K’Nex Project

K'nex

I am not really into Legos and never have been. I’m sure you can make some really neat things with them but my mind doesn’t care for them. I bought my kid some K’Nex and we started building things with them and I really liked them. In fact I liked them so much so that our collection of coasters and ball machines is growing rather rapidly. I am starting this post to document what we are doing which is not much of anything right now. So in light of that here are some links to some really incredible ball machines.

 

Metropolis – This is a beautiful machine.

 Tartarus – A year and a half.

K’nuter – Yeah a computer with no electronic parts.

 

MAME and Raspberry Pi Project

Arcade

I finally got around to replacing my MAME machine with a Raspberry Pi. It’s almost done so I can finally finish this damn post. I got sidetracked by an injury but I’m feeling much better.

This is a really a cool project because I wanted to get the computer out of my Donkey Kong and I wanted to see just how ridiculous it would be to put the biggest monitor possible in a Nintendo cabinet which happens to be a 32″ lcd. Yes I know it’s crazy but Pac-Man is so bad ass when it’s big like that. As long as the scanline effect is on it looks good and it’s a lot of fun.

I am documenting this of course and here are the steps I took to get this working. There are a lot of guides out there on how to do this but this is NOT a full blown guide and it is not complete!!! You can message me if you get stuck but I just had to dig around the Internet. I probably won’t remember the answer anyways. That’s why I have Evernote.

This assumes you have some knowledge of Mame and Linux.For now we can start with how I setup the Pi. I tried PiPlay because it’s an all in one and I tried NOOBS but didn’t like them.  I also tried Retropie  (yes it should have e on pi because that is how it is named) but it was too complicated and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time doing this project. I finally settled on installing the Raspbian OS by itself and using Mame4all-PI. The menu is not as pretty but it works really well for me and it was the easiest solution if you ask me.

PI SETUP

This is pretty basic stuff so I will just make it quick. Format the SD card with the options Quick Format and Size Adjustment On. After that use Windisk Imager and image the SD card with the Raspbian image. Now put the SD card in your Pi and turn it on. You are now installing Raspian.

During the install you will come to a config page. Choose Expand Filesystem  and Enable Advanced Options / SSH.

FTP SERVER SETUP

This one is really easy. I had issues with FTP and this server was super easy. Log into your Pi’s terminal and start typing

  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install proftpd
  • Choose Standalone during install

Now that you have it you can type

  •  sudo service proftpd status
  • You should see ProFTPD is started in standalone mode, currently running.
  • ps -aux | grep proftpd (To check and make sure it’s working, like for sure.)
  • chkconfig proftpd on (In Case it doesn’t start)
  • ftp 192.168.0.191 (Ip address of your IP)
  • sudo service proftpd restart (Restart the service)
  • Get you some Filezilla because it’s cool.

Here is the link that goes into further detail.
http://pibeginners.com/ftp-server/

MAME SETUP

Finally Mame! Download Mame4all-pi.

sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/bin/indiecity/InstalledApps/mame4all_pi/Full
FTP the zip file to the directory you just made
sudo mv mame4all_pi.zip /usr/local/bin/indiecity/InstalledApps/mame4all_pi/Full
cd /usr/local/bin/indiecity/InstalledApps/mame4all_pi/Full
sudo unzip mame4all_pi.zip
sudo ./install.sh

ROMS

Mame4all-pi uses MAME 0.37b5 ROMS. Most of mine work and they are a more current set but these will work best. Where do you get them? Well I am not going to post a link but it doens’t take much effort to find places like retroroms. By the way if you are playing games older than the classics like Ms. Pac-Man you may need to overclock your pi. There are instructions on the Mame4all-pi page.

When you get some roms just put them in this folder

/usr/local/bin/indiecity/InstalledApps/mame4all_pi/Full/roms

Now go to the folder

/usr/local/bin/indiecity/InstalledApps/mame4all_pi/Full 

and type:

 ./mame

I will add video and controls soon.

Theatre of Magic

Pinball

I finally got my first pin and so far I have been very happy with it. Theatre of Magic is a really fun game and I still enjoy playing it. The theme is fun and the average person can get it because it’s just abut a magic show. Originally it was to be a David Copperfield pin but thankfully that fell through. My kid is getting good at making shots and controlling the ball. I was surprised at how fast he is learning things because at first they just hit the flippers like crazy. Then again he always surprises me with something new everyday.

So what will this project entail? Probably wasting a bunch of money that I will never get back if I sell it. But I don’t care about selling or trading anything that I have. I would like to add the motorized saw mod and the hat with rotating playing card mods (changed to the Ace of Spades and the other side the Queen of Hearts.) I think it needs mirrored sides on both sides of the playfield and a Color DMD. After that it’s playfield stuff like cleaning and waxing it and all that fun stuff. I will also change the led colors. There is nothing wrong with them now, I just have an idea of how I want it to be. I don’t like the gold theme and will try black mirrored blades and black siderails and lockdownbar. I want it to have a dark feel like you are in a theatre with the lights down.

Flashers are not working but I was able to figure it out from the schematics. I verified this with Talon2000 (KLOV) so I have a pretty good understanding of what is going on and how it works. It looks like it is a capacitor or a bridge rectifier. I just need to troubleshoot it more. Here is a really detailed guide on Williams pinball machines.

http://techniek.flipperwinkel.nl/wpc/index2.htm

Tasks:
Troubleshoot Flashers