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Programmer's intro: working with FAST Pinball hardware

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 serial ports 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. 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!

The commands and messages sent back-and-forth between your computer and the FAST hardware are called the FAST Serial Protocol (FSP).

These docs are for software developers writing their own game framework from scratch!

If you're a pinball maker who just wants to build a pinball machine and not write all your own software from scratch, then you'll want to use the open source Mission Pinball Framework which is simpler to use and will get you flipping quickly! This programming documentation that you're reading now is for computer geeks who want to write their own pinball software from scratch.

Understanding the concept of FAST serial connections

Whenever you connect to FAST Pinball hardware via USB, you're technically talking to one or more microprocessors on the FAST hardware. The various FAST Pinball boards have processors that handle different things, and the commands you send, and how you interact with them, vary based on the type of processor and board you're connecting to. Most FAST boards require you to connect 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 multi-port connection process in action, check out our tutorial and walkthrough for setting up a FAST Neuron Controller

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 Thanks!

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