Simon Says Experiments

Contributors: QCPete, bboyho
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Now that you've successfully made a Simon Says board and thoroughly impressed all your friends at home, it's time to learn how to change your Simon Says board into your own unique project!! That's right, your Simon Says board is capable of doing MUCH more than playing the Simon Says game. It can be re-programmed to do whatever you like. In this tutorial we will:

  • Set up your hardware to upload code.
  • Set up the free Arduino IDE Software and FTDI drivers on your computer.
  • Get some example code onto your Simon Says Board.
  • Add a photocell and use Disco Mode!!

For the fourth part of the tutorial, we will show you how you can use your Simon Says board to detect light. This example will require a photocell, a 10K resistor and a soldering iron. However, you can still upload the example code and listen to disco mode (without soldering on the light sensor).

Simon Says and Photocell

Required Materials

In this tutorial, we will show you how to re-program your Simon Says board. We will guide you through setting up the software and hardware. To do this, you will need a PC or Mac. Assuming that you have one of the Simon Says boards soldered, we will require an additional three pieces of hardware to upload code to the microcontroller:

SparkFun FTDI Basic Breakout - 3.3V

SparkFun FTDI Basic Breakout - 3.3V

Break Away Headers - Straight

Break Away Headers - Straight

SparkFun USB Mini-B Cable - 6 Foot

SparkFun USB Mini-B Cable - 6 Foot


Required Tools

The following is a recommended list of materials you'll need to modify the board.

Solder Lead Free - 15-gram Tube

Solder Lead Free - 15-gram Tube

Soldering Iron - 30W (US, 110V)

Soldering Iron - 30W (US, 110V)

SparkFun Safety Glasses

SparkFun Safety Glasses

Soldering Iron Stand

Soldering Iron Stand


Suggested Reading

If you aren’t familiar with the following concepts, we recommend checking out these tutorials before continuing.

How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering

This tutorial covers everything you need to know about through-hole soldering.

Voltage Dividers

Turn a large voltage into a smaller one with voltage dividers. This tutorial covers: what a voltage divider circuit looks like and how it is used in the real world.

What is an Arduino?

What is this 'Arduino' thing anyway? This tutorials dives into what an Arduino is and along with Arduino projects and widgets.

Installing Arduino IDE

A step-by-step guide to installing and testing the Arduino software on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

How to Install FTDI Drivers

How to install drivers for the FTDI Basic on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Photocell Hookup Guide

Hook a light-sensing photocell up to an Arduino to create an ambient light monitor.

Simon Says Assembly Guide

No matter what flavor of the Simon Says Through-hole Soldering Kit you've purchased, this tutorial is here to guide you through the entire build process.