Regarding pinball pop bumpers

Hello,

I have recently started researching towards a new project I have planned which is building my very own pinball machine.

This question is directed towards people who have tried this project or have knowledge of it:

There is something that eludes me when it comes to the pop bumpers which is I see many people on the internet using relays to control the pop bumpers coils through an arduino or other micro controller driver. What I can't seem to understand or find an answer on the internet is why is this deemed a common practice if the bumpers have automatic mechanical firing mechanism.

thank you

A microcontroller cannot, directly, drive the bumper as it cannot supply enough current. Most Arduinos are limited to 40mA absolute max current into or out of an output pin (some chips are limited to even less). The answer is to control a relay or transistor to then switch the higher current required by the bumper.

groundFungus: A microcontroller cannot, directly, drive the bumper as it cannot supply enough current. Most Arduinos are limited to 40mA absolute max current into or out of an output pin (some chips are limited to even less). The answer is to control a relay or transistor to then switch the higher current required by the bumper.

I understand this. My question is why from the beginning use a relay when the bumper has a mechanical control

I'm not sure what you mean by saying "pop bumper" The mushroom-shaped things? These are moved by a solenoid, which has to be controlled somehow.

I just looked this up so I understand a bit better. When a ball hits the bumper it moves the skirt on the bumper and that actuates a switch connected to the solenoid coil, firing the bumper. The bumper fires independent of the Arduino.

So do the relays that you see control the bumper coil or are they connected to the light or scoring contacts? Can you show a schematic of the connection?

groundFungus: I just looked this up so I understand a bit better. When a ball hits the bumper it moves the skirt on the bumper and that actuates a switch connected to the solenoid coil, firing the bumper. The bumper fires independent of the Arduino.

So do the relays that you see control the bumper coil or are they connected to the light or scoring contacts? Can you show a schematic of the connection?

I apologize for the delay in replying but it has also given me a chance to dig deeper and have a deeper understanding.

it seems the term "relay" in pinball machine refers to a 3rd mechanism that is used to control the gameplay mechanically.

In the old machines the mechanism would use a second solenoid which had multiple switches connected to scoring, pop bumpers, lights, etc. I was confused since a lot of places I've seen used the term without properly explaining it when it comes to pinball machines

this video shows the basic idea https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=ZFQi637bwkM

seeing as we live in the digital age I think ill use a micro controller to control the bumpers and other parts of the game, more power efficient and adaptable. Having a digital controller also adds the benefits of protection in case the pop bumpers skirt gets stuck and risks the solenoid being burnt.

El_Barto: In the old machines the mechanism would use a second solenoid which had multiple switches connected to scoring, pop bumpers, lights, etc. I was confused since a lot of places I've seen used the term without properly explaining it when it comes to pinball machines

And that is precisely what a relay is. It is a coil which moves an armature which operates one or more sets of contacts. There is no confusion about that at all.

Paul__B: And that is precisely what a relay is. It is a coil which moves an armature which operates one or more sets of contacts. There is no confusion about that at all.

you are infinitely correct, used to see relays in their solid state forms I ignorantly forgot what lies inside. Seems I jumped the gun in asking a question before entirely finishing my research.

How do I close this topic?

El_Barto: How do I close this topic?

You don't. It stays here until the electrons run out. :grinning: :grinning: