EnerGI Maestro - LED GI Smoother (for Data East)

(Topic ID: 111723)

EnerGI Maestro - LED GI Smoother (for Data East)


By caker137

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 359 posts
  • 90 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 18 days ago by jboner1058
  • Topic is favorited by 67 Pinsiders

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Topic poll

“Would you buy a smoother kit for your Data East Pinball?”

  • Definitely! 51 votes
    58%
  • Possibly. 28 votes
    32%
  • Heck yeah, more than one! 9 votes
    10%

(88 votes)

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There are 359 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 8.
20
#1 3 years ago

I wanted to share a project I've been working on lately. I recently installed sunlight white LEDs in my Last Action Hero GI, and while I love the color, the brightness and the flashing of the GI was startling to your eyes, and made playing the game difficult. Inspired by herg's wonderful GI OCD product for B/W games, I dug into the DE schematics and it was clear I could design a PCB that would help with this problem:
pcb.jpg

This PCB takes the 4 GI strings that are normally controlled by a single relay (you all know the clicking in the backbox right?) and controls them individually via a microcontroller with solid state electronics and high speed PWM.

What does this mean? Well for one, you have a lot of control over the brightness and ramp rate:
* Each GI String is individually programmable
* Set the maximum brightness for each GI string of LEDs
* Set the minimum brightness for each GI string of LEDs (you can elect for dim instead of fully off)
* Set the ramp up and ramp down rates for each GI string of LEDs (full range, from fast to very slow several seconds of rise/fall)
* Push-button control for easy programming on the fly
* Plug and play

The EnerGI Maestro is now available for purchase! Visit the website to buy yours today:

https://sites.google.com/site/energimaestro

***BONUS***
A bounty of $10 will be awarded to each customer that posts a pic to this thread showing the board installed in a previously untested machine.
A bounty of $20 will be awarded to each customer that posts detailed instructions how to tweak connectors, wiring, etc to make the board work on a system that it was not designed to work on
***Limit one bounty per board purchased***

installed.jpg

(updated 1/19/18)

TESTED / CONFIRMED TO BE COMPATIBLE
Back to the Future
Hook
Lethal Weapon 3
Jurassic Park
Last Action Hero
Tales from the Crypt
Baywatch
Guns N Roses
Star Wars
The Who's Tommy
Batman Forever
Checkpoint
WWF Royal Rumble
Robocop
Torpedo Alley

EXPECTED TO BE COMPATIBLE
Laser War
Secret Service
Time Machine
Playboy 35th Anniversary
Phantom of the Opera
Simpsons
TMNT
Batman
Star Trek 25th
Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle
Maverick
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

POSSIBLY COMPATIBLE
High Speed
Grand Lizard
Road Kings
Pinbot
F-14 Tomcat
Fire

#2 3 years ago

Videos:

Before and after:

Installation:

Programming:

Features:

Kit:

#3 3 years ago

Great idea, these old DE and Sega games really need it. I play a GoldenEye locally that has what I like to refer to as "seizure multiball", as the flashing is just awful on it.

I don't own any games that this would be used in, but I would highly recommend it for people who own those games.

#4 3 years ago

Great idea. Minimum setting means no more seizures! I want one for Star Wars.

#5 3 years ago

How about one for Whitestar. My Star Wars Trilogy really needs this.

#6 3 years ago

I was gonna get all uppity and offended.

Then actually read the post. I'm too tired for posting today.

#8 3 years ago

This looks sweet, LAH is a game that really needs it too.

#9 3 years ago

PM sent.

#11 3 years ago

Doesn't the OCD thing do this already? Or does that not work on DE machines?

#12 3 years ago

GI OCD is only designed to work with the 5 GI TRIAC circuits on Williams WPC games and 2 TRIACS on WPC95 games.

#13 3 years ago
Quoted from twitami:

Doesn't the OCD thing do this already? Or does that not work on DE machines?

The LED OCD works for these games, but there is currently no solution for the GI for non WPC games.

I would buy one of these for GnR.

I would also buy a board that would smooth controlled and gi LEDs in Revenge From Mars if someone wanted to make one.

#14 3 years ago

I can help test should you decide to move forward with this. Looks great so far! I think this will be very popular. Even with incandescents the constant on and off flashing is off-putting.

#15 3 years ago

I like this too. We have lots of de games if you need a tester.

#16 3 years ago

great idea!!! I hate all of the flashing on my lah. I'm in for one. joe

#17 3 years ago

I'm listening, my Baywatch could use it.

#18 3 years ago
Quoted from Frax:

I was gonna get all uppity and offended.
Then actually read the post. I'm too tired for posting today.

Even if someone copies herg's board no need to get uppity and offended. He can never keep them in stock cause he doesn't order enough and has had offers for people to buy a ton to help with his costs Just a shame an awesome product can't get more out there.

This is great!

#19 3 years ago

Awesome. I no longer have a de pin, but my lah was unplayable due to gi led flash. I started a thread or two on it myself before giving up and moving on. Ive bought many ocd boards though and love the concept. Your video looks great, hope you make these in the case I get another.

#20 3 years ago

Cool idea. Maybe it already does this, but can some GI be made not to flash at all? - Barry

#21 3 years ago

Love it. I'm in for one.

#22 3 years ago
Quoted from bflagg:

Cool idea. Maybe it already does this, but can some GI be made not to flash at all? - Barry

Yes! There are 4 channels (strings) of GI in the DE machine, typically 2 to the playfield and 2 to the backbox. With the board you can individually set any of these to always be on.

#23 3 years ago
Quoted from caker137:

Yes! There are 4 channels (strings) of GI in the DE machine, typically 2 to the playfield and 2 to the backbox. With the board you can individually set any of these to always be on.

Very cool, I am interested. - Barry

#24 3 years ago

I'd like to try it out on a GNR ... Been hesitant to do much LED to it without. I also have a BF with full LEDs ready to try.

#25 3 years ago

Wish someone would make ocd for Capcom stuff.

#26 3 years ago
Quoted from caker137:

This PCB takes the 4 GI strings that are normally controlled by a single relay (you all know the clicking in the backbox right?) and controls them individually via a microcontroller with solid state electronics and High Speed PWM.

Nice work! BTW, caker137 contacted me before he started work on this. There's no need for anyone to be upset. ...and even if he hadn't asked me, there's really no problem unless he copied my board or code.

Quoted from Tekman:

How about one for Whitestar. My Star Wars Trilogy really needs this.

I have a prototype version of a passive smoother being made for Stern games right now. It's not nearly as sophisticated as GI OCD or caker's board, and is really just a rectifier and some caps. It should be much cheaper, though.
Fullscreen capture 1272014 121346 AM.jpg

It also looks like caker's design would work for Stern games with very minimal changes.

Quoted from jrivelli:

Even if someone copies herg's board no need to get uppity and offended.

True, as long as it's just the idea. Please don't copy the board itself.

Quoted from jrivelli:

He can never keep them in stock cause he doesn't order enough and has had offers for people to buy a ton to help with his costs

They're all in stock right now. Costs are not the issue. Time is. I can barely package, test, and support the ones I sell now.

-1
#27 3 years ago
Quoted from herg:

They're all in stock right now. Costs are not the issue. Time is. I can barely package, test, and support the ones I sell now.

Fullscreen capture 1272014 12134... 69 KB

I get asked about these boards a few times a week when folks get our kits. I offered to help you out and sell them in our store and buy a good chunk, but part of the answer was there wouldn't be enough boards and I think you made an exclusive deal. The goal should always be to sell a ton at once and not have to ship individually 100% no worries either way of course, just saying we get asked about them constantly and offered to carry them so everyone could get their hands on them and save you loads of time, but so far no dice. So, time and shipping can't be it.

My main point earlier was that your product is super awesome, but while in stock now, it is frequently out of stock. I know you agree with that. This would be so fun to add to our kits as an upsell, since we get asked about it frequently and never mention it.

Anyways, don't mean to pester you on this and am not trying to get you to carry them as we had to get our own created, since we couldn't get them elsewhere. Shall be on the market shortly

#28 3 years ago

The cheap way to "fix" the gi flashing problem is just to remove the 2 pin connector from the right side of the power supply board. that's the connectors which energizes the GI relay. with it removed, the GI will always be "on" and won't flash. kind of anti-dramatic, but it does work.

#29 3 years ago
Quoted from cfh:

The cheap way to "fix" the gi flashing problem is just to remove the 2 pin connector from the right side of the power supply board. that's the connectors which energizes the GI relay. with it removed, the GI will always be "on" and won't flash. kind of anti-dramatic, but it does work.

Great tip. Thanks! On my DE Time Machine I never liked the GI flashing (LED or incandescent) but I didn't look into how to change it. I tried your tip and it works great. I don't think much is lost by disabling the GI flashing on this machine. Starwarp is a little less dramatic but at least I can always see the playfield now.

#30 3 years ago

I know what I'll be doing tonight. Thank you cfh.

#31 3 years ago
Quoted from cfh:

The cheap way to "fix" the gi flashing problem is just to remove the 2 pin connector from the right side of the power supply board. that's the connectors which energizes the GI relay. with it removed, the GI will always be "on" and won't flash. kind of anti-dramatic, but it does work.

Thanks Clay,

Is there a way to do the same thing on Whitestar? That drives me bonkers.

#32 3 years ago

one quick note on the function or design on your board and wanted to point out something you may have missed

I am not sure how many games do this, but I do know for sure it is on Guns and Roses, possibly WWF.

The 5 pin connector has the 2 pins that control the GI relay, but on Guns and Roses the 2 leftover pins are used to power a 5th GI circuit. This circuit it actually powered by 2 diodes making rough DC voltage from the logic fuses. This powers the lamps inside the slingshots. Because it's a different source they do not go through the GI relay and are constantly lit even when the relay goes out.

I found out about this variation in GI because of the stupid place they decided to pull the power for it. If a ball gets under the slingshot and blows out a bulb (or if the sockets short, which is very likely with the way the leads almost overlap how they were stapled) then it takes out one of the paired 7A logic fuses and now the game no longer boots up.

So what I am getting to is if you did not run any lamp voltage to these 2 pins on the 5 pin connector on your board then the slingshots lamps on GNR won't work.

#33 3 years ago
Quoted from kbliznick:

one quick note on the function or design on your board and wanted to point out something you may have missed
I am not sure how many games do this, but I do know for sure it is on Guns and Roses, possibly WWF.
The 5 pin connector has the 2 pins that control the GI relay, but on Guns and Roses the 2 leftover pins are used to power a 5th GI circuit. This circuit it actually powered by 2 diodes making rough DC voltage from the logic fuses. This powers the lamps inside the slingshots. Because it's a different source they do not go through the GI relay and are constantly lit even when the relay goes out.
I found out about this variation in GI because of the stupid place they decided to pull the power for it. If a ball gets under the slingshot and blows out a bulb (or if the sockets short, which is very likely with the way the leads almost overlap how they were stapled) then it takes out one of the paired 7A logic fuses and now the game no longer boots up.
So what I am getting to is if you did not run any lamp voltage to
these 2 pins on the 5 pin connector on your board then the slingshots lamps on GNR won't work.

I did notice that -02 and later circuit boards have these two extra signals, and so I've included an extra header /wiring harness to reroute those signals back to the PS board. I didn't know however what these were used for, so thanks for the summary. Don't worry, it should work fine (we'll know for sure once I start getting other owners to test on various machines).

#34 3 years ago

I will take one also.

#35 3 years ago
Quoted from bflagg:

Cool idea. Maybe it already does this, but can some GI be made not to flash at all?

Quoted from cfh:

The cheap way to "fix" the gi flashing problem is just to remove the 2 pin connector from the right side of the power supply board. that's the connectors which energizes the GI relay. with it removed, the GI will always be "on" and won't flash. kind of anti-dramatic, but it does work.

Clay beat me to it. If all you want to do is eliminate the flashing, there are much easier and cheaper solutions. This board, however, seems awesome, and I would definitely be interested in one for my Tommy.

#36 3 years ago
Quoted from caker137:

I did notice that -02 and later circuit boards have these two extra signals, and so I've included an extra header /wiring harness to reroute those signals back to the PS board. I didn't know however what these were used for, so thanks for the summary. Don't worry, it should work fine (we'll know for sure once I start getting other owners to test on various machines).

Awesome, that should take care of it. If you do any revisions on this board I would recommend just routing some AC lamp power straight to those pins and avoid pulling from logic voltage.

#37 3 years ago

If you disable flashing of the GI with either pulling the plug that controls the relay or the GI smoother, then I assume the lights won't go out during the startup sequence or game over correct? It would be nice to have the lights go out those 2 times but not flash the rest of the time if that's even possible.

#38 3 years ago

I want one for my Tommy.

#39 3 years ago
Quoted from bflagg:

If you disable flashing of the GI with either pulling the plug that controls the relay or the GI smoother, then I assume the lights won't go out during the startup sequence or game over correct? It would be nice to have the lights go out those 2 times but not flash the rest of the time if that's even possible.

That would indeed turn them on all the time. You can get close to what you describe with my board. Most of the time gameplay flashing is relatively fast, and in between time is relatively slow. So what you can do is set the ramp rate to super slow, and the fast flashes are too fast to turn the lights off, but between balls they ramp down slowly. I do this on my lah back box (check out the videos).

#40 3 years ago
Quoted from caker137:

That would indeed turn them on all the time. You can get close to what you describe with my board. Most of the time gameplay flashing is relatively fast, and in between time is relatively slow. So what you can do is set the ramp rate to super slow, and the fast flashes are too fast to turn the lights off, but between balls they ramp down slowly. I do this on my lah back box (check out the videos).

OK, I watched and I like it. Sign me up! - Barry

#41 3 years ago

I would be in for two, possibly three.

#42 3 years ago

I would buy two for data east. Whitestar would also be great for VND.

#43 3 years ago

A less elegant solution I've done on my Star Wars Trilogy (Whitestar) is to use a 5ohm 10W ceramic resistor across the relay to keep it from fully turning the GI off. It drops the LEDs to about half brightness when activated and works really well to reduce the seizure effect. Add the resistor across the relay pins 1-2 and pins 3-4.

20141207_163309-176.jpg GI_relay_whitestar-905.jpg
#44 3 years ago

Great product.

#45 3 years ago
Quoted from Tekman:

A less elegant solution I've done on my Star Wars Trilogy (Whitestar) is to use a 5ohm 10W ceramic resistor across the relay to keep it from fully turning the GI off. It drops the LEDs to about half brightness when activated and works really well to reduce the seizure effect. Add the resistor across the relay pins 1-2 and pins 3-4.

20141207_163309-176.jpg 146 KB

GI_relay_whitestar-905.jpg 47 KB

Simple and Brilliant!! This will work in any and all games that use a relay for GI dimming (which is pretty much all except WPC and Capcom)

#46 3 years ago

I'd take one for my LAH.

#47 3 years ago
Quoted from kbliznick:

Simple and Brilliant!! This will work in any and all games that use a relay for GI dimming (which is pretty much all except WPC and Capcom)

You are correct. It should work on most, if not all relay games. Keep in mind that many board designs don't have pins 3-4 connected on the PCB at the relay and you will need to jumper them to fully utilize the relay circuitry. I know Whitestar and S.A.M are fine and DE and I think all B/W needs the the jumper.

Great solution for only 75 cents.

#48 3 years ago

Does anyone else think the programmable aspect of this just ads unnecessarily to the cost? Have the same problem with the OCD stuff too. Great product, but at 100+ a board and needing 2 boards per game for something I just want to smooth out the flashing.

If it were half the cost and had one setting I'd be much more inclined.

That aside, very neat piece of work.

#49 3 years ago
Quoted from dung:

Does anyone else think the programmable aspect of this just ads unnecessarily to the cost? Have the same problem with the OCD stuff too. Great product, but at 100+ a board and needing 2 boards per game for something I just want to smooth out the flashing.
If it were half the cost and had one setting I'd be much more inclined.
That aside, very neat piece of work.

If it were possible to simplify the board to a maximum extent and only have a single fade option (the one that closest resembles incandescent fade) that could then lower the cost and make it more affordable for route operators.

#50 3 years ago

The "programmable aspect" of these boards is not a driving factor in their cost. On the OCD boards, there's a $4 USB chip and a $1 USB connector that I could remove if it was not programmable. On caker's board shown in this thread, the only thing I see that he could remove would be the buttons and LEDs.

The cost of designing a PCB, having them built, including cables, etc. is not cheap when you're talking hundreds of units. This is not a stock Arduino. It is a custom built product for a niche market. If you choose not to pay the price, that's your decision.

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