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DeeGor

LEGO Batpin Build Blog (46/19/32)

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Hi Guys,

I’ve been lurking around this site for several months now looking at all the really great cabinets that have been put together, and I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and build my own cabinet.

I’ve built a MAME cabinet in the past, but this project seemed exponentially harder with the electronics knowledge required to get all the great toys to work with VP. Many, Many, Many thanks go to H4ck3r and Maxxsinner for putting up with my stupid questions. The Pinball Electrical pdf was extremely valuable to me. Also many thanks to Chriz99’s build threads. There was SO much great information in them.

To begin with, I decided to purchase a lot of the electrical components of my pinball cabinet first, because A) They were a lot cheaper and I could buy them now vs saving up a few months for them like the TV and computer. And B) This was the real big mystery for me as I had absolutely NO electrical knowledge other than how to put a computer together.

I put together a little test board to see if I could get all the components working together nicely through the ledwiz. I ended up picking up (6) 24v contactors from H4ck3r that I tried to drive with 12v. They worked ok, but they really weren’t snappy and the sound from them wasn’t quite what I expected. I also picked up a few solenoids that Mameman had recommended in his build and set them up on my test board. These solenoids seemed to give a much better thump, and didn’t have the lag that the siemens contactors had. The only problem I noticed with them is they were almost too loud.

A few weeks later I picked up a 24v power supply to drive my pinball knocker and also hooked up my contactors to it to see if I got better performance. Wow, what a difference. The contactors were perfect. I would definitely recommend the contactors over the cheaper solenoids, but if you’re on a budget, the solenoids work fine. Just be aware that you will have to use a relay for each solenoid as the amperage is too much to run straight from the ledwiz.

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Next I went on to working on the backglass flashers. I know Chriz99 and most of the people on this forum really like the Cree LEDs, but they seemed a little too bright from the pictures and videos I have seen. Plus the price tag was pretty high. Instead I opted for the cheaper Chinese LEDs (link) that you can find on eBay. They don’t run as hot, so you can also get away with getting the cheaper heat sinks. Even though they don’t output nearly as much light as the Cree LEDs, they will still cause you to see dots if you stare at them directly at full power.

At first I tried using stranded wire to the contact points, but that proved extremely difficult as the wire would constantly move on me, so I ended up using some solid core wire I had left over from another project. That ended up working perfectly. Since the positive wire was common, I just soldered it to one contact point then soldered all positives together.

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After getting all the flashers done, I moved on to setting up a board to hold all my resistors for the LEDs. I ended up using Cat5 because I have boxes of the stuff and it’s already color coded.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xi3pauaslof54o2/IMG_3529.JPG?raw=1[/img]

Next was, how do I make an external plug for my cabinet, so I didn’t just feed an extension cord through some hole in the back? I ended up using some panel mount IEC power connectors (link) at the recommendation of the people at the BYOAC forums. The connectors basically use the same plugs that computer power supplies use. So I took a spare power cord I had and cut both ends off. Attached one end to the power connector and put a standard power receptacle on the other. After it was all done I had my glorified extension cord.

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One of the things I wanted to do was to have everything power off or on with a single button, so I ended up using one of those green power strips (link) that Mameman had mentioned in another thread. This ended up working perfectly and it was fairly cheap at only $20.

For nudging I went back and forth on whether to go with tilt bobs / mercury switches, the nanotech motion board, or the Microsoft Sidewinder Pro gamepad. For now I’ve decided on going with the gamepad because of the low cost and people seem to have some pretty good success with it. I have not set this up yet, but I will report back once I have.

For the PC I’ve decided on going with the Core i5 2500k. I also picked up a pair of GTX 260s that I’ll be using for the video cards. I’m still undecided on whether to use a solid state drive or not. A group of co-workers recently were all “upgraded” to SSDs and out of 7 drives 5 have completely failed. It could have been a bad batch, but that’s not a good sign. My other alternative is to use a regular hard drive and hope the nudging doesn’t cause drive failure as well. I’ll probably end up going the SSD route and just perform a clone of the drive once I have it completely setup the way I like it.

For my playfield TV I purchased the Samsung UN46D6000 46” LED at the recommendation of H4ck3r. This TV is awesome! It fits perfectly in a widebody cabinet, has an extremely small bezel, and the picture is amazing. De-casing it was a little scary as the TV cost a little under $1000. A screw up here would have meant the project was over for me as the wife would have never allowed me to buy another one. :girlshit: It ended up being pretty easy, and the only issue I ran into was removing the IR sensor from the plastic bezel. A minute or two later with a heat gun and it was off.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wzn605n158hrm3c/117_2409.JPG?raw=1[/img]

Now that I had my playfield, I could move on to the actual wood working on my cabinet. I based my design off Mameman/Chriz99’s builds, and I’m completely amazed I had very few screw ups. Compared to how the build for my MAME cabinet went, this was a breeze. I don’t know if I’m getting better or just extremely lucky. ;)

Here are a few pictures of the woodworking I’ve done so far:

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So, this is where I’m at right now. I’ve just fit the TV and it’s almost perfect. There’s a little wiggle room in the slots for TV that I need to address, and I need to figure out some way of securing the TV so it doesn’t move if I decide to nudge forward. I may end up building a frame that better supports the TV as Chriz99 did on his build.

As for the artwork, this has been something I’ve been thinking for awhile. At first I thought about just getting some already existing art and slapping it on the side, but I wanted to make it more personal since this thing has completely consumed my life these last few months. After talking to my son, I’ve decided to go with a LEGO Batman theme. I figure I’ll have the Batmobile on it shooting some pinballs at the Joker and Penguin. I would also like to do a spotlight that is pointing to some clouds hovering above a silhouette of Gotham. Once the machine gets powered on some LEDs behind the artwork would light up the bat symbol. On the sides of the backglass I was thinking about having Batman and Robin climbing up the side of the building like they would do in the old campy 1960’s Batman shows. I’m not sure what else to put on it, but I’m completely open to suggestions.

This project has been a complete blast so far and I can’t wait till it’s finished.

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Added some finished build pics

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/po2raksm97f2kac/IMG_0481.JPG?raw=1[/img]

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PC Specs

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K 3.3GHZ (OC 4.6 GHZ)

MB: ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB DDR3 1600

Drive: Intel 40GB SSD

Video: GeForce 560 Ti 1GB (Playfield)

Video: GeForce 260 2GB (Backglass / DMD)

OS: Windows XP SP3

Here is my shopping list detailing where I found items and how much they cost.

Here is my fplaunch mod that allows for a software based switch for enabling / disabling force feedback.

FPLaunch Feedback Mod

**Note: Removed the shaker intensity mod as pixelmagic's tool now has this incorporated into it.

Here is my wiring diagram for my cabinet. I use 24v to power my force feedback devices and 12v to power all of my LEDs and relays. I have also separated each component into it's own diagram so it's not quite so confusing.

LEDWiz

ledwiz-batpin-all-1.JPG?raw=1

Buttons

Contactors

Shaker

Knocker

Flashers

**Note: I have recently updated the Booster Board diagrams to include the Gear Motor as well as a second booster board. Click to see the full size image.

LEDWiz + Booster

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Buttons

Contactors

Shaker

Knocker

Flashers

Gear Motor

PSU-Diagram1_zps2672101e.JPG?raw=1

Edited by DeeGor
Updating image links. Photobucket sucks.

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Looks good so far.

How does the cheaper solenoids sound? I was thinking of using them for pop up bumpers and ramp gates

What relays did you use?

Edited by pinballlooking

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They sound pretty good on the test board, just a little loud. This can probably be adjusted depending on how far back you put the solenoids from wood they'll be striking. I'll be using two of them no matter what as I only have 6 of the contactors.

I'm using these 12v relays. In hindsight I should have soldered them to a board instead of soldering wires directly to the poles. Oh well. :)

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Great work so far. Man do you have at screen down far in the back. I think we normally run it around 4" down from the top. You slot looks closer to 10?

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It's about 8 inches down. From the pictures I've seen I always thought the TV laid down flat. It never occurred to me that the slot slanted up towards the back. So much for no major mistakes so far. ;) I'll think it over tonight to see if I can live with it, or if I want to re-cut the sides. Luckily nothing is glued yet, so it's as simple as taking the screws out.

Thanks for spotting the mistake before I went any further.

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great work DeeGor! go for a ssd, you will not regret! it's a difference like night and day.

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So I decided to go ahead and re-cut the sides so I can route the slots properly this time. I thought about leaving it, but I know it would drive me crazy every time I looked at it.

Being that the slot actually sits higher up, it gives me more real estate for the LEDs that I want to mount on the side of the cabinet.

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So I decided to go ahead and re-cut the sides so I can route the slots properly this time. I thought about leaving it, but I know it would drive me crazy every time I looked at it.

Being that the slot actually sits higher up, it gives me more real estate for the LEDs that I want to mount on the side of the cabinet.

Next week I'm I'm planning to start routing too......so for clarification, what did you do for final measurements? If you did 4" at the back, how many inches is it at the front? And is the measurement to the top of the slot or the bottom of the slot?

Thanks!

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Hi Dante,

Welcome to the forums.

I just purchased the wood yesterday, and I planned on cutting everything out tonight. The top board in the back is about 4" in height, so I'll try to keep it as close to the top as possible. In the front I originally had the slot at about 1/2" from the top, but I may go 1/4" this time, as the playfield TV dictates how far up you can place the flipper buttons. I'm using leaf switch buttons from Groovygamegear.com which has a wider barrel than the standard pinball flippers, so I would like to get the TV up as high as possible.

I'll let you know how it all goes.

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Thanks DeeGor! I appreciate your build notes as my situation is almost exactly the same as what you described in the beginning of your post. I too have been reading, planning and accumulating parts and am now starting my build. I am also circuitry naive when it comes wiring up the solenoids/flashers - so I will probably be asking some additional questions when I get to that part. So in advance, I want to thank all for their build pix/notes as it's extremely helpful to noobs like me!

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Well, I’ve re-cut the sides and the TV looks much better in the cabinet. The front of the TV is now only ¼” from the top and 1 ½” from the front. The back is now 4 ½” instead of the horrible 8” I had previously done. The TV and the plastic retainers for the glass where a much better fit this time around.

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Yes, only by a little. I originally had something else planned for the front, but ended up changing it last minute. The offset is pretty slight, and with the artwork I doubt many people would notice. Except you of course. ;)

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Well, I’ve made some decent progress over the last few days.

Most of the woodworking for the bottom part of the cabinet was finished, and I just needed the holes for the leg bolts and the angled board that sits right above the back of the playfield TV. Drilling the holes for the leg bolts was a complete nightmare and took a lot longer than I expected. I ended up using the leg bracket as a guide and drilling in from the inside out, then used a larger bit to make the holes bigger for the bolt. The angle seemed like it was always just slightly off for my bolts, so I had to take a Dremel and widen the holes. This took forever. I’m not sure how others did this part, but I’m glad I won’t have to do this again anytime soon.

As for the angled board, I used a little trial and error before I got it just right. For my build just a bit over 15 degrees worked perfect for me.

Once those parts were done I moved on to what I consider the absolute worst part of this build, or any build that I’ve done… Painting. I’ve read guides on painting in the past, and it doesn’t matter what I do, I can never get it perfect. I saw Chriz99’s paint job in his thread, and it looks picture perfect, while mine looks just ok. The pictures below actually make it look worse than it is. Without the flash it looks pretty normal.

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Here’s the calm before the wiring storm. :afraid:

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I’m still trying to figure out where to place everything, and how to manage the wiring so it doesn’t look like someone threw up in my cabinet. Most cable management systems seem to be a little expensive, so I’m leaning a little towards grabbing a bunch of the black plastic tubing.

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Next week I'm I'm planning to start routing too......so for clarification, what did you do for final measurements? If you did 4" at the back, how many inches is it at the front? And is the measurement to the top of the slot or the bottom of the slot?

Thanks!

What I did was use a 6-7 degree slope for the playfield, which is typical for a modern pinball machine. I ended up with the front about 1" from the edge of the wood to the top of the slot. That put my back around the 4" mark (since the slope of the glass is much more than 6-7 degrees).

I essentially used 1" at the front to avoid bringing the slot too close to the top out of concern for strength. I didn't want that weakening slot too close to the top of the cabinet at it's highest point. 1" seemed safe, and kept the flipper buttons high enough to satisfy me (they had to clear the underside of the display, of course, so that was taken into consideration).

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Your build is coming along nicely and looks very good.

I think you are being to hard on yourself as I think the paint looks good. So did you spray it, roll it or brush it?

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Thanks Dante.

It doesn't look bad, it's just not perfect like I wish it was. I ended up using flat black spray paint. Before I put on the top coat I thought it looked great. Once I put the top coat on it gave it a little too much shine, and it didn't seem as smooth. I thought about doing a light sanding, then spraying the top coat again, but I'm so tired of painting. It's good enough, especially being that I will be covering up the outside with artwork anyway.

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I think it looks awesome. If my build turns out half as nice I'll be thrilled. I've really found your posts so far to be super helpfull too!

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Thanks Xamfear.

This project has been a lot of work, and a complete blast at the same time. I’m glad to be able to share my accomplishments and screw ups with you guys.

I’ve spent the past few days in wiring hell. I’ve tried to keep it as clean looking as possible, but it seems to be getting exponentially harder with each device I wire up. I figure I’m at about 35-40% done right now, and things are slowing down a bit as my fingertips are starting to get raw from all of the constant twisting.

I added the USB hub and IEC power connector to the back of the cabinet as well as the 220 mm fans. I’ve been doing some searching online for some fan guards/grills for them, but I’ve been unsuccessful in finding any that large. I’ll keep looking, but if any of you know where I can pick up a few, I’d love to hear from you.

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All of the contactors / solenoids are now wired up as well as the power wires for the front side buttons and subwoofer + amp. The black tubing is held in place using Velcro that I have screwed into the sides of the cabinet.

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All of the outputs on the LEDwiz will be protected by 500ma fuses. Since I will be using both 12v and 24v power supplies I color coded the outputs to avoid confusion.

12v = blue and 24v = orange.

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Originally I was just going to use a simple “Launch Ball” button, but the more I thought about it, the more I really wanted the whole plunger feel, so I bit the bullet and purchased a nanotech plunger / board. I will be using an i-pac keyboard encoder and a Microsoft sidewinder gamepad for nudging, so I’ll really only be using the nanotech board for the plunger, unless the gamepad gives me serious problems.

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If you’ve been following my thread, you’ll know I only had 6 of the 24v siemens contactors, but I wanted to go with the normal 8 force feedback setup, so I will be using 2 of the 24v solenoids from allelectronics.com for my slingshot feedback. I cut the blocks for these solenoids from an old chair I was throwing out and painted them black to match the cabinet. I also routed out a little groove in the blocks because they actually sit over the bracket of the solenoid.

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Lastly, I swapped out all the wedge bulbs in the buttons for LEDs. These work great, but were a bit of a pain to load into the buttons. The lip around the LED just barely fits into the buttons, and if you need to pull the bulb back out of the button, you will need a pair of needle nose pliers, as the LED seems to always get caught and pops out and is stuck in the button.

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