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Author Topic: Optical Pinball Plunger Circuit for MAME machine?  (Read 5953 times)

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bdeshazer

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Optical Pinball Plunger Circuit for MAME machine?
« on: November 28, 2011, 06:13:41 pm »
Apologies in advance to the pinball purists, it looks like this board is primarily used for the discussion of real Pinball machines and not emulation, but it seemed the best place for this post.

I found this simple circuit for building an optical switch for detecting a pinball plunger pull here:

http://www.johnsretroarcade.com/hardware_pinball.asp

The Sharp GP2L24 Reflective Opto-switch he said he used is discontinued. There is an image at the link that references QRB1133/QRB1134, and searching on mouser.com for QRB1133 shows that it is discontinued as well, but there is a "similar product" link that points to this active product:

http://www.mouser.com/search/ProductDetail.aspx?R=828-OPB703WZ

That looks to me like it should work as a replacement but figured I would check here to see if a) anyone has built this or a similar circuit and b) whether anyone had any opinions on this substitution part.

I tried using the "contact" form on the site to e-mail John but the mail script he is using is broken.

I know I could use a simple switch contact for this, but the chances of mechanical failure seem much more likely and frequent than the solution this circuit provides.

Thanks!

drventure

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Re: Optical Pinball Plunger Circuit for MAME machine?
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2011, 07:53:28 pm »
Using a standard mechanical switch (like in typical buttons) but with a roller on it, you can mount that such that it engages when the plunger is pulled back, and it basically gives you the same effect, and so far it's been quite solid.

But that circuit is pretty interesting.

Q*Bert_OP

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Re: Optical Pinball Plunger Circuit for MAME machine?
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2011, 09:55:04 pm »
How about a magnetic reed switch?
WTB: The Grid by Midway (2001), looking for 2 or more complete games, and large marquee

bdeshazer

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Re: Optical Pinball Plunger Circuit for MAME machine?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2011, 10:11:22 am »
Thanks for the replies guys, but I really want to avoid a mechanical switch if I can.

I'm aware of the NanoTech kit at http://nanotechent.com/mot-ionkit.php but do not need that kind of accuracy for my casual game play and I don't want to spend another $140 on my MAME machine when a $10 "good enough" circuit will probably do for me.

Guess I'll just order the parts I need (probably just the opto as I think I have everything else on hand) and give it a try!

drventure

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Re: Optical Pinball Plunger Circuit for MAME machine?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2011, 10:31:40 am »
You know, reading through that circuit description again, i believe it's probably overkill if you're using an IPAC.

The reason is that the IPAC already has debounce functionality built in (after all, standard arcade button switches can bounce too).

So really, all that should be necessary is a typical IR transmitter receiver pair.

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2049723

You'd hook the button leads through the reciever, such that presence of IR light on it would "close it". Then mount so that it receiver can't see the emitter normally (and the circuit would be open), but pull back the plunger and the circuit closes.

Now, as for the circuit itself?

I'm no EE, so I just googled IR beam break detector and came up with tons of hits

Here's one

http://pcbheaven.com/circuitpages/IR_Short_Distance_Beam_Cut_Detector/

Essentially, instead of powering an LED to indicate the beam break, youd connect the "button" across it to drive the input to the IPAC.

There's probably better (or more applicable) circuits out there, but I thought that one was interesting because it uses a timer to modulate the IR signal so that stray IR sources (sun, lamps, etc) won't set it off.

drventure

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Re: Optical Pinball Plunger Circuit for MAME machine?
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2011, 10:36:31 am »
@pinballjim, I believe VirtualPinball and Future pinball both support "Digital plungers", which, unless I'm mistaken, function pretty much like USB mice, only just in the x direction. With that, they can detect the extend of the pull and the release speed of the plunger.

It'd be cool, but I'm wondering whether the effect is really worth 140$.

I used the mechanical switch idea, which is, as you said, basically just on off.

But, at least in Future pin and Visual pin, it's a little different than you stated.

Those games allow you to press and HOLD the button to essentially "pull back" the plunger. when you release the button, the plunger releases.

When the "button" is connected to a real pinball plunger, the effect is very similar, because as you pull back, the buttons is effectively "pressed" so the onscreen plunger appears to pull back as well, until you release.

It's not a perfect emulation, of course, but it's pretty dang good for using some scrap metal and a spare cherry switch!

drventure

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Re: Optical Pinball Plunger Circuit for MAME machine?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2011, 10:59:38 am »
I've wondered whether it'd be possible to simulate that expensive device with a simple optical wheel mouse.

Take 1
Mount the mouse such that the wheel is engaged by the plunger, Pull back on the plunger and you get wheel movement first one way then the other.

Take 2
Mount a surface to the end of the plunger, and the mouse's sensor to face it, as you pull back the plunger, the surface moves under the mouse and hence you get a "mouse moved up" then "moused moved down really fast" effect.
That would require double the forward clearance in the cab though, so it might not be practical in every cab.


Hmm, just did some looking at that Mot Ion controller actually looks like a HID joystick to the system (joystick x and y axis are for table nudging via accelerometer, and z axis is for plunger).

Sooooo, VPinball probably wouldn't work with the mouse idea.  :-[

bdeshazer

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Re: Optical Pinball Plunger Circuit for MAME machine?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2011, 12:10:06 pm »
Have the emulators evolved to the point where the game can accurately tell how far you've pulled back the plunger?  Your linked example just looks like an off/on switch which indicates to me it's still just a matter of holding a button until the plunger is as far back as you want it and then releasing it.  If that's the case, I wouldn't even bother and I'd just get some WPC-era "Launch Ball!!" button.

You're correct in how the circuit operates. I'm currently just using a regular arcade button to simulate the pull-back, but I want the added realism/novelty of having an actual plunger, just not $140 worth  ;D

With a few notable exceptions, the notion of skilled plunger play meaning anything pretty much died with the introduction of lane change.

"Son,  don't understand a word you just said" :)

I'm definitely not a pinball aficionado, I just want to be able to "play" "High Speed" occasionally when I get tired of Time Pilot, Galaga or Kung Fu Master, lol.

Thanks!

bdeshazer

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Re: Optical Pinball Plunger Circuit for MAME machine?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2011, 12:15:54 pm »
You know, reading through that circuit description again, i believe it's probably overkill if you're using an IPAC.

The reason is that the IPAC already has debounce functionality built in (after all, standard arcade button switches can bounce too).

Wow, really good point, I didn't think about that. Right now I'm just using the cheap gamepad encoders bought from Vigo on the buy/sell board here, but plan to upgrade to the iPac sometime next year... still, I imagine even the encoders I am using probably have debounce implemented...

So really, all that should be necessary is a typical IR transmitter receiver pair.

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2049723

You'd hook the button leads through the reciever, such that presence of IR light on it would "close it". Then mount so that it receiver can't see the emitter normally (and the circuit would be open), but pull back the plunger and the circuit closes.

Now, as for the circuit itself?

I'm no EE, so I just googled IR beam break detector and came up with tons of hits

Here's one

http://pcbheaven.com/circuitpages/IR_Short_Distance_Beam_Cut_Detector/

Essentially, instead of powering an LED to indicate the beam break, youd connect the "button" across it to drive the input to the IPAC.

There's probably better (or more applicable) circuits out there, but I thought that one was interesting because it uses a timer to modulate the IR signal so that stray IR sources (sun, lamps, etc) won't set it off.

Hmm, definitely got me thinking, although I may just stick with the package I linked to earlier for simplicty (packaging, wiring, etc.)... that package and a couple resistors might be all I need...

jrivelli

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Re: Optical Pinball Plunger Circuit for MAME machine?
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2011, 07:10:38 pm »
Well, sure, you pull back the plunger and the onscreen plunger pulls back, but you can't ease the plunger back forward a little to get the proper positioning.  Like I said, that nuance more or less died with lane change, but there's a lot of EMs where your only chance to hit all the roll over switches is at the plunge, or other games like Fireball where a proper skillshot is worth a ton of points.

Definitely not worth $140 to replicate, though.


Pretty much all system 11 games I own have skill shots. All the way up to 1990 going off memory. That's far out from EM games.
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zerax

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Re: Optical Pinball Plunger Circuit for MAME machine?
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2012, 07:51:27 am »
Here is my circuit board design, its based upon inverting comparator with hysteresis. The board is USB powered  ;D

Jumper1
Mode_1 = Analog output
Mode_2 = Digital output

Jumper 2
Mode_1 = Signal output => positive
Mode_2 = Signal output => negative

Circuit Schematic: http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=116264.0;attach=178963

All parts can be ordered from Elfa Distrelec https://www.elfaelectronics.com

Part list:
IC:     Comparator 2x DIL-8, LM393N/NOPB, https://www.elfaelectronics.com/elfa3~ex_en/elfa/init.do?item=73-292-04&toc=0
OS:    OPB 745W, https://www.elfaelectronics.com/elfa3~ex_en/elfa/init.do?item=75-342-82&toc=0
C1:    10 uF  25V Electrolytic Capacitor
R1:    220 Ohm 0.6 Watt Resistor
R2:    1k Ohm 0.6 Watt Resistor
R3:    220 Ohm 0.6 Watt Resistor
R4:    3k Ohm 0.6 Watt Resistor   
R5:    1M Ohm 0.6 Watt Resistor
R6:    1M Ohm 0.6 Watt Resistor
R7:    3k Ohm 0.6 Watt Resistor
R8:    1M Ohm 0.6 Watt Resistor
R9:    1M Ohm 0.6 Watt Resistor
R10:  1M Ohm 0.6 Watt Resistor
R11:  1M Ohm 0.6 Watt Resistor
LED1: 5V Green LED
« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 03:53:43 pm by zerax »