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PIN2DMD donation for charity project


Seeing PIN2DMD being such a huge success in the community and having already more than 100 users realy makes me happy and made me recognize once again how privileged I am. Since this is a open source project where the contributors share their knowledge and time for free to make others happy and some of the users want to show how happy they are, by donating me money , I decided to pass that money to people who need it more than me. Friends of mine founded a charity project supporting children of the Shanzu Orphans Home in Kenya to give them a chance for a better life. They spend their complete holiday time to travel there and bring the donated money directly to where the help is needed. If you want to know more about it you can find more information here 

http://www.soh-kenya.de. I hope that many of you feel as privileged as I am and support them by donating for the fun you have with PIN2DMD.


In the sense of sharing means caring



With the PIN2DMD open source project you get a full color LED DMD controller for real and virtual pinball machines.

The project was started by me and shortly after that joined by Steve45 as co-author. It is free for DIY private non commercial

use and released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


It currently supports:

  • Visual Pinball / PinMame (colorize feature)
  • Future Pinball with DMD interceptor DLL
  • Unit3d Pinball
  • Ultra DMD
  • XDMD
  • PinballX
  • WPC real pinball input
  • Stern SAM real pinball input
  • Gottlieb real pinball input (beta)
  • DataEast real pinball input (beta)
  • Whitestar real pinball input (beta)
  • SmartDMD inframe color switching
  • Frame colorization with PIN2DMD Editor by Steve (beta)
  • Frame replacement (more colors) with PIN2DMD Editor by Steve (beta) 
  • custom animation playback triggered by keyframe
  • full color Video animation playback
  • full color image file (binary ppm) display
  • micro-sd card storage of custom data (palettes etc)

The components cost approximately 100$

Here is a list of what you need:


1. The Panels

The panels we use are sold for video walls and advertising signs. There are many sizes of panels available with different spacing between the LEDs. The ones that fit best into a pinball have 2.5mm spacing (also referred to as “P2.5″), which results in a 128×32 display of 320×76.8mm. This can be mounted into an existing DMD/speaker panel from a pinball cabinet. Currently the only place to buy these panels is from AliExpress. search for „RGB LED 64x64 p2.5 1/16“ or „RGB LED 64x64 p2.5 1/16“. You don´t find 128×32 panels, but you can buy two 64×32 or one 64x64 panel which consists of two 64x32 panels which can be removed from the frame and connect side-by-side. Make sure that you end up with 2 x 1/16 scan panels since these are the only one currently supported by PIN2DMD. The good thing is that they are seamless.


2. The STM32F4 Discovery board

The panels use a 16 pin Hub75 interface to be connected to the next

panel or to a controller. We use a STM32F4 discovery board which is available from multiple sources for about $20. It is based on 168Mhz Cortex M4 processor architecture which is needed for the rapid bit-shifting of data to control the panels. We use CooCox IDE to write the program in C. The software is open source and is sent via USB port to the controller.


3. The PIN2DMD Shield

To connect the displays to the controller you need a connector shield pcb, which basically just connects the pins to the 16-pin ribbon cable that drives the displays. The board also has a 14pin connector which can be either used as output to a real monochrome pinball dmd or as input to get the data from a real machine (currently WPC and STERN under development). There are group-buys organized for the US from UncleSash and for the EU from Rappelbox which can be joined here: http://vpuniverse.com/forums/forum/132-pin2dmd/

4. The Power Supply

The RGB LED displays require 5vdc for power and if you want to run them

with full brightness they need a lot of current. A 10A power should be enough.

You need to connect that power supply up to both panels. The controller can either be supplied by USB or by an external 5V power source


5. The Firmware

As mentioned under point 3 we use CooCox IDE to build the STM32 firmware which can be found under www.coocox.org. You also need the ARM gcc toolchain which can be found here https://launchpad.net/gcc-arm-embedded/ There is a video tutorial on youtube how to get it working. You need to download the source for the firmware from github https://github.com/lucky01/PIN2DMD either as zip or git clone. Open the project in CoIDE press F7 to compile and then upload the firmware to the device.


UncleSash has written some really good manuals and instructions how to get the whole thing running which can be found at the end of the first post http://vpuniverse.com/forums/topic/2250-pin2dmd-prorder-backorder/


Videos of the interface in action can be found here






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From what I can see from the data in aliexpress the display is not close, it is in fact exactly the same when you take 2 of them in a row.

The dot pitch is also the same (P2.5). You need a frame to mount it in your pinball cab. The signalling is a bit different compared to

a pinball DMD. Pinball DMDs have a clocked signal for the rows. These DMDs use a 4 bit (pin) direct addressing of row 1-16 and 17-32

on Pin A/B/C/D. Maybe I also implement a converter from pinball signalling to RGB signalling. Currently I can imagine to have

USB input and a classic pinball interface. Output for single color Pinball DMD (like PinDMD2) and for RGB LED DMD.


Maybe we also implement go-dmd clock functionality. We will see.






P.S. My post on vpforums got deleted. Innovations not welcome ?

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Somehow the guys at vpforums didn´t like my development. My edit window shows the following message.

"You have been placed on moderator queue. This means that all content you submit will need to be approved by a moderator before it will be shown. "

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Somehow the guys at vpforums didn´t like my development. My edit window shows the following message.

"You have been placed on moderator queue. This means that all content you submit will need to be approved by a moderator before it will be shown. "

That's a bummer not sure why. It's funny they say they've only banned like 5 people ever - I believe it! Anyone they don't like they just put on moderator queue, never to be heard from again!

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

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I asked why I was put on moderator queue and Noah answered me.

My work has similar features like the upcoming pindmd3 and that

is why he deleted my post and put me on queue.

I like it, ready to start ordering and building one ;)

I´m still playing around with the signalling of the dmd and

switch ports almost every day. If you can contribute something

to the development (e.g. c++ or STM32 experience) I can give you more information

and share the code with you. If your just a user I will post the needed

information as soon as I have settled out the basic things like pinout etc.

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He probably doesn't want a cheaper alternative before he has a chance to get money for his board...I wish russ hadn't partnered "exclusively" with VirtuaPin - that doesn't bode well for support if the plunger is any indication.

Anyways I'm very excited about this project here, if only for the cheap DMD alternative! The colors will be cool to see as well.

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This is bullshit.  Censoring/deleting posts for homebrew stuff


What do you mean by the plunger topic?


I think he means mjr's plunger topic, it gets to stay up and is the same idea, a cheap alternative solution to an expensive piece of hardware.... more so because that's his bread and butter. Probably because mjr contributes a lot of other things, he can't really just delete his post... but lucky never posts there so then it gets deleted and he figures no one will ever know. Big conflict of interest having his business tied with that forum because it directly effects the way he moderates and runs it.

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Thats pauls MO...kill any great idears, unless there his cause he his a greedy little toad..he thinks he is VP...owns VP...and can dictate everything about VP..

if you dont cut him in or contribute exclusively to his site1443269927.gif you get banned or "moderated"   or your a VP hacksite....LMFAO

this is first hand knowlege 


 1443270083.gif  Im one of the "" 5 "" banned... LOL


Here we encourge developing anything cool for VP..not holding it back just to make a buck like VPF $$$$

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So this lucky1 in in this thread is not you? Because the lucky1 here is telling every one how to hack and make pindmd2 clones. You have reversed engineered its pinout and told every one how to install my firmware on it!


And now your STILL using my pindmd framedata for your own hardware (same as pindmd2 funny that!) (hundreds of hours of work went into setting that up and creating the virtual alphanumeric displays for ALL the different companys) but why make your own when you can just use mine right?

Everything you do is just copying or ripping me off and you wonder why me and Noah are pissed off!

I am going to be releasing a video of my pinDMD3 tomorrow some time see what people think.

Firmware is locked to its microcontroller its installed on using a 128bit encryted key. Its using encrypted frame data and encrypted firmware init requests using a custom pinDMD.dll

Did i mention its encryted??? So have reverse engineering it!

Hopefully the end to pinDMD being ripped off.

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Hi russdx1!


Is it correct that you sold your pindmd to virtuapin??? is it correct that atm no board is available and that since a certain time? And finally, is it correct that your firmware is/was available at your hp?

No one can stop people from developing clones or spin-offs.


Btw: Color DMDs are way cooler than "simple" monochrome DMDs, and that is for sure not an invention from you.


If we all calm down a bit and start talking, i'm sure there will be an adequate sollution for everyone ;)





Edit: If i remember correct, you haven't been even the first to try that. And telling people how to create their own clones is not even copyright-infringement.

And dont you even cared when you were asked if it's ok???

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