For quite awhile now, I’ve been toying with the idea of doing my own home brew pinball project. The idea first crossed my mind around 4 years ago, but I didn’t give it much time. Thoughts about doing it came again and again since that time, each being stronger than the last. But again I had always pushed it off as building a machine from scratch is more work than I was willing to do. It was more work than I could even get my head around. What about extending something that already exists though? Now that was something I could start getting my head around. Enter Bride of Pinbot 2.0. Owning a BoP 2.0 allowed me to see just what was possible with extending an existing game and how it all hooked up hardware wise. I was impressed with what a platform like P-ROC could do and the fact it was all reversible, means the game can be switched back to stock configuration again. I don’t have a large collection of machines that I could choose from in order to do this project, but there was one in my line up that stood out the most. Pinbot.
After all the work I’ve done to the cabinet and playfield, there was one part that still stood out as needing attention. The apron. It’s by no means terrible, as I’ve seen much (MUCH) worse. But it now stands out as being below standard when compared against everything else done to the game. So it’s time to give the apron a face lift. There were two options in front of me to consider for the face lift. The first is a set of black decals to keep it looking original. The second option (which was more appealing) is to go with a fancy set of 2.0 apron decals from Retro Refurbs. These are printed on a chrome style material and give a cool looking rainbow shine effect when light reflects off the surface. The perfect look for a 2.0 machine with this theme!
Who likes self punishment? I do, it seems. My BoP 2.0 machine came with a touched up and clear coated playfield when I purchased it 14 months ago and it’s a task I knew I would get to at some point. But when you’re having fun playing a game, it’s hard to take it offline for some major changes. Playfield swaps are a time consuming process, so it’s not something I’ve been looking forward to. I gained some excellent experience when I did my Pinbot CPR playfield a couple of years ago and I’ll be rolling that knowledge in to how I approach this one. The up side here is the replacement playfield is an existing playfield, so all screw holes (both sides) are already there. New playfields have (most) screw holes dimpled, but can be up to 1mm out in any direction (according to CPR – not sure if that also applies to other playfield makers). On my Pinbot playfield, I found many dimples missing on the underside. This can be a pain for assemblies under the playfield that are made up of 2 or 3 components, consisting of up to 12 screws, which all need to line up in order for it to operate smoothly. The current playfield in my game isn’t bad by any stretch as mylar across the central playfield and pop bumper areas has protected most of it. I actually think it would make a great drop in replacement for someone who has a trashed playfield or someone who wants to touch up and clear coat one for themselves. Time to begin the process.
When it comes to my Bride of Pinbot 2.0, I can’t help myself. I’m always looking to add upgrades and improvements as it’s my favorite game. With a four week break coming up, I have plans for a playfield swap and new decals over the Xmas holidays. Before I get to that however, there are a couple of smaller things I want to get done. The first is replacing the board that controls the lamps on the brides helmet with an upgraded version. When switching to LED’s, you lose the fade effect that would normally be present as part of the lamp sequence that plays out. As a result the different chase sequences that play out on the brides helmet are not smooth. Luckily, a pinside member created a new board to solve this. It can be used in a standard BoP and also a 2.0 machine.
Something that has been on my to do list for the last 8 months is take a backup (drive mirror) of the hard drive in my Bride of Pinbot 2.0 machine. At the very heart of the 2.0 upgrade kit is a mini PC running Windows on a solid state drive (SSD). Solid state drives are very reliable, but like any computer – it’s at risk of failure over time. If your BoP 2.0 hard drive becomes corrupt or the drive dies – there’s no install CD to run and get it up again. The mini PC hardware can be replaced – but what’s on that drive can’t. Small SSD’s are cheap now (the one I purchased for this backup here was $35AU) and because it is just a Windows computer, you can mirror the drive with a full backup should some disaster occur. I thought I would put together this post for any other BoP 2.0 owners wanting to mirror their drive so it’s easy to restore if a new HDD / computer is needed. There’s a good video tutorial for backing up your BoP 2.0 on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOLaBT30dpM&t=849s), which uses a different method to what I cover here. Both methods work though, so go with what you’re more comfortable with 🙂