(Topic ID: 157282)

Multi-bingo machine!

By bingopodcast

3 years ago

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#1 3 years ago

Hey everyone, I'm the podcast host that has discussed every single Bally bingo ever produced (and some not!).

As announced in episode 365 of For Amusement Only, I am now in the process of writing a multi-bingo emulator to recreate every Bally and United bingo (with some surprises in store)!

Basic tenets:

1) Multiple footrail/button/dial controls
2) Real bingo cab, with real Bally hardware for ball lifter/trough/shutter, etc.
3) Custom made head (or repurposed bingo head) with LCD monitor sideways, rendering at 1280x720.
4) Swappable playfields
A) 25 hole with magic pockets
B) 25 hole with hold feature
C) 20 hole with ball return feature
... Perhaps others.
5) Jones Plugs for primary connectivity - preferably unmodified from exisiting bingo connectors on the male side, female side will have diodes, etc for switch matrix switches.
6) P3-ROC with driver board (to drive motors and coils), SW-16x3-4 and an Intel NUC to drive it all.
7) pyprocgame to drive the P3-ROC and pygame to drive graphics/sound.
8 ) Open Source for the actual code. Graphics to be released for all only if approved. My illumination layers can be released.
9) All circuits properly emulated. This includes the search and reflex circuits, as well as mixers for portioning, etc. As such, this will largely be educational for me.

I started with pyprocgameHD as I've never written anything using pygame directly, but found it a bit too limiting based on what I was trying to accomplish. I've stepped back and worked directly with pyprocgame.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to post! I'm making this thread to separate 'programming' talk from the podcast thread.

Note that I'm not really a programmer, but I've been programming since I was very young. I have the majority of the first game complete.

I'm excited to see this project move forward!

#3 3 years ago

Thanks DefaultGen! I'm looking forward to finishing game one. Been working on it off and on for the last six or so weeks. I'm taking it quite a bit slower than my podcast.

I'm more of a hardware guy (though I write some Python for my day job), and this tickles just about every soft spot I've got.

The only thing that would make this better would be to actually control the whole thing with EM hardware, but that is a project for another day.

I've got some screenshots that I posted in the podcast thread. I'll do a cross post here at some point.

#5 3 years ago

It's funny, I've been so deep into this for so long now, I forgot to post what I'm working on!

Initially, I started working on Night Club. Night Club is my favorite machine. I played it for the first time three or four years ago at the York show in PA, and immediately fell in love. It was the first Magic Squares game I had played, and the score quadrupling feature allows for some really amazing wins.

But... that was a bit too ambitious for me to start with. I know how to work on the portioning circuits, but the actual portioning has (intentionally) remained a mystery to me until this project. Night Club has four mixers and the reflex to contend with, and, while I could start with this machine, I decided that for this (and the fact that graphics do not come quickly or easily to me - particularly the backglass animation I would need to make for the squares), I would take a step back.

The first machine I am implementing is Coney Island. Coney Island was the second Bally bingo produced, in 1952. It was the first Bally bingo with the Extra Ball feature, and brings back the mixer unit from the one ball horse racing games of the 40s.

Once Coney Island is finished, I'll be stepping back in time and working on Bright Lights (1951), then moving forward one game at a time. This should give me the ability to learn each portioning circuit, and produce the artwork necessary for the animations with the first squares/screen/line/etc game. I'll be building off the same basic blocks (as Bally did) for each subsequent game.

I'll be posting about various neat items I learn as I go through the games - especially for games that didn't make it to full production, like Broadway '51...

#10 3 years ago
Quoted from NoQuarters:

Multiple swappable playfields

Yep! Similar to Heighways' system or Pinball 2000 in concept, except mine will use standard Jones plugs (at this, more conceptual phase).

Quoted from CactusJack:

your next step would be to recreate a virtual playfield for every possibly matching art and hole layout to replace the physical playfield(s) with another LCD and add velocity sensors for nudge detection and you would have a compete virtual multi-bingo.

This is actually precisely why I am using a playfield swap system. What stinks about virtual pinball today? The fact that it cannot replicate the physics, sights, sounds and control of real pinball. My project aims to use real lower cabinet components and merely replace the head. This way I don't have to have recorded sounds of the ball lifter or shutter. The sound will be made because the real physical part is moving. I do have plans after the programming and artwork are all complete, but those will have to wait till (much) later.

Quoted from CactusJack:

even a good redemption piece.

I've put in my theory in another thread about how to use bingos for redemption. (You tie the ticket dispenser to replay reset and force the timer to spit out any credits when it maxes out by opening the anti-cheat). Chuck E. Cheese is not returning my phone calls yet.

Seriously, though, I have a deep love and affection for these games. I would own every one if I had the space. I love fixing them, finding them, playing them, the artwork, the history, the ingenious touches that the designers imparted. They're amazing.

Quoted from NoQuarters:

If you need any reference from an actual Coney Island Bingo just let me know

I will! I'm very lucky to know several Coney Island owners. The main thing I would like is difficult. Mapping and documenting the reflex and mixers. This is very time consuming and is not something I would ask anyone to do for me. Luckily, Phil Hooper has documented many of the mixer and reflex units on his site bingo.cdyn.com. Using a similar era's documented units and the schematic, I've recreated Coney Island's circuitry. They only get tougher from here!

Quoted from CactusJack:

Now, get to work

I'm going, I'm going.

#13 3 years ago

Ha-ha! Yes, absolutely! No pressure there, Vic! If I don't have a selection of early games playable at this year's show, I'll definitely have some (more) next year! My hope is that I'll have the cabinet and a basic 25 hole playfield wired up and ready for York with at least two games. No guarantees!

I'm very excited to share this with bingo lovers new and old. You'll have to beat every single one, you know.

#14 3 years ago

So I'm coming back from a trip right now, but yesterday during travel I was able to clean up the majority of my functions, fix some naming convention (had a method called search and a unit called search - that ain't gonna work), etc. Once I get home I'll be able to test changes to game state, etc, and then start linking in my (already complete) graphics.

#15 3 years ago

Been working on the conversion from pyprocgameHD to pyprocgame and have realized that I need to do things in the framework's way rather than my own... which means that I have to rewrite the whole thing... again.

I committed the cardinal sin of programmers - I didn't read the full API/documentation for the vanilla pyprocgame before doing my implementation. This means I did something dumb, so I have been working to convert everything over to the 'pyprocgame'-ish way.

Summary of something dumb I did: I wrote the entire game's logic for pyprocgameHD in a single mode. This is not really the way it should be written. I cannot stop and poll for a switch the way I intended (while loop within certain methods) as it kills all switch polling... this may be different with the actual hardware plugged in, but for testing, I am using a keyboard to simulate switch presses. So now I am splitting the whole thing into separate modes, which will be very clean for troubleshooting - find the file named for the mode, and it'll be in there. As things progress, I can copy and modify simple modes like 'tilt' or 'selector' or 'search'. This is exactly what I planned to do before, but again, it does it in a way that the P3-ROC hardware can understand. One thing that makes this difficult (again, I realize now), is that I am testing with a keyboard, but the real hardware may react completely differently.

Now, the good news: while I was playing with my kids earlier today, I realized I already knew a way to display score/instruction cards on a dynamically changing screen. If I use a Raspberry Pi or other incredibly low-powered computer with a screen plugged in, I can poke it over Ethernet in the background either once you make your selection in the menu or once you switch games on the menu. This is one of the little surprises I talked about above, but figured something is better than nothing.

Because I will not have complete control over the Pi via Ethernet, I'll have to script this separately and run it in a different thread. No big deal, it'll actually be a lot simpler than I was worried about - I won't have to worry about the main computer having to draw the score/instruction cards, so that's pretty neat!

For Red Letter games, there are no long/thin screens that I could put in the bottom center, so I'll likely have to take up part of the main screen to show it. On the plus side for that, you'll be able to see it much more easily! I can add it to my backglass images and such, so that's also pretty simple. Not perfect, but I have to wait for the tech to catch up.

#16 3 years ago

Oh, I never posted screenshots here!


Off (this'll be the menu image).


GI on


Game started, #5 in the hole, and one coin in to increment selection to first card.

One thing I don't have: where the tilt is displayed on the backglass. If I recall correctly, it's in the sky above the register? I don't remember, though. If one of the Coney Island owners in this thread could post, that would be awesome!

#19 3 years ago

Oh boy! I figured out that I needed to write my own custom portion of pyprocgame that dealt with the DMD (since I'm not using a DMD).

The result? I have illuminated numbers as a result of switch presses! This is the majority of the issue with the graphics resolved!

Now, I'm still rewriting my functions to work completely differently (though since I am running a custom pyprocgame anyway, I may just rewrite the remainder to function the way I wanted initially...), but this is a MAJOR component resolved. I'm pretty darn happy!


#21 3 years ago

Selector unit now lights each card appropriately. Boy, it's a lot easier to see progress when you can see_ it.

Thanks Vic! It's coming along quite nicely now.

#22 3 years ago

Things are really flying now. Extra Ball mode functions and more importantly - Extra Ball probability works. Right now I am working on the animation for the EB scan. It's a little tricky since the EB scan animation changes as the EBs are accrued. I have the graphics complete, but need to link them in.

Tilt works, and thanks to the photo of the back of NoQuarters' backglass, I have it displaying in the appropriate spot of the backglass.

One of the things I need to rewrite is the timeout function. I had it written by using a real-world timing function to measure the time between steps on the timer unit. Once it hit step #40, it would throw to tilt. The only problem: the program would sit and wait for the timeout to happen and would not let me put in a coin until it timed out! This is a good example of one of the things that I had written in a way that the framework couldn't understand. I still have to tackle this, but I expect I'll find an ok solution.

I am really excited at the progress today.

#24 3 years ago

Thanks NoQuarters! Very fun thus far. We'll see what I think when I'm 20 machines in.

#25 3 years ago

Working on testing my search algorithm - still having to shuffle it around a bit from what I initially wrote, but so far, it will pass in a list of holes that are currently active (for ex: [9, 1, 5]), and then for each position of the search disc, it will return the search relays which should be closed and the hole they correspond to.

Ex: {5, 1:2, 9:3, 25:4, 3:5}

Based on the search relays which are engaged(), the winner detection methods will fire. These will look at the current state of the selection unit (which cards are active), the current state of the replay counter (how much have you already won), and then start incrementing your score. It's pretty simple, since Bally laid it out (at least in Coney Island) with each number corresponding pretty directly to left to right or top to bottom - and I can review the placement in the array. In my little psuedocode above I used a dictionary, which in Python does not store in the same order it is entered. Therefore I have to use something else, like a dictionary of lists or something. Tuples, perhaps? I am not sure yet. Probably a list of tuples. Anyway, point is that it's coming along.

I will have a real replay register attached underneath the cabinet (for sound), but the register on screen will be incremented separately.

I've thought about just making the register on screen a dummy, and including a real register mounted behind the bezel that will be necessary surrounding the monitor, but I think that might be kinda silly looking, since the register is typically integrated into the artwork and etc.

Haven't started my physical build yet, but I have been slowly accruing the boards I need to run the thing. At the moment, I am missing the P3-ROC, but have the driver and switch processors. One of the drivers will be a high-power (50v) line, which will activate the real coils I've got in the system, and the other half will light playfield rollover lamps. Lamps and coils/motors will not need diodes as they are integrated on the board.

Oh! And I'm a big dummy and forgot that the SW-16 boards have diodes built in, and thus I don't need to add diodes to every switch. Pretty darn cool.

Because the motors are AC and not DC, I will have to use the driver board to latch a relay and drive AC to the motors. Pretty simple, as I plan to use a real bingo transformer.

My current thought for the wiring is to reuse all the cabinet and playfield wiring (obviously I can ignore the majority of the playfield wiring since I will only need to know the state of one shutter switch), and then make my own wiring from the female side of the Jones Plugs to the connectors needed on the switch and driver boards. Pretty simple, actually!

I will have to lay out the boards on the back door, with a similar trunked bundle for service.

As I will be controlling score/instruction cards display via a second/third computer via SSH, I'll need to have networking capabilities. Therefore, I'll need to have a local network with a switch installed within the cab, along with my RPis. Driver boards for displays will be mounted somewhere relatively convenient and the screens themselves with their ribbon cables will be mounted on top of the wooden apron.

After I have finished wiring, I'll draw up a schematic and release it along with the source, and then others can build as well!

I am not certain if Bally modified the playfield wiring from one game to another drastically, and as such, the schematic is going to be necessary if anyone wants to do the same thing.

And what, you may ask, is going on with the EB animation? Well, I haven't done it yet. But I'll get back to it after search!

#27 3 years ago
Quoted from NoQuarters:

If you leave the register a dummy in the screen you could just put a coil in to fire like a knocker on an EM - adjust the screw so it isn't too loud and more clacks off credit's won.

NoQuarters, that's an excellent suggestion. I was going for authentic sound, but if I used a real 'sounder' which is springloaded and hits an adjustment screw, that could work well! I'll probably have to experiment for a bit. This would mean that my 'virtual' display of replays could be knocked off just like the real thing, and I wouldn't have to zero out the fake register inside the cab. Hmm!

#28 3 years ago

So I've apparently stumbled into something that's a little tricky, and my programming chops (or lack thereof) is stopping me.

I mentioned above that I've got a dictionary comprised of hole and relay pairs. My gut was correct, and a dictionary is exactly what I needed.

I have my list of holes and compare to the key in the dictionary, and that gives me the relays I need.

I take those and run them through set() to ensure there's not any duplicates, then call sorted() to ensure that they are in order.

This is all working as expected. Now, I have to figure out if each number is in consecutive order. If I can crack this nut, I'll be able to get my 3, 4, and 5 in a row winners worked out.

Issue is as follows:

A result of [1,2,3] is a winner. [1,2,3,4] is a 4 in a row winner. [1,2,3,4,5] = 5 in a row. But! If I instead get [1,3,4] - that's not a winner. So I can't just determine the length of the resultant list. I have to do something a bit more complex, and compare each value to the next in the list. I've written a few little functions to determine this (and surprised that there's no python built-in to do this). Nothing's gelling yet for this - so if anyone has an idea, I'm all ears!

Once I determine the type of winner, I'll hand that off to the replay stepper function, which increments my replay counter unit, register and etc.

#30 3 years ago

Well, as soon as I post, I figured out a way to do it that's not too bad.

#33 3 years ago

Hi acebathound - to clarify, this is not a simulation to be played on a computer, but instead a recreation using a full cabinet and so forth.

There are some really excellent simulations out there written by a great guy in the Netherlands - take a look at http://www.bingo.joopriem.nl/

Joop's simulations take a couple of small liberties with a few things, and can only be run within Windows or Mac, so my little Linux machine wouldn't be able to run them. On top of that, I'll be able to come up with some other surprises once I finish what I have planned (probably in the far-flung future). The gameplay on Joop's simulations is fantastic, and I've whiled away several hours playing games I don't have access to.

I think that all of the new bingo pinball players will be interested in seeing these simulations. If they get a game, it can help with determining if it is working properly, etc.

He also offers a cabinet interface, but again, my version will do things a bit differently in a couple of 'behind-the-scenes' ways. There are a couple of folks doing a cabinet installation using his software.

On my side, I'm emulating each unit individually, doing full portion control based on position of units within the game, and will be allowing for multiple playfields. My wiring will be a little more robust than a serial link, and I'll have room for expansion and things like displaying appropriate score and instruction cards.

A fully working bingo pinball machine is my favorite type of pinball machine! I love all pinball, but bingos are something very special. The gameplay has insane depth, and it definitely keeps you coming back for another shot.

#35 3 years ago

Thanks Dennis!

Guess what? All three in a row searches work! Now I'm writing the graphic routines to move the reels, then I'll be testing all three, four and five in a row winners.

Got confirmation that you can score on all three cards in a single game tonight (manual and schematic showed that it was possible, but I wanted to confirm), so my methods are working. Pretty cool!

I have the difference between the initial position of the reels and each number, so I just have to write the programming that will loop through the reels as they spin. I've got it passing in the current position of the reels, and at 9 it will step the next. I'll post a graphic of my first five in a line.

#36 3 years ago

Thanks to NoQuarters' backglass masking photo, I was able to place this tilt relatively properly (may need to move it down a hair/resize)!


3 In A Row scores 4 replays:


4 scores 16:


5 scores 100!


This is a 'glass-off' 5 in a row. Now, I just need to finish my animations and test game function sequence, and then I'll be ready for the next one! (First one of each feature is definitely gonna be the hardest).

#38 3 years ago

Steve, that Turf King not only turned out to be an extremely fun game, but was a great bonding experience. Memories made that will never be forgotten. Thank you again.

You've gotta take me down on BP so next time I swing by I can accidentally set a better one.

Quoted from VDrums2112:

Even if it takes me a few times reading it to kinda sorta get it.

Believe me, I feel the same way.

One of the things I most like about programming is the 'refactoring' process. Finding a better solution to a problem is very satisfying.

At lunch today, I was working on the Extra Ball animation. One of the difficulties is that I have to light the words 'Extra Balls' and light each lamp in turn as the extra ball selector unit steps. That's no problem - it'll work the same way that my selector unit does, lighting each card.

But in the case of the flash animation, where you press the yellow button to light 'Extra Balls' and then drop a coin to 'spin' the machine and potentially light EB #1, the game will flash the EB #1 light a certain number of times (based on the bumps on the CU cam #4). It will flash only one lamp at a time (according to the schematic), which is quite different from later games that would flash the entire panel.

In pygame, when you blit an image to the screen, it is done. No longer accessible. The screen is as it appears. When I initially wrote my replay register movement functions (decoupled from the game logic), I wrote a generic movement function that would accept a positive or negative integer, then move and do calculations, etc. Based on NoQuarters' suggestion above, instead of relying on the physical limit switch on the real replay counter, I implemented an internal counter. This allows me to very easily abstract each reel as a subclass of 'reel', with a position and an image.

When I did this refactoring, it just felt right, and allowed my scoring to work in the game! It also removed two coils and one switch from my BOM.

Now, take my current problem: I don't have access to the existing layers of images. I have up to 36 layers on screen at once! When I blit the 'Extra Balls' to the screen, there's no way to remove them without re-blitting every other layer.

Thankfully, I am storing the position of each reel, and can call those back and re-render very easily. For each selection, I store the position of the 'unit', and can recall that as well. It will be a bit of work before I can get this up and rolling, since I have to write the code to re-render the screen, store it somewhere, and call it multiple times per 'revolution' of the control unit. But, I have a handle on HOW to do it, and that is often the hardest part of getting started.

I've mentioned before that I'm not a good programmer, but I do enjoy it. I like finding solutions to problems - this is also why I love working on pinball machines!

Now, I need to figure out exactly how many bumps are on that cam, then determine how far it goes per latch of the timer cam. For now, I'll put in a dummy value that I can swap out.

#39 3 years ago

Got the EB animation working properly for all three extra balls!

Now fixing up some functionality to make it play properly with real hardware. Once that's done, I'll move on to the next game!

#40 3 years ago

All done with Coney Island! Woo hoo! (Well, done is a relative term. I need to plug in sounds, and test in a real cabinet. Right now because some switches don't physically exist, they are not getting exercised as they would in game. Will have to wait till the physical build out).

Tomorrow, Bright Lights begins!

#43 3 years ago

Anybody ready for a lil sneak peek at game #2?


Source image for Bright Lights, Bally's first bingo. More to come...

#44 3 years ago

Thanks Ryan!

Been working on the artwork yesterday and today...

Here's Bright Lights running with first card selected in-game.

I still have to adjust starting position for the meter and reels, and implement search disc #2 which scans cards 4-6. Cards 1-3 score appropriately already.


#45 3 years ago

I should clarify - I have searching working on card 1-3 using the search disc setup from Coney Island. That isn't actually how it works on Bright Lights. The search wipers are 180 degrees apart. Crazy.

#47 3 years ago

Verified that the search disc rotation for search disc #1 works exactly the same between Coney Island and Bright Lights. Now, I have to program search disc #2 numbers with a release noise. Very close to a functional Bright Lights as well! Game #3 is going to be a bit of a surprise (hint: if you think I'm moving to 'Spot Lite', you'd be incorrect).

I have also begun (at lunch today) to write the menuing system. Not super fancy, but you will page left and right between backglasses, then press the R button (or enter or whatever I choose) and it will fire off the appropriate game. Stretching the limits of my graphical programming skills and my poorly thought out attempts at modularity.

I have it loading the images (including full multi-layered images for replay counter and so forth), but need to work on separating my graphics module a bit more. It's a little creaky with adding a second game, and that will only get worse as I add more. I'm pretty sure that I will either need a separate keyboard encoder with a double-stacked switch to handle the menu events, or I will need to look into using the P3-ROC switch reading software in the menu as well. Doable, I think, but not sure how much I can remove from the stack just to read switch events, so I may just wimp out and run a separate switch for left, right and R.

Some new hardware is supposed to come today! I'm excited to get started with that this evening and rest my brain for a moment regarding the menu.

#48 3 years ago

New hardware is not only here, it's all done! This was much much easier than I thought it would be.


This pile of wires and junk is my new custom score/instruction card displays! Already working, loaded with images, and ready to go! Pretty darn cool.

Tomorrow, back to the game.

#50 3 years ago

At lunch today I wrote the remaining linkage needed for search disc #2 for Bright Lights (cards 4-6). Close to the finish line on that game, now!

#52 3 years ago

Bright Lights is done! So much simpler when you don't have to worry about pesky things like portioning.

Graphics modularized, at least in my poor style. Works, though. I have defined two methods that are imported by default - replay_step_up and replay_step_down. These do what you'd expect. To make them more modular, I'm using the 'position' attribute of my score_reel class (had them hard-coded to the X coords for Coney Island). Whee!

Working on the menu now.

#55 3 years ago

Haha, I showed my wife your previous post and she laughed out loud (unusual for a forum post). Great job, Ryan!

My menu is now able to load in the backglasses in my new, more abstract routines, and I've even got switches working from within the menu, but I haven't been able to figure out how to get those switches to interact with the menu yet. Just a small thing! Pressing start is supposed to launch the game (and print a little debug message for me) - does not.

#56 3 years ago

Got it working! Loads the game, lets you switch from one to another, then crashes when I try to quit the game. Have to add multi-button detection to allow graceful quitting back to the menu. Will likely have this done before end of the evening tomorrow.

I've written this in such a way (probably silly), that there's an array of names. My modules are named the same, and my graphics modules also. For example:

selection[1] = "bright_lights"
selection[2] = "coney_island"

I take this selection with the index, and press left and right to choose the game. The red button will start it. The backglass is rendered. I will likely push a custom instruction to my score/instruction cards, or make a center card just for that purpose -
"Press left or right button to choose, and red button to start. Press left, right and red button to exit."


#57 3 years ago


Bright Lights 5 in a row!

#58 3 years ago

Here we go - the surprise:


Broadway '51 was the second game made by Bally, but was made in very limited quantities. Perhaps it only moved to the sample stage. There are only two Broadway '51s known to exist.


Now, I'm developing a spreadsheet to help me determine features of each game and where I should move next. Moving sequentially might not make sense for some machines.

#60 3 years ago

Thanks NoQuarters!

Yes, this is what makes this game special. Likely the only opportunity that most of us will have to play this game. I have a couple like this that are in the pipeline - stay tuned!

I wrote up the spreadsheet last night - there's 125 possible games to make using one of four-five different playfields.

Pretty amazing stuff.

I started looking at Spot-Lite. My gosh! The complexity jumps quite a bit! I may circle past that and come back later. All the mixers are documented on the schematic, though, which is nice. I'm really interested to play it, but the game scores differently based on which type of hit you get (vertical/horizontal/diagonal), and has pic-a-play. Whew!

I'm working on another simple game at the moment... I'll come back to Spot-Lite.

#61 3 years ago

Messing with art and reading schematics. No visible update, and may not have one for a bit.

#62 3 years ago

Hmm, I am reconsidering moving to Spot-Lite. Can't decide! That means I should probably start my documentation for it, and then make a final decision. I've been reading and puzzling over the schematic for a couple evenings.

I like the idea of continuing chronologically with my builds, but Spot-Lite is amazingly advanced. In fact, it's more complex than many other games that came later!

Now that I have a 3 card, 6 card, and single card set up, it opens many other Bally and United games (in basic).

Also, some of the United games will be a challenge as they do not have readily available documentation. In those cases, I will need to fudge it a bit by assembling as a slightly newer model from United is done. Particularly, their search disc setup appears (at first glance) a bit different.

#64 3 years ago

I have interface boards and computer. I am awaiting word of potential available playfields or cabinetry.

The playfield wiring is going to be pretty simple as I don't plan to rewire it at all! Instead I will jumper from the female Jones plugs to the switch boards and other hardware, which will be located on the back door. It will use actual, physical bingo playfields.

While waiting, I'm doing as much programming as possible.

Had a discussion today with a friend, and settled on a way to proceed with Spot-Lite.

#65 3 years ago

Spot-Lite continues to impress. What an innovative game that I've never seen or had the chance to play!

The search disc doesn't start spinning until after the 5th ball has been shot.

According to the manual, though, the search disc does not have a 'home position', which is a bit odd. The schematic also shows that there is no separate rivet on the ball count unit / timer to enable / disable search relays... which means that theoretically, your search disc could stop from your previous game in position that would have a 'hot' rivet connected... leading to a locked on search relay, leading to a burned coil. This seems like a critical oversight, so there's certainly something that I must not understand from a static picture.

It appears that the protection they added was a switch on the search disc that will step the timer with each revolution of the search. This would time out the game incredibly quickly in comparison to other early games. This would protect against that situation. Most early games have a large swath (about 5 sets) of 'dead' rivets on the search disc. This gives the search motor a broad range to stop where it wouldn't have a hot rivet. I don't know if Spot-Lite's search has that or not (haven't gotten there yet).

Very quirky! Also, the trip relays are attached to the control unit in the same way that later one ball horse race games used.

If anyone happens to own one of these games, I would love to have a chat with you about the mechanics. Highly, highly impressed with the design of this game for 1951(!). My gosh, this could be a game from the mid-late 60s and it would feel right at home.

I've definitely heard it said before, and hopefully I've echoed it in the past - these games were WAY ahead of their time. The fact that the design can still impress, electrically, mechanically, etc. It's amazing (to me, at least).

#66 3 years ago

Well, here's a weakness: the search disc is not documented in either the manual or schematic! Haha! I don't know which rivets are connected at each step of the search disc, so I'll have to just make something that works until I can find documentation somewhere.

#67 3 years ago

Artwork for Spot-Lite complete and searching functionality also complete. Another photo while it's stepping up for my first fake 5 in a row.


I still have to write the portioning implementation for coin play. Right now it will only advance the odds one time, with no possibility of spotted numbers, extra balls, or corners. As I mentioned, this is complex. You can see based on the odds implementation - you have separate odds for horizontal, vertical, and diagonal 3 in a row, four in a row and five in a row regardless of orientation score higher.

Note the interesting setup of 5 in a row odds. As a player, I probably want to step up my odds to at least the fourth step before playing... clever, Bally.

#69 3 years ago

My normal process is to have two black layers on top of the artwork, each with a portion of the lit GI. This makes for the very bright name of the game. I think what's detracting here is that I've lit the actual spotlights, instead of just the figures. I'll see about correcting that, or perhaps adding another layer on top. This one does seem brighter.

As far as subforums, I dunno. It is homebrew and bingo. Since I don't have the power to move it myself, it'll remain homebrew.

#71 3 years ago
Quoted from NoQuarters:

Bingos are a great area to discover

Very much agreed!


Hmm - looking good?

#72 3 years ago

I saw and fixed the lady's arm in the spotlight a minute ago. Otherwise, I think that looks ok.

I was able to push the in-progress code to a publicly accessible URL:


I make no apologies for how terrible the code is, but it's there! Remember, this is unfinished code and will be continuously improved.

#73 3 years ago

Hey, another game?!? How is it possible? United's Zingo was the second game United produced with a standard Bally 25 hole playfield.


#74 3 years ago

Zingo has been in progress. The graphics had to be completely redrawn - the source images available are rough. Zingo was in progress before I switched to Spot-Lite. I had not written the lighted scoring module that was specific to this game and it's sister, Leader, but now, as you can see, it has been!

#76 3 years ago

Today I was able to work on the project only for a brief while, but I finished the artwork for Leader! I'm going to go ahead and write that game and then switch back to portioning the Spot-Lite.

#77 3 years ago

I started to work on the probability functions for Spot-Lite. Odds step-up is complete (minus extra step) and spotted numbers/corners are complete.

Probability for Spot-Lite runs through Mixer #1 and the Reflex for any coin play (aside from the first), then mixer #2, 3 and 4 for spotted numbers and mixer #3 for odds. Mixer #5 comes in for initial checks before playing odds or features.

After all that, the game checks the position of the spotting disc and will use that as the ability to step or not. There is also a 50% chance that the game will be in a state, regardless of the above, when features will not get tripped. So in Spot-Lite, at least, the likelihood that you'll get a trip of a spotted number or corners is actually fairly low, unless your odds are below the fourth step, in which case, you cut out a huge portion of the mixers. Unfortunately, if your reflex is tight, it doesn't really matter as Mixer #1 and 5 may cut you off first.

Extra Balls can be stepped up with feature or all play (remember that this is a pic-a-play game) - even before you finish the 5 ball game. Good grief!

Amazingly complex in comparison to Coney Island (I can explain that one in about a sentence or two). The very rare single card United Rodeo uses a similar setup to Spot-Lite for scoring. I'm curious if it uses a similar setup for portioning.

#78 3 years ago

At lunch today, investigated Extra Ball unit for Leader. Schematics are not available, so had to use the schem from Stars (a couple of games later). I am going to implement as Stars has, minus the 9 step EB unit. I'll implement as with Coney Island, where there is simply a single position on the unit for each extra (up to 3). In this way, it is VERY similar to Coney Island (suspiciously so) - a single mixer and the reflex. The reflex for United games has many more positions and is very confusing in comparison.

I'll have to read these schematics more carefully before I can be sure of what I'm doing.

#81 3 years ago

I did two things tonight: reviewed the stars schematic thoroughly until I understood (mostly) what is going on with the reflex (checked other games further up and until United switched to Bally internals, they used the same reflex layout). I'll report back on Leader after I have a chance to review those schematics as I suspect they will be a bit different.

United's basic theory of operation is two separate reflex discs with 50 positions each. The reflex steps one time with each coin played or button pressed. It operates similarly to a Bally mixer #1, but with 50 positions! The reflex adjustment will allow multiple rivets to conduct.

Hitting the knock off switch will reset the reflex which is pretty interesting!

My Caravan has none of that - it's like Lyn Durant's circuitry was completely wiped out and replaced with Don Hooker's! Very interesting!

After adjusting to reading those schematics, I switched back to spot lite and finished the extra ball portioning. I also implemented the pic-a-play functionality, and am in the process of testing. I do not have the flash animation, which makes the presentation quite dull and lifeless. I'll have to remedy that in the coming days.

#82 3 years ago

Lunchtime bingo stuff: tested my Spot-Lite probability functions by hooking in the graphics layers for EB, spotted numbers, etc - it all works! Well, except for odds. For some reason, those never step - but! I even got an extra step on the Extra Ball. Pretty great feeling!

I should have the remainder of Spot-Lite troubleshot tonight!

#83 3 years ago

Spot-Lite is not just trouble-shot, but animation is done, too!

Now, I will finish up Leader and touch up something on Zingo, then move on to Atlantic City.

#84 3 years ago

Zingo tweaked with new information thanks to Dennis! Leader complete also thanks to Dennis! When I have solid scoring info, I'll do a little update.


#86 3 years ago

No problem! Positive reinforcement always welcome.

Finishing up the art for the next game. A whole heckuva lot simpler (electrically) than Spot-Lite. The next United will be a large jump in complexity above Leader.

Today marks six games that have finished testing (outside of a cabinet). Tonight I'll be working on the code for game seven.

I need to find some folks with Fun Ways, Lotta Fun or Barrel o funs. No good pics online!

#88 3 years ago

Finished the artwork for the next game. Bally's Atlantic City is an interesting step in the evolutionary chain. Spot-Lite was so advanced, many of the features introduced would not reappear for almost a decade!

Atlantic City brings back three cards, extra balls, and adds a score doubling feature that is randomly awarded for one or more cards. Corners scoring continues from Spot-Lite, and I believe spotted numbers make a return (this is before spotted numbers are indicated by panels on the backglass, so I'll have to check the schematic to be sure).

It retains some of the complexity - multiple mixers are here to stay (aside from the Ohio Dime Games), so thankfully, I've got a good way to implement those!

Coding Atlantic City should be a bit easier than Spot-lite, but we'll see!

Interesting anecdote: as I built Spot-Lite, I would periodically check the function of each feature with and without mixers engaged to ensure that I was on the right track. A critical component in Spot-Lite is mixer #5. This portions the spotted numbers, but only after one or more numbers are spotted. This is amazingly cool - the game will automatically make it tougher to get xtra numbers. Especially if you get #16 spotted!

#91 3 years ago

Wife, mother and mother-in-law had a nice Mother's Day. Now that my wife is asleep, I worked a bit more on Atlantic City!

Atlantic City animation functions are complete, and I've written the feature portioning for spotted numbers (up to six on this game!), corners scoring, and double scoring for each card.

Tomorrow, I need to write the portioning for extra balls. EBs tighten up if you have numbers spotted. Oddly, having #16 spotted gives you one additional chance for a connection for EB stepup if you have doubles on card #3. Interesting!

#92 3 years ago

At lunchtime, worked on the portioning for EBs - sadly, Bally didn't mark the rivets on the spotting disc that would step up the extra balls (odd, as every other connection is marked). The manual also doesn't have them.

Ah, well. I'm going to have to write a little probability function and fudge it. The remainder of the circuit is written out, and mixer #2 and mixer #3 come into the picture as appropriate.

#94 3 years ago

I'm documenting in each game's source code. I have a separate directory for each game, each of which contains a game.py. Game.py contains the code to run each game, including portioning, searching, etc. as this varies from game to game.

I put in comments for each game to note when I do something odd. Since the bingo community has been super helpful, there's really only two 'fudge' spots in the code right now:

1) Coney Island - no reflex documentation, so I wrote a simple portioning setup and assume it functions like slightly later games.
2) Atlantic City - no extra ball/spotting disc documentation, so I'll write a simple portioning system for it.

In my 'graphics' directory, I have a separate file per game that will contain the game specific flashing animations and so forth. Anything fudged is commented there as well.

Trying to do it right!

#95 3 years ago

Oh, that's also part of the impetus behind an open source release of the code to run the game - I'm a big fan of open source software, and the 'many hands make light work' philosophy.

That said, since I'm maintaining two separate repositories, it's been a bit tricky to update the publicly-available one.

#97 3 years ago

Doesn't mean it's the best way to do it, by any means. Also note that if I did this without the pyprocgame framework, I would likely do things a bit differently.

Thanks jeffpm - I'm definitely not a good programmer, but I do what I can.

#98 3 years ago

Atlantic City is in testing, but I'm sleepy. Time to quit for tonight. Always nice to see a new backglass display with 'Tilt' written in the appropriate place.

#99 3 years ago

I love testing a new machine and watching the animations go, cards light up, etc! Atlantic City is deep in the troubleshooting process. At this point, I am testing portioning to ensure that my schematic reading doesn't make certain features very difficult to obtain.

Right now, it appears that all the features are selecting as I would expect, aside from Extra Balls and spotted numbers. I'll take another look at the portioning for those tonight. EB was the area I fudged, so it must be related to how I decided to implement. Your first extra ball should actually be fairly easy to get (fewer coins), in general, but it took me 15 coins to step up to 1st EB.

The portioning for EBs is pretty complex before I even get to the spotting disc, though. I'll poke at it.

Spotted number portioning is fairly simple by comparison, but I must've borked up something! Nothing is spotting, currently.

My search function needs to be written for this game - I have trip relays implemented for double wins and corners, so the game can fairly easily determine how it needs to pay.

So all that said... which game should I work on next? I have several choices, but am curious what you all think - United's Stars, or Bally's Palm Beach?

Palm Beach is very similar to Spot-Lite, but with the addition of super cards!

Stars is a completely different animal, but will make later Uniteds much easier to implement.

#101 3 years ago

Atlantic City is done! Here's a photo where you can see two spotted numbers and three cards selected. The two spotted numbers happened on the first three coins.

There are a total of six spotted numbers possible, but the game restricts the numbers spotted as you insert your first three coins to the most lucrative numbers - 15, 16 and 17.

I cannot wait to play this game.


#102 3 years ago

I think we're in agreement, Ryan - but, I will say, Stars is almost a circuit-for-circuit copy of Atlantic City.

It's absolutely nuts. It does some things in different ways, but even down to the layout of the cards and the spotted numbers... suspicious?

The only two differences I can see at a glance:
1) Reflex layout is completely different. Mixer rivets are different, of course.
2) No corners scoring on Stars, instead adding a trip relay that will light all three cards double at once. You can still earn the doubled cards through normal coin play.

Super odd. The playfield artwork on Stars is fantastic, though!

#104 3 years ago

Vic, Atlantic City looks like a fantastic player - it can spot 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 22.

The center number on each card can spot at random as you insert your first three coins to qualify the three cards, but you can continue to put in money to qualify any and all six of the above spotted numbers in one game! Couple that with randomly awarded double scoring per card, and corners scoring that works on any of the three cards! This is one that I really cannot wait to put in a cabinet and play.

#105 3 years ago

Illuminated artwork for Palm Beach and United Stars is complete! Now I just have to implement the games...

#110 3 years ago

No worries!

Been working on Palm Beach. Very similar to Spot-Lite (also has pic-a-play), but adds super cards. I've got scoring working on the main card, and odds portioning complete.

For features, I'm still working on the portioning. Super card portioning is a bit rough since you can get multiple steps separate from the 'extra step' relay for odds steps. Because I don't have actual rotating units, I have to do randomization based on time. Since I can't actually do a time-based routine, I have to pick a random number of steps from 2-7. I have to ensure that the super card run relay doesn't prevent steps after you earn one card.

Probably have this finished over the weekend, but not sure. Extra balls still need to be portioned.

#111 3 years ago


Is it summertime? Welcome to Palm Beach, the first game with Super Cards. Palm Beach has five spotted numbers, and the complex scoring of Spot-Lite. It also has pic-a-play and three extra balls. Portioning and game complete. This shows my first super card win (wins four in a row odds).

Also, this is the first game with rollover buttons, which will spot all five numbers, if not already randomly spotted.

The games are starting to get incredibly complex, so the pace will likely slow. I also have to go back and rewrite my display functions (I'm passing in waaay too many variables, which means that my menu function will not be able to generically display. Duh!).

#112 3 years ago

Thanks to Bingo Butch, I have some great Stars photos to work from and Dennis Dodel sent me some much better Leader photos, so I'll be touching those glasses up, too, and then begin work on converting Stars to a digital format.

#113 3 years ago

Display functions rewritten and Leader backglass redone with extra ball rules rewritten!


#115 3 years ago

Thank you!

Stars artwork is mostly complete, but I'm beat. The rest will have to wait till tomorrow, then I'll copy over the game code for Atlantic City and start writing Stars!

Next on the block is Circus, United's follow-on to Stars.

#116 3 years ago

Stars is now running in the system, using the same portioning used for Atlantic City. Everything works, including doubled scoring. I will write the new portioning then re-test, and it should be good!

It's amazing how many stand-alone motors United used in this era.

#117 3 years ago

Got the United mixer, reflex and flash/spotting discs figured out! Took longer than I thought. This opens the door to a whole new set of great games.

I've started to implement in the system. (This is the portioning I was referencing above).

#118 3 years ago

Wow the United portioning is actually much more difficult than I thought. I have it 'reasonable' now, but it was a challenge.

I found a critical error in my search functions - I have a function called count_seq, that accepts the list of search relays that are closed.

It will try to determine if the numbers in the list are contiguous, and will score. In this case, it was scoring if you had a hit with relays 1, 2, 4, and 5 closed.

This shouldn't work. I'm working on something to correct it. I double-checked Leader and it was behaving the same way, so I've ruled out a dumb typo. It's systemic. Always fun when math doesn't work the way you think it should.

#119 3 years ago

I've been spending time with family and catching up on my backlog of local repair work. This evening, I finally sat down to fix the count_seq function, and I think I have it cracked.


#122 3 years ago
Quoted from jeffc:

This is quite the experiment . . .

If a mouse can make a 5 in a line, I will definitely be impressed.

Quoted from RyanClaytor:

Finally!!! *exasperated sigh*

Haha! It feels like I've been moving in slow motion for the past week or so - feeling out the United method of portioning. I definitely miss something by not seeing the internals of the machine.

For example, looking at the schematic for Stars, in the lower-right corner, you will see the mixers. Each mixer is rotated by the pulsing of a coil, which is triggered via a mixer relay. And it only happens at certain positions of the 'flash' motor (similar to the Bally spotting disc).

The schematic simply shows a coil. In implementing the portioning, I did exactly what it shows - a simple stepper, moving one position at a time. The reality is much different, however. It works more like a Bally mixer, but instead of randomly rotating all at once, it has the potential to rotate one per coin. Pretty interesting!

So, I reimplemented the mixers using my mixer class and all seemed to work well.

Circus is next and the backglass is very beautiful. Color choice is a little odd, I think, but I really love the artwork. Finished the illuminated artwork at lunch today (except for TILT). I'll see how far I get into portioning tonight.

Been reviewing my spreadsheet of upcoming games... after Circus, I'll only have 119 left. Some of which will be very challenging from an artwork perspective...

#124 3 years ago
Quoted from RyanClaytor:

You realize you don't have to finish ALL the games by York 2016, right?


Haha! Just kidding - assuming that I /only/ get stuck once per new feature, I highly doubt I'll be able to get 119 done in 129 days...

Plus I have some re-architecting to do. And cabinet work, electronics setup, etc. etc. etc.

#127 3 years ago
Quoted from Joe_Blasi:

I read some where that there where NV only? payout modification kits for Bally bingo pinball machines

Well, the word was that they were only available in Nevada, but darned if there haven't been several that I've serviced on the East Coast with a payout hopper. Payout hoppers were typically taken from Bally EM slot machines. Either those machines traveled a great distance, or you can probably put the pieces together.

Quoted from RyanClaytor:

But I actually think the backglass is really intelligently laid-out and colored.

Definitely appreciate the artistic explanation, Ryan! I only meant that when I think of a Circus, I typically think of the big top being red or yellow or alternating colors. I did understand why they didn't go with that - and I agree that bingo artists had a difficult job of making a 5x5 grid (or six!) attractive. The artists did a fantastic job on playfield, backglass and cabinet stencil for most of the machines.

#128 3 years ago

Spoke with Phil Hooper today to confirm my thoughts regarding United portioning - again, interesting to learn what you can't see on the schematics!

My portioning worked, but I cheated: I made an assumption about how the mixers worked because if I didn't the game would take hundreds of coins before awarding features. I implemented the mixers as Bally did, therefore - if the flash motor stopped on a certain rivet, it would spin (randomly) one or more mixers.

But! In reality, Bally had the patent on the drag arm cams (which provide random movement on the Bally mixers), so they couldn't actually do that. Instead, the flash motor, as it rotates, will step mixers as it passes certain positions. The reflexes work almost opposite of the Bally reflexes, but not quite.

Pretty fascinating stuff, and I'm quite thankful for Phil's help!

Without further ado: here's Circus!


#129 3 years ago

BingoButch has provided several photos of early United games: Stars, Circus, and Show Boat. Thanks Butch!

#131 3 years ago

No problem, Taylor - thanks for the compliment! I'll be having some serious playtesting sessions before too much longer, and you'll be getting an invite for sure - speaking of: I have some big news potentially coming over Memorial Day weekend.

#133 3 years ago

I'm working on two machines at once! I found a low-hanging fruit in a particular machine, am working on that now - I am also still working on United Show Boat.

Show Boat is interesting in that it is the first six card game with random award of cards.

#134 3 years ago

Lotta Fun is complete! Lotta Fun is the 'replay' version of the novelty Fun Way, which was produced for the Ohio market as the law was very restrictive towards bingos.

Lotta Fun has lighted scoring and some great carnival-themed graphics. I've implemented 634-36-1-R for the score card - this awards 400 points for a 3 in a line, 3600 points for a 4 in a line, and 10,000 for a 5 in a line. Each of the cards can count separately, which means that you can max out the game rather quickly. High scoring, but with no additional features to help you score. You have to make your numbers!


#135 3 years ago

Whoops! There is a feature that can help you - center spotted numbers. Well, back to the drawing board, haha!

#136 3 years ago

OK, that's implemented now - the spotted numbers happen on a fixed interval based on coin input. Very different to the norm since there is no reflex unit. Got too excited when I read the simple schematic.

#137 3 years ago

Lunchtime... bingo! I worked on the sister title to Lotta-Fun and hope to have that game complete tonight (graphics complete and game code runs, needs bug testing). A big (well, to this project) announcement coming soon!

#138 3 years ago

Fun Way is complete! You may notice it's almost the same game as Lotta Fun, but instead of having a replay button on the front of the cabinet, it requires a coin be put in to start the game, then will automatically step down the score until you have all six cards lit. The spotted numbers work the same way as Lotta Fun but in a totally different way from other games with spotted numbers. There is a continuous stepper with 50 positions. When the first ball leaves the gate, if there is a spotted number, it will light. It does this only when the shutter is fully closed. There can only be one spotted number.


#139 3 years ago

Big, big news! I went on a road trip this weekend. The plan: to meet with Dennis Dodel and pick up a load of parts and other necessities (and some niceties) for my multi-bingo project.

We decided to meet up in Kentucky, near where my grandparents live.

Ava took the trip with me, and we both got to meet Dennis and his friend Jon, which was absolutely awesome. I wish we had had more time to talk and hang out, but we all had to hit the road to get back by today.

Dennis provided a lower cabinet that was from a Silver Sails - it was being run with a Lotta Fun playfield running County Fair! Haha! And it was running as recently as 2006! The empty head came from a Touchdown and the back door from a 'The Twist'. The transformer assembly and Jones Plugs came from a Bikini, so I have almost as many distinct parts as there will be games on this thing, haha! A true Frankenstein's bingo. But this is what I wanted - if it was something completely restorable, the temptation would be to fix the EM game.

This morning I unloaded all the parts and started work. I took the back door off of the head - I am going to fill and prime the back to mount the boards on. It's a nice solid door, and doesn't have any large pieces of wood missing. I cleaned the oil off of the door, and it's nice and smooth, except for the mounting holes for previous hardware. I have all the electronic boards needed... but I forgot to buy spacers. I'll be heading to the store once my wife gets off of work to scope that out. Also, now that I have the head and know for sure what the size is - I'll pick up a monitor/TV and the internal mounting hardware.

The cabinet needs to be re-painted, but is otherwise structurally sound. I'll be thinking about the best thing to do with regard to that. Dennis gave me a great idea to try, but I think that may exceed my terrible artistic ability.

Due to this, work on the sim/emu will slow - you'll see fewer games come out while I'm getting the cabinet and hardware prepared, but I'll try to document with photos as I go. I have a few cool photos from the trip, and will post later on.

For now, where's my measuring tape?

#142 3 years ago

Thanks fellas!

Don't judge this one too harshly, but I'm waiting for the door wood filler to dry (covering up the mounting holes for steppers that won't exist), and I finished up Barrel 'O Fun '61. This glass had to be almost entirely repainted, and I have not had the time to make it nicer. I've got a call out for a better backglass photo - once I receive I can redo.

But for now - the Barrel 'O Fun series is the replay version of the Fun Spot series and it uses the same lighted scoring as Fun Way/Lotta Fun. It brings super lines to the six card/center spotted number gameplay.

Sorry for the rough graphics. Doing my best!


#144 3 years ago

Hardware post! My kids and I started work on the multi-bingo yesterday.


Here's the inside of the door, removed from the head. This would have been 100% workable, but I wanted to clean it up a bit and fill in all the screw holes for the steppers. So I put the kids to work.

Sophie in particular wanted to help, since she didn't get to help much with the Turf King restoration Ava completed recently.


Removing the hinge plates


Marking staples to be removed. Bally used strips of very thin leather or cardboard stapled to the cabinet as shielding between a stepper or mixer mounting and the wire bundles that ran behind. Unfortunately, all of these little staples had to be removed since they would cause big problems if one of the computer boards touched them.

Meanwhile... while all the above was going on, I asked Ava to strip the playfield so that she could clean it. She got about halfway through before she decided her talents were better used annoying her sister and 'showing her how it is done'. Haha! Siblings. I was able to keep the peace and allow my wife to relax for a bit at the same time. That's a win in my book.


Here's all the staples - as you can see they are quite small. It was important to remove them all so that the remaining board was smooth.


Ava and Sophie were getting a little restless, so I asked them to sign in a 'secret' place, since I was going to prime/paint over this area anyway. The loved the idea!


I was out of wood filler after the last resto, so I bought this new stuff that dries in a wood color, but starts off pink/purple. It worked really well! While I waited for it to dry, I finished another game, then took it outside and sanded it, taped it off, and sprayed a relatively thin layer of prime/white. You can still see the secret message if you squint just right.

I thought about mounting the boards for a while, then measured and installed. No pics yet, but all the boards and the computer are mounted and installed in the backbox. I was going to work on another game's code, but decided to get some sleep instead.

Tonight, I'll be recording a new episode, talking about the pickup and progress. I picked up a TV on Memorial Day sale yesterday - a 36" widescreen would have been PERFECT(!) but apparently they no longer make them? Well, that I could pick up locally anyway. So I settled for a 32". I also picked up some artwork mat(sp?) board and foam core to make a bezel. My wife had to make so many models and cut so many mat boards in school that I'll likely ask her to help (or at least use her tools).

#145 3 years ago


And hardware installed. I'm using some funky spacers, and though I marked before installing... Apparently I poked the driver board slightly askew. I'm trying to decide if I want to add three new holes. I centered the computer on the door to provide better weight up high, but might want to move it down.

#147 3 years ago

Worked on the head quite a bit tonight - installed back door locks and a couple of simple brackets to hold the TV in place (temporarily). The TV doesn't fall right out, but won't hold up to typical bingo play. I will cut some wood to fill the head, then install brackets on them to keep the monitor centered. That should do the trick. If I keep a small square portion in the upper left and right corners, I'll be able to install speakers behind/through the bezel.

I also started work on the wiring! Well, kinda. I received a Jones Plug block, with all the typical female Jones Plugs from a magic screen game.

Since I don't need multiple switches to provide power to relays and check state of replays and so forth, I can GREATLY reduce the number of connections needed on the Jones Plugs. My plan is to keep the Jones Plugs compatible with the regular playfields, however, I will have to play that part by ear as I go through the playfield and cabinet Jones Plug connections.

Here's what I needed to desolder tonight (not done yet - will take another round or two, then cleaning):

I removed the apron from the playfield and finished what Ava started by removing the rest of the posts. I will have her clean the playfield and reinstall the posts, then I will install a cleaner apron.

I ordered lots of 9 pin .100 connectors - unfortunately, I actually needed 10 pin. Haha! I'll get those ordered along with a slightly shorter cable for the connection between the P3-ROC and computer.

I have plenty of Nylon cable clamps which will help with the wiring harness, just as Bally used. With nylon spacers, this should keep the wiring above the back board, which will make things nice and clean. I realize that I probably need to order more wire... it's gonna take a lot. I have 50ft of six different colors, but most wires will need to run for about 2'. 25x2 = 50, and that's just the playfield switches (with no messing up). Math!

#148 3 years ago

Well... I may have something wrong with me...


Finished desoldering every wire last night. Was too tired to sand the board and clean the plugs, but that's what tonight is for! My trusty soldering gun fell apart from the prolonged heat. I loved that thing. :'-( Farewell, old friend. I'll see if I can find another soon.

The 10 pin connectors I need are on GPE's site, but they are on vacation until after the 5th, so I cannot place an order. I guess I'll have to be patient... or just wire it up using a 9 pin connector since I don't actually need all of the pins, haha!

I realized I haven't really published what I'm planning to do from a hardware perspective.

I've pulled a 50V relay from a playfield, and have another around somewhere. The game requires the input voltages for coils and lamps be rectified. For the playfield lamps, I'll should be able to drive DC. These are for the rollover lights specifically, but I'll also have relay-style control over the playfield GI, which will be kinda neat and enable some stuff down the road.

For the coils, I'll need to use relays to drive the AC components (like motors). So, it'll work like this:

A) 50V comes out of the transformer (A/C).
B) 50V run from the transformer (after fuse) to the Jones Plug.
C) 50V run from the Jones Plug to the Bridge Rectifier on the back door and to a switch on each relay.
D) 50V (now DC) run to the driver board
E) 50V (DC) drives the relay coil, pulling the switch and activating 50V AC feed to the motor(s).

This relay setup needs to happen only for two motors:

1) Shutter (I'm still not sure of how the shutter for Palm Springs/Surf Club/Tahiti/Galaxy works. I may need three separate relays to drive this action).
2) Lifter

Then I have a few other coils:
1) Lockout (coin lockout)
2) Coin counter (can't wait to show you a pic of that beauty)
3) Knocker/Sounder (Bally games)
4) Bell (early United games)
5) Register step-up(?) - still on the fence about this
6) Register step-down(?) - again, fence-sitting.
7) Magic Pocket Left
8) Magic Pocket Right
9) Bump feature(?) - Not sure if I'll be able to emulate this, as it requires specific playfield hardware.
10) Mystic Gate diverter coil
11) Center pop bumper for roulette style games.

This means that I'll likely need a second driver board once I get a Magic Pocket mech in. Right now I have a really nice Gayety playfield, but the mech had been removed.

This will also be interesting, as I may need a relay to control the Magic Pockets as they are 7 separate coils driven at once... I will end up fusing that separately since I'm a little scared of what might happen.

I've simplified the design of the controls quite a bit from what I had planned, since I just won't have the physical room for ALL of the controls I wanted.

Current thoughts:

Left/Right button
R button
A-F buttons.

Magic Lines will use the A-F buttons, and you will have to cycle through all positions just as Mystic Lines and later Magic Lines worked.

So the back door will become significantly more crowded when wiring is complete, but also when the two relays, bridge rectifiers and amplifier (if needed for speakers) are installed.

Switches are more complicated, as you might expect. I only need a small fraction of the switches which are currently used in the lower cabinet, but the ones I need are critical (and numerous).

1) Trough 1 - this is the 'ball ready' switch
2) Trough 2
3) Trough 3
4) Trough 4
5) Trough 5
6) Trough 6
7) White button
8) Blue button
9) Green button
10) Red button
11) Yellow button
12) A button
13) B button
14) C button
15) D button
16) E button
17) F button
18) Left button
19) Right button
20) R button
21) Shooter lane
22) #1
23) #2
24) #3
25) #4
26) #5
27) #8
28) #9
29) #10
30) #11
31) #12
32) #13
33) #14
34) #15
35) #16
36) #17
37) #18
38) #19
39) #20
40) #21
41) #22
42) #23
43) #24
44) #25
45) Gate
46) Ball lift override
47) Shutter open
48) Coin
49) Free play toggle
50) Jones Plug selector for standard 25 hole with rollovers
51) JP selector for 25 hole hold feature
52) JP selector for 25 hole bump feature
53) JP selector for 25 hole magic pockets feature
54) JP selector for 20 hole standard with rollovers
55) JP selector for 20 hole hold feature
56) JP selector for 20 hole gate feature
57) JP selector for 28 hole game (Shoot-a-line) - still pondering if it's worth it for one game... yeah, probably so.
58) JP selector for 18 hole game (Miss U)
59) JP selector for 24 hole game (Galaxy)
60) JP selector for 25 hole roulette style game (ABC & etc)
61) #26
62) #27
63) #28
64) Pop switch
65) Rebound switch - only needed for games like Miss Universe.
66) Tilt switches (all wired together)
67) Replay Reset - thanks Joe_Blasi

Right now I have three switch processing boards, which can handle a total of 16 switches each. Yep, you read that right, I'll need another two boards to do what I intend with all the switches. Luckily, this is something that can grow as I find the hardware I need. (whew!) I'll also definitely need that second driver board. Thank goodness Bally used only one coil voltage!!

#150 3 years ago

Vic, thank you! I will actually need some Gay Time parts! I have a beautiful Gayety playfield, with the shutter motor attached, but it's missing the Magic Pockets coils, the shutter board and the M.P armatures - basically the entire Magic Pocket assembly.
If you have one that is missing a couple of parts (springs and such), just let me know!

I don't need the whole playfield, just that one assembly and the shutter board.

I think the electronic parts I am good on, but we'll see once I start trying to fire this puppy up!

#151 3 years ago

I spent tonight mowing the lawn! ...And then I worked on cleaning the Jones Plug board and all the female plugs. Everything is nice and clean, so I started work on the cabinet.

The lifter was frozen in place, so I removed the shooter rod to get access to the assembly. Assembly is reasonably clean, but I spent a little bit scrubbing with a wire brush just to knock off anything that was a bit loose. The main pivot was a bit rusty. I have not lubricated it, but I was able to free it up - it turns very smoothly now. When I fire it up, I'll have to see if the lifter motor is struggling. I usually use the 'less is more' theory on lubrication.

The cabinet inside is very clean (for a bingo!) but I do need to run a damp cloth along the inside to get some dirt up. Will do so later, then start drawing my (rudimentary) schematic after mapping JP pins.

#152 3 years ago

Ran the damp cloth through last night and pushed all the loose dirt to one small area to vacuum. Very late so I didn't turn on the vacuum, but I went ahead and started cleaning all the cabinet Jones Plugs and then mapping them.

Thus far I have the counters mapped, the 'R' button, the lifter motor, and that's it! I haven't been able to find any other switch in the set of plugs. That's gonna slow me down a bit... everything is nice and clean now, but the coin door Jones Plug seems to be the issue - I may have to pull that out of the cabinet (female side) and see what's happening underneath.

Still mulling things around a bit. Wires on the switch boards/driver board all use the same common for each set of 8 switches. I'll have to do some re-wiring once the switches hit the jones plugs if they are not already tied together.

I still need to pick up some lumber for the head. May be able to do that tonight.

Front right corner is separated, and needs to be clamped and glued. I'll work on that between mappings (if I pick up the lumber tonight).

#153 3 years ago

Forgot to mention that I have a fix for the 'missing' switches in the Jones Plug. I just have to cross-reference the schematic for Silver Sails, which has a plug chart, and the switches I'm looking for within. I was trying to be clever/simple by mapping via a meter.

#155 3 years ago

Interesting ideas! Thank you for the suggestions!

No need for a test switch, will function more like an EM than a solid state game. Mainly I don't want to write test code that's not going to be super helpful. With the number of switches involved, most of the time you're going to know there's a problem and what's causing it. #25 not registering across multiple games? Probably a broken wire. Bingo playfield switches don't get dirty frequently (or ever?) except for the shooter lane switch and the gate. And just like in an EM bingo, that'll be pretty obvious too (lifter continues to run, lifter never runs, etc). Nothing to really service - I'll have a coin counter, so no need for audit... I'm also toying with the idea of making the hard drive read only - this will protect data integrity in case power is suddenly cut (power cord issues, etc). This means that I don't want to write an audit log - it'll just crash the program.

No room for a bill validator - finding a place simply for all the player controlled buttons is a challenge that I'll tackle in an upcoming post.

I don't like hoppers on my bingos - I've worked on a couple, but I don't prefer that - they are big, they are heavy. (Plus, then I'd have to get a hopper). As the code will be open source, if someone wants to extend to add hopper control, they are welcome to do so.

Cash out - yes! That's one I had legitimately forgotten. Normally, the power toggle will activate the replay reset. On older games, there was a knock-off button, though, and I'll likely emulate that instead of trying to override main power. I may also move the power switch to the head, like on older games and use the power switch hole for the replay reset. If adding a hopper, simply add the extra switch handlers in your replay_reset function and you're good to go.

Thanks again - always happy to hear suggestions.

#157 3 years ago

Ah, I see! That's very interesting!

The settings will be invisible to the user (at least for now). If I enable adjustment of reflex plug or extra ball plug, etc. I will likely use a special key combo.

To select a game in my menu, you press the left or right button, then the yellow button to start. To go back to the menu, you press left, right and yellow at the same time (something that would never happen in a game).

I can probably do something similar for the games. As implemented, I am putting the plugs in the most liberal position. The reflex will still activate and move, which means that portioning will continue to happen outside of mixer movement.

Essentially, any adjustment will make the game even more difficult. With one exception: replays for four in a line can be adjusted on several games. But I'll need to adjust my score cards to accept an argument to display the appropriate ones.

Hmmm!!! I'll think about it. It'll likely be added later on. The main machines I want to emulate are the EMs. I may think about the solid states at a later date. I'll have plenty to work on for now with the EMs.

Thanks again for the suggestion/clarification.

For now I leave you with this:

Wooden supports to center the screen, and metal brackets to hold it in place (in front). Bottom back support can be removed to remove screen. In front I will be installing foam core and a mat to make it look fancier. For now, though, I can actually get this plugged in and test once I have the wiring complete!

#158 3 years ago

More wiring marking tonight. I am marking each switch with a NO side and a V side. V is the short blade, typically and carries the potential. I'll use this to handle the wiring on the boards.

I've marked all the front door buttons, and footrail left/right and R. Still have trough switches to mark and tilts and power. Power should be the plastic coated wires.


#159 3 years ago

Toying with the idea of hand-drawing my schematic. No software package will allow me to replicate certain features of the schematic which will be important (like Jones Plug diagrams). My wife did a lot of drafting work in college, and still has her supplies. I am 100% art challenged, but I can usually draw a straight line with a t-square. Any other thoughts absolutely welcome. Keep in mind that I'm using Linux for all my desktop computers, and that I would prefer free (as in beer) software, if possible. I've played with Dia, Oregano, and even schematics.com. Each has a critical shortcoming. Oregano is closest to what I would like, and I'll use it if I must. I kind of relish the challenge of drawing a schematic in the Bally style. Foolhardy? Probably. Fun? Well, to me it is.

Also toying with the idea of speaker placement. More on that later.

Likely no real progress tonight. Saturday, I can probably finish the Jones Plug mapping and Ava can clean the playfield. Then I'll draw up the schematics and start wiring. I will scan the schematics and post in my repository for folks that want to do this at home (or myself, when troubleshooting). Unfortunately, I am severely limited by the wire colors I can use (only solid colors and a max of six). This means expect that listing showing the number of times repeated to be larger than the wire colors themselves.

If someone has a great source for cloth-wrapped wire, I'd love to know it.

That's the current plan, anyway!

#160 3 years ago

Finished mapping all the cabinet switches. Now doing a small amount of cabinet work. Front left and right corners are damaged and covered with plates. Need to shore that up before I can install new leg plates.

I also need to remove side rails. Tomorrow, I'll continue this work (can use a hammer) and Ava can work on the playfield.

#162 3 years ago

Thanks Ryan! I'm going to experiment with a bit of drawing today at some point. Kids can also draw at the same time (on another paper). I'll post a photo of the results.

I found someone who may be able to help with the wire, so that might work out!

#163 3 years ago

Documenting playfield switches. I forgot the gi and switches are tied together on the common

Switch boards pull common to 12v so I may have to either use 17v bulbs on playfield or rewire every playfield. :-/

I'm leaning towards rewire as I can tie the gi with the controlled lamps... for a future enhancement.

Thus far - three switches changed in the cab, and this would be eight wires swapped on each playfield. It would make playfields unusable in any other game, which is something I wanted to avoid.

Thoughts are welcome.

#164 3 years ago

Well, I now realize that I will have to rewire each playfield anyway - tested on another 25 hole and a 20 hole harness. The #2 playfield switch doesn't match up on any set of plugs.

#165 3 years ago

Playfield rewired - the 6v gi I will run directly off of the transformer (in version 1).

I've started drawing my schematic. Molly gave me a quick drafting primer and I am cheating by using a Bally schematic and tracing paper to get my legend written and static items like Jones plugs.

It won't be a huge schematic: remember that only those 60-ish switches will be wired up and a small handful of coils. We'll see how it looks.

For now, here's some photos from today:


Leg plates in front removed. Missing piece of triangular wood will need to be cut and drilled to hold the leg plate.


Sophie was jumping up and down to help clean the playfield. Ava helped with posts and Sophie got to learn how to clean.


Underside of the Lotta Fun playfield. I mapped all the wires, installed all the hardware that had been cleaned, moved some parts over, then rewired the gi lamps to stay off of the switch receivers.

At this point, I've had to cut the current limiting resistor on the shooter Lane. It will not serve the correct purpose in a solid state machine. In the em bingos, it prevents the lifter start relay from burning. Ever wonder why the lifter start usually isn't toasty? Well, here you go.

I've also had to wire the lifter start relay closed on switch 1c.

Lastly, I had to wire shutter motor 1B closed. Otherwise the shooter Lane switch will not register via the Jones plugs.

Each of these changes will need to be made for each playfield. However! Each subsequent playfield will need to have the Jones plugs completely rewired. Note that this means I've had to do away with one of my goals: I won't be able to take these playfields made specifically for my game and use them in a standard bingo without modification.

#166 3 years ago

Schematic in progress

#169 3 years ago

Destiny: yes, it must be!

Thanks fellas!

Starting the inking process!


#170 3 years ago

Things will move very slowly this week - I will still be working on my inking and compiling a list of wire colors, mapping those, and starting to physically fit everything in the cabinet. I'll keep trying to take photos as I go.

My wife has told me to slow it down and I am taking her advice this week (next week things will pick back up).

From my blurry schematic above (I've got tracing paper on top of the drafting pencil layer), you may be able to see that things are relatively simple. I've attempted to stick to late 60s-style Bally schematic drawing, which should make it really easy to follow along. Normally closed switches will be closed and not open to one side, though. I am only putting connector and physical switches/coils/lamps, along with broad electrical components like bridge rectifiers and transformers on the schematic. I am not adding the schematics for each of the electronic components. In this way, my schematic is really simplified - it takes you to the boards themselves, but doesn't go through and document each transistor/diode/resistor on the path. My schematic will help you wire /to/ the boards from the cabinet/playfield. Hope that all makes sense. I am not producing a Bally or United-style manual with the game - YET (I may do that after the rest of the games are complete, just for fun), but am including a parts list on the schematic.

I need to order some more electrical supplies, and I actually need to order three more computer boards! There are enough 50V components in the entire system that I need a separate driver board. I also need two more switch boards to run everything. I will have some space left on the second driver board, which I will use in the future. I'll have about five more switches to include in a future revision if desired.

I believe I am going to drive the magic pockets via relay. I really don't want to disturb the perfect balance that those mechanisms have by driving via DC. We'll see how that works out.

Those of you who wonder why I wanted to make a schematic: there is no better way to plan your project than drawing up a schematic. This process requires you to think of every switch and component in the game, and how it impacts every other switch and component. Even the simplified version allows me to review each individual wire needed, etc. Plus, it is a fun little addition.

#171 3 years ago
Quoted from bingopodcast:

there is no better way to plan your project than drawing up a schematic

Also, it helps to solidify how the system will work. I made a silly assumption about voltage loss when A/C is rectified. Apparently it's been too long since my last electrical math class. Despite my wanting it to work another way, you actually increase your voltage during the conversion. Rectification and smoothing is not a problem for me, but apparently math is way too hard. Haha!

Luckily, I had some homebrew folks set me straight (I asked if I could simply rectify the 17V secondary and run through the various boards), and I've changed my plans slightly. As of this moment, I will be running a 5V/12V DC switching power supply and a 48VDC switching power supply (for coils). The transformer will remain. This means that both my back door and the inside of the cab will start getting more crowded.

I'm going to have to redraw the upper-left portion of my schematic since the 120V section needs to be extended. I'll probably also kill the service outlet from the schematic to make it all fit.

#173 3 years ago

Thanks NoQuarters. I ended up redrawing the incorrect portion tonight and started inking on a fresh piece of paper. It's not as pretty, but it'll do.

#175 3 years ago
Quoted from Clytor:

you should take a break to come over and play NF and GB

I've gotta roll that Target Alpha a few times! You'll see me soon - thanks for the invite!

I finally found a triangle template in my wife's architectural templates (hooray!). I'm still really enjoying the process of the schematic. Who knew? (I've never liked drawing anything in my life)

#176 3 years ago

Schematic inking pt. 2. Glad the issue with the 120V section was revealed before I finished inking the last version!


#177 3 years ago

I'm back! I went on a super fun vacation, recharged my bingo batteries (not a single bingo to be found where we were staying - but there was some pinball!), and stayed with a friend and his family.

Now, I am working on the remaining inks, and am about to begin mapping my wire colors.

#178 3 years ago

Here we go - inking complete. Now mapping wire colors. Trying to decide if should change wire colors from brown with brown tracer to a different wire color at the Jones plug. Schematic is mostly useful for figuring out to the Jones plug, and not to the playfield, so I think I could do this if needed.

Not great, but easier to crimp, etc.

Thoughts always appreciated!


#180 3 years ago
Quoted from RyanClaytor:

Was this really a thing?

No, not really. Originally, the wire colors were all nicely separated but time and dirt have made them all appear the same dirty brown color. I could scrub the wires with soap and water, but that would require opening up the bundles at the jones plugs... it's a trade-off.

The schematic for silver sails does not list the jones plugs, so I do not have that as a reference, either.

So! I probably just need to pick colors that make sense and go for it. This'll be interesting.

Several of the wires on the female jones plugs need to be tied together in my system. Thinking about logistics here, too. I definitely do not wish to have my longest wire runs only connect at the boards. Bally did a max of two wires daisy-chained between lugs. I may do that...

#181 3 years ago

Also: thank you! I'm excited to get this scanned and printed soon.

#183 3 years ago

I've been thinking and thinking about how I am going to do the wiring. I found a source for cloth wire that will work, which is fantastic. Unfortunately, I need to use 22 gauge wire, which is much smaller in diameter than the 20 gauge or so that was used originally. I need this smaller wire because the boardset I'm using relies on .100 connectors. So very small. My long wire runs, therefore, have to be 22 gauge. Shorter wire runs could be normal 20 (or 18?). This means that I should only need the cloth-wrapped wire to my coils, and to my motors/relays. Pretty simple, still. I may also have enough cloth-wrapped excess wire to do this without additional (we'll see!).

I think I will need to stripe the plastic wire myself, with my built-in labor (kids). I have six colors of 22 gauge wire to choose from, and with striping I could easily triple that amount (black and white stripes).

Colors are:


The amount of wire that I need to run is actually fairly small. Essentially one unique wire per switch, then for every 8 switches, I have a ground or common wire that needs to run to the switch banks. Coils are similar. Distance is between each female Jones Plug and the back board.

I have the transformer to wire up, along with a service outlet, fuse panel, and two switching power supplies. I am using 48VDC to run my coils (several run via relay). I did some math and chose one with a small max amperage (read: cheap), so we'll see if it works! Really, a max current draw of a couple Amps is feasible for a couple of coil load.

The second switcher is going to control my 5V and 12V supply. For lamps that are controlled (playfield rollovers), I will be using the 5V supply to drive the 6V lamps. We'll see there, too. Brightness should be fine, but problems in the socket can cause board-level problems. 12V is needed for the switch boards, and to power the P3-Roc.

Then I need to crimp connectors and wire up everything.

Once all of THAT is done, then I can work on the meat and potatoes again - cabinet repair (corner brackets need to be cut and installed), fancy screen cover (I have a friend from up North that helped me with that - more on that later), and then I turn it on and see just how much I got backwards.

Now, before all of that fun stuff, I made a mistake on my inked version - I made a note on the pencil version on my Jones Plugs but didn't fix it before I started inking. Guess what I did wrong? Funny thing is that I stopped several times before inking and thought something was off with the Jones Plugs. Oh, well. Haha!

I am buying a white-out pen after work and getting that corrected.

I have an additional two switch boards on the way and an additional driver board. My final (ha!) design includes more coils, and the second driver board won't really be used at the beginning, but I will be adding to it as I go. I needed the two additional switch boards to handle the playfield Jones Plug selection and a few more special switches (up to 28 holes, etc).

So that's all the work left until my prototype is put together enough to test. After that, I'll be adding things like speakers, and working to isolate sounds to record. I have ideas for that as well!

Then I have one more artistic challenge - cabinet stencil and spraying.

After all that easy stuff, it'll be back to programming.

Sanity check: does that all sound reasonable?

#184 3 years ago

Decision made! I am going to use the 22 gauge wire instead of cloth-wrapped. Unfortunately, I need lots of additional wire to make this happen. I have 50 ft of each color, but it will go very quickly.

I probably need 6x the amount in order to wire up the hardware I currently have.

Also white out tape is a great invention. Found and fixed one last problem as I went through to label each color. My 17V secondary was shown tapping off the 120V section. That's what happens when you extend your 120V section and don't pay close enough attention.

Makes me wonder how many revisions the original schematics of the 1950s and 60s were made. I know occasionally an error would sneak in, and in some cases, a second production revision of the schematic was made (usually to compensate for changes during the assembly). Just another fascinating thing.

Spoke with a master bingo tech last night and let him know what I was working on - he gave me a couple hints with some of the mechanical aspect of randomization. I explained my randomization function and how it emulated the mechanical portions. I am curious to hear his thoughts when he sees my game in action (hopefully at York)!

#185 3 years ago

Lots of additional wire on the way. Now, to start stripping.

#187 3 years ago

Maximum distance between the back door (when open) and female jones plugs is 4ft.

With somewhere in the range of 70+ switches, I'll need somewhere around 280ft. of wire. Not too bad!

Coils are easier/shorter.

#188 3 years ago

Had some serious wind here last night. Had to take the kids to an interior room. Lots of trees down, but! Before all that I was able to finish wiring #1-25 and the front cabinet buttons. Started on trough switches when the power went out.


#189 3 years ago

Wish I had bought that battery-powered soldering iron. Power out for an estimated two weeks(!) in my area. I suspect that's a worst-case scenario.

If anyone feels like lugging a generator over, let me know.

#191 3 years ago

Dennis, I feel like you're enabling, haha! (I will definitely be checking that out). Probably can't do that for a prolonged period of time (will need to run lights and engine to charge battery)... but that would be great!

#193 3 years ago

Haha! I'll resist the temptation to run another game off of that plug (or will I?)

#194 3 years ago

Ran an errand after work and power is back on!!! Back to soldering after mowing the lawn and picking up debris.

#195 3 years ago

The lawn had to wait - Ava wanted a little help finishing a little EM rollercoaster project. (a knex model, not the Gottlieb).

But I soldered the heck out of stuff. I finished all playfield and cabinet switches, and cut the wire necessary for the playfield jones plug selection as well as the receiving plug, and the coils and controlled lamps.

Tomorrow, I have to cut and solder all the commons, and solder the cut wire above.

#196 3 years ago

Soldering complete! Now doing initial wire bundle ties to put the jones plug panel the head. From there, I still have 50 V source, 6v source, etc to wire up.

If you have to strip and solder over 150 wires in less than two full days, invest in a soldering gun and one of these:


#197 3 years ago

Happy Father's Day to the Dads out there.

I cut corner supports for the leg plates today, and bought a pane of glass for the front of the machine. The glass broke in the car on the way home. *sigh*

Ah, well. I'm going to try again this week with a thicker piece of glass. Once I have the cabinet on legs, I'll be able to mount the head on it and start working on the back door wiring. If the thicker piece of glass breaks, I'll probably try plexiglass. Then if that looks terrible, I'll custom order a piece of tempered glass.

Then I'll work on stencil artwork (after a lot of play testing, of course)!

#198 3 years ago

Lots of progress tonight, wow! Cabinet supports were clamped and glued, now legs are installed, and put the head on.


Hand-lacing my cables now that they are at waist height.


Next I'll start crimping connectors and installing. The remainder of my switch processors and driver board arrived, along with connectors and such.

Check out this beautiful new old stock coin counter:


This is from the same supplier that Bally used when the bingos were new. Gorgeous! Now installed and will count coins.

Once wiring is complete, I'll install the apron screens, then wire for power.

#200 3 years ago

Thank you Vic!

Dennis supplied me with the Lotta Fun playfield, which I agree, is perfect for this game. It has some beautiful artwork as well as being very colorful! He also supplied that beauty of a counter above. Thank you again, Dennis.

Ryan Claytor cut the foam core and matte board (matte board not yet installed) for the screen. I have to install the front wood trim in order to install the matte board, but it looks amazing. If I'm not careful, I'll get ahead of myself!

I still have to stencil and spray the sides, which I've been putting off because the idea Dennis gave me is so awesome I just need some time to percolate about it. If I can pull it off, it will be truly amazing.

I still have a long way to go, hardware-wise. I know it's starting to look like it's coming together, but I still have transformer, outlet (will be switched to allow computer shutdown), and power supply installation, along with mounting the Raspberry Pis that will drive the apron screens.

The playfield is looking gorgeous, though. I installed a different apron, and with the clean rubber (and dead rubber provided by Dennis!) along with the nice lamp shields, shooter gauge, etc... I can't wait to light this game up.

I am having a bit of trouble with the shooter rod alignment. I've never really had to adjust the height of the shooter rod, but this one has trouble clearing the shooter gauge. I've tried loosening it and manhandling it around. Not really working well. It shoots a ball, but the rubber tip scrapes against the screw holding the guide in place, and doesn't sit in the center of the gauge.

I'll poke around with it a bit more tonight. Last night it was about 1AM when I was fooling with the shooter, so probably not the best time to be messing with it.

Tonight is... connectors! Lots of them. I have somewhere in the realm of 70-100 pins to install. All .100 (little ones). Then I need to tie the larger bundles of wire to each other, and everything will be neat and tidy!

I found a Bally sounder on eBay (spring-loaded knocker) and just received, will be installing that as well to the side of the head.

My relays and new boards are mounted on the backboard, and the backboard is installed on the cab again!

#201 3 years ago

My power is out again.

Before it went, I was able to temporarily attach the score card screens to the apron, and start crimping wires.

Have I mentioned how much I dislike .100 connectors? The switch boards have two input connectors, j2 and j6. On my schematic, I get carefully labeled evey single input on each connector and wired to the schematic. .100 pins are very very close to one another.

J2 and j6 have different keyed pins. I could not tell thus just from a glance, and I don't work well from online docs (I prefer paper).

So! I didn't notice that several of my connectors were being miswired until... it was too late! Now I have to rewire a bunch of wires (about 50).

I thought that was moving along too quickly.

I also mounted the transformer in the head.

I have given the game a couple of test shakes, too. I am worried about the weight difference between this and a standard bingo.

It feels pretty good, actually. I have most of the weight in the back of the game, between the screen and the transformer, ups, and eventually, the power supplies. Since the cabinet is unmodified, meaning all the motors and switches are still mounted, that normal amount of playfield weight is there.

I think this will work well, hardware-wise!



#203 3 years ago

Haha, thanks NoQuarters. I guess we'll see how it plays once I turn it on!

I didn't post again last night, but the power came back on after two hours... I ended up staying up until all of the switches were wired into place. (That pic above was taken after only a dozen or so switches were wired).

Now, here's a list of what is needed before the wiring is 'done':

1) Wire coils - shutter motor relay, lifter motor relay, sounder
2) 110V primary winding on transformer. Will likely have to use new wire for this purpose, as the original wiring is a little short.
3) 50V secondary - needed for actually driving the shutter motor and lifter motor.
4) 6V winding - needed to run the playfield and door lamps
5) New fuse block for each winding. Each winding is separately fused and will protect the rest of the game against transformer short. Unlikely, but in this scenario, the most likely thing is something falling on the transformer and shorting lugs together. I have several new fuse blocks.

6) 48VDC power supply - used for running the sounder, relays, and coin counter. Fed from 110V fused source.
7) 5VDC power supply - used for running the logic board as well as the controlled (playfield rollover) lamps. Fed from 110V fused source.
8) 12VDC power supply - used for running switch logic levels. Fed from 110V fused source.
9) Driver board input #1 - fed from 48VDC power supply on both driver boards.
10) Driver board input #2 - fed from 5VDC power supply on both driver boards.
11) Service outlet. In this case, it won't be a 'service outlet', but rather a switched outlet that will service the UPS that drives the computer and monitor in the game. When power is removed, the computer will gracefully shut down. I have to turn the beeping off.
12) Grounding. I have to ground the transformer lug, as well as every board and the service outlet in the game. This will give every item in the game a common reference point, which will prevent the untimely death of the various electronic devices.
13) Free play switch - installed in lower cabinet. I have it installed on the jones plugs and wired to the switch boards.
14) Replay reset switch - same as above.
15) Power switch - ditto
16-41) Small jumper wires between various logic boards.

Still needed:

A) A master power strip. These power strips will have a single outlet that, when power is removed, will turn off the other items on that strip automatically. The plan is that when the computer is shut off, then the other items will turn off automatically. I'm not sure if this setup will work well or not... but that's the current plan. I'll set up the computer so that when power is restored, it will automatically come back on. Or! I will set it to read only and then avoid the issue of hard drive corruption.

As you can see, still a lot of wiring left to be done. It's like there's a lot going on even in a stripped down bingo or something!

#204 3 years ago

I am flying through this hardware stuff. Basically, numbers 2-8 are done or very close to done.

I took a break from connectors tonight to work on my transformer and fuse block. (always nerve-wracking). I am not a fan of intentionally poking at 110V.

I did end up needing to either add additional length to the existing wire or add entirely new wire to the various lugs.

To test the transformer, I finished wiring, leaving fuses out of my block. Then, I plugged the game into a power strip, so that I could turn it on and off very quickly. Initially I turn it on, then check for smoking or odd noises. Nothing! Always a good sign. Next, I will take my meter (with the game off) and clip one probe to one of the lugs (110v input first), the probe the second lug after turning the game back on.

Ensure that your alligator clip is not shorting against another wire or lug.

Then do the same for each output voltage.

All were great!

I also grounded the transformer, and will be pulling additional ground wire over to the various electronic boards.

Tomorrow is likely MORE connector work, because I love it so.

#206 3 years ago

110V at 20A is way more than enough to stop your heart. Certain conditions would have to be met, but better safe than sorry.

It is something that I really do not enjoy messing with more than absolutely necessary.

That's why I /always/ caution people not to touch plastic coated wires.

I've never been bit by 110V at the transformer, but I don't intend to start anytime soon, either.

#207 3 years ago

Lunchtime is the best time for bingo time! I prepared my work area for tonight's connector work (and a little more wiring).

I also did a more permanent install of the apron screens (they still fit!), but I fear that I will have to use real kid gloves when lifting the playfield. I am going to attempt to route the wires well on this thing, but there are so many mechanisms to avoid with big HDMI cables.

Anyway! Tonight, I should have the coils and so forth wired up and the power switch on the cab. I'll also get the GI wired up to the 6V line and see if the playfield lights. That's the plan, anyway.

I've run into a series of situations where I've knocked about 100,000 screws on the floor. I clean that up, just in time to do it with another container of screws.

#208 3 years ago

Hey everyone! Update for tonight: I did not get to turn the game on tonight. I hit my wall at 1am and need to be awake tomorrow.

I was able to wire up all the lamps and coils that I have on hand, found and fixed a couple of wiring problems that were not obvious from the layout of the plugs. Nothing that changes the schematic.

So, I wired up the power switch, the 50vac for the relays that run the motors, the motors, etc etc.

I laced my harness up - I think it looks pretty good and I feel one step closer to understanding what Bally went through. I definitely made some silly mistakes, but hey, it could be worse.

I am going to test test test various voltages to ensure everything is OK before I accidentally fry the boards.

The final move will be to plug in the power connectors to the boards and see what happens!

It will likely be this weekend, but I've been wrong before!



#209 3 years ago

Ooh boy, overdid it last night. Taking a break for lunch right now from playing with the kids and thought I'd update the thread here.

I wired up all of the DC components. Boards all boot appropriately when power switch is toggled!

Now, I have to clean up my wiring on the back door (it's really gross looking) and fix up my 50v ac circuit. Some way, somehow, my shutter motor is receiving 6V. I apparently need to lace in two new wires to the motor coil and male jones plug.

Then I will recable the relays (I had to cut them as the lifter was running automatically when power was applied.

Quick question: my power switch only switches the 120v. My 50v is switched (theoretically) by the relays. I do not have a relay for my 6v. This means that off or on, the playfield gi is on.... I have not figured out what I'm doing wrong.

If anyone has any thoughts I'd love to hear them.

My gi is working (as I say), but only 1/2. I had to rewire it last night due to 6v leakage into other A/C circuitry.

Here's a gross pic:

#210 3 years ago

Ok, I've rewired my GI, ran my final cables for the score and instruction displays, and rewired both the lifter and shutter motors. Now, I have a problem.

I have a no switch on a relay that is supposed to send current through one of the motors when it is closed.

This switch tests as closed all the time.

Without my wiring attached, it's fine.

One side is soldered to one lug of the motor and hot 50vac, and the other is tied to the other lug and common.

Do I need to move both sides of the motor to the common switch? Guessing so.

Again, any insight is appreciated.

I solved my gi issue by just plugging it into the 5vdc supply line. We'll see if that causes any issues.

I picked up the remaining supplies necessary to get this thing playing tonight. As soon as my 50v conundrum is resolved, I'll be able to go back to computer stuff.

Can't believe I'm stymied by a switch!

#211 3 years ago

Lying in bed, of course I figure it out. The motor itself is like a big spool of wire.

If I connect each end of the motor across the switch, the switch now no longer exists.

*Smacks forehead*

#212 3 years ago

Big weekend of progress.



Computer has a kernel oops immediately. Working on it upstairs for now. More later!

#214 3 years ago

Haven't version controlled my pi. It is quite honestly only being used to store several images (which are version controlled) over factory. I'll look into it at some point - good idea!

#215 3 years ago

Oh, and I'm absolutely doing version control! That was the first thing I started doing once I started development. I work in IT management in my daily work and deal heavily with version control.

I'm using github (I think I posted a link to the public repo a while ago, which I haven't updated in many weeks), but I have a private repo with additional graphics files that I am using on my project.

I dislike git as a version control software, but it's working... mostly. I vastly prefer subversion, but github is pretty easy compared with some of the other dinosaurs like Sourceforge that still support svn.

Case in point: I made several cleanup changes to my .yaml files to work as the schematic/physical game work, and went to check them in, and git decided to delete everything in my repo. *sigh*

Luckily I have backup on backup (years of working in IT have taught me something, after all), and oddly, it didn't actually erase anything(?). I dislike git, as I mentioned. haha! I moved my repo to a subdirectory, so I guess it was showing me that it was adding the new path in the most alarming way it possibly could, with no statements about adding files or directories.

Anyway, I have fixed my computer, compiled all the supporting libraries (remember that I had to make some modifications to pyprocgame to make this all work, which I also can't check in. Thanks git.), and ran a game! It all still works on this new computer. The computer is removable, so I will be able to take it out of the machine to update the code. The only networking this machine has is hardwired, and that will be used to support the score/instruction screens.

Tonight, if I'm still awake (I'm honestly exhausted from the breakneck pace, and should probably listen to my body) after playing with the kids, I'll review all the trough switch procedures I've written to ensure that it is working appropriately (there are only two NC switches in the game, and I need to add them to the code), then I should be able to test!

I've found one issue. My development machine was a bit faster than this small embedded machine, so games with a ton of graphics (like Palm Beach) are struggling to execute. I noticed this issue on my dev machine, but thought the power equation was reversed. I'll have to work to improve my graphics routines as they are not at all optimized. But that's for some time between now and September.

Here's an overview of what's left to debug:

1) Testing each game's gameplay, ensuring that they reset and drop to tilt, accept coins, etc.
2) Add the free play and playfield Jones Plugs - those are not yet wired in.
3) Test that.
4) Add rollover switches! I missed them when drawing the schematic and they need to be wired. Luckily only two of the games I've implemented thus far use them. This will be one of the last things I do in this phase.
5) Test that.
6) Extend my score/instruction display cables to a power brick. I forgot that I cannot power them off of the Pis' USB ports. I had already set aside extra power plugs, just couldn't remember why.
7) Write the script to change the score and instruction displays - this is really minor and will only take a second. Basically, executing 'feh' to draw the image.
8) Write the SSH interplay between score/instruction displays and the main computer. I have to program each of the network ports with an internal range. I will keep it in the same subnet as my existing home network so that I can plug in easily to update each. Maybe one day I'll build a network cable long enough to make it to my existing switch in the gameroom. I think I have a spare box of cat6 in the attic somewhere... making more work for myself, haha!
9) Test that.
10) Final fit and finish wiring. Some of my latest wiring has been pretty hackish (for the motors, especially). I just need to tie it into the bundle a little better. I've been really concerned about this as I went through the game, so for the most part it's pretty nice. The back door is a jungle, though... that'll be the very last thing I do, after years of working on new games and such.
11) Test some more!
12) Write more games!
13) Work on the stencil. I've done this kinda backwards. I would have redone the stencil before filling the cab, but the hardware aspect is much more appealing than 'yet more artwork'.
14) Cosmetic fit 'n finish - I need to figure out a better way to handle the score and instruction display screens. They're a bit of an eyesore right now. I also have to tack up the trim around the head and mount my mattes and cut my plexi. Yes, I went ahead and bought some thin plexi. I really didn't want to have to replace the screen if shards of glass start a-flyin'.
15) Sound. I've done nothing with sound yet. I will want to record sounds from several different eras of bingos to playback while playing. That great motor sound of the control unit clicking away, the faint buzz and click of trip and normal relays, etc. Luckily, I have several different eras of bingos in house, and know a few folks with them.

As I mentioned earlier in the thread, Dennis has given me a great idea for the stencil, but I have to capitalize on that (if I can). It's a bit far from my thoughts at the moment. Right now I just wanna play some bingo!

Why would sound be last? Because this is a complex behemoth. I am also planning to take it in whatever shape it is currently in to the York show at the end of Sept. I do not want to mire myself in recording and editing sounds, working on integrating those, designing a speaker cutout, etc. until most everything else is done. You can hardly hear the games at the shows anyway, haha! This is my current goal, and I'll certainly be working towards it, as you might expect.

I'd LOVE to have the stencil done and some cosmetic stuff done before York, but time is short, even with my relatively compressed schedule.

I'm really hoping that my existing games work with little modification, but I'm sure I'll have missed something - after all, I haven't had the computer interact with the hardware yet, and I have zero experience doing this with this boardset. Luckily, the P3-roc and associated boards are very well laid out and thoughtful towards the person doing the wiring and the programmer. (I say luckily, but really, they are engineered very well. Also, this was part of the reason that I chose this boardset - it's not like I just opened the phone book and picked some boards. )

#216 3 years ago

Testing report 6/27:

Proc has a usb permissions issue with libftdi. I can access the hardware as root. For now, ignoring that. Udev fixes have not worked.

Display will not rotate. This means that everything is sideways... irritating.

Rpi power to displays rerouted. They boot and look good from the front. Unfortunately, one is upside down. Have to tweak a setting file.

Coils all fire appropriately per config, although sometimes the relays will both fire at once. Will tweak my wiring.

All cabinet buttons and coin switches work. No other switches work. No idea why. I have to figure this one out before much more testing since I cannot attempt to score.

I really am enjoying starting up the game and firing the sounder with each coin drop.

I've tested under the playfield and have continuity between common and each playfield switch. This means there is an issue between the board and the jones plugs.

More tomorrow, hopefully!

#218 3 years ago

Oldgoat, that's a great question!

I am keeping intact the motors various other noises of the lower playfield. I am using a completely gutted cabinet head (where most of the mechanics for bingos are stored).

As such, I have a variety of noises that I need to simulate.

I've toyed with the idea of mounting a dummy replay register to simulate that noise perfectly, but in older machines, there was also a knocker that went off when you won credits or got advances in odds or features (Key West is one such example). As such, I have implemented a Bally knocker, which is kinda funky compared to other manufacturers. It sounds awesome, though.

I will also be putting a United bell into the game, with a Bally coil to strike it. The United games in the early days used a bell in place of a knocker.

So, for these items, I'll be physically striking a thing to make a noise.

Now, for the more difficult to emulate portions, I'll be using a simulated noise:

1) Control Unit
2) Mixer Units/Spotting Disc
3) trip relays
4) Normal relays

Each of these has a distinctive sound that contributes to the overall musicality of these machines. At first, if you're used to a game with chimes, this sound is very alien. But once you have played a few games, the motor noise fades into the background as white noise, and it helps you concentrate on the game you're playing. Very cool. On Joop's simulations, you can hear the clicks and pops of the control unit motor turning. This sound is mostly the same between games.

The relays clicking - again mostly the same.

Where things become different is with the mixers - most have a big buzz, but the whir you hear is different in different models - and the moving numbers features. Each of those has a very unique sound. Anything from a slight motor hum, to the clanking of the magic screen as it changes position, to the electrical buzz and snap of the magic lines. All distinct and all contribute to my enjoyment of the games.

Where possible, I'd love to simulate with the actual hardware. But I am almost out of space in the head, which is my prime real estate. I have lots of lower cabinet to work with, but much of that is tangled up with power cords and such.

In other news, with Gerry's quick help, I was able to get the id of the p3-roc, which will allow my game to be run in user mode (instead of root). I also have determined that I need to update to the latest Ubuntu for a few kernel/driver improvements for the hardware in my machine. It boots (most of the time), but it is not allowing for hardware rotation of the screen, among other things. It's also using an older graphics driver that I think is contributing to some of the 'slowness' on those packed games.

I am so excited by the fact that I can drop a coin in the game and it will do something. It's the simple pleasures, I guess.

#219 3 years ago

Bingos at lunch today: took the computer back out of the game to perform the big update.

I had held off on doing so as this version of Ubuntu began using python3 as its default. Luckily, nothing actually changed, except that all of my computer problems (yes, every single one) were fixed with this update.

I took another look at my schematic while sipping my lunchtime coffee and waiting for the update to finish. Oddly, the lower cabinet buttons (red, green, blue) are on the same input as #25 on the playfield... #25 is not working, however.

If I do not find an error with the wiring (and I've verified the common works by the above), then I'm left with... a board problem. Hopefully not the case. I'd much prefer a wire that backed out of a connector. It's odd, though.

My playfield switches are logical switches #0-24. None function. These go across two different switch boards.

The cabinet switches that function are on yet another switch board, and have to go through the previous two to communicate.

I'm thinking that maybe I should start swapping connectors until I find a combo that works?

#220 3 years ago

Oh, and before I pop the machine back into the machine, I'm going to go ahead and configure a DHCP server for the pi's so that I can always know the correct address (for my S/I card updater).

#222 3 years ago