Driving a pinball DMD with an Arduino

Pinball machines are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Whether resurrecting a vintage machine or building your own, issues with control of a visual display can arise. One form of display used in some modern machines is the plasma dot matrix display (DMD).

Adam Preble presents this video and article on his experiences driving a DMD using Arduino. Essentially, the Arduino controls all data to the DMD via 6 1/0 lines. The display is powered by the pinball machines power source. Adam notes that the Arduino version he used (which he states was an Atmega128, though most likely an Atmega8 or 168 since it was an NG board) was just barely fast enough to do a reasonable job of keeping the picture bright enough and flicker-less. Nevertheless, this serves as an ambitious proof of concept.

Arduino sketch code is posted on Github.

Via Poor Man’s Pinball.

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