Demo of Custom Paragon with all new Sound/Rules

Here is a short update on the progress with my 1979 Bally Paragon pinball machine with custom rules and sound. The game is close to being complete. Take a look!

I’m now at the point where I’m getting various feedback from players about the content. Most people like it, but some seem to think the music is a little too “mellow” given the theme? I can see that. I wanted to do something a little more stylized and different. You’d probably expect some kind of dramatic orchestral score with the game, and not a kind of funky prog-rock type of music. So I’m torn on whether I should keep it or change it? I’m going to talk with the artist and see if he has any ideas — maybe we might record something specific for the machine? I don’t know, but I do like the idea of using a real band that we’ve actually recorded – so every sound in the game was completely created. Let me know what you think?

Quick demo of fully-modded Stern “Trident” pinball with new rules and sound

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++.
https://github.com/BallySternOS

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
https://www.amazon.com/ATmega328P-Controller-Module-CH340G-Arduino/dp/B08NJNJCTX/

0.1″ 40-pin connector (40 pieces for $7.99)
https://www.amazon.com/Honbay-Single-Female-Connector-Arduino/dp/B06Y4S6G29/

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
https://www.amazon.com/Prototype-Snappable-Arduino-Electronics-Gold-Plated/dp/B081QYPHHP/

Wire ($7.99) – tons of wire
https://www.amazon.com/REXQualis-Breadboard-Assorted-Prototyping-Circuits/dp/B081H2JQRV/

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)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XMH174C/

OR

@RoyGBev has created a PCB and kit (doesn’t include the Arduino) here:
https://pinside.com/pinball/market/shops/1304-roygbev-pinball/04736-arduino-nano-adapter-for-classic-bally-stern

How to make a test bench rig for Bally-18/35 MPU boards using a PC power supply

I found this old video the other day and realized I didn’t have a post on my main site showcasing this video so I wanted to add it (also, this was before I learned the proper pronunciation of “Bally” LOL…. bah-lee).

How to add a switched power outlet to your pinball machine

These days modding games is all the rage: adding fancy toppers, custom lighting, subwoofers and powered speakers and more. But many pinball machines don’t have a facility for you to plug in extra stuff in your game. Many games do have a “service outlet” inside the game, but this is what’s called “un-switched” meaning it’s on all the time – mainly so technicians can use a soldering iron on the game with the power off. In this video I go over the process to tap into the switched power lines of the game to add your own extra outlet(s) that come on when you turn the game on.

Pinball Feature: Custom Side Art Blades

This is a neat way to add extra art and visual appeal to your pinball machine using what are called side art blades. This is an area where many third party artists & entrepreneurs are finding clever and creative ways to mod pinball machines to increase their value and appeal. I talk about this and show you some examples.

Before
after

Prototyping A Brand New Mata Hari Ruleset!

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

How to replace or repair EM pinball latch relay parts/articulating arm/rollers

Ok, that’s a mouthful huh? This is a continuation of a previous series of videos I’ve done on fixing deep ruleset issues in EM games, and now that we’ve found what’s wrong, let’s fix it!

First, here’s a video on how to replace the latch relay – there’s another post where I demonstrate how to remove the backplane from the game so it’s easier to work on.

And in this next video, if you don’t have a replacement part, I show how with a little ingenuity and a #4 tap, you can fabricate your own roller for the articulating arm.

Now that it’s fixed… let’s see how the game plays!