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    element14's The Ben Heck Show

    Join the Ben Heck team every week for amazing hacks! Watch them build and mod community-inspired projects using electronics!

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    Logic Gate Board Game
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    The Ben Heck Team begin mapping out the Logic Gate Game by considering its purpose, areas for improvement, reducing costs to build to scale, and materials to be used.  Ben uses a PIC microcontroller with plenty of I/O, wires up a breadboard, and uses ChipKit to quickly roll out code.  The team needs your help deciding on an LCD screen and a microcontroller with enough IO to connect with all the plugs!


    Ben and Karen begin by mapping out a plan for their prototype using a diagram from a previous build.  They get rid of FLIP-FLOP, COUNTER, NAND, and NOR and keep AND, OR, XOR, and NOT. They can make NAND and NOR using the NOT gates. Each game set will come with 10-20 jumper wires to keep costs reasonable.  Ben and Karen offer different perspectives on how best to set up a learning game and who their target audience will be.

    Next, it’s time to Ben and Felix to make a test circuit. Ben takes out a PIC32 starter kit with plenty of IO on it.  You program these with Microchip’s MPLB X IDE which can be found online. If they’re able to find a microcontroller with enough I/O they could conceivably simulate all the logic gates.  The other option would be to use an external I/O expander.  The idea is to use a line of female headers and another line of male headers to crudely simulate their logic gate connections and then trying to do a state machine loop MPlab to get it to simulate what they want.

    Before going for it with MPlab, Ben first uses the Arduino ChipKit IDE to make things easier so he can roll out a quick example.  The ChipKit uses a PIC32MX795F512L which has plenty of I/O to test.  Ben wires up the breadboard and writes some code.  They’re writing the logic gates in code instead of using IC’s.