Very new Arduino Noob wants to do something crazy

Well I leaped in with both feet and bought an arduino to finish my pinball machine. I have been experimenting with different sketches for the inputs and outputs, but I have a few questions:

  1. Which is faster using a PS2 Keyboard or 5 4021 shift registers for inputs; also I cannot seem to figure out how to tell my sketch that the key is depressed when using the keyboard approach for my inputs

  2. Thinking I'm going to use 4094 shift registers to output to the LED's for the feature lamps and solenoids, would it be better to string these all together on three pins or split them up on to two sets of 8 registers each?

  3. I have the code written in vb.net for this to work as a simulation, are there and translators that I could use to port my code over to C that could be easily implemented into a sketch?

Thanks for all the great examples, I love the Arduino and have been enjoying every minute of learning on this thing Rumblebelly5

  1. Which is faster using a PS2 Keyboard or 5 4021 shift registers for inputs;

This question seems completely irrelevant. The more important question is how you will get the balls to bounce off the keys on the keyboard.

  1. Thinking I'm going to use 4094 shift registers to output to the LED's for the feature lamps and solenoids, would it be better to string these all together on three pins or split them up on to two sets of 8 registers each?

How many lights will there be? How will the lights be powered? How many lights will be on at once? If there is a logical grouping of lights such that two sets makes sense, then that's the way to go. Otherwise, a single grouping makes more sense.

  1. I have the code written in vb.net for this to work as a simulation, are there and translators that I could use to port my code over to C that could be easily implemented into a sketch?

Only the one between your ears.

well i figured if you bounce the ball of the keyboard and then pick it back up ..........

I love the sense of humor from the other side of the mountains :)

seriously tho, what is a "reasonable" about of shift registers. is 5 to many or to slow as it would seem to me that is the only way for me to see when the key is down.

I will have 64 led's that function as the feature lamps, and 22 solenoids/flashers (higher voltage = hopefully brighter light)

Ill take that last statement as i am going to have to write the whole thing again, yeah......

seriously tho, what is a “reasonable” about of shift registers. is 5 to many or to slow as it would seem to me that is the only way for me to see when the key is down.

The best way to figure this out is to buy some, and experiment. They are cheap and easy to use. Measure, using micros(), how long it takes to cycle through checking for input. Only you can determine if that time is acceptable.

Ill take that last statement as i am going to have to write the whole thing again, yeah…

Yep.