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SparkFun will be closed May 25, 2015 for Memorial Day. Orders placed after 2pm on Friday the 22nd will ship out on Tuesday. Thanks!

Creative Commons images are CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Description: This is the latest version of our popular through-hole Simon Says Kit. We’ve made some changes to the board that should make it easier than ever for the beginner to build! All components are through-hole, making this kit a great place to start when you’re learning to solder. When building this kit, you’ll have a chance to solder a 28-pin microprocessor, LEDs, battery clips and more.

After you have successfully assembled the kit, you will have a greater knowledge of through-hole soldering and the tools, techniques, and terminology required to populate your own PCB prototype. You will have a development platform with 5 outputs (LEDs and buzzer), 5 inputs (buttons), and serial for debugging. And, of course, you’ll have your very own Simon game!

Checkout the assembly instructions - we’re pretty proud of them. The kit even includes batteries! Assembly time varies, but for a true beginner with no soldering experience, the kit can take 20-40 minutes to assemble. A soldering iron and wire cutters are the bare minimum tools required. We scoured the earth and found a really fantastic beginner’s soldering iron for $10, solder for $2, and wire cutters for $2. We also have a Learn to Solder version of the kit which includes all the tools you’ll need!

Kit Includes:

  • 1x ATmega328 - pre-programmed with Simon firmware
  • 1x Buzzer
  • 2x 0.1μF Cap
  • 1x 10K Resistor
  • 4x LEDs (blue, yellow, red, green)
  • 2x Slide Switch
  • 4x Battery Clips
  • 2x AA Batteries
  • 1x Button pad
  • 1x Bezel
  • 4x Standoffs and screws
  • 1x Assembly instructions

Note: This video was made using the older version of our Simon kit, so there are a few components that won’t be in the same place as in your kit, but the parts are still the same so the video should still be helpful.

Documents:

Replaces:KIT-09883

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Customer Comments

  • My 8-year-old son got this kit for Christmas from his uncle. We just soldered it up. The instructions were extremely clear, detailed, and easy to follow. The parts count is low, and the whole assembly went smoothly – we had it done in well under an hour, and it worked perfectly the first time. The finished game works well and both my boys have had fun playing the game.

    I love the hackability of the kit, too – my son’s already commented that you shouldn’t be able to win the game after a certain sequence length. I suggested that we could change the programming, and he seems positive about that idea, so the learning opportunities here will go even further.

    We’ve done a number of Velleman kits before. Those are OK, but the quality of this one blows those away. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Great job, SparkFun!

  • Just FYI, the link for sparkfun.com/simon printed on the bottom of the board leads to a 404

  • i found a easter egg in this game

  • Great little learning tool, but the screws that are provided are too short. Comparing them to the instructional booklet, it appears that the ones I received are smaller than the ones in the book. I got it up and running after some hunting for longer screws.

  • Would the FTDI basic breakout 5V work because I already have the 5V one and I don’t want to have to buy the 3.3V one because I just finished Christmas shopping.

  • Anyone have an idea if it’s ok to run this at 4.5 volts (3 x 1.5 v batteries). The intention is longer duration of play (start at 4.5 / more headroom until voltage is too low perhaps? Maybe not a bit advantage if running with a Lithium battery, due to sharp drop off anyway. I also am looking at a rechargeable 3.7 volt battery.

    Anyway, ok to run at higher than 3 volts (3.7 or 4.5)?

    • The schematic doesn’t show a voltage regulator. While 4.5V is fine for the microcontroller, the light-up button LEDs appear to be wired straight to the output pins of the microcontroller and would use the same voltage as a ‘high’ signal. This may damage the LEDs and/or the microcontroller’s pins. It’s also possible it’ll be fine, though.
      If you used rechargeable NiMH 1.2V batteries, or a 3.7V Li-Ion, you’d be much closer to the designed 3V.
      However, a more practical solution may be use 4xAA batteries, wiring two pairs up in parallel. This keeps the voltage at the designed specification, while doubling the capacity and thus duration of play. Physically placing them would be more of a hassle, especially as the buzzer seems to be in the way on the bottom of the board to put them physically in the same spot :)

  • Does anyone know what value the brown out detection bits have on this. I just noticed my (2009 vintage) kit didnt work anymore. I was using NiMH batteries - voltage about 2.7. I hooked up my ISP and lo and behold, the thing started. Disconnected, and it kept running sometimes, sometimes not. The BOD bits were set to 010 - 2.8v if I’m not mistaken. That could well be the issue. I tried writing them to disable BOD but accidently borked the firmware - i might have screwed up the lock bit. Anyways, I’d be interested in other’s reading of thr BOD value and whether or not it works with rechargable AA’s.

  • How come this does not need a crystal?

    • It’s probably pre-programmed to use the internal oscillator. The application doesn’t exactly need highly accurate timing control :)

  • Ok, I am new to programming microcontrollers and I’m not real clear on how to set this up to program it. It looks like I need the PRT-0116 header, but do I need the 3.5 or 5volt FTDI basic board? It would be really cool if this info was either on your website or in the instructions (or did I just miss it?)

    • Yes, you do need the FTDI basic board as well as a way to connect it (PRT-00116 will work fine). For this board it probably doesn’t matter, but the 3.3V FTDI should work fine. Check out the resources on our learn.sparkfun.com page for more information on some modifications you can do.

  • With the current version being shipped (Dec 2012) if I need a replacement chip! Will the DEV-10524 At meg328 with boot Loader work as a replacement. If not how do you replace the chip so I can reload the code?

    • DEV-10524 That’s a great replacement. You’ll just need an FTDI board as well to reload the Simon firmware onto the board once you have replaced the chip.

  • Really an outstanding “first” electronics project. I had been planning to offer this kit to my after-school STEAM club, but due to the cost of the kit, I was holding off until the kids have more experience. I figured that the cost indicated extra complexity. But that was not based on actually building one.

    I bought a sample to build and finally put it together over the weekend. This kit is so well designed that in the future it will be the project I offer in the fall to students who have never soldered before. Not only is it nearly impossible to screw this one up, SparkFun has designed the circuit board so that the teacher can quickly fix the project if a student happens to make the only serious mistake possible…putting in the LEDs backward.

    With other kits, I have always had some kid who ignores the instructions and puts in the chip backwards. Pulling an improperly installed 28 pin chip is extremely difficult. SparkFun has rendered this error extremely unlikely by clipping pin 14 and only drilling 13 holes on that side of the chip layout. You simply cannot install the chip if you try to put it in backwards.

    My older students will be looking to hack the code and my younger ones will be able to assemble Simon with no trouble at all.

    Extremely well done SparkFun!

  • Hi gang! Now with Simon Says MAGIC! you can teach the Simon kit a new Trick! With the substitute firmware you can still play Simon, but now it also doubles as a Magic Trick. Check it out. :)

    Extra info on hacking you Simon Here

  • You guys should include a link to your kit that comes with the soldering iron on this page other than in the related products.

  • Why isn’t the simon says program an Arduino sketch? I was hoping on using the source to maybe hack the game, but unless I want to learn something much more complicated I can’t.

    Also I’m assuming the bootloader would let me throw an arduino sketch on it?

  • I’m a little curious what’s going on with this kit, the latest of which I just received today. I’ve used these kits in the past to teach kids soldering and basic electronics troubleshooting, so this isn’t my first. One of the things I’ve found cool about this kit is that Sparkfun has promoted hacking into it and finding other creative uses for it. Big kudos for that in my book.

    Towards that end, I was curious to which pins on the Mega328 I’d been given header access so I don’t have to green-wire onto the chip to fully play with it. When I started looking at the new board, the first thing I noticed was that the number of pins down the sides of the microcontroller footprint wasn’t the same; one side’s got 13 pins and the other’s got 14. Kinda weird, but maybe I’m going to learn something new today. In my time, I’ve never seen a 27-pin DIP package before. Consulting with Atmel’s data sheet for this one, apparently they haven’t either.

    My next question would logically seem to ask how I get this 28-pin package soldered to a 27-pad footprint without cutting one of the pins off. No problem: somebody has already cut it off for me before the kit was packaged. Pin 14 is gone, hacked just about all the way back to the chip packaging so even green-wiring to it would take some extra doing. The missing pin is connected to PortB bit zero, as well as PCINT0, CLKO, and ICP1 functions. I hope I don’t need them for any of my hacks.

    OK - Let’s go look at the board art and see if that can clarify what’s going on. No joy there - The Eagle board art linked above to this product is significantly different than the board I received.

    The old art shows the chip smack in the middle of the board, and pretty cleanly laid out. The only vias used were to get to the button pads. This was great to easily show a kid how their inputs and outputs connected to the chip.

    The new board is another story. There are so many vias on this thing it looks like it was hit with bird shot. Try tracking uC pin 2; there are only two pads on this node, but it changes sides four, count ‘em four, times before it gets to the pad on its other end on the FTDI header. In another life, I tried to have a blank board handy when debugging a populated board like this if I didn’t have access to the art. At least the board photos on the web site are current, so I can use them the same way. Thankfully, this is still only a two-sided board. Even then, visually following these traces with a newbie is going to be a bear.

    This board appears to be either the result of purely automated routing with no manual cleanup afterwards, or too much keep-out coverage to allow for simpler routing. I’d like to know why pin 14 is missing, though. My guess is that somebody defined the footprint with two single-row headers and botched the pin count instead of using a dip footprint. I can appreciate how much it sucks to have a large run of boards made and then find out they’ve got a problem. Been there, got the t-shirt.

    This is where I RTFM. Thank you, Sparkfun for updating the booklet with the current images and information. A special note about pin 14 being missing would have helped.

    A couple points:

    The leds as delivered are not easily identified as to their colors. When I’ve put one of these kits together with a kid, I’ve brought along a current-limiting resistor (from my pile) and some alligator clips, hooked them up and watched them glow so we could tell what color each was and where to put it. It’s not really important for the game, but it’s nice to know when you hack into the code that #define LED_RED really means red. It’s easy enough to change, anyhow, so it’s not a biggie. I just like to be consistent between the schematic, the art, and the pretty pictures in the manual and on the box.

    These buttons need debouncing, especially for a real-time game like this. The game, as delivered, easily thinks you’ve pressed a button more than once when you really didn’t, which I’ve seen frustrate more than one kid. I modified the code for the surface-mount version to only return a value from the check_button function if it got the same value so many times, ‘so-many’ being defined by a constant. Around a thousand seemed to work well and agreed with my o-scope results, at least for the one unit I debugged. I can supply the code changes for anybody who wants it. I have not (yet) looked at the through-hole code, but I suspect the spirit of the code is about the same.

    • It seems clear to me that the removed pin (and corresponding hole) is to prevent you from putting in the chip backwards.

      For an intro-level kit like this, I call that brilliant.

      We haven’t had any problems with button bounce on ours. Perhaps they’ve improved that since you wrote this review (about 8 months ago).

  • I gave this kit to my son for his 10th birthday yesterday. He looked it over and then asked if we could build it right away. He had never built a kit like this, and in fact he had never soldered anything before. He did everything himself, except that I held the solder and applied it to the wires/pins once he had them heated up. I also checked his work step by step, but it was all good.

    No cold solder joints, and only one solder jumper between the wires on one LED, which was easy enough to remove by re-melting it.

    When he put the batteries in and turned his Simon on, it worked perfectly! He was very happy and excited, and I was very proud!

    Great kit, Sparkfun.

    Now I need to find something else for him to build.

  • Silly question. Why are there not more resistors in this kit? I am still an electronics noob, but I was under the impression that every led needs a current limiting device to prevent it from burning out. Normally this limiter takes the form of resistor in the 100 - 500 ohm range, right?

  • Do you know how to program this game using the Arduino software? I want to change the diffculty of the game.tI cant find the simon code for the Arduino software.

  • HEY i made a youtube overview if you guys are interested it is on this channel with other videos http://www.youtube.com/user/jpedamen

  • Having a heck of a time getting the code to work on this board. Once the interrupts are enabled, the board locks up. Hacked around by implementing a cheesy delay_us() function and commenting out the interrupt enable, but has anyone gotten the code to compile and run successfully with this new design?

  • can you sell just the board i would love to make this my self

  • I’m looking to use this as the basis for a halloween costume by turning it into a much larger version of the same thing. I see no reason why this board can’t be used as the brains but I would need to find larger lighting and button elements that could be substituted. Any suggestions?

    • Did you have any luck with this? I’m doing the same thing now using TRIACs and EL panels and I’m having some difficulty.

  • I’m glad to see that the LEDs now have large pads and are no longer attached to a large ground plane. Cold solder joints on the LED have been a source of frustration on mine. The new version looks like it might be better in that regard. BTW the eagle files and schematic appear to be for the old version – I was curious what the solder jumpers on the LEDs are for? They appear to short the LED.

  • Where are the instructions on how to program this bad boy?
    I have a stk500, if that helps.
    Do i need to purchase an AVR dragon?

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5

Based on 8 ratings:

5 star
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My daughter loved putting it together

She’s 8, and put this together with zero debug time. Very satisfying for her. I meant to give this 5 stars, but this web interface disagrees with me.

I think it was most helpful that we we had a slender soldering pencil (Weller, 12-V), which puts out enough heat to get the job done (and no more) and which fits perfectly in a child’s hand. My other irons are too hot for the job and too fat for a kid’s hands. An “extra hands” is also helpful, but not 100% necessary.


cool little project

This was a lot of fun to put together, instructions were very clear and easy to follow. Simon works great has bright LED’s and sound is good and loud. I used it for soldering practice for an upcoming box mod project. I wish there were more reasonably priced project kits like this.


This was a good choice

My 8 year old grandson did not have any trouble putting this together. It was his first time soldering and did not make one mistake.

Our next project will be programming the Simon


I had ordered the SMD version of this project by mistake and then found out that there was not enough in stock of the Through-hole-sodering kits due to the holiday sale off to meet my class requirenments. So I had to try and have my class solder the SMD’s instead of the the through-hole soldering project.This was a big mistake as to the having first time students try and solder something so small. Only 65 % of the class were able to finish and have the kit work for them. Parts were not available to help those that made mistakes and lost the small pads on the components . So I had to use the additional kits as spare parts.


Great product to teach students

Our students had fun building and learning about electronics components.


Works great. Assembly directions were excellent. I had to tighten the feet for it to start. In fact I thought the battery was dead but it wasn’t. Must require a minimum mechanical pressure on the board.


Simon Says Solderable Kit

This kit is a great confidence builder for your young person who enjoys building projects and kits. The instructions are easy to understand and when it is finished, everyone in the house has fun playing with it. Very well done.


Fun kit, some kits didn't work as well

We used this for a group of 50 people - so having 1 or 2 fail seems pretty good for this big of a group. The number of sequences you can play is limited, but it was fun to solder and everyone went around showing off what they had made (in a cubicle farm of software engineers, so this is high praise!).