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The FAST Serial Protocol: Overview & Concepts

No Drivers Needed

Connecting your computer to a FAST Pinball controller is simple. Just plug it in via USB and one (or more, depending on the board) virtual COM port(s) automatically appear. You can open a serial terminal application and start sending commands, blinking lights, and reading switches in seconds. No drivers needed!

Because there are no drivers, you don't need to download or compile anything. Any device that can handle a high-speed serial connection is fine. This could be a full computer, like a Mac, Windows, or Linux machine, or a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, or almost anything else you want to use. This means you can write your pinball software in any programming language you, want with no wrappers or helper libraries needed.

The FAST hardware platform handles all the hard work. You handle the fun parts! (Though if you don't want to write a complete pinball framework from scratch, you can use an existing open source one like the Mission Pinball Framework.)

The commands sent back-and-forth between your computer and the FAST hardware are called the FAST Serial Protocol (FSP). This guide is a reference for the various commands and how they work.

Understanding the concept of FAST processors

Whenever you connect to FAST Pinball Hardware via USB, you're technically talking to a microprocessor on the other end. Different processors handle different things, and the commands you send, and how you interact with them, depends on the type of processor your connecting to. (They have names like NET, AUD, EXP, etc.) Many FAST boards allow for connections to more than one processor at a time, in which case you'll see multiple virtual serial ports when you connect the USB cable. If you want to see this process in action, check out our tutorial and walkthrough for setting up a FAST Neuron Controller

First Steps

Protocol Command Reference

Since the FAST Serial Protocol communicates with individual processors on the other end, the command reference and documentation are based on which processor on which board you're connecting to:

Documentation Feedback? Requests? Confused?

Hi! I'm Brian, and I'm responsible for the documentation at FAST Pinball. If you have any feedback, requests, corrections, ideas, or any other thoughts about this documentation, please let me know! You can email me at brian@fastpinball.com. Thanks!

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