Cruis’n World – marquee lighting

The fluorescent tube I installed in the marquee of my Cruis’n World years ago, does not light up the picture evenly. I have decided to use LED strips (cool white) on a piece of acrylic (67cm*17cm). I used three runs of strip powered by a small 12V SMPS I had lying around. The result is great, the light is 100% even now. The setup draws 0.2A and 2.4W…about 85% less than the previous setup. Having several light sources is better than one when you want to light up an area. Also, should one or more of the LEDs die over the years, it will almost be unnoticeable. The same cannot be said for a single light source…of course.







GBS 8200, current draw

This may be useful information for others on the internet.

I have been testing the GBS 8200 CGA/VGA/YUV to VGA converter board. So far, I am not very impressed by it. My Amiga 600 throughput is having some noise and do not produce a very fine and detailed image. Video looks a little bloomy. I will try arcade PCBs later on.

I used both a normal regulated 5V 3A power supply, but tried my lab power supply to see if the image cleaned up. It didn’t. But it did give me the chance to get the current draw:

GBS 8200 current draw:

Without video source connected = 0.3A

With RGBS video source connected = 0.53A





First look at the driver I/O board for projects like pinball and mechanical games. It works like Master Blaster from Mad Max. You connect your controller, either by piggybacking or by dupont leads. The controller is the Master, the AVON is the Blaster.

What does the board do:

  • General board, will drive coils, lamps etc.
  • Voltages from 5-50V.
  • 19 MOSFET outputs (up to 20A per channel)
  • 27 inputs (only for piggybacking, otherwise redundant)
  • LED for each channel to see if the controller is outputting signal.
  • Back-voltage protection*
  • Pull-down for floating pins on the controller
  • Only 3.96mm (0.156″) connectors
    *Protection is never 100%!



Xenon ball-eject fix

Many pinball machines has problems with ejecting the right number of balls to the shooter lane, and Xenon is no exception. Actually, I think Xenon is a prime candidate for this problem.

I also had problems with my Xenon. It would eject to balls to the shooter lane.

Looking for a solution, I found that redesigning the ball through beneath the apron worked for me. Like all pinball machines, Xenon has a switch to feel if there is a ball in the out hole. It also has a switch next to the shooter lane, close to the half-moon-ball-transport mech. But what Xenon also has, is a switch between the two; it seems to be present to feel if a ball is en route to the half moon mech.

My thought were to remove the ‘pass-thru’ switch and replace the (leaf) switch by the half moon mech with a microswitch. Yes, I hate leaf switches.

Here is a picture of the modified ball through.





Pinball theme!

I have had a couple of people asking me what the theme will be. I am between themes, two to be exact, but I’ll keep the names under wraps. I can say this, though: I originally wanted to use Forbidden Planet as the theme for my pinball machine, since I love the film and licensing would not be an issue for a ‘hobby-project’. I thought that NOBODY in the entire world would get the same idea, so I didn’t bother to check up on it. I was wrong. Not only is Forbidden Planet being made as a pinball machine, but it is being made right now – and with a ‘power house’ pinball designer.




Pinball project update #33

The order for the pinball driver board (prototype II) has been placed. This time from a new place, so apart from testing the input connectors and how zener diodes works in my circuit I will also have a look at the quality of the PCBs from the new manufacturer.

I expect to have the board designed real soon, so hopefully prototype II will be the last. But who knows.



Steelseries headphones!

Just got my third set of Steelseries headphones, adding Siberia 350 to my 7H and 9H. I will test the 350’s with various equipment, since the 350’s are USB with built-in sound card and not the more standard mini-jack like the 7H and 9H.



Review: 8-bit Armies (PC)

This is not a site for reviews, but as RTS probably is the genre I have spent more hours on than everything else(!) I have to chime in when former Westwood-guys – in form of Petroglyph – release a game that is very similar to C&C and Red Alert. Both games has been paramount in my life as a gamer. Most visitors to this site will probably think platformers, shooters and pinball are ‘me’, but the RTS genre is by far where I have spent most of my time.

A couple of days ago I also bought BlackBird’s Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak. So, that is two RTS games played within a few days. Comparisons will be made – even though there is a large price difference. I think Armies is 25% of the cost of Deserts of Kharak.

First of the bat: Having the old C&C interface back is awesome. I have always loved that the interface is placed on the right, and that you do not need to select a building to train or produce. Thanks to Petraglyph for that. Second, the game runs very well. Quick to boot, fast to exit. Great colors.  But this is where it stops for me. The title of the game (8-Bit Armies) is horrendous and just communicates that they did not care enough to give the game a proper title. Besides, there is no 8-bit look to the graphics. The graphics are big, bright and colorful. But units are boring, infantry looks like the guys from cubemen, and none of the units feel powerful when they fire. There is a total lack of ‘ooomph’ when tanks or artillery engages. As for the audio, it is virtually non-existant. I do not review the music, only sound effects, which have nothing to offer. The game lacks the seriousness of RA, with that extra spark of lightheartedness that reminds us all that war can also be very fun.

As for the map selection, all of them are 100% symmetrical. Remember when these maps started to arrive? They are called ‘tournament maps’ and are boring and stiff. To top it all off, when you win a game, you are treated to  ‘a winner is you’ – message trying to cash in on ancient ‘all your base are belong to us’ – jokes. Jokes that need to be at the expense of japanese games, which RTS games are not. That message is totally out of place and toe-curling.

C&C and Red Alert was made free many years ago. There is even a pumped edition of RA out there, with modern resolutions, the ability to use the nice infantry from C&C in RA, instead of the infantry RA was born with, OpenGL, Direct3D etc. Yes, totally free and MUCH MUCH better than 8-Bit Armies.

Get Red Alert for free or put the money towards Deserts of Kharak. Armies is a game that fell asleep when they started working on it and never woke up. There is some fun to be had with the game, it is just far from enough for the price. Touting this game as being on par with C&C and Red Alert is ill-adviced at best.