I’m excited to release this video because it finally shows a relatively functional example of a re-programmed 1979 Bally Paragon using all new code and all new sound. Check it out:
This video addresses a common scenario that I often hear about – mostly from people who aren’t very familiar with these games. Someone gets a pinball machine and it doesn’t work. Now what? Let’s walk through this situation with a game I just picked up and explain the process of what to do when you have a new pinball that you don’t really know what condition it’s in or what’s wrong? What do you do? Are there things you should not do? How do you tell what’s wrong? Let’s get into it.
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Here’s a new game I picked up and I’m going to roll the camera and have you come along with me as I figure what’s wrong with the game and what I notice…
Here is Part II:
After getting my Trident operational, I installed the BSOS system and have been working on fine-tuning the custom code and sounds. Here’s a short demo of what the new Arduino-based controller does to a standard Bally 18/35/Stern early solid state game.
Resources (courtesy Dick Hamill):
The code is all available on GitHub. It’s broken down into a base library and then machine-specific implementations. Rewriting other games requires a moderate knowledge of C/C++.
Here’s a suggested parts list. If you bought all these things, you could create 6 of these boards. If you don’t need that many boards, you might find cheaper ways to source smaller quantities. I haven’t done any work to figure out if this is the cheapest way to source any of this stuff.
Cheap Arduino knockoff x6 ($20.99) – needs CH340 driver for programming / has to be ATmega328P
0.1″ 40-pin connector (40 pieces for $7.99)
32-pin Prototype PCB (2 pack for $9.99) – this won’t work for Alltek or MPU-200 because they have a 34-pin connector
Wire ($7.99) – tons of wire
74125 – ($1.95) https://www.jameco.com/z/74125-Major-Brands-IC-74125-Quad-Tri-State-Bus-Buffer_49373.html
Boot switch – x2 ($8.99) this switch will work for activating the Arduino board and toggling the speaker (see the writeup here to find out why: https://ballysternos.github.io/install.html)
@RoyGBev has created a PCB and kit (doesn’t include the Arduino) here:
I’ve been working on a new project that I’m very excited about. There’s been a movement to create an inexpensive, non-destructive and simple way to mod early Bally/Stern solid state games and add more features. In this video, I demonstrate an early prototype of the system used to modify a Bally Mata Hari pinball machine to include new features such as a skill shot, modes and even a wizard mode.
Want to learn more about this project? Visit: https://github.com/BallySternOS
Let’s pull a game out of the barn and see what we have? Peer over my shoulder as I take a look for the first time, at a picked up game and see what it needs to be restored. From beginning to end, I will chronicle my progress taking a non-working game and making it play.
Over the years, probably one of the most asked questions I’ve gotten from people is, “Whatever happened to that Earthshaker you were working on?”
People are referring to this video series: Williams Pinball Earthshaker Looks Like It was in an actual Earthquake!
I picked up this game nine years ago. Pulled it out of a filthy house where the game had sat for years, no legs, no glass, non-operational, in a house full of cats. The game looks like it has numerous things living in it, and the cabinet became a cat scratching post.
The more I looked at it, the more problems I found. The game had been monkeyed with in more ways than I’d seen with any other machine. Nonetheless, I managed to actually, finally get the game to boot up, but it was so horribly mangled in so many ways, it would take years to acquire the necessary parts at reasonable prices, so I stored the game and would pick up parts here and there over the years, hoping one day to restore the game.
Last year a friend inquired about the game and I realized, I didn’t have the time any time soon to tackle this project. I had so much going on I decided to sell it to a friend who I knew would invest the time needed to bring this treasure back. So I gave him all the parts I’d collected, including original cabinet artwork that I got from Gene Cunningham of Illinois Pinball.
The other day, my buddy Josh contacted me to let me know he had finished the restoration and if he could bring the game to the PinChurch to share with others. I jumped at the chance to see what progress had been made with the game, and share with everybody else.
Before I show you the AFTER, take a look at these two BEFORE videos:
You can find more details on the repairs and early restoration here.
Here’s a video of the restored Earthshaker – check it out – amazing work!
Here are some pictures: