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.
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.
A small issue began to appear in my X-Files machine recently and I wanted to share its cause since it’s something that can easily be over looked and maybe is not something the occurs often. One of the playfield insert lamps was becoming intermittent. At the base of the playfield, where the ball drains, there are a set of 7 inserts which light up and animate during play. One of these would occasionally not light up as part of the sequence. Then it became more frequent, until eventually it stopped lighting up at all. Given I had changed all the bulbs to LEDs as part of my rebuild not too long ago, I figured it wasn’t as simple as a blown globe and a quick swap over to solve.