(Topic ID: 86418)

Arduino DIY pinball projects -- show and tell


By Mocean

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 34 posts
  • 19 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by Mocean
  • Topic is favorited by 47 Pinsiders

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17
#1 5 years ago

There's a bunch of arduino driven pinball projects. The hardware can easily scan a switch matrix and some basic game logic. I thought it would be cool to collect a bunch of stories, pictures, and knowledge in a common thread.

I'll get it started. This is a project some students and I worked on. It's a Brunswick Aspen (a home use machine sold in the 70's with real generation 1 Stern assemblies) that I picked up cheap and headless. Thanks to Ken Layton's hand drawn switch matrix drawing, we wrote and wired an arduino-based switch matrix handler, I fixed the power supply (28v to coils) and some simple code later, we have it in service, and it's a fun hands-on project.

So, what else is out there?

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#2 5 years ago

I've got a few spare arduinos sitting around I need to use and a 75 EM I might never get going. Project?

#3 5 years ago
Quoted from shimoda:

I've got a few spare arduinos sitting around I need to use and a 75 EM I might never get going. Project?

Could work? What made this project ideal is that it was a simple early solid state: the flippers, slings and pop bumper are connected directly to ground with power switched by the physical switches that activate them.

#4 5 years ago

This is awesome! More details and pics please!

#5 5 years ago

I've got a Close Encounters. Not many solenoids on it and the MPU WAS working but seems to be temperamental, I'd have to interface with the solenoid driver so that wouldn't a challenge. Really know nothing about timing abc microcontrollers, yet.

#6 5 years ago
Quoted from Rickwh:

This is awesome! More details and pics please!

Indeed, very curious.

#7 5 years ago

Okay, well, this is "pretty easy" in the grand scheme of things.

There's a great tutorial here: http://dan-nixon.com/multiplexing-switches-on-arduino-without-additional-ics/
about how to "multiplex switches" on Arduino.

Keypads and a pinball switch matrix are almost identical: Imagine, you have 32 switches but you don't want 32 pairs of wires so you wire rows and columns and at each intersection of a different row and column is a different switch. (Simplified Power on a column wire, check each of the row wires -- if any of them is on, you know which switch is closed. Them, power on the next column wire and again check each of the row wires, and so on, and so forth. In that 32 switch example, you get away with only 16 wires (8x8).

With a wiring diagram for the machine, you can plug the switch matrix into the arduino directly, identify the row/column pins in code (adjusting the code to the right number of rows and columns), and run the code to determine switch closure rows/columns.

You then need to translate the row/col into which switch is closed and what that means to your game logic, and you can either do that directly on the arduino or just pass the information via serial port to another (perhaps faster) computer to maintain your game logic.

There are several real issues which are not addressed in this simplification. Some of the more obvious ones:
- scan rate and loss of switch events (e.g., I don't think multiball would work)
- debouncing logic (if the switch chatters from physical vibration, that shouldn't count as 4 closures)
- lamp matrix (not handled here)
- driving coils (I have done this with arduino, and we only have to do it for one coil on this specific machine).

I can go into more detail, as needed? I'll ask my students if they want to share their code. It's really in its infancy, but they have big plans

#8 5 years ago
Quoted from shimoda:

I've got a Close Encounters. Not many solenoids on it and the MPU WAS working but seems to be temperamental, I'd have to interface with the solenoid driver so that wouldn't a challenge. Really know nothing about timing abc microcontrollers, yet.

Building a simple driver board out of an arduino is really easy. Each driver can be as simple a transistor and a resistor (and the coil needs a diode). Connect power to the coil, switch ground to the coil via the transistor, and drive the transistor via an I/O pin.

http://bildr.org/2011/03/high-power-control-with-arduino-and-tip120/

This works well. I used it on my Zizzle flippers and I'm going to do the same for the trough/ball feeder on this machine.

#9 5 years ago

Here's a youtube video of a fellow that built a new head for his Fireball Home Model pinball and uses a Raspberry Pi and Auduino to control it:

The way he programmed it, he added lots of new audio (sound effects, speech, and music) to it as well as an attract mode light show. He installed a new LCD monitor in the newly made backbox and installed stereo speakers.

Have you thought of doing something like that for your 'headless' Aspen?

#10 5 years ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

Here's a youtube video of a fellow that built a new head for his Fireball Home Model pinball and uses a Raspberry Pi and Auduino to control it:
ยป YouTube video
The way he programmed it, he added lots of new audio (sound effects, speech, and music) to it as well as an attract mode light show. He installed a new LCD monitor in the newly made backbox and installed stereo speakers.
Have you thought of doing something like that for your 'headless' Aspen?

Hi Ken,

Absolutely. That's what my student is working on now: he's learning Processing (the programming language) for A/V and game logic and I'm helping him with the protocol between the arduino and the Processing based controller (an older desktop, could be a Pi, but we have more old desktops than Pi's).

I also built a "driver board" that has a single driver on in for the ball return coil. We can load the shooter lane via arduino, which is cute.

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#11 5 years ago

Very cool.... almost motivates me to make my own

#12 5 years ago

You need a "flipper relay" in the flipper circuit to shut off power to the flippers when the game is over or when you "tilt" the machine.

Improvements for the future could be things like:

Test switches for diagnostic modes (coils, lamps, switches, sounds, audits, etc. )

Coin switches.

New ruleset for game play.

Match number feature.

Knocker coil.

Lighted start button.

#13 5 years ago

Perhaps also add a small coin door or access door to the front of the cabinet like this one:

SS=ON">http://na.suzohapp.com/amusement_products/coin_doors/40-0520-00?SS=ON

http://www.bestacc.com.cn/game/productsinfo.asp?id=203

Then you could bolt/rivet test switch assemblies to the door.

http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=622

http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=1915

#14 5 years ago

Guess I should hang only that Bally Fireball Home Edition I have in storage that is missing all logic for my next winter project

#15 5 years ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

You need a "flipper relay" in the flipper circuit to shut off power to the flippers when the game is over or when you "tilt" the machine.
Improvements for the future could be things like:
Test switches for diagnostic modes (coils, lamps, switches, sounds, audits, etc. )
Coin switches.
New ruleset for game play.
Match number feature.
Knocker coil.
Lighted start button.

Rules will be different when he's done, especially since he hasn't read the rules sheet

There's a flipper power relay on the p/s wiring diagram but I wasn't sure what to send it to shut it off!

Right now out next big feature is to light the lamps (not GI)...

Quoted from Patofnaud:

Guess I should hang only that Bally Fireball Home Edition I have in storage that is missing all logic for my next winter project

Absolutely! It's absurdly fun!

4 months later
#16 4 years ago
Quoted from Mocean:

Okay, well, this is "pretty easy" in the grand scheme of things.
There's a great tutorial here: http://www.dan-nixon.com/2012/04/multiplexing-switches-on-arduino.html
about how to "multiplex switches" on Arduino.

Link is now: http://www.dan-nixon.com/multiplexing-switches-on-arduino-without-additional-ics/

#17 4 years ago

I began to make a pitch and bat machine inside a coffee table using an Arduino, then I bought a pinbot and it got shelved about 1/2 way through. Still have the MDF board with templates and all the parts and whatnot for it. Got a fair amount of the code finished on it too. I was surprised with how much I could do with so little.

#18 4 years ago

I'm playing around with one for a wall mounted pf light display. If it gets anywhere I'll post some pics.

#19 4 years ago

Here's my wallart arduino project:

Basically it's 2 separate Arduino minis running modified "blink" code. No
transistors and I used the existing wires. Nothing fancy but It does the job.

1 month later
#21 4 years ago

This thread recently inspired me to take the Arduino plunge. A few weeks back I picked up a Brunswick Alive Machine. The circuit board appeared to be fried. Everything had power, I even tested voltage to the board. After calling a few places around town I decided I could buy an Arduino and most of the parts for what they wanted to just look at this machine. So I ordered parts and Mocean was nice enough to send me some code to get me started. The game is very close to being complete now: lights, sounds, and game logic. The only thing that is really missing is allowing multi-player, which I'll be adding in shortly.

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1 week later
#22 4 years ago

Sweet! Can I ask you to share back what you've done? I'd love to see it!

Thanks

#23 4 years ago

I built a custom PCB around an Arduino nano that I use to control the RGB flashers all over my Iron Man:
Cgosms_2014-09-2209-29-29.jpg

It lets me do cool effects and not have the different colors clobber each other.

#24 4 years ago

I'm currently working on an arduino-based pinball controller for simpler things like converting EMs to SS - for when using the P-ROC is cost prohibitive, or you'd rather spend time over money as part of your hobby. It works the same as the P-ROC in that it receives commands via USB to fire lamps and coils, has triggers, and returns switch events back. You then have the game rules on an external PC.

I'm currently converting a Gottlieb Mustang as my test case and I've built my own switch, lamp and solenoid driver boards. The boards on the bottom on power supplies that use the existing EM transformer to run lamps and coils.

IMG_2387.jpg

Right now I'm working my way through the software for strobing the lamp rows and columns. My boards are based on a combination of existing pinball designs.

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#25 4 years ago

I need to update with some new photos. For the Alive Machine thus far I have replaced all the rubber, replaced lights with leds, I've added more lights where the playfield was a bit dark, I replaced the popper body with a new one and lit it up, I moved the side switches in the matrix to their own lines since they were shared with the spinners, I've replaced the stand ups with actual ones I got off eBay instead of micro switches. This weekend I added a SD card to the arduino to keep track of the high score. Game is almost complete. I even had a friend with musical abilities help me add in intro music, it now plays the tagline of Elvis Viva Las Vegas. I keep kicking around the idea of multi-player. I think it would take a bit more coding, but at the same time I've never liked playing one as multi-player and having to take turns after every ball. So we'll just see on that one. lol Mine still looks a bit prototyped with all the little wires running everywhere, even though all the boards are attached inside the head. I might get a wild hair one weekends and solder everything to one big circuit board, but probably not. I am in the market for another one, so if I do find one I will probably do that on it.

#26 4 years ago

Awesome thread!

I'll be following with some serious interest.

#27 4 years ago
Quoted from dhalem:

I built a custom PCB around an Arduino nano that I use to control the RGB flashers all over my Iron Man:

It lets me do cool effects and not have the different colors clobber each other.

Cgosms_2014-09-2209-29-29.jpg 185 KB

Can you post a video? Sounds cool.

#28 4 years ago

follow !

1 week later
#29 4 years ago

@fantasygoat,

excellent work there!

1 month later
#30 4 years ago

I am planning a similar arduino based project with a Recel Space Race.

#31 4 years ago

lyonsden and I just completed a redesign of our Arduino Mega Pinball Signal shield(nicknamed the Pinduino). You can read about it in this other thread, but basically we are *starting* to take signals off the flasher circuit and do cool Arduino-based things with them.

We've built some functionality around controlling addressable LED strips, but we're hoping the modder/arduino community can find other cool uses for this... RGBs, Servos, Wifi, whatever.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/update-arduino-shield-propin-pinhead

-Wes

#32 4 years ago

This is a really cool thread! Just to follow up on Copperpot's post about our Pinduino shield, we also have instructions for using the arduino for timing how long your ball lasts while in play (including handling multiball). Step-by-step instructions, links to code, etc: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/diy-time-your-balls

9 months later
#33 3 years ago

Here's my completed project: Another Briarwood junker

http://hackaday.com/2015/07/27/pinball-table-gets-new-lease-of-life-with-arduino/

#34 3 years ago

By my count this is the third Brunswick/Briarwood brought back from the brink in this thread! Awesome!!

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