Maximum ball speed?

[quote=“joe, post:19, topic:2334, full:true”]Whoa, there, dem’s fightin’ words! :wink:

While I agree with your overall thoughts of the perception of speed, the vast majority of roller coasters go way faster than 25 MPH. Even the 2nd oldest roller coaster in the US, the Wild One outside of Washington DC – a mere 100 years old – hits speeds of over 50 MPH. (The oldest roller coaster in the US, Leap the Dips in Altoona, PA, tops out at… 10 MPH.) The majority of modern coasters have peak speeds in the 60-80 MPH range, though there are speed demons that get solidly into the triple digits. (I remember the first time I rode Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point… 0 to 120 MPH in under 4 seconds. I couldn’t see a thing, the whole world was a blur. Nowadays, many rides later, I have no problem tracking individual bystanders if I wish. Amazing how the brain adapts.)

Sorry for the off-topic comment … amusement parks and roller coasters are a passion of mine. :slight_smile:

I must have found some outdated sources then…Roller coasters have gotten a lot faster then!

[quote=“michi, post:20, topic:2334, full:true”]Indeed! My other hobby is playing djembe (drum from West Africa). Timing constraints are similar there, well below the 100th of a second mark. Experiments by musicologists show that timing variations in a rhythm as low 3 ms are perceivable. I don’t know whether that same threshold applies to activating something in response to a stimulus (such as hitting a flipper button while watching a ball) as opposed to being able to simply perceive a timing change (such as when listening to a rhythm). Regardless, it’s impressive what human ears, eyes, and brains can do :slight_smile:

That level of perception is definitely something I can believe. You see that sort of ultra-precision with people who play fighting games too: To be at top-level play, you have to be able to count frames on the TV and time your moves accordingly. They can also sense the very, very slight input lag that flat-screen TVs have, and because of that, some of them will play even modern fighting games on CRT TVs as they have no input lag.

1 Like

FWIW, I think Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland and other Disney parks top out around 35mph and 25mph respectively. These might not really even be considered roller coasters, and are clearly not the fastest, but boy do they feel much faster than this when I’m riding them.

Not meaning to hijack this thread, but does anyone know whatever happened to Pinball 102? Pinball 101 is brilliant, IMO. I love the humour, the really high-quality production, the creativity, and the educational value. This is a truly professional product. Big congrats to Keith and Randy for their outstanding work!

Pin 102 went straight to YouTube!

Thanks for Pin101 props. Since Pin101 was released there’s been so much pin vid available we chose not to continue with Pin102. Besides, KME has a Stern job now and won’t have any spare time!


This is good thinking, though the actual ball speed will also be influenced by friction (playfield surface friction, air friction, and friction of the lane side-rails), machine slope, etc. Though certainly, if you can get a high-speed camera recording this kickback, you can calculate an actual ball speed. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s faster than the ~15MPH discussed here, but I would be surprised if it’s more than, say, 2x that speed.

I analyzed ball speed with some free software. Most shots are under 4mph, but when shot upwards on the playfield the 6.5 degree tilt slows’em down a bit. I didn’t look at slingshot/kicker exit speed.
This is my pinside post:

1 Like

Maximum speed of 2.3 mph seems awfully low. That’s 1 m/sec, meaning that the ball would take half a second to make it halfway up the playfield. Balls certainly move faster than that on many machines.

Thank you for the YouTube videos!

It’s shame that you decided not to continue with this :frowning: But, hey, we’ll get the world’s best pinball player designing new machines; that’s a good trade, I’say :slight_smile:

That was just one example shot. Most “up the table” shots are 5mph or less. I’m sure “sling-to-sling” is much faster but I did not measure any – I’d need a faster camera for accuracy.

I wonder if we can’t reverse engineer some table speeds from Pinball Done Quick videos?

Yes, understand, and 5mph feels about right for a ball coming off a flipper.