How to configure LEDs (FAST Pinball)

Related Config File Sections
leds:
fast:

Each FAST Pinball Controller has a built-in 4-channel RGB LED controller which can drive up to 64 RGB LEDs per channel. This controller uses serially-controlled LEDs (where each LED element has a little serial protocol decoder chip in it), allowing you to drive dozens of LEDs from a single data wire. These LEDs are generally known as “WS2812” (or similar). You can buy them from many different companies, and they’re what’s sold as the “NeoPixel” brand of products from Adafruit. (They have all different shapes and sizes.)

Most of the settings in the LEDs documentation apply to LEDs connected to FAST Pinball controllers, however there are a few FAST-specific things to know.

number:

There are two ways you can configure RGB LEDs for your FAST controller: by channel & output number, or directly with the FAST hardware number. It’s more straightforward to configure them by channel and output, like this:

leds:
    l_led0:
        number: 0-0
    l_right_ramp:
        number: 2-28

In the example above, RGB LED l_led0 is LED #0 on channel 0, and l_right_ramp is LED #28 on channel 2. Note both the channel and LED numbers start with 0, so your channel options for a FAST controller are 0-3, and your LED number options are 0-63. Also note that when you enter your FAST LED numbers with a dash like this, the values are integers, even if the rest of your FAST settings are in hex.

If you know the actual hex numbers of your LEDs, you can enter the numbers like that, ranging from 00 to FF. If you don’t know what this means, then just ignore it and use the channel and LED number format with the dash. :)

RGB LED buffering

Most computers have the ability to send LED updates to the FAST Pinball controller faster than the controller can process them. If this happens, then the LED command messages can get backlogged and it will appear that you have a “delay” in your LEDs and/or you might get weird colors due to corrupt messages.

To help combat this, there are two settings you can adjust:

mpf:
   default_led_hw_update_hz: 50

fast:
   rgb_buffer: 3

If you notice that your LEDs seem to be getting behind, you can adjust the default_led_hw_update_hz: setting to be lower. (Frankly the 50hz by default is too high and we should lower it to 30.) You can probably drive 128 or so LEDs at 50Hz, but if you have more than that then you might need to start playing with this number.

Hardware LED fading

You can globally set the fade rate for LEDs connected to a FAST Pinball controller via the fast:hardware_led_fade_time: setting. (This is 0ms by default, meaning it’s disabled.)

See the fast: section of the config file reference for details.