Here we go again…
After the last batch of AVR-based replacement boards were sold, I swore to myself that I wouldn’t make any more of these.
The previous board was made to fit the existing edge connector that was sitting on top of the power supply. The intention at the time was to keep as much of the game internals as original as possible. Both electrical and mechanical.
I had kept one replacement PCB for my machine. Everything was working perfectly, until one day, the power supply in the machine started making very angry electrical noises and fried my last remaining board. I then reconsidered my purist “sympathetic restoration " strategy and proceeded to rip out everything associated with lights, power, logic, motors, and hopper mechanics from the machine.
I then started over - from scratch.
- I designed a new PCB based on the ESP32S3.
- I designed a new coin hopper mechanism.
- I added new features. In addition to the game logic and hopper control, I added a command shell and also let it send bookkeeping information (coins in/ coins out) to the cloud during play (Bookkeeping was previously done with mechanical counters inside the machine).
I also fleshed out a new side gig business strategy. I’m not going to sell this board, but rather give away the design files and source code. The reason behind this is that once I sell a PCB to someone, I have a moral obligation to provide support for it. Support costs time and my spare time is valuable to me. Spare time is what makes projects like this possible.
That said, if someone forces me to accept money for this board, I might be willing to reconsider - as long as the transaction concludes our Spar 7 relationship.
The github repo is public and can be found here.
The admin console for the IoT backend I’m referring to in the video can be found here.
I have documented the hack / build in two videos on YouTube. The first video focuses on the teardown and the new board. The second video is about mechanical redesign, firmware, and playtesting.