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"The Wrecktifier” makes its debut

Wrecktifier
l-r: Gilbert Morgan, Jonathan Littell,
Dr. Holder, Justin Wood

With it’s paint still slightly damp, a pinball machine named “The Wrecktifier” made its debut for the media in the Engineering, Math, and Computer Science Building. Sixteen electrical engineering students proudly demonstrated the end result of months of hard work.

After purchasing a 1980s model Bally brand pinball machine from All South games, these senior students stripped all the parts, and began their own design in February.

“It is far more difficult to re-design an existing electrical system than to build an entirely new model,” said Michel Holder, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and faculty advisor for the ENEE 477 class. “Instead of creating an electrical system, these students had to find a way to work with existing electrical for their project. They had to design a playing surface, and simulate it on the computer.”

The new pinball machine is controlled by a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), according to Project Manager Jonathan Littell. The functionality of the bumpers and flippers are controlled with relays, and the power source for the machine is from a 120 volt AC input. “It has cleaner wiring and the design is simpler,” he said.

"The ultimate goal was to produce a tool to be used for recruitment for the College of Engineering and Computer Science, particularly electrical engineering,"said team member Justin Wood.

When high school students tour the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the pinball machine will be available as an example of the hands-on education they will receive, according to Dr. Holder.

“The students have learned how to troubleshoot, design, and to work with the program most used in industrial applications,” Holder said. They have gained a lot of practical experience.”

Holder will challenge next year’s class to build upon the functionality of “The Wrecktifier.” By next spring, a new set of pinball wizards will work to install the machine with a sensor, which will allow it to play by itself.

This year’s team was given a total budget of $3,000.

The ENEE 477 class of spring 2006 includes: Kamran Bozorgmehr, John Chrnalogar, Hamilton Clouse, Jonathan Littell, Lisa Martin, Gilbert Morgan, Joshua Perkins, Jonathan Regg, Ezra Reynolds, Kaveh Rouhani, Rebecca Shelton, Adrian Steward, Benjimin Taylor, Sunish Thomasmathew, Timothy Utley and Justin Wood.

May 8, 2006

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