Change internal logic from relays to an Arduino


© Lead Image © donatas1205,

© Lead Image © donatas1205,

Article from Issue 260/2022

An electronic project at a local science center was showing its age, calling for a refresh: in this case, rebuilding it almost from scratch with an Arduino instead of relays.

A museum exhibit called Buzzwire looks like outlines of two oversized hands giving you a high five (Figure 1). Each hand has a metal handle with a loop, and your goal is to move the loops up and down the hand without touching it. For an even bigger challenge, you can try to do both hands at once in the same or opposite directions. If either loop touches the hands, a buzzer and light come on and the handle vibrates.

Figure 1: The Buzzwire exhibit (after the rebuild).

The original circuitry for the hands comprised interconnecting timer relays to switch the assorted components. The design had no microcontrollers or anything smarter than a switch, which had several drawbacks – but the main one was that if the puzzle was abandoned mid-run, the light, buzzer, and vibration motor would run continuously until the handles were removed.


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