(Topic ID: 129456)

Radiant Pinball Button Project


By Zitt

4 years ago



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  • 11 posts
  • 5 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by Zitt
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    #1 4 years ago

    For the last few months I've been working on a new set of products for Pinball-Mods.com. The product fits on the back of a Early solid state button housing and will allow the user to "dial a color" using any RGB value. To program the RGB LEDs; you simply plug the PCB into your Windows computer's USB port. Then you can use our RGB picker software to pick any of the preset colors or design your own color.

    Once you have the color you want; you can program the board to always display that color.

    I'm curious to see what the Pinball community thinks of this product. AFAIK; this is the first product which allows completely custom colored, LED lit Pinball buttons for these machines.

    Designed to work on Stern, Bally, and Gottlieb Pinball machines from the 70s-80s.

    I'm still a few months from production on these buttons; I'm waiting on prototype sample PCBs to arrive in the coming weeks; and then I'll have some debug/design work to bring the product into production.

    Here's a Youtube video with the prototype on a breadboard:

    Interested in your feedback. If you like the product; would you like the video in addition to this thread?

    #6 4 years ago
    Quoted from ddebuss:

    Any chance of a second version for us modern era owners?

    The problem with the modern flipper buttons is they have a nut which would block the light from any LEDs. They don't make RGB LEDs at right angles (AFAIK). I'll give it some thought later when I have this design complete.

    Quoted from Pinballerchef:

    Digging it. I like color changing.....if it could cycle through all the colors of the "rainbow" that'd be a fun look.

    Current prototype cannot do this due to code space restrictions. The USB stack takes 2.2k and the LED controller takes the remaining 6k. I think I have like 250bytes of code space left. The next round of prototypes will look at using a bigger uC which 16k of program space. If that is successful; then I'll have some breathing room to do some algorithms. My biggest concern is the bigger uC is bigger (more pins) which may not fit on the PCB in the space allotted.

    3 weeks later
    #7 4 years ago

    Fab A was less than successful. I wired D+ and D- backwards and had some problems getting the USB stack to work properly because of it.

    I did learn some things; so Fab B should be sent to OSHPark this weekend. I'm bumping the Microcontroller to a 16KB version; however, I had to go down to a QFN package to get it to fit on the PCB with that program space.

    1 month later
    #8 4 years ago

    Fab B came back and was promptly assembled; I spend the next few weeks debugging what turned out to be a Programming tool problem which manifested itself as a Unknown USB device. I spent many nights systemically rewiring the D+ / D- lines ... taking scope pictures and then comparing with my working breadboard configuration.

    However, the last three nights have been very rewarding. Because I was able to change the uC to the 16KB version; I'm able to do a lot more in the Radiant Button Firmware. Specifically; I've been able to add the requested RGB cycling feature to the product. I have a VERY limited 512b EEProm in the uC; so I couldn't be complex with how the cycling was handled. IE you can't pick custom colors to display as it'd likely require more space than I have in the small eeprom. I was; however, able to offer the ability to Select which transitions you want. IE you don't want blue; don't enable it. Don't want White - ditto. I also added a Fade To Black option so you can have the button fade to off.

    I wasn't able to figure out a reliable way to control the pattern of cycling. IE the cycle is hard coded to the following:
    R -> G -> B -> RG -> GB -> RB -> RGB -> FadeToBlack -> R .....
    Deselecting the G pattern means the pattern would skip from R -> B and continue.

    Here's the GUI of the current Radiant Button Color Picker application for Windows:
    Radiant Picker APP

    You can also control the speed at which the transitions control. Realistically; you can get some pretty fast transitions; but the uC becomes not responsive to usb transactions if you go too far. I've used transitions up from 1 to 10 "speed". Right now I'm planning on shipping the stock un-configured Firmware with R->G->B->R... with a speed of 4. This will allow for quick benchtop testing showing all LED chips are functional.

    Here's a shot of the Radiant PBA plugged into my test usb cable:
    Switch Side
    LED / Button Side

    Please note this is a hand solder and hacked PCB in the picture above. Manufactured units won't have my craptasic soldering skills or the wire hacks.

    Final PCB is still TBD; but will most likely be White like a related product.

    1 month later
    #9 4 years ago

    Production assembly has begun; no data back yet from Final Test - so there may be some issues there. However, an Assembled PCB picture came across my email box; so I thought I'd share:
    Radiant Btn Assembled PCBs

    I don't yet have an ETA; but maybe by the end of month?

    1 week later
    #10 3 years ago

    Got word last night that the boards are shipping... should have them by end of week.
    I imagine it'll take me until the following weekend to get them up for sale.

    I think I may want to do a limited alpha release to select techies before I put them for sale... Anyone interested in being an alpha tester? And before you jump; no - you won't get anything for "free".

    #11 3 years ago

    Got the boards in... they look sweet and work as expected.

    Putting some polish on the App, Firmware, and source code this weekend. So far I've been able to implement a hardware WatchDogTimer and get some additional stability on the Color Picker App. Doing some revision control via a local SVN server on my NAS.

    After reviewing the associated Firmware licenses - it appears that I'll have no choice but to release the Firmware under GPLv3 as this project uses micronucleus as it's bootloader for the Arduino codebase. As a result; I'll have to offer the source code for the microcontroller as open source. At this point; I do not intend to provide support for customers compiling their own code bases. This could become a huge support nightmare for this one man team.

    The Color Picker app will remain my property as it's independent of the Firmware. It will remain closed source for the foreseeable future.

    The PCB schematics will likely be released under TAPR/NCL license... as part of our documentation package - similar to the way most pinball machine schematics are used.

    Need to look at the Device Driver package... and work on the documentation before release.

    A placeholder Product page is available here:
    http://pinball-mods.com/oscom/product_info.php/products_id/13
    feel free to add you name to the wait list for when they go on sale. The price is a placeholder; I'll need to finalize pricing before they go on sale.

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