I'm a newbie here and I would like to present you a project of mine and see what's interest about it in the pinball community. Hoping I'm not off-topic here.
Last fall I bought a broken pinball for a good price... my first and only pinball by now. For many years I've got fascinated by pinballs since I was a teen, with all their mechanisms and lights, but I couldn't ever get one by hands. Now that I finally got my piece of hardware, my interest is more focused on what's inside the pinball and its tech. The pinball is a Gottileb "Big House" (not a great pinball in fact), it was completely disassembled and in great need of a restore. But it offered all the electronics and electromechanicals I was strongly curious about.
With a lot of time and patience (although I have not a lot of spare time), I completely restored the pin having a lot of fun, and it's fully working now.
But it all was not enough for me. I begun to brood what about tricking with the electronics inside it.
I realized the Gottlieb System 80/B motherboard is based on a 6502 CPU which I've already appreciated in the past.
The same days, I was discovering Arduino prototypal boards and their interesting potentials (www.arduino.cc).
So I started to think at the feasibility and working around a quite ambitious, stimulating, amatorial project... a replacement Sys80/B mainboard, based on an advanced Arduino board with the following features:
- complete 8-bit hardware emulation, included 6502 CPU, 3 RIOT (Ram, I/O, Timer) 6532 chips, ROM, RAM and some additional glue-logic
- universal Sys80/B board: just load the original ROMs data on a SD flash memory and play it!
- full hardware compatibility with Gottlieb Sys 80/B pinballs, which makes the board ready to plug-in as an alternative of the original mainboard
As a possible (simpler) side-projectis is a fully programmable board which allows to play an existing pinball with new customized rules.
That kind of board would be assembled around a simple and more cheap Arduino Boards like the UNO or the ZERO, given a sufficient number of GPIO expanders to cover all the I/O signals required by the pinball.
I've already done a lot of work on my own only for my personal pleasure, spending a lot of hours in several trials, some frustration, documentation views and "re-works" on failures.
Up to now I've completed a pre-prototype on breadboard, using an Arduino DUE board, a SD reader (on which to put the ROMs files) and 23S17 GPIO SPI expanders. The Arduino software is almost completely developed, showing that the DUE's performances can allow a 60-70% code execution speed of the real 6502 CPU.
I've begun to see first signs of life of the creature (light output signals seems to be ok although not yet tested on the pinball), although I'm still far from proving the full functionality of the board.
Now I'm on the next step, working on a PCB project for a replacement board ready to plug in the pinball, in order to proceed with tests and further development.
I'd like to receive your feedback / suggestions / ideas about the project, and see if there's anybody interested in the development and testing the board.
Thankyou for your attention!