How to configure Flippers, Slingshots, Pop Bumpers, and other “quick response” devices (FAST Pinball)

MPF uses some special tricks to ensure that “quick response” devices like flippers, slingshots, and pop bumpers are able to respond to switch changes as fast as possible. (Read more about that here.)

When using FAST Pinball hardware, there are a few things you should know about these hardware rules.

First, remember that FAST IO boards contain both switch inputs and driver outputs.

For best performance, either:

  1. Make sure switches & drivers for hardware rules are on the same IO board, or
  2. Make sure switches are the first 8 switches on the first IO board

In other words, if you have a pop bumper or slingshot, make sure that the activation switch for that device and the coil for that device are plugged into the same IO board. That shouldn’t be too hard, since you’ll have multiple IO boards underneath your playfield.

For flippers, however, that’s probably not possible, so FAST Pinball controllers use the concept of “priority” switches which are the first 8 switches plugged into the first board in the chain. (These will be the switches numbered 0-0 through 0-7.)

These priority switches are sent across the FAST loop network immediately which means they can be used with hardware rules to trigger drivers (coils) on any IO board in the network.

If you only have two flippers in your machine, this is probably nothing you’ll ever need to worry about since it will be easy to connect the flipper switches and coils to the same IO board (and of course the same will be true for all the other quick response devices in your machine).

But if you have more than two flippers, there’s a good chance that the additional flippers will be somewhere far away from the flipper buttons and the main flippers. In that case, no problem, but make sure the IO board that has your flipper buttons connected to it is the first one in the chain, and make sure your flipper buttons are connected to one of the 0-7 positions on that IO board, and then everything will be fine.