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(Topic ID: 32869)

DMD Extender


By DoctorPinball

7 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 113 posts
  • 48 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by Tuxedomask23
  • Topic is favorited by 25 Pinsiders

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    There are 113 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
    11
    #1 7 years ago

    Hi

    This is my first foray onto Pinside. I wanted to let you know about a project I've been working on and wanted to see what interest there is out there.

    I call the project DMD Extender and it's designed to recreate the DMD display on an external monitor. I can see it being used as a centre piece in a pinball collection or maybe for competition situations where an audience will be able to see the action more clearly.

    I live in the UK and have a background in IT and have been collecting pinball machines for around 5 years.

    Here's the link to my YouTube video:

    It'd be great to get some feedback and interest in this project.

    Cheers

    David.

    #2 7 years ago

    Hey David,

    Cool project! Some questions:
    1) Does it also work without the actual DMD plugged in (so is it possible to replace the DMD in the backbox with a monitor.
    2) (Why) does it only work with "Bally / Williams WPC pinball games" (as stated on Youtube).

    Cheers, Koen

    #3 7 years ago

    Koen

    Glad you like it! Answering your questions...

    1) Yes it can work without the DMD connected, although it still needs the driver board installed. There are 2 sockets on the Extender board for the DMD ribbon cables - only the input (from the driver board) is needed to make the external display work.

    2) It only works on Bally / Williams because I only have games by this manufacturer. I suspect that if the same 128 X 32 display is used by other manufacturers then the same screen logic will also be employed so the Extender should work.
    The power supply for the board is taken from the power driver board - for other manufacturers it may be necessary to use an external supply which is just a mobile phone charger (micro USB).

    Best wishes

    David.

    #4 7 years ago

    Neat concept.

    #5 7 years ago

    My pins flank the wall screen of my projector that I use for TV, Wii etc. it would be awesome if I could run the DMD though the AV Unit I run to the projector. Then I'd get the DMD display on my wall 5 feet high! If someone can figure out how to do this I'm in!

    #6 7 years ago

    If your AV unit has HDMI / DVI or Composite inputs then it should work.

    Regards

    David.

    #7 7 years ago

    Good use of a Rasberry Pi

    #8 7 years ago

    Raspberry Pi is great - cheap, powerful and flexible

    #9 7 years ago

    I think this is a great idea but needs a practical application. Maybe a kit that reworks the backbox replacing the original backglass, display and speaker panel in a tasteful fashion.

    #10 7 years ago

    The dmd display in the score cards location on the apron idea via mini screens is the practical application i am hoping for.

    #11 7 years ago

    I think it would be cool if you could intercept the DMD shades of gray and allow changing the grays to colors. Of course you'd need it to be user accessible so someone could add the colors in the Rasberry PI language to work with whatever game they have. Then ANYONE could make their own colorDMDs.

    #12 7 years ago

    Russo121 - I presume you've seen my other prototype on YouTube - this will happen next year, but there are a few extras that need developing.

    luvthatapex2 - I am intending the finished software to allow user selection of the 4 shades used to generate the dots, so you'll be able to tailor to suit your game.

    #13 7 years ago

    This is a very cool mod and has lots of possibilities. I wish you well in commercializing it and look forward to buying one!

    viperrwk

    #14 7 years ago
    Quoted from viperrwk:

    This is a very cool mod and has lots of possibilities. I wish you well in commercializing it and look forward to buying one!
    viperrwk

    Cool. Thanks for the encouragement.

    #16 7 years ago

    I agree with the other comments. Very cool and lots of potential. Looking forward to these becoming available... Already have designs on hanging one of these off my Doctor Who!

    Are you intending this to be strictly a 'commercial' product, or will the code be available for those who might like to put their own spin on it?

    #17 7 years ago

    Cool project. The cleverness of some people never ceases to amaze me ....

    Dave.

    #18 7 years ago

    It's funny how the virtual pinball crowd was stoked when Russ built a board to get PC-run games to use a real DMD, and now we have real pinball putting the DMD back out onto a screen.

    #19 7 years ago
    Quoted from Aurich:

    It's funny how the virtual pinball crowd was stoked when Russ built a board to get PC-run games to use a real DMD, and now we have real pinball putting the DMD back out onto a screen.

    Yes this it is funny. I am running a real DMD on my virtual pinball machine to make it look and feel more authentic. Then I run a color DMD LCD display on my MM to make it look cool.

    I like your DMD extender it would be cool if this could color the output like color DMD is doing but open source it. That way we would not be artificial locked in using the product with only one game. Then different people could work on pins together and divide up the work and share it.
    Could this product drive a bare laptop display?

    #20 7 years ago

    Something like this would be good at tournaments, where they are video broadcasting the table from overhead. Instead of trying to capture the dmd at a weird angle as part of the video, this could go alongside it.

    #21 7 years ago

    need to get one of these over to the Skit-B crew so we can finally see the animations that are on the DMD

    #22 7 years ago

    Thanks for all your comments.

    I'm initially looking at this being a commercial product - I haven't had a normal job (as my wife would call it) for a few months, this project has filled my time so I'd like to make it into something full time.

    As for ColorDMD - it may well be possible and I had thought along the same lines as the comments above. However I'm not of a mind to start treading on toes seeing as I'm new to all of this!

    The output is strictly limited to HDMI / DVI / Composite - it would require another interface developing to stand any chance of driving a bare LCD. For example, I believe the ColorDMD team use a more suitable processor which contains a lot of the necessary interfacing for these type of screens.

    Thanks again for all your comments.

    David

    #23 7 years ago

    This is great! Ever thought about tapping into the unused line level audio output at J-506 on the sound board? You could tie this in as a normalized output and have audio output as well for use with sound systems, A/V recording equipment, etc. Do you have an idea on price?

    3 weeks later
    #24 7 years ago

    Any other updates on this setup? Any further developments/advances? Inquiring minds and all...

    2 months later
    #25 7 years ago
    Quoted from Miguel351:

    Any other updates on this setup? Any further developments/advances? Inquiring minds and all...

    Hi

    Sorry for not giving further updates - I've been tremendously busy with the project and wanted to wait until I had made some decent progress...

    Data East / Sega - With the help of a fellow pinhead I now support DE / Sega games using 128 X 32 resolution displays. Hopefully support for larger format screens will happen soon.

    RgbDmd - Using the same hardware as the extender I can now demonstrate real time colouring of DMD frames. The following YouTube video shows the editor and extender software system in action. Let me know your thoughts! Be gentle though it's still early days...

    Now that this system is looking to be working I intend to pursue building a replacement display system using an LCD screen. The RgbDmd software will be available for use by anyone so hopefully we'll start to see colour appearing on all machines.

    Cheers

    David.

    #26 7 years ago

    Looks fantastic! Great job!

    I just hope you're not stepping on any copyright toes at this point with your software and intended goal.

    #27 7 years ago

    What copyright? It's not illegal to do any if this nor is he redistributing copyrighted content. Unless colordmd is patented there are no issues there either.

    #28 7 years ago

    Well, ColorDMD probably has spent money on obtaining the legal rights to sell ANYTHING bearing the B/W names, logos, images, IP, etc. While I agree that as long as Doctor Pinball sells a "Do-It-Yourself" kit, he's home free with regard to copyrights, but he isn't so home free when it comes to patents. So, with that, you are correct. Unless, ColorDMD didn't bother to patent their ideas and methods....

    #29 7 years ago

    why do people on pinside always bust out with the Lawyer crap? Let creatives work already and keep that other talk to your self.
    Carry on and Keep up the good work!!

    #30 7 years ago

    Because sometimes "creatives" end up making something that's already been done, and legally protected. Just because someone hasn't "heard" of that previous work, doesn't make it any more legal.

    Also because we're tired of seeing people who truly are creative and come up with something original(i.e. designed by themselves, not copying/duplicating someone else's work, ahem) get stepped on by the larger guys who just happen to be secretly(or not so secretly) holding the copyrights or patents. That, and there are more than a few lawyers that are members here and when something smells eerily similar to someone else's stuff, they know someone's gonna come knocking sooner or later demanding restitution.

    How many people here know that not all the B/W '90's era games licenses are held by the same company? I figured they all would've been sold together, but that's not the case. From what I've learned here, I think Planetary owns a couple, BAA has a couple, IPB has a few, and the list goes on. I'm sure if someone wanted to make a new/replacement TAF part, however noble their intent, they'd get a call. Same goes for MM. Albeit from different companies.

    Do you realize the number of patents and copyrights Apple applies for and gets every year for products they have NO intention of ever making? It's impressive. They do this to cover their asses on the technology they make that is largely similar and therefore can be extrapolated into other products that are very close in nature to the ones they already make. Basically, Apple doesn't want to be anyone else's R&D department. They put millions of dollars into their products, they're going to protect what they've got.

    Back to pinball, how would you feel if you spent hours and hours designing something in SolidWorks, paid to have it 3D printed(not cheap), made a mold from it, reworked and refined the drawing and mold to make it just right, then started making small batches of 5-10 so you can sell them to friends in the hobby....only to have one of those people buy it, make a mold of your finished piece(that you spent probably a few hundred dollars on and about 40 hours of time/labor), and start cranking out what is essentially YOUR creative handiwork, just to sell it on eBay?

    That's why we "bust out with all the lawyer crap"!

    #31 7 years ago

    Miguel351 needs a tissue.

    #32 7 years ago

    I think these units would be very cool for tournament games as some kind of topper. Kind of like a BetaBrite unit. It would show the scores to be seen from a distance at these shows.

    #33 7 years ago

    Love the idea of open source colouring

    #34 7 years ago

    Since the question was raised... as described on our website, the ColorDMD invention is the subject of a pending US patent.

    It's based on work I initiated in July 2009 and have spent several years improving upon, reducing to practice, and converting to a viable product that I could contribute, support, and share with the pinball community.

    While I'm impressed with David's initiative and work with the Rasberry Pi, I confess to being a little concerned that the posted RgbDmd video demonstrates several of the ideas I disclosed in the patent application, and presented in seminars over the last few years.

    I hope that the effort and investment made to invent the ColorDMD and get it to where it is today are considered by others as this new project progresses, and its scope and direction become more clear.

    Randy

    #35 7 years ago

    Doctor pinball ownd.

    #36 7 years ago
    Quoted from exflexer:

    Doctor pinball ownd.

    If Randy didn't make an international filing under the PCT, perhaps not.

    viperrwk

    #37 7 years ago

    I dont see the extender harming colordmd whatsoever. Theres a big difference between a drop in replacement and a whole bunch of different kit brought together to acheive a similar goal.

    -1
    #38 7 years ago
    Quoted from exflexer:

    Miguel351 needs a tissue.

    and a life...

    #39 7 years ago

    exflexer and Iamdarras pwnd.

    #40 7 years ago

    Heres a couple of pics showing the dmd extender working in my No Fear with a 4.3" composite monitor:

    2013-03-26_14.45.55.jpg 2013-03-26_14.11.07.jpg

    #41 7 years ago

    Got to get this one in there:

    russcore1.jpg

    -1
    #42 7 years ago

    It's an interesting project and having been in the software world for some time really like the work, but someone commented that there can't be any copyright issues ... there can be as follows:

    "One who knowingly induces, causes or materially contributes to copyright infringement, by another but who has not committed or participated in the infringing acts him or herself, may be held liable as a contributory infringer if he or she had knowledge, or reason to know, of the infringement"

    All of the DMD frames for I would think any game would be proprietary to the manufacturer of the game ... just sayin ...

    #43 7 years ago
    Quoted from PPS:

    It's an interesting project and having been in the software world for some time really like the work, but someone commented that there can't be any copyright issues ... there can be as follows:
    "One who knowingly induces, causes or materially contributes to copyright infringement, by another but who has not committed or participated in the infringing acts him or herself, may be held liable as a contributory infringer if he or she had knowledge, or reason to know, of the infringement"
    All of the DMD frames for I would think any game would be proprietary to the manufacturer of the game ... just sayin ...

    Would a copyright even apply in this case? The hardware that is being created contains no copyrighted material, it is only interpreting the signals from the machine.

    It would be like saying every TV manufacturer is infringing on copyrights because they are displaying copyrighted material.

    #44 7 years ago

    I don't want to get into a big discussion here about patents and copyrights and argue whether this work infringes either Williams copyrights or ColorDMD patents. Those who have all the facts can chime in here. I'll leave it to them to debate.

    All I will say is that if Randy didn't apply for international protection under the PCT at the same time he applied for his US patent (his comment that "the ColorDMD invention is the subject of a pending US patent" implies he didn't) then David's work is likely in the clear.

    And Russo, love the mod!

    viperrwk

    #45 7 years ago

    Well, it's not exactly doing that. It's copying and re-creating frames. So as it re-creates the frames that is where the problem occurs (example: recreating a "W" logo, or the name of a game, etc). If it were simply colorizing bits as it moved thru the wire, then I think that would be alot more 'grey' ... again, if a device enabled infringement then it may be contributory ... I think the copyright law figured out this a long time ago as one of the easiest ways to try to 'skirt' the copyright by creating devices which don't do the copying of copyright content, but enable others to ...

    Also, I don't spend too much time on patent stuff, but seems that if there is a US patent, then anyones work might be in the clear, but I thought was not allowed to be sold into the US ...

    #46 7 years ago

    WOW, thats sick in place of the card.

    -1
    #47 7 years ago

    I will agree the screen there is pretty awesome. Especially since I never raise my head to check the DMD. I would Be overly interested in figuring out where I could get the board to transfer that data to a LED/LCD screen. Or how I would be able to make one.

    #48 7 years ago

    DMD Projector!

    #49 7 years ago

    That projector is fantastic! I do love this mod!

    2013-03-26_20.09.59.jpg

    -1
    #50 7 years ago

    This is really cool. Especially duplicating the display down on the apron. Very cool.

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