Last Updated: September 18th, 2005
Ever since the announcement of the Attack from Mars Mini-Saucer LED Kit ... Revenge from Mars owners have been asking about the possibility of building a similar kit for their game. While it has always been on my list as an item that I wanted to pursue ... lack of available time, as well as not actually owning a Revenge from Mars pinball machine, made this a long, uphill battle.
I have now finally found the time to devote to designing the Revenge from Mars Mini-Saucer LED Kit. Very special thanks go to Steve Tsubota who loaned me his RFM game to use in running the necessary tests to interface my board with the newer Pinball 2000 hardware system. Thanks also to Kevin L'Heureux, and Scott Pritchard for granting me access to run tests on their respective games. With their help, the RFM-LED design has been completed, and the first prototype board has now been built:
Old RFM-LED Prototype Board (ISA)
(Click to enlarge)
The RFM-LED board is similar in design to the AFM-LED board. The kit adds a ring of animated LEDs to the two green saucers down by the slingshots (see the picture at the top of the page). Like the AFM-LED board, the patterns are controlled by a programmable EPROM chip that can be updated in the future. The tool to do this has not yet been released ... but I'm hoping to put something together later this year.
This board also includes a new feature ... I have added a circuit to turn off the saucers when the rest of the playfield goes dark. This way, the saucers can be off during modes like the "Hypno Beam". This feature is optional ... the board can be configured to have the LEDs be active all the time, if you prefer.
The actual board was originally designed to mimic an ISA card that fits into the Pinball 2000 Motherboard (this has changed, see below). In actuality, there are no signal lines that run to the motherboard. Power will be supplied to the kit via a floppy drive power connector. I will be including an adapter with the board so that you can tap off the existing power wire bundle, without having to cut any of the existing zip-ties. The phone cords connect to the RFM-LED board through two access holes in the ISA bracket. I will get a better picture of this soon.
The kit will also include a 3-wire harness that runs out to the playfield. One wire will connect to the center ramp flasher, as this is the only flasher that seems to be used consistently during the game. The other two wires will connect to a lamp off to the side of the playfield, from Lamp Matrix B ... this is how the kit will determine if the playfield is currently dark.
I have not yet had the time to redo the saucer patterns to better fit with Revenge from Mars ... that's next on my list. Still, I felt it was important to post a progress report. I hope to have all of that completed by the end of August (if not sooner!!)
Animated pics/footage are also coming soon...
Update: August 11th, 2005
The RFM-LED kit has hit a small snag. It has been brought to my attention that you can install a SMC 8416 ethernet card in the existing ISA slot, and access some game information. The game software supports a small web-server, and a telnet shell (thanks to Greg for the info!) Designing the RFM-LED board as an ISA card would mean giving up these features.
I have also found that the double-sided prism card eats up too much space and consumes area from the ISA slot, leaving too little room to install the RFM-LED card safely.
The current plan is to redesign the RFM-LED card to be installed in the second PCI slot, instead. The second PCI slot is located on the other side of the prism card on the motherboard:
Revenge from Mars CPU Box
(Click to enlarge)
The long black slot along the bottom of the image is the ISA slot. The somewhat hidden white slot in the image, just above the prism card is the PCI slot. There are numerous cables obscuring the slot in this picture, but those are easily moved aside. They should not affect the installation of the updated RFM-LED card.
I am now in the process of redesigning the RFM-LED card as a PCI interface card, and hope to have something completed before the end of August. If you know of any reason why the card shouldn't be installed in the second PCI slot, please send me E-Mail, thanks.
Update: September 18th, 2005
The RFM-LED board re-design is now complete. The new design is built to be installed in the PCI slot on the motherboard. Power for the card will still be drawn off of a hard drive connector.
Further details are posted on the Features and Installation pages.