Monthly Archives: May 2016

5/23/2016, Rewiring SS3 One more Time

So I decided I was going to rewire the SS3 playfield from first generation cards to Gen2 cards.  Turns out it is going to remove even more wiring from the bottom of the playfield.  (First gen cards needed two communication channels:  a 5V RS232 serial channel for talking to the solenoid/input cards, and a 5V SPI channel for talking to the incandescent boards.)  In Gen2, both of these channels have been combined, so a single communication channel talks to all the cards.  That mean less wiring.  Yeah!  Communication on Gen2 cards uses a ribbon cable so no more crimping 12 individual connections between incandescent boards.  Yeah!  Cards are twice as dense, and are located at different spots, so some of the wires need to be moved, extended, etc.  Booo!  I’ve already rewired this playfield once, so it is really boring work.  Boo!  (Now I’m just whining).  I’m 25% of the way through the rewiring, and I’m just not looking forward to it.  Oh well, I will keep slogging along at that.

While taking apart the connectors, I did find a bad crimp in the incandescent board communication channel.  That explains why I was having problems when taking the videos just before the Kickstarter campaign.

Going through my inventory of parts I have laying in my work area, I have enough parts to finish four packages of board only supporters for the Kickstarter people.  The rest of the boards and parts will need to wait until I receive the last two parts.  (Strangely, the only parts that I don’t have are the 40 pin 100 mil headers, and the 2 x 40 pin 100 mil headers).  Those parts should be coming in the next couple of weeks because they are coming directly from China.

So I got a note from a guy in England who bought a PSOC 4200 board, programmed the OPP firmware on it himself, and is currently running MPF and the OPP firmware.  I am completely flabbergasted that he was able to download the repository, and get all this working without an email message to me.  Congratulations.  His blog is schoolpinball.wordpress.com.

Joe finished the LE sticker for the Kickstarter.  I’ll be ordering those sometime during the week, so I can send out those stickers to the supporters that requested them.  (Yeah, it was only Don and Jeff from The Pinball Podcast.)  They told me I didn’t need to send them anything, but well, I did promise it on the Kickstarter, so I will be buying a single sheet of those stickers, (I think that is 4 stickers), and send them out.

That’s about all I have for today.

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5/3/2016 – Kickstarter successful

Just a very quick update.  The Kickstarter was successful, and so most of my time for the next couple of months will be focused on getting those boards out.  I’m not going to be accepting any more “orders” until all the Kickstarter is done, shipped, and those supporters are happy.

The Kickstarter ended up with 23 supporters wanting to get a set of boards, and some have requested extra boards, so the board count is over 600 at this point.  That is far more boards than I ever expected.  Using my back of the napkin calculations, it means that it is approximately 30 pinball machines.

I have been wildly inaccurate in predicting the “normal” mix of boards.  Well, about 50% of the people want the “normal” mix.  Many other supporters want something a little different.  Some have tons of coils, some have tons of switches, some want tons of lights, …  The combinations are mind blowing but luckily spreadsheetable.  (I started with writing stuff in my pinball notebook, and after the first day, switched over to a spreadsheet as a better way to track the info.  Anyway, who wants their pinball “idea” and design notebook filled up with the monotony of orders?

I’ve been working with jab (don’t know if I’m allowed to use his first name, so I’m using his MPF user name) from Mission Pinball Framework.  He has taken the task of moving the platform interface for OPP from MPF 0.21 to 0.30.  His detailed questions about certain aspects of the OPP serial interface insures that others can use the work that the MPF team has already completed, and will not need to talk to the low level interface.  Jab has already pointed out a bug in the version of platform interface that I wrote.  (it did not handle reading the configuration of multiple cards properly.)  We’ve also discussed some enhancements to be added to the firmware so it better supports dual wound coils (flippers)  (They were supported at drive strength of 93.75%, but he would like it to be 100%).  This level of collaboration encourages me because that is the goal of open source projects.  Both collaboration, and enabling others to use your work.

Brian’s interview on Boom Go Podcast is also exceptional.  He explains many aspects of MPF and how they should be used.    There were definitely aspects that I didn’t understand as clearly before versus after hearing the discussion.  One difficulty is there are many different ways that things can be implemented.  Use logic blocks, use shots…they are somewhat interchangeable.  As I get more into MPF, and converting the SS3 code over, I will try to point out what things that I have learned.  The conversion to MPF is on the slow simmer burner as I’m working on the Kickstarter stuff.