Arduino Laser Tag Update #4

PCB Etching and Soldering Components

After working on this project for the past couple of days, I was finally able to fit everything neatly onto a printed circuit board. The breadboard is great for testing an idea, but the wires can get a bit messy as the project becomes more complex. I etched the PCB boards using the tonner method for the mask and ferric chloride as the etchant. With that said, there are a couple of changes I made to the wiring itself. Most of these changes were made to allow components to fit better with the laser tag gun. The process of making these boards begins with a breadboard diagram.

Electronic Schematic RevA_bb

Next, a wiring diagram was made from the connections on the breadboard. It makes the wiring connections easier to read.

Electronic Schematic RevA_schem

Finally the PCB board components were laid out. I used a ground fill to save as much etching as possible.

Electronic Schematic RevA_pcb

The final result.

PCB front

PCB Back

PCB Complete

Arduino Laser Tag Update #1

IR Sensor & 7 Segment Display Initial Testing

IR Sensor, 7 Segment Display

As part of the prototype for laser tag project, I’ve put together a Universal IR Infrared Receiver TL1838 VS1838B working in conjunction with a 4 digit 7 segment display I brought from Aliexpress. I am working towards building a testing platform to something similar to the schematic I’ve drawn below.

Electronic Schematic

We decided to go with a 4 digit display for flexibility in game programming. Mostly likely, the first two digits will be used for health and the last two will be used for ammo. The three IR Sensors on the bottom with their respective LEDs will eventually be attached on to a vest and linked back up to the gun. The IR sensors were tested with the Arduino Nano and the IR detector library from Ken Shirriff’s Blog. It was successful in detecting my remote control from a distance of more than 10 meters away. The testing code for the IR sensor and the 7 segment display is shown below.

#include <IRremote.h>

int RECV_PIN = 6;

IRrecv irrecv(RECV_PIN);

decode_results results;

int x = 1;

void setup()
irrecv.enableIRIn(); // Start the receiver

pinMode(13, OUTPUT);

pinMode(12, OUTPUT);
pinMode(8, OUTPUT);
pinMode(7, OUTPUT);
pinMode(14, OUTPUT);
pinMode(15, OUTPUT);
pinMode(16, OUTPUT);
pinMode(17, OUTPUT);
pinMode(18, OUTPUT);

pinMode(2, OUTPUT);
pinMode(3, OUTPUT);
pinMode(4, OUTPUT);
pinMode(5, OUTPUT);

digitalWrite(12, LOW);
digitalWrite(8, LOW);
digitalWrite(7, LOW);
digitalWrite(14, LOW);
digitalWrite(15, LOW);
digitalWrite(16, LOW);
digitalWrite(17, LOW);
digitalWrite(18, LOW);


void loop() {

digitalWrite(2, HIGH);
digitalWrite(3, LOW);
digitalWrite(4, LOW);
digitalWrite(5, LOW);


digitalWrite(2, LOW);
digitalWrite(3, HIGH);
digitalWrite(4, LOW);
digitalWrite(5, LOW);


digitalWrite(2, LOW);
digitalWrite(3, LOW);
digitalWrite(4, HIGH);
digitalWrite(5, LOW);


digitalWrite(2, LOW);
digitalWrite(3, LOW);
digitalWrite(4, LOW);
digitalWrite(5, HIGH);


if (irrecv.decode(&amp;results)) {
irrecv.resume(); // Receive the next value

digitalWrite(13, HIGH);

digitalWrite(3, LOW);
digitalWrite(4, HIGH);
digitalWrite(6, HIGH);
digitalWrite(13, LOW);

The hardware setup of the 7 segment display was a bit complicated because I couldn’t find the specifications for the pins. I had to test each individual segment myself. If anybody is having trouble figuring out where the common anode is, you can refer to my spread sheet here.

Arduino Laser Tag

Ebay Laser Tag Guns

For the past few months, my friends and I have been planning to make our own laser tag system that we can play at home. The goal is to make a laser tag system that we can modify and program different game modes. Why are we doing his? We just want to play some laser tag, and learn a couple of things along the way.

How Laser Tag Works

The technology we are dealing with uses infrared (IR) light. It’s been around for a long time, so if you’ve ever used a remote to turn on a TV, then chances are you’ve already seen this technology. This light is located past the lower end of the visible electromagnetic spectrum, so we can’t actually see it. But most digital cameras can still pick it up, so if you take a picture at the right moment, you can see something like this:

Remote Control

Remote control infrared operates at 38 kHz, which is very uncommon in nature. For our Laser tag set-up, we will be using infrared at the same frequency because it is a common standard. The core idea is very simple, have guns that fire off infrared and attach sensors on vests that can detect them. The logic will be handled by a programmable micro-controller. In our case, the Arduino.

Bill of Materials

Since we will be making several sets of guns, we decided to prototype one first, then mass produce the others. Here is our bill of materials for the first laser tag set, just to get us started.

Bill of Materials V1.0

Most of the parts were from China so we expected at least a month of lead time.


Killtron 7000 is a biologically inspired crab walking robot designed by me and my team at the University of Victoria back in 2011. The success of the robot was determined by how well it can autonomously navigate between several walls and how much weight it can carry. Many thanks to Aaron Gehman, Andy Berry, Tina Hung, Joshua Yin, Eva Sun and Yuto Hori for making this possible. This is my first autonomous robotics project I’ve done using the Arduino so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

See project page.

Quadcopter Project

Completed Quadcopter

This amazing looking device is a quadcopter that was designed by me and my team at the University of Victoria. The project built completely from scratch using 3D printed parts, some cheap electronics, and a modified version of the AeroQuad software. For those interested in the technical specifications of the project, you should check out our team site. The purpose of the project was to create a DIY quadcopter for under $200 and push the limits of what the 3D printer in our laboratory can do.

See project page.

Digital Telecine Project

The Digital Telecine was a mechatronics project between my university colleague, Andrew Bornstein, and myself. This project was requisitioned by our client, Arthur Makosinski, who obtained a stack of old 28mm films from an auction but had no means of projecting them as the projectors for these films have been discontinued since the 1930′s. These films are valuable treasures that were printed as a form of education for students and were shown in Canadian schools, but over time are now starting to decay. The goal of this project is to transfer the analog film to a digital format so that the content can be saved for future generations to watch.

See the project page.