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DeeGor

LEGO Batpin Build Blog (46/19/32)

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Had a pretty busy week, so I didn’t get done as much as I would have liked, but I did get most of the wiring completed for the bottom part of the cabinet. This was the longest part of the build so far, but the most satisfying as I get to see all of my hard work come to life.

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Replacing the Launch Ball button with the Nanotech plunger went a lot easier than I expected. A few minutes of routing, and it fit perfectly in place. I was a little confused on how to mount the plunger initially as it comes with no screws or mounting plate. Paul at virtuapin.net was extremely helpful, and he just uses a few washers to hold it in place when building his cabinets. I picked up a pack of 10-32 ½” machine screws, and a few washers I had lying around the house and it went on super sturdy. I did manage to find a mounting plate for pinball plungers on pinballlife.com, but I didn't bother with it, as I have no stability fears with the washers.

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Here is a picture of the ipac and relays for my solenoids + knocker. I originally soldered wires onto all of the pins of my relays, and I’m really regretting that decision. If I were to do it over, I would make my own relay board or simply buy one. I really didn’t feel like ripping them all apart, so I’ve decided for now to keep them the way they are. If they do give me any problems in the future I’ll break down and make the board.

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The pinball knocker is pretty loud, and I’m really looking forward to hearing it in action during my first replay. The sound does sound a _little_ off. This is probably because I’ve mounted in the front of the cabinet and it hits the same wall the coin door is on. I may end up moving this to the back instead, but I’ll wait to see what it sounds like once I have the TV and playfield glass in place.

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I had planned on placing the TV in this weekend and testing out everything through VP. Upon booting up, the machine got to the desktop then promptly gave me the dreaded BSOD. After a reboot windows threw errors stating it couldn’t write to the drive. I’m not sure what happened, but I’m pretty annoyed as it took days to get everything setup exactly the way I wanted it. I of course never got around to making my clone image of the drive. Stupid me.

I ended up taking the computer out of my mame cabinet to use for testing and to my complete amazement. Everything worked the first time around!

The LED lighting for the buttons and coin slots looks great. It’s nice and bright, and zero heat comes from them. The work directly off the ledwiz and I didn’t need to add any resistors in for them.

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There have been a few questions going around comparing the sound of the allelectronics.com solenoids vs the siemens contactors, so I recorded some audio of both. In the beginning of the audio you will hear the sound of the solenoids, then on to the siemens contactors. I prefer the contactors myself, as the solenoids are a little loud, but the price is hard to beat at only $1.50/ea. The louder knocking towards the end is me cycling between the solenoid and the pinball knocker. It is distinctly louder than the solenoids.

contactors.mp3

My backglass TV will be arriving tomorrow afternoon, so I can finally get started on making the top part of the cabinet. I had been waiting on purchasing that TV until I could find a good deal somewhere. Luckily I caught a deal on newegg.com for a 32” 1080p LCD for only $200. :)

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It's coming along well! The wiring is nice and neat, which is a tricky thing to pull off.

The MP3 of the solenoids vs contactors and solenoids vs a replay knocker is great. I think this is exactly what many people have been looking for. I know I have. I agree, the contactors do sound better, and they're quite a bit faster than the solenoids when triggered on and off fast (like when the ball is caught between two bumpers, for example). The contactors have a more pronounced "thump" too - the solenoids are slightly "clinky".

My replay knocker is super loud - I had it just hit right against the side of the cabinet, directly into the wood. It sounds right to me, and definitely gets people's attention *grin*.

Thanks for sharing!

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Part of the delay is due to me using ledblinky. I would have just used them in game, but my drive died, so I had to use some other program to interact with the solenoids. I've configured the solenoids to be my bumpers before and they're pretty fast.

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Part of the delay is due to me using ledblinky. I would have just used them in game, but my drive died, so I had to use some other program to interact with the solenoids. I've configured the solenoids to be my bumpers before and they're pretty fast.

Oh yeah. I should have been more clear - I noticed the speed difference in my own testing between a contactor and the solenoids. The contactor was significantly quicker - which makes sense - it moves less.

I've tested with the LEDWiz's software, and just clicking on it's window to turn an output on and off is kind of slow. To really test them, I had to create an "animation" of 2 frames (one with the solenoid/contactor on, and one with it off), then adjust the replay speed to see where the start missing cycles.

Too bad about the drive. Sadly, drives are a common point of failure on any PC.

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Your wiring looks great. Thanks for the Mp3! This was very helpful.

Most pinball machines the knocker strikes a metal plate against the cab not the rubber stopper.

I am definitely going with contactors for the flippers. But I am not using contactors for the other solenoids. For gates and popup bumpers allelectronics.com solenoids sound so much closer to the real thing.

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I know this information is already in the pinball electrical 101, but I drew up a few diagrams in visio on how I connected my "Mameman" solenoids and relays for another user.

This scenario is for people only using a 12v power supply for relays and solenoids.

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This is the scenario I actually used in my cabinet. I wanted to run the solenoids at 24v, but wanted to trigger the relays using 12v, as I didn't want to devote a whole bank on the LEDwiz for a few 24v devices.

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Hopefully some other people will find it useful.

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Yeah, I've run them on 12v and they sound fine on my test board. I chose to use 24v since all of my other force feedback is on 24v. I ended up putting an inline switch on the 24v power supply so I can disconnect all the contactors / solenoids / knocker at night when the kids are sleeping.

Edit:

Just re-read your comment. Yes, the relays are rated for 12v on the coil and 10 amps / 125vac on the contacts.

Edited by DeeGor

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Thanks Deegor, this is a great supplement to the electrical 101.

One question tho, on the 24v scenario - what is the purpose of the Terminal Strip (24V) if no devices are attached other than the Powersupply (24V)?

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The assumption was you would have more than one solenoid. I just didn't put more than one in. I just wanted to include all the pieces I have in my setup.

Actually, I did miss one part. The 500mA fuses. But you get the picture.

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Another weekend down and another step closer.

This weekend I wanted to focus on building the backbox for the cabinet now that I finally had my backglass TV. The TV looks great, but it does not turn on automatically when given power. I wish I had a little more time to research whether the TV supported this feature, but at only $200 for a 1080p TV, I couldn’t wait on it. After a few minutes fiddling around with the power switch, I identified which two pins I could short to turn the TV on, so all is well. 

Building the backbox seemed a lot harder than the playfield section of the cabinet. Figuring out how to mount the backglass TV and DMD monitor was a complete pain. I’m using a Dell 19” widescreen monitor for my DMD, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to decase the damn thing without breaking the case. Leaving the case on was an issue because it puts a fairly large gap in between the speaker panel and the screen. To remedy this, I ended up routing the speaker panel so that I mount the screen flush up against the wood.

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I put a piece of plywood in just above the DMD to give the backglass TV something to rest on, then routed slots into the sides of the backbox to hold it in place. It ended up working pretty well. I gave the backbox a jolt a few times, and the TV didn’t budge at all.

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Added the back boards to the cabinet and routed a few holes for wiring and airflow.

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Still need to route holes for the backglass flashers and figure out how I’m going to mount the glass. Then on to painting and wiring.

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I finally finished painting the backbox and got the flashers wired up. The flasher caps that I purchased from pinballlife.com appear to be a little too small for my heat sinks. Luckily the heat sinks were only a ½” thick, so I ended up routing holes deep enough so that I could place the caps over the LEDs.

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Next is painting and mounting the plexi for the backbox, then I think I’ll put in a few blue LEDs right behind the speaker covers. I’m not sure how it’ll look, but we’ll find out tomorrow.

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Man that's looking sharp. Blue glowy speaker grills (especially if you recess the leds a bit) will look sweet with the Batman theme. I'm a major fan of the Legos and the Lego games and despite not having children I own them all (They're pretty good games in and of their own right) I'm very excited about your build.

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Guest gstav   
Guest gstav

Nice build man!

man I wish that I had done those handy LED-conectors too! :)

Is it 8pin molex?

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Yeah, I wanted an easy way to disconnect if I had to remove the backbox.

Getting all the wires into the black tubing was a real challenge. It took me about 20 minutes and my hands hurt like hell after. There were just too many wires for the tubing that I was using.

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