Thursday, August 20, 2015


I found this pretty interesting -
This is a (blurry) shot of the inside of a Briarwood Aspen pinball machine. That's a commercial game from late 70's.

1) Briarwood Aspen inside. Not much in there to be honest...
Compared to my own pinball that machine looks like the homebrewed one... 

2) My own BioShock pinball. The cabling is arguably neater in the BA machine thou.
But in my defense, so was mine once... :)

On the other hand - had I been making an late 70's/early 80's machine I'd be done by now....

Two Bytes

Two bytes were enough to break the WAV-Triggers loading...

When I did the export of the WAV-files I pressed the "Clear metadata"-button in Audacity. It seems this buttonpress added a "no metadata"-flag, or something like that and thus causing the file to not function in the WAV Trigger.

When exporting the file again and simply pressing "Export" the file is 2 bytes smaller and works.

I'm currently toying with the idea of either exporting all files manually or doing a crude batch script to remove the first two bytes of all sound files...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I've been busy with my kids and family lately so not much has happened on the machine, I'm afraid. 

I tried the WAV Trigger, which for some reason doesn't play audio. But I'm pretty sure the problem is in the SD card - OSX has a nasty habit of putting a hidden folder on the card whenever a deletion occurs and that probably interfered with the indexing of the WAV-files. I'll have to look into this - once summer ends... :)

Until next time!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Quick update!

Things are moving along!

Had some trouble getting it to run and I looked all over the board for errors... then I realized I'd simply entered the wrong pin order in the sketch... That's what you get when creating a program before the hardware is made. :)

1) The lightboard works and the light update routine has been written! The last row is blank simply because that power line has not yet been connected. Also - a special "bonus" is getting its programming done as well...

The old Mega-board has made its comeback. For some reason the Nano-board has thrown in the towel and the 5V-pin measurs only 2+V. On top of that the serial port does not get recognized by the computer, so I figure it's broken. But I'll drop in the Mega as a replacement rather than purchasing (yet) another board. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lights. Aaaw yis!

And it's completed! 

1) The finished lightboard, all populated and ready to go! This is easily my most aesthetically pleasing and most well thought through circuit board I've made. I'm also pretty satisfied with the fact that I've more or less never touched electronics on this level before starting the build. There are two power chains, 5+ and 12+ (or whatever I decide to hook up), and I've put 2A fuses on each power chain. My plan is to run the device with all lights active and in case the fuses burn out I'll increase the fuse rating. I'm not putting it back untested again...

I've spent the evening finishing up the lightboard (yesterday was spent on upgrading the WAV Trigger firmware) and it turned out great! Unless I've forgotten a cable or two in the logic channels it's ready to be put back into the machine. I'll probably develop the new required light code out of the machine first (on the Arduino board) so that I don't have to hunch more than necessary. :)

 The only thing I'm slightly worried about is burning out the last row of the LED-matrices, since the current limiting resistor is the same as the others. I haven't done the math for those yet, but I kind of hope that the green ones will simply be dimmer and the red ones within safe margins...

2) Green lights on the top seven rows...

3) ... and red lights on the bottom row, visualizing the higher voltage power chain.
Once it's tested and ready to go, there's only the small matter of soldering new cables to each light. It's around 60 meters of cable to cut, rig and solder.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Matrices be matricing!

1) Getting closer...
Most components are in place now, just need to connect the dots basically. Missing are the fuse boxes and the actual shift registers. The underside looks horrendeous thou, but there's basically no other way to do it with experiment cards... It works perfectly, and that's the important part. :)

2) The flip side. Ginormous resistors are ginormous... Behind them there's a ground "bridge" and one is visible in the top right as well. Soldering islands together like this is obviously not the best solution, but it works and works pretty well. "Next time" I'm building something I'll have the PCB's prefab'ed. It's cheap enough and saves a ton of time!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lights are coming!

Quick update today.

This is the current state of the second revision of the lightboard. Much neater design, although there's been two mishaps. The first is that I accidentally ordered much too beefy resistors, so they're too big for the initial design and I've been forced to put some of them under the board. The second thing is that the LED-modules were almost twice as big as expected and will be sticking out from the board.

But it's all good, I believe.

1) Semi-populated lightboard. This time I went for a much more streamlined design, along with "seats" for the IC circuits
which will avoid a lot of pain when/if needed to be replaced. The cable connectors has since the picture was taken been adapted to be unique so that the cables "can't" be plugged in incorrectly. Unless I've made a fatal design error, this board will be a lot more stable than the old and far easier to debug, troubleshoot and correct!