myPinballs Custom Bally Pinball Controller in Development

abaxas

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Is the Arduino the best solution to all these pinball ideas/problems? Maybe not. Is it an absolute doddle to work with, have a massive open-source community and cost peanuts? Yes. I believe an Arduino MEGA 2560 is more than up to the job of at least replicating what the original Motorola 6800-based MPU does and probably surpassing it with greater reliability and accuracy.

I'm also bit confused about the statement that Arduino is not realtime. Whilst the standard setup/loop of the Arduino IDE is non deterministic there are several projects to create real-time operating systems (RTOS) for Arduino; notable the DuinOS port of the mature FreeRTOS and others, e.g., RTuinOS.

Exactly, the issue can be put more simply. Noting that the arduino is not just a board, it is whole ecosystem.

If you want realtime you ditch most of the core arduino libraries and have to use alpha code. Possible, but you might as well ditch the whole concept of using the arduino IDE and go with something more suitable for the job. Why use something you are not actually using :p

If you stick with the standard arduino libraries you have a mare over what you can/cant use due to different libraries using the timers and their ability to switch off the avr's interrupts. Noting that in the world of arduino it's a bit of a free for all.

There is simply no 'good' way to implement a pinball machine on the arduino platform unless you ditch what makes and arduino an arduino and go with a different development suite.

However there might be a 3rd way. Why not offload most of the heavy stuff to a different computer/microcontroller and serial/i2c/whateverbus events over to the arduino? That way you could keep the arduino-ness but keep all the heavy stuff away from it.
 
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myPinballs

myPinballs

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Yeah, this is very exciting @myPinballs - also count me in for prototype

Thank you

As you know Jim, I'm interested in building my own. My plan is to start simple and build on skills & ideas over time. Arduino is perfect for my requirements.
Will stay tuned for more, particularly interested in the driver boards

This is great example of why i'm creating this kind of board set. I hope it can inspire more people to take the plunge and get creating their own games, without too much initial cost or outlay.
 

abaxas

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If you are going to use the arduino ecosystem, why not make it open hardware? They give their stuff away for free, might as well give someone back.
 

Nedreud

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However there might be a 3rd way. Why not offload most of the heavy stuff to a different computer/microcontroller and serial/i2c/whateverbus events over to the arduino? That way you could keep the arduino-ness but keep all the heavy stuff away from it.

There certainly is a third way! And plenty of others too - always more than one way skin a cat. This concept of using something else as the brains and Arduinos for external monitoring with comm over SPI/I2C was ably demonstrated in the Fireball HD Maker Project:

http://www.raisinggeeks.com/blog/2013/08/making-fireball-hd-pinball/

http://www.raspberrypi.org/fireball-pinball-hd/

This really was a hacker project by someone not familiar with pinball electronics/mechanics. Clearly the guy isn't a numpty but he went through a pretty experimental learning curve. The project completely reprogrammed a home-edition Bally FIREBALL to the extreme that the Raspberry Pi powered a video display that totally replaced the 7-segment score displays. Nice! ;)

The choice of hardware also depends upon the amount of time and resources available to the individual. In my case I've never dabbled with PIC and from what I've read it can be a little trickier than Arduino to get going with. I'd have to invest a lot of time getting up to speed. Maybe things have changed since I looked but it also seem a little more pricey. Arduino is very hands-on, approachable and stupid cheap. For the hardcore expert tinkerer it would likely be frustrating but us mere mortals with only a weekend afternoon to spare at best would make better headway with an Arduino.
 

Nedreud

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Basically what I'm saying is each to their own. Bring it on, the more the merrier. And the more variations to achieving similar end results then the more nerd-fodder for us to chew over once we've finished deconstructing the flaws in the latest episode of HORIZON. :D
 

abaxas

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Basically what I'm saying is each to their own. Bring it on, the more the merrier. And the more variations to achieving similar end results then the more nerd-fodder for us to chew over once we've finished deconstructing the flaws in the latest episode of HORIZON. :D

I'd prefer open hardware/software. That way things can be given back to the community.

The only disadvantage of this is it all goes a bit wild west.
 

Snux

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I'd prefer open hardware/software. That way things can be given back to the community.

Depends. The P-ROC to Sys11 interface/driver board that I designed is open. That's a hobby. Jim on the other hand is trying to run a business in addition to helping move the community forward, so I don't see why he should make the hardware/software open.

I'm interested to see how this controller moves forward. Early days, let's give it a chance and see. Either it'll work (which from what we've seen so far would appear to be the case, although usage is fairly basic so far) or it won't and lessons will be learned.
 

Mooseman

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Well I saw jim's pinball work at NLP and as a result I asked Mrs Moose for an Arduino uno to have a tinker with. Look forward to getting jim's add on then I can make that prisoner cell block H pin that's lacking from the main pin producers.
 
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abaxas

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Depends. The P-ROC to Sys11 interface/driver board that I designed is open. That's a hobby. Jim on the other hand is trying to run a business in addition to helping move the community forward, so I don't see why he should make the hardware/software open.

I'm interested to see how this controller moves forward. Early days, let's give it a chance and see. Either it'll work (which from what we've seen so far would appear to be the case, although usage is fairly basic so far) or it won't and lessons will be learned.


I think the point is he is making money from other's hard work. Taking but not giving.
 

Snux

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I think the point is he is making money from other's hard work. Taking but not giving.

What? Based on what? Jim has made a lot of his code and work available - my F14 revamp would be months further behind without it. I don't see at all what he's making money from that is other people's work. I suggest you think more carefully and back up your comments with facts.

Now then, this thread is about Jim's new Arduino based controller for early Bally machines. A bunch of us are keen to see how this develops. If you're not and don't think it'll work, then leave the thread alone.
 
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Snux

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I didn't realise until just now that this forum has an 'ignore' feature. Now this thread looks much nicer :)
 

Calimori

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Abacus, we have been here with you before. I wish you could take a step back and see how your comments cause annoyance and frustration in others and realise you don’t have to like everything or share your opinion. There are no rights to annoy people, that sort of attitude creates bad feelings and slowly forces people away. People will not always stand up to you because and join in the debate, they just walk away and then we can lose the good people in our community.

For you to criticise someone else’s ideas, apparently ignore that they have working demos witness by a large number of people (me included) looks like ignorance on your behalf. For you to then continue to hang around and find another avenue to attack myPinballs is hard to understand unless you are trolling or on some sort of scale that others will not understand.

Are you against people being rewarded with money for the work they have done? myPinballs brought a fantastic hacking lab to NLP, three days of his time to help build the desire in people to create and invent. He has help loads of people resolve issues. He is now working on projects to keep pinballs machines running for a low cost.

I support open software but also think we should reward peoples innovation and development with money. This world is not driven on good feelings, free stuff isn’t entirely free, someone is paying. You talk about giving back, how about you give something positive back to the people on this forum by being part of a good thing and not trying to shoot stuff down.

Please learn to self regulate.
 

abaxas

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It's not my fault people do not understand why it's a crap idea and if people didn't criticise still all we'd all be oiling our coil sleeves :p

Also remember that offense is taken, not given. Or has everyone lost their native language ability too?
 

PeteB

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How about some privacy?
Oh jesus. I'm going to have a friggin thrombo if this abaxas d!ckhead doesn't f*ck off! :mad:

Where is the 'ignore' option, please people?
 
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myPinballs

myPinballs

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Have you got an idea of the ballpark end price? I know it's hard until you get the final BOM, but I'm assuming you're heading towards some approximate price-point? As I already have an Arduino MEGA I'd be interested if it's within my humble means.

I don't have the prices finalised yet, but i'm aiming for the controller board and driver board to be around the same price as an altek cpu board for bally games - so around £140- £150 inc VAT plus postage. I will also have an option for you to supply your own arduinos which will be lower still.

Hey @myPinballs, got an idea of when this thing is going land? Assuming that as you've piqued our curiosity with your "teaser" post that something is imminent...

I am working on the revisions to the controller board at the moment and am about half way through laying out the driver board. I'm hoping to get have some full proto sets in a month or 2. I'd like to have something running using the rev2 system in time for 8bit flip, but can't promise on that yet.
 

Poibug

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It's not my fault people do not understand why it's a crap idea and if people didn't criticise still all we'd all be oiling our coil sleeves :p

Also remember that offense is taken, not given. Or has everyone lost their native language ability too?



Right,lets be honest.
Jim turns up at shows,provides machines for shows,makes products others do not eg sys80b cpu's and bally sound boards etc what the fook do you do for the community eh?Apart from bitch about other peoples work.
He aint gonna get rich off this stuff-market aint just there.bet if he paid himself minimum wage it'll take him years to recoup the time;yet you offer your opininion,which is fine,yet,IMO you do so in a very negative/attacking way.
You say the idea is crap-well you clearlly know your stuff so YOU do summat better- instead of bitching.Also the idea can't be bad,as I played a fully working example at the nlp show he was at.Which,incidently I will add,he was not paid for,and also supplied many machines for.What is your proper name and I will check recent ukpinball lists for your help regarding shows

cheers

poibug
 

BloodyCactus

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nice work! good looking board. Im making my own board (pic32 based for master board, solenoids, rgb inserts etc, and raspi for all the a/v work).

would love to see some vids of it in action once you get it complete! :)
 
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myPinballs

myPinballs

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Revision 1 Game Play video. Same setup that went to Play Expo.


The revision 1 system was about making sure the switch response was correct and seeing if multiple devices could be controlled at the same time whilst still updating a score display. The system is not just 1 board, it is 2 boards (controller and driver). Therefore the driver side and its hardware design is as important as the control side and the libraries which link the 2. In the video you will notice that flashers are called at the same time as pops fire. This is something that original Bally games did not do. The video shows sound calls, score and switch, driver events. There were 16 switches connected for this test rig. There was also RGB lamp control connected up, but its not shown in the video.