Driving a pinball DMD with an Arduino

Posted on Sunday, June 26th, 2011 in Arduino, how-to by the machinegeek

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.

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 26th, 2011 at 5:00 pm and is filed under Arduino, how-to. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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  • KH: Yeah, it's an end-user thing. Very few people would spend hundreds of hours on this kind of project and sustain it. It's more or less...
  • Max: Not quite a dinosaur if you've seen Big Hero 6 though... wait. You've watched it with your kids, didn't you? That's cheating...! ;) One of...
  • Edward Mallon: A visiting researcher dropped by our humble basement workshop with questions about the physical skill level students would need if they added one of our...
  • KH: And that looks really expensive... Only browsed the vid though, I'm an dinosaur so I had the sound off too. Nice of him to open-source...
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