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    element14's The Ben Heck Show

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    Ben and Karen are focused on the upper half of the playfield for their mini pinball kit while Felix is all about the sound. Ben and Karen go back to the drawing board to figure out a way they can incorporate walls and barriers in whatever configuration they want. Meanwhile Felix replaces the mechanical rotary potentiometer with something digital.   


    Felix will work in the background to figure out a way for them to do straight amplification without dealing with hissing sounds at the lowest volume.  He’ll run some tests to see if they can just run the amplifier at full power and then change the volume based off the DAC.  A lot of amplifiers will amplify volume by adding a certain amount of gamin meaning that if you were to have a volume control you would have to do it with a mechanical rotary potentiometer, a digital potentiometer, or adjust the volume of the signal you send to it.  His concern is that if they send a bland signal from the DAC would they be subjected to hissing sounds.   Eliminating the volume knob will make the unit cheaper to mass produce.


    Ben and Karen are going to replace the foam mockup of their mini pinball machine with something they can actually play. They’re also going to take a look at whether they can make a shorter lane. They’re trying to figure out what will and won’t fit on the playfield. They aren’t able to make the drain mechanism bigger and have to keep it the same distance from the ball loader, shifting it off center.


    Ben and Karen go to the drawing board to reconsider their pinball design.  Karen’s idea is to litter the playing field with hinges so that you can move the walls and barriers wherever you like.  Adding tabs and hinges works for the design of the playfield but before Ben fully incorporating them into the design, Ben is going to check to make sure that the basic stuff works with the new design.  He’ll work on the lower level stuff first and build up so they can make a shooting prototype using the tabs.  They can then figure out the best place to put all the holes up in the main playfield section.


    Meanwhile, Felix has finished wiring up the digital potentiometer.  He’s removed the dual potentiometer and he’s wired up the two X9511 push button potentiometers.  He goes over the schematic he will be using in order to add this to the board.  The final configuration works so that there’s no buzzing or hissing.  It works just like the knob potentiometer except it’s with buttons.