How to configure mono/traditional DMD (FAST Pinball)¶
|Related Config File Sections|
The FAST WPC and Core controllers can drive traditional single-color pinball DMDs via the 14-pin DMD connector cable that’s been in most pinball machines for the past 25 years, like this:
It makes no difference as to whether you’re using an LED or an original plasma gas DMD. (Also it doesn’t matter what color it is.)
1. Verify your port settings¶
In order to use a DMD with a FAST Pinball controller, you need to have the
port that’s connected to the DMD processor on the FAST board listed in the
ports: section in the
fast: section of your machine-wide config.
See the How to use install drivers & configure COM ports (FAST Pinball) guide for details.
2. Add a physical DMD device entry¶
Once you have your hardware and port set, you need to create the actual device entry for the DMD.
You do this in the
dmds: section of the machine config. This
section is like the other common sections (switches, coils, etc.) where you
enter the name(s) of your device(s), and then under each one, you enter its
(And yes, in case you’re wondering, it’s possible to have more than one physical DMD.)
To do this, create a section in your machine-wide config called
dmds:, and then pick a name for the DMD, like this:
dmds: my_dmd: shades: 16
You need to have at least one setting for this to be a valid YAML file, so we
usually just pick the
shades and add that with a value of
means the DMD runs will convert the display content to 16 mono shades when it
The “shades” option is how many brightness shades you want. 1990s WPC machines supported 4 shades, and modern Stern DMD machines support 16. The FAST Pinball controllers support 16 shades (even on older 1990s plasma DMDs). Most modern games will probably be 16 shades, but you can do 4 (or even 2) if you want an old school look.
There are lots more options for the physical_dmd: section than just the “shades” option listed here. Check the dmds: for a list of all the options.
Note that one option you do NOT have for physical DMDs is the color. That’s because the color of the DMD is determined by the DMD itself. You don’t actually send it color values, rather, you just send it brightness levels, and the DMD shows those brightness levels with whatever color the DMD is.
3. Set a source display¶
Now that you have everything configured, the last step is to make sure the DMD knows what content to show. In MPF, you do this by mapping a physical DMD to an MPF display.
By default, the DMD will look for a display (in your displays:
section called “dmd”. However you can override this and configure the DMD to
use whatever logical display you want by setting a
setting. (Just make sure that the width and height of your source display match
the physical pixel dimensions of the DMD or else it will be weird.)
A final config you can test¶
At this point you’re all set, and whatever slides and widgets are shown on the DMD’s source display in MPF-MC should be shown on the physical DMD.
That said, all these options can be kind of confusing, so we created a quick
example config you can use to make sure you have yours set right. (You can
actually just save this config to
config.yaml in a blank machine folder
and run it to see it in action which will verify that you’ve got everything
To run this sample config, you can run
When you run it, do not use the
-X options, because either of
those will tell MPF to not use physical hardware which means it won’t try to
connect to the Teensy.
Note that the Using a traditional (single color) physical DMD guide has more details on the window and slide settings used in this machine config.
hardware: platform: fast driverboards: fast fast: ports: com3, com4, com5 # be sure to change this to your actual ports displays: window: # on screen window width: 600 height: 200 dmd: # source display for the DMD width: 128 height: 32 default: true window: width: 600 height: 200 title: Mission Pinball Framework dmds: my_dmd: brightness: 1.0 slides: window_slide_1: # slide we'll show in the on-screen window - type: display effects: - type: dmd pixel_color: ff5500 width: 512 height: 12 - type: text text: MISSION PINBALL FRAMEWORK anchor_y: top y: top-3 font_size: 30 - type: rectangle width: 514 height: 130 color: 444444 dmd_slide_1: # slide we'll show on the physical DMD - type: text text: IT WORKS! font_size: 30 slide_player: init_done: window_slide_1: target: window dmd_slide_1: target: dmd