Over the past few days I’ve had the pleasure of finding two mind blowing puzzle caches that I thought needed to be blogged about due to their awesomeness! 🙂 They are: Digital Electronics : Theory and Digital Electronics : Practical.
I’m going to even say I think Digital Electronics : Practical is the best puzzle cache I’ve ever found! 😮 There have been some puzzle caches that I’ve enjoyed immensely; Sometimes for the puzzle, sometimes for the location, sometimes both: The Cave Troll’s Other Lair, Journey to the Centre of the earth, WEREWOLF, TIBI DABO CLAVES, 802.11b WiFi (Wiltshire), ‘Knock Knock’, Climate Chaos: The Solution, Look into the Light, CROSSWORD CACHE #5: Grand Master to name a few. However, on reviewing them all, Digital Electronics : Practical wins hands down. I’ll explain why…
The journey starts with the Theory cache requiring you to delve deep into the world of electronics to understand logic gates, flip-flops, and seven-segment displays. You’re presented with a circuit diagram to digest and figure out the digits that would appear on the seven-segment displays if the circuit was real. I’ll admit that this did seem to take me forever! I may be a computer geek, but I’ve always struggled with electronics. After many hours of trying I did eventually work out the final coords which was an amazing sense of achievement!
It was quite a long while after I’d solved the puzzle that I actually got around to going for the final (Mega business got in the way of caching ;-)). In the container for ‘Theory‘ are up to three electronics kits that can be borrowed (depending on how many have been borrowed at the time). Inside the kit are switches, capacitors, resistors, wires, battery holders, and a breadboard to hook it all up to. This is where the real fun bit begins…
You follow the instructions on the cache page and eventually end up with something that resembles the pictures on the page. For me, however, it was second time lucky. Nothing happened at all after I had plugged everything in to supposedly the right place. I decided to start again and take everything out and reassemble. This seemed to do the trick as the next time I connected the batteries the seven segment displays spelt out “HELLO…” and gave me some dummy coordinates 😀
My next job was to decode the code on the cache page, “FC5A5F87” to somehow tell me the coordinates of the next stage. Hmm… I had to work out how to get the switches and components the do the work for me as this little gadget didn’t come with any operating instructions! 😉 It didn’t take long and after noticing I was missing a wire, and realised that one of the switches performed better when held in place, I soon had the coords for the next stage! I couldn’t resist! The following morning, before work, I whizzed to the next stage with my coordinate decoder to try and find another code to crack. Thankfully, that was quickly located. It was a bit tricky seeing the seven segment displays in the daylight to read the final coords, but I hid under my coat in my car to ensure it was dark enough. Thankfully nobody walked past the window at this stage or they may have thought I was preparing something rather explosive!!!! 😉
Unfortunately I had no phone signal so I couldn’t Geocheck the final coordinates to get a hint so I just headed to GZ to try my luck. The grass and undergrowth was extremely wet from the rain the night before and I was desperately rummaging everywhere to try and find the final to no avail, I was just getting wetter and wetter! After 10 minutes of searching and in one last attempt to spot it before giving up, I squeezed through some bushes to the back of them and finally managed to spot the container from a different angle, but couldn’t reach it! I relocated to the front, tried to align myself with where I had spotted it, and dived in. Out I came totally drenched, but ecstatic that I had finally found it and was able to get my name on the logbook!
The amount of work that the CO must have put into creating and developing both of the puzzles and working out the technical details of how to create an electronic coordinate decoder is unbelievable! The interactive “field puzzle” that we then were able to put together from components to create our own device to decode the stages of the puzzle was so original and innovative that it’s now easily become the best puzzle I’ve ever solved and will be extremely hard to beat!
I’d highly recommend a trip to Cambridgeshire to do this cache. I managed to get the breadboard wired up in under an hour, so it’s definitely something you could take to a coffee shop or fast food place to sit and figure out to return shortly after and find the final. Although, do beware that they don’t think you’re planning to blow anything up! 😉