Building an electronic device - I know what I want to do...but what parts?

Okay, so I want to make a little hand-eye coordination tester device. I’m sure there are similar devices already on the market that I could by (ie. Simon) but I’m looking to do some customization that I wouldn’t be able to do with such a device.

Here’s what I’m looking to do…

Basically, I want a set of I/Os (probably a dozen) that will function like this:

I/O gets a signal from the controller. Upon getting a signal the I/O flips a NO connection closed, which will then light an LED for two seconds. If the button connected to that same spot (or an associated I/O) is pressed, the controller increments a score. After a button press, or the timer elapsing, the circuit goes back to open and the light goes out.

The controller needs to have inputs and outputs and needs to be able to randomize, keep score, and do the I/O mentioned above. If it’s PC-based, obviously it’ll be a whole lot easier to program.

The question is, what kind of parts do I need, and where do I look to find them?


A couple of questions first. What sort of budget do you have, and are you reasonably competent with a soldering iron? If you want a very cheap solution, building one yourself from discrete components will probably be the only option; if you’re prepared to spend $100 or so, a basic digital I/O card for a PC might be better.

I can solder - but I really hate it. I’ve completely vaporized more than one contact on a circuit board before.

So, let’s go for the PC card instead!


OK. :slight_smile: What you’ll need is a sixteen (or more)-channel DIO card - something like the Measurement Computing USB-1024LS or the Acces PCI-DIO-24H - or a similar card from another manufacturer. Most cards will come with suitable software libraries to enable you to write the controller program in the language of your choice.

Apart from that, all you’ll need are the LED’s (and associated bias resistors) and buttons, a box of some sort to put them in, and a cable to connect the box to the card. You won’t need any additonal active components.


Thanks for the help. I’m going to go ahead and order one ASAP.