How to use MPF with WPC machines¶
You can use MPF to control existing Williams / Bally / Midway WPC, WPC-S, and WPC-95 pinball machines.
1. Connecting the physical hardware¶
The main options for pinball controller hardware is the Multimorphic P-ROC (not the P3-ROC). FAST has a WPC controller too but it never hit general availability. The people who created the LISY boards are also working on a “LISY35” board for Bally/WPC machines with AS-2518-17 or AS-2518-35 CPU boards.
In both cases, you remove the existing MPU board from the backbox of your machine and replace it with the new controller. You then connect up all the existing cables and connectors to the new controller, so in effect the P-ROC or FAST WPC controller becomes the new MPU of your machine.
A few notes:
- Both the P-ROC and the FAST WPC controller have USB connections on them, and the actual “code” that makes up MPF runs on a computer which remotely controls the pinball controller (and therefore the machine)
- Switch connectors are connected directly to the P-ROC or FAST WPC controller.
- Drivers, coils, lamps, and GI are controlled via the existing WPC power driver board (which is connected to the P-ROC or FAST WPC controller via the existing 34-pin ribbon cable).
- The existing WPC sound board in the backbox is not used, as sounds are generated via the computer running MPF. There are articles online showing how you can modify the existing sound board to add a headphone plug you can connect into the computer running MPF, though most people end up replacing the speakers with new ones and a more powerful and better sounding amp. This means you can remove the existing sound board from the backbox.
- The existing DMD, if you choose to use it, is unplugged from the WPC DMD driver board and instead plugged into a 14-pin header on the P-ROC or FAST WPC controller. This means you can remove the existing DMD driver board from the backbox.
For the P-Roc connect your machine according to the P-Roc connector mappings.
More technical information can be found in the PinWiki Williams WPC page.
2. Configuring MPF for WPC machines¶
In order to use MPF in a WPC machine, you need to configure the
driverboards: section of your
config for MPF.
If you’re using a FAST WPC controller, it will look like this:
hardware: platform: fast driverboards: wpc
And if you’re using a P-ROC:
hardware: platform: p_roc driverboards: wpc
Note that with the P-ROC, it is very important that you specify
driverboards: wpc in your config if you’re
using a WPC machine. The reason for this is the P-ROC can be used to control either PD-16 (the P-ROC driver boards)
or WPC driver boards, but the polarity of each type is the inverse of the other.
In other words, if you put a P-ROC in a WPC machine but specify
driverboards: pdb, when you run MPF, it will
disable all the drivers, but since the polarity is reversed, it will actually enable every driver in your machine
at once. This will (1) be very loud and cause you to jump back about 10 feet, and (2) blow all your fuses.
3. Configuring switches¶
When using MPF with WPC machines, you can use the switch numbers from the machine’s operator’s manual. The exact format depends on the type of switch:
Matrix switches start with the letter
S, followed by the switch number. For example:
switches: s_left_slingshot: number: s41 s_right_jet: number: S45
Note that the “S” is not case-sensitive.
Switch numbers in WPC machines correspond to the column and row, so switch “11” is column 1, row 1, switch “26” is column 2, row 6, etc. This means that there are no 0s or 9s in a standard 8x8 switch matrix.
Also, some WPC-95 machines have a 9th column in the switch matrix (meaning they’ll have switch numbers 91-98). In this case, just enter those switch numbers like normal, and MPF will notice that there are switch numbers in the 90s and automatically configure the controller hardware to use the 9th column.
Our experience with using MPF with many different WPC machines is that many times, the switch numbers in the operator’s manual are incorrect. (We see this in many 25% of WPC machines.) Usually it’s the case where two switches have been swapped, though sometimes there are unused switches that really are used and vice-versa. So if you don’t get switch activities that you expect, check out neighboring switches to see if the numbers are wrong.
Direct switches (which are typically the coin and front door switches) are
entered with the
SD prefix, then the number, like this:
switches: s_left_coin: number: sd1 s_enter: number: SD8
Again, case doesn’t matter.
Fliptronics switches (on machines that have them) are entered with the
There are 8 Fliptronics switches on machines with Fliptronics. Typically four of them are used for flipper buttons, and four are used for EOS switches. (The flipper buttons on most Fliptronics machines actually have two switches stacked together behind each flipper button. If you push the flipper button part way in, the switch connected to the lower flipper engages, and if you push the button the rest of the way in, the switch connected to the upper flipper engages. This means if you’re good, it’s technically possible to flip just the lower flipper without flipping the upper one (or it’s possible to hold a ball on the lower flipper while flipping the upper one).
That said, some machines needed a few extra switches for other things, and if they don’t have four flippers, it’s possible that the extra Fliptronics switches are used for other things.
You would use Fliptronics switches in your config like this:
switches: s_flipper_lower_right_eos: number: sf1 s_flipper_lower_right: number: sf2 tags: player, right_flipper s_flipper_lower_left_eos: number: sf3 s_flipper_lower_left: number: sf4 tags: player, left_flipper
4. Configuring coils & drivers¶
The drivers section of your WPC machine’s operators manual will list all the
driver numbers as well as the devices they’re attached to. Note that WPC machines
use drivers for coils, motors, and flashers. You only enter your coils and
motors in the
coils: section of your config. Flashers go in the
section (discussed below).
Configuring regular coils¶
To configure the regular coils (from the “Solenoid / Flasher” table in your
machine’s operator’s manual, enter the letter
C followed by the solenoid
number, like this:
coils: c_trough_eject: number: c01 default_pulse_ms: 25 c_bottom_popper: number: c02 default_pulse_ms: 25 c_plunger_lane: number: c03 default_pulse_ms: 25
You’ll also see a section in the solenoid table in your ooperator’s manual with “Flipper Circuits”, like this:
That section shows the 8 driver outputs that are connected to the Fliptronics board (if your machine has one).
For those coil numbers, you can either enter
C followed by the number, or
the four-letter code indicating which output the driver is connected to, like
FLRM- Lower Right Main (Power)
FLRH- Lower Right Hold
FLLM- Lower Left Main (Power)
FLLH- Lower Left Hold
FURM- Upper Right Main (Power)
FURH- Upper Right Hold
FULM- Upper Left Main (Power)
FULH- Upper Left Hold
Many machines do not use all eight of these, and many machines also connect Fliptronics coils up to other random things (typically magnets and diverters).
An example in your config might be:
coils: c_flipper_left_main: number: fllm default_pulse_ms: 30 c_flipper_left_hold: number: fllh allow_enable: true c_flipper_right_main: number: flrm default_pulse_ms: 30 c_flipper_right_hold: number: flrh allow_enable: true c_vanish_magnet: number: c35 allow_enable: true c_loop_post_diverter: number: c36 allow_enable: true
5. Configuring lights (lamps)¶
Lights are configured with the letter
L followed by the lamp number from the
lights: l_ball_save: number: l11 subtype: matrix l_fortress_multiball: number: L12 subtype: matrix l_museum_multiball: number: L13 subtype: matrix l_cryoprison_multiball: number: l14 subtype: matrix l_wasteland_multiball: number: L15 subtype: matrix l_shoot_again: number: l16 subtype: matrix
5. Configuring GI (general illumination)¶
GI strings are configured with
G followed by the number, like this:
lights: gi_back_panel: number: g01 subtype: gi gi_upper_right: number: g02 subtype: gi gi_upper_left: number: g03 subtype: gi gi_lower_right: number: g04 subtype: gi gi_lower_left: number: g05 subtype: gi
6. Configuring flashers¶
Since flashers in WPC machines are technically drivers (coils), they are also
configured with the letter
C followed by their number similar to
coils: f_claw: number: c17 f_jets: number: c21 f_side_ramp: number: c22 f_left_ramp_upper: number: c23 f_left_ramp_lower: number: c24
See flashers: for details on how to use flashers.