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Virtual Pinball DIY Controller

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#1 wahcade



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Posted 25 March 2018 - 11:47 AM


i would like to introduce a vpin project I am currently working on. Last year I finished my virtual pinball machine and it has been "constantly" used by friends, neighbors and colleagues and there was a big interest to  get an own virtual pinball. But not everyone has the space or wants to spend a few thousand dollars.

From this, the idea arose to build a controller that feels like pinball, does not cost the world and can be put together relatively easily and quickly. Depending on the budget and time you can choose from different layouts. The version without an analog plunger costs about $90. With is about $180.

I documented the whole build, step by step on Youtube and partly on a website. The links can be found below. There are six layouts on the paper - see: http://www.dallasliv...oller.php#masse .

The housing consists of multiplex wood panels and it has with 60 cm almost the width of a widebody. The flipper and the optional Magnasave buttons with leaf switches are in about the same position as on a real pinball machine. The front panel consists only of the necessary push buttons and an optional analog plunger.


Heart of the whole is the KL25Z board ($16) with the ingenious Open Source Pinscape Controller software. The board offers everything you need for a virtual pinball machine. In the standard configuration there are 24 inputs for the push buttons, an accelerometer for nudging, various analogue inputs for different plunger types and 22 PWM and digital outputs for the toys.

In addition to the controller software, the Pinscape project also offers a Windows application, which can  configure and test each KL25Z board individually. I'm just switching my virtual pinball machine to the KL25Z boards (KL25Z/Main/Expansion + KL25Z (nudging)). E.g. one board will be positioned at the optimal position for nudging. Then i switch off the accelerometers of the remaining KL25Z via the Pinscape Windows application.

No extra circuitry is needed to connect the push buttons, leaf switches and analog plunger. The cables only need to be soldered, which shouldn't be a problem even for beginners due to the large holes in the KL25Z board.  If you want, you can also use pin headers or a shield - see tutorials in the playlist.

An optional Direct Output Framework (DOF) upgrade is also possible. E.g. to control the push-button lamps in the front. A replay knocker, solenoids or contactors  are conceivable (if you turn off the accelerometer). Here is a test video of a few toys:


For the larger DOF Toys however a small extra circuit is necessary. Costs for eight 500mA ports is about $2. Just solder a chip and a few cables for the inputs, outputs and ground to a perf board. Nothing more. The circuit can handle many contactors, push-button lamps, flasher, stropes, short RGB LED stripes etc. - see tutorials in the playlist.

There is also a circuit for big toys like a shaker motor, long RGB LED Stripes etc. This is not much more complicated, just the construction is more time consuming and may require a little more soldering experience. With larger cable diameter and larger connection strengths 20A per channel are conceivable. See the Pinscape documentation, starts at page 24 (Build the LedWiz output drivers) - see tutorials in the playlist..

As mentioned before, a DOF upgrade is optional and not necessary for having fun!


Here is a video of a two monitor 4k/UHD setup with the controller:


If you want to get an impression of the controller, check out the videos in the playlilst. click, click, click or click

YouTube Playlist VP DIY Controller (Layout to DOF): click
YouTube channel: click


DIY Virtual Pinball Controller, Standalone VPin Controller (german side): click

Google translation: click


Building a KL25Z/Pinscape output board (german side) click

Google translation: click











Edited by wahcade, 26 March 2018 - 08:58 AM.

#2 Bosniarasta



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Posted 28 March 2018 - 08:44 AM

Great job.
Thank you.

#3 JLPicard001



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Posted 07 May 2018 - 08:30 PM

Wow this thread was a godsend!  Where can I purchase the actuators that are in your controller box?

Edited by JLPicard001, 08 May 2018 - 06:51 PM.

#4 wahcade



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Posted 11 May 2018 - 11:34 AM

Sorry for the delay.

I bought the used contactors on Ebay in germany. The Siemens Sirius 3RH1140-1BB40 was about $5 a piece and the Siemens 3RT 3RT1015-1BB41 for $4. But i'am not sure they are worth it. After all the tests i still prefer a splited soundsystem (Music, FX) instead of contactors.


#5 goofything



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Posted 09 November 2018 - 01:44 AM

What do you mean by a splitter sound system? Are you saying you prefer just using an amplifier and speakers in your cabinet and the pc sounds coming from the virtual pinball software?

Great write up and video series. Thank you so much.

#6 Cameron



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Posted 09 November 2018 - 05:31 PM

Sounds like he is talking about the SSF (Surround Sound Feedback) AKA Poor Man's DOF.


Search on that. I am planning on adding that to my cabinet soon. I want both the regular DOF and the SSF in my cabinet in the end... 


One thing that I think would be epic for these portable pin controllers is if you were able to put in a full-sized shaker motor! Would probably have to reduce the intensity quite a bit. I will say that has been the most effective addition to my cabinet so far.