(Topic ID: 125919)

Phil's Score Reel Clocks - First Batch Complete

By PhilGreg

6 years ago


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  • 418 posts
  • 87 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 14 days ago by PhilGreg
  • Topic is favorited by 98 Pinsiders

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There are 418 posts in this topic. You are on page 3 of 9.
#101 5 years ago

Well done on the awesome project.

Thanks for sharing.

#102 5 years ago

Don't know how I missed this thread. Very cool project. Perfect look and execution. How cool would it be to have similar clocks for each era of pinball?

1 week later
#103 5 years ago

Fantastic, congrats!

Where did you get the translite printed?

#104 5 years ago

Actually,
the translite I got a little bit lazy with... I went to the staples and got one copy printed on glossy thick paper and the other one on acetate. I mostly wanted to try stuff out and see what it would look like - the initial plan was to user paper to mask areas where I didn't want light and the acetates overlayed over it. The acetate was much too transparent.
So what I ended up doing was just putting the acetate on top of the paper with no cutouts, except for the score reel holes, matching it up real good and putting that between the 2 acrylic sheets. What that does is keep the colors vibrant with the lights on, but you do see the grain of the paper.

Looks pretty good to me but if I really wanted to step it up a notch I'd have it printed with better ink on a regular translite like sheet.

#105 5 years ago

Great info, thank you!

#106 5 years ago

Just seeing this and it is perfect as I have a Big Ben backbox I'm planning on making into a clock. Your clock looks great!

#107 5 years ago

Yeah you should be able to make it work with the Williams reels, you just have to make sure the Arduino is actuated the same way with the current position of each reel, I'm guessing the bakelite is different but circuitry is the same...

6 months later
#108 5 years ago

Just ran across this thread (linked from another). So glad you cross-posted. What a fun and well-realized project. Kudos!

5 months later
#109 4 years ago

I started one of these clocks a couple of years ago & it was put on the back burner due to actual pinball restoration.
Hope to get back to it one of these days!

#110 4 years ago

You said the score reels are too noisy. That's the best part!!!

#111 4 years ago
Quoted from mswhat:

You said the score reels are too noisy. That's the best part!!!

You built one? Let's see it!

1 week later
#112 4 years ago
Quoted from PhilGreg:

You built one? Let's see it!

Hey, just to be clear, I didn't mean that reply as "you wouldn't know because you didn't build one so keep your comments to yourself", but rather that I thought you actually might have built one and I would have been very interested to see it...
I guess you were just inferring though, so to answer, yes it is pretty cool. At first.
Then when you hear "click"..........."click"......."click" all night and "click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-" at midnight, not so cool.

If I ever get around to it I'll reengineer it with stepper motors. I do have some parts here that I ordered but I've been busy with my BOPP resto, among many other things. On the radar somewhere though, you never know...

#113 4 years ago

Yes I meant I think the noise of score reels cycling is a wonderful thing. In the middle of the night I can see that not being so cool.

4 years later
#114 7 months ago

Alright, alright, alright...
Pinside tells me to be careful about resurrecting this old thread - last post was 1,498 days ago, which would be a little over 4 years.
I'd been kicking around the idea of doing another iteration of the score reel clock for a some time, had some parts on hand, but never got around to it for a couple years.
Then for some reason I got interested again and got back into it.

As is the case with most or all of my pinball projects, I go at them super slow. I don't like following a thread I'm interested in that gets very few updates or that dies midway through a project, so I always try to have some progress before I start posting to try to avoid that situation.

I figure I'm pretty much at that point, so updates coming in the next weeks!

#115 7 months ago

Sweet, looking forward to it.

#116 7 months ago

== Part II - The Legacy ==

Before we get into it, over the years I have had some people ask me for the code so that they could try the project on their end. I didn't keep track but I'd say probably 7-8 people.
Out of those, I'm not sure how many actually completed the project, but I did get some pictures from a few of them.

I'm not sure whether they're all pinside users nor what their pinside handle is, but I'll share what pictures I did get from them.
I'll assume it's ok for me to share here, feel free to chime in if these are yours and you want to comment or would rather I not post them.

Also, if any of the other people that built the project want to share what they came up with I'd be glad to see it.

#117 7 months ago

First, in 2015, a gentleman called Jasper made the following:

pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png
#118 7 months ago
Quoted from PhilGreg:

== Part II - The Legacy ==
Before we get into it, over the years I have had some people ask me for the code so that they could try the project on their end. I didn't keep track but I'd say probably 7-8 people.
Out of those, I'm not sure how many actually completed the project, but I did get some pictures from a few of them.
I'm not sure whether they're all pinside users nor what their pinside handle is, but I'll share what pictures I did get from them.
I'll assume it's ok for me to share here, feel free to chime in if these are yours and you want to comment or would rather I not post them.
Also, if any of the other people that built the project want to share what they came up with I'd be glad to see it.

I made a raspberry pi version of the EM clock a few years ago. I used Windows IoT core and Visual Studio 2017 (visual basic) for the code. If anyone would be interested I can post all the pics and how I approached the project.
Here's a few pics of the finished project.
Cheers
IMG_8860 (resized).JPGIMG_8861 (resized).JPGIMG_8862 (resized).JPG

#119 7 months ago
Quoted from Enaud:

I made a raspberry pi version of the EM clock a few years ago. I used Windows IoT core and Visual Studio 2017 (visual basic) for the code. If anyone would be interested I can post all the pics and how I approached the project.
Here's a few pics of the finished project.
Cheers
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Wow that's awesome - were you inspired by this thread / did you use the schematics from this thread or is this an entirely independent project? Trying to figure out the actual "legacy" of this project.

#120 7 months ago
Quoted from PhilGreg:

Wow that's awesome - were you inspired by this thread / did you use the schematics from this thread or is this an entirely independent project? Trying to figure out the actual "legacy" of this project.

I was definitely inspired by your project. I had thought about this project for a while. Then when I came across your post, I decided I'd take the dive and try it myself. I'm not a C# or C++ guy. So, the raspberry pi approach using visual basic was my preferred flavor for the project. It was an entirely independent project, inspired by your efforts!
lol
Just checked the emails. I had emailed you back in January, 2019, thanking you for the inspiration! And, thanks, again! Great work you've done there.

#121 7 months ago
Quoted from Enaud:

I was definitely inspired by your project. I had thought about this project for a while. Then when I came across your post, I decided I'd take the dive and try it myself. I'm not a C# or C++ guy. So, the raspberry pi approach using visual basic was my preferred flavor for the project. It was an entirely independent project, inspired by your efforts!
lol
Just checked the emails. I had emailed you back in January, 2019, thanking you for the inspiration! And, thanks, again! Great work you've done there.

Excellent. Thanks for sharing and glad I helped kickstart it!

#122 7 months ago

Another gentleman named Mitch got in touch with me last year to do his version of the clock.
I see about 40 e-mails back and forth between the two of us over a few months, so had a few hiccups, but in the end he got it working.

Cool take on it with the full backglass.

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#123 7 months ago

I like it.

Thought of something similar, but using a 40s/50s backglass and light control. Similar to this (not mine).

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#124 7 months ago
Quoted from RonSS:

I like it.
Thought of something similar, but using a 40s/50s backglass and light control. Similar to this (not mine).
[quoted image]

Yep, good idea - love that Harbor Lites backglass. Would probably be a much easier project too without the need to drive and actuate the reels.

#125 7 months ago

Alright, I think there is probably one or two other implementations of the first clock out there, given how many times I've shared the code (although I suspect not everyone completed the project). Feel free to share if it's the case!

Now let's get to the next part.

== Part III - The Next Evolution ==

One thing I had in mind when doing the next evolution was to make it actually usable in real life. I wanted to bring the original one to put on my desk at work, but it's ridiculously large and noisy.

So that's the two main requirements right there:
-smaller size
-quiet enough that you can put it on your desk at work without driving everyone crazy

The only thing that could support these requirements was to design my own score reels, without using solenoids as actuators.

#126 7 months ago

Me reading along....

Quoted from PhilGreg:

-quiet enough that you can put it on your desk at work without driving everyone crazy

Yeah, putting some sound dampening materials in the box would really help a lot....

Quoted from PhilGreg:

The only thing that could support these requirements was to design my own score reels, without using solenoids as actuators.

Oh. This guy is a mad man.

Instant follow.

#127 7 months ago

I've got a soft spot for pinball clocks. There are several out there including:

Harbor lights (shown above) by Randy Elwin:
https://hackaday.com/2017/06/03/antique-pinball-machine-lives-as-clock/

A modified Wizard alarm clock:
https://hackaday.com/2011/09/24/pinball-machine-eats-your-quarters-tells-time/

A bare bones example:
https://hackaday.com/2018/12/13/turn-old-pinball-parts-into-a-unique-digital-clock/

Another simple example from Make magazine:
https://makezine.com/projects/convert-pinball-score-reel-clock/\

A Magic City version:
http://pinballwex.com/Clock.html

And my own version with a radio receiver to set the time:
https://www.funwithpinball.com/exhibits/atomic-clock

/Mark

#128 7 months ago
Quoted from PhilGreg:

-quiet enough that you can put it on your desk at work without driving everyone crazy
The only thing that could support these requirements was to design my own score reels, without using solenoids as actuators.

I wonder if you could use a stepper motor to activate the Score Reel plunger instead of a solenoid? That would let you use original hardware but make it much more quite. I did something similar to build a silent slow motion pop bumper. You can see it in action at about 1:40 in the short video at: https://www.funwithpinball.com/exhibits/small-boards#PopBumpers

#129 7 months ago

It would be fantastic if the arduino code would allow the clock to work with a wireless card so that the clock could sync with our home wireless network clock.

I assume this would require a more complex wiring diagram to designate all reel positions.

This would be a nice way to auto adjust the time if the clock power is ever turned off (and back on.)

#130 7 months ago
Quoted from Beatnik-Filmstar:

Me reading along....

Yeah, putting some sound dampening materials in the box would really help a lot....

Oh. This guy is a mad man.
Instant follow.

Not mad, but sometimes I set a goal for myself which is not always super practical, and I get pretty obsessed with reaching it.
A secondary goal is also to learn stuff, and I figured I would by giving that a shot.

#131 7 months ago
Quoted from MarkG:

I've got a soft spot for pinball clocks. There are several out there including:
Harbor lights (shown above) by Randy Elwin:
https://hackaday.com/2017/06/03/antique-pinball-machine-lives-as-clock/
A modified Wizard alarm clock:
https://hackaday.com/2011/09/24/pinball-machine-eats-your-quarters-tells-time/
A bare bones example:
https://hackaday.com/2018/12/13/turn-old-pinball-parts-into-a-unique-digital-clock/
Another simple example from Make magazine:
https://makezine.com/projects/convert-pinball-score-reel-clock/\
A Magic City version:
http://pinballwex.com/Clock.html
And my own version with a radio receiver to set the time:
https://www.funwithpinball.com/exhibits/atomic-clock
/Mark

Awesome! I had never seen any of these and frankly didn't think there were that many different ones before I got into it. The Atomic Clock is especially cool, props for that.
Somebody had mentioned it all the way back in page 1 of the thread but I had never looked it up.

#132 7 months ago
Quoted from MarkG:

I wonder if you could use a stepper motor to activate the Score Reel plunger instead of a solenoid? That would let you use original hardware but make it much more quite. I did something similar to build a silent slow motion pop bumper. You can see it in action at about 1:40 in the short video at: https://www.funwithpinball.com/exhibits/small-boards#PopBumpers

I guess I could - I did use steppers, but not in that way. More to come!

#133 7 months ago
Quoted from RTS:

It would be fantastic if the arduino code would allow the clock to work with a wireless card so that the clock could sync with our home wireless network clock.
I assume this would require a more complex wiring diagram to designate all reel positions.
This would be a nice way to auto adjust the time if the clock power is ever turned off (and back on.)

But then you wouldn't get to use the side buttons, which is half the fun - but yes it would be totally doable. Although I think the Atomic Clock implementation is much cooler.

#134 7 months ago

I work with top of the line electrical, mechanical and software engineers (I'm myself a software guy) so I was able to ask questions and ask for help from some colleagues.
Now obviously this is all non-work related talk, and they were all less than impressed with my little project given the crazy stuff they work on on a day to day basis so I kept that at a minimum.
You'll see as the project progresses that I eventually ended up doing everything myself even though I got help from colleagues and friends to do the first iteration of some things.

The first thing I did, and that was all the way back in late 2016 if I look at the timestamp of the picture, was have one of the mechanical engineers do a CAD design of a Gottlieb score reel.
key353.1 (resized).jpg

#135 7 months ago

Ok, this is cool. I’d never considered making a score reel clock before. I did make an adruio driver board for a Williams system 3 displays once. That would be a cool clock project, except for the need for 100v to drive the displays.

#136 7 months ago

Where do I order my clock from

#137 7 months ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

Ok, this is cool. I’d never considered making a score reel clock before. I did make an adruio driver board for a Williams system 3 displays once. That would be a cool clock project, except for the need for 100v to drive the displays.

Right, I'd thought about it but I hadn't thought about the 100v thing... I'm sure there's some similar displays that run off lower voltage. Maybe the next project

#138 7 months ago
Quoted from alexanr1:

Where do I order my clock from

Since I'm building the whole thing and don't need to source parts from existing machines, in theory they could be reproduced, and in theory sold. That's all in theory though, not sure the numbers would add up cost-wise, whether I'd have the time to handle it or how the licensing would work. Maybe as a kit? Stay tuned!

#139 7 months ago

I’m in

#140 7 months ago
Quoted from PhilGreg:

Not mad, but sometimes I set a goal for myself which is not always super practical, and I get pretty obsessed with reaching it.
A secondary goal is also to learn stuff, and I figured I would by giving that a shot.

Lest there be any doubt - I meant that in a good way. I find projects like this endlessly cool and I get jealous of the knowhow in a hurry. The idea of coming up with an alternative to existing score reel mechs is mindblowing.

Quoted from PhilGreg:

Maybe as a kit? Stay tuned!

This would be awesome. I've wanted to make one of these for as long as I've known they existed. Finally got a Run DMD this Xmas and would love to have another utterly absurd clock to go with it.

Frankly I'm not even sure I'd need/want a kit - I'd love to just buy some score reels off ebay and do it myself, but I've yet to see any detailed instructions anywhere. I'd be happy to gather parts and assemble - it's just the know how that I lack. Though I suppose constructing a box / fake translite might be another issue for me considering I live in an apartment. Some day though.

#141 7 months ago
Quoted from Beatnik-Filmstar:

Lest there be any doubt - I meant that in a good way. I find projects like this endlessly cool and I get jealous of the knowhow in a hurry. The idea of coming up with an alternative to existing score reel mechs is mindblowing.

This would be awesome. I've wanted to make one of these for as long as I've known they existed. Finally got a Run DMD this Xmas and would love to have another utterly absurd clock to go with it.
Frankly I'm not even sure I'd need/want a kit - I'd love to just buy some score reels off ebay and do it myself, but I've yet to see any detailed instructions anywhere. I'd be happy to gather parts and assemble - it's just the know how that I lack. Though I suppose constructing a box / fake translite might be another issue for me considering I live in an apartment. Some day though.

Well maybe the kit could include the box too
Stay tuned!

#142 7 months ago

So let's go back in 2016 again...
second thing I did was order a stepper motor with the driver
pasted_image (resized).png

Then I took the files (SolidWorks? ProE? I forget...) that my colleague had generated, and reworked the reel so that I could pressure fit it on the shaft of the motor. I had that 3D printed at the office and it ended up looking something like this. This isn't an actual picture of the first iteration, because you can see it's mounted on some breadboard.

pasted_image (resized).png

In reality what then happened is that the wheel stayed in the cupholder in my car for a good 2 years and I dropped the project for some reason, which would probably take us to late 2018, early 2019.

#143 7 months ago

Ok, so let's fast forward about 2 years, when one day I look at the 3D printed score reel in the cup holder and decide it's time to get going on the project again.

The plan was to to use the stepper motors, one per reel, which would fit inside the next score reel and to once again use the Arduino Nano to control the whole thing. Each stepper motor driver has one pin for power, one for ground and 4 pins for setting the position.

This would have meant 4 x 4 reels = 16 outputs, which is too many for the Arduino Nano, so I would need to once again use transistors to determine which motor is getting power at any given time, pretty much the same idea as the clock with the solenoids.
My idea was that I would send the 4 signals for position to all 4 motors all the time, but once one of them had reached the proper position the power would be cut off, thus needing 4 outputs + 4 (one for each transistor) = 8.

Stepper motors don't have absolute position, so they need a reset sequence to figure out a 0 position. The plan was to use optos and to have a blade inside the wheel which would block the light and tell the Arduino that the wheel has reached that 0 position. That's another 4 inputs which takes us to 12 I/O.

This is what an early iteration of that looked like:

pasted_image (resized).png
pasted_image (resized).png

#144 7 months ago

Don’t forget, Stern used steppers and score reels in Whoa Nellie and it’s clones. Not saying to try to buy that assy and use it (over $500!) but maybe look at the pics and see if any ideas can come from them.

https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/511-7614-00

I’d love to build one of these using EM reels. The clicking every minute wouldn’t bother me one bit.

#145 7 months ago
Quoted from desertT1:

Don’t forget, Stern used steppers and score reels in Whoa Nellie and it’s clones. Not saying to try to buy that assy and use it (over $500!) but maybe look at the pics and see if any ideas can come from them.
https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/511-7614-00
I’d love to build one of these using EM reels. The clicking every minute wouldn’t bother me one bit.

Keep in mind I'm more advanced in the project than what you're seeing, I'm going back in time a little so that the thread stays interesting.

I remember looking those up. I think it's the first idea I had. When I saw the insane price I didn't take a second look.
One thing I try not to do, from laziness and a little on purpose, is not to look too much at other implementations so that I can be more original about what I do.
I know there was also a Kings of Diamonds remake at some point with stepper score reels.
I think what I came up with is closer to that.

Here's the picture from their design, which *spoiler* looks a little bit more professional than mine :

pasted_image (resized).png

#146 7 months ago
Quoted from PhilGreg:

Don't forget, I'm more advanced in the project than what you're seeing, I'm going back in time a little so that the thread stays interesting.
I remember looking those up. I think it's the first idea I had. When I saw the insane price I didn't take a second look.
One thing I try not to do, from laziness and a little on purpose, is not to look too much at other implementations so that I can be more original about what I do.
I know there was also a Kings of Diamonds remake at some point with stepper score reels.
I think what I came up with is closer to that.
Here's the picture from their design, which *spoiler* looks a little bit more professional than mine :
[quoted image]

Next thing you need to do is encompass a chime-box into your clock. Maybe use one chime bar and on the hour it chimes the number for which time it is (i.e. 3 chimes for 3 o'clock etc.) or just have it chime one time on the top of the hour!

#147 7 months ago

I like the idea of the chime! If you need any Solidworks help, Let me know.

Bob

#148 7 months ago

Too far along now to implement this, but taking notes maybe for the future! That's the downside of accumulating work before sharing, I can't really use the feedback

#149 7 months ago
Quoted from PhilGreg:

Too far along now to implement this, but taking notes maybe for the future! That's the downside of accumulating work before sharing, I can't really use the feedback

Nonetheless, it's an awesome idea!

#150 7 months ago
Quoted from BobLangelius:

I like the idea of the chime! If you need any Solidworks help, Let me know.
Bob

Thank you for the offer.
What ended up happening is that I switched to Fusion 360. More on that in coming posts.

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