DIY Mini Virtual Pinball Cabinet
A mini virtual pinball cabinet is a smaller version of a traditional pinball cabinet usually designed for home use and can be a great alternative for pinball enthusiasts who may not have the space or budget for a full-sized pinball machine.
This time I will show you how to make a small Virtual Pinball Cabinet consisting of a 17-inch monitor as playfield and a 10-inch tablet as backglass.
Even as a child I was impressed by these electromechanical devices and spent my last money to play on them. I accidentally came across a video explaining how to make such a device, but with the help of monitors instead of mechanical parts. That was reason enough for me to immediately start planning to build such a device . My job is Service specialist in an IT company, so I decided to make it from used or defective components so that the cost is minimal. Of course, it can be made from new components, understandably at a higher cost.
This time I will refer to the hardware part, and you can find out about the software on the many videos, forums and tutorials on the internet. Basically, the device is an ordinary personal computer with two monitors, built into a box that corresponds to the purpose.
And now let's see what this cabinet consists of:
- The entire box is made of 8 mm thick mediapan wood panel, which is painted with wood paint.
- Right under the protective glass is a 17-inch old monitor on which I replaced the led lighting because it was defective.
- The motherboard together with the processor and ram memory was taken from my previous PC which started very hard (only in a heated room), and the reason for that was capacitors with reduced capacity on the motherboard, so after I replaced them with new ones, everything is OK
If you want to make a PCB for your electronic project, PCBway is a great choice for you. PCBway is one of the most experienced PCB manufacturing company in China in field of PCB prototype and fabrication. They provide completed PCB assembly service with worldwide free shipping , and ISO9001 quality control system. Also, on their site there is an online gerber viewer where you can upload your gerber and drill files to render your board.
- The graphics card is AMD RX470 with 4GB Ram memory, and I used to mine crypto currencies before.
- The SSD drive is also from my old PC but it had a problem that sometimes it didn't work, and it didn't show up in the bios at all. I solved this by heating it in the oven for 10 minutes at a temperature of 250 degrees. Now it works great.
And now here's a interesting idea how to make the button control. Instead of expensive specialized boards for this purpose, I use a simple cheap USB Joystick that cost me only 5 dollars.
This is his board, and in the places where the contacts from the joystick pressed, I connected the Arcade buttons that are easily configured in the Control Panel (Devices) in the operating system and also in the Pinball Emulators. And of course, I have a used PC power supply that I replaced the electrolytic capacitors on and it works perfectly fine now. Due to the compactness and proportionality of the whole device, instead of a classic Backglass monitor, I used my very old 10-inch "Quart" Tablet, which worked very slowly, but for this purpose it turned out to be excellent.
It is connected to a PC via a USB cable, and it performs the function of a second monitor with the help of the excellent software "Wired XDisplay",which of the paid version costs only 7 dollars on Playstore. A small mechanical tilt switch is also connected to the controller to perform its function.
I also connected a small button in parallel with the tilt switch, which is located close to the flipper button, so that I can also move the board (tilt) with it. The sound is obtained through this small D-class Audio Amplifier connected to a 3-watt speaker. The potentiometer serves for volume regulation.
- Buttons are robust, mechanically very resistant, and contain a switch that is easily replaceable. You can get them online under the name Arcade Buttons.
- On the back there is a USB HUB, a power connector, as well as several buttons with various useful functions (power, reset, tablet power, esc button...)
As I mentioned before, this is a standard PC with installed special Pinball emulation software. In my case they are: "Visual Pinball" and "Future Pinball" Emulators. The buttons are mostly used to control the software, but I also use little wireless keyboard-mouse combo to set up some advanced functions. I should mention that a very useful option is the use of so-called Frontend software, so if we put this software in the Startup of the operating system, we perform all controls only with the buttons. In order to use this convenience, it is necessary to perform all the settings beforehand, which is not a very simple operation, especially for a beginner, but that's why there are many detailed videos and tutorials for these settings.