Hardware Control System
The P3's hardware control system is what makes all of its advanced features possible, and it all starts with the P-ROC.
The P-ROC (Pinball - Remote Operations Controller) takes care of all of the real-time functionality in a pinball machine, and it does it in hardware. It therefore allows a seperate processing engine to process game rules and other high level features.
Developed in 2009, the P-ROC is a mature and stable controller used in hundreds of custom-built and re-themed pinball machines. Many of the industry's new manufacturers are using the P-ROC to control their machines, and most of the others have attempted to copy it. Despite those attempts, the P-ROC remains the most advanced pinball controller in the industry. All of the P3 prototypes use the P-ROC, and production P3's will use a new version, the P3-ROC. The P3-ROC will have a number of advanced features, ensuring the most powerful pinball controller will be part of the P-ROC family for years to come.
High power driver circuits, such as those connected to coils, motors, and magnets, are controlled by PDBs (P-ROC Driver Boards). The PDBs were designed to be small and modular. Each PD-16 board drives up to 16 devices, and multiple boards are chained together for games with more features.
All of the lighting elements in the P3 are driven by PD-LED boards, each of which controls a bunch of individual and/or RGB LEDs. The control logic on each PD-LED board ensures that every LED in the machine can be individually controlled with 8-bit resolutions, regardless of the number of LEDs used in each game. This means each RGB LED can be set to any of 16.8 million colors and smoothly faded to new colors.
(Note - we also have PD-8x8 boards for hobbyists and manufacturers still running traditional-style lamp/LED matrixes.)
Switch matrixes made sense in the 80's and 90's, when embedded control circuits were I/O limited, but they don't make sense anymore. Serial switch boards ensure the P3's modularity extends to the inputs and that solving switch-related issues is not a time-consuming effort. These boards also ensure that an accidental playfield short can not and will not damage any unrelated circuitry.
Having modular driver and switch boards means the physical features on the P3 can be modular too, resulting in the P3 being the most easily serviceable pinball machine around, with the simplest and shortest wiring in the industry.