Monday, May 9, 2016

Things break

When you're dealing with pinball machines, you have to know they are complicated mechanical and electronic devices and things can suddenly just break down.

When you have only one or two games that are in good condition you probably are not really aware of this, but when you have a dozen or more machines, usually one of them has an issue. Sometimes it's as small as a switch that needs adjustment, nothing really broken, but they all require work. And things can suddenly break down.

Yesterday I was reminded again of this. I had played my BK2K on saturday and everything worked fine. Sunday afternoon I switch it on again and during gameplay I notice the magna-save magnet always grabbed the pinball. The magnet was just locked on all the time.
I immediately shut down the machine. Luckily I noticed quite fast during the game that the coil was locked on and the magnet can be on for a while, it was hot but not starting to burn. Regular coils (like used in slingshots) can start to smoke quite fast (give it a minute or so..)

Anyway, time to do some troubleshooting, take the manual with schematics to see what transistor drives that coil (Q14), did some measurements with my dmm to confirm (yes - it wasn't completely shorted but the readings were off compared to the other transistors. Switched on my soldering iron, put a new TIP102 transistor in, and half an hour later the game was in complete working condition again.

Luckily that was all it took, and I had all parts so I didn't have to order anything.
It was a quick fix. But a reminder that it's not because something worked yesterday, it'll still work when you turn on the machine today..

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

DrDude 2000

Hi all !

It's been a long time since I blogged as I posted some updates on the facebook page..

I'm still working on some projects that are better suited for blogging so I'll try to make some updates here again. Don't know if many people still follow this blog or accidentally read this.. guess I'll see if I don't get any reactions ? :)

Anyway here's my latest project : a DrDude playfield !
I got this in a warehouse buy and as it was complete I hate to part it out and sell it. I want to play it !
I have a Black Knight 2000 which uses a similar boardset.. so it's a good way to get additional games in a full gameroom.

The boardsets are similar (sys11B and Sys11C) but not identical. But in theory it should work.

Even the soundboard should work but needs different jumpers when the DrDude eproms are installed. I will check this out later, first want to get the playfield working. Right now the machine plays with BK2K music.

Installing the playfield however wasn't as easy as I initially thought it would be. On WPC games and older games the playfield connects directly to the driver/power board. But on Sys11 you have an interconnect board that's wired specifically for that game.

The BK2K manual als doesn't include a wiring diagram, so it's not as easy as comparing both manuals next to each other and seeing where they match or differ. I've already spent too many hours tracing wires on both playfields and in the cabinet and in the DrDude manual..

The good thing was that nothing blew up when I connected the playfield and powered the machine up. I really was afraid the first time that a fuse would blow because coils were connected different, or some coils started to burn. Well actually they did a little bit - read further .. :)

Luckily there is a bit of a consistency between the re-use of connectors and even wire colors in the Sys11 games.
Some things did not work at all, like the slingshots, motor, magnet and big guy coil.
Except for the coils, switches and lamps seem to be configured identical. That's great  news !

The biggest issue was that the playfield has a 3-pin connector that had no suitable match in my BK2K backbox wiring. There was a purple-yellow wire that provides power to a lot of coils that wasn't connected. I made up a plug for it, and checked on the black knigh playfield where that connected to.

Turns out it was pin J12-13 on the interconnect board. I installed the wire there and suddenly the slingshots worked ! Yay !

Unfortunately now was where the differences in wiring showed up.
When the A/C Relay in the coil test is activated, the big guy flasher lites. And the Big Guy coil is activated all the time and started to smell.. so I temporarily disconnected it. Still need to find out what coil the machine thinks that is, maybe the a/c relay..

The motor of the mixmaster also didn't work. That was a big problem as it is very important for gameplay (I can live with a big guy that doesn't move - but without a working mixmaster the game is no fun at all). I tested the motor by connecting a 9v battery and it started to turn so the motor itself was good. That was good news ! I really didn't want to invest in a new motor - should that have been broken then the playfield would get parted out after all.
Investigated this further and the capacitor on the motor driver board underneath the playfield was bad. Put a new cap in and now the motor works !

What's left is the magnet. This also doesn't work, seems it's wiring is also integrated in that one plug that didn't exist. Still need to compare the wiring between BK2K and DrDude to see where its source is. But the game is playable without the magnet activating. So I'm already happy with this situation.

Next steps - shopping the playfield and getting the sound and speech working.

Monday, June 17, 2013

F800R hugger installation

Installed a 'hugger' on my F800R last weekend.
BMW and other companies sell these but they're not cheap, all are over 100 euro.
Just for a piece of plastic.. that's expensive.

On a german forum I found a post that the hugger from a KTM Duke also works. And that one only costs 15 euro.

So I tried this part, here are the installation instructions:

Here it is, KTM part nr 75604050000

This is how it looks. The base is too big to mount on an R. We need to cut of a part.

here is where it has to go. Remove the torx screw. Take a piece of paper and trace the outline. To the right the shock absorber is mounted, on the left there's less room because of the tubes.

I read many people used a dremel and were busy for an hour.. I took a bigger saw and was done in 10 minutes :) I did cut one part at the time and fit each time to be sure

This is how it looks ready to be mounted.

I first cut off the part to the right. Just next to the triangular part as this gives the hugger its support. Then you can fit it next to the shock absorber.

Then I measured where the hole had to go (again using a piece of paper). This made it easier to fit each time, I used the screw to put it in and noticed where it would touch the tube on the left side..

First cut it wide, fit, and cut some smaller pieces until the flat part fit. You want to keep as much of the flat part as possible. On the left a little bit at the bottom of the triangular part is cut, or it wouldn't fit.

When I mounted it I noticed it's not really really sturdy anymore. Because so much from the base has been cut on the sides it became a bit more flexible. If I would do this again I would try to leave more on the far left and right side (maybe half a cm along the whole edge). It will then sit closer towards the tire but is probably less flexible as the base continues from the left to the right. Now only in the center part there's a base left..

Anyway here is it mounted. I've driven over some bumpy roads and it did touch the tire a few times, but only a very little bit and in exceptional conditions. In normal use it'll stay in position.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

whitewater missing mountain mod

Not much to say. Haven't worked in a month on CC.
Most of my (little) free time went into making whitewater missing mountains.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

CC new game rules

Followup on my previous post..

After some thinking and reviewing things I now really know what way to go and what to implement.

Months ago I had about half of the new rules in my head (most were very much based on current CC rules) and had implemented that part, and thought I would just continue to add things later. Some things didn't integrate well. Now I have made some changes and it all fits better. I'm happy with that. Less question marks, I have guidelines to follow.

Have about 80 percent now of how it'll play decided. Most of the existing code I can re-use, with some changes.
Some things are totally new. I'm not sure if I will be able to implement them well, write good code that runs fast enough, make good dmd graphics, .. so not sure if these ideas will be implemented or not. But I will try to as they bring additional depth and it would be cool to see my original ideas in reality.

About how different it'll be from the existing game rules: it will be similar and different enough at the same time.
Similar because from the beginning I stated I want to keep the same level of flow, difficulty, .. and I'm bound by playfield inserts and soundcalls. A gunfight is a gunfight. But what is implemented for a gunfight, and how it's started, has changed.

What I've done this week was work on a new skillshot. There's more skill involved than just plunging the pinball with the right force. Also made new dmd graphics for it. My first 'real' dmd graphics.
I've hand drawn them using Paint.Net. Wasn't too bad to work with - set to pixels, showing a pixel grid, leftclick is a black pixel, rightclick a white pixel..

Last week I had seen the Dutch Pinball Teams new Bride of Pinbot running P-Roc. Their dmd animations are amazing. Rendered in 3D Studio Max, they're very smooth and detailed. But a powerful pc has much more processing power than plain WPC hardware. Freewpc / default wpc hardware also has less colors (shades) to use than P-Roc.

I considered the option to also use 3D rendering.
But: I'm not a specialist in 3D rendering. I know some basics, played with it 20 years ago on Amiga computers. Last week I spent some time using free 3D programs like google sketchup and blender.
Learning these programs in detail, just to make some simple dmd animations would take too much time for me. And the wpc hardware has more limitations than P-Roc, so I wouldn't be sure the results would be useable enough.

So therefor I decided not to follow this path. For now I will just paint everything by hand. That's also a huge job, but I'll also learn more along the way, and can always upgrade and replace my early work when I make better dmd pictures later. I'm glad this also has been decided.