(Topic ID: 63297)

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

By NicoVolta

8 years ago


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  • Latest reply 9 months ago by bjmclrn
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    There are 157 posts in this topic. You are on page 3 of 4.
    #101 7 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    The mentality is this: I already owned three of them. After restoring all four, I know where most of my time went, and continues to go. Easy decision.
    Regarding the junky sockets... many "fixed" machines I see aren't operating at 100% brightness. Perhaps we have different standards.

    I doubt that.

    I've said my piece. Nothing more to be gained by repeating it. As has been said, good luck to you and your project. The rest of us simpletons will just have to live with our EM games as they are.

    #102 7 years ago
    Quoted from SteveFury:

    Question.
    If you are going to completely destroy the uniqueness of this machine, the EM heart of it then why would you do the maticulus glass work? It seems you'd be more interested in scraping off all the original paint and applying something like a photo of the latest pop star.

    I'm glad you brought this up, because I think a lot of EM aficionados believe it's an "all or nothing" thing. It's not. It's a sliding scale. I've seen more than a few EM's lit up with colored LED lights by die-hard-wouldn't-change-a-thing fans which in my opinion looked totally inappropriate for the era.

    I see it more like this: Would a human with a machine heart be less human? What you're talking about is more like a robot FACE. That's not what I intend to do here.

    Quoted from SteveFury:

    Would it be OK if a person buys perfectly decent and restorable late 60's muscle cars, rips the power plant out to replace it with more modern and efficient Prius engines and electric motor conversions simply because they can? Do you suppose the next person would appreciate a franken car more than the original?
    I used to restore antque radios and the like. I did it for almost 38 years. I've had to put modern solid state electronics in a few, but only because the chassis was not salvageable. I would never rip the souls out of those devices without valid cause.
    People certainly have a right to do what they want with their property but they can't expect a lot of praise from people who respect original designs.

    Fair enough. I confess I am a fan of resto-mods IF they are done with care. A 60's 'Vette with air conditioning in the Texas heat? Yeah... I'll take that option.

    #103 7 years ago

    You could get a 60s Vette with factory air.

    Maybe your just frustrated? I'm sure there are plenty of guys here who could help you dial in your EMs.

    #104 7 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    I'm glad you brought this up, because I think a lot of EM aficionados believe it's an "all or nothing" thing. It's not. It's a sliding scale. I've seen more than a few EM's lit up with colored LED lights by die-hard-wouldn't-change-a-thing fans which in my opinion looked totally inappropriate for the era.
    I see it more like this: Would a human with a machine heart be less human? What you're talking about is more like a robot FACE. That's not what I intend to do here.
    Fair enough. I confess I am a fan of resto-mods IF they are done with care. A 60's 'Vette with air conditioning in the Texas heat? Yeah... I'll take that option.

    Putting LEDs in a game isn't even in the same ballpark as what you want to do here. It doesn't change the essense of the machine, and it's a modification that is easily reversed. Hell, I've done it, and I've taken them out and put the original bulbs back in, some I've left as is.

    Yours will be neither.

    I understand you think you'll own the game forever, and maybe you will. Some of us have an attachment to games for various reasons that won't allow us to let go of them. I have two of them like that. But others, you think you'll keep them for good, but you end up tiring of them after awhile and you look for something else.

    Your Corvette analogy is false because 60s Vettes had factory air as an option-I should know, I grew up and rode in them with it. 1960s EMs did not have SS technology in them. So putting air in a 60s car that had the option of getting it from the factory is not in any shape or form the same as completely changing what is essentially the operating system of the game. It wasn't available at the time, and changing it changes the entire nature of the game.

    #105 7 years ago
    Quoted from ccotenj:

    probably isn't the best idea to dig the hole deeper by implying that the others here aren't up to your standards...
    i'd wish you good luck, but honestly, i'd be lying if i did that...
    if you just admitted you wanted to try something new, rather than making excuses, it would be somewhat more palatable... because many of us here see your "reasons" as simply "excuses", as we seem to be able to handle them...
    again, your machine, your problem... just don't throw it in the faces of the people who wouldn't do what you are doing... unless you are just trying to get a rise out of us...

    No need to imply divisiveness upon my behalf. I don't enjoy conflict. I'm here for ideas and discussion with other owners.

    I do want to try something new, but it's not the only motivation present. No excuses required.

    I guess you and I just don't place the same priority on legacy logic circuits. Though we do agree on the fun and beauty of the old machines.

    #106 7 years ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    I doubt that.
    I've said my piece. Nothing more to be gained by repeating it. As has been said, good luck to you and your project. The rest of us simpletons will just have to live with our EM games as they are.

    Come now... "simpletons"? I'm an EM owner too yanno. I find most of us to be incredibly dedicated and hardworking folks who keep the hobby alive. I realize what I am proposing is scary and could fail. But... I've cut my teeth on restoring four of 'em so far and feel that it could be a worthwhile leap. That's all.

    #107 7 years ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    Putting LEDs in a game isn't even in the same ballpark as what you want to do here. It doesn't change the essense of the machine, and it's a modification that is easily reversed. Hell, I've done it, and I've taken them out and put the original bulbs back in, some I've left as is.
    Yours will be neither.
    I understand you think you'll own the game forever, and maybe you will. Some of us have an attachment to games for various reasons that won't allow us to let go of them. I have two of them like that. But others, you think you'll keep them for good, but you end up tiring of them after awhile and you look for something else.
    Your Corvette analogy is false because 60s Vettes had factory air as an option-I should know, I grew up and rode in them with it. 1960s EMs did not have SS technology in them. So putting air in a 60s car that had the option of getting it from the factory is not in any shape or form the same as completely changing what is essentially the operating system of the game. It wasn't available at the time, and changing it changes the entire nature of the game.

    Well said... but what if it didn't come as a factory option... and what if it didn't completely change the nature of the game by adding it?

    Using your earlier car analogy, what if a 60's Vette was fitted with a hybrid engine which was carefully engineered to deliver the same power, the same throttle response, the same vibration and engine roar. Basically to the point of where you wouldn't be able to tell the difference without looking under the hood. Your "experience" of the machine would be exactly the same.

    Would that be a success? I guess I fall on the side of saying yes. *shrug* that's really the only difference. Preserving the "spirit" of the machine is just as important to me.

    #108 7 years ago
    Quoted from AlexF:

    You could get a 60s Vette with factory air.

    I knew that was coming.....lol

    #109 7 years ago

    I'm new to this whole Pinball thing, but I've got 30 years experience working with PLCs and realtime control systems.

    I HATE(!) cutting existing cables. Once you start hacking something up, you introduce new, unknown problems. And you can't easily go back and uncut the cables.

    If I wanted to tackle this, I'd remove the main board in the cabinet, get a new piece of plywood and see if I could get the pin connectors that connect the main board to the coin mech, PF and BackBox. Keep the all those parts at 24VAC.

    The pin connectors then become your interface point. The coin mech is an Input device, the PF an I/O device and the back box an output device. Put your CPU and your 24VAC IO on the main board and connect them to the pin connector.

    The advantage to this is that when (not IF!) you screw up, you can throw in the old main board and re-discover how the system should work. Also, if you want to sell the machine, you can sell it with the old board and keep your CPU system for a future project.

    #110 7 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    I knew that was coming.....lol

    Sheeit... should have Googled it first. Can't learn everything watching Mecum auctions!

    #111 7 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Well said... but what if it didn't come as a factory option... and what if it didn't completely change the nature of the game by adding it?
    Using your earlier car analogy, what if a 60's Vette was fitted with a hybrid engine which was carefully engineered to deliver the same power, the same throttle response, the same vibration and engine roar. Basically to the point of where you wouldn't be able to tell the difference without looking under the hood. Your "experience" of the machine would be exactly the same.
    Would that be a success? I guess I fall on the side of saying yes. *shrug* that's really the only difference. Preserving the "spirit" of the machine is just as important to me.

    You're completely missing the point, but that's ok.

    As for your Corvette idea, just do this for me. Go on a Corvette forum and propose exactly what you just wrote here.

    I would wager that the response you get in return will be very similar to the response you've gotten here.

    You mentioned Mecum Auctions. Let me ask you this. If you put your modified Corvette up for auction via Mecum, and I put up the same car with the original powerplant in it-who do you think is going to get the higher sell price? And why?

    Again, if you want to do this for you, well, it's your right. But you're barking up the wrong tree if you think most long term EM guys are going to like it, or approve of it. That's basically it in a nutshell.

    #112 7 years ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    You're completely missing the point, but that's ok.
    As for your Corvette idea, just do this for me. Go on a Corvette forum and propose exactly what you just wrote here.
    I would wager that the response you get in return will be very similar to the response you've gotten here.
    You mentioned Mecum Auctions. Let me ask you this. If you put your modified Corvette up for auction via Mecum, and I put up the same car with the original powerplant in it-who do you think is going to get the higher sell price? And why?
    Again, if you want to do this for you, well, it's your right. But you're barking up the wrong tree if you think most long term EM guys are going to like it, or approve of it. That's basically it in a nutshell.

    OK... point taken. Change on this scale = not acceptable to most here. Just hoping it would be interesting to some folks and serve as an option for "unrecoverable" units if the opportunity ever came up.

    Regarding cars I have noticed that most resto-mods cost $$$ to do, yet rarely return as much on the market as an unmodified original. Nevertheless, I've seen some that I'd prefer to own over the originals that were done right. Truly "best of both" propositions. That's what I'm aiming for.

    In the future, if my hybrid ever wins a best of show award after lots of EM guys enjoyed looking at it and playing it... I wonder if they would even want to know?

    #113 7 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    I believe it will be a better long term companion with an improvement to its mechanical logic. If I'm right, I'll do more like this. If I'm wrong, I'll stop here.

    Anyway, if everyone in this forum is against this sort of thing, then I guess it can be moved to the restoration thread.

    Time and time again someone has to come along to reinvent the wheel for the millionth time and they are just so proud of themselves because their version (to them) is just so much better than the last guys, but the bottom line is that folks here like the wheel As-Is and that is what the EM Section is about, the old wheel not reinvented. Certain modifications as you mentioned like LEDS can be changed back easily, but removing the EM logic from your project cannot and I'm sure you will not.

    Also the fact you mentioned you may continue doing these modifications after you have already received much resistance from most folks here is like poking us with a stick to get a negative reaction, very Troll like. At the very least you are deluding yourself with thoughts of grandeur that you are somehow going to win us over, I assure you sir you will not.

    The fact you are intending to remove the EM logic means your project pin will no longer function as an Electro-Mechanical machine and thus this thread should be moved over to a general restoration thread as already mentioned. Even Solid State machines use Electro-Mechanical parts such as Slingshot Kickers, Kickout Holes, Pop Bumpers Knockers, Chimes, etc. as they still use coils and mechanical mechanisms to achieve this, but this does NOT make them EM's because their logic is Solid State, same as your project.

    Please move this thread per the above stated reasons and by the requests from other EM Pinsiders.

    Thank You

    Ken

    #114 7 years ago

    OK... I guess it's time to relocate since this is heading into a new area of development. Appreciate everyone's input... pro and con.

    #115 7 years ago

    Okay, I am not going to take sides on this, just help provide you some insight.

    Perhaps you should look into this: http://www.planetimming.com/PinKit/

    What you are wanting to undertake, has already been done before. And, for the most part, there was a reasonable outcome of it since the end result was used to build a few of the very limted Whoa Nellie Machines. Certainly, a hybrid if you will.

    The RetroPinball King of Diamonds was a completely different project. The end goal was to make, or re-make an existing game in such a way that it could be put into production, and possibly provide additional features the original product never did or could.RPC2010.jpg

    MA-40001.JPG InsertBack1.jpg
    #116 7 years ago

    Thanks man!

    (request sent to Pinside help to move thread to documented restorations... I don't seem to have permission to do this myself)

    #117 7 years ago

    The Retro KoD was a nice piece of engineering, but to me it fell short because of playability issues. The overlay certainly didn't help, although it obviously helped keep the price down.

    On purely a cosmetic front, I didn't like the marriage of a wedgehead backbox with a current day deep cabinet. I realize why they did it, to be able to put the multiplayer aspect into it, but I felt from an esthetic point of view, it was a failure. As an old time EM guy, I wasn't thrilled with the modern front door, although again, I understood why it was done. You have to use what you can get.

    So, it didn't, to me, play with the pop of the early SS games, or even the Williams DC games, but neither did it truly have the feel of playing an EM that has SS guts. It's hard to describe that, but that's what I came away with.

    I was seriously considering at some point trying to get the money to buy one, but I was hesitant. An EM plays like an EM. SS/DMDs play differently. I didn't know where this was going to fall. So finally I got to play it at the PHOF and I was so glad I didn't jump into it. I played a couple of games and walked off. I truthfully was more interested in playing some of the old, tired EMs in there than this game. It just did nothing for me.

    It's sad because it was a great idea, but somewhere between the idea and the execution it came up short.

    #118 7 years ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    The Retro KoD was a nice piece of engineering, but to me it fell short because of playability issues. The overlay certainly didn't help, although it obviously helped keep the price down.
    On purely a cosmetic front, I didn't like the marriage of a wedgehead backbox with a current day deep cabinet. I realize why they did it, to be able to put the multiplayer aspect into it, but I felt from an esthetic point of view, it was a failure. As an old time EM guy, I wasn't thrilled with the modern front door, although again, I understood why it was done. You have to use what you can get.
    So, it didn't, to me, play with the pop of the early SS games, or even the Williams DC games, but neither did it truly have the feel of playing an EM that has SS guts. It's hard to describe that, but that's what I came away with.
    I was seriously considering at some point trying to get the money to buy one, but I was hesitant. An EM plays like an EM. SS/DMDs play differently. I didn't know where this was going to fall. So finally I got to play it at the PHOF and I was so glad I didn't jump into it. I played a couple of games and walked off. I truthfully was more interested in playing some of the old, tired EMs in there than this game. It just did nothing for me.
    It's sad because it was a great idea, but somewhere between the idea and the execution it came up short.

    I know where you are coming from, and unfortunately for us, your opinion was not in the minority.

    From day one, I started the project with one focus, and that was to use as many off the shelf components as possible. Keep in mind this all began back in 2000 when only one "Reliable" source for large quantities of parts existed (Stern). Unfortunately, that included the Stern cabinet since originally, Stern was to supply all of our parts. Unfortunately, that never happened and I had to redesign the cabinet to use Gottlieb hardware. At that point, time did not allow us to go back and do it as a true wedge head cabinet that many would have liked to see.

    In retrospect, I would have done one of three things different (and in this order):

    1. Never undertaken the project in the first place.
    2. Remade the game in its original form (normal cabinet etc.)
    3. Done a completely original playfield layout of my own design and contracted a known artist for an original artwork package.

    What? You didn't like our Shinny new door? LOLCoin Door Mounting Bolts.JPG

    #119 7 years ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    In retrospect, I would have done one of three things different (and in this order):

    1. Never undertaken the project in the first place.
    2. Remade the game in its original form (normal cabinet etc.)
    3. Done a completely original playfield layout of my own design and contracted a known artist for an original artwork package.

    Personally I'm glad someone tried, but timing is a big part of life that can make or break you. It was a great plan in my mind whose time was not yet ready. I think once single player popular EM titles get super hard to find in good shape and shoot into the thousands of dollars to acquire that this kind of market would be welcomed by both EM and SS lovers alike. So, maybe someone should try again in another 10 years.

    By the way who made the Score Wheels and Credit Nnit and are they still available?

    Ken

    #120 7 years ago

    Herb was getting around $3495 for a ground up restored KOD at the time. But the masses wouldn't pay $3495 for the hybrid. When all was said and done, it cost a lot more to build them then you would think.

    I designed the custom reels but the hardware was all made over in Taiwan. We only contracted for exactly what was needed so unfortunately, I don't believe there are any extras. I wish there were since I would love to have them for future projects. I don't even know if the mold for the plastic reel drum is still available to make more. But the minimum run for the reel would probably be 1000 or more.

    #121 7 years ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    I know where you are coming from, and unfortunately for us, your opinion was not in the minority.

    From day one, I started the project with one focus, and that was to use as many off the shelf components as possible. Keep in mind this all began back in 2000 when only one "Reliable" source for large quantities of parts existed (Stern). Unfortunately, that included the Stern cabinet since originally, Stern was to supply all of our parts. Unfortunately, that never happened and I had to redesign the cabinet to use Gottlieb hardware. At that point, time did not allow us to go back and do it as a true wedge head cabinet that many would have liked to see.
    In retrospect, I would have done one of three things different (and in this order):
    1. Never undertaken the project in the first place.2. Remade the game in its original form (normal cabinet etc.)3. Done a completely original playfield layout of my own design and contracted a known artist for an original artwork package.
    What? You didn't like our Shinny new door? LOL

    Coin Door Mounting Bolts.JPG 156 KB

    The one I played, I certainly don't remember the door looking like that. It was black IIRC. Maybe I'm thinking of something else.

    I give Herb and crew all the credit in the world for having the vision, and the balls, to give this a try. I had huge hopes for it, because I understand that a properly programmed SS game is really nice to play.

    It's hard to put my finger on exactly what was wrong with it. It may be that it was not possible for it to meet my expectations, because I was expecting it to play exactly like the EM version, with the fact that it is really an SS game being totally invisible. In retrospect, that's a pretty tough standard.

    It was kind of a fusion between the playfield of the old game and the externals (meaning the cabinet and the front door etc) of a modern Stern game. I was probably looking for that old door and the small red start button and all the rest. Maybe I was unfair and didn't give the game enough chances. Certainly there's been other games I played at first that I didn't like and they grew on me.

    I had hopes for it because it was a chance for pinball to go back to what the old EM guys really think that pinball is, without the ramps and the toys and the TV screens and all the rest-just you and the flippers and the balls. No magic saves, none of that other stuff. So I wanted it to work. For some reason, it just didn't.

    #122 7 years ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    Herb was getting around $3495 for a ground up restored KOD at the time. But the masses wouldn't pay $3495 for the hybrid. When all was said and done, it cost a lot more to build them then you would think.
    I designed the custom reels but the hardware was all made over in Taiwan. We only contracted for exactly what was needed so unfortunately, I don't believe there are any extras. I wish there were since I would love to have them for future projects. I don't even know if the mold for the plastic reel drum is still available to make more. But the minimum run for the reel would probably be 1000 or more.

    Anyone who has toured Stern's factory knows the labor intensive job it is to build a game. And Stern charges more than Herb was asking for this game.

    #123 7 years ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    I designed the custom reels but the hardware was all made over in Taiwan. We only contracted for exactly what was needed so unfortunately, I don't believe there are any extras. I wish there were since I would love to have them for future projects. I don't even know if the mold for the plastic reel drum is still available to make more. But the minimum run for the reel would probably be 1000 or more.

    Good information.

    I had on idea for Gottlieb SS transitional pins like Joker Poker, Sinbad, Charlies Angels, etc. that with those Score Wheels, Credit Wheel, and Chimes you could have an EM/SS Hybrid. A modified Pascal Board could then run the whole show making room in the Head thus having an SS that looks like an EM that would be sold as a kit. If more room was needed there is also a ton of Cabinet space available to move the board there.

    Just a thought I had, but I'm not moving on it, just planting a seed for someone who might think the idea would work and be profitable enough to make it happen.

    Ken

    #124 7 years ago
    Quoted from EM-PINMAN:

    Good information.
    I had on idea for Gottlieb SS transitional pins like Joker Poker, Sinbad, Charlies Angels, etc. that with those Score Wheels, Credit Wheel, and Chimes you could have an EM/SS Hybrid. A modified Pascal Board could then run the whole show making room in the Head thus having an SS that looks like an EM that would be sold as a kit. If more room was needed there is also a ton of Cabinet space available to move the board there.
    Just a thought I had, but I'm not moving on it, just planting a seed for someone who might think the idea would work and be profitable enough to make it happen.
    Ken

    It's a hell of an idea. The System 1 games are really a true hybrid EM/SS already. You take the head off and don't let anyone look under the hood and they never would know. The playfields on all the early SS games were still very EM like.

    The one thing I do think SS games have over the EMs, though, are the displays. EM score reels are the source of much agony and frustration for all of us. The KoD reels were EM like but they functioned differently, as I said before. They didn't click over like true EM reels, they kind of rolled. Who knows, in time, maybe I like that more.

    #125 7 years ago

    In the End, the main thing missing from a Hybrid EM game is the sound and the vibration you get from the real thing. That was something we (I) could not duplicate effectively (kind of like Stern's Digital Knocker). It seemed somewhat pointless to add a bunch of mechanical sounders to duplicate what it was lacking. And to replicate the original assemblies to reproduce those sounds makes the whole exercise moot. Which kind of brings us full circle to what the original poster planned to accomplish?

    #126 7 years ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    It's a hell of an idea.

    Well think of this EMsInKC,

    I believe the last EM Charlies Angels on eBay sold for around $8000.00 and there was only 350 made. Now the SS versions can be had easily for under $1000.00 and there were 7950 made.

    Now think how many people would like a Charlies Angels SS that looks like an EM for a fraction of the cost and have a fun conversion project? I would say if you could offer a conversion kit for $1500 including the board you would have a winner IMO.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Ken

    #127 7 years ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    In the End, the main thing missing from a Hybrid EM game is the sound and the vibration you get from the real thing. That was something we (I) could not duplicate effectively (kind of like Stern's Digital Knocker). It seemed somewhat pointless to add a bunch of mechanical sounders to duplicate what it was lacking. And to replicate the original assemblies to reproduce those sounds makes the whole exercise moot. Which kind of brings us full circle to what the original poster planned to accomplish?

    I dunno... a ton of the VirtuaPin builders in their 20's are installing solenoids underneath the LED for added kick and feedback. Clearly it's not "just a video game" after all. Hence, I believe there's a happy medium to be found somewhere in here and we're all hunting for that elusive overall "feel" which just sounds and plays good.

    I'm sticking with the lessons KOD paved... less is more, revise carefully, stick with original designs when they make sense. Going to test my theory with a side project as well: A proven EM layout from scratch with SS architecture. But that's later...

    #128 7 years ago

    A proven EM layout with SS architecture is basically what the Retro KoD was. KoD is one of the all timers.

    It can become repetitive because you get drawn into smacking away on that roto carriage, though. It's still a fun game. I had one and I traded it out for something else, mainly because mine needed more restoration work than I wanted to put into it at the time.

    Ken, it's a great idea, but we'll have to get someone to rerun the glasses, too. Unfortunately I don't think the SS glasses would work real well with the EM style reels. But there are a lot of S1 games out there, so if you got enough people to buy such a kit, someone would come forward with a repro. Hell, you might be able to get bgresto to do them modified, they modify glasses now.

    #129 7 years ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    Hell, you might be able to get bgresto to do them modified, they modify glasses now.

    The backglass would not have to be modified but certainly would have to be a reproduction EM version which bgresto.com could easily do so a Backglass is not a big deal, just need a scan of an original.

    The real great news if someone did get these kits going getting a high Quality Silkscreen Backglass from Shay or Ron Webb would not be a problem as there would have to be hundreds made of 1 title alone which would be an easy sell to these guys to get them done.

    That's why personally I never worried about the Backglass side of this project as it is a given.

    Ken

    #130 7 years ago
    Quoted from EM-PINMAN:

    Now think how many people would like a Charlies Angels SS that looks like an EM for a fraction of the cost and have a fun conversion project?

    Charlies Angels??? (insert spit-take here). At least pick a decent playing/looking game like Joker Poker.

    Of course the best candidate for conversion is Countdown to Space Walk.

    #131 7 years ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    Charlies Angels??? (insert spit-take here). At least pick a decent playing/looking game like Joker Poker.

    That was just 1 example as the price of that EM title is through the roof. Personally I would start with Joker Poker SS as you said, then I would buy a conversion kit and go to town.

    Ken

    -1
    #132 7 years ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    In the End, the main thing missing from a Hybrid EM game is the sound and the vibration you get from the real thing.

    bingo... and the cost to replicate it so that it is transparent to the user would be prohibitive...

    you could effectively replace the sound part with a decent synth chip, a bunch speakers of varying designs integrated into the cabinet, and code to sync events to sounds... hard, but not impossible... a really good sound engineer and a few good programmers could do it... neither of those 2 commodities come cheap though...

    and you could make a score reel that "stepped right"...

    the "feel", otoh, that all that "stuff inside" contributes to, would be rather difficult to replicate... doable, with enough processor power, code, and properly placed tactile transducers, but difficult... the tools to gather and analyze the data to implement this would be, ummm, not cheap... let alone the actual cost of implementing it...

    good thing we have the "real thing", huh?

    #133 7 years ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    In the End, the main thing missing from a Hybrid EM game is the sound and the vibration you get from the real thing.

    Quoted from ccotenj:

    bingo... and the cost to replicate it so that it is transparent to the user would be prohibitive...

    I agree with you guys in the sense of the whole "Sounds" & "Feel" Concept, but what the main goal of the Kit is "Looks".

    Personally I would like the "Look" of the new Score/Credit Wheels that are quiet vs the Digital displays which are quiet as well and that it "Looks" like an EM.

    The sounds could be duplicated through a Sound Board and Speaker under the Cabinet, but yes, no vibration, unless you want to install a Shaker Motor.

    Ken

    #134 7 years ago

    y'know... it wouldn't be horribly difficult to retrofit an old set of score reels into a ss machine, thinking about it... you could intercept whatever signal is being sent to the score displays, interpret it, and use that information to pulse the reels... run power to the reels, and you are pretty much done... you wouldn't even need switches or circuit boards on the reels, since you would never care about their state...

    then you get reels AND sound...

    problem is, em score reels would never be able to keep up with a ss machine, there would be a real noticeable lag at times...

    #135 7 years ago
    Quoted from ccotenj:

    y'know... it wouldn't be horribly difficult to retrofit an old set of score reels into a ss machine, thinking about it... you could intercept whatever signal is being sent to the score displays, interpret it, and use that information to pulse the reels...

    Actually, it would be a bit difficult. What you see displayed is not actually there all the time. Just about every SS game I know of uses a display "Matrix". Only 1 (or 2) digit is lit at any point in time. And they are continually being updated. But yes, you could capture the segment data and convert it into a number.

    The problem lies in the unreliable nature of a stepper unit. Just because you send it some pulses doesn't mean it will always represent what you are expecting it to. Not without some feed back as to where it actually is at all times. I believe this is what is causing the guys "EM High Score" keeper to be about 5% inaccurate. And I will be surprised if he can ever make it 100%. You have to have one finely tuned EM to get such clean pulses every time to be able to track them digitally and get the same result. A CPU or microcontroller can and will see every single pulse that a score reel will get. But that doesn't mean that the pulse translated into an actual step of the reel. One pulse might have been broken up into two smaller pulses but still result in a single step. Or, a single pulse could have been too short to result in a full step.

    With the original CPU being in charge of the actual score and scoring, and what it means (free game threshold reached etc.) you could not expect the mechanical slave to always reflect the same exact score. And, if the Slave CPU realized it no longer displayed the correct score on the mechanical reels, then what would you expect it to do? Add a ghost step to catch up or quickly step all the way back around to correct itself?

    And what do you do in attract mode when it keeps switching between score and high score????

    It is an interesting idea though.

    #136 7 years ago

    I'll fully admit that the last few posts went completely over my head. Fascinating stuff.

    I can sort of understand where Jack is going, though. Hell, EM reels aren't always accurate using the equipment they were designed to operate with. They skip, they miss, you name it. When they're dialed in well right they do pretty well but given how quickly the ball can move through scoring places on the playfield, it's understandable that they miss a few.

    I've got a Bally Surfers that with 50v bumpers nested close together, plays a lot like DC bumpers. They're fast. I can't watch them, but I always wonder how many points get missed when that ball is flying around inside those three bumpers.

    #137 7 years ago

    edit: this might be worth a thread of its own, rather than in this thread... here is the link to the new thread...

    http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/convert-a-hybrid-emss-to-em-scoring-thought-exercise#post-1597105

    #138 7 years ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    I'll fully admit that the last few posts went completely over my head. Fascinating stuff.
    I can sort of understand where Jack is going, though. Hell, EM reels aren't always accurate using the equipment they were designed to operate with. They skip, they miss, you name it. When they're dialed in well right they do pretty well but given how quickly the ball can move through scoring places on the playfield, it's understandable that they miss a few.
    I've got a Bally Surfers that with 50v bumpers nested close together, plays a lot like DC bumpers. They're fast. I can't watch them, but I always wonder how many points get missed when that ball is flying around inside those three bumpers.

    yea, i'd wager that existing em scoring is an inexact science, for sure... closer than we might think, because things do still happen relatively quickly with the score reels (albeit glacially compared to an electronic display), but i'd be shocked if we weren't getting ripped off every now and then...

    #139 7 years ago

    I'd like to see a complete DIY pinball machine kit. You design it using software similar to Future Pinball... easy enough to do and you get all the parts delivered. Cabinet parts (sides to be glued together, rails to be nailed, glass etc), necessary PF paraphernalia, bulbs, boards, a customizable harness and everything else necessary to assemble a complete game. You could use the software data to direct milling machines to cut outholes etc in the PF board as an added expense option along with customer supplied artwork.

    The main manufacturing cost is labor. Keeping it DIY with standardized universal parts would help keep the cost down.
    Good idea or bad idea? I think a DIY pinball kit would be a blast to do!

    #140 7 years ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    The one I played, I certainly don't remember the door looking like that. It was black IIRC. Maybe I'm thinking of something else.
    I give Herb and crew all the credit in the world for having the vision, and the balls, to give this a try. I had huge hopes for it, because I understand that a properly programmed SS game is really nice to play.
    It's hard to put my finger on exactly what was wrong with it. It may be that it was not possible for it to meet my expectations, because I was expecting it to play exactly like the EM version, with the fact that it is really an SS game being totally invisible. In retrospect, that's a pretty tough standard.
    It was kind of a fusion between the playfield of the old game and the externals (meaning the cabinet and the front door etc) of a modern Stern game. I was probably looking for that old door and the small red start button and all the rest. Maybe I was unfair and didn't give the game enough chances. Certainly there's been other games I played at first that I didn't like and they grew on me.
    I had hopes for it because it was a chance for pinball to go back to what the old EM guys really think that pinball is, without the ramps and the toys and the TV screens and all the rest-just you and the flippers and the balls. No magic saves, none of that other stuff. So I wanted it to work. For some reason, it just didn't.

    It was a great idea but having played retro KoD it just was so different to an original - just not for me at all. But, kudos for people who try to do something different.

    2 weeks later
    #141 7 years ago
    Quoted from SteveFury:

    Good idea or bad idea? I think a DIY pinball kit would be a blast to do!

    I think it's an outstanding idea. As long as you are 100% confident when you design the pf in CAD and have 'er CNC'd, a 100% custom pinball machine from zeroes & ones sounds like a fun project.

    All MMs made from scratch aside, I'm wondering why there aren't more hobbyist repro machines being made.

    3 months later
    #142 7 years ago

    Update: I'm keeping it original. No conversion to SS. What was I thinking?!?

    After restoring a *fifth* EM, I guess a relay clicked in my cerebellum. It said, "Keep it original. Don't reinvent the wheel. Build upon the past... but don't destroy it. Start over and make something new."

    Case closed. I'm getting good at this restoration business. Might as well stick with it.

    Main lesson learned? Be patient and take breaks. EM restoration is a meticulous thing... very Zen-like. In the beginning I just wanted things to hurry up and work, to my frequent frustration. Nowadays I see the restoration and troubleshooting process itself as the goal. Ommmmm... pinball meditation.

    New project: Build a Gottlieb wedgehead from scratch using an old cabinet and new art and tech. Nothing destroyed in the process and still plenty of opportunities to experiment and learn cool new things along the way. I'm going to use the same basic layout as most classic EM's... just with SS stuff under the hood.

    Win win.

    #143 7 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    New project: Build a Gottlieb wedgehead from scratch using an old cabinet and new art and tech. Nothing destroyed in the process and still plenty of opportunities to experiment and learn cool new things along the way. I'm going to use the same basic layout as most classic EM's... just with SS stuff under the hood.

    Great idea and Thanks for saving another EM from becoming Frankenstein's Monster.

    I myself loved the whole concept of the Gottlieb Retro King of Diamonds and would love to see new SS versions of old EM titles and even new titles of single players produced in quantity that would use quality components and with no Playfield Overlay which was the weak part of the KOD remake IMO.

    Have fun with your project.

    Ken

    #144 7 years ago
    Quoted from s1500:

    I think it's an outstanding idea. As long as you are 100% confident when you design the pf in CAD and have 'er CNC'd, a 100% custom pinball machine from zeroes & ones sounds like a fun project.

    Just like websites that let you design your own circuit boards, a site could be developed that would work the same way.

    #145 7 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Update: I'm keeping it original. No conversion to SS. What was I thinking?!?
    After restoring a *fifth* EM, I guess a relay clicked in my cerebellum. It said, "Keep it original. Don't reinvent the wheel. Build upon the past... but don't destroy it. Start over and make something new."
    Case closed. I'm getting good at this restoration business. Might as well stick with it.
    Main lesson learned? Be patient and take breaks. EM restoration is a meticulous thing... very Zen-like. In the beginning I just wanted things to hurry up and work, to my frequent frustration. Nowadays I see the restoration and troubleshooting process itself as the goal. Ommmmm... pinball meditation.
    New project: Build a Gottlieb wedgehead from scratch using an old cabinet and new art and tech. Nothing destroyed in the process and still plenty of opportunities to experiment and learn cool new things along the way. I'm going to use the same basic layout as most classic EM's... just with SS stuff under the hood.
    Win win.

    What you're going to do here is what Herb did with KoD. Good luck.

    #146 7 years ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    What you're going to do here is what Herb did with KoD. Good luck.

    Sort of, but not nearly to that extent. I can use existing control boards and keep the format of the original wedgehead slope. Will also use repro components from the same vintage for similar gameplay feel. Basically do what I wanted to do with Flipper Fair without hacking it up in the process.

    I'll post a link when things get going...

    #147 7 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Update: I'm keeping it original. No conversion to SS. What was I thinking?!?
    After restoring a *fifth* EM, I guess a relay clicked in my cerebellum. It said, "Keep it original. Don't reinvent the wheel. Build upon the past... but don't destroy it. Start over and make something new."
    Case closed. I'm getting good at this restoration business. Might as well stick with it.
    Main lesson learned? Be patient and take breaks. EM restoration is a meticulous thing... very Zen-like. In the beginning I just wanted things to hurry up and work, to my frequent frustration. Nowadays I see the restoration and troubleshooting process itself as the goal. Ommmmm... pinball meditation.
    New project: Build a Gottlieb wedgehead from scratch using an old cabinet and new art and tech. Nothing destroyed in the process and still plenty of opportunities to experiment and learn cool new things along the way. I'm going to use the same basic layout as most classic EM's... just with SS stuff under the hood.
    Win win.

    This is most excellent NicoVolta. Please keep us updated in your project, I think a lot of us would like to follow it.

    6 years later
    #148 10 months ago

    Total thread necro happening in 3, 2....

    Hey NicoVolta, whatever happened to this idea? Now you’ve got hundreds of EMs. Did you give up on this project?

    #149 10 months ago

    Hahaha awwww man. You just HAD to, didn't ya?

    Welcome to my very first Pinside thread. Only seven years ago when I knew absolutely nothing about schematics, fixing steppers, motor timings, tools, bushings, wipers, spring tensioning, switch biasing, rebuilding, clear coat, hahahaha wow. A total newbie.

    When I wrote this post, I was living in my Dallas condominium with a 1971 Gottlieb Playball wedge in my bedroom. I felt totally lost staring into that labyrinth of dusty wires and metal parts. Was thinking I could simply detour around the "old stuff in there" and not "waste my time" having to "backtrack" with "obsolete stuff" when I could instead put my time in "modern tech" and develop a second career in Arduino programming and robotics using pinball as my experimental platform.

    See? It wasn't total insanity/laziness...

    In hindsight, I guess things sort of played out that way. I did develop a second career... but not by re-inventing the wheel! Turns out the more I learned about EM technology the more interesting it became to me. And thus devoted every spare minute of my life from this point onward.

    Tens of thousands of hours Googling, experimenting, testing, watching videos, visiting collections, filling my spreadsheet, etc. Luckily I was surrounded by other enthusiastic people with overlapping skill sets at the Dallas Makerspace, which helped all of us rapidly boost our skill sets. I also had a natural aptitude for mechanical/electrical logic which I hadn't explored until then... and it took off like a rocket.

    Serendipity, natural aptitude, a love of learning, and grit. When it all comes together, it's a beautiful thing.

    As far as the Arduino-ification of an old EM... I may still take on this challenge someday. I'd like to build one of my own from scratch which will use some EM technology mixed with modern computing. So, hey, I guess the idea is still swirling around in there somewhere. But not with this machine... it's one of my original three from childhood.

    Learning the "old ways" taught me things about pinball I might not have learned or appreciated otherwise. It took a lot of time, but was well-spent.

    #150 10 months ago

    hi,
    I have completed my em to arduino its is really easy just need to do some wiring and add the bits i used. The tricky part is the LED part i found. It was not the prigramming but remembering what each led address was. next time i will label every 5 LED so when i try to find a specific led its easy. NOTE i do not use any scanning of switches or LED as the arduino has lots of i/o ports. Next stage is to build a backbox, just found score reels so i am ready to go. see bjmclrn arduino for some more info.

    D39F836E-7341-4F71-8F64-D2D9879C24E0 (resized).jpeg
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