Something that has been on my “TO DO” list for awhile now is to create an animated LED strip mod for the flail ramp on my Black Knight: Sword of Rage PRO pinball machine. On the Premium and LE models, the lightning bolt cutouts on the metal ramp are lit from below the playfield with 2 strips of addressable LED’s. These are then animated by code in the game, allowing the programmers to play different patterns based on the active rules. The PRO model does not have these LED’s and it’s left black. I purchased a mod from Mezel Mods many months ago that adds 2 LED strips below the ramp BUT they are not animated. Instead all LED’s can only be the same colour and the animation support is limited to fade, solid or blink. You’re also limited to a selection of 15 or so colours. I want to make something much more interesting (and cheaper) so have decided to use an Arduino board to control 2 addressable LED strips so I can animate them. I won’t be able to hook them up to the game code and animate them in the same way as on the Premium and LE games, but I can perhaps use the state of the flail to change the animation. I see this as a good exercise in exploring Arduino and how I may be able to use it in my Pinbot 2.0 project. First up, an Arduino Uno board and case were ordered.
I’ve hit a busy period of the year for me, so progress has slowed some what on Dracula. There is also that new Jurassic Park machine that keeps telling me to play it instead of doing other things 😉 First on my to do list for this update is cleaning the playfield plastics. These pieces are from the middle and top sections of the playfield and have been sitting patiently for the last few weeks waiting to be looked at. Each was cleaned with Nifti first and then finished with Novus 1.
New pin day is one of the most exciting days in the year for us pin heads. It’s even better when it arrives in a big box, ready to unwrap. A few weeks ago, my second new Stern arrived that will keep my Black Knight Sword of Rage company. I gladly welcome a Jurassic Park Pro to my line up.
It’s time to cast my attention to the top area of the Dracula playfield. This section contains quite a few assemblies that will need to be looked at. There are assemblies for a drop target, three pop bumpers, a VUK, ramp diverter and also a ramp lift. When you add all that to the assemblies covered in the previous two updates, it’s amazing how much they crammed in to the game. Can you imagine Stern putting this much in to a single game these days? It would give their number crunching team nightmares. There’s a lot of work to get through, so time to get started.
I went into the first update with quite a bit of momentum, but that was slowed down somewhat for this second update. As is often the case, life enjoys serving up a combination of things like family events, illness and work all at once to get in the way. What I’ve taken to doing though is breaking all the bigger tasks down into many smaller tasks (and breaking them down even further into more smaller tasks) that can be done independently. That way even if I only have 20 minutes in a day to make some progress, I can select a handful of small tasks to do which helps keep progress happening. In this update I’ll be focusing on the middle section of the playfield. There’s a number of assemblies on both sides to look at which should fill this update up pretty quickly. Both sides have large plastic moulds that help decorate the playfield and bring it to life. There are also a few ramps and rails that will need to be removed at this point as they will be in the way. Time to get in to it.