Neopixel Displays being used in Pinball?

(Topic ID: 219984)

Neopixel Displays being used in Pinball?


By mcbPalisade

9 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 30 posts
  • 13 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 9 months ago by mcbPalisade
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    Fast Nano (resized).PNG
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    DayStar-sign-Booker-HS (resized).png
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    #1 9 months ago

    Anyone know if this new technology has been featured in any new pinball machines? It is based on the single-wire protocol WS2812 family of chips.

    There are lots of examples of them running, just check out the http://www.adafruit.com site.

    Pretty cleaver stuff, they actually put an IC die in with the other 3 or 4 LED dies on the little chips. Then arrange them in strings, rings or blocks. Protocol is all based on agreed-upon timing, like a UART.

    I predict these will be everywhere in 5 years. Maybe Vegas will redo their marquis lighting when Hoover dam can no longer generate hydroelectric power (coming soon to a planet under you)

    NeoPixel-Images (resized).png
    #2 9 months ago

    So it's new technology which sounds expensive. I don't know if this will be in pinball machines as it looks too pricey. Any speculation on cost?
    -Mike

    #3 9 months ago

    I wouldn't really call this new.....

    These are the serial LEDs that are used in games like Alien. You can get them for 25 cents a piece or less.

    A lot of homebrew pinball machines use them as well.

    #4 9 months ago

    I made my own programmable rings for my Pinbot using Adafruit Neopixels.
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/experiments-with-neopixel-rings

    #5 9 months ago

    Yeah, serial LEDs are old news in pinball. just ask JJP about them in WOZ!

    If you want to see some fun uses of them, check out the P3 thread - Cosmic Cruiser Racing uses over 900 of them on the ramps.

    #6 9 months ago

    I think TNA uses them, or something similar

    #7 9 months ago
    Quoted from zacaj:

    I think TNA uses them, or something similar

    TNA uses direct connection LEDs, not serial LEDs like this, if I'm not mistaken.

    #8 9 months ago

    Yes, TNA used direct address RGB LEDs - I think it has five PD-LED boards in it!

    #9 9 months ago
    Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

    TNA uses direct connection LEDs, not serial LEDs like this, if I'm not mistaken.

    I thought they used one type for the inserts and another with a separate controlled for the GI effects

    #10 9 months ago
    Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

    I wouldn't really call this new.....

    Indeed they aren't new, but have recently gone mainstream in the sense that volume production has made them quite affordable. Thanks for this clarification

    #11 9 months ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    Yeah, serial LEDs are old news in pinball. just ask JJP about them in WOZ!

    Hum. At the Denver Shootout I heard that WOZ had a serious problem with their lighting boards. Something about static electricity or ? that caused whole strings to go out or act wonky. Maybe fixed now with a production change?

    #12 9 months ago

    I think it'd be a bad idea to use these in a pinball machine. You don't want to have to rely on a daily chained signal. Maybe if you could configure it in a bi-directional self healing ring bus it would make sense.

    #13 9 months ago

    At TPF I didn't pay much attention to the Multimorphic stuff except for liking the flipper mechanics. But this multiball is VERY COOL! Juggling the balls in a loop with magnets? BRILLIANT!!! Everyone should copy this idea.

    The lighting is a bit much for my tastes.

    #14 9 months ago
    Quoted from mcbPalisade:

    At TPF I didn't pay much attention to the Multimorphic stuff except for liking the flipper mechanics. But this multiball is VERY COOL! Juggling the balls in a loop with magnets? BRILLIANT!!! Everyone should copy this idea.

    The lighting is a bit much for my tastes.

    It's a fancier version of what was planned for TZ..

    #15 9 months ago
    Quoted from mcbPalisade:

    At TPF I didn't pay much attention to the Multimorphic stuff except for liking the flipper mechanics. But this multiball is VERY COOL! Juggling the balls in a loop with magnets? BRILLIANT!!! Everyone should copy this idea.

    The lighting is a bit much for my tastes.

    I can’t exactly tell, but isn’t this sort of like Getaway?

    #16 9 months ago
    Quoted from Coyote:

    It's a fancier version of what was planned for TZ..

    What TZ was going to do was really cool, but it didn't *lock* the balls there. It just staged them when MB started

    #17 9 months ago
    Quoted from fattdirk:

    I think it'd be a bad idea to use these in a pinball machine. You don't want to have to rely on a daily chained signal. Maybe if you could configure it in a bi-directional self healing ring bus it would make sense.

    Your concern is that like old series Christmas light strings, if one goes out, the whole string suffers, correct? This is not true. Neopixels receive power, ground, and data in parallel. Really similar to a single row in a standard lamp matrix. If a.single Neopixel fails, it won't work but the rest function. A break in the wires is a different story. Just like when you break a row wire in a lamp matrix, the rest of the chain fails. Its no more risky than any other controlled or GI string, but has the benefits of programmability and the ability to display any color in the visible light spectrum.

    #18 9 months ago
    Quoted from wayout440:

    Your concern is that like old series Christmas light strings, if one goes out, the whole string suffers, correct? This is not true. Neopixels receive power, ground, and data in parallel.

    Incorrect - the data is serial, i.e. passed from one module to the next. So lose 1, nothing after that works. See this Sparkfun example:

    There is little detail on the nitty gritty but I think one NP absorbs its data and passes on the rest to the next chip in the string

    Lily NP (resized).PNG

    #19 9 months ago

    Found the manufacturer's data sheet. Each chip has data in & data out:

    WS2812B (resized).PNG
    #20 9 months ago
    Quoted from mcbPalisade:

    Incorrect - the data is serial, i.e. passed from one module to

    I know the data is serial from one pixel to the next within the ring, but I had my three riings wired in parallel, each has its own power, data and ground, all running the same program from the same arduino data output pin. If one ring failed, the others would continue to run. I know it works because that is how I built it. I have built the same arrangement in the overhead hood of my aquarium. I could have sent data from 3 separate arduino data pins, and wrote a more elaborate program, but in this application I was satisfied with all three displaying the same sequence.
    You can also do this with strips.

    #21 9 months ago
    Quoted from wayout440:

    I know the data is serial from one pixel to the next within the ring, but I had my three riings wired in parallel, each has its own power, data and ground, all running the same program from the same arduino data output pin. If one ring failed, the others would continue to run. I know it works because that is how I built it. I have built the same arrangement in the overhead hood of my aquarium. I could have sent data from 3 separate arduino data pins, and wrote a more elaborate program, but in this application I was satisfied with all three displaying the same sequence.
    You can also do this with strips.

    Yeah, but if one ring loses an led, that all following in that ring are dead.

    #22 9 months ago
    Quoted from mcbPalisade:

    Anyone know if this new technology has been featured in any new pinball machines? It is based on the single-wire protocol WS2812 family of chips.
    There are lots of examples of them running, just check out the http://www.adafruit.com site.
    Pretty cleaver stuff, they actually put an IC die in with the other 3 or 4 LED dies on the little chips. Then arrange them in strings, rings or blocks. Protocol is all based on agreed-upon timing, like a UART.
    I predict these will be everywhere in 5 years. Maybe Vegas will redo their marquis lighting when Hoover dam can no longer generate hydroelectric power (coming soon to a planet under you)

    I'd say they are already here not in five yrs. Aren't They are already usuing the same principle with the node boards? Or is Stern still useing data and clock along with rgb?
    I think these things are great. I'm using WS2811 in an arduino project pin. I'm still learning though. Single data line logic ultra fast refresh, no real driver boards are needed just good 5v which is best fed at multiple spots along the chain, up to 100s or more can be run. Any color scheme you can code it's all up to your imagination. brightness levels can be controlled thru software also.
    Pinduino is same thing,I think.
    Vegas? Go to any casino and look at the current machines with all the rainbow scrolling lights, marquees, and other flashy schemes.

    #23 9 months ago
    Quoted from Wolfus:

    Or is Stern still useing data and clock along with rgb?

    As far as I can tell, they have a clock signal still for their leds.

    #24 9 months ago

    I used them in the Fireball HE I rebuilt for a school. I'm currently using them in two projects: my Stranger Things retheme and a custom built Scared Stiff.

    Edit:
    Almost forgot to mention that you can get them from various places mounted to a PCB with six header pins. Create a PCB with matching header sockets and you have an easily replaceable configuration. No soldering required to replace a burnt one.
    That's the setup I'm using on my projects. I'll post a pic when I get the chance.

    Second edit: The particular PCB I'm referring to: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=297-0004-001J5
    neipixel (resized).jpg

    #25 9 months ago
    Quoted from Wolfus:

    Vegas? Go to any casino and look at the current machines with all the rainbow scrolling lights, marquees, and other flashy schemes.

    You don't have to even go that far. Schools, churches, airports. Anywhere there is advertising there are serial LEDs.

    DayStar-sign-Booker-HS (resized).pngWS2812B-Panel-Screen-20-50-1000-Pixels-Digital-Flexible-LED-Programmed-Individually-Addressable-Full-Color-DC5V (resized).jpgmaxresdefault (resized).jpg
    #26 9 months ago

    These are what I use for all the lighting effects driven by the Pinduino. Ramp, playfield, backbox, toppers, etc. If you are curious, check out my Pinside store: https://pinside.com/pinball/market/shops/1025-professor-pinball

    All my code is open source: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches

    People have made lots of great mods and lighting effects that are driven by the Pinduino.

    #27 9 months ago

    Looking at the FAST family of pinball controllers the "Nano" looks like it is set up to drive 255 Neopixel LEDs:

    Fast Nano (resized).PNG
    #28 9 months ago
    Quoted from mcbPalisade:

    Looking at the FAST family of pinball controllers the "Nano" looks like it is set up to drive 255 Neopixel LEDs:

    That's correct, a lot of us use them in our homebrew machines. Their 5V data line and no clock signal gives WS2812B some disadvantages though. I don't know if I personally would use them for a production machine without some really tight engineering work on implementation. The newer APA102 spec/LEDs adds a clock signal to the chain so you can control the timings at least.

    Having said that, WS28128B are cheap and easy to implement. Because the entire state of the chain gets sent every refresh cycle, it becomes less mission critical when data gets corrupted or missed, because the next data stream will set the state back to where it should be most likely.

    #29 9 months ago

    Fast pinball sells neopixel chips on a small PCB with a screw hole. Very similar if not the exact same mounting style as stern LED tabs. Very fun and handy for custom stuff.

    https://squareup.com/market/fast-pinball-llc/item/fast-rgb-led-insert

    I believe those are what is being used for the nightmare before Christmas project (but don’t quote me on that)

    #30 9 months ago
    Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

    The newer APA102 spec/LEDs adds a clock signal to the chain so you can control the timings at least.

    Looked these up - they are known as "Dotstar" devices. Seem pretty cheap and since they have a clock you won't have the occasional whacked-out light settings due to ISR latency or who knows what.

    Thanks for sharing all this, haven't kept up with LEDs until now.

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