Pajazzo (Spar7)

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Project Description

“Payazzo (or pajatso) is a traditional Finnish gambling arcade game, dating back to the 1920s, when it was introduced into Finland from Germany. The object of payazzo is to flick a coin into one of the winning slots. When the attempt is successful, the machine rewards the player with a couple of coins. If the attempt is unsuccessful, the player loses the flicked coin.” (Wikipedia)

These games were also quite popular in Norway – some decades ago. A major manufacturer of these games was located in my home town. “Spar 7” is one of the models made by Lars Berg in Trondheim. A friend and collector of these games asked me if it would be possible to design a circuit board that could replace the old electronics in these games. Original and functioning circuit boards are now next to impossible to source. This is also true for some of the components found on these boards.

Spar 7

Original circuit board for the “Spar 7” pajazzo game. Parts side (left image) and solder side (right image).

Lars Berg made three variants of the same game. All had the same number and layout of the winning slots. With the exeption of the one digit display in the “Spar 7” game, the games are functionally identical. A standardized edge connector allows for using the same board in all three games.

“Redningsselskapet”. Photo: Are Stig Larsen.

“Capri”. Photo: Are Stig Larsen.

“Spar 7”. Photo: Are Stig Larsen.

The Spar 7 replacement board has two switchmode power supplies. The AtMega168 microcontroller scans all switches and controls the hopper motor via a 220V relay and an ULN2003. An optional 10 pin IDC header allows interfacing to the Spar7 display board.

I make small runs of these boards from time to time. Contact me for pricing and avilability.

You should be aware that this is hoybbist level electronics. The board is not CE or Nemko approved. Use at your own risk, and never, ever leave this powered on while the game is unattended.

EL 3

The El-3 is a rare and relatively expensive pajazzo game in Norway. It implements what has to be the most paranoid game logic ever made. Arcade and coin games normally leaves the coin validation part to the coin validator. This game – not so much. The game uses coin validators, but it does not trust them.

In order to prevent people from re-using their coin by attaching a string to it, the developers of this game decided to add two additional security features.

  1. Detect the speed of the coin as it falls into the coin box.
  2. Detect that the coin has a center hole.

The game achieved this by letting the coil pass two opto sensors after it had been accepted by the coin mech. Each sensor would send a pulse to the game board as the coin passed it.

The mechanism worked, but also it also locked the game to only accept coins that had a center hole.

EL-3 game. Photo: Are Stig Larsen

EL-3 electronics. Photo: Are Stig Larsen

I decided to base the design around an AtTiny microcontroller, since this would only draw an additional 0,5mA from the power going through the ribbon cable.

The optos were connected to the same ribbon cable. This cable also carried ground and power. This made it possible to create a small circuit board that could be snapped onto the same cable in order to fake the output from the opto sensors. A connector on the board allowed it to accept input signals from the coin mechs.

The solution was simple.

  1. Leave coin validation to the coin mech.
  2. Rip out the opto sensors
  3. Make a black box that accepts an “ok” pulse from the coin mech, creates set of signals – similar to what the opto sensors would generate when an old coin falls through them – in 1 G.
  4. Inject the signal into the game in a non intrusive way.

Problem solved.

IDC connector that would snap on the ribbon cable. This could in turn be used for connecting the El3 opto emulator board.

El3 Opto Emulator Board.

Opto emulator board mounted inside the El3 game. The white connector interfaces the two coin mechs to the emulator.


November 2012

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