Fizz Buzz

Back in Dec 2017, I proposed the idea of a Fizz Buzz game as an entry to a Ben Heck Show competition to win a Hex Game. And I was lucky enough to win. The following spring, I started creating the project and got as far as creating a software prototype in Python. But I was distracted by the launch of the Little Saw book, a Terry Pratchett inspired robotic toolchest and a trip to Maker Central. I also had a few challenges with the Trinket M0 which I was using as the “brain” of my project.

Following the move to the new workshop, I found the Hex Game and the parts for Fizz Buzz. So I decided it was time to see if I could get that project finished. For the display, I wanted to use 14 segment display so I could display Fizz and Buzz in text as well as the numbers.

At around the time I started the project, the Raspberry Pi Pico was just out so it made sense to use that to drive my game. I looked into driving the displays directly and also using custom chips. The direct drive wasn’t possible as the Pico can’t source enough current to drive all of the displays at once. Although custom display driver chips do exist they were only available in surface mount options and I’m still not quite there for working with SMD. So I picked a shift register as a way to drive the digits. Along with 4 transistors that allowed me to control each of the 14 segments for each of the four digits. The inputs were simple push buttons so I didn’t need any additional hardware for those. The code was written in MicroPython so I could re-use some of the

You can see the end results along with the details of how it works in the video below. If you’ve got any questions or additional ideas then head over to the Element14 community.

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