead vs lead free solder. I was soldering some wires on pins with lead solder which worked great, but another time I used lead free and was melting the plastic which didn’t work so great.

    • Lavoz24

      You can use a solder braid to help remove the solder(place solder braid over area,heat and pull off). If you don’t have one you could use stranded wire(I have and it’s worked) or copper wire seems to work and even a solder suck.
      As for where to get another IC, I can’t say. Sorry.

  • Jacob Bowman

    i am hung up on a small issue it would not turn on so i took out my multimeter didnt find any shorts what so ever there was current throughout the whole thing except i notice all the resistors but the resister next to the 6 pin on the HT16K33 IC has no current along with any wires connecting to it

    • Jacob Bowman

      oh also i am using 1.2 volt batteries instead of 1.5 but that shouldnt affect

      • David Fries

        An earlier set of instructions forgot to connect up the ATmega with the HT16K33, do you have those connected? What voltage are you reading for power? Also read the ATmega pins on the crystal 9/10, and pins 27/28, then read them all while holding reset if you can manage it. This is where an oscilloscope would be useful to verify the ATmega is changing those pins, but I wouldn’t expect many people to have one.

        • Jacob Bowman

          i got it to turn on (my voltage was to low some new batteries fixed it) but not all matrices light up im thinking my ht16k33 isnt soldered to well

          • Joshua Post

            Double check each connection both from the breakout board to the LED and from the breakout board to the SMD chip. You could also try lightly pushing on the SMD chip and see if any more light up. If so it is probably the SMD joint that needs some work.

          • Jacob Bowman

            fixed it all now all lights but a vertical row in the bottom matrix work properly i cant seem to find a loose smd spot i looked closely all seems fine besides that one row im done 🙂

          • Jacob Bowman

            is there anyway to figure out which smd leg affects which matrix??

          • David Fries

            Look at the “CODE AND RESOURCES” tab for the LED Matrix diagram and the schematics to figure out how they are connected.

  • Matthew

    Hi, I am having some trouble with my begginer video game kit. I have finished soldering all of the joints and I think that there are no shorts but it won’t seam to work. When I turn it on it is like there are some rows on and some off. Also, if I move around the wires when it is on nothing happens but when I turn it off, move around the wires, and turn it back on, the dots on the led matrix are in a differnt spot. This is my first kipkay kit and I am really excited to get it working. If anyone knows what might be the problem, please let me know.

    • Joshua Post

      If things are lighting up when you have it turned off, they almost certainly indicates a short somewhere. Can you post pictures of the front and back if your kit?

      • Matthew

        here are some pics, thanks for helping! Also, I wanted to let you know that the buttons do not effect the LED matrix. Picture did not upload, adding them.

        • Matthew

          pics

        • Alex Pope

          Matthew, I am having the same issue minus the lights staying on when turned off. If you find a solution please lemme know

          • Matthew

            I will let you know if I find out any thing but I might know why the lights are staying on when it is turned off. there is probably a short where the positive lead from the battery connects the switch and the other wire connected to the switch that goes to the positive power rail or copper wire. Or the switch might be broken. Though for the light problem, it might be a little different because I am doing a beginner kit and I believe that you are doing a hobbyist kit, but they are probably very similar.

          • Joshua Post

            Whew, this project has so many wires it is hard to keep it all straight. I’m short on time the past few days, so haven’t had a chance to dig in deep, but in the 3rd picture you posted, there is a red wire in the middle of the page that looks like it could be touching another wire, so verify that.

            Go through each step from the beginning and verify each wire is exactly where it should be. My most common problem is a wire that I think it soldered to a pin, but just barely isn’t fully connected, or some of the wires have frayed out and I have to reheat the solder to melt it again and make sure there is a good solid connection.

      • Matthew

        Do you have any ideas?

    • Matthew Parets

      There is a bug in the schematic for the beginner kit. Check the site for the fix.

  • Alex Pope

    Hello,
    I am having a great deal of fun assembling all of this together I have learned a lot. However I ran into a small problem. When I went to turn it on only about 12 of the LED’s light up on the top board and next to none on the bottom. I will send you a photo of what I am talking about but if anyone could give me a hand on what it is in possibly missing is greatly appreciate it.
    Thanks,
    Alex

    • Joshua Post

      Can you also post some pictures of the back as well as a closer view of the SMD chip?

  • Owen

    Does the 16-Mhz Oscillator have to be put in a certain direction?

    • Joshua Post

      Nope

      • Owen

        Thanks

  • Alex Pope

    Does it matter if the semi circle on the micro controller are on opposite ends? A few of my light continue to night light up and I can’t find a solution..

    • Joshua Post

      That is very directional. Lok at the pictures and make sure the half circle on yours is facing the same way.

      • Alex Pope

        So I have the chip part you push in in th correct direction. However the bottom part of the micro controller is facing the other way. So I guess I’m asking if the semi circles need to be together or does the bottom circl matter?
        Thanks,
        Alex Pope

        • Joshua Post

          In that case you are fine. In future builds out the lower chip tray in the same direction as the final chip needs to be as convention is that you would match them so if someone else was putting a chip in, they can easily see how it was designed but there is nothing electrically different in the lower tray but the actual chip that goes on top must be in the orientation the project was designed for.

      • Alex Pope

        I see I see. Well for some reason only a few of my lights are wanting to light up. Not sure if you’d be able to help but I looked through everything with no success. I posted a picture of all the lights that won’t turn on just the other day and will send you another when I can. The first game is Tetris, second is snake, and the third is a drawing game that should have every light light up correct?

  • Gheorghe Ciobanu

    Hey,

    A few weeks ago, I posted my kit that it wasn’t working, and then Sandy Lee said that I need to add two more wired to connect the ATmega to the SMD chip, I did that, and after that some LEDs of the matrix turned on and some didn’t(I see that others have this problem as well), at the time I got tired of it and stopped working on it since it wasn’t working.
    Now, I’m back at it, and want to fix it and make it work, I have tested all connections about 4 times, and they all are in the correct position as in the pictures, I have used a multimeter to see if the SMD chip is properly soldered, and it looks good. What else can I do to see what’s wrong, how can I use a multimeter to check the voltage in the connections? I really want to get this working, but it just doesn’t want to happen. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Here is a link with pictures: http://imgur.com/a/C07mq#0

    • Joshua Post

      As you said, several people have had similar issues. I haven’t had the chance to build it myself yet to see if I encounter the same thing or not.

      • Gheorghe Ciobanu

        Ok Joshua, let me know when you build it, I would like to know your experiences with the kit as well! 🙂

    • David Fries

      You can start testing by pulling out each LED Matrix then using the diode test on your multimeter and the matrix pin diagram in CODE & RESOURCES verify each LED lights up correctly.

      If you have the hardware and software to reprogram the ATmega8 I would suggest coding up some test patterns. If you can do so it is useful to turn all the LEDs on, then one column at a time, one row at a time, and finally each LED in sequence. If you know a row/column should be continuously on you touch each connection with the multimeter to help track down where the signal gets lost.

      With the help of the circuit diagram and matrix diagram you can trace a row/column that is working and one that isn’t, then use an extra wire to bridge the power then ground on the back of the LED matrix between the two to try to drive the non working one from the working one. That will help you narrow down if it is power or ground, assuming you figure out which it is, move your bridge each step closer to the matrix driver chip to try to narrow down which connections are a problem.

      • Gheorghe Ciobanu

        Thanks David! I see the matrix pin diagram, but I have no idea how to use it.
        When I touch one pin from one side and one pin from the other side of the LED matrix with my multimeter on diode test, some connections might and some connections might not light up.
        How would I go about testing the LED matrix with my multimeter?

        • David Fries

          The matrix diagram has two sets of numbers, the row/column number and the pin number. See the circuit diagram for the pin number assignment of the matrix.

          • Gheorghe Ciobanu

            Ok, I see what you are talking about, the col, row and pin numbers.

            So for example pin 13 from column 1 would go to what pin in which row?

          • Joshua Post

            Whew, that was difficult to figure out for me, but I finally got it. I’ll see if I can explain. This video helped me identify Pin 1 and 16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrqGcrqtouA
            This particular model is referenced as type Row Cathode Column Anode, which means we apply the red probe with positive power to the columns and the black probe with ground to the rows.
            http://megtestesules.info/hobbielektronika/adatlapok/LED8x8_1088AS.pdf

            If you are looking at the top of the matrix, with the LEDs facing up at you, orient the matrix so the small bump in the middle of the flat side is on the lower edge. (This is the key to keep the orientation straight) This means the pins should be going left to right across the top and bottom. Once you have your matrix in this orientation, go to the next paragraph.

            Still looking down onto the face of the LED matrix, the pins go from the lower left pin as Pin 1, going right to the lower right as Pin 8, then the upper right corner as Pin 9 going left to upper left as Pin 16.
            Note: When you flip the matrix over to more easily see the pins for testing with your multimeter, everything will be be reversed. Flip it over to the right or left, so the key stays on the bottom, and now Pin 1 is on the lower right, and going left to the lower left for Pin 8, and then up to the upper left for Pin 9 and going right to the upper right as Pin 16.

            Looking at the schematic, it gets confusing because there is a Column and Row number, which indicates where the LEDs are located when looking at the front, but there are also Pin numbers going across and down which don’t match up as you may expect.

            Get your multimeter in Diode test mode, which looks like an arrow with a vertical line at the point of the triangle, or it may have sound waves on it.
            So lets look at the upper left LED in the schematic. It is located at Column 1 and Row 1, but shows Pin 13 and Pin 9. Pin 13 is the column, and since this a “Column Anode” display, you will place your red probe on Pin 13, which is going to be on the top row, 5 from the left. Pin 9 is the row, and since this is a “Row Cathode” display, you will place the black probe on Pin 9, which is going to be on the top row, far left. If you have the display upside down like I have it while testing, the upper right corner lights up which you can see through the back of the display, but flipping it over to the left so the LEDs are on the top, the upper left corner is lit, just like the schematic shows. If you wanted to test the next LED to the right, looking at the schematic we see Column 2, Row 1 is connected to Pin 3 positive and Pin 9 ground. You can go from there.

            So looking this over, I don’t see in the instructions where it specifies which direction to have the displays when you plug them into the headers of your board, so try plugging it in with the key facing the other direction and see if it starts behaving as it should. If it still doesn’t, you could test each LED individually to ensure that the display is fully operational.

            If you figure out which orientation for the display is correct, let us know and we’ll have it added to the directions to clarify.

          • David Fries

            It might be useful to hold it and look at it from the back and use a mirror or something to see which LED lit up.

          • Gheorghe Ciobanu

            Hey Joshua,

            Thanks for the detailed replied, I have followed all your steps, and I have a good understanding of how the LCD works now, thanks!

            But the problem is that when I connect pin 13 with pin 9, while keeping the notch down, so it’s the correct position, the top-left LED doesn’t light up. I tried this on both LCD, and it’s the same problem. Could this be because of the LCD, or am I doing something wrong?

            Thanks! 🙂

            Images:

            http://i.imgur.com/PJsZDi5.jpg

            http://i.imgur.com/O0O2fbS.jpg

          • David Fries

            This should help, put the notch on the right so it is the same alignment as the circuit diagram, it is still looking at it from the back but at least it isn’t rotated.

          • Gheorghe Ciobanu

            oops, I got it the wrong direction. The LED matrix works perfectly, I think the problem is with the kit itself not the matrix. How can I test which connection isn’t correct. Is there a program I can flash to the ATMega? I have an arduino that I can switch the chip. And then maybe I can see which LED/connection isn’t wired correctly, and check to see what’s wrong.
            Is that how you check the connections?

          • David Fries

            Good to hear the matrix tested out. The original program can be downloaded from the CODE and RESOURCES. I don’t have of any alternative that would produce test patterns for debugging the hardware. You could use that program for a starting point, that’s how I would do it, just make sure to backup what came on the ATmega so you can get back to that version when you are finished. Without a static test pattern it is more difficult to follow the voltage through the wiring.

          • Joshua Post

            Did my writeup help?

  • Sam Shim

    Hey everyone! I was wondering if anyone knows the wire gauge used in these kits. I plan to buy spools of wire and would like to have this kind as well. I think it’s this kind http://www.amazon.com/Stranded-Length-0-0126-Diameter-UL1007/dp/B00N51OU0W/, but I’m not sure. Thank you!

    • Joshua Post

      I’m not sure if the exact gauge of what the kit contains, but I purchased this one from Amazon http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B4ZQ3L0?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage
      It is 22 gauge and works fine except for the FM Radio project where it was a little too thick for the FM chip.

      I think the 28 gauge should work just fine.

      • Sam Shim

        Thank you!

      • Matthew Parets

        Here is a follow up question, if I wanted to get some general purpose wire to use in low power electronics like this what would you suggest? Thinner would be easier to deal with, is 28 gauge too think for general purpose? Suggestions?

        • David Fries

          http://kipkaykits.com/faq/

          I’ve been using 24 AWG. For these kinds of kits I wouldn’t go with the bigger wires (18, 20, 22). 28 should be fine.

  • Kevin L

    Hello, I just finished soldering the last wire into place and put the batteries in turned the switch on and……. nothing happened. I have checked all my connections and there are no shorts, all the cables are soldered to the right place, there is power going to the board but i am unsure of what else to check. Can anyone please help?

    • Joshua Post

      First off, make sure your chip is inserted in the same direction as the instructions show. There is a half circle on one side of the chip to help orient it.

      Make sure power is getting to the chip and to the SMD chip if doing the hobbyist kit.

      If still no luck, post some pictures of the front and back and we can see if anything obvious sticks out. This kit has a lot of wire so it is difficult to follow every one through pictures.

      • Kevin L

        4.7v is getting to the chip. I have checked all the pins from the chip to the board and all looks to be ok

        • Joshua Post

          Not saying I see anything wrong, but double check your capacitors and oscillator as it can easily cause all sorts or random problems.

          • Kevin L

            Just redone the connections for good measure but still nothing? Maybe I’ll have to desolder everything and start again?

          • David Fries

            What voltage do you read for the crystals? What about for the rest pin of the microcontroller?

          • Kevin L

            2.25v and 1.6v. Pins 28 and 26 are getting 4.7v

          • David Fries

            “Pins 28, 21, 20, 1, 3, 7 are getting 4v” Your posting showed 4v, is that also your battery volage? 4v is lower than the required voltage for the ATmega, is this a fresh set of batteries? Is the battery voltage drawn down a lot when it is on vs off? I forgot what voltage to expect for the crystals, but I thought they were closer together or the same. At least you aren’t getting 0V or Vcc on those two, that would definitely be the wrong answer. I also question the pin 28/27 those are what it communicates with the matrix chip, there should be some activity on both pins which would show up as something other than a solid Vcc and 0V. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of debug points to track down what is what the problem is.

          • Kevin L

            Should there be continuity between the ground that goes to the resistor between the headers and atmega chip and the ground on the htk board? Because on mine there seems to be two halves of ground? (Hope that makes sense).

          • David Fries

            Are you referring to the 10 kOhm resistor next to the line of 8 330 Ohm resistors? On the circuit diagram it is listed as connecting to T14 and button Left. That resistor is connected on one side to a 330 Ohm resistor to the HTK and the other side is connected to the push buttons (which when not held are open). That resistor isn’t connected to ground on either side.

            I’m not sure what you mean by two halves of ground. The ground for the ATmega and HTK need to show no resistance between them.

  • Matt

    Has anyone got the beginner video game kit working? I’m having the same problem that Jared posted a month ago with the beginner kit: when I turn it on random led’s will flash once and then nothing happens (sometimes when I turn it on no led’s at all will flash). I’ve attached a picture of the back. It seems that there are 5 volts where they’re supposed to be, and I did a quick recheck of the wiring and connections and couldn’t find any problems. I did have to desolder the shift registers (using a heat gun at about 700F) since I soldered them in the wrong orientation at first, so it’s possible they’re not working correctly. Anyway I guess I’d like to find out if anyone has actually got the thing to work.

    • Joshua Post

      Sorry, I haven’t done the Beginner kit, so I’m not much help. It is the same LEDs that light when you first turn it on, or do they change each time?

      • Matt

        They change each time.

        • Joshua Post

          I don’t think I’m going to be able to offer much help outside of recommending you triple check your connections.

          • Matthew Parets

            Did you ever find the solution to this problem? I the same thing is happening to me. I flip the power switch and LEDs light up in random groups, then nothing. If you do on/off in quick succession nothing displays at all. After a brief wait it happens again. Always different groups. Any suggestions?

          • Matthew Parets

            Here are a couple of wiring photos. I know you can’t see the connections under the yellow wires, but I have triple checked them for continuity.

            Any hints where it might have gone wrong will be greatly appreciated.

    • Matthew Parets

      There was a bug in the schematic for the beginner kit. check the site for the fix.

  • mohnish

    i finished the beginner kt but nothing seems to work my led matrix is not lighting up at all can someone please do a beginner kit video this is also my first kipkay kit so any tips for general will also be helpful

    • Matthew Parets

      There was a bug in the schematic to the beginner kit. Check the site for the fix.

  • mohnish

    My beginner kit only does this and changes everytime I only got it to this by randomly pressing the momentary switches

    • Joshua Post

      On your display, is the model number printed on the left side or the right? if it is on the right, your display is turned the wrong direction.

    • Matthew Parets

      There is a bug in the schematic for the beginner kit. Check the update on the page for details.

  • wastelandwonderer

    Mine just does this. Any tips?

    • David Fries

      Are the LED model numbers on the left side of each LED Matrix? Does it do anything different if you swap them? What if you turn it off, press and hold the rest button, keep holding it while you turn it on, see what the LEDs do, then release reset?

      • wastelandwonderer

        Hey man. Yeah the numbers are on the left. Tried what you said and nothing happens. The top row will only light up and nothing else and this is only after I press the light level up switch. Very strange. Will I have to program the chip or does it come programed?

        • David Fries

          The microcontrollers come preprogrammed. Are you saying you turn it on, no LEDs, press/release light level up switch, then the one row comes on? Then what happens if you press reset?

          • wastelandwonderer

            Nothing happens when I press reset. And yes only the first row comes on and only once I press the light level button. When I set the multimeter to the setting in the pic and go from pin 28 on the breakout board to each of the other pins that controls a row the lights for each of those rows comes on. So I know the leds works and I know the cables from the breakout board to the leds are good.

          • David Fries

            What’s supposed to happen is the microcontroller tells the HTK what pins to turn on and what to ground. If it was working right reset would start the program over on the microcontroller and change the LEDs. Your multimeter is set for a diode test, which I wouldn’t expect to have enough power to drive a row of LEDs. Were you doing this test when the circuit was powered? An earlier version of the instructions failed to connect the microcontroller to the HTK, it is pins 27 and 28 on the Atmega, check to make sure they are connected properly.

  • Kevin

    finally had some time this weekend to knock this kit out.

    Anyone know how to switch snake on?

    • Kevin

      Nevermind, just figured out how to switch games. from the home page i guess you go left or right

      awesome kit!!

      • David Fries

        Great, thanks for posting a successful kit build.

        • Kevin

          No problem, check it out i used the MP3 player to add theme music. i have play/pause and volume up and down

          • David Fries

            Nice, I assume the buttons are connected directly to the MP3 player as opposed to any software changes for the microcontroller to control the MP3 player?

          • Kevin

            Oh yea i added a Play/Pause and volume up and down buttons. I only have the one tetris song on there so i didn’t need forward and back track buttons.

            I showed a friend the completed game and he had to say, “if it only had the theme music now.”

          • Kevin

            Sorry for the late reply, been busy

            yes i added the MP3 player as a separate circuit, just sharing power. i use this kit often, love practical/useful kits

  • Matthew Parets

    Has anyone gotten the beginner kit to work yet?

    I have out it together as per the instructions. I triple checked the position of all of the componants. I triple checked to see that the wires connect the correct componants. The ATmega chip is seated correctly, and the led matrix has the numbers facing left.

    I then went and checked continuity and checked for shorts on each connection. I did this both from the wire side, and from the componants side of the board. Twice.

    The only strangeness that I encountered was across the reset switch. When checking continuity rather than registering as one ohm and dropping off to zero when the button is pressed, it registers as 182 ohms without the press, and drops off the zero when the button is pressed (see the picture below). This is without batteries attached.

    And with all of that, I still get nothing. When the power is switched on, I get a random group of LEDs that flash and then go out, and nothing else until I switch the power off and back on again; at which point I get another random group of Leigh’s and then nothing.

    Attached are some wiring photos. Can anyone verify that following the directions produces a working game?

    • Matthew Parets

      I have been doing some digging into how the different components work and discovered that my power up flash is caused by shift registers. Without data to work with at power up they control based on what their random state was when power is applied. Without anything to maintain the random state they clear immediately.

      This again suggests that I have everything wired correctly and is starting to point at the programming on the micro controller.

      I have a crazy suggestion/request based on the fact that I am not seeing that anyone posted success at building the beginner kit. Could there be a programing issues with micro-controller? Can someone at KipKay Kits HQ pull one of the kits and plug the micro controller into the prototype to see if it works?

      • David Fries

        I didn’t get the beginner kit, sorry I can’t confirm myself that it does or doesn’t work as shipped.

        Do you have the hardware to be able to reflash the ATmega? Because if it were me I would be loading my own software to help debug what was going on. It helps to start from someplace to prove it works before you can build on that and troubleshoot more. In this case maybe add a binary counting sequence to some unused pins and watch for those to change. That would help verify the microcontroller is working in the circuit.

        • Matthew Parets

          No, I don’t have a way program the chip. All of the Arduios that I have worked with have been been tiny with surface mounted processors. Hence my call for help, and the hope that the build team would run this quick test for me.

          I do have the Kipduino sitting unbuilt in a box… I guess the next step is building the Arduino clone. This will test to see if my wiring skills are up to the task of a large project, and when I get it together I will be able to check the micro controller for the game kit.

          I was hoping to get thumbs up or thumbs down before I launched into another long build project like that.

          Assembling electronics is just as big a hoot as programming. And having a tangible object when you are done gives you something concrete to show off for your investment of time. Debugging however, is much easier on the software side.You can always ask the computer its current state and the computer will tell you what is going on. I’ve asked the circuit board for game kit what the problem is repeatedly, and it has yet to utter a single word. 😉

      • Joshua Post

        Thanks for the added detail. I don’t have the beginner kit either, but I think this is helpful. I’ve sent out a message to the team to see if we can get some additional testing or assistance from the designers.

        Could you try removing the ATMega chip entirely and powering up your project and see if the shift registers do the exact same thing or if anything is different in that configuration? Just trying to see if anything is being sent to them, or if they aren’t receiving any input. Could also be a mistake in the instructions and you have been doing everything as shown. Hopefully we will have some additional info soon.

        • Matthew Parets

          I removed the micro-processor chip and powered it up and the display lights and stays lit. In other words, I am getting the same random groups of LED’s light up that were flashing before, but without the ATMega chip in place they stay lit.

          This seems to suggest that the Micro-processor is in line and working… and that there might be something wrong with the programming.

          Or is that too much of a stretch to infer all that from that little added evidence?

          • David Fries

            It does show a different behavior, but not sufficient to say for sure what the problem is. These microprocessor pins are supposed to come up in a low impedance mode, kind of like saying as if each were a really big resistor, so they aren’t going to sink or source much current, but even in this mode it might be enough to clear it even if it didn’t ever changed those pins, I don’t know. I would agree that it does sound like there’s something going on with the microprocessor.

          • Joshua Post

            It certainly points to something but not concrete just yet. Hopefully we hear back from the design team soon.

          • Matthew Parets

            Has there been any word from the design team?

          • Joshua Post

            Not yet. I’m reaching out again.

    • John Dempsey

      I have found and fixed your problem, see my post above 🙂

      • Matthew Parets

        Thanks for the direct reply, if this hadn’t popped up in my Gmail I would have taken a while for me to notice the update. I will post back as soon as I get a chance to work on it… it may take a few days.

  • John Dempsey

    In the original instructions, the data and the clock pins going into the microcontroller are reversed from what they should be. Switch these two and the kit should work. This solves the problem that Matthew Parets and many others encountered. If you get any dead rows or columns in the LED matrix, make sure that there are no solder bridges and everything is wired correctly.

    • Joshua Post

      John, is this only for the Beginner directions or the Hobbyist as well?

      • John Dempsey

        As far as I know, it is only for the Beginner kits. I have not checked the Hobbyist, but they are seperate from each other so I don’t have reason to believe the Hobbyist has an issue. No one has reported problems with the Hobbyist kit?

        • David Fries

          Yes there have been problems reported with the Hobbyist kit, but there are others who have successfully completed the kit (once the ATmega and SMD chip were connected, which was originally missing from the instructions), so it would seem that the instructions for the Hobbyist are correct.

      • John Dempsey

        Another problem is that the pins on the 8×8 led matrix are not as long as they ought to be. I’m having to press down on the screen to see all leds be able to light up. I worked around this by soldering wires on the matrix to extend them, and that seems to work best, if maybe a hack-ish workaround.

    • Matthew Parets

      That did it! — It turns out I couldn’t wait and I skipped lunch to implement the fix.

      I do have one lingering problem. One of the rows is dark, and one of the columns are intermintant. How do I diagnose which of the pins is causing this problem? I have checked and rechecked the connections and they all seem fine. so I am assuming the problem is with the header and I would like to avoid soldering extensions on to each of the display pins. Direct wire to wire soldering… that way insanity lies.

      • Joshua Post

        Refer to the schematic of The display to determine which pins you need to investigate. I have another comment in this project that may also help understand the pin layout.

  • Sandy Le

    The instructions have been updated!

    The problem was in step 12, simply flip the two wires connecting pins 17 and 18 of the Atmega chip.

    • Matthew Parets

      Thanks for this picture. I would have taken me forever to track down the difference from the original and the changes made. I will post back a status update once I have had a chance to integrate the changes.

  • Matthew Parets

    Sigh… Done.

    Once I swapped the wires for the data and clock pins on the micro controller I was good to go. I had the same issue that John described, with a row on the display not firing. It took a bit of figuring, but it turns out that row four of the display is actually column four from the display’s schematic and it is controlled by pin 10. Rather than soldering a longer lead on the end I took a really thin wire I had from another project (about the thickness of a single strange of 24 gauge wire and placed it all the way down into the header. This made the connection I needed without the added complication.

    The photos below show my little hack to get the pin connected, the missing row pryer to the hack, and the front and back of the completed game. And a little bonus, here is a link to a video showing the game in action:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4mTLJyvf2JDWVRHTXpzWWRzVDg/view?usp=sharing

    And it works. A slick little machine. Can’t wait to write my own game for the machine.

  • Dly736

    I finished the kit, and it doesn’t work. It displays some weird pattern. Any ideas what’s wrong or how I should start troubleshooting?

    • David Fries

      Does the pattern change over time? Is it the same pattern if you turn it off and back on? What about pressing reset?

      Check step 13 connecting the Microcontroller to the HT16K33 and also look at the schematic. If you go straight from one to the other, the wires cross.

      • Dly736

        The pattern stays the same over time, however there is one that flashes. The same pattern shows if you turn it off and back on. Pressing the reset does nothing.

        I rechecked step 13 and I had it wired correctly i.e the wires crossed

      • Dly736

        Hi, I recently went back and checked all connections with a multimeter for the second time. I was still unable to find something that was wrong. Is there any more tips on trouble shooting?

        • David Fries

          If you have access to a programmer to change the code on the microcontroller and are able to program it might be useful to write a test program. One that might turn on each LED in turn, or go by rows or columns or only change each time a button is pressed to let you use the multimeter to narrow down on where the problem is.

  • zac cornell

    On the beginner kit I see that on the instructions that one set of wires are blue but I don’t have the blue wires I got grey tho is that it? I got everything else tho

    • David Fries

      The color of the wires doesn’t matter, it does help when comparing your kit with the instructions, so using a close color like gray for blue will be better than something like hot pink.

      • zac cornell

        So the wire itself are all the same is that what ur saying?

        • Joshua Post

          Yep

        • David Fries

          Correct, just the pigments are different. There are some standard colors, like red for positive, black for negative, the colors just help you keep track.

          • zac cornell

            Oh ok thanks for that

  • zac cornell

    Does anyone know if this will be a problem I can put one side of the controller into the micro controller but the other side will only go in slightly and it’s kinda working but I’ll put another post on what’s happening

    • David Fries

      What matters is the pins making good electrical connections, it will be better if it is “seated” properly. Removing the LED matrix will help. Normally on these microcontrollers I always have to pinch the legs further together to line up with the socket, adjust them down the row a little bit at a time until they are at the right distance for the socket.

  • zac cornell

    And now with my final problem when I turn on the game it kinda works but there’s only 2 sets of 2 dots and the bottom one moves by itself I can control it but only for 2 seconds till the game restarts itself and they move by themselves can anyone help?

  • Loki_Gamer

    When I finally finished the project and put in the batteries, the power switch did nothing and the microcontroller got REALLY hot. rushed to take out the batteries. What went wrong?

    • David Fries

      Check to make sure that positive from your battery is connected to the power switch and that is connected to the correct pin on the microcontroler. The schematic has the pins numbered so you can count to make sure it is on the correct pin. It would definitely be a problem if the power and ground were switched.

      If the power switch didn’t do anything that’s also a problem and maybe a short at the power switch, if the power switch is off nothing should be getting power.

  • PooperGubben

    I bought the diy gaming kit advanced and i didn’t get the HT16k32 IC. What shall i do?

  • Zac (Kaza)

    hey i started this kit a while back and i broke the controller when trying to make it sit right im just wondering can i buy another pre programmed controler or do i have to buy the kit again?

  • michael colen

    Hi i built the hobbyist version of the kit and it sorta works when the dots pass from one led matrix to the other it goes out and then comes back on and some of the leds are out on the second matrix. Could someone please tell me whats wrong.

  • Jonas Ulvestad

    Hi i need to solder board with the HT16k32 IC on the perfboard and the “male headers” are too long. Can you cut the male headers to the correct size?

    • Andy

      I think it will still work, don’t cut anything until a mod replies

    • David Fries

      Could you take a picture and point out what you are seeing as too long? The picture for step “4) Male Headers” has a pretty good picture of the breakout board with the pin headers on each side. The shorter side goes up into the breakout board, the longer ones go down and they need the length to go all the way through the next board and be able to stick out enough to solder in place. Unless there was a mix up and you have the wrong headers, and I don’t know if I would cut them even then.

      Good to hear from you, please also post when it is finished and working!

      • Jonas Ulvestad

        Hi it is not the “pins” that is too long it is the number of pins, but thanks for the rapid response!

        • David Fries

          That’s not a problem to cut off the pins that you don’t need.

          • Jonas Ulvestad

            Ok thanks! Also does the resistors polarity matter? (I mean does it matter which way you put it in??

          • Joshua Post

            Not on resistors.

          • Jonas Ulvestad

            Thanks!

  • Jonas Ulvestad

    Hi again.

    I need to wire the whole thing together but some of the wires are incredibly short!? Is it possible to solder them together?

    • David Fries

      That’s a bummer, they’ve debated on providing wire or not, this is one of the problems with pre cut wires, not having the right length. Soldering them together is fine, if you do that you might use some electrical tape. I have one of the kits from Amazon with multiple colors, see the FAQ on the left.