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    Chime unit now in the cab and sounding sweet. Also adds a nice rumble to the thing when it really gets going… it’s making me want a shaker but not sure that I have space left for one (I will have to re-arrange some things and do some obvious tidy-up).

    Chimes are replicas from McCullogh’s Chime Unit –

    I ordered the Williams EM Unit which features 3x coils at 24v. Added diodes and hooked up to outs of the pincontrol 2, nothing really complicated about them!  :good:




    ^^ Chimes before modification



    ^^ designated perch for chimes. They naturally don’t eclipse the speaker port due to the shape of them which allowed me to keep everything flush.




    ^^ “shelf” modification for chimes. This flat part sits on the woofer. There is pressure from the contractor above it and also added tape so it’s removable if needed but a the same time there’s absolutely no chance of it moving.



    ^^ Bird’s eye view moving unit into position.



    ^^ Installed!  :yahoo:


    Here’s a demo video of them running on Capt. Card by Bord (apologies as the video angle doesn’t do this beautiful table justice)…



    More updates soon… or at least before Christmas I hope. Will be playing a lot more EM tables that’s for sure!  :good:


    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Hey Rich! I’m curious to know how you got your led matrix wired. I ran mine in one direction like yours and want to inject power every strip. There is a great diagram that shows what to do when you run it in the s-pattern, but none that explain this way. The leds were much easier to line up going one direction. Any way you might be able to help explain what you did so I might bite off of it? Thanks man!



    Another friend was asking me about the matrix, I’m planning on doing a short video showing how i wired and mounted it when my filthy assistant gets back from her trip in Canada ;-)    Until then, here’s a quick paint explanation of it…. Although you can set it up with the 1 data out doing the whole cab, I still think my way is the best way for various reasons, lol  B-)


    Matrix diag RpT




    1 user thanked author for this post.

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Thanks buddy! That will help immensely. I appreciate the drawing!</p>


    Catching up on a few hardware updates, very happy with how it’s all coming together still!

    1. Moved the gear motor closer to the player, it was getting drowned out by other sounds in the cab and you couldn’t really feel it moving before. It still could be worth upgrading this toy (or doubling up on them) at some stage down the road. Still its a big chunk of metal that moves and only cost me around £10 online so a bargain!



    2. You might notice the bag hanging… this might be the first pincab in the world to have a fanny pack!!  :unsure:    It’s actually a bag that came with my power supply. I glued it underneath my ultimate I/O board shelf since some of those wires wont’ be used… thinking i can also hold other stuff in there!



    3. Not really an upgrade but since i had the backbox open i thought i would take the screen out and photo the replay knocker since i forgot to do that previously… The metal bracket is from a PC case (dust cover for an expansion slot). It ensures that nothing can touch the knocker by accident (not that it should but a bit of extra piece of mind in this case)…



    • Note how much padding i used between the beater and the wood of the backbox… it’s still a good loud “THUNK” where as before it was a VERY loud “CRACK”.


    4. Slight re-organisation of cabling around backbox. Re-attached the two RGB pylons with screws since i know they won’t be moving now and added some small padding which just keeps the left one from wobbling once assembled.



    5. Tilt bob! Some might overlook this toy but for a small outlay, the tilt mechanism of VPX works a lot better since you are not having the game engine decide when you get a warning. You have to consider the tilt bob settling after a nudge as per real life or you might add to the momentum of the existing swing! Highly recommended in a full-size cabinet IMO, again the run about £15 online for a basic one like this (which is all you need).




    Finally a couple of overview shots. Things still to do… I have a shaker on order which is basically the last major toy to add. Also working on (hopefully) lighting up the topper with another 5-bars RGB + lights that trigger when certain toys are called. That will go into the I-PAC ultimate board which also controls the arcade stick and buttons and the soon to be RGB flipper, magnas and face buttons…. phew!  :good:






    Oh, whoops almost forgot one…


    Upgraded bell from bike bell to service bell… it’s definitely louder and more commanding although still probably not really a “pinball” bell  :whistle:



    Ok, have been working on the cab (as per usual)… few updates behind here since I wanted to include pictures. Will be posting those over the next week or two… finally close to being “done” with the hardware I think (until a time later when i might want to upgrade a few bits)…

    Last thing first, been working on the arcade panel this week… its alive!


    As usual my crappy phone camera won’t do these justice, the light defuses in a very nice and even way and it looks 10x better in real life.

    Here’s the spaghetti pics! :yes:


    ^- Underside of the control panel. Bunching these up like this definitely helps the cable management when it comes to the board, otherwise things get tangled and you end up with repairs to make.


    ^- Control board with just the harness, power and USB attached. Harness goes to the 4 switches on the stick (one of those wires happened not to work when i tested it so i had to replace with one of the unused ones, no big deal as there are so many spare in this build).


    ^- I-PAC Ultimate I/O board with some of the button lights attached. It’s a weird system actually since down the left hand side of the board (closest in the photo) the cables attach RGB where down the other side they attach BGR. In the LEDBlinky software you define each individual channel but it’s something to bear in mind when planning out lighting channels, for those that will be used with DOF especially.


    ^- I am keeping a rapidly expanding spreadsheet of channels for each device that’s connected to the pincab as this gets complicated quickly.


    ^_ Topper loom. Since i will be “doubling up” on things like undercab, 5-bar flasher and assigning lights on my topper to go off when certain toys play in DOF there is also a topper harness with its own channel numbers to keep in mind. Have a long weekend next week when hopefully i will be completing that but it’s going to be a lot of soldering again to make all those (detachable) connections at the topper end. Have yet to plan a way of keeping that neat since the end will be visible from the back of the cabinet.



    ^- Carefully lower into position….


    ^- One of two wingnut fastenings. The other is on the far left on the other side of the control stick to make sure there is absolutely no play there but it’s kind of a difficult angle to light and take a picture of. This solution has worked well and means there are no visible screws on the topside.


    ^-  A lot of effort but worth it… Mame will take some time to set up. Even downloading the current complete set takes over half a day (it’s copying as we speak)! Have a list of TATE games available on steam too ready for the xmas sale B-)


    On this note, i will leave this recommendation here for remote work on the cab : Anydesk. It’s free, no install required and I just uploaded a 70Gb pack from my PC to the cabinet while continuing to work with no problems whatsoever (in the past, using Teamviewer would have been a real headache for such things).

    Next will surely be a post on the shaker motor! Had that in a while now but wanted to do a special video showing that off ;) I will say now, the shaker is one of the best toys you can get. I’m happy my build is still one piece after all the shaking during Flintstones games this week!


    Nice work!  Looking good =)


    - Wonky builder of the steampunk Nikola Tesla cabinet & Starfighter Cabinet


    sooo…. Big old chunk of work done, in fact I am nearly happy with the hardware side of the build finally! I had hoped to couple this update with a video but some power gremlins remain in the build – things not getting enough power recently: the 24v contactors sound a little quiet after the improvements, as do the chimes and the webcam is dropping off after being connected for a few mins. The side matrix strips also were not getting enough power since those issues began, which I resolved by hooking them up to the stand-alone power supply that was previously only serving the matrix.

    Have some things on order to hopefully resolve these remaining problems – powered USB hub, 2-gang extension to support that (with more USB power) and a larger power supply for the 24v toys. We shall see and I will update here as always… can’t wait to show off how the cab looks now as quite frankly, my topper is bloody fantastic (quite right too, it took many hours to build and to wire).

    Anyway, it’s a slow day in the office so let’s get these updates written up. The real impressive demo shall have to wait for the video (hopefully get these power issues fixed this week).


    This actually got added after the chimes. I wanted to do a video of the Data East Jurassic park table with a cup of water in my cup holder, replicating that famous scene in the movie where they see the tremors from the T-Rex causing vibrations on the surface of the water (it would have been a glorious meme). Unfortunately not only have the aforementioned power issues put a hold on that but also the cup-holder i found on ebay (very cheap, 3d printed) was a little bit too fragile and got snapped while i was working around the cab. Feck it anyway, steal this idea if you like!




    ^^ Hard plastic cover.  For a brand-new shaker I was quite surprised how many bubbles in the plastic and scuff marks. Doesn’t affect the use at all. Maybe they should have gone to China to make this part! :unsure:



    ^^ Wasn’t sure where it would fit at first, but damn sure gonna MAKE it fit! Actually the perfect space was directly underneath the chimes unit, just the right clearance really, it’s perfect (and a bit lucky). Using a silver marker to draw the footprint.



    ^^ connector from the shaker. Most people for a vpin would have to chop this off and wire it to their control board (including a diode)…


    ^^ But for me this isn’t a problem, the pincontrol 2 board has a bespoke connector, including the diode! It just takes up channel #41 on the board. You still need to feed it the 12v of course.




    ^^ Snug in it’s new home. Shakes the cab a treat even at only 28 (out of 48) power level in the DOF config tool. I didn’t dare try it at full power yet! Really one of the best toys, I’m glad I did it as originally I was going to skip the shaker.

    Topper Effects / I-PAC lightshow

    The wiring of the topper was even bigger job than I initially expected. Had me tearing my hair out on a number of occasions due to some problems wiring (and not least, some dupont connectors breaking in places that were awkward to repair). Eventually after 3 or so days of working on it I have the following lighting channels hooked to the I-PAC. Some will be DOF, some will be for use in my “backglass arcade mode” only (Launchbox). Those that are to be used by DOF as well as in Launchbox are essentially mirrored, so DOF is outputting to both the effect on the topper as well as around the DMD (for example in the case of the 5-bar flashers)…

    • 5 bar flashers
    • warm white LEDs centre — (mapped to the START button effects in DOF)
    • warm white LEDs off-centre  — (Mapped to the FIRE button effects in DOF)
    • Undercab perimeter – added to the “complex RGB undercab” channels in DOF (tidied up the existing undercab strips)
    • RGB strip wrapped around the Blower fan in a ring – added to the “complex RGB undercab” channels in DOF
    • Backbox RGB – added to the “complex RGB undercab” channels in DOF

    The complex RGB undercab is perfectly done in DOF, if you have more than one strip it will actually assign those different colours! I was expecting to have to do something manual to achieve this but it’s really quite perfect out of the box.



    ^^ Starting to figure out how much wiring space is needed (there’s a lot)!


    ^^ Homemade loom coming from the cab via 24 pin data connector.





    ^^ Figuring out the 12v power feeds and some of the data wires. What a mess!


    ^^ Adding Duponts. Too fiddly and breaky, next time will be all molex or something a bit more robust!


    ^^ Something to wrap around this huge bundle (purely for aesthetics).


    ^^ Loom making it’s way up inside the backbox.


    ^^ Exposed wires from the backbox before tidy-up




    ^^ Initial view from the ladder and then from the ground.


    ^^ (side note, sticker collection at the back of the machine is progressing nicely) ;)


    ^^ All that RGB goodness hooked up to the I-PAC!



    ^^ After it was all wired, I used another piece of the cable wrap on the loose wires and then used my left over speaker fabric to cover all the wires around the fan. A couple of channels didn’t work from the loom on the first attempt so i supplemented with another couple of RGB runs as it was a lot quicker and easier.


    ^^ Finished effort after tidying up. Not obvious from the pic but there are some brass fixtures that I screwed into the top of the cab which prevents this backback LED overhang from sagging. Very pleased although it was a TON of work!


    ^^ Last shot of the inside before putting it all back together.

    …. Read on for more!


    second new addition – since i had some spare buttons kicking about and in various states of working, i decided to put those to use. Not going for the full-on pinball door so instead I have made my own utility panel for tweaking roms and settings. RECOMMENDATION – i originally had the back / quit buttons in popper mapped to ESCAPE (as many would have). Don’t do this! If you assign another button, you can keep the ESC free available to bind as a utility key, very handy since you can still access in-game menus while popper is running (since it’s not just VPX that this cab will play).  The middle 4 are given lighting channels which is more than enough to allow you to see what you are doing inside of the cab with the lights off.



    ^ Button holes cut into a scrap piece of board which was lying outside the maker space down the road (i got a lot of free wood off-cuts during this project).



    ^ 2x leg holes drilled then used chop-sticks for the legs. Notice i also stuck a piece at the front, this aligned with a slot that exists on the door frame. So basically the design is that these props will allow the board to sit at an angle that makes sense to the user, while being easy just to remove the entire panel if needed. The legs sit between the mess of wires either side of the pincontrol2 board B-)


    ^ Good old Speedball India ink goes a long way!






    Does the job and very handy to have these always available without having to connect a keyboard then remember which keys to press.

    As far as the build, hardware is pretty much done, asides from power issues that I mentioned in the last post. To be honest even as-is it’s still a great bit of kit! I do have some plans to maybe improve the flipper solenoids one day… Software side is a daunting task, 100’s of VPX tables still to set up individually then the other systems for the backglass arcade mode. Also lightguns to be added after the kickstarter ships!


    I’ll get a demo vid up once my webcam stays connected for more than 30 seconds… :good:



    Quick photodump. Just got startup automation working (again) this evening after breaking things, since the lights work off of launchbox integration. This is because (a) There’s no direct pinup system integration in blinky like there is for other frontends and (b) no support in the LED Blinky software for more than one concurrent frontend (as far as I can tell you have to pick one). I’m hesitant to go down the path of rocketlauncher for some of this stuff as it’s another big timesink to learn that software… so i will play with the current setup some more.



    The “backglass only mode” has some serious bugs.

    Still, despite the endless trouble-surfing at least *touch wood* the hardware looks like it can stay as it is for now. Lot of software things to configure before the lights hooked up to the I-PAC don’t look wacky but I have a few bits done so took a few beauty shots that I sent to a friend… Once at least the menu lights and bigbox startup sequence are animated, I can start on the footage, and assuming no more disconnect problems with the webcam, of course.


    I will try to get some VPX gameplay up in the next week for this blog, barring any further hardware problems.



    The Gold Leaf RGB control button lights you see here are on basically the lowest settings in the picture to create the glow. At full beam they are super bright. Looks awesome for flipper buttons that are adjacent to a wall or other pins especially ;)

    Getting there… slowly getting there… it’s worth the hassle although if I ever build another it will be the size that lives on a desktop and less complicated!



    Add a channel of warm white leds to your controller if you have space, bind it to a DOF combo so it blinks with launch ball, fire button, etc. Or even several that go off when the chimes play! Gives a magical feel to the game (I don’t know how else to describe it). Indirect LED placements are classy, LED’s in the face are annoying, as a rule of thumb. I even covered my strobes to help diffuse the light more since they flash in 3 different places on the cab when they go off (topper, backbox either side of the DMD and LED matrix).


    Again, Bigbox triggers the control panel, so it’s a problem for now (they are all off under just pinup system and I don’t really want to have to explore custom DOF channels if possible,  i feel this is a scripting issue).



    until next time… :good:


    This build is crazy.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Thanks! It’s been a labor of love (and probably i’m a little bit crazy too) :good:


    I was just going to post what a crazy job you have done But Cool And when you’re all done it’ll be worth it



    Quick show of gameplay on my reference table Attack From Mars (Visual Pinball X). As good as I can do with the hardware I have for now, after several attempts changing video settings and webcam position. Shaker motor cost me the game this time but it’s a fun toy!








    (a few random beauty shots)


    The back LED matrix was dropping out now and then, seemed to be set off by the shaker motor but the connection from each end of those strips is pretty fine. I therefore set about improving the mounting solution (not just for reliability but also to neaten up the aesthetics as well)… as usual, I kind of did my own thing instead of copying a “real world” pinball solution so will document it in case someone does want to employ a similar solution on their own build:


    … so basically, the wood of the matrix mount needed to be flush with the wood of the cabinet (its wedged in the over hang, further back than it was previously). It needed to be protected from vibration and it needed to of course be level all the way along. Here’s how it looks now with no playfield, side strips or blackout screen:




    As you can see, the key tech we are using here is a springy yet firm packing material. This was protecting the power supply used in this build. It was kind of formed in layers which made cutting it down extra quick and easy. Under the matrix, the packing  material is glued, the sides are just spacers to prevent light coming from behind and to make sure it’s centered every time:


    Here’s the matrix board removed. The black space allows it to sit proud of the monitor once installed. The packing material allows it to be wedged into the void of the cabinet:


    To facilitate this, I made a simple shelf of scrap plexi, hole cut to allow the cable to route through. This stops it falling into the case too which would sometimes happen before! The front of the plexi is taped so that light doesn’t shine through.





    The privacy screen, tinted plexi combination needed a tweak to how it mounts. It already had some legs glued on in order to attach to the cab in my previous solution. I added some pins to these legs and some screws to the cabinet to create a hook mounting solution (again this needs to be serviceable, hang level, be close to the matrix but not touching).



    To complete the look, I cut some spacers out of black hardboard. You can see these at either end of the plexi. Ensures no light gets through and is again, another layer which has been my approach throughout building this cab. Under the matrix sits another piece of the speaker fabric. Above the playfield is a floating  shelf with some small pieces of the packing material wedged in to hold it up. This allowed me to get the height just right and since its a hinge it works well. No chance of damage when removing the playfield screen either since it’s soft. In my opinion, the solution doesn’t need to be any elaborate than this as when you are looking at it all assembled, any jank is well hidden!!




    Assembled with screen:



    Light shows!










    Good illustration on the solder join in these strips (unavoidable if you want a matrix this long with this density). Also really not a big deal, especially in game…



    Hope you enjoyed!

    Still battling software, taking longer than expected because, as always, i’m being ambitious which makes life complicated :wacko:   Plans for the beast and things still to do include:

    • Endless tables setup for VPX (this we know).
    • Future pinball (half-way done, needs dof, frontend, tables etc).
    • DOF for pro pinball Timeshock! (if anyone has a guide, let me know)
    • Backglass arcade (aka launchbox) is not opening fully, plenty of bugs in the scripts to iron out.
    • Fresh install of lighting controller software for the RGB buttons. There are things that DOF can’t do when you request this many buttons to be always lit on a profile it seems…
    • More non-pinball vertical games and arcade systems!
    • Light guns, once they get released. I applied to be a beta tester for them so hopefully will be one of the first!
    • Maybe glass? It could be added in theory but would need a custom size… not sure it needs it with this build.

    Once I have the menus how I want them and all the DOF working I’ll do the obligatory celebration video… no idea what the ETA on that is but hoping to get a lot done this summer. :good:


    one more quick tip! How to pull the matrix back out of it’s wedged position safely?

    Simple hair-band does the trick…






    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by -RpT.
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