Internet Connected Pinball Machine Shows Off Scores

Prior to movie games, there were pinball equipment. Not that they don’t exist right now, but a modern day pinball machine will very likely have microprocessors and other fancy things that traditional pinball device designers could never dream of. [Eli] had 1 of these mechanical devices from 1974 as a kid and, afterwards, encountered a additional fashionable machine with a rudimentary microprocessor and other built-in circuits onboard. 1 point this enabled is the potential to don’t forget significant scores. But you have to bodily search at the machine, and you can only see the top four scores. [Eli] made a decision to adapt the equipment to add superior score knowledge to the Net, and it is a entertaining job.

[Eli]’s design ambitions were to make it computerized and sturdy. That is, if the network is down or the device loses energy, you should not shed significant score data. In addition, he did not want to modify the visual appeal or problems the 40-year-outdated device. You can see a online video of how it all turned out below.

The Laser Cue equipment is a person of several constructed close to the “Williams Procedure 7” platform. A 6808 CPU, along with some I/O chips to regulate all the lights, sensors, and bells. The sport has only 1K of RAM, 12K or ROM, and 128 bytes (no prefix, just bytes) of RAM with battery backup. There was even a typical “operating system” termed Flipper ROM, and that’s in fact documented more than on GitHub.

The ESP32 version of the WiFi interface board

Because the memory for the machine is all in exterior chips, it was a reasonable notion to swap the CPU with a board that monitored signals on the board. The CPU would plug into this new board, and then a newer microcontroller with an World-wide-web relationship could eavesdrop on bus traffic. Even so, eradicating the old CPU and jamming pins into the ancient socket was worrisome, so as an alternative, [Eli] elected to faucet into a examination connector that was now on the board but not plugged into everything.

An ESP32 is more than capable of the speeds, whilst connecting to 5 V logic was a bit of a trouble. The CPU has 5 V tolerant pins, but some of the 25 obtainable pins on the progress board either established objects on boot or could briefly be outputs and were therefore unusable. To lessen the necessary pins, [Eli] resolved to do some of the decoding in different logic. Instead of working with TTL chips, he elected to use a programmable logic array.

After that, it seemed it would be simple, but there was a little something protecting against the ESP32 from looking through each bus cycle. [Eli] hardly ever obtained to the bottom of it but instead switched to the Raspberry Pi Pico W. Working with the chip’s distinctive I/O processors manufactured the position simple, and it labored properly. The relaxation of the challenge was just in good shape and end. Be positive to go through to the close to come across out the lessons realized which may well enable you on your future comparable challenge.

A present day Diy machine could possibly even have an FPGA within. Really don’t have space for a major whole-sized pinball equipment? No dilemma.