(Topic ID: 106728)

ALIEN PINBALL - Game Over, Man, Game Over

By HeighwayPinball

4 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 24,687 posts
  • 986 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 hours ago by Durzel
  • Topic is favorited by 261 Pinsiders


Linked Games

  • Alien Heighway Pinball, 2017

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Alien Rulesheet.pdf (PDF preview)
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Topic index (key posts)

52 key posts have been marked in this topic, showing the first 20

Post #9151 Insight from Alien's programmer on tournament mode Posted by Ferret (2 years ago)

Post #9234 Update on distribution Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #9660 Here we show you a short clip from the 'Ambush Multiball' mode Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #10128 Photo of Alien at UK Trade Show Posted by unigroove (2 years ago)

Post #10230 game play video from EAG UK tradeshow Posted by Join_The_Cirqus (2 years ago)

Post #10231 game play video from EAG UK tradeshow Posted by Join_The_Cirqus (2 years ago)

Post #10914 Alien ships Posted by ZenTron (2 years ago)

Post #10916 Alien ships Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #11230 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by ezeltmann (2 years ago)

Post #11372 Nordman outline for Alien Posted by solarvalue (2 years ago)

Post #11389 CAD comparison of final Aliens vs Nordman drawing Posted by EalaDubhSidhe (2 years ago)

Post #11417 Gameplay from Heighway as of 2/28/17 Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #13008 Andrew reveals the LE artwork and ramp installation in an alien day video Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #13013 Andrew confirms LE art is finally approved by fox Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #13022 Andrew explains the artist difference for the LE backglass Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #14488 Andrew returns, hints at big announcement coming in a few days. Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #15501 Copy of update posted to Facebook by the new HP Posted by Dust2000 (1 year ago)

Topic indices are generated from key posts and maintained by Pinside Editors. For more information, or to become an editor yourself read this post!

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#23139 9 months ago

I just managed to get a spare Alien IO Board.
How is the board identified to be number IO0..IO3 or IOC? There are some DIP switches in the lower left corner, but they have the same Off-setting on all 4 boards. As I found no other visible differences it may be that some input lines are used to read the "location" of the board when placed on the respective connector. Any idea?
And how about the USB ports on the mainboard. Is anybody using the USB 3.0 connectors (should be compatible with 2.0)? My IO Boards were only attached to USB 2.0 - there are two more around the left corner.

Alien Mainboard USB.jpg
3 weeks later
#23349 8 months ago
Quoted from knockerlover:

haven’t attempted this yet.. what did you do to get your assembly out?

Just remove the two spring washers below the playfield by turning a small screwdriver in their gap. Then unscrew the whole slingshot assembly (3 screws) and lower it down. Now you can move the bent arm together with the facehugger away from both shafts. See pictures.
Btw the tiny screws are not rusted but Heighway shortened them with a side cutter, which ruined the threads.

Alien01-069 (resized).JPGAlien01-071 (resized).JPG
#23351 8 months ago

The nut is a 5/32 size. According to the attached table a metric M2 (2 mm) should fit, the non metric size seems to be 8 BA.

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2 weeks later
#23465 8 months ago

I plan to replace the 70Volt switching power supply in my Alien with the "original" toroidal transformer to stabilize the coil power and reduce HF noise. Afaik no other pin uses a SPS for the coils and the lack of coil power (e.g. during multiball) was already mentioned.
The cabinet board includes all necessary components except the bridge bridge rectifier (see picture).
Could any owner of a Full Throttle or early Alien check the specified output voltage and currents of his transformer? There should be a label somewhere on the outside of the transformer. Based on the fuse chart I expect 2 x 50 V and 600-800 VA. The manufacturer would also be interesting, if stated.
Thank you!

Full Throttle power supply (resized).jpgTT Label (resized).jpg

#23467 8 months ago

Switchers are used for everything besides the coils. All JJP machines for example have an ATX power supply and a separate transformer for the coils. And I am sure they also checked if they can save some money using a switcher instead. But yes, I also want to try the capacitor solution (with inrush current limiter) and compare all alternatives.

#23479 8 months ago

Thanks a lot for sharing! Interesting to see, that they also got the 12V DC from this source. Newer models (with 12V SPS) seem to use the same transformer, the 15V ist taped and not used then. 300 VA is less than I expected...

#23485 7 months ago

I just finished the installation of a playfield protector on my Alien. It removed a lot of parts and took the chance to fix / optimize many "details". Both ramps were stuck in the playfield so bad, that I preferred to cut the outer loop of the protector instead of damaging something. I like the result and I know my Alien much better now
The protector is made by Playfield-Protectors and as you can see by the picture it fits very well. Currently they offer a Halloween special (https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/playfield-protectors-halloween-special).

Alien01-086 (resized).JPG
#23497 7 months ago
Quoted from Beowulfz07:

They just lay on top, don’t move and don’t damage the playfield when you remove it.
I don’t normally use them but due to rarity of machine I’ve decided protection better than cure

They are held by the flaps etc. and adhesive effects. They should not be fixed entirely to allow temperature depending length changes.
I decided to add mine on the new machine for the same reason (in particular to protect the playfield monitor cover). Ball movement may change a little bit but I can live with this. JJP even offers factory installed protectors.

Quoted from Nepi23:

Did you manage to do it, or did you make a cut as well?

I also did one cut behind the airlock screen and put the stripes together with mylar (from behind). There will always be some "fine tuning" with the protectors as no two machines are exactly the same (especially from Heighway )

cut (resized).jpg
#23525 7 months ago

During my Alien rework I also upgraded the Xeno servo, as described here several times. For those who also want/need to do this I have some hints:
- I used the Tower Pro MG90D instead of the often stated MG90S. The D has also metals gears but stronger double bearings and an alu body
- The height of the MG servos extends the original SG and clashes with a screw in the mounting. I removed the washer und countersunk the screw's hole.
- My servo turned in the wrong direction. I followed https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost.php?p=31891197&postcount=2, solution 3
- Finally I improved the connection on the servo PCB. The original connector layout is too small and heighway "fixed" this with 3 bent wire pieces and some hot glue. Additionally the swapped the power lines for any reason... So I decided to place an additional male connector with correct wiring at some suitable place on the PCB. Much better...

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2 months later
#23751 5 months ago

One exceptional aspect of the Alien is the light composition created by all the different light sources. There are so many cool picture motifs for a photographer... I reserved a special dark place for the Alien pinball in my cellar and I added some more alienish light sources - like a (cheap) LED beamer showing Alien poster pictures and video clips.

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#23758 5 months ago
Quoted from Ferret:

Dang. Just... dang. Those photos are terrific.

Thank you!

Even the I/O board looks attractive with the right light source as the PCB material distributes the light between the copper layers!

BTW, I took this picture for my I/O Board documentation, which I just published in the support topic (as it's a bit technical):

IO-Back2_1920 (resized).JPG
1 month later
#23828 4 months ago
Quoted from MK6PIN:

Has anyone considered eliminating the horrid, cheap USB connectivity, and replacing w locking CAT6E connections on both the cpu and I/O boards? Swear I'd sleep better at night, as they are just not geared for the vibration of a pinball machine.

I also checked this option, as this is what JJP and Stern do. Finally I am happy with the following, less complex modifications:
- Replaced the USB cables with "premium" types including 2 ferrites on both ends (fixed or clip-on)
- Fixed the cables close to the I/O board connections with wiring harness support ladders - as used in Stern and JJP machines
- Routed the cables separately from the high current coil wires (to which the USB cables are normaly attached)
- Fixed the cables near the mainboard in the cabinet to avoid movement when raising the playfield

USB cables (resized).jpg

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1 week later
#23861 3 months ago
Quoted from JoinTheCirqus:

And should I also purchase those plastic wire mounts for the cables (I’m not sure what these are called, you attach them to the underside of the playfield to keep the cables in a secure position away from the rest of the guys under the playfield) ?

Here is one source for the "plastic mounts": https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/545-5253-01
They help avoid / limit force effects on the board connectors and you can keep the cables away from electromagnetic disturbances (EMC) caused by the main wiring harness on the right side in the picture.

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#23864 3 months ago
Quoted from webdiddy:

I was thinking about doing a small light mod, I have a strip of addressable leds I had for min pinduino, I was thinking about tying it in with a portion of the GI.
Anyone have a tip on how to do that? I am so nervous tinkering with this pin due to the fact of getting new spare parts is hardly an easy task.

The Alien WS2812 color LEDs recieve their color data as serial data packages sent over a single wire (serial bus). You can connect additional WS2812 LEDs in parallel, they will show the same color (as TimeBandit did with the sling shot update). But you can neither connect other LED types nor LED strips in this way.
But you can use a microcontroller like the Arduino to determine the color of a selected Alien LED and to trigger your LED strip to show some related color(s). To know the Alien LED color you can either analyse the color data on the serial bus or use a color sensor. As the first option is more complex and implies connections to the Alien hardware I would start with the second option. Color sensors are inexpensive, can be placed anywhere in the pin and there are many tutorials fitting to your use-case. Here is an example: https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-color-sensors.

#23920 3 months ago
Quoted from MK6PIN:

A thought on cabinet cooling:

Alien has (2x) air vent in the bottom rear of the cabinet, with (2x) air vents directly above them on the backside of cab. This absolutely would create an air wall block as the cooler air under the cab would pass straight through to the top vents (passive convection).

I'm going to capture some temps w the game on for a bit, as I'm confident the switching P/S, mechanisms, amplifier, etc, are generating heat which is not being efficiently vented out. Just seems very warm down there.

Given the CPU and motherboard have a sheet of plexi directly over them further contains the heat.

While I'm certainly not going to cut a hole in the bottom of the front side of the cabinet (where it should have been), I can certainly add a crossflow fan, forcing the air from front to back, effectively moving the hot air to the rear, where it would then be carried out.

Will post before and after #'s to see how much the temp will drop.

After a long pinball evening my Alien playfield LCD showed red interferences (which were gone the next day) - I had to think about the quoted post. A fan could not harm, but I am also reluctant to cut a hole in the bottom (front left would fit) of my machine. So I did a first test with a silent 90mm cooler in the front door opening, see picture below. The effect did not convince me, I will follow Kneissl's non-invasive proposal and place the fan inside the cabinet on a rear bottom vent. In summer I will test again, currently its pretty cool my cellar...

DSC04644.JPG - Fotogalerie (resized).jpg
3 weeks later
#24041 80 days ago
Quoted from noitbe1:

everything seems to work except the Alien mouth which stay opened and not moving.
Is there something to look at for this?

Did you try to perfom the alien test routines in the settings? The responsible I/O board seems to loose control in special situations (mostly when leaving the system settings) but after performing the "Calibration" function the Xeno works well again.

#24137 74 days ago
Quoted from Per_:

After a long pinball evening my Alien playfield LCD showed red interferences (which were gone the next day) - I had to think about the quoted post. A fan could not harm, but I am also reluctant to cut a hole in the bottom (front left would fit) of my machine.

I couldn't stop thinking about the "cooling" topic. After trying a fan (see quote) I bought a W1209 (amazon.com link »). This is a really cheap temperature control switch with a temperature display and configurable on/off-values. I used it to perform some temperature measurements inside the cabinet and experienced a temperature increase of about 8 degrees (celsius, sorry) after one hour (in a fairly cold cellar). There is a remarkable heat generation difference between "stand-by" and playing the pin.

Having all the parts available I had to finish the project: With a wood hole saw (90mm) I cut a hole in the left front corner of the cabinet bottom: I leveled the pin bottom and drilled slowly from below with a heavy duty drill mounted in a (reversed) drill stand. Oddly enough nothing went wrong.

On the W1209 I replaced the relay with a power FET and added a connector for the fan plug. The necessary 12 volt power connection is available nearby at the left side of the power supply bord. The temperature sensor should be placed below the playfield, I have to try out some options. I decided to let the fan blow fresh air inside the cabinet to support the natural convection of the warm air flowing up the slanted playfield to the upper rear holes. Maybe I will try the other direction also, I have to see.

Now I can sleep well again..

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#24138 74 days ago
Quoted from delt31:

Guys can someone with the inner side lights tell me where the power wires to into the main power grid?

The wires are connected to the 70V power supply main voltage input (labeled "L" and "N", see picture). This input is switched via a big relay controlled by the door switch. Therefore the side lights will go black if the front door is opened. This makes sense, as the inverter generates more than 90 volts which should not be touched...

Wires (resized).jpg
#24153 73 days ago
Quoted from Roostking:

Nice writeup, but that first pic made me lol. By the time that was all set up, well, my drill would have been cleaned, cab vaccumed and fan mounted..

I know, we Germans tend to overengineer things a little bit Especially me...

#24166 72 days ago
Quoted from noitbe1:

I would buy WOZ first which seems better.

If you like the Alien you should really try the Hobbit. Like with the Alien, you work through exiting movie scenes - but there are many more scenes and 5 (!) master modes. The gameplay-film sequence integration is fantastic and multimedia experience is unreached (sounds and music again arranged by David Thiel). It might not be as scary as the Alien but fighting against monsters, wargs and the dragon is also very intensive...

#24225 70 days ago
Quoted from iceman44:

How many people would be in for a full petg plastic set?

I would be happy to get one set also (if the price is somehow reasonable)...

1 week later
#24273 63 days ago

I have an opto solution for the VUK on my (long) to-do list, currently I am working on an opto for the spinners. I am using an IR reflective sensor with a high impedance comperator IC to detect the turning wire of the spinner. The prototype (see picture) works perfect and I will now make a smaller board with SMD components as an easy switch replacement.
In general I think switches are some kind of anachronism for a machine with lots of microcontrollers and proximity sensors...
The reflective sensor will presumably also work fine for the VUK, and you don't need holes on both sides of the casing as with typical light barriers.

Opto-Spinner (resized).jpg
#24275 63 days ago

My favorite, the JJP Hobbit, for sure has opto spinners. A switch would slow the spinners down significantly making it much harder to reach Erebor...
By the way, I am not sure what effect more spinner rotations would have on the Alien gameplay (besides more points).

#24279 62 days ago
Quoted from knockerlover:

I’ll take “words not commonly said together” for $1000 Alex..

That was easy to predict ...

Quoted from Ferret:

Easier to qualify Sentry Guns MB. Easier to ...

Thanks again for putting the rules puzzle together!

Quoted from gold1:

because the airlock switch got bent

My airlock switch was already bent close to blocking when I got the new pin. I adjusted the lever but kept this in mind. Knowing now the possible damage makes an opto solution more interesting - on the other hand it should obviously be a highly reliable replacement.

1 month later
#24587 14 days ago

In the last weeks I compiled a rulesheet for the Alien pinball (SW V1.2). It is based on a lot of information pieces mostly spread in this forum, some own "research" and - most valuable - a siginificant amount of additional input from ferret himself!

I attached a PDF version (exported from OneNote) - hope you like it.

Alien Rulesheet.pdf
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