I've been working on this, on and off, for about a month. What's really been holding me up is getting videos made and edited. It's actually kind of a tedious task so it has been delaying things.
I decided to just toss out what I have done now and hopefully get the rest of the project fleshed out, hopefully with the help of the modding community.
Also, I really want to have a get together in the Chicago Northwest Suburbs where I can bring a bunch of my tools and these boards for locals who are interested in learning about surface mount repair / building. I don't want to continue putting that off.
Here is a link to my web site showing the project: http://www.dkpinball.com/DKWP/?page_id=827
Why did I say it was "Free-ish?" Because the board and the parts aren't free. You have to order them from suppliers. But you can get them anywhere you like. The design is free. OSHPark is a board manufacturer for hobbyists. You need to order the boards in groups of 3. If you ordered 3 boards from OSHPark and all of the components from Mouser, the boards end up costing at little over $7 each.
If you go without the Molex connectors and just solder the connection wires to the board (which is probably what I'd do), the whole board ends up costing about $5 each.
*** What is the GI Buddy?
The GI Buddy is an open source pinball related electronics kit. I developed it as a kit to give pinball tinkerers an inexpensive board to learn surface mount soldering techniques. I will document several different methods for working with surface mount components.
*** Why did I do this?
I’ve learned a lot from the Pinball community. I’ve also learned a lot from the many many many free online resources from which I built the skills required to build electronic products. This is my way of giving back.
The kits aren’t free, but I make exactly $0 from this project. You purchase the circuit board from OSHPark and the electronic parts from anywhere you like. I have included a link to Mouser Electronics to make it easy for you, but you can take the part numbers and order them from any electronics supplier you like.
Also, it may be that you want to get into more tinkering and advanced control of your crazy pinball mods. The PIG 2 will be the board for you and you can learn more about it by going to http://www.dkpinball.com/DKWP/?page_id=457 .
*** How do I connect it?
Connect the “IN” pins on the board to a DC power source (Min 3v to Max 50v).
Connect the “OUT” pins to your mod with a current draw no more than 400 ma.
Connect the “GI” pins to your pinball machine’s GI Circuit.
When the GI turns on and off, your mod will turn on and off also.
Also, if you connect a 5v DC mod directly to the 6v AC circuit, it may not work at all. An LED connected directly to 6v AC will light, but it will not be at full brightness and may have a visible flicker.
*** What does it mean that it’s “Open Source”?
It means you can do anything you want with the design. You could build a million of them and sell them and you won’t owe me a thing. I would, however appreciate a little credit and hey, if you make a million bucks I wouldn’t be mad if you gave me a little something, you know, for the effort.
All kidding aside. It’s free to use, re-purpose, and distribute however you like.