Dynamic MOD - TV
Miniature television reacting dynamically
at different stages of the pinball game.
Multi-brands, Gottlieb, Williams, Data East ...
This project was originally developed for our pinball machines, for both Gottlieb SYS-3 and Williams WPC-S and WPC-95. It is a miniature television set up on the playfield and distributing images and videos related to the pinball theme.
Much more than just a media player, this MOD reacts dynamically with the pinball machine. For example, it can display a specific video corresponding to the current mission, or during the extra-ball, bonuses, tilt, etc ...
This is made possible through the use of a DMC controller, a related project to implement a standardized interface in our pinball machines. OrPinTV is also one of our dynamic MOD that can be driven by this module, there are others, already completed or planned. This concept also allows a simplification in the design of MOD, OrPinTV is already sufficiently complex like that.
Dynamic Mods Technology inside !
To better meet our expectations, we have from the beginning of the project, defined specific objectives. In fact, we faced several challenges, the project has different components: electronic design, development and programming, modeling and 3D printing.
Specifications and characteristics
It was ambitious: we decided to choose a small size for the TV, in order to install it in most pinball machines. This reduced size was an imperative that had consequences on the choice of the screen and the electronic card. In addition, it was necessary that the screen is perfectly proportioned with the case (reduced borders) and that the set presents a coherent look.
The "audio" option has been discarded because it is of no interest. The TV being installed on the board and the pinball having already its own sounds, to add an audio output would have produced nothing more than a cacophony. In addition, it would have unnecessarily complicated the connections.
Much more than a gadget, we also planned to integrate a remote control. In use, it is particularly useful during demonstrations, or to access the functions of adjustment and test. In principle, it is not essential, because if you lose the remote OrPinTV should be able to continue to operate normally.
Fast switching without latency: that is one of the sensitive points of the design. The TV had to respond dynamically to different situations (mission, etc), it was essential to have an almost instantaneous switching between videos. The conventional solutions used in the media broadcasters are inadequate, so we implemented our own solution, which ultimately proves to be particularly effective. IOT, connected object: OrPinTV is also a communicating object. The TV has its own network and can, as needed, interact with the outside world.
Prototypes and experiments
The very first tests were done with much larger screens and using RaspberryPi (and RPi Zero), but this solution was quickly abandoned.
Subsequently, the experimentation continued with the final screen and an Orange Pi Zero module.
Equipped with an AllWinner H2+ processor, this module is better suited than RaspberryPi for this type of application. Its programming is also very different and there is not really retro-compatibility between these boards. The development and programming being specific to the OrangePi, we spent a lot of time there.
Many (very) versions of the case have been modeled and tested. We have designed our own customized box, to better integrate the screen and the Orange Pi Zero board. The very first models were very basic, without decoration, or simply stamped to get a glimpse of the whole.
3D modeling is an important part of the project, which was carried out from A to Z. The set consists of separate elements, which can be printed in several colors, or even in several materials.
The DMC module has been extensively evaluated in order to validate the good coexistence between 3.3 volts and 5 volts technologies.
The robustness and reliability of the link between the DMC and the MODs has also been controlled by the use of unorthodox cables!
Tested in disruptive and unfavorable conditions, the system works perfectly.
Implementation of the remote control and video embedding (OSD). The standard settings, brightness, color and contrast, can be changed with the remote control. It also allows to change "chain" if one wishes to see a particular sequence.
The first model to have been fully functional and presented publicly, was the one for the Scared Stiff. Although it has subsequently received some changes, and still has some flaws, it is quite representative of the final version.
As we have several pinball machines of various brands, we have started a "mass" production. Contrary to what might suggest the first picture, we do not use foreign "small hands" ! Our workshops are well located in France!
We can recognize some videos and images for various pinball machines: Scared Stiff, Black Hole, Dirty Harry ...
But these are not the only ones planned, for example, Barb Wire (Gottlieb SYS-3) will be added soon.
Finally, a small example of dynamic reactivity: in case of Tilt, we trigger a specific sequence.
This achievement is currently unavailable, but we are studying the possibility of its dissemination (free or paid) for the future.