Hardware Sandbox Introduction

 If you have received your Playsurface, but haven't started building it, you may be lucky!  In this update we will try to aggregate a number of comments and recurring questions that have come to us since the domestic units shipped.

Here is the list:

1. No instructions included! - Yes, we really didn't want to use up all of that paper and ship it all around the world.  The instructions are here: http://playsurface.org/index.php/getting-started
 
2.  Where do you wire the camera to? - we shipped the units without the software for the Blob Board, so currently that electronics module does nothing.  We are hoping to have the SD cards out soon that will make the Blob Board come to life and simplify everything - but for now, just screw it onto the table and forget about it.  Run the camera directly to an open USB port on the main computer (the one that the projector is attached to) and follow the instructions to use the PS Eye driver and CCV.  We recognize that these programs are not easy to use, so if you have a little patience for technical hurdles, please be patient for the Blob Board!
 
3. What do I do with the Blob Board? - See above!  It cannot be used yet.  We will make a new update when the Blob Board SD cards ship.
 
4. Power Strip - It is best to plug everything into a surge suppressor power strip so you can turn the LED's and everything else off easily.  Alternately, a remote-control wall outlet works well as you can get everything to come on at once with a touch of a button.
 
5. Casters - We didn't include them.  If you want it to roll, install the casters before assembly.
 
6. Detached Projector Adjuster Screws - We have had a recurring problem with these popping out of the projector mounting plate.  If it does, it may require a replacement clip from us to get it back in good shape.  Send us an email if you want them - they are not generally found in hardware stores.  Be gentle with the adjustment knobs/screws!
 
7. Pay attention to lines and screw holes - theoretically each of these tables was fully assembled before we shipped, and the lines are correct.  There have been some cases in which the LED's were affixed on the wrong side, but none (yet) in which the holes did not line up.
 
8. How does the wooden top frame attach to the rest of the table?  - It fits very snugly but it does not screw or lock in.  Careful lifting the table by the top after assembly!
 
9. Getting and image from the camera - There may be a sticker over the camera and it may take lots of turns (30!) to get the camera to come into focus.  The PS Eye driver software that we link to in the "getting started" page can be temperamental.  It might be useful to try it on a different machine first and make sure you get an image before pressing on and using it in the table.
 
10. Top Brace - The assembly instructions may fail to mention which direction is "up" for the top brace. The drywall screws go on top.
 
11. Focusing the projector - It can be difficult with the projector in the table upside down.There are two separate adjustment rings accessed through the top of the projector. The one with a knob that's easy to find and manipulate without looking is just for image size, you need the grooved one with no knob that's tough to locate for focus changes.
 
12. Touch Point Inaccuracy -  In step 5 of the "Getting Started" instructions, using the default calibration for CCV (with one target in each corner) results in a lot of inaccuracy in the center of the table. Increasing the number of grid targets with +/- and shift +/- before calibrating can fix this.
 
13. Power Supplies - The LED's use the 12V one.  The Blob Board (once it has software) will use 5V.  International customers will have to convert to their local wall voltages.
 
14. Detailed Plans - For those of you who want to mod or rebuild, you can find drawings here: http://playsurface.org/index.php/playsurface-plans
 
15. How does the projector mounting plate work? - The plate and the wood backing piece are collectively referred to as "Projector Mount" in the instructions.  They should be held together by the adjustment knobs that pop into the plate.  The projector attaches to the plate with other screws that have to be dropped through the holes in the Projector Mount back board.  A magnetic Phillips head screwdriver works well.  The only point of the holes in the back board that do not hold the adjustment knobs is to allow you to get the screws into the plate.
 
16. Countersunk holes on the light rails - should be on top!  If the screws seem too short, you may have the rails upside down.  The screw heads should go down into the countersunk holes. Also, it is correct that the LED lamps point directly at the chassis walls, the light bounces from there up to the surface, getting evened out in the process.