Raspberry Pi Coin Dozer Won’t Make You Rich

Raspi in a coin dozer case

[SoggyBunz] lucked up and scored an Ultimate Raspberry Pi Bundle from Element 14. His idea was to use a Raspberry Pi to make a retro-mechanical arcade Coin Dozer game, and decided to build his first prototype inside a vacant Macintosh Plus shell.

The game is based on a Raspberry Pi running a small Python script. The Raspi operates a small servo that moves a piece of acrylic back and forth in a somewhat random fashion. The coins are inserted into slots cut into the Macintosh shell and eventually pile up. The moving acrylic lever pushes your winnings out of the machine and deposits them on whatever it’s sitting on, unlike this coin dispensing machine.

[SoggyBunz] concedes that the build is a bit rough and a servo is not the best choice of an actuator. But he aims to build a much improved version, and we can only hope he puts it on Hackaday.io and tips us in! Stick around after the break for a video of the Pi Dozer in action.

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Custom Arcade Control Panel

customArcadeControlPanel

Anybody can fire up an emulator and play arcade games of yesteryear, but if you want to capture more of the nostalgia, you should build a custom arcade control panel. [Quinn] started her build by narrowing down which games she was most interested in playing, and decided on a straightforward 2-player setup. The biggest challenge was finding joysticks that would allow for switchable 4-way or 8-way control: some games such as Ms. Pac Man were made for 4-way joystick input, and the added positions on a 8-way can lead to confused inputs and frustrated players.

[Quinn] found the solution with a pair of Ultimarc Servo Stik joysticks, which use a servo motor to swap between 4 and 8-way mode. The output from both the joysticks and the buttons feed into an iPac encoder, which converts the signal to emulate a USB keyboard. The panel was first mocked up on butcher paper, with dimensions borrowed from various games: the panel itself resembles Mortal Kombat 2, while the buttons are spaced to match X-Men vs Street Fighter 2. [Quinn] chose some spare melamine—plywood with a plastic coating—to construct the panel, drilled some holes and used a router to carve out space for the joysticks. A USB hub was added to power the servos and to make room for future additions, which [Quinn] will have no difficulty implementing considering that her electrical layout is enviably clean. To cap it all off, she fit two “coin slot” buttons: a quarter placed into a slot serves as a start button when pressed.

Be sure to see the videos after the break that demonstrate the coin buttons and the servos, then check out a different retro joystick hack for a tripod controller, or look to the future with the Steam Controller.

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Hacking Coin Collection

Coin Acceptor

Devices that collect coins for payment typically use standardized coin acceptors like the one shown here. These devices use a protocol called ccTalk to let the system know what coins were inserted. [Balda] has built tools for implementing the ccTalk protocol to let you play around with the devices. He also gave a talk at DEF CON (PDF) about the protocol.

[Balda] got started with ccTalk because he wanted to add a coin acceptor to a MAME cabinet, and had a coin acceptor. His latest project converts ccTalk to standard keyboard keystrokes using a Teensy. The MAME cabinet can then interpret these and add to the player’s credits.

There’s two interesting sides to this project. By providing tools to work with ccTalk, it’s much easier to take a used coin acceptor off eBay and integrate it into your own projects. On the other hand, these acceptors are used everywhere, and the tools could allow you to spoof coins, or even change settings on the acceptor.

Coin slot detector


Wow, how quickly the wearable electronics world has slid into the gutter. They’re now resigned to watching our nations finest natural resource, the butt crack. This project by [semiotech] uses a LilyPad Arduino to monitor the exposure of the wearer’s coin slot. It detects the presence of light with a photoresistor and alerts the user with the vibrations of a pager motor. This breakthrough in coin slot technology will prevent dryness and certainly reduce our exposure to domestic terrorism. We see plenty of room for future development; the Arduino is already capable of logging exactly how often your coin slot is exposed. Even if you feel this is more protection than your coin slot needs, we recommend Neutrogena’s Coin Slot Cream for general upkeep.

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