(Topic ID: 72365)

SmartDmd : DMD interface with colors, upscaling, network and more !

By oga83

7 years ago

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  • 613 posts
  • 123 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 66 days ago by Cadrion
  • Topic is favorited by 153 Pinsiders


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#21 7 years ago

Add a LCD screen and it's probably cheaper that a new DMD. Can't wait to start messing with the colors when SmartDMD is released. VERY nice work!

1 month later
#59 7 years ago

So help me understand this a bit...
It looks like the image is pulled from the DMD..into the Raspbian...SmartDMD does it's thing...then outputted to an LCD type display in color.

I guess I'm trying to figure out how to put a LCD in the game..to get the color images. Would I need to leave the original DMD in the game somewhere or could the original DMD be bypassed\removed?

I don't have a Pin in front of me..maybe it'll be obvious when I do

#61 7 years ago

So the image can be pulled into the Raspbian without the DMD installed in the machine...awesome.

I probably shouldn't be asking so many questions without trying it..I just ordered a Raspbian 5 minutes ago but...

If I wanted to use the 'stock' coloring providing with the SmartDMD..do I just dump the SmartDMD executable, smartDMD.txt and License.txt on the Raspbian and go? Or do I need to do a custom config for the game via the Pinball Browser\SmartDMD?

Looking forward to messing with this stuff...awesome work!

3 months later
#65 7 years ago

I'mi in the process of assembling my Black Rose. I should be able to test out a Bally next week (4.14~4.16)

Quoted from rockinganker:

Anyone have any Williams pins running Smart DMD. I want to run my Addams and my TZ with this but I'm not sure how it works fully

I made the resistor adapter from the picture Oga posted. I'll probably make a simple printed circuit when I final install the stuff in my machine You only need an 16P (2x8) cable to go from the Pi to the resistor adapter. But there's enough room if you have a bigger (40pin IDE) cable laying around. If you consider that almost all DMD are interchangeable...the pinouts should be the same across all manufactures

Quoted from Pinhunter:

The pi has a 26pin connector so i gather you don't need to use the larger cable that is in your pics.
So really i could go from 14 to 26. I am luck enough to have a 3d printer so i would like to make a cover that fits over the resistors. Do you have a wiring diagram with the pin numbers. I could work it out off the pics if i had to thanks in advance.

A couple of things you should know. HDMI -> VGA adapter won't work (Edit: it will with a true HD -> VGA adapter). You either have to go HDMI -> HDMI or HDMI -DVI-I (DVI-D).

The Pi is kinda picky with power. Make sure you buy a good PS for it and not a shitty cell phone charger. A 2A PS with 10' cable was like $5 from MonoPrice

Avoid using a micro-SD card (with mini-adapter). While I didn't try this...I was emailing back and forth with Oga and he said he had some issues with this setup.

With My setup I had a problem with Samba starting...it would only Start about once every 10-15 boots. If it didn't start..it would sit at 'Starting Samba Daemons' and just hang there. I ended up complete removing the Samba app and it works fine now. I'm gonna revisit that issue when I have a chance. Removing Samba will mean you can't access the Pi VIA network from a windows box.

You can completely configure the PI on the bench. When you get SmartDMD to boot it'll show the serial number and count down to from 10..then you should get a 'no single' error on the bench.

If you follow Oga's tutorial and use his ready made Wheezy image its pretty straight forward. Don't forget to throw the guy a couple buck for his work. I can only imagine how much time he has invested it this project. Oh yeah..you need to email him the Pi Serial number (it'll display when SmartDMD boots) to get a license..else it'll only run for like 10 seconds

Good luck


#70 7 years ago

I had 3 different HDMI -> VGA adapters at the office and none worked.

Then I looked at the PI specs and they say nothing about HDMI -> VGA..but reference HDMI -> HDMI and HDMI -> DVI-I. It's kinda just easier to buy a LCD controller with HDMI in. But for bench testing VGA would have come in handy

Quoted from oga83:

I works fine for me with this adaptor : http://fr.rs-online.com/web/p/cordons-videos-pour-ecrans/7781882/
You can also find it on amazon with a better price.

No extender if you make the resistor adapter.

What I know so far (i'm not really finished yet) that you'll need

-LCD screen (test)...or if you're installing it in a 128x32 DMD machine
-15.6 screen (ebay..about $55 shipped),
-Matching controller (about $35 shipped)
-Power supply.. ($8).

-Raspberry PI (about $40 shipped)
-Good micro USB power supply 1+ amp ($5)
-4 GB Mini-SD card($ ?)

-HDMI to whatever your LCD screen supports (HDMI DVII or VGA..although I couldn't get VGA to work)
-16p or greater 'IDE' cable (floppy drive or standard 40p IDE cable will work)
-7 330Ohm resisters ($1) http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/MFP-25BRD52-330R/330ADCT-ND/2059131
-2x8 unshrouded through hole header...bought this and cut to size
-14P IDC socket (not needed on DE games..not sure about the rest)http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en?WT.z_header=search_go&lang=en&site=us&keywords=hkc14s-nd&x=0&y=0&formaction=on

You'll need a PC (laptop?) with a mini-SD card slot for applying the boot image on the SD card

That's what I have so far...not sure if i'm missing anything

Quoted from Mocean:

I'm interested in a Bally/williams version. Do I need to buy an extender or will DIY instructions be provided for that as well?

Oh, and this is incredibly awesome!

#72 7 years ago

I'm pretty sure it was 'clicked'...in fact i remember seeing the reference to it (XXX=1) in the SmartDMD.txt file. I wonder if it might be the version of PI I bought (which I don't know which one it was). We had a server go down at work today so I didn't have time to mess with it.

If the VGA adapter works..that would be great news as complete VGA 15.6 LCD monitors are about $70

Quoted from oga83:

Make sure that the option "Force HDMI output" is checked in Pinball Browser. By doing so, SmartDmd will configure the Rpi so that the HDMI output is always used (some HDMI/VGA adaptor, including the one I mentioned, are not recognized by the Rpi - in this case, the HDMI output is disabled)

hdmi.png 5 KB

#76 7 years ago

Just an update..
The 4th HDMI to VGA adapter I have here works. The other 3 do not work. It looks like the the non working adapters are just pass through. The one that works is more like the one Oga posted a link to...and actually as 'HD to VGA converter' tagged on the cable.

Hopefully this time next week I'll have it installed in my Black Rose

Quoted from oga83:

Make sure that the option "Force HDMI output" is checked in Pinball Browser. By doing so, SmartDmd will configure the Rpi so that the HDMI output is always used (some HDMI/VGA adaptor, including the one I mentioned, are not recognized by the Rpi - in this case, the HDMI output is disabled)

hdmi.png 5 KB

#79 7 years ago

I'll probably do a step by step in the next couple of weeks. All I did was follow Oga's tutorial...it's pretty straight forward. I'd like to wait until I have my screens in..the controllers are coming from China though.

You can buy the Pi, power supply for the Pi, a 4 GB mini-SD card (about $50 in parts) and test\configure everything on the bench with minimal invested (about $50). The most expensive piece is the LCD components. If you have a standard Micro USB phone charger you could probably use that for a testing power supply.

If you wanna use VGA you 'should' be able to pick up any 15.6 monitor and gut it.,,there were a few available last night when I looked Those are $70ish shipped new on ebay.

Quoted from Frax:

I'm hoping that at some point someone will take all of this, dumb it down for me, and help me get one installed in Jack-Bot so that I can colorize that son of a ....

#84 7 years ago

Here's the Black Rose pics

20140415_122545.jpg 20140415_122730.jpg 20140415_122813.jpg
#87 7 years ago

It's been released for months...I'm surprised no one has messed with it.

Hopefully Thursday (it's a long shot though) I'll have another little surprise.

I'll tell ya the difference contrast from SmartDMD to the actual ColorDMD is night and day. The actual ColorDMD in my AFM looks washed out..and grey scale compared to this. Unfortunately my AFM is on loan so can't do a side by side

Quoted from Mocean:

Wow! I can't wait until this is released; it looks awesome! My RS would love some color dots.

#90 7 years ago

Bally, Williams, Data East and Stern.

BTW that is the actual Black Rose game outputting to the monitor.

Quoted from Mocean:

How did I miss that Bally support was already in the code base!???!
On it now!

#93 7 years ago

Correct..you can change 4 color pallets for DE and Bally (the 2 I messed with so far). There's VERY little shading done on older Bally artwork. I'm not sure if a newer (late 90s) Williams\Bally has more levels.

If you open a modern Stern in the PB..you'll see colorizing individual dots is a HUGE project because they are done in GREAT detail..at least compare to the older Bally\Williams. For example I colorized about 35 frames on Xmen 1.51(surprise hint) and it took about 40 hours. Games that use clips (Acdc, Tron, SM) still look terrible. Any Stern SAM with custom dots can be modified to your hearts content (FGY looks freakin sweet in color). There are also 16 pallets that can be adjusted. This alone is good enough for really good results. But sometime you get something that's way off and you wanna custom color it.

Like Iceman...if I make him and the ice blue via a pallet selection...the 'fire' in hell fire is also blue. So that needed to be 'custom' colored red\orange\yellow.

Also..if you colorize frames..and there's a new update. Well..there goes your work...at least the custom frames but you can use your custom pallet on anything. That's why I'm messing with Xmen and not Metallica right now.

My biggest problem is I don't have an artist bone in my body...but I am getting better with it. Not sure it's possible to get worse

Quoted from Mocean:

Seems colorizing individual frames for Williams/Bally isn't supported (yet) by Pinball Browser... bummer. Any chance that I'm wrong? Fixed palette only, right?

#95 7 years ago

Sneak preview of X-men Wolverines using stock color pallet. Thanks to oga83 for ironing out the bugs..the guy is ridiculously talented!

#97 7 years ago

That's awesome!

I'm waiting for screens and controllers to come in...the controllers are coming in from China so who's knows when they'll get here.

I'm tempted to gut a 15.6 monitor and just use that

Quoted from MrSlippery:

Quick example of smartDMD with World Cup Soccer...
» YouTube video


#99 7 years ago

That's what I was thinking also...I 'almost' bought a monitor yesterday but I can wait. I have a couple of LP156WH4 on the way..I bought a extra controller just in case...they even came with remotes =).

Can I assume you're use HMDI to HDMI?

Quoted from Mocean:

Most 15.6" monitors contain garbage panels with respect to viewing angles and contrast. I have one of those generic 15.6" in my T2 (p-roc) and it's pretty awful. I've also got a B156HW01 V.4 in another proc project and the difference is night and day. Those controllers take forever to arrive but it's worth the wait

#101 7 years ago

Ugh..I hate that.
The ColorDMD stuff has terrible blacks. I'm not even sure you can consider it 'black' the background looks so washed out

Quoted from Mocean:

The LP is supposed to be just as nice with respect to contrast. Supposedly the B has a slightly wider color gamut but I doubt you'd ever notice in this application.
I'm using DVI not HDMI, but it's a PC/P-ROC project, not Pi controlled. The T2 is VGA to garbage 15.4" monitor, making it look even worse. The biggest problem on that monitor is it's totally terrible black levels. Black looks like gray at best.

#103 7 years ago

I 'think' the extender only takes the place of the 'resistor adapter.'

You really don't need to make any cables.

You need a total of 3 components to make the connection...

You use the machine's dmd cable
You need a PC style IDE cable (or floppy cable) to connect to the Pi
You can make the 'resistor adapter' for about $2 in parts and about 15 minutes

Quoted from jamieflowers:

So to be clear, if I buy the Raspberry Pi and DMD extender I dont need to make any type of cables? It will be just plug and play?

#107 7 years ago

The ColorDMD I have was purchased in December..there is a noticeable grey look to the background. Nothing like the monitor I'm messing with the SmartDMD stuff.....the blacks are black. And I'm using VGA on a monitor my wife had before I met her...so 7+ years ago.

Probably impossible to capture in a picture...but there's a noticeable difference. It's the main reason why SmartDMD was so intriguing. Having a better control over the hardware and of course..about 1/3 the price. Not to mention way more product support

Quoted from Mocean:

I don't know anything about that. Every ColorDMD I've seen looks great, and I know that they use both of these panels (LP156 and B156). Maybe you saw a bad or early model? Anyway, I'd be all over a ColorDMD if they allowed me to color my frames myself or if it were cheaper. That said, I don't think they're making much profit between hardware, labor (colorizing) cost, and licensing.
I'm just thankful that SmartDMD provides an alternative.

#109 7 years ago

So I'll have the same grey look when my 15.6 'laptop' LCDs screen come in? Seem weird that a 7 year old (probably older) 15" LCD monitor would have better blacks that a brand new modern 'laptop' screen.

I guess I'll find out in a couple of weeks when they come in. I was really liking the true blacks on the monitor I've been testing with

Quoted from Dmod:

Black level is purely a function of the LCD panel technology, and has nothing to do with the controller you're using. Desktop monitors have better blacks than small notebook displays.
The panels used by ColorDMD are all higher-cost ultra-HD (1920x1080) panels chosen specifically to get the best contrast and field-of-view possible in a form-factor that can fit behind a speaker panel.

#115 7 years ago

I'm working a a small PCB to handle the connections. It'll be a while before I get it done though....

Quoted from Erik:

This looks fantastic. Anyone interested in selling premade resistor connectors like oga83 shows?

#116 7 years ago

I'll definitely report back when I get them installed

Quoted from Dmod:

The LP156WH4 panels you purchased have a more restricted field-of-view than the panels we use, especially when viewed from above. Head on it will be about the same as our panel, but from an angle it will be worse.

4 weeks later
#128 7 years ago

I can confirm that the size of the 'dmd' output image can be changed passed just setting the resolution. Something I found strange is I needed to use negative numbers to make the image bigger. If I used positive numbers the image got smaller. Using 1024x768 I think I was at like -320 for all 4 values to get it to fill the view able area through the speaker panel.

When I was messing with it I was pressed for time so I did look into it much further

Quoted from winteriscoming:

Well, you would know!
I'd be curious to see a setup like that.

#134 7 years ago

The problem is ColorDMD don't exist for Stern unless you just want s single color. The ColorDMD guys got some great stuff...but they don't have this

WhiteStar support is just around the corner too...hello Simpsons and LOTR!

Quoted from wdpvideo:

You know what I love about the ColorDMD? I do not need to learn training and read over and over on how to use the product that looks pretty amazing. Plus, I do not need to e-mail or PM anyone over and over to figure it out. Nice and easy and back to playing pinball.

#137 7 years ago

Not sure what Oga has in store for Whitestar...I really hope he can add full support like SAM.

Maybe he'll chime in..

Quoted from winteriscoming:

Is full on colorization with SmartDMD coming for Whitestar? I could see the 4 color palettes like with DE working, but full on colorization? It would be awesome, but can it work similar to how the SAM stuff is being handled?

3 weeks later
#142 7 years ago

The board that oag is offering is very well made and works perfectly. Nice for the guys that don't wanna MacGyver their own adapter

Quoted from oga83:

The SmartDmd adaptor is now available
It 's a small PCB that can be plugged on the Raspberry.
It has 2 connectors : 1 for the pinball and 1 for the DMD.

The price of this adaptor is 59 USD + 14 USD for shipment; it includes the PCB, a 11" flat ribbon cable and a license for both SmartDmd and Pinball Browser (but no Raspberry or SD card !).
If you are interested in the license only, the price is 25 USD.
Just PM me.
Alternatively, you can use a "DMD Extender" board or build your own cable (see OP for more details).

SmartDmdAdaptor-541.jpg 21 KB


#143 7 years ago

Technically it is a color ROM. All the changes that Oag's program does changes the actual ROM. FGY looks awesome colorized

Quoted from kapsreiter:

i am confused!?!?!?
FG Looks like a real individual "COLORDMD ROM"
is that true?
or ist i just a multiple.color Setup like the UK dmd extender?!?
if i can Color my own game i would buy it

1 month later
#170 7 years ago

Shouldn't you be on vacation?!?

#178 7 years ago

The new Macro Oga built in works great. Make sure you're using Pinball Browser 4xx...I'm not sure which rev it was added to...but the enhanced macro save wasn't in earlier revs. It basically save every detailed change to a the ROM file. So let say I change pixel XYZ in the image at memory location Fx00 to green..this change is save in a Macro.

If I want to share that work I can just email the macro to whoever.

Open stock ROM in PB -> apply macro -> save ROM -> load on machine

There's no distribution of altered ROM files

I gotta assume once this really gets rolling there's gonna be a nice community database of colorized games

Quoted from kapsreiter:

When i understand it riht
Smartdmd will save all changes in a macrofile
This can not be copyright
So that could be shared and when you execute it you have the same rom
My parts are ordered
I hope,to can test on Star Trek next week

5 months later
#244 6 years ago

Great job on fixing the pixel issue. That was a mental road block for me as coloring EVERY pixel from one pallet by hand was quite the project.

Is there a new Smartdmd.exe needed to 'fix' the upscaling?

2 weeks later
#269 6 years ago

I had an issue with certain SD cards. I had a couple laying around and neither would boot properly. I bought a new Lexar 8GB and those worked fine

Quoted from dung:

So no dice here. I am trying to set this up for two different machines. Both machines I am getting the same issue. LCD turns on and displays the raspberry pi logo in the upper corner. That's it. Anyone have any suggestions?

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