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PIN2DMD - opensource full color LED dotmatrix controller


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With the PIN2DMD open source project you get a full color LED DMD controller for real and virtual pinball machines.
The project was started by me and shortly after that joined by Steve45 as co-author. It is free for DIY private non commercial
use and released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
It currently supports:


  • Visual Pinball / PinMame
  • Future Pinball with DMD interceptor DLL
  • Unit3d Pinball
  • Ultra DMD
  • XDMD
  • PinballX
  • WPC real pinball input (beta)
  • Stern real pinball input (beta)
  • SmartDMD inframe color switching
  • Frame colorization with PIN2DMD Editor by Steve (beta)
The components cost approximately 100$
Here is a list of what you need:
1. The Panels
The panels we use are sold for video walls and advertising signs. There are many sizes of panels available with different spacing between the LEDs. The ones that fit best into a pinball have 2.5mm spacing (also referred to as “P2.5″), which results in a 128×32 display of 320×76.8mm. This can be mounted into an existing DMD/speaker panel from a pinball cabinet. Currently the only place to buy these panels is from AliExpress. search for „RGB LED 64x64 p2.5 1/16“ or „RGB LED 64x64 p2.5 1/16“. You don´t find 128×32 panels, but you can buy two 64×32 or one 64x64 panel which consists of two 64x32 panels which can be removed from the frame and connect side-by-side. Make sure that you end up with 2 x 1/16 scan panels since these are the only one currently supported by PIN2DMD. The good thing is that they are seamless.
2. The STM32F4 Discovery board
The panels use a 16 pin Hub75 interface to be connected to the next
panel or to a controller. We use a STM32F4 discovery board which is available from multiple sources for about $20. It is based on 168Mhz Cortex M4 processor architecture which is needed for the rapid bit-shifting of data to control the panels. We use CooCox IDE to write the program in C. The software is open source and is sent via USB port to the controller.
3. The PIN2DMD Shield
To connect the displays to the controller you need a connector shield pcb, which basically just connects the pins to the 16-pin ribbon cable that drives the displays. The board also has a 14pin connector which can be either used as output to a real monochrome pinball dmd or as input to get the data from a real machine (currently WPC and STERN under development). There are group-buys organized for the US from UncleSash and for the EU from Rappelbox which can be joined here: http://vpuniverse.com/forums/forum/132-pin2dmd/
4. The Power Supply
The RGB LED displays require 5vdc for power and if you want to run them
with full brightness they need a lot of current. A 10A power should be enough.
You need to connect that power supply up to both panels. The controller can either be supplied by USB or by an external 5V power source
5. The Firmware
As mentioned under point 3 we use CooCox IDE to build the STM32 firmware which can be found under www.coocox.org. You also need the ARM gcc toolchain which can be found here https://launchpad.net/gcc-arm-embedded/ There is a video tutorial on youtube how to get it working. You need to download the source for the firmware from github https://github.com/lucky01/PIN2DMD either as zip or git clone. Open the project in CoIDE press F7 to compile and then upload the firmware to the device.
UncleSash has written some really good manuals and instructions how to get the whole thing running which can be found at the end of the first post http://vpuniverse.com/forums/topic/2250-pin2dmd-prorder-backorder/
Videos of the interface in action can be found here
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