I have 2 Playstation Buzz! USB controllers, so 8 people can participate in parallel. I also know that these buzzers can be connected to the PC.

Use case: I am doing trainings for all sorts of things (Wireshark, Debugging, ...) After a lesson, I'd like to perform a quiz with the participants. The participants can win small things, e.g. sweets. In the past, I did everything manually, but sometimes discussions arose who were the first to provide the answer. Since all the trainings are deep technical, I thought using the buzzers would be a nice gimmick.

I am now looking for a software that

  • runs on Windows 7 x64 and Windows 10
  • recognizes all controllers (support at least 2)
  • allows the moderator to start a question (make the buzzers ready)
  • finds out the first person that presses the buzzer
  • play a sound when the first buzzer was pressed
  • stops the question (puts buzzers on hold)
  • highlights the buzzer of the person that pressed first (red light)

That's already it. I don't need support of the remaining 4 buttons, since answering the question will be handled by me.

I know Buzzmania, but that's already too automated and I don't want to generate questions in advance. I could not make You don't know JackBuzz work.


Wow, I didn't think it would be that easy. I got everything up and running in 45 minutes using the BuzzIO Nuget package for .NET.

Main parts of the application (excerpts):

// Find all handsets (à 4 buttons)
handsets = new BuzzHandsetFinder().FindHandsets().ToList();

// Register event handlers
foreach (var handset in handsets)
    handset.ButtonChanged += ButtonPressed;

// Set lights of the buttons (this API part is not so convenient)
handset.SetLights(value, value, value, value);

// Check for red button (buzzer button)
for (int buttonNo = 0; buttonNo < 4; buttonNo++)
    if (args.Buttons[buttonNo].Red)

 // Playing sound from embedded resource
 Stream buzzerStream = Resource.buzz;
 buzzPlayer = new SoundPlayer(buzzerStream);

Hint for Windows 10: the controller might be installed as "HID-compliant game controller". In this case, the library may not find the connected controllers. To fix that, go to the device manager and switch the driver to "HID-compliant device".

For the Buzzer sound I used Audacity and generated the following sound

  • tone generator 2
  • wave form: sawtooth
  • frequency: 300 to 200 Hz
  • amplitude: 0.8 to 0.8
  • interpolation: linear
  • duration: 0.2 seconds

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