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Thread: Alternatives to contactors

  1. #1
    Full Member Zablon's Avatar
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    Default Alternatives to contactors

    So I've been debating getting contactors and thinking there has to be a better way. One thing I've been wondering is why has no one tried using real pinball coils for flippers and such. Up to this point everyone has been looking at it from a "knocking" sound against the cabinet, but wouldn't there be some way to utilize something like this: http://www.marcospec.com/control/key...&S_CAT1=COILSB.

    I am not sure off the top what the voltages are (i'm guessing 24v) and it may prove to be even more of a hassle to get rigged up than contactors as you would need a few more parts than just the coils to get the desired effect. I thought the same about slingshots and bumpers though. What better way to get as close to the sound as possible as somehow incorporating the real thing directly under the pf. Most pinball machines are designed in a pretty standard fashion so "general area" would work pretty much like it does for contactors now.

    Has anyone explored this avenue? Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Lurker Arkay's Avatar
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    I have. I actually have assemblies from a bumper and flipper here exactly for those reasons.

    This is what I've learned:

    1. Pinball coils need more voltage than we like to deal with. The coils I have are from very early EM machines,they do function well enough at 12v to work, so providing you match coil with power supply you should be ok.

    2. Real coils are quite loud. Likely louder than the contactors. This could be a good or bad thing depending on where your machine will live.

    3. The contactors are a complete little package. Easy to work with where flipper assemblies and such are just that, assemblies.

    4. Sourcing second hand coils isn't that much easier than contactors and the price can be high. New flipper assemblies are relatively expensive too. Cheapest I've seen is about $35.

    5. Flipper assemblies use a special dual voltage coil where dual coils are charged simultaneously on the initial flip, at it's highest point a second leaf switch engages that disconnects one of the coils, halving the voltage across the total coil which is enough to hold the flipper up, but prevents burn out. This slightly complicates the wiring, but also adds complexity and a mechanical point of failure in the assembly itself. It's not difficult to work with, but something to keep in mind.

    6. Current draw on the real coils is likely above the ledwiz limitations meaning you need a relay of some sort. Don't quote me on that as I haven't measured it. It's just an assumption.

    So overall the contactors are just simpler, provided you can get them. Bolt them in, connect some wires and away you go. No reason why a similar real coil assembly can't be as easy though, if a cheap, pre-made, available part can be found it would be every bit as simple. With the correct coil it can work with 12v, certainly with 24. So if you know someone that wrecked a machine and doesn't want the playfield that can be a good way of scoring the assemblies. Remembering that we only want them for the feedback it doesn't matter if they are worn and don't work well as real flippers etc. They'll still be good enough for sound/feedback.

    The coils make sense in respect that you can mix and match. I might end up using a mixture of contactors and real coils so that all the feedback doesn't sound the same. Bumpers should sound different to flippers and slings for instance. I am also considering making an arc of wood across the top of the machine with 5 coils/contactors on it from left to right so I can be a bit more specific about where on the table a certain effect happens. Though I may not too as all current configs use 8 and if I use more than that I'll have to redo the configs to suit.

    Get some of each and see how you go! You'll always be able to sell the contactors if you don't use them

    Cheers,

    Arkay.
    Last edited by Arkay; 04-27-2012 at 06:24 PM.

  3. #3
    Full Member Zablon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the detailed input! I wasn't sure about the voltages and that does sound like it could make it a bit more difficult. I was thinking with Zebulons power board that could solve some of the issues with pulling too much on the LedWiz making the whole process much easier to experiment with other avenues.

    I have some I can play around with though when I get some time.

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