LED OCD - Advanced lamp controller *Development thread*

Started 1 year ago by herg in forum All PinballAll modding!.


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LED OCD - Advanced lamp controller *Development thread*


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    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    NOTE: Discussion continued at http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/led-ocd-advanced-lamp-controller-shipping-with-wait-list

    LED OCD is an add-on lamp controller that solves the following problems.

    - Eliminate the flicker or strobe effect when using LEDs in a pinball machine. This is accomplished by increasing the lamp matrix scan rate.
    - Allow brightness to be controlled. "Profiles" are configured to define the on-time of lamps, effectively controlling the brightness.
    - Simulate the fade on/off of incandescent lamps. By gradually changing the brightness of the bulbs, LEDs are made to fade on/off instead of their typical abrupt changes.
    - Allow ghosting to be completely eliminated through a combination of additional hardware and improved transistor control.

    Here's video of it in action:
    » YouTube video

    The second one is a video showing me configuring it. It's quite outdated at this point, and the software interface has changed, but it gives you an idea what it can do. This one you'll have to watch on a big screen in 1080p to get much out of it.
    » YouTube video

    Sorry for the formatting. I can't figure out how to get the videos to embed nicely.

    It currently only works with WPC machines. I'm looking into older Williams, Data East, etc., but I'm not there yet.

    Post edited by herg : Add summary of project


    TomGWI

    Pinball guru
    6,557,050 2
    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    Very cool!


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #
    herg said:

    I just wanted to share my current project. I'm about 2 months in, and it's working pretty well at this point.
    ยป YouTube video

    Are special bulbs needed for this? Looks great. So do you do the customizing on a PC and then import the setting to the PCB with the USB?


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    Very, very cool! Looking for beta testers?


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    Standard bulbs. There's a mix of CT frosted, CT premium, BCs Frosted, Ablaze, and incandescent in the videos. The cheaper LEDs actually work better since there's not extra stuff in the bulb like the premium LEDs.

    Yep, customize on the PC, upload and save to the PCB, then disconnect the PC.


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #
    yfz450 said:

    Very, very cool! Looking for beta testers?

    Maybe after I've thoroughly tested it myself. There's only one board built up at the moment. More parts are on the way.


    TaylorVA

    Pinball guru
    4,798,400 3
    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    I don't use LEDs so I'm not sure what I'm looking at. Could you explain the problem your addressing? Does the board makes LEDs look more like incandescents?


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    If this is something that can be used with any pin and is easy to install, you sir, have just printed money.

    I'll take one for LOTR, along with everyone else.


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    Keep us posted man, as more led's are making their way onto all of my pins. This board could be a godsend! I love the dimming of regular bulbs, but have to be choosy which leds to insert. Prime example: spiderman Doc Ock mode...where the red lamps fade on and off "I have the power of the sun, in the palm of my hand!" If you can control that light show, your board is a complete success (assuming longevity).

    Exciting time to be a pinhead!

    --Rick.


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #
    TaylorVA said:

    I don't use LEDs so I'm not sure what I'm looking at. Could you explain the problem your addressing? Does the board makes LEDs look more like incandescents?

    Yeah, making LEDs look more like incandescent bulbs is the idea.

    Due the the instant on/off nature of LEDs, many people see flicker or a strobe effect when the lamp matrix is scanned at 62 Hz. This PCB monitors the outputs from the lamp driver, then re-drives at 250 Hz. That's the flicker part.

    Dimming is controlled by varying the lamp row active time based on the configuration from the PC. That's the dimming part.

    The PCB then ramps up/down through the configured brightness values in order to make the LEDs fade on/off like incandescent bulbs.


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #
    Frax said:

    I'll take one for LOTR, along with everyone else.

    At the moment, it's WPC only. The work to adapt to other manufacturers/boardsets would be minimal, but I only have WPC machines to test in. Also, new PCB layouts would be necessary to fit the mechanicals of the other machines.


    TaylorVA

    Pinball guru
    4,798,400 3
    1 year, 8 months ago
    #
    herg said:

    Yeah, making LEDs look more like incandescent bulbs is the idea.
    Due the the instant on/off nature of LEDs, many people see flicker or a strobe effect when the lamp matrix is scanned at 62 Hz. This PCB monitors the outputs from the lamp driver, then re-drives at 250 Hz. That's the flicker part.
    Dimming is controlled by varying the lamp row active time based on the configuration from the PC. That's the dimming part.
    The PCB then ramps up/down through the configured brightness values in order to make the LEDs fade on/off like incandescent bulbs.

    Sounds very promising. I've always had an issue with LEDs when playing others pins. I like the idea of the lower power pull and hear of LEDs but the look has always steered me away.

    Would love to try it in my AFM.


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    I don't have LEDs in my AFM yet, but I'm hoping it will help with the way the lamps pulse. With all the blinking lamps being synchronized the way they are in AFM, it really drags down the lamp matrix voltage. LEDs should help.


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    This would be awesome. Some of my pins I like the strobe affect (Pinbot being one), but I'm going to restore my TAF, and it just looks better with the fade. Keep us posted, I'd buy it!


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    Sweet...


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    Finally someone is doing this! And much more brilliantly than I expected, too. Let me know when I can give you my money.


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    Instead of a custom PCB have you thought of using some OTS hardware like an Arduino or Netduino?


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    Arduino is nice if you're just looking for a simple controller board. In this case, I'd still have to add the driver transistors, molex connectors, etc. There's also not enough I/O, nor would it screw nicely into the backbox.


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #
    herg said:

    At the moment, it's WPC only. The work to adapt to other manufacturers/boardsets would be minimal, but I only have WPC machines to test in. Also, new PCB layouts would be necessary to fit the mechanicals of the other machines.

    Well, if you need a guinea pig, let me know. Would be happy to take some measurements inside the backbox or wherever else you need.

    The wife is ADAMANT about putting LEDs in the damn thing. Seeing as how I sold her LED'ed out STTNG to pay for LOTR, I'd be happy to oblige in devising a solution that means she gets her LEDs, and I don't get a seizure.

    *edit* Judging by the size, I would just put it in the side of the head for LOTR if possible. I'll take some pics and measurements when I get home if you're interested in pursuing it...

    *edit 2* And if not, I may find a dark corner to cry in.


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    What environment do you code on for that board? Assembly? C?

    I come from the land of higher level software development (C#, etc) and adapting to the low-level mindset has my head spinning


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    Just to be clear, are you controlling the GI strings as well?


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #
    Frax said:

    Well, if you need a guinea pig, let me know.

    Thanks, but it will be a while before I will be moving on to Stern. Getting WPC working 100% and deciding if it's feasible to sell is my top priority.

    Richthofen said:

    What environment do you code on for that board?

    C, though there's a lot of direct hardware access. It's only somewhat like C in a PC environment. I used an EasyPIC7 dev board early on, and I'm still using the PIC18F45K22. Nice and cheap, but it does the job well. The most expensive part is the USB chip.


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #
    kevinleedrum said:

    Just to be clear, are you controlling the GI strings as well?

    Nope, just the matrix.


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #
    herg said:

    The most expensive part is the USB chip

    Yeah, I hear that. I like the Arduino/Netduino because they have all that for free; usb, etc. But yeah, if you want to drive anything above 5v you gotta add it anyways, and you lose some of the pins from the underlying controller chip.

    I keep hoping I find a project that I can use the Netduino mini

    http://www.netduino.com/netduinomini/specs.htm


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    This is a great project. I guess I'll take 15 when you're ready to sell them


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    LOTR and most Sterns have an 8 x 10 lamp matrix so he would have to add 2 more rows to his board.

    Stern's use 19N06L mosfets for the columns and VN02 relays instead of TIP107's and TIP102's as on all of the williams boards.

    However it looks to me like the board might already be downwards compatible all the way back to system 3 Williams games since the hardware for the lamps didn't really change much except for the removal of the large resistors. If so should work on the data east and non-whitestar segas.


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #

    All I can do is hope, right?

    I'm settling for colored incandescents in the meanwhile. =\


    1 year, 8 months ago
    #
    herg said:

    Nope, just the matrix.

    Well if you ever make a secondary board for the GI, I'll buy that, too. I guess it would be the same principle, except you'd be rectifying the AC first..? Anyhow, more power to you for doing the lamp matrix.


    1 year, 7 months ago
    #
    markmon said:

    This is a great project. I guess I'll take 15 when you're ready to sell them

    You don't even know how much it would cost yet (nor do I). The biggest hurdle as far as cost is assembly. The quotes I've gotten are quite high. Our lab tech at work has agreed to help if needed, but even the two of us would not be able to crank out very many.

    kevinleedrum said:

    Well if you ever make a secondary board for the GI, I'll buy that, too. I guess it would be the same principle, except you'd be rectifying the AC first..?

    It's quite different actually. Sure pulsing the LEDs to make them glow smoothly is the same, but monitoring the GI triacs, rectification, string vs matrix is all completely different. Unless you require that the GI is all LED, you'd have to switch a lot of current. The software would be a lot easier, but the hardware would not. I have no plans to work on it.


    1 year, 7 months ago
    #

    Beautiful!

    If assembly is the issue maybe you could sell kits instead of, or in addition to, the assembled boards.

    I know if it worked for System 11 machines I would want to buy a couple of kits for mine....


    1 year, 7 months ago
    #
    herg said:

    You don't even know how much it would cost yet (nor do I). The biggest hurdle as far as cost is assembly. The quotes I've gotten are quite high. Our lab tech at work has agreed to help if needed, but even the two of us would not be able to crank out very many.

    I know it's not a solution for everyone, but I would totally take this on as a "self-assembly" kit. Just gimme the blank PCB and all the components to solder and awaaaaaay we go... So +1 to what BadBrick said.

    Honestly, if ColorDMD can go months between major releases, have product shortage the whole time, and still sell out anytime they let some out, I think you're okay with WHATEVER you can put out once you finalize a design if it's something you want to do.


    1 year, 7 months ago
    #

    We're jumping the gun a bit talking about System 11, assembly, etc. The next step is to wait for parts to arrive and build up a few more. That way, I can quit swapping this one between my machines and be able to get more repetitions in. It's not going in anyone else's machines until I'm convinced it's solid.

    Assembly isn't bad, other than the USB chip/connector. I was impatient and did the first one at home without a microscope, but I won't be doing it again. Short of those parts and a few SMT capacitors, the rest of it is though-hole. I'm not sure yet how I feel about kits, though. If someone were to damage their machine, I'd feel like crap.

    As far as putting it in a System 11 game, I haven't looked at it yet, but I think it would limited to mechanical changes. If you mounted the board somewhere and build cables that adapted everything, that might be enough to get it working. You'd be on your own doing that, though. Until I get a System 11 machine (anyone have a Pinbot) I won't be supporting it.


    1 year, 7 months ago
    #

    Thank you so much for designing this!! I have been thinking about designing a similar board for a long time now. This board should be required for all machines with LED retrofits! It turns a headache causing nightmare into something that is actually an improvement over the original bulbs. Hopefully these will be sold in mass soon, so I can actually start playing LED games at shows rather than avoiding them like the plague.

    The design I was thinking about would also provide dimmable DC voltage to the GI light too in order to avoid the strobing on the GI lights.

    So, you kind of imply that the matrix can be a mix of LEDs and bulbs? Or does it have to be a complete swap out?

    Also, a guy down here in Florida is working on fixing the GI circuits by modding the driver board itself to run DC voltage to the LEDs:

    http://www.southernpinballforum.com/smf/index.php?topic=1017.0

    John


    RobT

    Pinside legend
    12,244,273 3
    1 year, 7 months ago
    #
    TaylorVA said:

    I don't use LEDs so I'm not sure what I'm looking at.

    You gonna rip them out of your WoZ when you get it?


    1 year, 7 months ago
    #
    RobT said:

    You gonna rip them out of your WoZ when you get it?

    I don't use LEDs. I rip every last one of them out of machines that I get. On the other hand, I love the LEDs in my ACDC BiB, because they are run on a real LED controller. They look awesome! Nice and bright with no flicker, strobe or ghosting. No headache either. The LEDs in WoZ will be awesome too, so no need to rip them out either.

    I only hope this product and/or ones like it catch on in a big way and a similar product for GI lights is created too.

    John


    RobT

    Pinside legend
    12,244,273 3
    1 year, 7 months ago
    #
    John_I said:

    I don't use LEDs. I rip every last one of them out of machines that I get. On the other hand, I love the LEDs in my ACDC BiB, because they are run on a real LED controller. They look awesome! Nice and bright with no flicker, strobe or ghosting. No headache either. The LEDs in WoZ will be awesome too, so no need to rip them out either.
    I only hope this product and/or ones like it catch on in a big way and a similar product for GI lights is created too.
    John

    I couldn't agree more John!

    I can be sensitive to the strobe effect too, so I'm loving these new LED controllers, and the one from JJP looks especially promising!


    1 year, 7 months ago
    #

    Any mix of bulbs is fine, and you can configure different bulbs to react differently. The TOTAN in the video is LED in the smoke and jewel inserts, incandescent in the rest. The blue LEDs are blindingly bright, so they're set to 24% max brightness. Actually, the smoke with sun, moon, etc are set brighter than that now that I think of it. The jewels are at like 60% max. The image at the end of the video shows the configuration app, but there's a lot of info to absorb. I might make a video showing a typical configuration process if I end up with time to do it.


    1 year, 7 months ago
    #

    Here's a video of me adjusting the settings after replacing a few incandescent bulbs with LEDs. If possible, you'll want to watch it on a larger screen in 1080p. Otherwise, you won't be able to see much.

    » YouTube video


    1 year, 7 months ago
    #

    I'm ready to have someone else test it at this point. A local friend has volunteered to test in his machines, but having another person somewhat more detached from me would be helpful.

    This person must be technically proficient. Understanding how the lamp matrix currently works will be helpful. LED OCD is not a product yet. It's possible for things to go wrong. Obviously, this person will need to report any findings to me. Finally, owning a WPC machine (preferably more than one) is required.

    It also will not fit with a Flipper Fidelity kit (probably Pinball Pro as well) installed. This was an oversight on my part, and I am working to come up with a different mounting solution. Please keep this in mind if you volunteer for beta testing.

    NOTE: I'm covered for testing at this point. Thanks for the response.

    Post edited by herg : Already have enough testers


    1 year, 7 months ago
    #

    PM sent


    1 year, 6 months ago
    #

    It has been a while, so here's a quick update:

    - I have four of them in my machines, and they're staying there.
    - PT has one. He has installed it in his No Fear.
    - One is ready to be tested in a System 11 (with interconnect) once the owner of the machine is ready.
    - I've nearly completed the board modifications, and I intend to have a bigger batch of PCBs made in October.
    - I intend for my TOTAN (including the board) to be available for play at MrWizzo's NoVA pin party this Saturday, Sept 29.
    - I've created a website using my mid 90s web skills that mostly just repeats this thread.
    - I don't want to do pre-orders, but if you're interested in getting one, contact me through the website or PM. Having an idea of how many to make would be really helpful.

    http://herg.homeip.net/ledocd/


    1 year, 6 months ago
    #

    Hey, I have a system 11c now. Rollergames.. Woohoo! I can use it on something now, and make my wife happy by LED'ing it out.


    1 year, 6 months ago
    #
    markmon said:

    This is a great project. I guess I'll take 15 when you're ready to sell them

    Only 15?


    1 year, 6 months ago
    #

    PM sent I am in for at least 3!


    1 year, 6 months ago
    #

    ? - How does this compare to the led rom patches?

    I have not used the rom patches but I would think they don't solve the same problems do they?


    1 year, 6 months ago
    #

    The ROM patches attempt to fix the ghosting issue, but do nothing for brightness control, flicker, or fade. Obviously, I'm biased, but there's no comparison, IMO.


    1 year, 6 months ago
    #

    If you ever make one for Capcom, I'll order one in a heartbeat.


    1 year, 6 months ago
    #

    Can't wait for production and sales to start.

    So will we all have to adjust the settings ourselves or will there be pre-adjusted settings based on particualr games we can just select from.


    1 year, 6 months ago
    #

    I have to say that I am normally an LED hater and I really love this board! It immediately takes away the flickering from insert LEDs and makes a nice smooth clean light that still "pops" just like LEDs always did - only better. It also gives the user individual control over the brightness of each insert. No more guessing which LED brightness to buy. Just buy the brightest you can get and customize them to your perfect level for each spot!

    No flicker/strobe
    No Ghosting
    Adjustable brightness
    Eliminates the instant on/off to make light shows looks like they were programmed to look - only better!

    I definitely give this one two thumbs up. When I first bought my No Fear months ago, I immediately pulled out all of the LEDs. Now with LED OCD, I have put them all back and love the way it looks!

    I will have the machine at the Southern Pinball Festival in Orlando.


    1 year, 6 months ago
    #
    gweempose said:

    If you ever make one for Capcom, I'll order one in a heartbeat.

    I haven't even looked at Capcom, so I don't know the difficulty level. It's certainly a good way down the road.

    charles4400 said:

    Can't wait for production and sales to start.
    So will we all have to adjust the settings ourselves or will there be pre-adjusted settings based on particualr games we can just select from.

    Settings are based more on the bulbs you choose to use, so presets are impossible. The default settings will improve over a game without the board, but you'll have to configure for best results.

    John_I said:

    I definitely give this one two thumbs up.

    That's great to hear, and thanks for the help.



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