(Topic ID: 290268)

Squawk and Talk Replacement Sound Board for Bally Flash Gordon


By Randy_G

58 days ago

Topic Heartbeat


Topic Stats

  • 18 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 42 days ago by geeteoh
  • Topic is favorited by 12 Pinsiders

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#1 58 days ago

just wanted to give a shout out/ thank you to Jeff geeteoh.com for an amazing product...
Located in Illinois and was a great experience all around!
As it is a somewhat new product(he designs and builds them himself as a side hobby) it allows you to record and play sounds digitally on your machine.
At the moment he has sound banks(which are included) for Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man, Elektra, and Flash Gordon pinball machines. He has started recording the sounds for Fathom, Eight Ball Deluxe, and Centaur pinball machines.

The first board I received worked well...but had a few minor issues(mostly with functionality of some of the components on the PC board itself)
The sounds themselves were recorded cleanly and sounded great(I'm gonna need a new speaker, for sure!)

Jeff told me to hold on to the first board and he sent out a replacement that same day!
Needless to say the second one was perfect!

Separate volume controls for sounds/background, and voice allow you to fine tune the board to whatever sound you would like to hear above the others.
A micro SD card on the board allows you to create new sounds for your machine!

Old board was returned...he offered to pay postage...I said not necessary.
Have not tried to record any sound yet, but will add to post when I do!

I only have older pins that I try to repair and thus keep any upgrades to a minimum.
But my FG is the one I paid the most for and is deserving of a little "bling"!

I highly recommend the Squawk and Talk Replacement Sound Board from Jeff geeteoh.com!
Reasonably priced, and super aftersales support...I'm happy to support individuals like Jeff who are helping the pinball hobby(especially now) with modern products that keep our pins alive!

Thanks again Jeff!

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#2 58 days ago

Cool!
--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact ... for board repairs
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

#3 57 days ago
Quoted from ChrisHibler:

Cool!
--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact ... for board repairs
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

I love how now the sounds don't cut each other out as your playing!
Really cool stuff...

#4 57 days ago
Quoted from Randy_G:

I love how now the sounds don't cut each other out as your playing!
Really cool stuff...

I looked at his development thread. Very cool.
I'd love to see a side-by-side between OEM and the repro board, with the same switch closures.
--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact ... for board repairs
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

#5 56 days ago
Quoted from ChrisHibler:

I looked at his development thread. Very cool.
I'd love to see a side-by-side between OEM and the repro board, with the same switch closures.
--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact ... for board repairs
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

Good idea! I put together a little video comparing the stock Bally Squawk & Talk sound board to my replacement version. The main difference is that the background is not interrupted when a sound or voice comes in. This isn't as noticeable with the normal background sound, but it IS with the Flash Gordon 15 second bonus "alarm" background.

#6 56 days ago

I stumbled on this thread and the replacement S&T board as used in Flash Gordon with custom sounds is great.

I WILL be ordering one for Eight Ball Deluxe when it is available and now I NEED to get a FG again.

Check out this video.

#7 56 days ago

I'm familiar with Pinball Browser. How different is it to insert custom sounds on your board? Is it something you could explain? I assume you don't see a code...

Do you just re-assign sounds with wav files? If so, approximately how many different sounds are on FG? If there are only 10, I could see some sounds getting fairly repetitive...

Just finished re-watching FG and there are so, so many great quotes and sounds that could now be included in this game. Great job on the board!

#8 56 days ago
Quoted from hd60609:

I'm familiar with Pinball Browser. How different is it to insert custom sounds on your board? Is it something you could explain? I assume you don't see a code...
Do you just re-assign sounds with wav files? If so, approximately how many different sounds are on FG? If there are only 10, I could see some sounds getting fairly repetitive...
Just finished re-watching FG and there are so, so many great quotes and sounds that could now be included in this game. Great job on the board!

#9 55 days ago
Quoted from hd60609:

I'm familiar with Pinball Browser. How different is it to insert custom sounds on your board? Is it something you could explain? I assume you don't see a code...
Do you just re-assign sounds with wav files? If so, approximately how many different sounds are on FG? If there are only 10, I could see some sounds getting fairly repetitive...
Just finished re-watching FG and there are so, so many great quotes and sounds that could now be included in this game. Great job on the board!

The Flash Gordon machine has 37 different sounds that are commanded from the machine's stock MPU. 2 of these are repeating backgrounds. 15 are voices (phrases). For my board, these are just simple WAV files on a MicroSD card. Pretty easy to change. But you'd want to keep the lengths similar so that the sound card knows what's playing and can shut things off for higher priority sounds (voices for example, are higher priority)

#10 55 days ago

geeteoh, I just realized your call sign is a takeoff on GTO. Duh.

I love what you've accomplished. Very cool.
How did you create .wav files for the original sounds? Simple audio recording?

I posted this link on one of your YT videos:
https://www.coinopcauldron.com/squalkart.html

I also watched the video where you captured the sound command stream. Very cool.
I though that Clive's document indicated that S&T commands were more complex than simple "bit pattern and strobe" as is used on every other sound board interface. I thought Clive indicated that successive commands are needed to command some sounds.

Does this jive with what you know?

Chris

#11 55 days ago
Quoted from ChrisHibler:

geeteoh, I just realized your call sign is a takeoff on GTO. Duh.
I love what you've accomplished. Very cool.
How did you create .wav files for the original sounds? Simple audio recording?
I posted this link on one of your YT videos:
https://www.coinopcauldron.com/squalkart.html
I also watched the video where you captured the sound command stream. Very cool.
I though that Clive's document indicated that S&T commands were more complex than simple "bit pattern and strobe" as is used on every other sound board interface. I thought Clive indicated that successive commands are needed to command some sounds.
Does this jive with what you know?
Chris

Very good. You're one of the first to figure it out. I have a 1969 GTO. The license plate is "geeteoh".

As far as how I record the sounds... In some of my videos, I show my S&T Tester board (shield for the Arduino Uno). I use this to step through all 256 sound commands with manual button presses. I can save the ones that work (along with their durations). When I got them all, I play them all back and record them into my laptop. I use Audacity with a nicer USB microphone. I then break up the recorded file into individual WAV files.

I looked at the waveforms from the MPU in detail with a logic analyzer. Once the MPU is powered, the only traffic is either solenoid or sound commands. I didn't see anything else.

There might be a couple of special commands (bit patterns) sent from the MPU when upon power up. If they exist, they would set up the volume and if the background is turned off or not. (items from the Audit menu). The background sound is always sent from the MPU even if turned off in the audit menu. So there is SOMETHING telling the S&T board not to play it. I tried to find startup special commands and decode them when I first started working with the S&T. I had no luck finding anything interesting or useful. Once powered though, there definitely aren't any special commands with the exception of sound command 250 which stops the background sound on some machines.

If there are special commands or waveforms, they are optional. My S&T tester only sends out the 8-bit sound commands and it works for four of the games at least (MMPM, Elektra, FG, and EBD). However.... Last week I tried out the Centaur ROMs. I cannot get these to play with my S&T tester. So - maybe this game needs some special boot commands? I'm going to put this in a machine with the Altek MPU set at Centaur to see if I can figure out what I'm doing wrong with this one.

#12 55 days ago
Quoted from geeteoh:

I'm going to put this in a machine with the Altek MPU set at Centaur to see if I can figure out what I'm doing wrong with this one.

Good idea. Very interesting!
--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact ... for board repairs
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

1 week later
#13 45 days ago

geeteoh This is awesome. Is this something that I could use on Embryon? Would be happy to help test/troubleshoot as needed. Cheers!

#14 43 days ago
Quoted from rockwell:

geeteoh This is awesome. Is this something that I could use on Embryon? Would be happy to help test/troubleshoot as needed. Cheers!

I may take you up on the offer. I work in Milwaukee during the week. I'll get a set of Embryon ROMs and get the sounds recorded in the coming weeks I need to test it on a real machine to properly get the background sound to start and stop. Each machine does it a little different. There might also be some other things that need alterations.

I'm working with another pinsider right now - Flash Gordon, Eight Ball Deluxe, and Vector next!!!!

#15 43 days ago
Quoted from geeteoh:

I may take you up on the offer. I work in Milwaukee during the week. I'll get a set of Embryon ROMs and get the sounds recorded in the coming weeks I need to test it on a real machine to properly get the background sound to start and stop. Each machine does it a little different. There might also be some other things that need alterations.
I'm working with another pinsider right now - Flash Gordon, Eight Ball Deluxe, and Vector next!!!!

Oh cool, yeah please do keep me posted. Happy to help out anytime.

#16 43 days ago
Quoted from geeteoh:

I'm working with another pinsider right now - Flash Gordon, Eight Ball Deluxe, and Vector next!!!!

Just a thought- I was thinking of building a Bally LISY-35 board for no other reason to replace the sound effects in Star Trek.

If you could make a Bally sound board for the early solid state pins that utilized MP3 files for sound I'd be first in line to buy one.

#17 42 days ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

Just a thought- I was thinking of building a Bally LISY-35 board for no other reason to replace the sound effects in Star Trek.

If you could make a Bally sound board for the early solid state pins that utilized MP3 files for sound I'd be first in line to buy one.

To do this effectively you'll have to delve into modifying Star Treks game code, especially if you want a background theme playing.

The Squawk and Talk board has it's own processor. It takes the load off the MPU boards processor for generating the sound effects. The MPU board game program just issues a sound/voice effect command and the S&T board then produces it leaving the MPU board processor free to take care of other business.

The early Bally sound boards are just programmable tone generators. The MPU board processor has to control the tone sequence on the fly to create the sound effects. i.e. it doesn't send out a command like the S&T system, rather it has to spit out a bunch of tone controls of variable length to the sound board.

For example, on Vector when you tilt, the MPU board sends out two nibbles for an 8 bit command ($44 hex) to the S&T board and the S&T board then produces the speech "Help Me!". It's simple enough to interpret.

When you tilt Star Trek, the MPU board has to progressively control the tones the sound board creates by sending out this sequence of 5-bit timed tone selection controls to the sound board:
$12, $18, $0F, $11, $17, $0F, $10, $16, $0F, $0E, $15, $0F, $0D, $14, $0F, $0C, $13, $0F, $0B, $12, $0F, $0A, $11, $0F, $09, $10, $0F, $08, $0E, $0F, $07, $0D, $0F, $06, $0C, $0F, $1F

As you can see the sound protocol is totally different and not so easy for simple interpretation.

But maybe geeteoh has some other ideas on how to take shortcuts.

#18 42 days ago

Quench, you are correct. The code in the MPU would need to be custom in order to even communicate with the S&T. I believe the wiring is all there, just the commands wouldn't be recognized. I could re-write the communication to work - but you wouldn't have much of a custom sound opportunity with the stock MPU code as Quench pointed out.

When I release the next version of my replacement S&T board - with Eight Ball Deluxe, I will have a "Custom" game title available from the DIP switches which can help those making custom MPU code. It'll make it easier than trying to map sounds vs voices vs backgrounds to an existing game. This "custom" title will have them laid out a little more logical. And allow you to use all 255 addresses.

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