Wednesday, July 13, 2016

This One's For You!

Woohoo, an update! ;D

Finished all diodes (I think) today, and got plenty of work done on the machine. For starters I moved the entire light board to the playfield for easier access and debugging/status checking. Unfortunately I realized that there appears to be some kind of error with the 12V line, as these are always active when one of the 5V LED's in the same column is active. I believe this to be a software issue as I cannot reproduce the error by powering rows/cols manually. Had there been any kind of short circuit that would have shown, I think.

The downside is that my programming environment is a very old laptop and for some reason I cannot compile code for Arduino anymore, so I'll have to use my desktop computer. It's quite cumbersome to setup so I'll put that to side for now.

Actually, the row-MOSFET's are active when held low, so it's not entire impossible for the 12V MOSFET to be wrongfully and constantly grounded and therefor constantly active. In the schematics all rows circuits are the same and only the voltage differs. But maybe I connected something to ground "just in case" and since I've previously only connected the 5V line while testing the board, the problem could have been there from the start. I will investigate this.

Edit 2: 

Nope, that's not it. The board follows the schematic (who knew?!) and they're all connected identically. I cannot measure any differences between the functional rows and the erroneous either, so it's gotta be something in the code. Probably a clock pulse in the wrong place or something like that. Let's dive into manuals, yeay!  

1) Cluttered cable mess and the installed lightboard. The board sits on rubber pads and has extra support on the edges to prevent it from falling down, should it ever vibrate loose (not visible here).

2) Dimmed global lighting and example lightshow running. Note the erroneous red row that aligns with the green lights. No actual light has been plugged in at the moment since I need to work out the issue with the programming/board before applying real voltage across the playfield, but even then it's just 20 cables that needs to be soldered. Not a big deal at all.

Then I finished the one-way gate with double switching, meaning that it blocks shots from the front but registers hits, while letting balls from the bumper area pass through and still register hits. This allows for a greater range of options for game rules etc. I'm quite happy with how it turned out, even if the final form of the switchblade had to be reshaped ad-hoc since the nut was placed differently than in my "test rig".

3) More or less the player angle of the switch area. It's got a bit "last minute" to it, but hopefully it'll play alright and the benefits are far greater than the possible visual aspect of it. But honestly, I think the Quadtych deserves to be a visible part on the playfield - and now it is.
4) Birds view of the switch area. The metal rail in the bottom (i.e playfield right) was bent with a nice fit. The original part was just too short and I was tempted to put a pole between the bumper and the rail, but then I found a slightly longer rail in my "box of random parts" which worked perfectly. Guess I've been racking up some karma points at least... :) 

5) Switch close-up. Took a bit of fiddling to get right, but it works great. Hope it keeps running smoothly in the future too.

 Lastly, I've begun work with the ball-lock / up-post thingy.
At the moment all I've done is removing the old captive ball and modifying the plastic overlay slightly to better show the locked ball.

Next I plan to construct the actual ball lock device itself, where the problem today is two fold;
Firstly there's the issue of attaching the holder solenoid to the main solenoid. I need to find a good material that I can process without heavy machinery. I'm thinking a thin(isch) sheet of aluminum should work. Plan B is to construct a plastic placeholder while I think of something else. I'm refraining quite severely from purchasing new parts at this stage, but if I have to; well, I have to.

Secondly, the "fork" I was planning to use to hold the ball was of a wood screw type and is unfit for mechanical use, so I'll have to find an alternative for that. I don't think I can use an official Stern (or similar) ball lock as the space is very limited where I'm installing it. At least in the blueprints I've looked at it looks too big.

Well, that's all for now. Hopefully I'll have functioning lights and a ball lock next time! :) 

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