(Topic ID: 63297)

Using Arduino to modernize a 1971 EM machine... a Herculean task?

By NicoVolta

8 years ago


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    -2
    #1 8 years ago

    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?!?

    #2 8 years ago

    No No say it isn't so! Don't ruin a perfectly good EM machine please.

    #3 8 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    *gasp* is this heresy?!?

    Yes

    #4 8 years ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    No No say it isn't so! Don't ruin a perfectly good EM machine please.

    Yes, please don't ruin a perfectly good working EM.

    If you want an Solid State machine then just buy one.

    Most likely you would get in over your head with the project anyway as it is a huge undertaking and just abandon finishing it and selling the parts on Ebay.

    Ken

    #5 8 years ago

    Well, the thing is, it's not "perfectly good". I'd keep it as-is if it were in pristine condition, but this one needs touching up, backglass is peeling a bit (need to seal it), a few dings, chips, and yes, it has some mechanical/electrical issues too. It's never going to be a museum piece.

    It's not unlike resto-modding a 1960's-era 'Vette with air conditioning, 5-speed transmission, etc. Some people are aghast at the very idea... but you know... when you live in Texas it's really nice to "have it all" driving down the street, getting good mileage, power, and cool air while retaining that original look.

    If the gameplay remains the same but reliability and tweakability increase, what's the hangup? Frankly it seems like it would be an interesting learning experience and bring new life to an old game. Also think of the fun things you could do behind the scenes... "Playball just rolled 10k" Tweets.

    Anyway, I just wanted to find out if anyone else has thought about or attempted to update/rescue an EM from the old days. Last I checked, no one is making these parts anymore. What then? It could be that modernization may prove to be the only way to save these machines as the years progress.

    #6 8 years ago

    Lets put your talents to better use. Might you be able to convert a solid state game to EM?

    #7 8 years ago

    Go for it, but while you are at it make sure you convert to sampled digital sound and a big ass subwoofer.

    -Wes

    #8 8 years ago

    HA! Sure, if I have a decade to spare. That's actually a pretty cool idea. The music could be handled by one of those vintage "band in a box" calliope machines and moving images with a film projector in the backbox. It would be the size of a minivan and cost $250,000. But it would be spectacular to behold (and maintain... yikes). Also a real steam whistle in place of the free game solenoid.

    Hmmm... now I'm kinda wanting to do this. :p

    #9 8 years ago
    Quoted from copperpot:

    Go for it, but while you are at it make sure you convert to sampled digital sound and a big ass subwoofer.
    -Wes

    Heh... not for this game. Original mode would keep the existing chimes, scoring bell, score reels, etc.

    But if switched into new mode? Hmmm. No sub. No LED's. Original lamps. But maybe 1971-era tape loops and announcements from old baseball games of the era. Keep it consistent with what the designers would have done at the time if they had the same tools.

    #10 8 years ago

    There were wholesale conversions of EM ball bowlers to SS. The machines are now essentially worthless.

    #11 8 years ago

    I think its a great idea and more power to you. If you decide to go through with it please post the process with pics.

    #12 8 years ago
    Quoted from MrBally:

    There were wholesale conversions of EM ball bowlers to SS. The machines are now essentially worthless.

    No improvement in reliability was gained?

    #13 8 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    No improvement in reliability was gained?

    EM's seem to be more reliable than early solid states, from what I have seen.

    #14 8 years ago

    It's not that some of us don't respect your ambition. If I weren't an Em pinball guy I may applaud you for your efforts. It's just the sacrifice made for the experiment that is unnerving. Every year there are a few less original machines to go around. Their not making any more of them. True Em fans would never think of doing something like this. It's not just an old pinball to many if us but a piece of history celebrating our favorite artists and designers. We really love the ding of the bells, smell of ozone, clickity clack of the score motor and the kerchunk of a reset bar. It's part of what gives these old machines some romance and charisma. If it's a little rough and you can't live with it we would all be more than happy to see that same effort put into a proper restoration.

    Disclaimer: If it's completely blown out, water logged rusty turd go for it.

    Alex

    #15 8 years ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    EM's seem to be more reliable than early solid states, from what I have seen.

    Early SS technology is intimidating. I'd rather not go back and diagnose it. It's like trying to adjust the tolerance on a flaky 5 1/4" floppy drive rather than bypassing the darn thing, sticking the data on a SD card, and calling it done. Same with old arcade games. Oftentimes, it's MAME or bust. It's just too easy nowadays.

    Hence my interest in EM-conversion. It's not very fun to diagnose an entire schematic for a stuck solenoid. If EM's were living things, an ingrown toenail might cause blindness. "Anything" can cause "anything" to do "anything"...

    "Hey Doc, my eyes ache."

    "Drink this orange juice. Feel better?"

    "Nope."

    "Let me tap your knee. Better?"

    "Nope."

    "Stand in the sun for two hours. Better?"

    "Nope. OUCH! What the heck?"

    "Getting punched in the gut sometimes helps. Better?"

    "Yeah, sort of. I can see out of my left eye, but now I can't stop sneezing."

    #16 8 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Last I checked, no one is making these parts anymore. What then?

    Wrong! Steve Young's Pinball Resource has reproduced just about every Gottlieb part imaginable to fix that machine.

    #17 8 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    It's not very fun to diagnose an entire schematic for a stuck solenoid.

    I try to stay away from the schematics and use logic when repairing EMs. That and I sometimes can't find my reading glasses.

    #18 8 years ago

    Just curious but could a whole sound system from an SS machine not just be wired into an EM? You'd have to manually wire up all the triggers but should be fairly simple and even non-destructive if done carefully. The hardest thing to do would be to reprogram the sound chip to put out whatever sounds tickled your fancy.

    Or what about taking a sound card out of a Italian EM?

    #19 8 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Early SS technology is intimidating. I'd rather not go back and diagnose it. It's like trying to adjust the tolerance on a flaky 5 1/4" floppy drive rather than bypassing the darn thing, sticking the data on a SD card, and calling it done. Same with old arcade games. Oftentimes, it's MAME or bust. It's just too easy nowadays.
    Hence my interest in EM-conversion. It's not very fun to diagnose an entire schematic for a stuck solenoid. If EM's were living things, an ingrown toenail might cause blindness. "Anything" can cause "anything" to do "anything"...
    "Hey Doc, my eyes ache."
    "Drink this orange juice. Feel better?"
    "Nope."
    "Let me tap your knee. Better?"
    "Nope."
    "Stand in the sun for two hours. Better?"
    "Nope. OUCH! What the heck?"
    "Getting punched in the gut sometimes helps. Better?"
    "Yeah, sort of. I can see out of my left eye, but now I can't stop sneezing."

    you need to work on your diagnosis skills... "anything" doesn't cause "anything", and if you have the skills to even thinking about doing this, reading a schematic shouldn't be a challenge...

    your analogy holds no water...

    you'd be taking something that can be made to be very reliable and hacking it...

    virtually all the parts you need are available...

    not gonna get any love from the em guys on this... sorry...

    if you really want to do it, find a total wreck (which from your description, yours is not) that is destined to be parted out and operate on that... as alex pointed out, that would be "ok"... doing this to a machine that just needs some tlc is indeed heresy...

    #20 8 years ago
    Quoted from jasonsmith:

    Just curious but could a whole sound system from an SS machine not just be wired into an EM?

    Now you're talking heresy!

    #21 8 years ago
    Quoted from jasonsmith:

    Just curious but could a whole sound system from an SS machine not just be wired into an EM? You'd have to manually wire up all the triggers but should be fairly simple and even non-destructive if done carefully. The hardest thing to do would be to reprogram the sound chip to put out whatever sounds tickled your fancy.
    Or what about taking a sound card out of a Italian EM?

    You could. There were aftermarket sound cards made by Wico for Em machines. With that said there was just a discussion about early SS machines that still had a chime unit. It seemed a lot people liked that.
    Alex

    -1
    #22 8 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Well, the thing is, it's not "perfectly good". I'd keep it as-is if it were in pristine condition, but this one needs touching up, backglass is peeling a bit (need to seal it), a few dings, chips, and yes, it has some mechanical/electrical issues too. It's never going to be a museum piece.
    It's not unlike resto-modding a 1960's-era 'Vette with air conditioning, 5-speed transmission, etc. Some people are aghast at the very idea... but you know... when you live in Texas it's really nice to "have it all" driving down the street, getting good mileage, power, and cool air while retaining that original look.
    If the gameplay remains the same but reliability and tweakability increase, what's the hangup? Frankly it seems like it would be an interesting learning experience and bring new life to an old game. Also think of the fun things you could do behind the scenes... "Playball just rolled 10k" Tweets.
    Anyway, I just wanted to find out if anyone else has thought about or attempted to update/rescue an EM from the old days. Last I checked, no one is making these parts anymore. What then? It could be that modernization may prove to be the only way to save these machines as the years progress.

    sounds "perfectly good" to me...

    then you don't have a 60's era vette anymore... part of a 60's era vette is the lack of what you mention...

    condidering the engineering/reworking involved, i doubt it would increase reliability, it would likely make it far worse...

    as noted, every part you could conceivably need is available...

    "hacking" a machine isn't "saving" a machine... what you want to do is in no way analogous to dropping a ni-wumpf into a system 1, for example...

    #23 8 years ago

    I am adding a mod to a EM game to track scoring and throw some high intensity LEDs onto the game... using an Arduino..

    I guess my question is what exactly are you thinking of doing? Pulling the score reels out and throwing in LCD's? Removing all Coils and switching to AC coils? Just removing all the relays, like the AX/Reset/Etc etc.. and running digital logic on them?

    The issue to me is not the AC->DC conversion, you could simple use Opto couplers for the interface and keep the game on AC. I guess I just do not see the vision, what EXACTLY do you want to replace? Cause if your going to replace switch stacks only, which is the "flaky" part of an EM (which is in reality not that flaky) your task is fairly "easy" as the logic is pretty straight forward. If your going to go for the score motor as well... its going to get pretty damn complicated pretty fast. You have a crap ton of timing type issues you would need to code so that bonus counted down correctly (e.g. not faster than the reel could reset or the lights would blink) etc etc.. You might even run into that a little just doing relays-

    I personally, have LOTS of interest in Arduino and pinball.... this particular task seems kinda on the less interesting part. The game would be essentially worthless when you were done, who would want it- the code alone would be fairly complex and large and difficult to deal with unless your a code pro who throughly self documents and you sold it to another high level person. The game would likely NOT be more reliable cause there would be a few hundred new wires with little to explain why they were there...

    If its a because I want to learn and I think I can do this and it would be cool to me.... kinda thing then

    DO IT. Cause you will learn a shit ton-

    If you think your going to somehow make a better game- I seriously, seriously doubt it. I would bet large sums of money I do not have that it will be a larger maintenance headache when your done then it is in the condition its in now.

    Also- EM's are hardly rare - and its your machine, so I have less worries about one less EM being available. Most are falling apart in place and selling for a few hundred bucks out of a garage.... you modding one is inconsequential. If your dealing with an otherwise unremarkable game. Something rare, with real value should be left alone.

    #24 8 years ago

    Early solid state is a cake walk compared to EMs for me. I guess it is just what i am used to working on.

    #25 8 years ago
    Quoted from rufessor:

    I guess my question is what exactly are you thinking of doing? [...]
    If its a because I want to learn and I think I can do this and it would be cool to me.... kinda thing then DO IT. Cause you will learn a shit ton-

    All good points sir & well stated. Essentially at the heart of it is the educational factor. Coding, timing, getting those dormant neurons from electrical theory class to fire up again. In the larger scheme of things I want to build a custom pinball machine from scratch (likely via PROC) and thought this project would serve as a suitable skillset ramp-up.

    Certainly if it were a Humpty Dumpty or Centigrade 37 I wouldn't change the fundamental architecture & would likely send it into the hands of a collector. But Playball isn't particularly rare nor desirable. Most importantly, it's a fun project. Good for staying motivated. After all, that's what brought pinball into existence in the first place... learning, experimenting, and having fun.

    BTW, have you shared the details of your project here or on Youtube? I'd be interested to see it.

    #26 8 years ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    Lets put your talents to better use. Might you be able to convert a solid state game to EM?

    Joker Poker comes to mind.

    #27 8 years ago

    Hi NicoVolta.
    I also strongly suggest you don't destroy a restorable pin. I think you might be far more satisfied getting an empty cabinet, putting in a flat monitor and building a PinMame or Future Pinball table. Some of those are really cool and can play hundreds of virtual games on them from modern pins to wood rail pins.
    Some people design a modern artistic cabinet based on implementing a monitor and those are the coolest! Tubular designs etc.

    I myself am not into virtual pins, and if you "modify" an old EM pin then what's the difference? You'll end up with an x-EM pin nobody wants and an electronic version trapped as one single table.

    #28 8 years ago
    Quoted from SteveFury:

    Hi NicoVolta.
    I also strongly suggest you don't destroy a restorable pin. I think you might be far more satisfied getting an empty cabinet, putting in a flat monitor and building a PinMame or Future Pinball table. Some of those are really cool and can play hundreds of virtual games on them from modern pins to wood rail pins.

    I built one and love it! That's what got me going on the real machines.

    #30 8 years ago

    So you want a a Herculean task?

    Maybe try a project that makes You, EM, and SS lovers happy.

    Create a new EM style pinball machine from Scratch with SS components without having to destroy an original EM.

    You may or may not know that one has already been done recently for the mass market but we would love another title, but this time not with a Playfield Overlay, Please use Direct Ink

    http://www.ipdb.org/search.pl?any=king+of+diamonds&sortby=name&search=Search+Database&searchtype=quick#5239

    Ken

    #31 8 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Certainly if it were a Humpty Dumpty or Centigrade 37 I wouldn't change the fundamental architecture & would likely send it into the hands of a collector. But Playball isn't particularly rare nor desirable.

    you are missing the point...

    ALL extant em's are "rare"... and someone will "desire" a title, whether or not someone else thinks it is desirable or not...

    it's not about "oh, this one is *worth* a lot of money" or that "this one is highly desirable"...

    if this is just an exercise in learning (which is fine), find something that is so far gone that it is being parted out... but don't kill a "good" one off strictly to learn... you can easily find one that really IS too far gone to save...

    or even better, take stevefury's suggestion...

    you may think some of us are over-reacting... but if you were an "em guy", and you spent lots of time looking for machines to restore and play, you would likely feel the same way that "we" do if someone showed up and said, "hey, what do you think about taking something that is complete and restorable and destroying it"...

    i'm not opposed to taking something that is too far gone to save and repurposing it for something else... personally, i'm doing that with an old seeburg trashcan jukebox... had the thing been complete though, there's no way i would be doing what i'm doing...

    -1
    #32 8 years ago

    What I would do:

    Sounds like you have the game picked out so you know the number of switches, lights and solenoids. You can recreate the game on a breadboard to start coding. Momentary switches would be used for flipper buttons, targets, etc. LED's can be used for lights and solenoids.

    If you get over your head and can't get the code to work you have not harmed anything. If you get the code dialed in (possibly adding more rules) only then I would start cutting wires. I think tying the Arduino into the game will be the easy part of this mod. Do the hard part first

    #33 8 years ago

    Lots of great ideas here. Even the naysayers words haven't been wasted upon me... I see where everyone is coming from. I suppose there are other ways to accomplish my educational goals. It would be twice the work to undo then redo an existing machine and even then it wouldn't necessarily reflect the amount of work put into it once complete. Perhaps I can do better.

    Virtual pinball (and Farsight's Pinball Arcade) is a great way to preserve the art and gameplay but it is not for me. I need to have a physical ball flying around in there. Pinball is the Rosetta Stone of coin-op entertainment. It bridges the evolutionary link between physical games and electronic ones. I wish today's children were more easily able to interact with pinball machines before the iPad claimed all of their attention. It's enlightening to see how the physical & virtual worlds overlap.

    King of Diamonds is really nice. Now that's a true win-win proposition. I didn't know there was a market for new tech/classic-style machines. I do like being able to start fresh with DC power and modern parts from the get-go.

    Hmmmm... giving it some more thought...

    #34 8 years ago

    It is your money, do what you want. You may piss off us EM guys. Keep us posted, as it really comes down to the quality of the resto-mod that you perform on the pin you are going to use.
    Have Fun with this, it will be a challenge to complete, in more ways than one.

    #35 8 years ago

    More info on the New KOD.

    There is a pic of the MPU here.

    http://www.fabfan.com/classicpinball.htm

    This link has the price point.

    http://purcellvillepinball.com/KingOfDiamonds.html

    Ken

    #36 8 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    I didn't know there was a market for new tech/classic-style machines.

    Chevy Camaro,Ford Mustang,and Dodge Challenger have gotten the old classic meets new technology,old school looks with modern power plants.
    Its different technology but yet the same retro concept.

    #37 8 years ago

    Just curious as to why most responses deal with $Value or resell?

    Why does it have anything to do with that?

    Maybe the satisfaction of creating something "new" is where the value in this project lies and the thought that he actually did something that he thought of.

    Its guys like this that spark invention and creativity.

    It wont be an EM any Longer it wont be stock or factory and so what?

    It will be what it is, a unique machine.

    Through this project he may come up with some fascinating ideas that may cross over to both forms of Pinball EM and SS alike because you cant see it doesnt mean it cant happen.

    One standard EM modded to be another type of interesting machine will not harm the EM population some of you guys are really over dramatic.

    Instead of heckling and whining maybe you guys could assist him and help him succeed.

    #39 8 years ago
    Quoted from Eddie:

    some of you guys are really over dramatic

    Nah, we're just passionate with a respect for history. Bottom line is everyone is welcome to do whatever they want with their own machine. You don't need approval. I don't think the OPs intent is to make anyone upset. His project is well intentioned but guys that truly love this stuff have very strong opinions.
    Alex

    #40 8 years ago
    Quoted from Eddie:

    Its guys like this that spark invention and creativity.

    From Kickstarter >Once the project machine is chosen, we begin to deconstruct what exists, starting with removal of the elecro-mechanical skeleton, which then in turn is given an overhaul and fine tune up. Every switch and contact is filed and scrubbed, solder joints retouched, assemblies cleaned and tightened. The idea here is to get these games into a condition as close to their original state as possible, like new, maybe even better than when they were shipped from the factory during the 1970s.

    This is a good read too. >> http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tiltwarning/bring-back-the-arcade-the-art-of-play

    #41 8 years ago
    Quoted from Mamushka:

    You can recreate the game on a breadboard to start coding. Momentary switches would be used for flipper buttons, targets, etc. LED's can be used for lights and solenoids.

    I second this. Hell, got a layout in mind? Put it on a PCB. You'll save yourself a lot of trouble with the initial hardware platform doing it this way. It seems like this is the best bet for what you are trying to accomplish.

    #42 8 years ago

    Not to interrupt a ongoing discussion... with an answer to a prior question..

    But with regards to my Arduino mod to sense score reel increments and animate some PWM LED's. I have this mod about 80 % done, its in or part of the end of the thread I have here on my efforts to restore the Super Spin (which was accomplished a while ago). Sadly, I have too much going on with my work on restoring a very trashed Bally Playboy PF on going concurrently with the Arduino mod and my real Job. So if your interested in how I did the circuitry and such- thats all finished and I posted detailed schematics and have tested a little bit while running the processor and all seems good.

    I decided to basically build a rectifier circuit to deal with the AC voltage on the Pin and then use DC relays so that when the coil fires in the game the AC voltage rectifies to DC, triggers a DC relay which then sends a 5V DC current into a digital pin on the Arduino with a pull down resistor (to ground) being in place on the NC side of the relay. In this way I can "see" the coil fire in real time and use the processor to then run PWM output to three LED colors.

    Things I need to test as of yet-
    I need to plug this into the game and see if my rectifying circuit is working and the DC relays are actually triggering- this is trivial to fix if I FUBAR myself by over thinking the rectifying--- to that end... I threw in some Zener diodes to scale the voltage to a 24 V DC so as not to push the relay to hard- but if the theoretical rectified voltage is a little lower than the peak I calculated I may need to remove those... no biggie-

    Any how, none of what I did really apply at all to your thoughts here.

    However, in thinking about your idea, perhaps you could sorta start using something like what I am doing on a larger scale to bring in the coil firing patterns into an Arduino from some or even ALL the coils on your game-

    One thing you could do would be to take my circuitry and eliminate the rectifiying circuitry and go with opto couplers (what I could/should have done) this would greatly simplify things, then you could get a big bead board and throw 100 opto couplers down and easily monitor coil firing patterns on the processor. The one limitation I am seeing in writing this, is how the heck are you going to deal with the game requiring as many as 40+ coils independently firing whereas the Arduino is limited to something like 9 outputs (maybe is 12 whatever- it is NOT 40-100). You can certainly use software and some expansion ports to perhaps get close.. but the Raspberry Pi might be better for this- Arduino might get hammered with software computes to bit bang output to 40 or 100 channels while trying to also run the code rule set.. unsure... it might be fine but its not exactly a work horse computationally and its pretty limited for memory.
    Anyhow- if you DID build an input bead board set up with opto couplers and managed to interface it to a processor, you could just aligator clip to all the coils in your existing game, and basically see if you can deal with the input and the code to "fake" the output/input required to run the game- without moding the game at all... then once you know whats up its your decision to go forward. But at least you would have some idea of how the hell its all going to work and the challenges- without having destroyed the game in the learning process..

    #43 8 years ago
    Quoted from ccotenj:

    ALL extant em's are "rare"... and someone will "desire" a title, whether or not someone else thinks it is desirable or not...

    It depends upon your definition of "rare". An average production run for EM games would be anywhere from 1000-7000+ units. In the last 10-15 years, production runs for modern games are probably a lot less on average.

    A game like CSI or Big Buck Hunter is probably a lot more rare than Royal Flush.

    #44 8 years ago

    The difference is in the old days operators used to haul their off route games to the dump. Other than Chucky Cheese I doubt many modern operators destroy their equipment.
    Alex

    #45 8 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    I want to go modern but keep the old look and play intact.

    If this is the case, you'll probably want "newer" (solid state) components for your machine. Just copy an existing EM machine, or design your own with comparable hardware/layout complexity.

    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    In the larger scheme of things I want to build a custom pinball machine from scratch

    You will put in an almost equal amount of time in a design vs. redesign situation, sometimes more for a redesign. You might as well make it your own.

    As an aside: Arduinos are typically best for small projects or rapid prototyping.

    #46 8 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    No improvement in reliability was gained?

    For about a year, they seemed more relaible than the dreaded Chicago Coin mechanisms that used to gum up and stop or miscount. After a year or so of good operation, the solid state system started having problems. Then the company that made the conversions went kaputski. Although distributors who sold them had planty of spare part stock. A big problem with a SS conversion is that you don't get to hear the mechanisms clunking and clicking while the score reels turned. The silence of Solid-State electronics took away some play appeal.

    Bally bowlers had more reliable scoring mechs, but the contact type pin versions, where the pins took abuse, required a lot of maintenance. United bowlers seemed to be the most reliable but Chicago Coin was king because they sold the most, had big ball versions and were the best value for operators.

    #47 8 years ago

    Lots of good feedback here from all perspectives. I'm nowhere near ready to do anything permanent to the machine. Just planning strategy at this point. Overall it seems not many people undertake custom EM-to-SS conversions (with the exception of Tilt Warning). Some of those graphics look really out there.

    Quoted from rufessor:

    One thing you could do would be to take my circuitry and eliminate the rectifiying circuitry and go with opto couplers (what I could/should have done) this would greatly simplify things, then you could get a big bead board and throw 100 opto couplers down and easily monitor coil firing patterns on the processor. The one limitation I am seeing in writing this, is how the heck are you going to deal with the game requiring as many as 40+ coils independently firing whereas the Arduino is limited to something like 9 outputs (maybe is 12 whatever- it is NOT 40-100.

    Might have to go with an Arduino Mega in that case? It has 54 digital i/o pins vs. the Uno's 12 or so. Which optos would you have preferred to use? I've heard some pinball experimenters mention optos were too slow... though I'm not certain as to why/what their specific implementation was.

    I suppose it would be possible to record the ker-chunks and clicks and ratcheting noises and play them back digitally. Obsessive but kinda cool.

    #48 8 years ago
    Quoted from PinballHelp:

    It depends upon your definition of "rare". An average production run for EM games would be anywhere from 1000-7000+ units. In the last 10-15 years, production runs for modern games are probably a lot less on average.
    A game like CSI or Big Buck Hunter is probably a lot more rare than Royal Flush.

    while true about the production runs, that has no bearing on how many of them are actually left today... note i said "extant", not "produced"...

    #49 8 years ago

    My custom pin will be re-themed as:

    THE WARSHIN' MACHINE - 1967

    The clangy-est, ker-chunkin', buzzin', whirrin', ratchetyest pinball machine you've ever played. Each coin starts the "spin cycle" with a dedicated off-axis dent, giving it that wha-THUMP wha-THUMP sound like a dozen wet towels inside. Will also kick out random grass clippings and kerosene fumes during "Lawnmower mode". Complete with Jacob's Ladder replay indicator.

    $9000 NIB.

    I'm hoping to cash in on rich collectors hankering for childhood memories which the other machines left out.

    #50 8 years ago

    I'm looking to do something similar. You should also look into the BeagleBone Black but I think an Arduino might be able to handle an EM complexity. I'm looking to create my own playfield layout with EM parts so it would retain the clickity-clack sound and feel but still looking for a beat up donor pin and hunting ebay for parts.

    If you want to play around with some prototyping, I just learned of this neat website.
    http://123d.circuits.io/

    I'm not sure it has all of the devices needed for a pinball machine but I was going to play around with it.

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