Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Progress is going slow, not only did I solder the ground cables wrong. I also soldered a lot of diodes in the wrong direction. I soldered the first one wrong and used that for reference for the next etc...
But on the plus side; I'm halfway done with the soldering of diodes now!

The gate and ball lock is taking shape as well, need to rearrange a ball guide and drill a few holes but other than that it shouldn't be much more work.

Sadly, I'm starting to toy with the idea of a kickback in the left lane too, haha. But I guess that'll have to wait. :)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Through The Gates of Hell

Here's a quick preview on the test version of the one-way gate.
It's not nearly as slimmed as I would have hoped, but without special wire bending tools it's impossible to bend smaller angles. The wire is tough!

1) Partially assembled gate.
The gate has changed since this photo was taken, will post update soon.
2) Position on the playfield. The switch registers hits from front and back but
will only allow balls to pass through from the bumper area.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Nothing bad...

...that doesn't bring any good, right?

Having some forced time-out from soldering made me focus on game rules instead, and it hit me -
I'm not done with the playfield just yet.

I have a one way gate planned, which actually was planned for but never made it to the "final" playfield because of time and technicalities. The gate would be sitting between the vent and motorized targetbank, preventing direct shots (or at least partially) into the bumper area. I might do a half gate to allowing less-than-direct shots to pass/bounce into the bumpers thou. I did work around the lack of a gate by blatantly pushing The Masterpiece and New Years Eve-corresponding actions up one floor, to the upper level. But this way allows me to use my original ideas which, quite frankly, sound a lot more fun!

I also found a spare flasher that I can place somewhere now that I got plenty of free flasher-channels. I'm thinking it would be a cool effect to put it behind the Big Daddy and possibly killing all lights and strobe that flasher during his awakening. The shadows should be pretty cool and the effect of the red eyes in the dark would be nice too!

The next part is getting rid of the captive ball and replacing it with a ball lock, similar to the one i recent Stern games such as Avatar, Rolling Stones or X-Men. It will be a tight fit, but I have all the parts and just need to Frankenstein them together. The best of it all - it costs me more or less nothing, and is more or less a matter of screwing things together.

This should be the equivalent of taking a bathroom break on a road trip, so nothing major. While waiting for my soldering iron replacement to arrive, there's not much else I can do. :)

Friday, March 4, 2016

They call him jinxed.

I was just about to start soldering on all the diodes and....
My soldering iron decided to die on me.

At this point of "two steps forward, one step back" I just got to ask myself - How badly jinxed am I?
Seriously, does that even happen to people?

A replacement soldering iron has been ordered so now I'm waiting for that to arrive. :(

1) Fresh diodes! Get your diodes here. 

What 3 GB graphics get you...

I can't remember if I've posted the full table graphics overview yet, but thought I'd do that. :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


As a friend told me - I really should have done a little research before soldering away...

The problem is easily and cheaply fixable.
And it will be fixed properly and according to how pinball machines are supposed to operate.This picture blatantly stolen from Marco Pinball pretty much explains everything needed to know.

1) Lamp socket with diode attached. I'm frankly a bit ashamed I didn't research the purpose of the extra lug when I checked the connections....

What I did was soldering my ground cables directly to the outer pin, efficiently bypassing the design of the lamp holder. In other words, I did exactly what this image told me not to.

2) The problem explained in detail. On my machine the row and columns are "swapped",
meaning power is coming from the rows and columns are ground. 

The solution is pretty easy to put in place, so now I'm off to shop for a bunch of 1N4004 diodes - which, luckily, are very cheap compared to the the cost of converting to all-LED... 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

We meet again, Captain Setback!

I was having a great time soldering new light cables and everything went smoothly... I thought.

1) I was happy. Until I tested the circuits...

Introducing, in the red corner - The Problem.

2) A typical layout with two power lines and two ground lines.

In the picture above, connecting Power 1 and Ground 1 should light up Lamp 1. The problem is that since I don't use LED's, which are single direction only, but lamps/bulbs in most locations, powering that line will also light up Lamp 2, 4 and 3 (in that order). Basically it's a grid of interconnected lines so "everything" lights up simultaneously. Doh.

...and in the blue corner - The Solution(s).

I planned the matrix layout based on LED's, so the easiest solution would be to simply replace all bulbs with LED's instead. That is rather expensive however and I really want to keep it "lamp-agnostic" in order to use whatever lamp suits the most.

Another possible solution would be to use current restricting diodes on each ground and power line. Slightly less expensive and should be quite easy.

The third - and here's where my hope lies - possibly solution: Using the light board's built in current restricting diodes on each ground and power line. However I'm not fluent enough in electrics to know if a single diode at the end / start of each line would be enough to keep current going in the right direction all over the playfield. I only know this once everything is hooked up, and I have roughly half of the ground cables left to solder, and in case I need to adjust something I'd rather do it now than retrace my steps later.

The million dollar question: 
Is it enough to "correct" the current direction at the start and end of each line, even if the cables are not drawn in series, but rather branch out every now and then? Would the, say, blue chain above benefit from a diode between Lamp 2 and Ground 2? Would the diode stop that from happening since that line is still connected to the diode?

Or would the current pass on from Lamp 2 to Lamp 4 regardless?

I've found a great tool online to troubleshoot circuits. Using this (which I assume is rather correct) I can see that it won't work with a single diode. The current would still pass in the other "legs".
I will see what the best solution would be, but right now I must say changing to all LED's would be preferable... :/

Check for yourselves here:
Lamp/Bulb based:
LED based: