switched off, then plug your PICkit 2 (or
other) programming cable between your
computer’s USB and the PCB’s 6-pin header
(Figure B). The PICkit software should automatically detect the presence of a PICkit
device. Load PC1000.hex onto the chip by
navigating to its folder location and clicking
the Load button. Disconnect the programming cable, and the Pendulum Challenge is
ready to play.
solder the batteries themselves, as this may result
in explosion and release
of toxic fumes. Before connecting the programming
cable, always make sure
the PCB’s power switch
is in the off position, and
don’t turn the power back
on until the programmer
has been disconnected.
5. Choose a panel or enclosure.
To frame and carry the PCB and prevent short
circuits on its soldered side, I mounted it to
an aluminum panel using double-sided foam
tape strips (hot glue could work too if it’s
thick enough). The panel had previously been
the lid for an enclosure, and I drilled a hole in
each corner to accommodate 4 plastic hole
plugs as protective feet (Figure C). You can
mount the PCB to just about any flat object
it will stick to or mount it inside an enclosure.
6. Let the fun begin.
Carefully insert batteries if you haven’t
already, observing the proper polarities. Slide
the power switch on (to the right) and push
the green Start button to initiate the virtual
pendulum. Push the green button again to
attempt to stop the pendulum on the target.
To enable silent mode, hold the black button
down for 2 seconds.
Photography by Ken Delahoussaye, Sam Murphy (Figure A)
As mentioned, you’ll have up to 15 tries
total, after which the game shows your score
by illuminating the corresponding number
of LEDs. As with golf, lower is better.
You’ll find that the game is quite intuitive,
and in no time you’ll be challenging your
friends to see who can attain the best score.
The Pendulum Challenge was a real hit at
career day. Everyone wanted to try it, and
it made several trips around the room as
students wanted another chance to improve
their score. I was pleased with this reaction.
And ever since, the Pendulum Challenge has
been getting frequent workouts from my
12-year-old daughter, who still enjoys the
challenge and continues to better her score. ;
Download the Pendulum Challenge PCB
layout, circuit schematic, and software at
makezine.com/26/pendulum. Get the
complete kit at makershed.com/pendulum.
Ken Delahoussaye ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a software engineer and consultant in Melbourne, Fla., who specializes in
embedded firmware and PC applications. He also maintains
Kadtronix ( kadtronix.com), a website featuring automation
and control resources.
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