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It's Time To Build A Homebrew.


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Pretty much since I joined this excellent forum, the thought of making a homebrew machine has been working away in my head.

 

I don't want to just do another conventional pinball as I doubt I could match the features of current machines on offer but I figure I can do things not attempted before to make people at least look, well that is the plan anyway.

 

In my thinking pinball hasn't really changed enough to bring in new blood and maybe something a bit different may. To me notable changes in the past were going from EMs to SS.

 

The introduction of multiball and split level playfields had an impact as did LED lighting but all to a lesser degree to the original EM to SS.

 

Without giving away to much I have decided on using Williams system 7 board sets as they have some cool features display wise, are 7 digit and after going through all this vintage game programs, ( as I have to use original game rules using these board sets), I have settled on a little know Williams system 7 game called Warlok.

 

The game isn't super complicated but has some unique features and is more a strategy game. It only used 39 of the available 64 switch inputs these board sets offer.

 

It has 2 ways of getting extra balls and 2 ways of getting specials, something I really miss in current games design as well as a game based on bonuses and multiplier to earn good scores, again, something I really miss from current pinball design.

 

It has double playfield scoring and bonus countdown but no multiball.

 

Multiball simply won't work on what I am planning and honestly I think it has had it's day. I value extra balls far more useful than multiple balls on a playfield at once.

 

Anyway, I put no timeline on this machine. I am also not loaded and this project must be made as I make money to pay for this "hobby". I will keep changing it till I like what I have but I hope to make an interesting thread about it's development.

 

For those of you unfamiliar with Warlok, here is a gameplay video showing the game and rule set I have to work around.

 

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I'm really looking forward to seeing progress on this pinball and can fully understand the time and money restraints.😉

It's great to see another homebrew pinball in the works.

Cheers Trev

 

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

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Got to hand it to you guys, great ideas and projects.

I'm only just getting and handle on some of this stuff so most of it goes right over my head.

 

I haven't seen the Warlok before but I like it :). Simple layout, some great shots and good rule set.

Looking at ipdb seems to be a rare pin, don't know if I'd ever see one out here. (might put it on my shopping wish list)

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Good to see you've jumped into the deep end @Autosteve ! Just remember to keep paddling madly and you will eventually get to the end ! Worst thing you can do on these projects is to set a time frame to complete it in. The major thing I have found with my project is that all my finish this and finish that dates have never been achieved ! So do what you can, when you can , and hopefully one day , enjoy what YOU have created ! A true ,one off Homebrew machine ! Good Luck !
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Good to see you've jumped into the deep end @Autosteve ! Just remember to keep paddling madly and you will eventually get to the end ! Worst thing you can do on these projects is to set a time frame to complete it in. The major thing I have found with my project is that all my finish this and finish that dates have never been achieved ! So do what you can, when you can , and hopefully one day , enjoy what YOU have created ! A true ,one off Homebrew machine ! Good Luck !

 

Nice encouragement. I appreciate it. Let's hope more people come along for the ride.

 

I see it as a way of getting ideas out to aid the industry because unlike them, we can make a lemon and still live with it.

 

For me I have no issues ripping out a playfield and starting over again if something just isn't right as I have no time restraints.

 

I intend on having the thing run as a white board to get a "feel for the layout" so basically no switches, sound or lighting and boards hooked up, just the coils and flippers at the start.

 

Only then can I judge how difficult a shot is and the appropriate reward determined from the game I have choosen's set of rules.

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Got to hand it to you guys, great ideas and projects.

I'm only just getting and handle on some of this stuff so most of it goes right over my head.

 

I haven't seen the Warlok before but I like it :). Simple layout, some great shots and good rule set.

Looking at ipdb seems to be a rare pin, don't know if I'd ever see one out here. (might put it on my shopping wish list)

 

The system 7 Williams has a nice collection of unique games as the developers tried to rain in lost ground to videos and although they were low production numbers, they have some original game rules not seen before or after.

 

The 3 rows of 7 bonus lights on Warlok reminded me of Stern's Meteor, about the only early Stern I liked, but I also liked the way the rules run together on this machine.

 

While you can only get 21 bonuses, you can get massive multiplier and the multiplier "can carry over". It is settable.

 

The orbit lane is another nice feature jacking up every shot from 20000 to special before returning to 70000 points, again it is carry over or only that ball. It is settable.

 

I choose Williams because drop targets can be replaced with rollovers or targets, not just drop targets.

 

I also like Williams because while they only used solenoid drivers to power one voltage devices, 28vDC, you can use any voltage and a lot of my stuff is 12vDC like actuators and motor drives.

 

Another game ruleset I liked was Barracora, again a little known system 7 machine but it has features I really don't want to start with on my first homebrew and during the game play review is quoted to be maxing out the capability of the system 7 and having a deeper ruleset than most modern Stern's.

 

This is Barracora..

 

 

Maybe my next game's ruleset.

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Seems a waste having behind the flippers not being utilized and beside the sling shot always having one return lane I think.

 

I have always found the exit lanes on modern pinballs to be of little value but this idea is to make these lane/ lanes an actual part of the machine sequence you 'must" get.

 

Maybe time to try something different.

 

I may use this idea but maybe not. Who knows yet. It could appear on the left or the right or I may just trash the idea. Depends on how it flows with the overall machine layout.

 

It requires the player to lift the flipper in time for the ball to pass through.

 

You miss it and the ball hits the backside of the flipper and you loose.

 

Maybe the rebound post behind the flipper could retract?.

 

I would think it best not to have a guaranteed ball return should you raise the flipper, more the ball speed determines whether the ball bounces high enough to for the player to save the ball.

 

Thoughts on this one?.

 

http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a461/autosteve/Aussie%20Arcade/Warlok%20Return%20Lane%202.png

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Thoughts on this one?.

 

I really like that idea! This is truly creative! A bit like the post in the outlane of machines that have an open inlane, such as Trident.

 

I suspect that this would take a fair bit of tinkering to get just the right percentage of saves. Somewhat like the TOTO roll-overs on WoZ. The spacing and positioning has to be just right to make it not too easy and not too hard. But, with some experimentation, I think this really could work. Think of it as a legal death save :)

 

Michi.

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Just to give you all some idea of what I'm thinking. This is by no means set in stone, just an effort to get away from the normal fan layout simply by adding two vertical flippers to provide sideways shots making full use of a fat wide body design.

 

If these vertical flippers were used they would be only active when the ball drains onto them from the feeds to each of them and be momentary one shot flippers.

 

As you can see, the playfield isn't even full length in this drawing yet, but the idea is to get far more use from the player's flipper skills rather than the player only having control of the ball when it is at the normal flippers.

 

While other machine layouts utilize multiple flippers, they often only have one shot on offer.

 

I have delibrately gone out of my way to make multiple shots as seen by the projected shot map and I haven't started on the center of the playfield or the top.

 

This hand draw picture is close to scale but not perfect and is not complete by any means so you need to use a bit of imagination as with the elevated ramps that take the ball over the playfield.

 

This is like I said more to show what I'm thinking rather than exactly as this would be.

 

I guess I'm after a bit of feedback on what looks like it would work and what wouldn't, what look like rewarding shots and what isn't.

 

http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a461/autosteve/Aussie%20Arcade/Warlok%20playfield%20shotmaps.jpg

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One thing I learnt with the battle Pinny, what looks good on paper sometimes does not match what our friends gravity, velocity and vectors like to do. The paper layout is the start. Then a rough prototype playfield with 2 working flippers is the next step. Then you can tweek the angles of things to make it work. Only a few mm more in angle can make a big change! But that is all part of the fun of building a homebrew pinny , have fun !
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  • 3 months later...
  • 5 weeks later...

I'm glad I didn't rush into this project. I'm up to the 3rd cabinet design to allow for what I am planning as a conventional pinball cabinet simply can't be used.

 

Probably done close to 5 playfield layouts. It seems I keep thinking of different portions of a playfield to make this machine totally different from other machines but then the whole playfield needs to change to accommodate these portions of playfield.

 

Anyway, at the moment I have a collection of "playfield portions" drawn out, a cabinet design in my head and a heap more enthusiasm to get something out there that will be totally different and a true one off.

 

My aim is to create something totally different for pinball that probably isn't what the purists would agree with but my intent is an interesting game for those that don't play pinball already.

 

If the purists do like the game, that is a bonus.

 

It may be a lemon to play, the rules may suck but I promise you, it will be different.

 

The ball will go in places you have never seen a pinball go before inside a machine design you have never seen before either with the emphasis on flipper skills rather than luck of the ball.

 

I figure I can't compete with the electronic complexity of a modern machine but I can do things that are interesting and different to attract interest.

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  • 1 month later...

Although I don't wish to make my own boards for this HomeBrew, I do want to bring in some new mechanisms to get the ball to do things not seen before on a pinball.

 

Once again, I may or may not use them on this machine but more to give some ideas of what I am thinking.

 

aTsYT7K.jpg

 

I'm also looking at a better design for a slingshot mechanism that has the coil under the slingshot playfield plastic rather than under the playfield to reduce delay from slack in the mechanism.

 

A different drop target design. (totally different)

 

A different ball rail diverter. (for overhead rails)

 

You can see now why I don't want to get bogged down doing board electronics for this machine, everything else is likely to be custom HomeBrew already.;)

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  • 2 months later...

Well I picked up a playfield today for parts for the HomeBrew.

 

Pity they are the wrong parts to those that I actually need.

 

Ow well, still heaps of parts I will use I guess, wiring, screws, bolts, cable clamps, some of the inserts, lamp holders maybe some of the red posts. They seem to be in excellent condition it's just that I was after Gottlieb clear posts for the HomeBrew.

 

Can't complain really. The screws and light sockets have no rust on them.

 

It actually looks like the playfield was pulled out in the late 80s and stood on it's end in a workshop with only the plastics and bumper caps removed. Not a bad find. I just wish it had the parts I'm after on it.

 

3kG2Q62.jpg

 

VEHheY2.jpg

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Well I picked up a playfield today for parts for the HomeBrew.

 

Pity they are the wrong parts to those that I actually need.

 

Ow well, still heaps of parts I will use I guess, wiring, screws, bolts, cable clamps, some of the inserts, lamp holders maybe some of the red posts. They seem to be in excellent condition it's just that I was after Gottlieb clear posts for the HomeBrew.

 

Can't complain really. The screws and light sockets have no rust on them.

 

It actually looks like the playfield was pulled out in the late 80s and stood on it's end in a workshop with only the plastics and bumper caps removed. Not a bad find. I just wish it had the parts I'm after on it.

 

3kG2Q62.jpg

 

VEHheY2.jpg

I'll take any parts you're not using Steve.[emoji6]

I'm sure you could use most of what's on that playfield.

 

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

Edited by BIG Trev
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That’s a bloody nice original Firepower playfield

 

Yer it isn't bad at all actually. I've been cleaning it to have a good look and it has a low half mylar so the bottom half is near perfect, just a couple of inserts dropped and #1 target insert is bent in the middle but I just so happen to have one of those as a spare. Who would have thought.

 

The top of the playfield above the top bumpers around the 50000 light has the normal black paint cracking, ( must be a FirePower thing because not many I have seen without that), but it is also about the only part on the playfield that has no mylar of some kind in it.

 

All the lanes, the lane through the spinner all mylared but the mylar has yellowed over time.

 

Not perfect but I have see a whole heap worse.

 

The underside looks excellent. All the screws and light sockets with no rust of any kind, perfect, exactly what I wanted.

 

Just a shame it is a Williams and I need Bally mechs. All the mechs on it I already have but the coils will come in handy.

 

I don't think the Williams coils will complain to much being powered by the Bally transformer's 43volts coil power I'm planning but maybe I will end up with a Williams transformer powering the Bally boards?

 

Who knows, the price of trannys, I may be using a switch mode power supply to power the coils and another for the boards 5 and 12volt yet.

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I'm not a huge fan of that game ...but it looks like it could and should be saved.

 

Well it's a playfield and parts now.

 

I'm thinking the playfield will make a lovely wall hanging for my gamesroom with a simple string of flashing LEDs behind the inserts unless someone is after a pretty good FirePower playfield. I'm open to offers or swap parts for it should someone be in need of one.

 

VsF4MVS.jpg

 

You can see it had a ball trough and right return kicker coil cook in it before.

 

This was the exact reason the machine was wrecked in the first place all those years ago. Boards were swapped and these coils kept locking on. The cause couldn't be located so the playfield was pulled out and left for years.

 

Pulling the harness out I actually found the cause of the problem. A couple of the coil wires crushed under a cable strap that had shorted out. Would have been an arse to find actually but when I saw it and remembered what the guy told me was the reason the playfield was pulled in the first place, it all made sense.

 

Someone had changer the kicker coil and didn't put the apron screw back in that allowed the apron to scratch the playfield...

 

7deZn7w.jpg

 

Other than that a bit of paint flaking at the top...

 

xbgGdPT.jpg

 

Back is pretty much pristine...

 

ArHYmLx.jpg

 

I did get a heap of parts out of the playfield with every mech in good condition with coils, An excellent collection of bolts,screws etc. The playfield wiring harness, ( I was really after wires).

 

It seems I was right when this machine was taken out of service, the flipper links are still the original Bakalite ones not plastic.

 

Apron is near perfect, pity I don't need it.

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A Better Williams SS Drop Target?

 

While I love the simplicity of Williams drop targets, by God that horse shoe contact idea was rubbish and I found the later open contacts, the later still opto interrupter idea or micro switches not much better.

 

What was it with Williams?. They had a drop target bank that worked well with targets that didn't ever break unlike Bally and Gottlieb targets but they simply failed to score or trigger the reset circuit to reset the bank when the targets were all down reliably.

 

Sure, you can throw all brand new parts at them and they will work perfectly, for a little while and that little while was real little when these machines were on site.

 

I always wanted a go at fixing this problem once and for all but it was one of those jobs I never got around to until now.

 

Making up my "Williams In Line Target Bank", I had all the parts in front of me and thought now or never.

 

A day of basically watching what happens I ordered some parts and did a couple of changes.

 

A standard Williams SS drop target using a horse shoe contact although it can be any of the above types as nothing really changed other than if they had the PC board and horseshoe contacts or not....

 

j9fjOx0.jpg

 

I took out the horse shoe contact and soldering in two reed switches across the correct copper tracks on the PC board.

 

The upper one is the scoring switch and the bottom one is the bank reset switch. I also glued a magnet to the back of the target.

 

5QQTItA.jpg

 

These switches close circuit when a magnet goes near them, (about 3-5mm), so when the target drops, the magnet on the target passes the scoring switch momentarily and in the lowered position closes the bank reset switch till the target rises again.

 

It does this without any moving parts touching so wear is eliminated and nothing to go out of adjustment.

 

A closer picture showing where the switches are soldered to the tracks on the PC board.

 

k3c4QnB.jpg

 

My simple tester I wired up to test it for reliability....Yellow LED on means Target bank reset switch is closed, (target in lower position)

 

UFR5MN0.jpg

 

Target in upper position...No switches made so no LED on....

 

Y7yEnka.jpg

 

Target dropping....Green LED means scoring switch is closed. ( I had to hold it to show the LED lit while taking the picture). It would normally flash briefly as the target drops.

 

YYUuLjw.jpg

 

I've been testing this for a couple of hours now and it hasn't faulted but much more testing is required.

 

These are the reed switches I used for a couple of reasons...

 

Price...$3.39 for a pack of 5

Not a plain glass reed switch, these are hermetically sealed and solder the correct way down every time.

Good contact power rating. 200 V dc at 10 W. Massive overkill but better miles to much than boarder line.

Life expectancy over 200,000 operations.

Made by Littelfuse. They do make good reliable parts.

 

https://au.rs-online.com/web/p/reed-switches/9058878/

 

https://docs-apac.rs-online.com/webdocs/1498/0900766b81498d6d.pdf

 

Although I will be making my own style PC boards and not be using the original Williams ones, ( I need a few more tracks on my board for other features), the Williams PC board was ideal for testing without making a board till the idea was tested properly.

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