(Topic ID: 106728)

ALIEN PINBALL - Game Over, Man, Game Over


By HeighwayPinball

5 years ago



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  • Latest reply 1 hour ago by delt31
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  • Alien Heighway Pinball, 2017

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Topic index (key posts)

53 key posts have been marked in this topic, showing the first 10 items.

Display key post list sorted by: Post date | Keypost summary | User name

Post #9151 Insight from Alien's programmer on tournament mode Posted by Ferret (3 years ago)

Post #9234 Update on distribution Posted by HeighwayPinball (3 years ago)

Post #9660 Here we show you a short clip from the 'Ambush Multiball' mode Posted by HeighwayPinball (3 years ago)

Post #10128 Photo of Alien at UK Trade Show Posted by unigroove (3 years ago)

Post #10230 game play video from EAG UK tradeshow Posted by Join_The_Cirqus (3 years ago)

Post #10231 game play video from EAG UK tradeshow Posted by Join_The_Cirqus (3 years ago)

Post #10914 Alien ships Posted by ZenTron (3 years ago)

Post #10916 Alien ships Posted by HeighwayPinball (3 years ago)

Post #11230 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by ezeltmann (3 years 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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.

Studio_20181006_234037 (resized).png
2 weeks later
#23465 1 year 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!
Per

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

#23467 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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...

DSC03747 (resized).JPGDSC03753 (resized).JPG
2 months later
18
#23751 1 year 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 1 year 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):
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/heighway-pinball-support-full-throttle-and-alien/page/17#post-4792281

IO-Back2_1920 (resized).JPG
1 month later
#23828 1 year 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

USB cables 2 (resized).jpg
1 week later
#23861 1 year 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.

Window (resized).jpg
#23864 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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..

DSC05010 (resized).JPGDSC05017 (resized).JPGDSC05025 (resized).JPG

#24138 1 year 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 1 year 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...

-1
#24166 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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
20
#24587 1 year 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
1 month later
10
#25008 11 months ago

Last week I compiled a documentation covering the Alien Power Supply Board. Compared to the I/O Board it is fairly simple, but it might be helpful just in case... Meanwhile I also updated in my Alien I/O Board description, so here are both documents for you.
Alien IO Board.pdf

Alien Power Supply Board.pdf
#25009 11 months ago

I found some mistakes in the Power Supply Board description and updated the file to version 1.1.

You may find the latest version of my Alien documentation on OneDrive: https://1drv.ms/f/s!Ao2CbfOvs38FoTHpEeU5zzs3Z5jR

1 month later
15
#25356 10 months ago

Last weekend was rainy and I took the chance to add a Xeno Flasher to my machine:

Furtunately all necessary power lines and signals are available at the "Xeno Drive" connector where the Xeno stepper board and the tongue switch are attached to the I/O board #3. I just looped the signals over a small board and added an Arduino Nano to listen to the traffic. I attached a picture of the board (to be mounted on the back panel) and the prototype schematics. More information regarding the stepper driver and signals is available here: https://www.pololu.com/product/1182.

It is sufficient to check the tonge switch (high level when moving) and the "Dir" signal (low level when moving outside). If this condition is met, the LED output driver is repeatedly activated in a loop. The Dir signal alone would also work, but during power up it is low all the time...

Finally I mounted 3 bright white LEDs behind the left ramp, using a piece of foam jammed between the two plastics at this place. This was a quick solution, but it isn't too bad as the place offers good protection.

Although the effect runs rather short, I like it a lot and it really seems as something like that was originally planned.
I will now build a second, much simpler version based on an NE555 timer chip (instead of the Arduino). Stay tuned
DSC06379 (resized).JPGXeno Flasher V1-Schematics (resized).pngDSC06383 (resized).JPG

1 week later
#25418 9 months ago
Quoted from razorsedge:

Can also connect two in series, this would be efficient.

Be careful, there are electronic circuits inside, not just two lights or LEDs. So that might not work.
It would be better to use a DC-DC converter from 12 V to 6 V (e.g. amazon.com link »)).
And there could be another problem: Since the last SW update, the power of the topper beacon has been reduced to limit the noise when rotating. This has been achieved with PWM - The 12V output is only turned on intermittently, resulting in an average lower voltage level. This in turn can also cause problems for the beacons or the DC-DC converter.

But for Franking1302 it has worked, so let's try it despite all theory - who volunteers?

#25431 9 months ago

Meanwhile I developed a simpler version of the Xeno Flasher circuit: 2 comparators evaluate the tongue and direction signal of the Xeno Drive interface and enable a NE555 oscillator creating short pulses for the LEDs. The board is small enough to fit near the Xeno Drive connector under the playfield.
I sent the prototype to Franking1302 (because he has inspired me) and he did a great job adding LEDs at various places to his Alien:

Some other projects currently require my attention, but I will check if / how I can offer you this mod. Right now, I've attached my hand-drawn schematics for those of you who can do something with it.
DSC06494 (resized).JPG
Studio_20190925_234416 (resized).jpg
Sorry for this pic, i can not delete it with my smartphone...

Schaltplan V2 (resized).jpg
#25432 9 months ago

In the meantime, I have developed a simpler version of the Xeno Flasher circuit: 2 comparators evaluate the tongue and direction signal from the Xeno Drive interface and enable a NE555 oscillator that generates short pulses for the LEDs. The board is small enough to fit near the Xeno Drive connector under the playfield.
I gave the prototype to Franking1302 (because he inspired me) and he did a great job adding LEDs to his alien at different places:

Some other projects require my attention, but I will check if / how I can offer you this mod. Right now I've attached my hand-drawn schematics for those of you who can help yourself.
DSC06494 (resized).JPGStudio_20190925_234416 (resized).jpg

1 month later
#25690 8 months ago
Quoted from Maurice:

What is a good way to “destress” the USB connector/cable connection on Io-board 1

In general mount some posts and fix the cables with zipties to them. You can also bend and narrow the USB socket housing on the board a little bit to tighten the seat. I described my mods here https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/alien-pinball-official-game-thread/page/477#post-4852971 and here https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/alien-pinball-official-game-thread/page/478#post-4865214

#25692 8 months ago
Quoted from delt31:

hows the xeno flasher mod going?

I designed a PCB and ordered a small number of the boards in Hongkong (https://jlcpcb.com/). They are currently shipped to Germany and as soon as I have one board completed I will let you know how to get one.
3D-View (resized).jpgXeno Flasher Layout (resized).jpg

1 month later
#25806 7 months ago
Quoted from Averell:

This afternoon I've soldered the stroboskop circuit

Yes, the Xeno flasher mod is available and I sent the first batch to German Alien owners. If their feedback is positive I will offer the mod here with shipment to the US.

DSC07953 (resized).JPGDSC07966 (resized).JPG
1 week later
#25827 7 months ago

Finally I can offer my Alien Xeno Flasher Board to you!

It will come already built and tested, along with 6 bright 5 mm LEDs, two LED connector cables and mounting hardware as shown in the attached picture. I also added my documentation below.

For the parts, the curcuit board and all my efforts, I ask for 35 Euros. The shipping costs (worldwide) are 13 Euros with tracking and insurance. I will declare the board as "pinball part", but US customs may charge additional taxes and duties (are there better alternatives?). I kindly request payment via PayPal using "send money to friends and family".

Please send me a private message with your mailing address if you want to buy one or more boards (shipping costs do not change). I will then reply with my PayPal address.

And please finish your orders and payments until next Sunday (15th December), as I will then buy all the components I need and start assembling. This may take a while, but I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Alien Xeno Flasher Board.pdfDSC08005-2 (resized).jpg
#25832 7 months ago
Quoted from Per_:

Finally I can offer my Alien Xeno Flasher Board to you!

Thank you for all inquiries and orders!
I got some more than I expected and I can no longer offer flasher boards for now. I need time to build and deliver everything. And I have no more PCBs available

Please keep me informed if you are interested. I can order the boards again if a reasonable number comes together (also from other projects).

I will buy the necessary parts next week and will then spend christmas and new year soldering in the dark and cold basement

#25833 7 months ago
Quoted from Maurice:

Still need help to improve the reliability of my Alien

Maurice, there are some more things you can try, I described them here:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/alien-pinball-official-game-thread/page/477#post-4852971
The harness support ladders limit the “wiggle” and the ferrites as well as the separate cable routing reduce signal "noise".
The tape or hot glue will not really reduce the movement of the cables...

BTW, you can check the effect of your actions by opening then Alien Service Menu > Audits > System Audits
There are some entries showing hardware errors, including the entry "23 IO Comm Errors".
Check if / how much this increases before and after your modifications.
Don't expect to bring this to zero, my Alien plays without noticable errors but already counted 6 Minor Errors, 139 Coil IO Errors and 719 IO Comm Errors
Would be interesting to know what other Alien owner can see there...

2 weeks later
#25867 6 months ago

Despite the time consuming x-mas social interaction I was busy and completed the assembly of all ordered Xeno Flasher Mods!
Next week I will send them away to all buyers.

DSC08023 (resized).JPG
#25871 6 months ago
Quoted from Pinballoo:

Hi there,
yesterday the airlock-display started flickering and then completely went off.
Now the game won´t start and the message "IO board 1 missing" appears.
I´ve changed the IO board but with no effect.....(guessed No.1 is the one located in the top of the playfield?? )
Any ideas?

The airlock display controller (this one is used: https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-tfp401-hdmi-slash-dvi-decoder-to-40-pin-ttl-display) receives its HDMI video signal directly from the mainboard. Flickering could be caused by a lost video connection. But this wouldn't affect the I/O board.
So the second guess is the display's power supply: It needs 5 volt, which are typically delivered by the I/O boards (outputs 5V or 5V LED). Check the power wiring and the green 5V control LED near "TP3 5V" on the I/O board #1 (which should be responsible).
In the worst case there might be a failure of the display controller or a shortened power supply wire causing an overload on the 5V line and explaining the I/O board error. This can be ruled out by disconnecting the airlock power connection (I expect there is some connector used).
I hope this helps - I can do a closer inspection of the power supply arrangement using my alien if needed.

1 week later
#25891 6 months ago
Quoted from noitbe1:

That’s great. It means also that PB is still around. Ok the remake story is more and more credible. I’d be curious to see what they are working on... it seems we’ll see really soon.

I created an image of the game version 1.3B3 (B for Beta) which one very late German Alien buyer found on his machine. Only the core game code has been changed, no new videos, sounds or other media - i.e. no changes of the user experience, only some (smaller) bug fixes. We discussed if this is worth the risk of an update, especially if it is an "unknown" Beta version.

So Averell asked Brian for a list of changes of this version and Brian promised to clarify in the near feature - with approval from PB. Many thanks for this!

But this doesn't prove any work on a new Alien or other pinball. If there is a new Alien, it will need a completely different code - as it will never be an exact copy (as already discussed here).

2 weeks later
#25937 5 months ago
Quoted from ChipScott:

I will keep the old board and try and repair this burnt-appearing area. Anyone know exactly what part/piece that is that looks bad?

Some time ago, I published the following documentation which describes the functionality and components of the I/O board:
https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ao2CbfOvs38FoTiS5es_TYa7KBCl

The burned transistor Q12 on your board is switching the current for the Coil 2 Output. It is a n-channel MOSFET PSMN039-100YS (100V, 28A). Unfortunately these transistors shorten when they melt, causing constant current at 70V through the attached coil - which is not healthy.

As the general 70V coil power is supplied by the transistor Q1 (an FQB22P10TM p-channel MOSFET), this one also becomes (too) hot and melts.

I saw (and replaced) some melted coil transistors on I/O boards. Sometimes the protection diode (here D18) is also dead/shortened.

The cause is unknown - due to the circuit design, various options are possible:
- Shortend output, i.e. the wiring from the board to the coils is damaged
- Unsuitable transistor, there are similar models which can manage higher currents and voltages
- Bad control circuit, leading to unhealthy transitions during on/off switching (which happens a lot as the coils are pulsed by PWM), see post above.
- My guess is the fact, that the transistors are fully controlled by the I/O board CPU, so finally by software. If the I/O board code stops working as intended (for whatever reason) the transistor may be switched on too long. There are different security mechanisms to prevent this, like a "whatchdog" which restarts the CPU if the program code freezes.

And there are hardware overcurrent protections for the coil transistors and also for the 70V general power implemented on the board. Both do not work as they should, as your board shows. Ironically the coil transistor protection was disabled with the bridging wires (and 0 Ohm resistors) - obviously it made things worse!

Lots of unnecessary/wrong components - what's so bad about good old fuses? There are even nice small SMD types, JJP pinballs are using a lot of them...

3 weeks later
#26107 4 months ago
Quoted from Mbecker:

I picked up some Of the little inductive switches that alien uses to try in a homebrew and am wondering if there is a manual for alien or component schematics/ pin outs? I couldn’t get it to register anything in testing today.. would love to know what the six pins are supposed to connect to, circuit wise..

Only 3 pins are used: +5Volt and GND for power supply and Out to signal a ball (active low, open collector). The other pins are not needed (in play). We replaced the ball detection in a Monster Bash with the Alien inductive switches, works well...
Inductive Switch Pinout (resized).png

#26132 4 months ago
Quoted from Mbecker:

Yes!!!! Thank you!! Didn’t realize it had to be fed 5v to work, that looks like the key. It doesn’t matter which side of 3 pins you use? One row is labeled ‘j4’ on all of them.. thinking maybe that’s the side to use?

I only checked the pins which are used by the Alien playfield boards, and these are the 3 pins close to the small PCB number, see attached picture. The output is low when a ball/metall is detected and high (4,4V) otherwiese - so it's not an open collector output. The LED shows the sensor's activity with dim flashes and lights up when a ball is passing.
Indictive Switch Pins (resized).jpg

1 week later
#26165 4 months ago

I can offer the Alien Xeno Flasher Board again to you.

I had a number of requests after selling my first run of PCBs - so I ordered a second run.

Again I offer the mod ready to use with 6 LEDs, connector cables and mounting hardware as described in the attached documentation ("Assembled Board" on page 6). The price remains also unchanged: 35 Euros plus 8 Euros shipping costs to Europe and 13 Euros outside Europe (wtih tracking and insurance).

I will inform all persons on my "waiting list" directly.

P.S. Meanwhile all padded envelopes with the first run should have reached the buyers. Please contact me, if yours is missing.
Alien Xeno Flasher Board.pdf

#26168 4 months ago
Quoted from megadeth2600:

Is this the source code to the inductive switches used on Alien and Full Throttle?

I don't think so - in fact there are many solutions around to implement those sensors. The Alien sensors are still available from FreePlay and they seem to be robust, so there is currently no need to re-build them.

Quoted from megadeth2600:

Also, have you released the protocol the CPU uses to talk to the node boards? I'd like to see that if it is at all possible

I've already asked a member of the Alien developers if he can disclose the I/O board protocol (if not standard USB) and the "commands". This would make it easier to replicate the I/O boards. I argued that it can anyway be exposed with a logic analyzer listening to the traffic. He referred me to the Pinball Brothers because it is their intellectual property. And he gave me the hint that the communication was designed to make analysis difficult.
Again, the knowledge is currently not urgently needed, so i didn't follow up...

4 weeks later
#26468 3 months ago
Quoted from colonel_caverne:

Sincerely I can’t imagine a distributor building a game, it needs some skills I doubt they have

I think you are right, these last machines are still available because of the (too) high price tags.

I also bought my blue LE from Stefan (Vegas Store) after visiting him two times in Hamburg. We talked for a while and he had about 4 boxed Aliens in a small chamber. He is doing business together with Alexander Spohr, who was one of the Pinball Brothers investors and directors (see https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/10822960/officers). That should explain his sources...

The SW Version 1.3 found its way on a used LE he was also offering - they used this machine to allow customers like me some trial games and for their own tests.

3 weeks later
#26577 84 days ago
Quoted from dung:

Does anyone repair them or is it trash?

I repaired some I/O boards from other Alien owners. Most often the coil or the over-current protection MOS FETs are dead - this can be repaired quite easily. So I would put a defect board in my alien parts box and remember when I run out of replacement boards ... I am pretty sure you will find someone who can replace SMD components in your area.

3 weeks later
#26636 63 days ago
Quoted from Faust:

We'll make an updated design based on your feedback

Hi Faust, I sent you a PM with a proposal for a solution allowing different inserts like instruction cards, lit foils or (my favorite) LCD Screens showing pictures, messages, instructions or videos (could be game play dependent).

1 week later
#26655 55 days ago
Quoted from fossmin:

Is there any adjustment?

The balls are detected using inductive sensors placed in drill holes below the playfield. The PCB with the inductive switch is plugged with long pins (2 x 3) into female header strips on the playfield boards. Unfortunately (Heighway technology) the sensors are not fixed in these header connectors and can move down (away from the playfield). So shift them as close as possible to the playfield, every mm counts! I could solve my ball detection issues doing so.
I already thought about fixing them in the outmost position e.g. with a piece of plastic foam, but they work now without doing so.
GetImage (resized).png

#26657 55 days ago

The pins are fixed / soldered to the sensor board (the "black disc") but can be moved together with the sensor board as they are just plugged into the female connectors above them (in the picture).
Here is a foto of the complete board itself: https://www.free-play.se/en/playfield-parts/switches/group-1707858/alien-full-throttle-inductive-switch.html
The little black tower is the sensor (a coil) and this should be as close to the ball (on the other side of the playfield) as possible.

1 week later
#26666 48 days ago

Some Alien mods need a +5V or +12V power supply close to the playfield. In the following image I marked some suitable connectors on the PCBs under the playfield:

+5 Volt is available at JST PH type connectors (3 or 4 pin) for optional LEDs. This voltage is created on the I/O boards using DC/DC power converters (connection "5V LED"), do not overload or short them! If you need more than a few 10 mA, you should look for other solutions...

+12 Volt is also delivered at 3 places using Molex KK 254 2 way connectors. They are connected to the "12V Out" pins of the I/O boards which are over-current protected (in theory).

I also marked the pin assignments in the zoomed areas with colored rectangles: Red means +5V, green +12V and ground is blue. Don't forget to check the power after attaching cables...
Power Sources (resized).jpg

#26671 42 days ago
Quoted from waywinn:

Can anyone point me to the PCB location theirs is using?

You can see the connector on my Xeno Flasher Mod installation picture in the lower left PCB corner (when the playfield is raised), marked with "Mini Screen".
I suppose any of the 3 connectors can be used - it is a 5V power supply (hm, I should add this to my power supply connectors poster above).
DSC07973 (resized).JPG

2 weeks later
#26716 28 days ago

Did you run the lamp and switch tests in the service menu?

1 week later
#26855 15 days ago
Quoted from MK6PIN:

I think someone in this thread cut the cab to create proper flow..I didn't want to take that approach

That was me: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/alien-pinball-official-game-thread/page/483#post-4935187

Meanwhile I changed the power supply for the fan: It is always silently running with 10V (obtained from 12V using 3 diodes) and switched to 12V with the temperature control circuit.

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