Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I've got control! When I turn the power on...

Much has happened since the last update!

The backbox received some love and got bolted together. I afterwards realized that the wood was bent and the backbox is tilting to the left. Not nice, but it'll have to do for now. If it still looks tilted when finalized I'll probably redo it.

I did some tidying up of the electrics inside - much nicer and a lot less risk of unwanted electrocution.

Left: Protected high current areas

I also finished soldering my first version of the solenoid control board. It turned out very messy and not at all as I had hoped. My soldering pen stopped working (oxidation deluxe) and I had to turn it sideways to solder. On top of that I didn't test my PCB design before soldering and it turned out I was outputting too little current to open the MOSFET gates. Doh.

After a little experimentation I found out that it was the resistor and LED's that caused the current drops and after these were removed it worked as intended. But messy!

I also found out that the MOSFET gets REALLY hot after a little use. Need some serious cooling there...

Frankenboard. No love could ever save this PCB.

So, I visited the local electronics store and bought myself a real soldering station, and man - it's worth its weight in gold! Soldering like a pro, no messy stuff, no premature oxidation etc. This of course made me want to redo the entire board with a new design - Meet the Wonderboard:

The Wonderboard. Oh yes, daddy loves you!

It's still not finished, but it's a lot cleaner and less error prone than the old version. It will look awesome with the cooling fins mounted! 

If you're going to solder something - Buy a good soldering station. Period.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Back from trip

Came back late last night from my weekend trip to Stockholm.
Big city with lots of pinball places, felt really nice!

The downside was that the machines were more or less tucked away in an old locker-room where nobody else was. The place was packed but the pinballs were left alone...

Kinda makes you sad, doesn't it?

But I saw this as an excellent opportunity to measure and play as much as I liked!
I even had a small chat with the machine owner about the machines and me building one. Too bad he wasn't nearly as excited about pinballs as me...

Side note:
Avatar's left outer lane is the most ball hungry thing I've ever witnessed!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weekend trip

Spending the weekend ordering pinball parts and visiting the capital city of Sweden. Hopefully I get the time to visit a couple of the major pinball places here. Can't go wrong with a little recreational fieldtrip!

Of course I'll be combining pleasure with business so the measuring tape goes in the backpack as well. Hopefully I'm not to far off in the dimensions and will be able to use standard parts out-of-the-box without modifications. We'll see!

Todays orders consisted of capacitors, chrome leg assemblies, beer seal, lever guide assembly, lockbar, side rails, speakers and speaker grills, hinges for the backbox, microswitches, vertical upkicker assembly, spinners etc... Hopefully I now got most of the parts needed!

I am missing a coin door, but that's another story...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cabinet construction and wiring

The wood for the cabinet has been chopped up and bolted together nicely now. The backbox is still not complete, need to do a little more voodoo magic on the backpiece.

Main power input (grounded)
Right: Inside the cabinet. 

Note the use of a standard extension cord. I figure if something breaks or needs testing I can simply unplug it and take it to the "lab" etc.
Currently plugged in is the +48VDC PSU that drives the left power "sockets" in the back. They go through a small fusebox to protect both plus and minus. The right section will be connecting to Arduino's Vin and (ideally) +12VDC power gained from the connected Arduino PSU.

Left: Closeup of the fusebox. 8A fuses for the left +48V and 8A for the +12V on the right. I'm using red vs blue cables so it's easy to select the correct voltage. (Note: The right fuses need to be replaced with weaker ones, since the current PSU only gives 3.5A) 
Right: Closeup of the on/off button that controls the main power. This probably needs some t.l.c in the future as the soldering is really sloppy. Hopefully it's correct to have the ground connected at all times...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

We got wood!

Got the woodwork today, solid 18 mm plywood, but...
I got some of the dimensions wrong plus missed the head/top backside completely!
Turned out I was looking at two different schematics (widebody/regular)...

Now I need to get my hands on an electric saw to trim off some of the edges...
At least it's better that I got too much wood that the other way around!

I also bought some mounting rails (regular drawer style) that I figure can be used to hold the playfield. But we'll see if it does the trick or if I need to buy "proper" rails.