Hi folks. Pinball is awesome and EM's are awesome... but my quest to modernize an old 1971 Playball machine may not be so awesome. Am I biting off more than I can chew?
Pinball has lured me back into the world of electronics and tinkering after many years. I recently acquired an Arduino and now a Power Master 16 solenoid controller from Pinballcontrollers.com. My goal is to polish my chops by converting an old EM to new tech. No more flaky steppers. No more motor timings. No more mysteriously stuck solenoids. I want to go modern but keep the old look and play intact.
However, I'm already facing some daunting decisions. The BIG ONE is whether to convert everything from AC to DC power. The Power Master 16 only works with DC. I'd have to rewire the entire table and create a new schematic. Which isn't out of the question. It would make "original play" as well as new modes possible. Neat lighting FX too. But yeah. Big job.
Alternatively, if I kept the existing AC-based layout, my Arduino could switch the existing layout of relays and keep most of the schematic and wiring and power transformer as-is... a hybrid if you will. But that would involve reverse-engineering the motor and steppers with new relay banks so that they work identically. Limited flexibility for new modes of play as well.
Anyway, just thinking out loud. I've seen several custom pinball projects recently but haven't seen many (any?) people attempting to "resto-mod" an old EM machine like this. *gasp* is this heresy?!?