Fireball HD Pinball Debut!

The boys & I have been working on our Fireball Pinball project for months now – learning as we go and adjusting our vision for the game along the way. We’ve taken an unloved 1976 pinball machine, given it HD video and stereo sound, and named it “Fireball HD”. The lights are controlled, the switches are sensed, and the solenoids are fired by electronics we built with our own hands and some help from others.

It doesn’t work perfectly yet, in fact we are learning a lot about electrical noise problems right now – but it worked well enough for trips to the Orlando Science Center and FamiLAB recently. We had a special guest at FamiLAB – Gordon Hollingworth, Director of Engineering for Raspberry Pi. He stopped by to see the space, meet the people and hangout for an afternoon.  We’d hoped he’d like our project, and he did – calling it “the coolest physical project he’s seen done with a Pi so far.”

The current configuration:

  • Raspberry Pi (512mb) for game logic, scoring, video, sound
    • Python / Pygame
    • omxplayer for video (preparing to switch to direct openmx calls)
  • 24″ 1080p HDMI LCD television
  • Arduino Uno for light / switch matrix via i2c
  • Arduino Uno for solenoid (24v) activation via i2c
  • 20×4 LCD with i2c backpack for scoring and debug info

Prototyped, and coming soon:

If you’d like to see Fireball HD, it will be on display at Orlando Mini Maker Faire on October 5th, at the Orlando Science Center!

Some recent videos…

And from the wayback machine…

Our original blog post

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