34. Cabinet Buttons
One of the top ten questions that every new cab builder asks on
the forums is:
"Which buttons should I include?"
I think most of us start off thinking the answer is so obvious that
it's not even worth asking the question: why, the same buttons they
put on real pinball machines, of course! But as soon as you
start actually designing your cab, it becomes apparent that it's not
as simple as it seems. Some of the complications:
- Real machines don't all have the same buttons. There are three
buttons that are pretty much universal: the two flipper buttons and
the Start button. Beyond that, different machines have their own
extra buttons, some common and some unique. Some common buttons that
appear on many machines are the Magna Save buttons (alongside the
flipper buttons), a flipper-like button on top of the lock bar (often
labeled "Fire"), an Extra Ball or "Buy In" button on the front of the
cabinet, and a Launch Ball button in place of the plunger. If you
want to be able to play re-creations of tables with those extra
buttons, you'll need some equivalent of the extra buttons on your cab.
- Modern pinball machines have some additional, hidden buttons, inside
the coin door, that let the operator access the game's setup menus.
It's useful to have these on a virtual cab, too, because you're going
to be the operator and will want to be able to access the setup menus.
- Virtual pinball needs some additional controls for the "virtual"
aspect, such as inserting virtual coins, navigating the game selection
menus, viewing game instruction cards, viewing flyers, exiting an
active game and returning to the game selection menu, and controlling
the PC audio volume. Many of these functions can be comfortably
assigned to the regular pinball buttons (flippers, Start, etc), so you
don't actually need a big array of extra controls, but most people
find it necessary to have at least one extra button, for the special
function unique to virtual pinball of exiting out of the current
This section will try to help you answer that big question about which
buttons to include. I don't want to presume to dictate a single slate
of buttons that everyone should use. Tastes vary about whether you
should have lots of buttons or as few as possible, and some cabs have
more space than others available for buttons. So instead of trying to
answer the question with a list of "these are the buttons you should
include", we'll go over all of the buttons commonly used on virtual
cabs, even the ones only rarely seen, and we'll explain each
one's purpose and offer an opinion on each one's importance.
(There is, however, a summary of recommendations
, in case you want
to cut to the case.)
Later in the section, after surveying all of the button functions,
we'll get into the details of the equipment to use for each type of
button, including what to buy and how to install it.
Minimalist vs. maximalist
When you add up all of the buttons used across different real pinball
machines, plus all of the special buttons for virtual pinball needs,
you get a pretty long list.
One way to cover all the bases is to simply include every button you
can think of. It's impractical to include every unique button on
every machine - there are just too many of those - but you can include
all of the special buttons for all of the games you think you might
want to play. This "maximalist" approach gives you the best chance of
replicating the original playing experience for all of the different
games. It also gives you lots of blinking lights, and we all like
Some cab builders prefer a more "minimalist" approach, with the aim of
replicating the appearance of a real pinball machine more closely.
Most real pinballs have only a few buttons, so a cabinet with too many
extra buttons can start to look conspicuously "virtual". The
minimalist tries to limit exterior buttons to about the same number
found on most real machine, for a more authentic appearance.
Fortunately for the minimalists, the modern software environment makes
it possible to access all of the important functions with only a few
extra buttons beyond the core set found on all real pinballs.
If you're a determined maximalist, note that the practical limits of
available space might cramp your style a bit. A standard cabinet with
a coin door can really only fit a maximum of four buttons on the front
panel, in addition to the plunger, the Launch Ball button, and the
coin door controls.
I personally favor a middle path, closer to the minimalist side, but
allowing a few extra buttons for the sake of the broadest
playability. With this in mind, the list below has my recommendations
for which buttons to include and which to skip, or at least find a way
Master list of buttons
To help you decide which buttons you need, whichever camp you're in,
here's a list of all of the common and less common virtual cab
buttons, how important they are (in my opinion), and where they're
usually situated. The list is roughly in order of importance, from
most important to least.
- Power button: Essential. Pushbutton, bottom of cab, front right side.
On the real machines, the power is controlled with a toggle switch
wired to the main power supply line, located in a little recess
on the bottom of the cab at the front right corner. In a virtual
cab, we usually replace this with a "soft" power button in the same
location, wired to the PC motherboard's power control header.
See "Floor" in Cabinet Body for details on installing a
pushbutton in the proper spot, and Power Switching for
more on setting up the PC soft power controls.
Start: Essential. Round pushbutton, front panel, top left.
This is a core button found on every real pinball. Push it to start the game.
Most "front ends" (the game menu software that lets you select games to play)
also use this as a "select" button when navigating through menus.
- Flippers: Essential. Standard flipper buttons, sides of cab.
These are core buttons found on every real pinball.
Essential. Round pushbutton, front panel, below Start.
won't find this button on real pinballs; you "exit" a real pinball
game by walking away. But it's a must for a virtual cab. This button
exits the current game and returns to the "front end" game selection
menu. Front ends typically also use this to navigate within their
menu structure (to back out of a menu or acknowledge a pop-up message, for example).
Coin In: Essential. No standard location.
This button lets you simulate inserting a coin to add credits to the current game.
Even though you'll probably be setting most of your games on Free Play via the
operator menus, a Coin button is still needed in some cases, since some older
tables simply don't have a Free Play option.
This is a virtual function, obviously; there's no standard button for this
on a real machine that we can copy. Many cab builders simply include a
dedicated front-panel button for this. If you're a button maximalist,
you're thinking, oh boy, another blinking light! If you're a minimalist,
you're thinking, oh no, more ugly clutter.
If you're using a standard coin door, you can use it to get around the need for
an extra front-panel button. One way is to to for full realism, by using actual
coins. To do this, you'll have to install standard coin handler mechanisms
in your coin door, and wire their switches to your button encoder as though
they were buttons, which is easy. Then you can add credits the authentic way, by dropping
quarters in the slot. The coin mechs are only about $10 apiece, so it's not
very expensive to add this bit of authenticity, but the hassle of
handling the coins gets tedious after a while. A better alternative
is to forget the coins, but still use the coin chutes: specifically,
use the "Reject Coin" buttons as your virtual coin buttons. To do that, you have to
add microswitches behind the buttons, as explained in Coin Door.
I like this solution the best, since it makes adding coins
pushbutton-easy without any front-panel clutter. My favorite option
is to include both the real coin mechanisms and the Reject button
switches. That way you can use real coins when it amuses you to
do so, and just push the buttons when it doesn't.
- Magna Save: Essential-ish. Standard flipper buttons, sides of cab.
This is a second set of flipper buttons, usually located just behind the regular
flipper buttons on the sides of the cabinet. (Some people prefer to put them
just below the regular flipper buttons, or diagonally behind and below.)
Cab builders call these "Magna Save" buttons out of habit, but they're
actually used on real machines for functions other than Magna Save more
often than for Magna Save as such. But I have to admit that "extra side buttons"
is awfully prosaic in comparison.
I'm grading these "Essential-ish" as a way of saying there's a tiny
bit of wiggle room as to how truly essential they are. But only a tiny bit.
You can get away without them if you're a hardcore minimalist, but I wouldn't
recommend it, since they're a lot more useful than you might think.
It turns out that dozens of real tables featured similar buttons in
real life, so even if you're a minimalist, there's a case to be made that
these are common enough to be considered part of the basic set of real
pinball buttons. But the real reason to include them is that an even greater number of Visual Pinball
tables rely on them for special game-specific features, because these
buttons have become the standard fallback for emulating unique controls.
You really need these buttons on your cab if you want to enjoy full playability
for many Visual Pinball tables. To see what I mean, take a look at the
lists in Tables with MagnaSave Buttons. And even if you're a minimalist
about buttons in general, these are pretty unobtrusive, since they're on
the sides of the cabinet rather than in front.
Tilt bob: Essential-ish. Inside the cab.
The tilt bob is a little mechanical pendulum that detects excess
cabinet motion. This isn't exactly a button, but it acts like one in almost
every way - you connect it to the key encoder like a button,
and it provides input to the software as though it were a button.
Don't confuse the tilt bob with a nudge sensor. The purpose
of a tilt bob isn't to simulate nudges in the software, but rather
to detect when you're nudging too much. The tilt bob serves
exactly the same function in a virtual cab that it serves in a
real pinball machine. See Nudge & Tilt
for a full discussion of the distinction between "nudging" and
"tilting", and the tilt bob's role in this.
Visual Pinball has its own simulated tilt bob, but I strongly
recommend installing a physical tilt bob anyway. VP's version just
isn't very realistic. The interaction between
a real cabinet's motion and the tilt bob's motion is complex; it's one
of those compound pendulums that's rather difficult to model,
and VP doesn't really try. And I don't see why it should, when
we can so easily get exactly the right handling by just hooking
up a real tilt bob! That's why I rank this as practically essential.
And it doesn't affect aesthetics, since it goes inside the cab.
- Launch Ball: Nice to have if you have a plunger; essential if not.
Large round pushbutton, front panel, right.
A fair number of games from the 1990s used a Launch Ball button in place of a
regular plunger. This was usually a large round pushbutton, but some games
used unique devices instead, such as a gun trigger on Terminator 2: Judgment Day
or a gear shift lever on The Getaway: High Speed 2. On
the real machines that use such a thing, the button
or device is typically positioned exactly where the plunger would
normally go, at the top right corner of the front panel.
For a virtual cab, this button is optional if you're going to
install a plunger using the Pinscape Controller or the plunger kit
from Zeb's Boards. Both of those let you simulate the Launch Ball
button using the plunger, so you don't absolutely need the button.
Even so, I still recommend including the button in addition to the
plunger, since it replicates the original playing experience more
faithfully for Launch Ball tables.
Alternatively, you can use a Launch button instead of a
regular plunger. All of the PC pinball simulators are designed
with desktop use in mind, so they all let you control the on-screen
plunger with a key press. You can simply map the Launch Ball button
to the software plunger key and dispense with the real plunger. This
saves front panel space and the complexity and cost of a real plunger.
In my opinion, the best option is to have both a regular
plunger and a Launch Ball button. Controlling the on-screen plunger
with a button is possible, but it's a really poor substitute for
a genuine plunger. Besides, the plunger is a defining feature of
pinball; for me it's simply a must in a virtual cab. If you do choose
to include both the plunger and the button, the button can go just
above or just below the plunger. I prefer to put the plunger in
its standard location on a real pinball, which means the button has
to go below it. But some people prefer putting the button above the
plunger to make it easier to see and reach, which requires lowering
the plunger by a couple of inches from the standard position to make
room for the button. I'm not wild about the unusual appearance of
the lowered plunger, but some cab builders have to lower the plunger
anyway because the normal position is blocked by the playfield TV.
- Audio volume: Recommended. No standard location; preferably hidden.
I find that I adjust the audio volume quite frequently on my cab,
so I very much like have a way to do this conveniently.
Getting out the keyboard or mouse or opening up the cab
don't count as convenient, so some kind of external control
for this is recommended.
Some people like to use the straightforward
approach of adjusting the volume via the amplifier's volume
knob, so they locate the amp somewhere easily accessible.
My preference is to control the audio volume via external cabinet
buttons for Volume Up and Volume Down. This is possible if you
use some software to provide a keyboard interface to the
Windows master line-out volume level, such as my
If your keyboard encoder has the concept of a "Shift" button (Pinscape
and the i-Pac encoders do), you don't need separate physical buttons
for volume. You can instead double up some of the regular
buttons, using them as volume controls in addition to their
normal functions. This is the approach I
use myself, and I like it because it makes the volume controls
easily accessible without requiring any extra physical buttons.
I use the right MagnaSave/flipper buttons as Volume Up/Down
buttons, in combination with my Extra Ball button as the Shift
button. That is, when I press and hold Extra Ball, I can
use the right buttons to adjust the volume. Easy, convenient,
and requires no extra buttons.
If you prefer separate, physical Volume Up/Down buttons, where do they go?
There's no standard location for these, but even the maximalists
seem to agree that these particular buttons should be hidden.
Some cab builders accomplish this by putting them inside the
coin door. That's a little too inconvenient, in my opinion,
for something I access so often. A better option is the bottom
of the cabinet, near the front edge: that puts them out of sight,
but they're easily accessible and you can find them by feel.
Another option that you might prefer is a knob that sends volume up/down
keystrokes to the PC. See the vpforums thread
Coin Door Volume Control
for a way to build such a knob and mount it on the coin door.
- Coin door position switch: Recommended. Inside the
The real machines have a switch inside the coin door
that senses whether the door is open or closed, like the switch in a
refrigerator that turns on the light when you open the door. I'm sure
this seems like a ridiculously nitpicky detail, but it's actually
important, because a lot of the ROM software on the modern games
requires the signal from this switch to access the service menus.
(They're so insistent about it because they use it as a safety
measure, to cut off the high voltage power supply when the operator is
working inside the machine.) Installing the switch to match the
software's expectations just makes things easier, and it's not
difficult or expensive to install. For full details, see "Coin door
position switch" in Coin Door.
- Fire!: Nice to have; essential
for Stern fans. Top center of lockdown bar.
Many newer Stern games (2005 to present) feature this extra button on
top of the lockdown bar, usually centered side to side. (The lockdown
bar is the metal piece at the front edge holding the cover glass
down.) The button itself is usually a clear flipper button and
usually has a lamp inside.
Up until recently, I think many cab builders considered the Fire button
to be one of those special, game-specific buttons that isn't widely enough used
to justify including it as a physical button. But it's
not that game-specific any more, given that nearly every newer
Stern title has one. I think it's on its way to becoming a new core
button on the strength of Stern's consistent use, and because it's
just a good location for an extra button. It's visually appealing
even if you're in the minimalist camp, and it's easy to reach
The complication is that
you either need a special (more expensive) version of both the lockbar
and receiver that are pre-drilled to accept the button, or you need to
modify the standard ones. See "Fire button" in
Cabinet Hardware Installation for more on finding the
buttons: Nice to have. Inside the coin door.
using a real coin door, it will probably come with a little "service
button" panel pre-installed on the inside of the door. Modern coin
doors for WPC and Stern machines have four buttons here; older
1980s games usually had three buttons.
On a real machine, these let the operator access the setup menus for
the game, which are used adjust pricing and feature settings and to
access self-diagnostics. These menus are where you set up Free Play,
for example, or change from 3-ball to 5-ball play. In a virtual cab,
you can access the same menus via the authentic buttons if you have
them, by connecting the buttons to your key encoder.
If you don't
have a real coin door, or it doesn't include the service buttons, you
can access the service menus via your PC keyboard. This isn't
something you have to do very often, so I don't consider these buttons
to be essential. But I do consider them to be a big convenience that
I wouldn't want to do without on my own machine. Assuming you have a
coin door, these buttons don't affect the aesthetics,
since they're hidden inside the machine.
- Extra Ball/Buy-In: Nice to have. Round pushbutton, below Start.
A few games from the 1990s feature an extra front-panel button labeled
"Extra Ball", "Buy-In", or in a few cases something marketing-ese like
"Super Ball". The button on the real machines is either below the
Start button or below the plunger. It lets you
buy an extra ball for a credit after the last ball ends (which can be
a decent deal if you're close to a replay or close to beating the
high score). Realistically, for virtual play, you'll probably never use
it: why bother "buying" an extra ball when every game is free? Even so,
I included one on my machine mostly for completeness, because I like
a lot of games from the era where this button was common. If you
do include it, it also gives you one more option for mapping special
functions in games with unique buttons.
- Night Mode: Nice to have. Hidden; no standard location.
If your cabinet has mechanical feedback devices (contactors,
solenoids, replay knocker, etc), you might want to include a button or
switch to activate "Night Mode", which turns off the noisy devices for
quieter play in the wee hours. The wiring depends on your
output device controller; if you're using a Pinscape Controller for
feedback devices, you can assign any button input to serve as the
Night Mode button. The generic arcade controllers (LedWiz, PacLed)
don't have this feature at all, but you can improvise something
with a switch that cuts off power to the noisy devices.
See Feedback Devices Overview. Like the audio volume controls,
this button is an "operator" button that you'll probably want to
place somewhere out of view, such as on the bottom of the machine
or inside the coin door. With Pinscape, you can assign it
as a secondary ("shifted") function of one of your other buttons.
- Slam tilt switch:
Neutral. If you have a WPC-style coin door, it will probably have a
slam tilt switch pre-installed. The slam tilt looks like a leaf switch
with a big metal slug attached to the end of the main leaf. It's usually
mounted on the inside of the coin door.
This is related to the tilt bob, but rather than detecting
excess motion, it detects excess force. It's triggered by very hard jolts to the front
of the cabinet. That big round slug at the end of the main leaf has
a lot of inertia, which is what makes the switch work. A hard enough
slam will propel the slug by sheer inertia far enough to close the
switch and trigger the alarm.
I don't find the slam tilt to be all that necessary on a virtual
cab, since its main purpose is to deter the sort of extreme abuse
that a coin-op machine in a public place can be subjected to.
It's unlikely you'd ever trigger it in regular play, even if you're
an aggressive nudger. So I wouldn't go out of my way to add
this device if your coin door doesn't already have one. But if
it's already there, I'd go ahead and wire it up, since VPinMAME
does recognize it as a standard input. The WPC doors usually do
come with a slam tilt switch; the Stern and SuzoHapp doors don't.
See Coin Door for more on wiring a pre-installed
slam tilt switch and information about how it's treated in the
- Virtual service buttons: Kinda nice to have. Inside the coin door.
There are a few miscellaneous "operator" functions specific
to virtual pinball that might merit their own buttons inside
the coin door, such as engaging night mode, doing a hard reboot of the PC or
activating plunger calibration mode. One way to do this
is to add your own bank of additional service buttons somewhere
inside the coin door. See "Adding an extra service panel"
in Coin Door for ideas.
- Flyer, Instructions, Info: For the maximalist only.
Some front ends (game selection menu programs) use
keys to select selection certain functions within the UI, such as
viewing a game's promotional flyer, viewing its instruction card, or
displaying other information about the game. Some cab builders
include a bunch of cabinet buttons dedicated to these front-end
functions. Functionally, you don't really need a bunch of special
buttons for the menu program, since the newer front ends let you
access everything through the basic keys. You can include them if you
like the aesthetics of lots of buttons, though, and they do give you
more options for mapping special functions in tables that had unique
extra buttons of their own.
- Nudge: Not recommended. No standard location. In the
early days of virtual cabs, some cab builders added special extra
buttons for nudging. This simply transplanted one of the bad features
of desktop play (the lack of real physical interaction) into the
cabinet, which is the opposite of our ultimate goal of emulating the
elements of real pinball play in software. But it was the only option
back then, so people did it to have some kind of nudge interaction,
even if it wasn't very good. Fortunately, there's a much better way
to handle nudging now: use an accelerometer. That lets you
virtually nudge the simulated game by actually nudging
the physical cabinet. Unlike the bad old days of push-button nudging,
where the nudge command was one-size-fits-all, the accelerometer
registers the amount and direction of the force you apply, so
that the software response can be proportional.
It makes the play much more natural and immersive than trying to
fumble for buttons at critical moments. See Nudge & Tilt.
Here's a summary of my recommendations, in descending order of
Essential (all cabs need these):
- Power button
- Coin In
All but essential:
- Audio volume up/down/mute
- Coin door position switch
Nice to have:
- Launch ball (essential if you don't have a plunger)
- Service buttons
- Extra Ball/Buy-In
- Night Mode
- Stern-style lockbar Fire button
- Slam Tilt
- Virtual service buttons
For the maximalist only:
- Nudge buttons (use an accelerometer instead!)
Most people want illuminated buttons for the common front panel
buttons - Start, Exit, Launch Ball, Extra Ball, Coin In, etc.
This is fortunately really easy to do, because you can buy
pre-assembled button-plus-lamp assemblies in the "small round
pushbutton" style used on modern pinball machines.
Most people further want to have the software control the button
lights, so that the Start button flashes when the game is ready to
start and the Launch Ball button flashes when a ball is ready to
launch, and so on. This is also easily done, as long as you have
a feedback controller like an LedWiz or Pinscape Controller.
A lot of first-time cab builders find this idea little confusing at
first. The big question a lot of people ask is how you're supposed to
connect a button lamp to your keyboard encoder. The answer is that
you're not supposed to connect the lamp to your encoder.
You're supposed to connect it to your feedback controller.
This becomes a lot easier to grasp if you think about the
switch and the lamp as two separate devices. What
throws people is that the two are built into a single plastic housing.
But, electronically, they're not connected at all. Think about it
- there's a switch, which you connect to your keyboard encoder
- and there's a lamp, which you connect to your feedback controller
But then you might wonder: How does the feedback controller know that
the lamp goes with the button, and how does the keyboard encoder know
that the switch goes with the lamp? Well, they don't. And they don't
have to. The key input and the feedback output port are separate
entities in the software as well. So you don't have to worry about
coordinating between the two physical devices in terms of the wiring;
it's all handled in the software.
The switch wiring part is explained in more detail in
Incandescent and LED lamps
Most of the button-with-lamp assemblies that you can buy from the
pinball vendors come with incandescent lamps. The standard lamp type
for most of these is called a #555 bulb. These are longish cylindrical
bulbs with wedge-shaped bases. They run on 6.3V power and draw about
250mA of current.
Plug-and-play LED replacement bulbs are available for the #555
incandescents. You can find these at the pinball vendors as well as
from Amazon or eBay. The LED versions draw considerably less power
than the incandescent versions and run at full brightness on 5V
(the incandescents need the unusual voltage of 6.3V for full
If you do opt for LED replacements, pay attention to color. White
LEDs are actually composed of separate red/green/blue elements, so if
you put a white LED behind a blue-tinted button cover, two-thirds of
the light (the red and green parts) will be blocked out, so the light
will only look 1/3 as bright as it should. What you should do instead
is match the color of the LED to the button color as closely as you
can: for a yellow button face, buy a yellow LED.
Regular vs. "non-ghosting" LEDs: Many of the pinball vendors
offer two types of LED replacement bulbs: regular and "non-ghosting".
The non-ghosting kind is marketed as a premium upgrade, so at first
glance you might think it's worth spending a few extra dollars to get
the "best". But beware! For virtual cab use, the non-ghosting type
are actually a downgrade. A non-ghosting LED has a little
capacitor inside that makes it switch on and off slowly. This is
specifically designed to work around a strobing problem that can occur
if you plug regular LEDs into older pinball machines. That strobing
effect was a result of the design of the older machines, and it
doesn't happen with the modern PWM controllers we use in
virtual pin cabs. In fact, the delayed switching is actively harmful
in pin cabs, because it interferes with PWM brightness control. So
you should avoid non-ghosting LEDs for your virtual pin cab -
use the regular kind instead. In most cases, if the vendor doesn't
specifically say they're non-ghosting, they're probably not, because
non-ghosting is inherently more expensive and so the seller will want
to call attention to it as a selling point.
(An aside, for those interested in the technical details of the
strobing effect. The pinball machines of the 1980s and 1990s used
what they called a "lamp matrix" to operate the controlled lamps - the
lamps that the controller could switch on and off individually during
the game, such as an "Extra Ball When Lit" light. The lamp matrix was
a way of reducing the amount of wiring and the number of transistors
needed in the main control board. Rather than dedicating a transistor
switching circuit to each lamp individually, the lamp matrix placed
each lamp at the intersection of a "row" and "column" in the matrix,
so that they only needed one transistor per row and one per column.
This let them control 64 lamps with 8 row transistors and 8 column
transistors. Transistors were more expensive in those days, so
controlling 64 lamps with 16 transistors was a significant cost
savings. Because of the shared transistors, though, the controller
could only turn on one column at a time, so it had to rapidly cycle
through the columns to make all of the lamps light up. This worked
fine with incandescent bulbs, because incandescent filaments take a
fairly long time to heat up and cool down. Even though each lamp was
energized only briefly as the controller cycled through the columns,
the filaments stayed hot enough between pulses that the bulbs kept
glowing, with only a slight dip in brightness between pulses, too
slight for the eye to see. When people started replacing the bulbs
with LEDs, the column cycling became visible, because LEDs turn on and
off almost instantly. They don't have filaments that retain heat
between pulses. The column strobing was slow enough that the human
eye could easily see it with an LED. So that's where non-ghosting
LEDs come in. They have capacitors inside that replicate the slow
switching times of incandescents, so that each lamp stays on long
enough that it doesn't flash between column cycles. This is actively
harmful with modern PWM controllers, because PWM also uses rapid
flashing, to control brightness. In the case of PWM, the flashing is
so fast that the human eye can't see it, so we don't need to
filter it out, and we don't want to filter it out, since that
would cancel out the brightness controls. If you put in the
non-ghosting capacitors, the PWM controller won't be able to create
the brightness fading effects that we want.)
Common pinball button types
Small round pushbutton
Most cab builders use the SuzoHapp "small round pushbutton" for the
Start, Exit, and (if present) Extra Ball buttons. These can also be
used for any other front-panel buttons you're including, such as Coin
In, Instructions, Flyer, etc.
This is the same type used on most real machines made from the 1990s
to present, including the WPC machines and newer Stern machine, so it
looks exactly like the real article. It's convenient to install
because it combines the plastic housing, a microswitch, and a lamp in
a self-contained package. No other parts are needed for installation;
you just pop it through a 1" diameter hole and fasten it with the
You can buy these buttons in assorted face colors, with no labels
installed, directly from the manufacturer,
. Search for part
They're also available from pinball suppliers with various
pre-installed labels used on real machines (Start, Extra Ball, Super
Ball, Buy In). Search for part numbers 20-9663, 500-6388-02.
I'd buy the pre-labeled buttons to the extent you can, since they're
easier, but you won't find pre-labeled buttons for virtual cab
functions like Exit, Coin In, etc. You'll have to make your own
labels for those. Fortunately, it's pretty easy; see "Custom
To install with the button flush with the outside surface:
- First, route a 1⅜" diameter inset, ⅜" deep
- Then, drill the rest of the way though with a 1" hole saw bit or
Forstner bit (don't use a spade bit - they cause too much chipping
The routed inset recesses the button enough that it'll be roughly
flush with the outside wall. If you want to keep it simpler and you
don't mind having the button stick out a bit, you can skip the
inset, and instead just drill a single hole straight through with
the 1" hole saw bit or Forstner bit.
- Gently twist the microswitch base 1/8 turn to release it
- Fit the button into the hole you drilled for it. Insert the
button from the outside of the cabinet.
- Fit the nut over the shaft and tighten
- Fit the microswitch base back into the main body; when you find
the spot where it fits, press it in slightly and give it a 1/8
turn to lock it back in place.
Wiring these illuminated buttons is like wiring two completely
separate devices: the switch, which you connect to your keyboard
encoder; and the lamp, which you connect to your feedback device
For details on wiring the switch to the key encoder, see Button Wiring
For how to wire the lamp to the feedback controller, see Button Lamps
If you don't care about controlling the lamp through software, you can
just wire the lamp directly to a power supply so that it's always
illuminated. Some cabinet buttons (such as Exit and Coin In) don't
really have any interesting software effects anyway, so you can save a
little effort this way (and conserve ports on your feedback
controller). See Button Lamps
for how to identify the lamp
terminals, then just connect those terminals directly to the
appropriate power supply. #555 incandescent bulbs are designed to run
on 6.3V (they'll work on 5V as well, but they'll be a little dimmer
than intended). #555 LED bulbs are a little more forgiving about
voltage and should look fully bright at 5V.
Typical key assignments
Here are the usual key assignments for the front-panel buttons:
- Start = "1" (the digit "1" key)
- Extra Ball = "2" (the digit "2" key)
- Coin In = "3" (the digit "3" key; "5" represents the second or right-hand
coin chute in a door with two chutes with different denominations, such as
dimes and quarters; "4" represents the middle chute for three-denomination
doors, which are rarely seen in the US but are more common abroad; "6"
represents a fourth chute, which is typically a dollar bill acceptor in the US)
- Exit = "Esc" (the Escape key)
You can install a custom label in these buttons by prying the lens cap
off (see the step-by-step instructions below) and inserting a new
label printed on transparency film.
If you want to customize the label, it's best to start with a
blank button, rather than one that's already labeled "Start"
(or whatever). The pre-labeled ones from the pinball vendors usually
have the label text printed directly on the little plastic diffuser
inside the lens that gives the button face its color. I don't know of
a way to remove the pre-printed text. So the best bet is to buy
buttons that don't have any labels in them at all.
You can buy blank buttons from SuzoHapp
They're the original manufacturer of the buttons the pinball vendors
sell, so you're getting exactly the same button, directly from the
source. They also offer the buttons in more colors than you can
usually find at the pinball vendors. Search on the SuzoHapp site for
to get the list of available colors.
Design your labels to fit a 7/8" circle, as illustrated below.
These are just some random examples for you to use as templates
for your own custom buttons, but feel free to use any of these
Some tips for printing:
- Use a laser printer only, not an ink-jet printer. Ink-jet inks
aren't opaque enough
- Print onto transparency film
- Use film that's specifically designed for laser printers - it has
a special coating that makes the laser toner stick properly
- You can use white paper in a pinch, but it's a poor substitute; the
paper grain will be visible, and the text won't be opaque enough
- After printing, use an X-Acto knife to cut out the label just inside
To install the label in the button:
- Twist the squarish micro-switch base about 1/8 of a turn to release it,
then pull it out of the housing
- On the bottom of the housing, pinch the white prongs together and
push them into the housing. This will free the movable part of the
pushbutton and let you pull it out the front.
- Now the slightly hard part: pry the lens off the top. This isn't
actually that difficult, except that it'll seem at first like it's
stuck on there with super-glue and won't come off without shattering.
It's actually just snapped on. Use a very small screwdriver, like
the type for fixing eyeglasses, and slip it under the lip. Aim
for the little notches in the perimeter of the white piece underneath.
- Pry the lens a little bit at a time at quarter turns until it comes loose;
once it's loose, you can just pull it off.
- You'll now have three pieces: the button body, the clear plastic lens,
and the colored diffuser.
- It's easiest to get the label aligned if you start by fitting into the
lens, printing side facing out through the lens.
- Fit the diffuser back over the button body, place the lens (with your
new custom label) over the diffuser. Note that orientation: the text
should be oriented so that the prongs are "vertical" relative to the text.
- Fit the spring back into the button body between the prongs
- Compress the spring enough that you can pinch the prongs together and
fit them back into the main housing. Push the prongs all the way through
the other side.
Launch Ball button
The standard Launch Ball button is the SuzoHapp "large round
pushbutton" (the red one is SuzoHapp part number D54-0004-10; other
colors are available with the same prefix, D54-0004-1). This is the
type used on several Williams machines from the 1990s that used launch
buttons in place of the standard plunger, so it's the one to use for
an authentic appearance.
The SuzoHapp version is sold with a blank face with no printed label.
Pinball vendors sell these with pre-printed "Launch Ball" labels in
various font styles - look for Williams/Bally part number 20-9663-B-4.
As with the small round pushbuttons, it's possible to use custom
labels if you don't like any of the pre-printed options. The process
is the same as for the small buttons, as described above.
These buttons are in almost every respect exactly like the "small
round pushbuttons" described above. The only real differences are
that the outer button face is larger, and the drilling pattern is
Here's the drilling pattern for these buttons. The small holes above
and below the main 1" drill are for little "nubs" on the back of the
button face that help align the button and prevent it from rotating
freely once installed. These don't have to be drilled all the way
through; the nubs are only a couple of millimeters deep.
The typical keyboard assignment for the Launch Ball button is the
Unique ball launchers
The Big Red Button above was used on several real machines from the
1990s (Medieval Madness, Attack from Mars, Monster
Bash, Champion Pub, among others), so it's a perfectly
But there's another option that provides an opportunity for extending
your artwork theme. A few games that had auto-launchers used unique
theme-based toys for the launch controls. Functionally, most of these
were no different from plain buttons, but they added novelty and
echoed the game's theme. Some examples:
- The gun grip launcher on Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Williams, 1991)
- The phaser pistol launcher on Star Trek: The Next Generation (Williams, 1993)
(which was substantially the same equipment as T2's gun launcher)
- The gun launcher on Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure (Williams, 1993)
(exactly the same idea as the ST:TNG and T2 launchers,
but new equipment, styled to look like an antique pistol)
- The fishing reel launcher on Fish Tales (Williams, 1992)
- The gear shifter lever on The Getaway: High Speed II (Williams, 1992)
(which, unlike most of the other unique launchers, is more than just a dressed-up
button: it has two actions, Shift Up and Shift Down, which are used throughout
Many of these unique controls are available as replacement parts from
the pinball vendors, so if one of them fits your theme, you could buy
one and use it in place of the generic round button.
Or, if you want to get more creative, you could design your own and
fabricate it with 3D printing. Most of the unique launchers on the
real machines were just fancy plastic housings with a small pushbutton
embedded. You can find suitable pushbuttons from Mouser or DigiKey,
and embed one in your own custom plastic housing to create
theme-specific launcher toy.
Some cab builders prefer a rectangular or square shape for some of
their buttons. These are particularly popular among the "maximalists"
who want the Mission Control look for the cab's front face. These
also work well as hidden buttons on the bottom of a cab, since
they're large enough that you can easily operate them by feel.
I recommend the large square button below for the main power button,
Variations of the SuzoHapp pushbuttons are available to fit these
needs, such as their "large rectangular pushbutton":
Search for SuzoHapp part number prefix D54-0004-5 for this button in
assorted face colors, without any pre-printed labels. You can add
custom labels to these using the same procedure described for the
small round pushbuttons above.
To prepare for installation for the large rectangular buttons pictured
above, use a hole saw bit or Forstner bit to drill a 1" center hole.
You also have to drill shallow indents, about 3/16" diameter and 3/8"
deep, at either side of the button. The indents are for small "nubs"
that keep the button from rotating when installed.
A variation with a square button face is also available; search for
part number prefix D54-0004-4. These only require a simple 1" diameter
hole for mounting.
In every other respect apart from the shape of the face, these buttons
are identical to the "small round pushbuttons" detailed above.
Installation and wiring are the same.
Here's the thing you have to know about flipper buttons: only leaf
switches will do.
Some first-time cab builders want to use arcade buttons with built-in
microswitches, like the SuzoHapp pushbuttons above or similar buttons
from DIY arcade cabinet companies. You might be especially inclined
in this direction if you've built a MAME video game cabinet in the
past, since you've probably already bought buttons from these DIY
arcade places before and it's easier to go with what you know. Even
if you're not a MAME cab veteran, the the assembled pushbuttons can
seem attractive just because they're easier, being self-contained.
And indeed, they're great for Start buttons, Exit buttons, and pretty
much all of the other buttons - but not for flipper buttons.
The problem with the assembled buttons is that they don't have the
right feel for the flippers. Flipper buttons have a very specific
mechanical and electrical action that comes from the leaf
switch inside. The microswitches used in most of the
self-contained buttons have a mechanical snap action instead, which
feels very different and doesn't have the same fast and precise
response you get with a leaf switch.
I also think it's important to use standard flipper buttons as the
pushbutton part, also to get the feel right. They have a specific
size, shape, and spring weight. The arcade buttons are designed for
video games; they don't try to match the mechanical feel of a flipper
My advice is to just do this the right way: Go to a pinball supply
vendor (Pinball Life, Marco Specialties, VirtuaPin) and get a set of
the real pinball flipper flippers and the matching leaf switches.
Don't waste your time trying to find "close enough" products from the
MAME gadget Web stores; the exact right buttons are easy to find at
any of the pinball vendors.
Here's the full menu of parts:
- Flipper buttons, standard length (1-1/8"); Williams/Bally part A-16883
- Flipper buttons, longer length (1-3/8"); Williams/Bally 3A-7531-5, 3A-7531-9; Stern A-711, 515-7791-00
- Pal nuts (one per button), metal or nylon; Williams/Bally 02-3000
- Flipper leaf switch, single contact, low voltage (gold contact points); Data East/Stern 180-5048-01
- Flipper leaf switch, double contact, low voltage (gold contact points); Williams/Bally SW-1A-192
- Optional: VirtuaPin leaf switch bracket;
works with longer (1-3/8") button only
You don't need all of these - for each button position, you just need
one of the buttons (shorter or longer), one of the leaf switches, one
Pal nut, and, if desired, the switch bracket. Read on for details of
the variations and how to choose.
If you're going to illuminate your flipper buttons (which is a nice
effect - see "Flipper Buttons" in Button Lamps
get them in clear transparent. That lets you light them up in any
color under software control.
If you don't want lighted flipper buttons, choose whatever color you
like with your cabinet artwork. You can buy transparent or opaque
buttons in a wide range of colors in the standard 1-1/8" length (the
longer 1-3/8" buttons are more limited in this regard). I personally
prefer the appearance of the transparent ones over the opaque buttons,
even when they're not illuminated, but that's just an arbitrary
Longer or shorter button length?
Nearly all of the machines made from the 1980s onward used the shorter
1-1/8" flipper buttons, so I consider these the "standard" length, and
they're the easiest to find and have the most color variations
Many older machines used the longer 1-3/8" flippers, so this longer
length is still being made, but it's not in as much demand so they
don't make them in as many colors. The only options I've seen are
opaque red, opaque white, and clear transparent. Clear transparent is
all you need if you're lighting the buttons, but if not, I suppose
the limited color choices might be a reason to use the shorter ones.
Reasons to use the longer buttons:
- They work with the VirtuaPin switch brackets
Reasons to use the shorter buttons:
- They're available in more colors
- They're easier to fit into the limited space next to the plunger
(especially if you're using a plunger position sensor that needs extra
I personally use the shorter ones, but mostly because the longer ones
weren't available in clear transparent when I built my cab, and I
needed transparent buttons so I could illuminate them. A transparent
version of the longer button is now available now, so that's no longer
a limiting factor. I might still use the shorter ones anyway, though,
because they really do fit better on the plunger side.
Installing the button
For the recommended drilling locations, see the "Flipper buttons" in
On the real machines, they usually drill a three-level structure
for each flipper button:
- Using a 1⅛" diameter hole saw, Forstner bit, or straight router bit, drill 5/16" deep from the outside
- Using the same 1⅛" diameter bit, drill 3/16" deep from the inside,
on the same center
- Drill the rest of the way through, on the same center, with a ⅝" drill bit
This three-level structure creates a narrow "neck" that the central
shaft of the flipper button fits through, with a recess on the outside
for the bezel and a recess on the inside for the Pal nut.
I recommend a simpler approach: just drill all the way
through with the 1⅛" diameter bit. This method
is better in two cases:
- You're using the VirtuaPin bracket. That bracket provides its own
collar on the inside, so you don't need the "neck".
- You're using the LightMite boards to illuminate the button. You
don't want the narrowedr neck in this case, because it gets in the way
of the LEDs. The wider opening lets you fit the LEDs into the opening
alongside the button. And the LightMite board serves as the collar on
For either type of drill, fit the flipper buttons through the holes
from the outside, and attach the Pal nut on the inside.
Leaf switch - VirtuaPin holder
The VirtuaPin switch brackets make it easy to install the leaf switches.
They come pre-assembled with leaf switches properly aligned for the
longer 1-3/8" buttons. To install them:
- Fit the flipper button into the cabinet hole
- On the inside, fit the switch bracket over the button shaft
- Slip the Pal nut onto the end of the button shaft and tighten
They look like this when assembled:
These only work with 1-3/8" flipper buttons (the "longer" length
These won't fit with the LightMite boards for illuminating the
buttons. You'll have to use the wall mounting (below) for that.
Leaf switch - cabinet wall mount
If you're using the standard 1-1/8" flipper buttons, or if you want to
use the LightMite board to illuminate the buttons, you can't use the
VirtuaPin switch holders. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to mount the
switches directly to the cabinet wall instead.
Switch gap adjustment
Leaf switches can be finicky about the size of the gap
between the contact points. If you see any flaky behavior from your
flipper buttons, such as weird auto-repeats, or flippers flipping
randomly while you're holding the button down, you might need to
make some adjustments to the switches. See "Adjusting the leaf switch gap" in
Inside the Cabinet
Single or double leaf switch?
Single-contact leaf switch (left) and double-contact switch (right)
For most people, the single-contact leaf switch is all you need.
The double-contact switches are used in real machines with extra
flippers on one or both sides, such as the upper flipper on
Funhouse (Williams, 1990) or the double right flippers on
Aladdin's Castle (Bally, 1976). On those machines, they wired
each flipper to a separate switch contact. This lets you control each
flipper separately with the single button, by carefully
modulating how far you press in the button.
I don't think most pinball players are aware that this is possible.
So most people would never miss it on a virtual cab. But if you're
one of those super-skillful players who knows how to take advantage of
this feature - or maybe if you just aspire to get there someday -
you'll undoubtedly want to re-create this feature on your cab. It'll
certainly impress your pinball nerd friends if you include it.
As a practical matter for virtual cabs, the double-contact feature is
not an inherent part of Visual Pinball or other simulators.
Visual Pinball tables can take advantage of it, but they have
to be specially programmed to do so on a table-by-table basis. This
is an uncommon feature even among cab builders, so most table authors
have no idea it's even possible, and it's not widely implemented in
existing tables. If you're a big fan of the feature, and you know
your way around Visual Pinball and its scripting language, you can
add the feature to tables yourself with a little work.
In Visual Pinball tables that don't specially implement the
double-contact feature, as well as in most other simulators, extra
flippers will usually just be tied to the main flipper button input,
so you'll see the same effect as if you had a regular single-contact
switch. In other words, both flippers on each side will fire when
you press the button far enough for the first level of the double
switch to make contact, and the second level won't do anything
Flipper feedback effects
Most cab builders these days want some kind of feedback effect for the
flippers, usually with contactors or solenoids, to reproduce the
palpable "thunk" that the flippers produce on a real pinball machine.
Some new cab builders imagine that it's necessary to add some extra
wiring between the flipper buttons and the contactors or solenoids in
order to achieve the feedback effect.
If you're planning to include DOF
in your setup, no
extra wiring is necessary to achieve flipper feedback effects. DOF
will automatically fire your flipper solenoids at the appropriate
times to match the flipper action in the software simulators. This is
the best way to handle flipper feedback effects, because it will make
the flipper effects exactly match the on-screen effects in the
If you're not using DOF, though, you can add some rudimentary feedback
effects by hard-wiring your flipper buttons to flipper solenoids or
contactors. This requires some extra parts, because of the high
voltages needed for the flipper solenoids. You can't just directly
wire both the solenoids and the key encoder to your flipper switches,
because the solenoid voltage will damage the key encoder. The extra
wiring is described under Flipper button feedback control
in Flippers, Bumpers, and Slingshots
For a single-contact leaf switch, wire one contact to the "common" or "ground"
terminal your key encoder, and wire the other to a unique input for
the button. The order of the terminals doesn't matter.
For a double-contact switch:
- Connect the "common" or "ground" key encoder input to the
middle blade of the switch
- Connect the regular "Flipper Button" input to the blade
closest to the button
- Connect the "Second Flipper Button" input to the blade
farthest from the button
Typical key assignments
Left flipper: the left "Shift" key
Right flipper: the right "Shift" key
Left MagnaSave: the left "Control" (Ctrl) key
Right MagnaSave: the right "Control" (Ctrl) key
Second-level contact in a double leaf switch, left side: "L" key
Second-level contact in a double leaf switch, left side: "R" key
Optical interrupter switch
Okay, this is going to seem crazy after all of that lecturing and
haranguing earlier about how you must use leaf switches, but...
The pinball manufacturers stopped using leaf switches in the early
That's when they switched to "opto-interrupter" switches. An
opto-interrupter is basically an "electric eye" type of switch, with a
light beam and a receiver that detects if anything is in the way of
the beam. In the case of the new flipper switches, this is all packed
into a compact little unit about a centimeter wide, with a thin gap
between the light source and receiver. There's also a little piece of
plastic that sits in the gap, blocking the light from hitting the
receiver. When you press the flipper button, it moves the little
plastic shield out of the way and lets the light hit the receiver.
That's what activates the switch, taking the place of the direct
electrical contact between the two metal blades in the old leaf
The first question is, why did they make this change? Reliability,
mostly. The metal contact points on a conventional switch tend to get
dirty over time from dust and grime in the air, plus the metal can
oxidize and abrade. This all makes the contacts become less
conductive as they age, which can weaken the flippers or make them
operate sporadically. The leaf switch blades also tend to lose some
of their elasticity and bend out of alignment from the constant
back-and-forth flexing. Arcade operators always had to spend lots of
time cleaning and re-aligning flipper leaf switches to keep their
machines working properly. The optical switches, in contrast, are
essentially maintenance-free. Arcade operators like that feature
because it keeps their machines working and earning money more of the
time, and reduces their repair budgets. Since arcade operators were
their main customers, the pinball makers often designed around what
the arcade owners wanted, and in this case, opto switches were
desirable because of their improved reliability.
Second question: do the opto switches "feel right"? In other words,
do they have the same force feedback properties and switching action
as traditional leaf switches? In my opinion, yes. Some people
disagree and believe the opto switches have a different and inferior
feel compared with leaf switches, but I can't personally perceive a
difference. I have real machines with both kinds of flipper switches,
and they feel about the same to me. In fact, I owned both kinds of
machines for many years before I even knew about the different switch
types. If you look at the innards of the opto switches, you'll see
that their construction is very much like that of leaf switches,
physically: a flexible plastic blade takes the place of the metal
leaf, and the motion of that blade controls the motion of the light
shield in the optical portion of the switch. The mechanical action is
essentially the same as for a leaf switch. The electronics are
different, obviously, but I don't think that was ever much part of the
feel; the mechanical action is what matters.
Third question: can I use these in my virtual cab? Yes,
with some extra work getting the wiring right.
Fourth question: should I use these in my virtual cab?
Probably not. They're more expensive and more complex to install, and
I don't think there's enough of a benefit for a virtual cab. Remember
that the main benefit of the optos is that they're low maintenance.
That's a big deal for an arcade machine that's getting played all day
every day. It's less of a concern for a home machine, though, since
we don't put nearly as much mileage on it. The electronics in a
virtual cab aren't as hard on the switch, either, since we're using
low voltages. The leaf switches on the old pinball machines directly
switched the 50V coil power, and that high power caused much more
rapid oxidation of the switch contacts than you get with the 3V logic
switching we use. What's more, you can get leaf switches with
gold-plated contact points, and since gold doesn't oxidize, the
contact points won't degrade from age alone.
Fifth question: how can I use these in my virtual cab? If you really
want to use them despite the dubious benefits for home use, it's not
too complicated. The part to buy is the WPC Fliptronic opto board and
switch assembly, Williams/Bally A-17316. (The components are also
available separately.) The opto switches should be compatible with
most keyboard encoder devices; wire them as normal, connecting the
Ground (GND) pins on the opto board to the Ground or Common terminal
of the encoder, and connecting the SW1 (switch 1) and SW2 (switch 2)
pins of the opto board to the flipper button inputs on the encoder.
These boards have two optos to provide the same effect as a
double-contact leaf switch; if you only want a single-contact switch,
connect SW1 and leave SW2 unconnnected. You also have to supply the
board with a +12V power supply connection to the labeled pin; this
powers the light source for the optical switch.
The easiest option is to buy a complete tilt bob assembly; look for part
A-15361 at the pinball vendors. You can also buy the parts separately:
- Mounting plate A-15360
- Upper bracket 01-3444
- Lower bracket 01-3445
- Pendulum 03-8668
- Plumb bob wire 535-5319-02
- Plumb bob 535-5029-00
You'll also need two #6-32 x 3/8" machine screws to assemble the pieces to the
mounting plate, and two #6 x 1" wood screws to mount it to the cab wall.
You can skip the mounting plate if desired and simply screw the two brackets
directly into the cab wall. The mounting plate just makes it easier to get
everything aligned properly.
In the real machines, the tilt bob is usually installed on the left
side wall near the front of the cab.
When installing, you should have the machine set up with its legs
attached and leveled, so that the machine is sitting at the same angle
that it'll have in regular use. Angle the tilt bob so that the
pendulum is centered in the ring when at rest.
Adjust the sensitivity of the tilt by moving the plumb bob up or down
on the hanger wire. (Loosen the thumb screws to free the plumb bob to
move up and down; tighten them again when the plumb bob is at the
desired position.) A tilt is signaled when the plumb bob comes into
contact with the surrounding ring, so it increases the tilt
sensitivity when you move the bob upwards on the wire (reducing the
margin between the bob and the ring). You can always come back and
adjust the sensitivity after play-testing if it's too sensitive or too
To wire the tilt bob, connect one wire from the keyboard encoder to
the terminal on the upper bracket, and connect the other wire to the
terminal on the ring bracket.
The standard keyboard assignment for the tilt bob in Visual Pinball is
the letter "T" key. But some extra configuration is required! See
"How to configure VP for a tilt bob" in Nudge & Tilt
A slam tilt switch is a leaf switch with a big weight slug attached to
the main leaf. This detects excessive jolts to the cabinet via the
mechanical inertia of the slug.
WPC coin doors normally have a slam tilt switch pre-installed, so all you
have to do is connect its wires to your keyboard controller.
See Coin Door
for details on how to access the pre-installed
wiring in the WPC door.
Slam tilt switch in a WPC coin door (interior side of coin door shown).
The WPC doors typically have the switch pre-installed.
If your coin door doesn't already have a built-in slam tilt switch,
and you want to install one separately, look for these parts at the
- Weighted leaf switches: B-8372, 27-1066, 502-5032-00
- Mounting bracket (should be usable with any of the above): 01-1168
- Weighted switch with mounting bracket (pre-assembled): B-9141
- Planetary Pinball Supply weighted switch with mounting bracket: A-17195
Slam tilt switch with bracket, mounted to cabinet floor.
It'll also work mounted to the front or side walls. Install
near the front of the cab.
Mount the switch to any convenient spot on the cab floor, front wall,
or one of the side walls, close to the front end. It should be within
a foot or so of the front so that it'll be triggered if the front is
lifted and dropped.
To wire, simply connect the wires from your keyboard encoder to the
two leaf switch terminals.
The standard keyboard assignment for a slam tilt in VPinMAME is the
"Home" key (the cursor navigation key).
If you have a WPC coin door with built-in service buttons, the buttons
can be connected through the coin door's wiring harness.
See "Wiring to the key encoder" in Coin Door
The Stern/SuzoHapp coin doors don't typically come with service
buttons installed. You can separately buy a Stern 4-button service
assembly (Stern part number 515-1963-00) that fits these doors. These
come with four pushbuttons that you have to wire yourself. Connect a
wire from the Common/Ground of your keyboard encoder to one terminal
of each button (you can daisy-chain this connection across the buttons
- there's no need to run a separate wire for each button back to the
encoder). Connect the other terminal of each button to a unique
key input on the encoder.
The standard key assignments for these buttons are:
- Green button = Cancel = "7" (the "7" keyboard key)
- Left red button = -/Down = "8" (the "8" keyboard key)
- Right red button = +/Up = "9" (the "9" keyboard key)
- Black button = Enter = "0" (the "0" keyboard key)
If you're not using a standard coin door, but you want a service
button panel somewhere, you might be able to adapt the Stern 4-button
panel above to another mounting location. Or you could just get some
small pushbuttons and attach them somewhere convenient with an
improvised mounting. Wire them and assign keys the same way
Coin door position switch
This is covered in detail under "Coin door position switch" in