Introducing the BPT X5, a DIY Interactive LED Beer Pong Table kit.
All reward prices are in CAD (Kickstarter won't let me change them to USD or I would). All of my kits are priced in USD on my website, so I have added a CAD->USD conversion at the end paragraph of each reward.
What Is It
The BPT X5 is essentially a development kit geared towards creating customized beer pong tables. Capable of controlling a 32x16 LED grid, handling multiple RGB colors channels as well as single 16-bit PWM channels, wireless connectivity and being completely open source, the sky is the limit when it comes to creating your own one-of-a-kind beer pong table.
The demo tables that you saw in the video only scratch the surface of the possibilities with this kit! After all, they don't even utilize all of the channels on the X5, meaning that you can add more LEDs or other electronic parts if you so choose. From extra breakout connectors on each SPI bus to the ability to swap out the LED grid for other LED options, the X5 could very well be the most versatile beer pong table kit ever!
How It Works
The X5 contains a 16-bit PIC microcontroller that operates at 70 million instructions per second, meaning that it has some serious horsepower. This allows the X5 to control many separate LED channels, sensor modules and other features all at the same time. With varying types of connectors on the X5 and the detailed DIY instructions, it still keeps things simple so that one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to connect the RGB pods, LED rings and various features up to the Master PCB.
On startup, the X5 will initialize the LCD display and bluetooth module before activating any of the LED features. Once started, the default programming will loop through various animations demonstrating the capabilities of the kit. From here, you can choose to leave the table cycling through the various animations as you play or else you can use the infrared remote and the LCD display to select which animations you want to view on your beer pong table.
You can choose to display the score, change the color of an RGB pod when it detects a cup, react to the beat of music (VU meter attachment required) and more. Better yet, you can completely re-program the X5 with only a PC and a bluetooth connection* if you would rather run your own customized software on it.
*Fully assembled kits have the bootloader pre-programmed before shipping and can program over bluetooth out-of-the-box. If you are assembling your own X5 kit, you will have to program the initial bootloader into it with a PIC programmer one time and from then on you can program it over bluetooth.
How It All Started
Back in 2011, a friend of mine and myself started discussing how to make a great beer pong table that would really turn heads. We started on a few designs but we never really got around to working on a table.
In 2012, I picked up the project again and started designing the RGB pods and other parts of the table, only to get busy with other aspects of my life and put the project on a hiatus. In late 2013, I had started picking at the project again, finishing a bit more here and a bit more there, until I saw an online DIY contest where the grand prize was a desktop laser cutter and an SLA 3D printer.
I kicked everything into high gear, finished off the project, wrote up the build instructions and entered it into the contest. As soon as the project was published online, it was featured on many websites, Discovery Channel's Daily Planet did a short segment about it and I was constantly getting asked if I could make DIY kits for others to create their own interactive LED beer pong tables. On top of all of that, it ended up winning the grand prize in the Full Spectrum Laser contest.
A couple of months went by and I finally decided to completely re-design the Interactive LED Beer Pong Table so that I could offer kits of varying difficulty as well as expand the feature-set of the kit. From here, the X5 kit was born.
The following is a quick breakdown for the various X5 kits. More information can be found at my website, Chexal.
PCB Only Kit (THE DIYer)
This kit comes with all of the PCBs that are required to create your own Interactive LED Beer Pong Table. It contains 1x Master PCB, 20x RGB pods, 1x 50-Pin Breakout Header for the LED grid and 1x LCD Display Breakout PCB which makes it easier to connect up the LCD to the X5 board. It also includes an IR remote along with the custom air bath motor mounts and sensor brackets. This is the most advanced kit, as all of the electronic parts are taken care of by the backer and not included in this kit. This kit requires advanced soldering skills for the various types of SMD components that have to be populated on the PCBs. The bill of materials and other information for this kit can be downloaded here.
Unassembled X5 Kit (THE BUILDER)
This kit contains all of the parts that are included in the "PCB Only" kit as well as all of the electronic parts and components needed to assemble the PCBs and LED features. As the name of the kit states, the PCBs and connectors come unassembled and have to be put together by the backer. This kit requires advanced soldering skills for the various types of SMD components that have to be populated on the PCBs. You will also need a PIC programmer to get the initial bootloader programmed into the microcontroller, after that initial programming, you can then program over bluetooth.
Fully Assembled Kit (THE PLAYER)
This kit contains everything that the "Unassembled Kit" contains except for it is already assembled. The only exception to this is the LED grid which does not come pre-assembled seeing as it has to be built into the table itself. All of the LEDs and wiring for it are included in this kit though. All of the PCBs are fully operational and tested before being shipped out and the microcontroller is pre-programmed with the bootloader so that the firmware can be updated over bluetooth. All of the connectors and wiring harnesses are assembled and have been tested with their respective parts. With this kit you don't need a lot of technical know how as it is pretty much plug and play except for the LED grid which has to be soldered together.
Risks and challenges
With any product that involves hardware of any sort, manufacturing delays are not uncommon. For these kits, this risk is minimal as there aren't many parts that need to be manufactured. In fact, the only manufacturing risk that this project has is the PCB manufacturing. I am prepared for any hiccups here as I have tried 3 different PCB manufacturers, all of which have returned a great product. Therefore, if I am to run into any issues with my main PCB supplier, I have two more manufacturers that I am comfortable with and that I can refer work to.
This is the most time consuming aspect of this whole project. There are many custom parts that need to be built for the fully assembled kit and there are 21 PCBs that need to be assembled per kit. I have made sure to designate a generous amount of time to get the kits assembled and tested before the shipping date.
Many of the components used in the X5 kit are very popular, meaning that they can be easily sourced elsewhere from another company if needed. As for the less popular parts, I have made sure to use parts that are currently still in production and should have quite a few years before they are retired, like the TLC5955 PWM drivers.
- (30 days)