(Topic ID: 110936)

Pinduino: Ultimate lights and mods control!

By Prof_Pinball

6 years ago

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  • Latest reply 62 days ago by lyonsden
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#7 6 years ago
Quoted from copperpot:

...or your refrigerator!

Just awesome. Every time I hit DOD, I'm going to make the fridge dispense a beer.

1 month later
#44 6 years ago

Just an update. I tested the new board in XMen and it worked like a charm. I've posted a new version of the XMen code to GitHub (https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches/tree/master/XMen_input_v2). We have the parts coming in for the harnesses and, if they work as we have planned, should be able to start selling DIY kits soon (i.e., in time for ZapCon). Also, we have sourced and are assembling the materials for full kits (boards, Arduinos, lights, and harnesses) for those that are interested in getting complete setups for specific machines.


1 week later
#47 6 years ago

We are happy to announce that we've released our library for creating lighting effects. You can get a copy of it: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches/tree/master/pinduino

And we have updated the XMen sketch to use it: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches/tree/master/XMen_input_v3

The code is very simple to use. For example:

if ( pd.pinState()->J7(8) ){
    pd.adrLED1()->spreadInFromPoint2Color (R_START, "red", "blue", 0);

When Pin8 on connector J7 is triggered, this runs a spread of colors changing from red to blue along both ramps, which then fades out. Note that R_START is the position in the LED strip separating the two ramps (which are wired in series).

Here is that code in action:

1 week later
#58 6 years ago
Quoted from copperpot:

Continuing to add to the library. Now we can throw multiple bullet fx into the addressable strip.
» YouTube video

Nice work Wes! I need another Mega and pull your updates.

#59 6 years ago

Just finished installing LED strips on the apron and under the backbox. Over 16,000,000 colors to play with (using the Pinduino to control them and tied into game play).

The code is available: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches/tree/master/XMen-Apron-Back

photo 2.JPG photo.JPG
1 week later
#64 6 years ago
Quoted from NextoPin:

Can I add sound or music with this?

That's are really interesting idea. Short answer, yes: http://highlowtech.org/?p=1963

#66 6 years ago
Quoted from anubis2night:

Just curious, I know that the Metallica pro doesn't have the integrated lighting effects that the LE and Premium have. In theory could this be used to emulate those effects or create your own similar effects?

Yes, but it won't be quite the same. I'm pretty sure that the Premium/LE have several GI circuits controlled by different relays that will turn on/off red/blue/white GI to create the different PF lighting effects. However, can you point me to a video of the effect that you want to recreate? In any case, you can definitely get a good spread of light from the addressable LEDs and run them on the back of the playfield and across the apron, and can add them to the sides along the piston shot and behind the mystery scoop.

#75 6 years ago
Quoted from jamescardona:

Nice work at a nice price. Thanks for contributing to the community.
One question though: is the custom shield necessary? Is there isolation circuitry on it, or is it only being used to add the plugs and such? It seems to me that if no isolation circuitry is needed and someone wanted to only control a few light strings that one of the mini/micro arduino boards could be used. And those only cost about 2 bucks.
The only reason I ask is that I've done that before except I didn't tie into the J connectors as you've done.

There is isolation circuitry to sense the flashers, coils, motors, etc (Stern's J6 and J7 on SAM systems), convert those signals into a form that the Arduino can process, and then the Arduino runs code based on those inputs. Also, the board provides power to the Arduino, and GND, 5V, and 12V to various devices. If you use a mini arduino board (e.g., Trinket), you'll have some limitations on the size of the program you can store. The pinduino library is too large to fit on a Trinket, but I've put the original IM LED ramp chase sequence (using the NeoPixel library) on them with a bit of squeezing (which doesn't have any interaction with gameplay).

If you want to take a look, all the code is posted: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches The IM code without gameplay interaction that fits on a Trinket is the the folder "old".

#87 6 years ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

Anyone used one of these off brand Arduinos from amazon?
amazon.com link »
Just trying to save a few bucks.

Not that one specifically, but I have used many. Overall, they have been great and haven't had any problems! The thing that I've run into is finding the appropriate USB drivers (It uses the CH340 or CH340G or CH341 chip)for mac (which appears to not be as much an issue for Windows or not an issue on Linux).

Details for dealing with this: http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=261375.0

#92 6 years ago
Quoted from Jean-Luc-Picard:

Fantastic, I look forward to digging into this. Thanks...

Also, check this post out for an Arduino shield that reads switches: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/always-wanted-to-build-your-own-pinball-lightmod#post-2257225

I have one on order and can't wait to try it out.

#96 6 years ago
Quoted from terryb:

Finally got around to putting my Pinduino together (instructions are very well written by the way--not that I read them because that wouldn't be very manly). At this point I want to test it on the bench (I have a 5V/12V power supply) and play around with the code.
I see the pinduino_test_input on github, but I'm not sure if that works with the addressable led strips. I also see the pinduino directory, but not sure what to do with the src files: do I need all of them and the instructions for adding libraries says they should be in a zip file?
Are there directions for this stage of the setup that I'm missing somewhere?
Also, can someone explain the difference between the link in the first column and the link in the second column on github?

Great to hear that you built the Pinduino! I've made some instructions to get you going with download and running the code: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Xk9QtnBrs58lnKNAFGCy8bAlQ9cdEmo1Trk4WAJEpYM

There are great online materials for learning the ins and outs of the Arduino SDK and GitHub, but my instructions should give you the barebones to get started. Please let the Prof Pinball Team know if you run into any problems or have any questions. Also, feel free to PM me and we can chat by phone/Skype.

#97 6 years ago
Quoted from terryb:

I see the pinduino_test_input on github, but I'm not sure if that works with the addressable led strips.

The "pinduino_test_input" sketch is for physically testing the Pinduino shield. It let's us test each channel of the optoisolators on the shield and if they are working, an addressable LED strip flashes red. I added a new sketch, "pinduino_demo" that will run the demo routine for the Pinduino, which goes through a bunch of the lighting effects and creates a nice light show.


#98 6 years ago
Quoted from lyonsden:

I also see the pinduino directory, but not sure what to do with the src files: do I need all of them and the instructions for adding libraries says they should be in a zip file?
Are there directions for this stage of the setup that I'm missing somewhere?
Also, can someone explain the difference between the link in the first column and the link in the second column on github?

GitHub is a very nice website for code versioning and sharing in a multi-developer context. You can download individual files, but you need to organize them correctly for the Arduino SDK. Alternatively, you can download the entire Pinduino set of programs by downloading the ZIP file, or using git to clone the repository (repo) form the command line:

git clone https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches.git

In the GitHub website, the first column lets you navigate through directories to files, and the second column is a link to the version changes. As we fix bugs and improve the code, we checkin new version of the software and make comments on what we did (e.g., "updated testAdrLED"). This lets us (or others) figure out what has been done to the code if something breaks or if something new has been added.

#102 6 years ago
Quoted from terryb:

Got the code installed and everything works great. Fantastic job guys on the product and the thorough instructions.
Someone earlier asked about clones. I'm using the SainSmart mega board ($22 on Amazon) and everything seems to work fine. There are some cheaper fourteen dollar clones, but they really didn't have very good reviews. This model also uses the same USB driver as the Arduino.
Now on to programming for BSD.

Great to hear! Post back with updates and progress with BSD. It will look great on that machine. Also, let us know if you want help pushing your code back to GitHub for others to use.

2 weeks later
#115 6 years ago

Thanks Wolfmarsh. The setup is looking excellent and your kid's body expression when draining is priceless.

#128 6 years ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

Ahhh I see what the problem is. Pinduino is the actual library. The other files in the zip from git hub are just the sketches. The instructions were kind of confusing. I think I've got it now .

Sorry about that. Can you point me to the part of the directions that were confusing? In the directions, I show to manually install the library (copy the "pinduino" directory into the "library" directory) instead of the "Add to library" that copperpot shows. Is the latter way easier?

#131 6 years ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

It was definitely my fault. I was just scanning the instructions and overlooked where it said to put just the pinduino directory into the library folder. I was just anxious to start writing some code for this thing

Good to hear. Can't wait to hear/see what you create.

#136 6 years ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

So I'm starting to play around with the programming. I'm reading thru the code for Iron Man and it appears that the logic is set up so it checks the state of each flasher and if active runs a light routine, then moves to the next pin,checks the state, runs the light routine and so on. I'm not super experienced with the arduino but can we use interrupts to have multiple light shows going at once? Is there some sort of multi-threading?

Unfortunately, not in the way that you are thinking. The Mega supports 6 interrupts (see inputs and outputs: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/arduinoBoardMega), but when they are used, the current code pauses, then runs what is called by the in interrupt. This means that if you want to write code that is doing two separate things at the same time, you'll need to write control functions that alternate signals to the various devices. No true multitreading.

Copperpot found another option which is pretty darn cool: http://www.jeremyblum.com/2010/09/05/driving-5-speakers-simultaneously-with-an-arduino/

However, there are more options if you are using both the plugs for 5V and the RGB strips. You can set colors on the RGB strips by setting on the color channel pins to high and then forget about it. When you want to turn off the RGB strip or change the colors, just change the state of the pins to the RGB strip. This takes no processing power and hence would work perfect as an interrupt.

Of course, please share if you find something more elegant! Also, you may want to check out the Arduino Due. Much more powerful processor and interrupt processing.

#138 6 years ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

This could have promise.
Although I'm realizing I've lost most of my programming knowledge so maybe not lol.

Great find! I missed that on Adafruit. Overall, it is using a similar process as what is described above. It isn't real multitasking. Rather, it is updating each controlled LED strip right after each other. The problem I've been running into is writing a generic library that can handle two or three items, and be easily deployed for a variety of use cases.

What are you thinking of doing? That may help me get working through a solution.

#145 6 years ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

I want to integrate some strips into AC/DC. I've been having my wife play and I'm trying to watch the lighting patterns to see how they work. I can't see a real pattern yet. I thought it'd be interesting to be able to map out certain patterns that happen in response to multiple flashers instead of just one.
So lets say when the bell gets hit flasher A, B and C activate in a certain distinguishable pattern. I'd like to be able to capture that and compare it to a table of known patterns which then cause a certain effect to be triggered. It'd be more complex than just flasher A activates which then runs effect A.
I'm thinking a good way to handle it would be to construct a loop that checks all the pin states then stores them in an array.
Then you take that array and compare it to a known array table which would then call functions for the individual effects you're trying to do.
Could you imagine the possibilities. You could have some RGB strips along the apron and the back panel just for giving color effects and then some addressable strips on the ramps, maybe on the crossover. You could cause the whole game to turn a certain color when lets say super jackpot is lit then do all sorts of crazy coloring with the addressable strips when you actually get the jackpot.

We did that with Tron to detect modes for unique ramp effects in Light Cycle and Disc. Basically, when X flashes followed by Y. Overall, it works about 90% of the time, but fails when there are too many simultaneous events triggering the flashers. Fortunately, when that is happening, the lighting is going wild, and pretty much anything will look good. Copperpot's summary of how to deal with various combinations of addressable and RGB LEDs is spot on.

In any case, I really want to see what you can come up with for AC/DC -- especially if you wrap the ramps with addressable LEDs. I think the effects will be spectacular (and only wish someone would let me borrow an ACDC for a while. Premium, please.)

#148 6 years ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

So I just had a great idea. I could probably use the pinduino and the serial monitor in the Arduino IDE to map out the flasher patterns for particular behavior. I'm not sure if I'll have the time to do this, but I could record the game while I played it and then set the arduino at a specific frequency and then map the behavior and see what was happening in the gameplay at that particular moment. I'd probably take a bunch of data crunching but I think it's doable.
I'm just going to start by using the libraries already built and see what I can do with AC/DC first though
I'm planning on mounting the LEDs in my machine this weekend if I have time.

Sounds like a perfect plan. There is code in the pinduino library to assist with that:

#include <pinduino.h>
int N_LEDS = 300;
int aLEDNum1 = N_LEDS;
int aLEDNum2 = 0;
int aLEDNum3 = 0;

pinduino pd (aLEDNum1, aLEDNum2, aLEDNum3);

void setup() {

void loop(){
//   Print the pin states out to serial
#150 6 years ago

I don't and I'm not sure how to figure that out. Perhaps by printing time information with millis(), but I'm not sure that is fast enough.

From just testing this, I'm pretty sure that the Serial.print in pinState()->print is much, much slower than the speed of the chip (ATmega1280, ). So factoring the 40 characters that are being printed at 115200 bps per loop, I'm guessing around 3000 loops per second (3 kHz). Otherwise, the chips run at 16 MHz. Of course, my math may be off by several orders of magnitude.

#154 6 years ago
Quoted from dkpinball:

Guys, this is an interesting thread and I'd like to mention some stuff that we did on the PIG 2 that would help here. But I didn't want it to look like I was trying to hijack the thread trying to promote my own project. Any objections?

Hi DK -- huge fan of your work. I have no objections to your comments, especially when the PIG2 complements what we've done with the pinduino.

#155 6 years ago
Quoted from NextoPin:

Has anyone got this installed in a System 11 machine? I just want to make sure all the connections etc work before I order. Thank you.
EDIT: Also, How would one use this on an EM, is it possible to check the states of lights? I'm sure switches would be easy.

It should work fine with a system 11. I checked the circuit and the flashers work the same way (grounding through a transistor to trigger a flasher). You'll need to use an appropriate plug for the flasher header, though the 10-pins we provide can often fit larger/smaller plugs providing there is board clearance. Also, the power plug will need to be modified to connect to appropriate sources.

EDIT: EM's, I'm not sure. I don't know them well enough to make any comments. Perhaps someone else knows?

1 month later
#177 6 years ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

You guys are more than welcome to the boards, etc... It's not like it was very complicated. I'll post everything later tonight when I get home. I'm not interested in selling them, but you guy are more than welcome to do so.
The main design point I was concerned with is the 10 pin .100 header (the smaller one). I couldn't decide if I would rather have it in the 10 pin, 1 row config or a 2x5 config for a standard IDC ribbon cable connector. I ended up picking 1x10 just because it matches what's on the pinduino board.
I also modeled and 3D printed a mounting bracket for the Pinduino. I didn't like using double sided tape to secure it. I'll post all the info/pics for that as well. I'm at work right now and don't have the files handy.

Thanks! We spend a long time thinking about how to get a 2x5 to work on the Pinduino because it would make building harnesses SO much easier. Your adapter board would make that possible.

Also, Marc just sent an email asking that the next version be compatible with using stackable shield. Doh! Design flaw. If you use a stackable shield, the plugs for J6 and J7 are blocked. I'll try to double stack some headers to see if I can get enough clearance for a shield. The photo is of the SwitchShield, which I've been wanting to get some time to play with so I can get switch sensing integrated in a pin (e.g., unique effect when a ramp entrance switch is triggered.

#181 6 years ago
Quoted from terryb:

That's great news. Put me on the list.
I also need some additional led strips, so if you'll have this done in the near future I'll just wait and order all at once. I'm looking at a mustang so hopefully something soon to implement this on rather than just playing with it on the bench.

The SwitchShield is made by BigLebowski: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/always-wanted-to-build-your-own-pinball-lightmod

I still haven't had a chance to play with it.

#182 6 years ago
Quoted from The_Dude_Abides:

This is a sweet project big thanks to everyone that has helped!! How close do you think you are to having a solid design that is streamlined for production?
I sure would love to try and have something like this on my AFM.

We have a few Pinduino kits left. DIY is $40 + $5 shipping. PM prof_pinball for all the details. Instructions for everything: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B2njOnd06CCOUmdKc1pKZGE1VkU/0B2njOnd06CCOdlBCVzdiWFZhUVE

So far, everyone who has ordered a DIY kit has had no problem putting it together and get it working. You will need to supply an Arduino Mega, and we have instructions on how to get started with that too(Though it is an open source project with EXCELLENT tutorials).

#183 6 years ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

When you guys get ready, I'll do another adapter board with 2x5. Just let me know. Feel free to steal the idea and make your own too. It wasn't any big leap or amazing design or anything.
As promised, here are the instructions to order boards like the ones I made in my pics above.
You need to order boards from OSHPark, link is here:
You should get 3 boards for around $11.50.
The three components you need per board can be bought at Digi-Key.
To populate all 3 boards you will get from OSHPark, you need 3 of each of the connectors. I've set up a link at Digi-Key that will automatically build the shopping cart out for you with the proper components to populate 3 boards. Adjust as you see fit.
The total from Digi-Key (excluding shipping and tax) should be $12.24 per 3 board set. If you total that up with the OSHPark order, each board is around $8 a piece in a quantity of 3.
There is no particular instructions for assembling them. They are plated on both sides of the board, so you can install the connectors in whatever orientation and position works best for you.
Here are the wires I used to connect between the Pintap and the Pinduino:
amazon.com link »
If anyone wants the actual board file, I've shared it on google drive:
Let me know if you have any questions, or need a different style board with a 2x5 header.

You are the man! Thanks for open sourcing your files and the detailed instructions on how to make the PinTap.

#186 6 years ago
Quoted from The_Dude_Abides:

Will do thanks for the info.
Will Pindrino work with the LED OCD mod installed? I already have that in AFM and would be hard pressed to take it out as I love it.

I don't have that mod, but the Pinduino should be not interfere with it. To install the Pinduino, you need to run power and plug into J6/J7 (which I've piggybacked with other mods that tap into those circuits.)

#187 6 years ago
Quoted from BigLebowski:

But you´ve assembled it very nicely
Bummer that it interferes with your connectors on the board! Can I do something about the layout of the SwitchShield? Although I´d hate to throw away the 50 boards I have here.....

Nothing you can do with the SwitchSheild -- the problem is with the layout of the Pinduino. I'm sure there is a way to mount the two together using stackable headers. Copperpot suggested having the SwitchSheild under the Pinduino, then using header extensions for the remaining pins of the Pinduino to reach the Arduino. I'll have some time to work on this over the weekend.

#190 6 years ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

Here is another little thing I put together, a mounting bracket for the Pinduino. Right now the J7 connector is blocked, but I'll move the zip tie when I go to hook it up. In hindsight I probably could have made the bracket as long as the pinduino and have it clip in, but this will do for now.
pinduino_bracket.jpg (Click image to enlarge)

Excellent work! Do you have a 3D printer? Would you be willing to trade a couple of these for another Pinduino kit?

#194 6 years ago
Quoted from shimoda:

Curious if you guys have thought about using smaller form factor but arduino compatible boards. The Teensy would be a great candidate, tiny, arduino compatible, plenty of pinouts (should be) and cheaper than Mega (plus more powerful). Can get the OSHPARK version for $17. A thought for you.

Yes -- we did some work with the smaller form factor Arduino for the first generation IronMan LED strips (using AdaFruit Trinket), but it had limited memory. The Tiny (esp. v3.1: https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/teensy31.html) looks pretty awesome -- thanks for posting that (and I'll have to order one). If you already have one, can you see if the Pinduino library installs on it without any problem?

#196 6 years ago
Quoted from shimoda:

I have a teensy 3.0 so I can test that, the 3.1 is a bit more powerful I think. As far as libraries go, I am not sure how I'd see if the library worked. Teensyduino runs many arduino libraries and the compatibility is high so theoretically it should work and the teensy is a great little platform with lots of support and projects.

It *should* be straight forward given that Teensy can use the Arduino IDE. Here are our instructions for installing the pinduino library: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Xk9QtnBrs58lnKNAFGCy8bAlQ9cdEmo1Trk4WAJEpYM/edit?usp=drive_web

Mostly, just install the library and write a sketch that includes it. Hopefully, it will just work. If it doesn't, post the errors and I'll see if I can debug it.

3 weeks later
#200 6 years ago

I think I figured out something really awesome today. I ordered this "string" of addressable LEDs:
ebay.com link: 50PCS WS2811 RGB Full Color 12mm Pixels digital Addressable LED String DC 5V FA

They work with the pinduino without any problem:

And the best part, they fit snuggly into playfield GI holes. I think having some incredible GI lighting effects are on the way!

I'm going to keep working on this today and see what I can do. Suggestions are welcome!

photo 3.JPG photo 2.JPG photo.JPG
#201 6 years ago

Stringing these in is relatively easy. Need to figure out how to mount under the slings as well as remove the flippers to mount in the inlane/outlane ball guides.

photo.JPG photo 2.JPG
#202 6 years ago

Got the Pinduino installed and powering the GI lights. Here are a couple of videos showing a demo of the colors. The first is with the "standard" GI in the slings, lane guides, and spots on, and the second is with the GI unplugged. Now to do some quick programming and get this integrated with gameplay.

#203 6 years ago

First beta version of code is written and posted to github: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches/tree/master/IM_interactive_GI

So quick, so easy. Takes longer to upload the video to Youtube than it did to write the program. In the video, I didn't unplug the lights I have under the backbox which are doing different lighting effects. When they go off, it washes out everything else (mostly due to the camera angle and that it is recorded on an iPhone.) However, you can get a good feeling of how the GI looks. Not too bad for a first pass and I think that this is going to work out well.

Things that I want to do next on this setup:
- Tie in the under backbox lighting with the GI lighting
- Add an addressable LED strip (tied to GI) to apron or inside the ball trough to get additional lighting
- Replace the GI under the slings and lane guides with addressable LEDs
- Replace the spot lights with addressable LEDs

Then I think this will be absolutely awesome.

Oh yeah, and do some more programming for effects tied to gameplay.

#204 6 years ago

Finished out the GI and adding LED strips to the apron and backpanel.

Demo/test of colors:

Tied into gameplay (programming needs some work as this may cause seizures):

#206 6 years ago
Quoted from jwilson:

Where can we buy this board? I went to the github but couldn't find any links.

PM prof_pinball

#207 6 years ago

I updated the code for Ironman as well as some functions in the pinduino library to have better control over multiple sets of LEDs. In this setup, there are two sets of GI Leds that are being controlled independently: the GI bulbs in the standard sockets, and strips of LEDs along the apron and backpanel. This creates some neat effects as well as making it easier to track the ball duing game play. I think that having multiple colors cuts down down on the harness as opposed to when the playfield is only lit in one (non-white) color. Also, I added back in the spots above the slings and have them using white LEDs, which lights up the center of the playfield and probably also makes it easier to see the ball as it is moving around.

#208 6 years ago

Finished IM tonight. The ramp lights have been added back in and the GI code modified a bit to sync up with the ramp lighting effects. Note that this is being driven by two Pinduinos -- one for the ramps and one for the GI.

#209 6 years ago

I have a google doc availabel with instructions for installing the color changing GI and connecting it to a Pinduino: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1q4ocskLaG9377kGTRL-7TVRDCNNiFv-U_TAz9zaoilE

1 week later
#213 6 years ago
Quoted from mbott1701:

Got my Pinduino board assembled last night. Everything went together nice, smooth, and quickly. The instructions that Eric put together were great. Only thing I did a little different was socket the 4 optoisolator chips.
Looking forward to playing around and testing it out this weekend. This is my first Ardunio project, so I'm still learning the ropes...

Great to hear. Also, good idea with the socket for the optoisolator.

#215 6 years ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

Great work with this!! Why do you keep putting out all this cool stuff. I'm trying to get rid of my Iron Man to fund a Kiss and now am having second thoughts due to this multi color GI. ARRRGGGGGGHHH....

Thanks. Kiss is looking pretty nice, so it is a tough choice. However, it will be a year or two before Kiss' code is absolutely awesome, so you have some time (if you can wait). In any case, if you already have a Pinduino installed, updating the GI isn't too bad and costs another $20. Also, it may even add value to the machine when you decided to let it go.

3 weeks later
#218 6 years ago
Quoted from Hitch9:

Anyone thinking of doing the GI mod with LOTR? Could be really cool effects with that pin.

Good idea. My LoTR and Tron are at a buddies house, and will get the GI treatment. Depends on which one makes it back first.

1 week later
#220 6 years ago
Quoted from mbott1701:

I hooked up the Pinduino to my F-14. I'm still messing around with it and trying different effects now that it's in the machine. Eric has been great answering questions and helping with suggestions.
I posted a video of some game play with my version 1 test setup. It's not as cool as some of the stuff Eric and you other guys have done, but I think it's a good start. I have LED strips on the sides of the shooter lane and the apron area.
» YouTube video

This is looking great! Fantastic work. Especially since you pioneered all the wiring to connect to a new system and wrote all the code for it. If you have the time to document this, it would be great to see how you connected everything.

1 week later
#228 6 years ago

Great work, mbott! If anyone is connecting a pinduino to a WPC 95, just let me (prof_pinball team) know and we will include a 4-pin .156 plug in your kit to make it easier to connect to power (example: TOM, J118, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AILkBQkR4-VTdYEEuH_BTGi2seYsod-aqP9rHbFgXhY).

3 weeks later
#230 6 years ago

I don't think anyone has done this on a T2, but people have integrated it on other WPC systems. I wrote up a couple of guides using a ToM and TAF:

ToM: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AILkBQkR4-VTdYEEuH_BTGi2seYsod-aqP9rHbFgXhY
TAF: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HKyJwPsHfhxWkHS7zmrljCiCwN6ou_A6P5EYyhbwRRM

The process for both is the same:
1. Get power to the Pinduino
2. Intercept Flashers/Coils from power driver board
3. Install LEDs/other mods
4. Program Arduino

#231 6 years ago


The Professor Pinball team working on the Pinduino (Copperpot and I) have sold out of Pinduino boards. While we are working on the next version of the system, we realize that our progress is going much slower than we had anticipated (regular life getting in the way) and there will be a long gap before the next version is available.

The goal of the Pinduino project is to make it easier for people to come up with creative ideas for modding their machines, and share them openly and freely. The results have been astounding and have created a virtuous cycle of sharing! Our ideas seeded other projects, which have been contributed back to the open-source code base, and those projects have given us ideas for expanding the Pinduino library and supporting more games.

While it was fun to design a product and bring it to market, we were selling our kits at cost. After taking into account all the growing pains encountered scaling from manufacturing a handful of kits to 50, we are in the red in the project. However, we considered this a great learning experience and much less expensive than taking college courses, and enjoyed every aspect of the project.

We are happy to share our experience with anyone interested (just post your questions), but at this point we consider v0.2 of the Pinduino a closed project. However, we want to continue to foster a growing and open modding community and have open-sourced the Pinduino board design. If you want a board (or 50 of them), feel free to make them.

Here is a link to the .brd and .sch files used in EAGLE: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches/tree/master/pinduino/board_files

Finally, we want to thank everyone who supported us throughout this project, and hope that you continue to share your creations with the entire pinball modding community. Also, we hope that others in the modding community will consider open-sourcing their end-of-life projects so others can pick them up to create and share new mods.

1 week later
#234 6 years ago

Just an FYI: I made an update to the Theatre of Magic code to minimize the extent and brightness of the ramp lights flashing while the pops are activated.

1 week later
#241 6 years ago

Just to add on -- everything that Wes and I did for the pinduino is available online:

Documentation for assembling the pinduino, building kits for various machines, programming the Pinduino:https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B2njOnd06CCOdlBCVzdiWFZhUVE

Pinduino programming library: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches/tree/master/pinduino

Pinduino game code: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches

=====Boring stuff about licenses=====

All of this is licensed under GPL3, which was the license used for the base NeoPixel library I used for programming arduinos and addressable LEDs: https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit_NeoPixel

=====End boring stuff about licenses=====

In any case, I am very excited to see more Pinduinos being made. Rock914's hard work to provide these and take their production to the next level is a great thing for the pinball community.

I'll keep posting new code and new instructions when I get the time and put those somewhere other than google docs (thanks Terryb for hosting, even though I haven't had time to post), and it is great to know that I will be able to order Pinduino's from Rock914.

#242 6 years ago

Deleted post -- had to do with GPL3, but was too boring.

#244 6 years ago

I'm impressed by how much Arduino Megas have come down in price since this project was started. A year ago, they were $20. Now, you can find US suppliers for $10 and China/Hong Kong suppliers for $8.

#246 6 years ago

Tron is getting the full Pinduino treatment. Independently controlled addressable LEDs on the ramps, backpanel, apron, and GI.

photo 2.JPG
photo 3.JPG
photo 4.JPG

#250 6 years ago

Hi Steve,

Great work! I hadn't been able to figure out how to scan the switch matrix. I read through your page, but was wondering if your code was available to see how you did the switch scanning with a Mega (and no additional boards!)


#253 6 years ago

Thanks Steve! I'll be digging into this and see what I can do.

#254 6 years ago

I've been making some progress on Tron:

#255 6 years ago

Getting a bit further:

#257 6 years ago

Tron effects are getting better (and better support for multiple independently controlled LED strips in the main pinduino library).

#258 6 years ago

These will keep trickling in till I feel the code is complete (or I'm tired of updating). This time, new lighting effects in the pinduino library to support Zuse hits:

1 week later
#259 6 years ago

I spent the week doing some final tweaks to get the lighting effects synced and colored well. Overall, I really like it. For anyone that says "too much" -- go get some more cowbell in your life. Actually, you are probably right -- this ain't for old eyes.

As always -- code is open source and available for download: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches

Take it, use it, and modify it to your liking. Oh yeah, if anyone wants Pinduinos, PM Rock914 -- he picked up the open source board files and is getting them produced!

#261 6 years ago
Quoted from mbott1701:

I like it Eric, nicely done.
Pinduino power!

Thanks Mike! There are several new functions in the core pinduino library for new lighting effects (e.g., Zuse).

1 month later
#263 5 years ago

Great news. I just heard from Rock Custom Pinball that he (Rock914) has everything in stock for selling/distributing pinduinos. From what I understand, he is working through a backlog of orders created when he was getting the BOM together and will soon be taking new orders. Thanks Chris for taking this forward and making new kits!

2 months later
#266 5 years ago

Copperpot and I made several kits, but sold out of our stock of the Pinduino (and open sourced the project). Rock914 has picked up the manufacturing of the pinduino. Send him a PM and he should take care of you.

1 month later
#268 5 years ago

I haven't, but what is the power/voltage of the flasher circuit on the in which you are interested?

#272 5 years ago

Excellent. Let me know if have any questions about hooking it up. I'm happy to help.

#274 5 years ago

I sold out months ago and open sourced the entire project. Rock914 took the eagle files and printed up a new run of boards (though I have built a couple of custom sets with a couple of boards I had left for people who have contacted me.). Everything is available in GitHub linked above and will happily send any info/links/help to anyone who has interest. Rock914 or anyone who makes these is welcome to post here and advertise.

#277 5 years ago

Definitely get one if you want to install or develop some awesome custom effects for your pins. They aren't difficult to assemble. Also, I've developed a lot of open source code for you to use or modify: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches

None of the close sourced bullshit where you *have* to wait for someone else to do the work.

#280 5 years ago
Quoted from djb_rh:

So I see in the README.md the videos of a few of the things, but what's the TAF sketch? There's no video and no instructions in the src on how you would hook it up.

Sorry about that -- I hadn't included a link to the google docs folder with all the instructions I wrote. That has been updated in README.md on github and here is a link: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B2njOnd06CCOdlBCVzdiWFZhUVE

Also, the link to TAF is: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches/tree/master/TAF-backbox (I think you just missed it in the repo.)

#281 5 years ago
Quoted from The_Dude_Abides:

What you've done here is just awesome I think I will just to be a part of it. Thanks so much for your efforts us Pinball addicts salute you!!

Great to hear that you are interested. Let me know if you have any questions on anything. I'm happy to help.

#282 5 years ago

Also, in case anyone is looking for the EAGLE board files: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches/tree/master/pinduino/board_files

This also includes the gerber rar bundle for SEEED studio if you wish to have them manufactured there. Easy-peasy. (Major thanks to Copperpot for making them!)

#284 5 years ago
Quoted from djb_rh:

But yeah, the link to the docs is what I was after, and WOW. Excellent work. Thanks for posting all this stuff. Some great ideas here, and some great starter code for others to build off of if they choose. Well done.

Thanks, Donnie. Definitely post your creation if/when you get something up and running.

2 weeks later
#286 5 years ago


I've started a thread on the Pinduino V0.3: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/pinduino-v03-interactive-control-of-leds

This is a leaner version of the Pinduino V0.2 for only controlling addressable LEDs that is designed for easier, board specific installation (e.g., SAM or WPC)

1 week later
#288 5 years ago

Looks like it should work. If I am readying the diagram correctly, you are getting 34V through the line that you'll want to monitor (and run) with the pinduino?

#290 5 years ago

What to monitor depends on what you want to happen based on events in the game. If you want run a program when the coil is triggered, monitor the coil. If it when the relay is open/closed, monitor that. If both are signifying the same event, then monitor whichever is easier (I'm guessing the coil because you have a header to splice into). You have 16 coils/flashers/etc you can monitor with the pinduino, so there are lots of options for detecting different events in the game. Hope that helps, but ask away if anything isn't clear.

1 month later
#292 5 years ago

I haven't had a chance to play with a Spike system, yet. Hopefully I'll get one in my collection in the not too distant future. I'm happy to send someone a v0.2 board if they want to start working on this. I'm guessing that the resistors may need to be changed from 10k ohms to something lower to sense the flashers since they now run at 5V (IIRC). Just send me a PM.

4 months later
#295 5 years ago
Quoted from FlippyD:

Thanks for all the hard work going into this project, it looks amazing!
I would love to add this to my ToM but it seems like it's just a notch too complicated. How difficult of a setup are we really talking about? I don't mean the trouble of installing led strips and stuff but more how hard is it to get it all running right. Are we at a plug-n-play level yet?

I make plug and play kits for people on request (just PM me if you are interested). Here are the directions on how to install. The part list at the top is what I use to build kits for people (LED lengs, wire lengths, etc) which people can use if they want to build their own: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rgiabxAWml9UGCxxm6wR5BVl5aulxiZQ_6l86le7Tlo/edit

#297 5 years ago

The pinduino focuses on monitoring the flashers (which is much easier than monitoring the lamp or switch matrix). There is another person who sold an arduino shield for monitoring switches (and lamps): https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/always-wanted-to-build-your-own-pinball-lightmod

I ordered one of these and had a lot of fun with it. TimeBandit has a setup with his arduino based (at least I think it is). When I asked if he'd open source and share his code, he said he wouldn't. However, his setup is AWESOME!

All of my code is open source and there is a good chunk of it for doing the lighting effects. Please go nuts with it: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches

#300 5 years ago
Quoted from BigLebowski:

I never published my board design because I always wanted to do an improved version which I never got around to.....
But my library is open sourced and you can find the link in the thread Eric mentioned.
And in fact all you need is the software, because my hardware works exactly on the same principle as Eric´s and you definitely can monitor inserts with that hardware. You just need a bit more software to monitor inserts due to the way WPC and other systems control them.
My library takes care of that handling.

BigLebowski is definitely in the open source camp and I forgot to mention that. When I got his board, I asked for the source code so I could make modifications in case there were conflicts with Arduino pins used by the pinduino. Unfortunately, while v0.2 of the pinduino was designed for stacking shields, the plugs for J6 and J7 inputs were designed to go under the where the SwitchSheild would mount. So I ended up using it with a separate Arduino Uno. Seriously nice work and I could use it to monitor switches separately, then feed input to the Pinduino for controlling LEDs.

#301 5 years ago
Quoted from jyeakley:

Lyonsden's (Eric) work is top notch. I have one in my TOM and it is amazing! The instructions are easy to follow and the payoff is amazing - one of the first things people notice. To boot, he makes everything open source...as a software developer I have a lot respect for this. Buy with confidence and enjoy!!

Thanks jyeakley! It is great to know that you are enjoying the ToM kit and it is one of the big attractors when people come by to play. I think it really came out well.

6 months later
#304 4 years ago
Quoted from KeithinMI:

Just got around to installing mine on my CFTBL. The bowl lights work great and great chaser effects. Unfortunately, the creature ramp isn't working at all.

Hi Keith. My apologies on this. You PMed me some diagnostics and I'll work with you to either fix the problem or make this right through a refund.

2 months later
#308 4 years ago

Also, PM me if you are looking for something that is not in my pinside shop. I have written a lot of code and designed a lot of kits, only some of which people have asked for and are in my shop.

3 months later
#310 3 years ago

Excellent work! Great to see what you came up with using the pinduino! Is there a link where people can download the code you write to make this happen?

Quoted from Tres:

Loving the Pinduino in my Lord of the Rings!

1 month later
#316 3 years ago

Nice work! I think the colors work really well to enhance to mood of the game. One thing that I have done when using full playfield color washes like that is to add spot lights that are always on (white). For my eyes, having those spots help helps me not lose track of the ball when the color changes across the playfield.

#318 3 years ago
Quoted from Mike_M:

Finally had some time to make the harnesses for my Pinduino last night and installed it in my The Getaway: High Speed II. I put a strip inside the Supercharger ramp- my idea is to have a chase effect when the ball is whipping around.
With only a couple of modifications to the WPC template for initial testing it's working great! I really enjoyed building it. I'm now starting to play with various effects to see what works best for the supercharger chase. I also added a couple of small "explosions" for other flashers.
lyonsden - One thing I noticed is that when I plug my computer into the Nano's USB port to upload a sketch it is backflowing 5 volts into J118 and then into the boards- I'm thinking adding in a diode in-between the pinduino power lead and J118-4 would eliminate this.
Once I finishing tweaking the light show I'll upload some video.

Nice work! Can't wait to see the video. Also, nice idea on adding a blocking diode.

#319 3 years ago

I had a chance to build a pinduino with a buddy for his Party Zone. Love the ramps on this game!

Code is available (open source): https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_pinduino_sketches/tree/master/PartyZone

#321 3 years ago
Quoted from Mike_M:

Here's a rough video of my Pinduino controlled lights on my The Getaway: High Speed II supercharger ramp:
» YouTube video
The primary effect I was going for is to have a red chase effect when the ball is whipping around the supercharger ramp.

Nice work, Mike! There are some other effects that you could use for things when not in the super charger. The sparkle effect may look good as a background sequence, and spreadInFromPoint2Color or bulletFromPoint2Color could be neat (with their start point at the center-front of the supercharger). I'll be in the DC area starting in Jan., and happy to help out with some programming.

1 week later
#324 3 years ago
Quoted from Fytr:

I've picked up one of these in kit for my Metallica Pro. I'd like to be able to add stadium lighting to my MET and tie them into the pinduino so that the both the lighting color/shade and brightness can be controlled, and also preserve the existing "Fade to Black" GI fading capabilities in the game so the stadium lights would also dim/go out along with the existing build-in GI.
Is there anyway to accomplish this with pinduino? I can cut code if need be, etc. but it looks like only the flashers and a few coils are addressable. Is there a way to tie in to the GI voltage as well?

That is a neat idea. I think you could, but it would require building a custom add-on circuit to measure the output of the GI. I think a bridge rectifier for the AC->DC conversion, and then find a free analog channel on the pinduino's arduino to measure the voltage drop (you may need to do something different as I'm not sure if dimming is due to pulsing the current). Once that is measured, then there can be an added function that modulates the brightness of all the pinduino effects. Given the extra needs of this project, something like the previous version of the pinduino would be best (uses an Arduino Mega and has a built-in breakout board for making such circuits.) The board files for that version of the pinduino are open source: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_boards/tree/master/Pinduino_v0.2 , including the gerber files to get them manufactured by SeeedStudio (https://www.seeedstudio.com/fusion.html). Just upload the .rar file and you should be good to go.

#326 3 years ago
Quoted from BigLebowski:

I have included the above mentioned circuitry on my PinLightShield (https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/always-wanted-to-build-your-own-pinball-lightmod) and can confirm that it works just fine for detecting GI - at least in older games that use 6.3VAC for the GI. I don´t know what voltage they use in the newer games and whether it´s AC or DC.

Excellent news! For those that haven't seen the PinLightShield (and the SwitchShield) by BigLebowski, I highly recommend checking them out.

#328 3 years ago

Hi All,

Just want to let people know that I'll be taking an assignment for my job in Alexandria, VA for 2018. (Starting at the end of Jan.) While Tucson will still be my home and base camp for Professor Pinball mods and all things Pinduino, I am looking forward to checking out the DC area's pinball scene. It is a great opportunity that let's me work from Tucson one week a month. Also, this means that orders to my pinside shop (https://pinside.com/pinball/market/shops/1025-professor-pinball) will still be filled, but there may be a longer delay till I can get kits assembled and mailed.

For Pinsiders in the DC area that I've met through Pinside, I am looking forward to meeting you in person. Also, I have a feeling that I'll still need to get a fix of working on games, developing Pinduino code, and installing pinduinos on games, so if you have a game that can use the pinduino magic, get in touch with me.

-Eric Lyons (aka Professor Pinball)

1 year later
#334 2 years ago
Quoted from zene10:

Have you posted your code or are willing to share it?
I’ll be bringing a friend’s WCS to TPF this year and want to install a pinduino kit


1 year later
#338 1 year ago

pinballjj Excellent work on your games! Thanks for posting those videos.

1 month later
#344 1 year ago

Yes -- the pinduino drives 5V addressable LEDs and due to the sensitivity of the 5V circuit on the MPU on WPC games, it can trigger the 5V reset problem. Khar's board is a good solution as is bullet proofing the 5V current on the power driver board. I have designed a power board that plugs into J118, which contains a 12V->5V voltage regulator to drive the LEDs. I've tested it an about 6 of my games and have it in the hands of about 3 pinsiders, all of whom say it works well without any problems. I have instructions posted on building and installing the board: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11vrhFzZ3xCn7MdkWuSQDqnwS3o9wdX9hhvImAOdjwqA/edit

and will get this posted in my pinside shop soon.

IMG_0515 (resized).jpg
#345 1 year ago

Here are a couple more photos of the Pinduino Power Board, including having it installed in a game.

IMG_0517 (resized).jpgIMG_0518 (resized).jpgIMG_0519 (resized).jpg
5 months later
#348 1 year ago
Quoted from Ashram56:

Good morning,
Highly interesting and flexible mod, but I would have a few questions:
- Do WS2812b ledstrip with integrated silicon diffuser exist somewhere ? I really don't like too much seeing the ledstrip as is on a pinball machine in off mode, or when the lights are off, and these ledstrips are visible when mounted on ramps
Otherwise the effects are really really neat, especially on ramps (like Tron)
- Why the limitation to two outputs only ? I understand you can drive a lot of led through a single output, but that makes programming rather complicated (if you want ramps, backbox, apron, undercab, etc). For example, for my virtual pinball I use a Wemos D1 Pro, it has 6 outputs, which I use to drive independently left and right playfield ledstrip, led backboard and undercab. Unless I'm missing something ?
- Are the ledstrip used 60 led / m ?

Added 22 days ago: [EDIT] Found answers to all my questions by reading through multiple threads.

Yeah -- sorry for the delay in replying but:
-Diffuser for WS2812B: yes -- they exist
-Two outputs: It is about all you can reasonably do with an Arduino, and the Pinduinos are stackable so you can control 4 sets of LEDs with two Arduinos (or more if you want to daisy chain them). I do this regularly to control the GI/side lighting with ramps and other areas.
-I usually use 60 LEDs/M, but you can use higher or lower density (just make sure to consider the power requirements of the LEDs and how they will be powered.)

2 months later
#354 9 months ago
Quoted from robey99:

I have a pinduino installed on my lotr. They work fine in attract but when I start playing the game after about 30 seconds, they turn off. If I restart, they turn back on. I tried resetting everything. Anyone else experience this. Thanks.

I'll PM you to trouble shoot this.

3 months later
#356 5 months ago

Addressable LEDs may work, depending on what you are looking to do (color control, different LEDs on/off in a set). Perhaps something like a panel of addressable LEDs?

51Sef+9KoNL._AC_ (resized).jpg
#359 5 months ago

Definitely looks like a cool project. You'll probably need to carve channels in the wood (or drill holes through) for the LEDs. Could get by with a Pinduino if you want to have the lights tie into gameplay, or just an Arduino and one of the many addressable LED libraries if you want them to flash in various colors. Otherwise, pinballjj suggestion is perfect -- just get some blinking LEDs and get them wired in.

1 month later
#362 4 months ago
Quoted from desertT1:

I have a Spider Man that I am working on and when delivered the connectors were all removed from the pinduino boards. The connectors are mostly labeled where they go, but the boards do not show where things plug into. Does it matter (besides power), and if it does matter, is there a manual showing where each goes?

In case others have this problem: the pinduino plugs are labeled on the PCB. There are four plugs on the pinduino-- two on the right side are for power (they are pass through to one another) and two on the left side are for the LEDs. All docs are available for pinduinos and various setups, and are linked from the produce page in the pinduino store.

1 month later
#365 3 months ago
Quoted from November:

Hi guys,
I have some problems with my pinduino and i cannot reach lyonsden, is he still on pinside forums ?

Hey -- I haven't seen any PMs from you. I may have missed an email if you sent it to me (been out of town for a couple of weeks without internet). Feel free to post your question here or PM me.

1 month later
#367 62 days ago

That is awesome and very well done!

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