DIY Homemade Machine

By Genzume

4 years ago


  • 19 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by Skrippy
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    #1 4 years ago

    I'm sure at the title alone a few of you rolled your eyes before entering this thread. Another guy wanting to build a home machine who is in way over his head. A quick introduction before I state my question(s). I'm a software engineer in Seattle who has over 10 years of experience writing code, hacking and playing the tech guy role. My understanding of EE goes to the bare basics and I'm attempting to fix that by taking on projects that can evolve and get harder as I find better ways to implement things. My twin brother is also a software engineer by trade and his understanding of EE is better than mine but in no way is he an Electrical Engineer.

    Together we've decided to take on the task of building a custom pinball machine. We've bought many of the basic parts we need to get started and have read every resource we could get our hands on for how to build a machine. Our goal is to document our progress and keep it open source including youtube videos and blog posts on what we discover along the way. The goal is a new-age pinball machine that uses mechanical parts and is run via Arduino(s) and Raspberry Pi. We've had plenty of success on making the Arduino and Raspberry Pi communicate, play sounds, and do things the game would do after receiving input/events from an actual machine.

    Over Thanksgiving weekend we are going to assemble the lower playfield and try to wire a few things up. Mainly I want to hook up the side flipper buttons to the arduino, and the arduino to trigger the actual flipper assembly. Any help or wisdom would be great on the topic so I don't burnout any components while initially hooking them up. Now to the technical specs and my question(s).

    Let's imagine I'm hooking up only one flipper at the moment. The flipper is an FL 15-411 and the assemblies EOS switch gets closed at the EOS. I read up on how the flipper should be hooked up from Attached to this post are three images. Two of them show the assembly in both open and closed position. The third image is how I think the wiring schematic is suppose to be. My power supply is this: link »

    From what I understand I should have a power bus (24v for most things, but 48v for the flippers). I'm suppose to hook the power up to the power terminal and then I get a bit confused on the other two terminals. It says EOS goes to the middle terminal and EOS + GND goes to the third terminal. Does this mean one side of the EOS goes to the middle and the other side goes to the last terminal? The next question is what kind of transistor do I need to switch the flipper on and off from the Arduino? I read an interesting article on transistor math and was told I need a transistor for 100v (double what you're planning to run to it) but I'm not sure what amperage it needs to have? The FL 15-411 says its resistance is 4ohms when on the high coil and 145ohms when on high and low coil (holding). So if I'm running 48v through it that's 12 amps or 0.33 amps running through it. My last and final question is do I need a diode between the arduino and the transistor to avoid some sort of blowback? Is there anything else I'm missing? I know this is pretty EE heavy and probably common sense for most people with electrical knowledge so I would love feedback.

    And for those of you wondering what the theme of the pinball machine is, it's Spelunky (the console game). Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this post and especially those who comment.

    IMG_1005.jpg IMG_1006.jpg IMG_1007.jpg
    #2 4 years ago

    Well first problem I see is using low voltage EOS points in a high voltage application. You should burn those up real fast. Best flipper guide there is, start reading.

    LTG : )

    #3 4 years ago

    Always fun to see a homebrew pin being made. If you're interested, there's a good community at the forums on And yes, I''ve played Spelunky before. I should play that again, great "virtually retro" title.

    #4 4 years ago

    Love to see this kind of thread. A fresh outlook and new ideas are always good. Keep posting pics and updates here please. And as LTG said, those points on the leaf switch wont take the juice you want running through there. There are a few places to get bulk deals on tungston point leafs if you look around.

    #5 4 years ago

    The leaf switch that came built with the assembly aren't able to handle the current that is suppose to run through them? I'm going to have to contact the manufacturer cause that's crap! I bought the assembly from Bay Area Amusements. Thanks for the quick replies, I'll look at that thread and update. I've been playing Spelunky HD which is amazing and a pinball version should be fun!

    #6 4 years ago
    Quoted from Genzume:

    The leaf switch that came built with the assembly aren't able to handle the current that is suppose to run through them? I'm going to have to contact the manufacturer cause that's crap! I bought the assembly from Bay Area Amusements.

    Don't bother them. You ordered an assembly for a new Williams pin, they had no way of knowing you wanted for an older pre fliptronics pin.

    Get new high voltage EOS points and hang them on there.

    LTG : )

    #7 4 years ago

    This may sound stupid but what's the difference between new Williams pin and pre fliptronics pin? Is there a way I can use the current setup by changing voltage or something? Or is it because of the solenoid requirements that I need a better set of leaf switches?

    #8 4 years ago
    Quoted from Genzume:

    This may sound stupid but what's the difference between new Williams pin and pre fliptronics pin?

    Study the link in my first post. Everything you need to know about flippers is in there.

    LTG : )

    #9 4 years ago

    you should research how to fix older early SS games if your going this route. Check out this old pinball and get the early SS version. that will help you in the right direction, but you have a shitload of reading to do before you even start this.

    #10 4 years ago

    That link was extremely helpful. Thanks so much for sharing! I've ordered the better leaf switches and feel confident in wiring up the flippers now. I don't have the capacitor they talk about but I'm planning to get it later. My brother and I are going to build the lower playfield over Thanksgiving so I'll post some new pictures soon.

    #11 4 years ago

    Hi Genzume,

    Just check on the circuit you will be wiring up as the one you have translated ( hand drawn ) is not how it is in your original link. Your circuit will ignore the "hold" coil no matter what position your E.O.S. is in. The original schematic is correct.


    #12 4 years ago

    Thanks centre-drain, I realized after I drew it and through looking at the other thread that it was wrong. With the new leaf switches I ordered it will follow the original schematic online.

    #13 4 years ago

    That kid that built the custom road course pinball with the 2nd level for his high school project was amazing to watch the progress (and seeing him use relays for everything). I always love seeing what people will create from scratch.

    Also if you're going the arduino route, might want to check out what this guy is up to:

    #14 4 years ago

    Mark and I have been in contact for a while now. He was actually the inspiration for me to take on this project when I saw he was utilizing an Arduino and Raspberry Pi. He gave me a lot of great starting tips, especially for using Transistors to manage the power. I'll post more pictures over the Thanksgiving Holiday when I start putting this thing together and testing it out.

    #15 4 years ago

    Hey Genzume,

    Great to see someone making their own machine. A few years ago I had the same idea as you, albeit much less complex.

    I went for a simple low-tech 1/2 sized pitch and batt machine using marble-sized ball bearings. I started by using an Arduino ATMega328, but it had too few pins on it to avoid a switching matrix. I'm moving to either the ATMega2560 or the Raspberry pi. Eventually I'll get sound effects and a small LCD display running on it too.

    I bought a bunch of cheap long lever switches and soldered little tin tabs to the end of each for when the ball drops down scoring holes, then the underside of the playfield has a piece of wood that sends the ball back to a pitcher's mound. I have a coil that shoots it up a metal ramp out of the pitcher's mound. It uses a little flap with an embedded hinge. Strikes also are sloped to go back to the same point.

    The playfield is made out of MDF, and was awesome to work with. Dremel was easy to use on this. I played around with some design ideas based on other Pitch and Batt machines. The first thing I did was install the little batt flipper to see how it would react and how wide a range I'd have. Then committed to drilling holes. I build little wood rails around the playfield to contain the pinball.

    The power supply came out of an old dead laser printer, which had +5v, +12v, & +48v on it (everything you need for a machine). I put some LEDs on the bases and did a little bit of code so far to control lighting and scoring, and I did manage to get it somewhat working. It is still a major work in progress that I mess around with every once in a while. The idea was to install it into my coffee table in my man cave.

    #16 4 years ago

    Genzume: May also want to check out the fireball project. He's using arduino and rasberry pi

    1 week later
    #17 4 years ago

    Just a quick update! Happy Thanksgiving/Holidays. We wired up the flippers yesterday and everything worked smoothly. We are using the tungsten closed leaf switch EOS and following the diagram we found on

    Thanks for all the help so far, we are starting to understand more about the difference in wiring flippers for early SS and newer WPC. Here are a couple pictures, nothing juicy yet. First one is our workstation yesterday and the second is the temporary playfield where we've been marking out dimensions for the lanes, flippers, etc.

    Everything is closed today so we can't get the screws for attaching things to the playfied. We will tackle it again tomorrow and post new pictures. For now we've started programming the raspberry pi game states.

    1463177_545682766316_30446837_n.jpg 1468658_545701428916_1624462952_n.jpg
    2 months later
    #18 4 years ago

    hows this going now? any more progress in 2 months?

    #19 4 years ago

    I'm interested in seeing how realize Spelunky in the pinball world considering how of a game it is?

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