Project Pinball: Spaghetti, part 1 of many

January 8, 2013

Lets start with: Happy New Year to all makers! I know, I know, its already been 2013 for a whole week, but I have had a few days off so here you go :-)

Terminator 2 - Chrome EditionDuring the X-Mas en New Year celebrations, I hooked up the screens and the DMD to the PC and was able to connect the iPac 2 with a custom made wire so that the controls on the cabinet could be used to play some virtual pinball. Several friends and family had the opportunity to play and they all loved it. Many people had played pinball years ago, and got right back into the game like they used to. That also learned me a valuable lesson: let’s not hook it all up again until the thing is pinball-proof: there is no tempered glass on top, and I am not sure the playscreen would survive some serious nudging action. All in all: we had a blast playing together (mostly Medieval Madness and Terminator 2).

But, the project is not nearly finished yet! So, next up is wiring. A lot of wiring! All the buttons and switches on the cabinet (14 or so in total) need to be connected from the front of the cabinet (where the buttons are) to the back (where the keyboard encoder sits), so that means making a custom cable.

In addition to the keys, buttons and switches, there are also 32 output channels available via the LedWiz. These are used to flash stroboscopes, RGB Leds, electro motors of various types, etc. All these need to be powered and connected as well, so more cable making, more wiring.

Inside the cabinet I am keeping the wires used to connect inputs separated from the cables for outputs as much as possible to prevent interference. I made one cable with 1 ground line, daisy-chaining all the

Medieval Madness

common connectors of all the switches and hooking it up to the GND on the iPac, and a separate wire for each button to connect to the NO (Normally Open) terminal on each switch. That cable runs along the right side of the cabinet, then crosses the front panel (running the wire underneath the coin-door) onto the left buttons.

For hooking up the output bling-bling I am making several cables to run along the leftside of the cabinet. I have several different sizes of Molex type connectors, so I there will be several cables, instead of one big one for all 32 channels. That’s because I have those connectors and want to use what I have lying around, plus not all the devices are close together. The flipper-buttons have tiny RGB leds inside them, and are located at the front of the cabinet. But the shaker motor will be located somewhere towards the back.

As said, the controls are working now, and I am working on making the cables for the outputs. Also, all PCB’s to connect the inputs and outputs, are located on the PC tray, so I am planning to add connectors inline in the cables, so the wiring inside the cabinet can remain there, when taking out the PC tray. And finally, the headphone plug has the audio wire soldered on now. In the pictures you can see 6 unused metal tabs, those are two switches that get triggered when the headphone is plugged in. That way, the eventof plugging a headphone in or out can be used to trigger a reaction. I plan to use it to switch off the power to the electro motors and contactors so that the machine makes no sound other than what you hear on the headphone when you plug it in. As soon as the player unplugs his/her headphone, it will switch all the bells and whistles back on.