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Author Topic: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems  (Read 1355 times)

Jeremy Nelson

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Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« on: November 18, 2019, 12:04:01 PM »
Anyone whose ever been interested in buying their own buzzer set knows they can be costly. What hardware/software you guys currently use? I’ve seen things as cheap as an Eggspert and as costly as a $700 Academic Bowl lockout system.

One of the cool things I just happened upon is the Xbox Adaptive Controller- it allows you to connect various buttons and control systems, but those peripherals can be expensive, and it would require a piece of software to connect to.
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Joe Mello

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2019, 12:55:29 PM »
I'm still using the wired Buzz! PS2 peripheral through Joy2Key. I have the wireless versions as well but I haven't played around with them yet.
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TLEberle

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2019, 02:31:17 PM »
For home use I'm happy with the Quizzard from 1987 or so. If people played more buzz-to-answer games at home with me I would look into the Trebisky eight-player octopus looking thing. Each paddle can be turned on or off so you can lock-out people who have already answered. Only hitch is the $100 price tag and that's for something I may use once yearly if I'm fortunate.
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nowhammies10

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2019, 02:53:32 PM »
One of the cool things I just happened upon is the Xbox Adaptive Controller- it allows you to connect various buttons and control systems, but those peripherals can be expensive, and it would require a piece of software to connect to.

Yeah, the peripherals are the real barrier to entry here.  Otherwise, it's a standard Sixaxis controller with two large buttons, supported natively on Windows.  It's a Face-Off buzzer set right out of the box.

I, like Joe Mello, am still using the wired Buzz! paddles.  I can't seem to source the wireless ones locally.

Sodboy13

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2019, 03:17:31 PM »
I picked up the wireless Buzz PS3 controllers a few years back for $40 or $50, I think, and they do work great. Amazon has made "buttons" designed as buzz-in devices to be paired with an Echo for trivia games, but I don't know if they'd have any potential for use outside Amazon's own systems.
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James

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2019, 03:22:29 PM »
I have a series of buttons connected through a MakeyMakey via cat5 cable and then a scoreboard/lockout system from Crowd Control Games.

dscungio

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2019, 07:53:33 PM »
I, like Joe Mello, am still using the wired Buzz! paddles.  I can't seem to source the wireless ones locally.

I have both the wired and wireless Buzz! buzzers.  The wired ones go for around $15-$20 on eBay, and the wireless are about $20-$35.

As for connecting the wireless ones, try following the instructions on this page: http://www.decsoftware.com/wireless_buzzers.htm  (You'd have to get the SimpleHIDWrite program and you may need to hit the dongle button a second time during setup.)

Neumms

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2019, 10:48:51 AM »
Has anyone tried the app Fastest Finger? I haven't had an opportunity to play with it yet, and I suppose it's not as fun tapping a phone as hitting a big button, but the price is right.

mrcity

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2019, 06:54:45 PM »
Here's a project my wife & I did almost 9 years ago for a community event with students.  We built a lockout buzzer system with Staples "Easy" buttons and an Arduino.  The funniest part is how the buttons say "That was easy!" when someone rings into one of my questions.   :D  There is an IC chip containing the audio; would've been funny if I could've had the buttons talk back to the contestants so the later ones say "Too late!"  Unfortunately I think Staples modified their buttons just a couple years later to reduce the cost and somehow lose their hackability altogether.  :(

Forum post: https://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=57558.0

Then about 6 years later, we worked on a legit-looking Family Feud podium for a local game convention that likes to run Family Feud with the YouTube celebs who drop by.  This one is styled after the Ray Combs-era version in the way it flashes its lights (the best FF podium lighting effect IMO), a strip of WS2812 LEDs just inside the frosted acrylic.  Only thing is...how did those TV prop professionals get the podium on the real show so black when it's inactive?  ???

Image: http://www.stev-o.us/Family%20Feud%20Retropalooza%202017.png

dazztardly

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2019, 05:17:23 PM »
Then about 6 years later, we worked on a legit-looking Family Feud podium for a local game convention that likes to run Family Feud with the YouTube celebs who drop by.  This one is styled after the Ray Combs-era version in the way it flashes its lights (the best FF podium lighting effect IMO), a strip of WS2812 LEDs just inside the frosted acrylic.  Only thing is...how did those TV prop professionals get the podium on the real show so black when it's inactive?  ???

Image: http://www.stev-o.us/Family%20Feud%20Retropalooza%202017.png

I know that scrim fabric is used quite often with eggcrate displays. Could possibly be that material battened around the front of the podium's light fixtures.

-Dan

BrandonFG

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2019, 05:29:30 PM »
Then about 6 years later, we worked on a legit-looking Family Feud podium for a local game convention that likes to run Family Feud with the YouTube celebs who drop by.  This one is styled after the Ray Combs-era version in the way it flashes its lights (the best FF podium lighting effect IMO), a strip of WS2812 LEDs just inside the frosted acrylic.  Only thing is...how did those TV prop professionals get the podium on the real show so black when it's inactive?  ???

Image: http://www.stev-o.us/Family%20Feud%20Retropalooza%202017.png

I know that scrim fabric is used quite often with eggcrate displays. Could possibly be that material battened around the front of the podium's light fixtures.
I learned something. I always figured it was some type of translucent plastic covering the numbers.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Combs faceoff podium lights and how it worked.
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dazztardly

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2019, 06:19:00 PM »

I learned something. I always figured it was some type of translucent plastic covering the numbers.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Combs faceoff podium lights and how it worked.

Plastics have been used with eggcrate number displays. Also seen some 7-segments where frosted lens were screwed onto the front of the displays. To trap light for each segment.

-Dan

parliboy

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2019, 07:46:05 PM »
Only thing is...how did those TV prop professionals get the podium on the real show so black when it's inactive?  ???

Image: http://www.stev-o.us/Family%20Feud%20Retropalooza%202017.png

I can't speak for TV, but the digital pinball community has been known to buy tinting.  It doesn't really impact the lights when they're on, but it does make everything else dark.

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chris319

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2019, 12:38:33 AM »
Quote
how did those TV prop professionals get the podium on the real show so black when it's inactive?

With a sheet of 1/4" smoke Plexiglas. See TPIR Race Game.

Quote
I know that scrim fabric is used quite often with eggcrate displays.

The best use of scrim was on the set of CBS Match Game. The contestant score readouts were faced with scrim which was then painted (yes, painted) either red or green, giving white numerals on a colored background. Years later, they did a MG pilot where the set was way out of scale and they couldn't figure out how to achieve this effect, so they used lighting gel.

The late Kathleen Ankers, a contemporary of Ted Cooper at NBC New York, used painted scrim in her set for David Letterman. Lit from the front, you saw whatever was painted on the scrim. Darken the front and light behind it and you see what's behind. The scrim seems to become transparent.

I once worked at a TV station that decided to have a BINGO movie. Someone found one of these stashed away in the scene dock:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/American-Mercantile-Bingo-Board-Wood-Sign/905950567?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=1172&adid=22222222227287049156&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=345443889589&wl4=aud-430887228898:pla-713526791480&wl5=9030963&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8453398&wl11=online&wl12=905950567&veh=sem&gclid=CjwKCAiA5o3vBRBUEiwA9PVzasq-V1WB06kKK9MP0kNUq_Ds0mp-niICgN52VzxdrCci9ltpF9jnnBoCfAMQAvD_BwE

I hid it behind a sheet of blue Plexiglas. It was a big improvement because you didn't really see the numbers that hadn't been called (light turned off) but could see the numbers which had been called (light turned on).
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 01:13:08 AM by chris319 »

chris319

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Re: Home(made) Buzzers and Lockout Systems
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2019, 01:42:01 AM »
Ideally a lockout system will lock out ALL other players upon the first buzz-in. There would then be a separate reset button operated by the emcee or judge which resets the players' lockouts.

You also need an indicator to show which player buzzed in. If you could map your lockout buttons to, say, numeric keys, all of this would be easy to do with a simple program which could also play a sound effect.

For a more economical solution, do a google search on "pendant switch".
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 02:02:00 AM by chris319 »