1/5/2017 – Filter and Bally Intf PCBs ordered

So the Power Supply filter boards, and Bally Interface boards got ordered today.  I was holding off on the order to save a little bit of money on the shipping from IteadStudio.  (Hey, a buck is a buck, right?)  I wanted to get them out this week, because Chinese New Year starts on 1/22/2016 and that closes the factories down for about 2 weeks.  By ordering this week it should give them plenty of time to ship the boards before that holiday hits.

So what the heck is the Bally Interface board alluded too by the title?  As you may recall, I have a Dolly Parton machine that I’ve been meaning to do a retheme.  The MPU board in it has massive amounts of acid damage, so that needs to be replaced.  (I actually bought a replacement board in Allentown about 5 years ago, but never bothered installing it.)  In the end, if I simply replace the MPU, I will have a working Dolly Parton with a completely destroyed playfield, and a backglass that is falling apart.  Sounds like a perfect machine to do a retheme so I can sand the playfield down to bare wood, replace the backglass with an LCD, and add some more rules to give a little more depth to the game.

Problem is that I don’t want to rewire the machine.  I had it up and running a bunch of years ago, and it was working at that point.  It booted and played, two of the five displays worked, etc.  Replacing the two displays would cost about as much as just throwing in an LCD monitor, so that is a no brainer.  Adding new rules requires a new MPU, so I might as well update it to use OPP boards to drive the machine.  That requires converting from the backbox boards in the cabinet to OPP boards.

The backbox of Dolly Parton has a transformer board.  (I’m not going to change anything on that board, and use it as is).  Then there is a lamp driver which was a simple low side driver for the lamps.  (I was actually expecting it to be a lamp matrix, but it turns out there is a wire for each controlled lamp).  Those two connectors will go to the interface board, and I will use six incandescent wing boards to give me the same functionality.  Next up are the two switch matrices (one for the cabinet and one for the playfield).  I was very surprised there were actually two separate switch matrices, but each his own.  For that, I’m going to add switch matrix support to the OPP firmware, so that will take up another four wing positions.  (The firmware will support up to 8×8 switch matrices.)  In Dolly, the cabinet is a 2×8 matrix, and the playfield is a 5×8 switch matrix.  Next is the solenoid driver board.   The board supports 20 solenoids, but the flippers are simply enabled using a relay.  The Bally interface board will support enabling and disabling flippers instead of grounding the flippers through the flipper buttons.  While Dolly only uses about 12 of the solenoids, I added the extra connectors, so the board could be used for other Bally machines with more solenoids such as Xenon.  The solenoid board also creates the regulated 12V and 5V for the processor.  Instead of generating those, I’m going to use a PC power supply.  A connector was added so the P4 motherboard connector could be plugged into the Bally interface board to tie the grounds of the PC power supply and the old transformer together.  I will end up adding a Raspberry Pi to drive the LCD monitor, and that should be all I need.

Here is a quick view of the PCB layout.  It was a pain to go through the old Bally schematics, but I needed to understand how all that of it was connected together to minimize the chances of needing to rewire stuff.  The schematics are very understandable after you figure out the notations that they were using at the time.  Some things were not as clear as I hoped, but on the whole, they were very good schematics.


Bally Interface Board

So since this is the first post of the new year, we can talk about numbers from last year.  We were pretty close to hitting 10,000 page views for last year, but alas, we fell 100 hits short.  In the end, there were 9,900 views.  Pretty amazing to me.  I could have added another post right before the end of the year, but that just seemed to me that I was trying to gin up the numbers.  There is really no point to that.

That being said, I’m pretty sure this is going to be the last major year for the OPP blog.  I’m running out of things to discuss, and if I get everything done that I’m planning, there really won’t be any other hardware that needs to be done.  I’ll still be around, but I doubt if I will keep updating the blog as frequently.  As I come up with pinball related stuff, I will blog about it, but beyond that it is going to slow down significantly.  But this year, 2017, the blog entries will come fast and furious.

That’s all for now.


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