This super-cool project lets kids have the fun of playing tag in the dark on a warm summer evening, without the “gun” aspect traditionally found in laser tag. Kids not only get to enjoy the sport, but also have the pride that they build the tag system themselves – something you simply can’t get from opening up a laser tag game box.
While real laser tag games actually never use lasers, but rather infrared beams, this laser tag uses real lasers, so you’ll want to arm the kids with the “no-lasers-on-the-face” with a 10-minute time-out penalty to ensure everyone has a good time. You can alternatively use flashlights instead of lasers, which makes the game a lot easier to tag someone out.
This game uses a simple two-transistor latching circuit design, so there’s no programming or overly-complicated circuitry to worry about. If you’ve never built this kind of circuit before, it’s a perfect first-step into the world of electronics.
I’ve provided you with three videos below. This first video is an introduction to what we are going to make and how it works. Here’s what you need:
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Materials (the list below builds one complete set per kid):
- Two AA battery pack with batteries
- LED (any color)
- 100-ohm resistor
- 4.7k-ohm resistor
- NPN transistor (2N3904 or 2N2222)
- PNP transistor (2N3906 or 2N4403)
- CdS Cell
- Optional: NC Switch
- Breadboard OR soldering equipment (including wire strippers, diagonal cutters, solder…)
- Flashlight or red (NOT green!!) laser
Introduction to the Circuit
The next two videos below show you how to build the circuit, first on a breadboard, and then how to solder the circuit together, so you can opt to watch either one. If you have someone who’s handy with tools and soldering irons, invite them to build this with you.
Building the Circuit on a Breadboard
Soldering the Circuit Together
You’ll need one of these circuits for every player, although you can get by with one kid having a flashlight (this is the “it” person) and the other running around wearing the circuit trying not to get “tagged”. You can mount these circuits inside a soap box or cardboard box with the sensor and light peeking out. Add a belt or wrist strap and you’re ready for action!