DMD Extender Discussion (ColorDMD Alternative)

(Topic ID: 67366)

DMD Extender Discussion (ColorDMD Alternative)


By Crash

5 years ago



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  • 730 posts
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  • Latest reply 2 years ago by PohodaVole
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There are 730 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 15.
14
#1 5 years ago

Ironically enough I had my last working DMD board start acting up on me today. We tried to repair it but the board has disintegrated too much from the years of heat. But of course the logic section is still good meaning it will work with a low voltage display. So after seeing what winteriscoming did with his JP we said, "What the heck?" and decided to outfit our Addams Family with a "poor man's color DMD." Winteriscoming, thanks a heck of a lot for disclosing the details of your build. I have absolutely no experience working with laptop displays and how the controller must be programmed and wired to work with a specific brand of panel. Listing the exact parts you used saves me a lot of time and trouble. Plus, your work looks awesome!! The Rasberry Pi arrived today, just waiting on the Extender, converter board, and LCD. Man this is going to be one sweet mod...

Raspberry Pi Model A+ Board RAM 256M CPU BCM2835 ARM11 made in the UK: $28
ebay.com link » Raspberry Pi Model A Board Ram 256m Cpu Bcm2835 Arm11 Made In The Uk

DMD Extender board from Dr. Pinball: $100
http://www.drpinball.co.uk/howtobuy.htm

HDMI DVI VGA Audio controller board for 15.6" B156HW01 LP156WF1 1920x1080 lcd: $30
ebay.com link » Hdmi Dvi Vga Audio Controller Board For 15 6 B156hw01 Lp156wf1 1920x1080 Lcd

NEW LG PHILIPS LP156WF1(TL)(B2) LAPTOP LCD SCREEN 15.6: $58
ebay.com link » New Lg Philips Lp156wf1 Tl B2 Laptop Lcd Screen 15 6

If you have Maverick, Frankenstein, Baywatch, or Batman Forever you will need this display instead:

LAPTOP LCD LED SCREEN 17.3" FOR LG LP173WF1(TL)(C1) LP173WF1-TLC1: $60
ebay.com link

I have written a brief connectivity guide for large Sega displays, but it will work with any setup as long as you have the correct parts for your game and configure the software to use the correct machine manufacturer setting. The new version of the Extender uses Raspberry Pi model A plus/B plus now.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/diy-addams-family-poor-mans-color-dmd/page/10#post-2237459

I will also be following Herg's Tron conversion for guidance: http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/diy-colordmd-installation-in-stern-sam-tron

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Update! ALY has written a fantastic setup guide to supplement my instructions.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/colorized-dmd-with-dmd-extender-diy

And HighProtein has made a great setup video explaining the entire assembly process.

#2 5 years ago

What was the overall build cost?

#3 5 years ago

About $260, including a $7 micro USB 5v power supply and $2 heatsinks for the Raspberry. Considering this setup has a much longer life than a plasma DMD, doesn't use problematic high voltage parts, and is just over half the cost of a ColorDMD, it's a very feasible price.

#4 5 years ago
Quoted from Crash:

About $260, including a $7 micro USB 5v power supply and $2 heatsinks for the Raspberry. Considering this setup has a much longer life than a plasma DMD, doesn't use problematic high voltage parts, and is just over half the cost of a ColorDMD, it's a very feasible price.

Good luck! Glad I could help.

As an outspoken supporter of the DMDExtender product, I don't think it's necessarily appropriate to refer to it as a "Poor Man's ColorDMD" which implies it's not as good... It has a lot of flexibility that ColorDMD doesn't offer such as the ability to choose 4 custom colors for each shade of the dots from the original DMD and the ability to add in additional displays.

#5 5 years ago

I'm not sure how that helps with this, but good luck with the project.

#6 5 years ago

Can't wait to see pics of the display when you're done!

#7 5 years ago

The display panel arrived today. And boy it's thin!

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35
#8 5 years ago

Am I the only one who wants to touch the bottom part now?

#9 5 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Am I the only one who wants to touch the bottom part now?

It's like a magnet! Don't touch! I gotta touch it!!

rd.

#10 5 years ago

Bookmarked.

#11 5 years ago

Is there any good reason WHY we shouldn't touch it?

11
#12 5 years ago

MC Hammer said so.

#13 5 years ago

"...Don't look at the light!" .. "I can't help it, it's so beautiful"

#14 5 years ago

AC adapter for the Pi:

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#15 5 years ago
Quoted from Crash:

AC adapter for the Pi:

Not sure you'd need that. You should be able to get power from the game itself once the DMDExtender is plugged in.

#16 5 years ago
Quoted from Crash:

Is there any good reason WHY we shouldn't touch it?

Because there's a CCFL or two in there and the protective glass is supposedly thin. Something about hazmats..?

#17 5 years ago
Quoted from Mocean:

Because there's a CCFL or two in there and the protective glass is supposedly thin. Something about hazmats..?

Think it's LEDs, not CCFLs...

#18 5 years ago

Well mainly the adapter is because of the micro USB connector. And yes this particular panel is LED backlit. Much more reliable in the long term.

#19 5 years ago
Quoted from Crash:

Well mainly the adapter is because of the micro USB connector.

Just to make sure we're on the same page, nothing has to be plugged into the micro usb port on the RPi once the DMDExtender is plugged into it and powered. The RPi gets its power from the DMDExtender, which should come with an adapter cable to plug into the game's power.

#20 5 years ago

Can't wait to see the results!!!

#21 5 years ago

Finally, the Extender! Just waiting on the signal converter and heatsinks.

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#22 5 years ago
Quoted from Crash:

AC adapter for the Pi:

The Pi's can be very finicky with the AC adaptor powering them (I had issues with one of mine running RaspBMC and crashing a lot from a cheaper AC power plug), so just a heads up to people looking to do this - most of the issues caused with the Pi, more likely than not, stem from a bad supply of power.

#23 5 years ago
Quoted from Nibbles:

The Pi's can be very finicky with the AC adaptor powering them (I had issues with one of mine running RaspBMC and crashing a lot from a cheaper AC power plug), so just a heads up to people looking to do this - most of the issues caused with the Pi, more likely than not, stem from a bad supply of power.

When using a Raspberry Pi in the DMD Extender do not use an AC adaptor. The Pi is powered by the pinball power board through the Extender board. That way it switches on when the pinball is switched on.

Crash - How are you going to power the screen controller (it needs 12V DC)?

#24 5 years ago

I recently posted an Application Note on my web site about how to replace the Sega 192 X 64 screens...
http://www.drpinball.co.uk/documentation_applicationnotes.htm

I'm expecting a couple more LCD controller boards soon, so I'll be doing another Application Note on how to replace 128 X 32 screens for all other types of machine.

I'm hopeful I'll get Stern support concluded pretty soon as well.

Keep up to date with progress on my Facebook page...
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-Pinball/516962141672693

Cheers, David.

#25 5 years ago

I'm going to use an external 12v supply due to the existing supply being unregulated and taxed enough as it is anyway. Thanks A LOT for the detailed guide David, will definitely be following that one! I think these Sega LCD conversions will catch on pretty quickly.

#26 5 years ago

David is your 128x32 note going to recommend the parts listed here? Using this particular controller eliminates the need for an HDMI to DVI adapter.

#27 5 years ago
Quoted from Crash:

David is your 128x32 note going to recommend the parts listed here? Using this particular controller eliminates the need for an HDMI to DVI adapter.

What you've ordered looks fine. The controller you are using includes the HDMI port as well as the DVI - I prefer to use the simpler and cheaper controller with only the DVI port as the cables are easy to get with HDMI one end and DVI the other. My application note shows an adaptor being used, but that's just what I had to hand at the time I took the photos. A 1m HDMI/DVI cable is cheap and easy to find.

The only technical issue I need to solve is driving the screen from the pinball 12V - on Bally/Williams it's nearer 14V. However, the LCD controller uses a regulator to achieve it's voltages so I need to check the specs and see if it can tolerate the higher voltage. Otherwise I'll have to supply a regulator as well which I want to avoid if possible.

#28 5 years ago

Good info and write up. I will check back to see progress on the actual build and example pics of after.

#29 5 years ago

Teeny tiny heatsinks arrived today.

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#30 5 years ago

And at last, the controller board!

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#31 5 years ago

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#32 5 years ago
Quoted from Crash:

Teeny tiny heatsinks arrived today.

Awww, so cute!

That display looks great! Can't wait to see more progress!

#33 5 years ago

Tested it out on the project LW3 I'm working on. Works great, except I didn't have a PC to change it to Data East mode. I'm going to tweak some settings including resolution tomorrow and will report back. Oh, and the backlit panel creates a nice glow sitting on the glass.

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#34 5 years ago

Update, fixed the sync issue (game mode was set to Bally/Williams by default). I started testing it in LW3 to get a feel for the colorizing. I'm very impressed by how easy this is to do, just run the program or edit the text file. I tried upping the resolution on the Extender program but that only draws the image closer to a 1 aspect ratio, which means it doesn't fill the screen if I up the resolution from the default 320x96 (I increased it by 50% to 480x144). Setting it to 2x or higher throws an error, so there is a limit to how high you can go relative to the source resolution, which is 1680x1050. So in short, don't bother changing the resolution. Can the main image buffer be improved to show more round, sharp dots?

I also noticed a bug with color accuracy. When I set a plane to orange (FFCC00 I think?) it shows up as pure yellow on the LCD. Also, when adjusting blue the program appears to bump up the brightness quite a bit, so I have to overcompensate to get an accurate color. Is this a known bug? I know the software is in its early stages at v0.7.

And as far as the LW3 colorization goes I think I have it pretty nailed down, using blue for any of the 3 lit planes looks awful in contrast to red and orange, so like the cabinet I used a dark, subtle blue background color for the "black" setting (not the actual background color setting in the program). Also I think I'll make the red a little less saturated. I think it looks pretty nice, but yellow doesn't show up that often. I forgot the SD card but I'll post the settings as well as the LCD settings for my controller board.

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#35 5 years ago

How are the black levels on the monitor you're using? When screen first powers up, how much is the "dark grey" prevalent? I'm just curious about the contrast quality of certain screens and wonder if that is something one can "shop for" when sourcing a panel.

#36 5 years ago

LW3 looks cool.

Might have to try this if/when my dmd craps out!

#37 5 years ago

The black levels aren't any worse than what you would expect from a typical LCD monitor. It's really not that bad once you line up your eyes when in a playing stance. You are standing slightly above the screen but the vertical field of view is still pretty good, keep in mind these are laptop displays so they are designed to remain visible when looking down on them even if you have the lit partially closed.

I'll try my best to get a square straight-on picture to give the best idea of contrast.

#38 5 years ago

very nice!

#39 5 years ago

Here are a few spot on photos. I also tweaked the red and yellow to be a bit lighter, this looks great and I'll be using it for LW3 eventually. Yes, the project is still about TAF, but it's on location at the moment. So anyone interested, my official Lethal Weapon 3 color palette!

colors.png

photo 1.JPGphoto 3.JPGphoto 2.JPG

I have the picture settings for this screen as well, be sure to set aspect ratio to 16:10.

fr_1185.jpg

Also, I noticed the board tends to blur multiple planes together when stuff scrolls across the screen, leaving a trail of dim pixels (in this case yellow). It's somewhat inconsistent as you notice it didn't start doing it until a couple of seconds into the credits. Happens probably 80% of the time.

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#40 5 years ago

The video is set to "private".

#41 5 years ago

So are you going in and colorizing every dot? Looks f'ing brilliant!

#42 5 years ago

Sorry try the video now. YouTube being dumb.

Quoted from TaylorVA:

So are you going in and colorizing every dot? Looks f'ing brilliant!

No, the Extender lets you set colors for each of the 4 shades of dots. But thanks for the comment, it's amazing how much a few minutes of tinkering can make a game LOOK like it's been fully colorized. That's the beauty of this setup!

#43 5 years ago

Sorry if I missed it, but does the Pi basically run off of the SD card that comes with the dmd extender (so no need to program the Pi outside of inserting the SD card)? And did you decide to pull power from the pin's boards, or are you still using the AC adaptor from above? I have a pin that the dmd is starting to act up and would love to mess around with this.

#44 5 years ago

The Linux kernel and program file are both on the SD card, all you need to do is plug it in and warm up the Pi (pun intended, mmmmmm). I'm splicing the 5v connector at the DMD controller board on LW3, and will probably do the same thing in Addams Family. The 12v power for the signal controller board will use a seperate 12v 5a brick.

#45 5 years ago

How is the LCD response time ?
Any ghosting if you have rapid frame change ?

Nice project and info BTW.

#46 5 years ago

Pretty cool project. Will there be any issues fitting the new screen in the AF?

#47 5 years ago

I don't see any ghosting, kind of hard to tell with the frame blending issue at the moment. We'll be keeping the THING inserts in tact (using LEDs obviously due to heat) and using plexiglass to mount the board and stuff behind the display panel. It will stick up quite a bit above the speaker panel but that's no big deal, it just means I'll have to remove and lower the speaker panel when opening the backbox door.

I was planning on getting this together and done Monday but we've hit a snag as we don't have a 12v adapter powerful enough to supply the controller board. Those are coming from China, I doubt they will arrive next week...

#48 5 years ago

Its too bad Rat Shack has turned into a battery and cell phone shop. They use to sell a cheap regulated and / a unregulated 12 volt power supplies cheap when CB radios were the fad. Also likely from China!

#49 5 years ago
Quoted from Crash:

I was planning on getting this together and done Monday but we've hit a snag as we don't have a 12v adapter powerful enough to supply the controller board. Those are coming from China, I doubt they will arrive next week...

Amazon has them for cheap: amazon.com link »

#50 5 years ago

Yeah I think the ones we ordered are less than $8. That seems to be the going price for these.

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