How to wire your pinball machine¶
Wiring, high voltage, and electricity can be dangerous. Read this first!
The voltages and electricity discussed here can be dangerous and could cause property loss or death. It is your responsibility to ensure you are aware of these risks and comfortable with these processes. Furthermore your local jurisdiction may have regulations or rules which differ from what we discuss here, including wiring colors, standards, techniques, etc. Although based on broadly adopted methods, FAST Pinball does not employ Professional Engineers and this information is not professional recommendations. There may be errors, omissions, or typos here. Any pinball machine available to the general public should be reviewed by a licensed Professional Engineer in your region. Use this content at your own risk.
Wiring a pinball machine is complex, and potentially dangerous if you don't do it right. We've created a series of guides, diagrams, and knowledge articles to help you get your machine wired in a safe and reliable way.
Step 1: Baseline wiring skills & knowledge¶
Before we dive into the finer points of pinball machine wiring, there are some base concepts that are important to understand which apply to all wiring in all machines. Read and understand these sections first before proceeding. (Seriously!)
- How to crimp wire connectors
- Pinball machine wire types, gauges, colors, & standards
- Understanding ground & grounding
- How to choose power supplies for your machine
Step 2: Platform-specific wiring guides¶
Now let's jump into the step-by-step guides which walk you through every aspect of your machine. But first, two quick questions: What color and gauge wire should you use for your 48 volts? And what is toxic ground? If you don't know the answers to both of these, read the baselines knowledge guides from above before proceeding.
Once you're familiar with the basics, select the wiring guide based on which FAST Pinball platform you're using:
FAST Neuron Controller
The FAST Neuron Controller is our second generation modern platform controller released in 2022. Neuron-powered machines only have 48 and 12-volt power supplies.
FAST Nano Controller
The FAST Nano Controller is our first-generation modern platform controller released in 2016. Nano-powered machines have 48, 12, and 5-volt power supplies
Why do the Nano and Neuron have different wiring guides?¶
The FAST Nano and FAST Neuron controllers are both part of the FAST Modern Platform. While they have many similarities, (they use the same I/O boards, for example), the Nano could be considered "first generation" and the Neuron is "second generation." As such, there are a few key differences between the two when it comes to wiring your pinball machine.
Full details about what's different between Neuron and Nano-controlled pinball machines are covered in the blog post, A guide to the Neuron controller for current FAST Pinball makers
The biggest difference is that Nano machines require 48-volt, 12-volt, and 5-volt power supplies, while the Neuron only requires 48-volt and 12-volt supplies. The Neuron also offers a computer-controlled main power switch option while the Nano uses a traditional line-voltage switch. This means the power supplies, power filter board, FAST power, and cabinet power guides are all slightly different between the two.
The Neuron also supports more types of LEDs, and delivers power to them differently than the Nano, so the LED guides are different.
Both controllers do use the same I/O boards (they just run different firmware versions), and the fundamentals of wiring switches, optos, drivers, and flippers are the same for both systems, but there are subtle differences there too. For example, in Neuron-based machines, your "quick response" switches and drivers can be connected to different I/O boards, which changes the cabinet and flipper wiring.
So, while there are many similarities between the two systems, they are different enough to each get their own guides. Happy wiring!
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