(Topic ID: 144249)

**Checking Interest** Universal Lamp/Solenoid Tester Board

By acebathound

6 years ago


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  • 40 posts
  • 17 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by underlord
  • Topic is favorited by 10 Pinsiders

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    #1 6 years ago

    I mentioned this project a while back briefly in another thread, but wanted to create an official interest-check thread. I'm working on creating a Universal Lamp/Solenoid Tester Board. The “meat” of the design will be in standardizing how it works with the various manufacturer's games (similar to what the universal “64 Switch Matrix Tester” did for switches). Throw in a few other bells & whistles and have something that's pretty easy to use across various manufacturers. That's the goal anyway.

    Initial prototype design:
    universal_lamp_solenoid.jpg

    Uses a larger dot matrix display for the "matrixed" lamps (ie. anything with an 8x8 matrix). Also has 32 bar graphs for non-matrixed lamps (ie. Classic Bally/Stern, Bally 6803, Gottlieb Sys1, Gottlieb Sys80) and for solenoid output testing.

    I plan on adding the following:
    -DIP Switches on row/columns for the matrixed lamps (suggested here – https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/checking-interest-wpc-dedicated-switch-tester-board)

    -Ground connection points for Gottlieb machines. They have a ground on the solenoid/lamp connectors that need to be tied together. A header would allow all of those to be tied together & a single ground wire then clipped to the ground braid in the game.

    -SIP load resistors (to add a bit of additional load to prevent flickering when used to test lamps on Classic Bally/Stern games). I think it would be okay to make that universal as all it will do is add some additional load grounded lamp/solenoid lines which would be nothing compared to a regular #44/#47 lamp or solenoid load.

    Some additional thoughts I had were to have printable overlays and a way to easily line them up with the dot matrix and bar graph displays. This would allow manufacturer-specific identification of lamps/solenoids. Could just toss the paper and print another one when you're ready to move to testing a different manufacturer's game. Some type of clear overlay / vinyl may also be an option.

    At some point in the future, I may also be able to create another database similar to the Switch Matrix Database I created here -- http://www.pinitech.com/switch_database.php but for machine-specific lamp & solenoid connections.

    Here's a mock-up of a paper overlay for WILLIAMS games -- the led light shines through and lights up the number:
    overlay.jpg

    First of all, is this something that you would want? I want to make sure i have at least a few dozen people that want something like this before I get too crazy planning a design or ordering boards & materials.

    If so, are 32 bar graph leds enough? This would mean grounded lamps, solenoids would be tested separately on games. It would also require testing the lamps on some games in phases (ie. Bally 6803 can have up to 90 feature lamps/flashers.... Classic Bally/Stern machines can have up to 60 lamps). So for Classic Bally/Stern you'd test lamps #1-32.. then swap out the harness(es) to test lamps #33-60. I could support up to 64 grounded lamps, but board size would definitely increase.. costs would increase.. and so if testing half the lamps at a time works well enough, then why not keep it simple. Same with the 8x8 matrix. For newer games with a larger matrix, you could just swap in the additional rows/columns on another harness and test the full matrix that way.

    Interested in hearing people's thoughts on this, any other useful features to add to the design, etc.

    UPDATE: If this is something you'd be interested in and want to see happen, get signed up on the wait list over at http://www.pinitech.com/lab.php Just need a name and email!

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #2 6 years ago

    You know I'm in for a couple Ace.
    Always love this stuff.
    --
    Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
    http://www.Team-EM.com
    http://webpages.charter.net/chibler/Pinball/index.htm
    http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

    #3 6 years ago

    I'm in.

    #5 6 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    This looks awesome

    Thanks My main motivation for something like this has been GOTTLIEB machines. It's really not easy to test driver board outputs in-game or at the bench IMO. I'm sure I could use some basic led bar graph tester (or rework the Bally LDB Tester I sell) but it's still more of a spaghetti mess of wires than I'm interested in dealing with. Plus it'd be nice to actually having numbers match up (chart or overlay) with the actual numbers of the lamps/solenoids in the manuals for easier identification & could lead to easier diagnosing if an online chart also indicated the transistor/scr/ic in that circuit.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #6 6 years ago

    Trying something new I just added a "Wait List" for projects at the PINITECH Lab page I've been meaning to create some more excitement on projects & also have a way to gauge what kind of interest there is *BEFORE* I place orders for materials or in some cases, even continue working on a design.. since if there's not much interest it may not be worth developing more than just the board(s) I need.

    So if you're interested in this project, head on over to http://www.pinitech.com/lab.php and get on the wait list! Just need a name and email! Hopefully the clobbered-together HTML/CSS stuff works, but if not you're welcome to send a PM with what you're interested in.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #7 6 years ago

    I'm in.

    #8 5 years ago

    I can't belive the list didn't fill up in the first couple days. It looks like it could be a very handy tester.

    Free bump

    #9 5 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    I can't belive the list didn't full up in the first couple days. It looks like it could be a very handy tester.
    Free bump

    Yeah a bit surprised as well considering I had a handful of people ask about whether I'd be doing something for lamps when they bought the switch matrix tester. Pinside has historically been a difficult place to judge interest on test/diagnostic equipment though -- so I'm trying the wait list on my website over @ http://www.pinitech.com/lab.php and hoping *eventually* people that are interested in these kind of products just check that out periodically and sign up for anything they might be interested in. Once these kind of posts are down a page or two, they have limited visibility and that happens pretty quick considering the smaller market for the stuff. Hopefully the "experiment" works and I'll have some better methods of gauging interest over time.

    Thanks for the bump!

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    1 week later
    #10 5 years ago

    In like Flynn.

    #11 5 years ago

    BUMP. Surprised haven't hit 20x people waitlisted on this yet

    #12 5 years ago

    Did you put this up on RGP?

    I'm surprised that more people did not sign up for this??

    #13 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Did you put this up on RGP?
    I'm surprised that more people did not sign up for this??

    Actually, I hadn't.. not directly anyway. Another member had posted a link for the waitlist for the Piggyback board, but I didn't post about this Universal Lamp/Solenoid Tester over there.

    I have no idea why but I haven't gravitated as much over there for announcing things, I guess because theoretically there's more posts/action here -- so my brain says post here lol. But despite the lower number of posts on RGP, it's a more technical audience.. and then there's that whole thing with posts not disappearing super quick like on Pinside.. unless it's some hot item / topic

    I'll do a little announcement over there sometime soon!

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #14 5 years ago

    signs up! ill have one of those, and one of those. and ..ohh...look at these! its like being a kid in a candy shop.

    #15 5 years ago

    I'll just bump this fer ya. There ya go.

    http://www.pinitech.com/lab.php

    13 of 20 on wait list? C'MON PEOPLE!

    #16 5 years ago

    i'm in

    #17 5 years ago

    Thanks guys! Up to 14! Yeah hitting 20x people would be awesome. There's a few people interested in more than one but I'm trying to go by unique people versus quantities people are saying they might want. Price will depend some on how many people are interested from the get-go so the more people that sign up, the better.

    Ultimately I'm going to try to get the price pretty reasonable on this as a kit or even assembled. I don't know full costs yet because I haven't finalized the design, but I'll be working on it over the winter. Definitely won't be as high as the switch matrix tester assembled because there should be less soldering points. A *very rough* estimate at this time would be something like $35-40 PCB kit, $50-65 PCB assembled. Could be slightly more or less.. will have to see what the final design becomes and crunch some numbers. Wire harnesses / materials would be separate & I may take it easier with what I offer there and instead just list part numbers for harnesses. It's difficult investing a huge amount in connectors when enough of that stuff is only applicable to a single design and if half or more people would rather source it themselves, I'm sitting on a big investment if I overbuy there.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    1 week later
    #18 5 years ago

    Bumpin for a great product. 18 of 20 preordered!! http://www.pinitech.com/lab.php

    #19 5 years ago

    20 of 20 reached, Merry Christmas!

    #20 5 years ago

    Get er dun!

    #21 5 years ago

    I'd get one for sure

    #22 5 years ago
    Quoted from pinaholic:

    I'd get one for sure

    Just join the list. Minimum is 20. Max is who knows?!

    #23 5 years ago
    Quoted from underlord:

    Just join the list. Minimum is 20. Max is who knows?!

    The sky is the limit! No maximum set

    I encourage anyone interested to sign up, even though the "minimum" number I had set was hit. It's good to gauge number of pcbs and amount of materials to order when these get run (or any boards really). I may have to change how that info is formatted (ie. "xx out of xx minimum") if that discourages additional people from expressing interest once the minimum is hit.

    So sign up on the waitlist @ http://www.pinitech.com/lab.php even if you haven't already or only commented on this thread to express interest. Trying to use the waitlist as the exclusive way of gauging interest on these projects.

    Thanks for the bump underlord!

    #24 5 years ago
    Quoted from acebathound:

    The sky is the limit! No maximum set
    I encourage anyone interested to sign up, even though the "minimum" number I had set was hit. It's good to gauge number of pcbs and amount of materials to order when these get run (or any boards really). I may have to change how that info is formatted (ie. "xx out of xx minimum") if that discourages additional people from expressing interest once the minimum is hit.
    So sign up on the waitlist @ http://www.pinitech.com/lab.php even if you haven't already or only commented on this thread to express interest. Trying to use the waitlist as the exclusive way of gauging interest on these projects.
    Thanks for the bump underlord!

    How about something like:

    Minimum of xx needed for production. xx currently on waitlist. Waitlist will determine number produced.

    #25 5 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    How about something like:
    Minimum of xx needed for production. xx currently on waitlist. Waitlist will determine number produced.

    I like that train of thought I've updated with something that I think will work!

    1 month later
    #26 5 years ago

    Gonna BUMP this thread too..

    This tester's still on my radar.. I haven't been able to test in Bally 6803 yet.

    Has anyone connected leds to Bally 6803 lamp connections? Since a single SCR can turn on multiple lamps due to the various phases..it seems like as far as testing goes, connecting to just a single phase should be adequate for testing an SCR (ie. feature lamp power from "B" Phase goes to the tester for led power). Then the lamp connections get brought over (SCRs complete the connection to ground as the old Bally games). This would tell you an SCR is working. Figure if someone's already wired up their own tester they could confirm what a happy medium to 90+ feature lamp/solenoid connections is

    Looking to wrap up the PCB design soon.. and when funds permit, get this into the next board order! I need it for testing machines this year.. so I'd like to make it happen!

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    3 weeks later
    #27 5 years ago

    Put me down for one

    3 weeks later
    3 weeks later
    #29 5 years ago

    Considering selling off a few extras of the prototype run of these (as pictured in the first few posts) just as general use lamp/solenoid boards. Probably $25ea unassembled, $45ea assembled. Shipping not included.

    I probably have parts for 5x boards I can offer as complete kits or assembled (provided I can find some 9-pin SIP resistors in my parts). There would be virtually no instructions, so keep this in mind. It'd just be what you see in the picture & some general pin-out information.

    Any interest?

    Eventually my plan is to refine this design more. Have wiring instructions for various manufacturers.. overlays, etc.. but that may not be happening for at least another 2-3 months and I could use the funding by selling off some extras of these types of boards that would probably work fine for some people's needs. Might even help fund this particular project in doing that and help move it along a bit.

    Anyway, just a thought and wanted to check if there was interest in any of the extra boards I have

    #30 5 years ago

    I'm down for one (kit). Sending PM

    #31 5 years ago

    make it a kit and I'm in!

    I just love assembling your kits

    #32 5 years ago

    Wish you posted this at the same time as your matrix tester special, seems a good companion.

    7 months later
    #33 4 years ago

    Updates, thoughts & a bit of feedback requested for this idea going forward..

    I have a need for this tool for my own use in 2017, my current prototypes I did a while back would probably suit my purposes fine enough as all I really need is what I've already prototyped. However, I can still push this project through early in 2017 if there's interest in something "less refined" (basically amounting to the type of PCB you see in the picture & you're then on-your-own to map wiring appropriately per game to suit your needs. In other words, if the game has a "lamp matrix" then you'd be responsible for figuring out what connectors you'd need & how to connect the col/row lines to the tester board. Same goes for mapping grounded lamps or solenoid outputs to the headers for the bar graph led displays.

    Ideally, if I had all the time in the world -- I'd do exactly what I did for the 64 Switch Matrix Tester and go above-and-beyond on this one from the start as well.... creating nice wiring guides & instructions, stocking all the materials for wire harnesses, possibily even creating a lamp matrix / solenoid database. I just don't have the time to take it to that level though.. at least not initially. But plenty of people I think would be okay mapping wiring to the headers on the tester board themselves, as it really comes down to connecting rows/cols or lamp/solenoid outputs on the MPU/driver board to the tester. So a PCB Kit for what you currently see would at least be a good start.

    So if there's interest in that kind of thing -- I have no problem pushing a PCB through, ordering in some materials & offering kits possibly as soon as late January 2017. Likely in some range of $35-40 for a DIY Kit. No harnesses/wiring options or wiring guides.. at least not as first. And likely with a few "printable" overlays for the first few manufacturers I plan to work on project machines for. Over-time I would expect this tool to become more polished, because as my own needs justify it.. I'll be creating additional overlays... wiring guides, etc. I want something handy and quick, that makes as much sense as the 64 Switch Matrix Tester as far as being a universal tool that you can quickly and easily connect and understand. In 2017 I'll be working on a lot more variety of games myself, so as I simplifying the wiring & create overlays for myself.. this tool should become more polished as well. Initially though, it would just be offered as a PCB Kit with limited instructions & no wiring guides or wiring options.

    How does that sound?

    #35 4 years ago

    I have two of your 64 switch testers plus the one I built on my own based on Palson's design. I like the design of the universal tester. I'd be in for a kit (or two....I don't like searching for tools).
    --
    Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
    http://ChrisHiblerPinball.com/contact/
    http://www.PinWiki.com - The new place for pinball repair info

    #36 4 years ago

    I'd be interested.

    If the connector housings were available/included even if there were no wiring instructions, that would be helpful.

    #37 4 years ago

    I'm still interested

    3 months later
    9 months later
    #39 3 years ago

    I would like one. Bummer this didn’t happen.

    6 months later
    #40 3 years ago

    No updates on lamp/ solenoid tester for WPC?

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