1996 Williams Junk Yard Repair

Williams Junk Yard Machine - great game!

Williams Junk Yard Machine – great game!

Got contacted about a Williams Junk Yard that needed some clean up and repairs.

Somewhere along the line, someone had put a glass beaker in the shooter lane that the ball was then plunged into and glass shards were all over. I had to clean that out and the spinner target was broken on it.

Cleaned out shooter lane with new spinner target and decal installed.

Cleaned out shooter lane with new spinner target and decal installed.

Once the glass was cleaned and the spinner replaced, I found several other switches that needed adjustment or diodes replaced, the right flipper was DOA which was corrected, and the battery pack in the back of the game on the CPU had corroded. It was snipped and replaced with a remote pack.

Remote Battery Pack installed.

Remote Battery Pack installed.

Once all functionality was restored, I cleaned and polished the playfield and plastics with Novus 1 and Novus 2 and then waxed the playfield with Carnuba Gold Class paste wax and installed 4 new balls. Junk Yard is back in action!

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1989 Williams Earthshaker Repair

This Earthshaker was getting an “Adjustment Failure” at boot-up. This warning message¬†immediately signals to me that their isn’t power hitting the U25 RAM, which holds the settings, high scores, etc. for the game when the game is powered off.

First thing to check is to make sure the batteries haven’t just gone bad. The three AA batteries mounted on the CPU send 4.5VDC to the last pin on the U25 RAM to power the RAM when the game is off. The voltage travels through diode D2 from the battery pack to pin 24 of U25.

Most of the time it’s not as easy as bad batteries. The next thing to check is if power is getting to D2. If it is not, then you likely have a failed battery pack (this is becoming increasingly common the older these games get). If power is making way to D2, but not U25, then test D2 and make sure it measures right. With your DMM on diode setting, you should get .4 to .6 volts one way, and when you flip flop your leads, should get a null or zero reading.

If everything tests proper down to U25 and you still aren’t getting voltage at pin 24, then it’s time to suspect the U25 RAM. This chip isn’t socketed and has to be desoldered and re-installed (with a socket!).

In this instance, the problem was the battery holder itself. So, I cut it off the board and soldered in a remote battery pack which rests safely off the board in the bottom of the head now. Not only does this correct our problem, but also is a safety measure to prevent future corrosion damage on the CPU if one of the AA batteries decided to explode.

 

Earthshaker CPU with remoted battery pack installed.

Earthshaker CPU with remoted battery pack installed.

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WPC Dot Matrix Controller Board Repair

So, the components arrived for the down Dot Matrix Controller board that originally came out of a Party Zone. It was missing +62VDC which causes the display to come up as completely blank.

Since Party Zone is a location game and down time¬†is money to the owner, I sold him my working Dot Matrix Controller board out of my Fish Tales and just dealt with one down game for a few days. Believe it or not, though I do a lot of repairing, I don’t play my games that much.

With parts in hand, we look at the components that make up the +62 VDC circuit, which are the following:
Fuse F601 (this tested fine, not of concern in this repair)
Bridge Rectifier BR1 (tested fine with DMM on diode/volts test, no need to replace)
Filter Capacitor C4 (220uF, 160V)
Bleeder Resistor R12 (47ohm, 1 watt)
Resistors R3 – (47ohm, 1 watt) R4 (120ohm, 1 watt) and R11 (cement 120ohm, 5 watt)
Transistors Q2 (2N5551), Q3 (MPE15030) and Q10 (5401)
Zener Diode D3 (1N4759A)
Capacitor C6

Since our fuse and BR1 tested fine with a DMM, those were not touched. Resistor R11 tested fine in circuit with the DMM as well, so I also left it alone. The components I replaced in this repair which tend to be the most possible suspects were: Resistors R3, R4 and R12; Transistors Q2 and Q3; Zener Diode D3; and I decided to replace the Capacitor C4 since I had it on hand.

Replaced components on the Dot Matrix Controller board on bench.

Replaced components on the Dot Matrix Controller board on bench.

One of those components ended up being our faulty issue, as once the board was popped back in game, Fish Tales came alive.

Working DMD in Fish Tales after repair to DMD Controller board.

Working DMD in Fish Tales after repair to DMD Controller board.

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1991 Bally Party Zone and 1989 Williams Earthshaker Repairs

 

The current Hoots line-up

The current Hoots line-up

These games are up at Hoots Roller Bar in Winston-Salem, along with a Williams Rollergames. Great line-up of games that do change from time to time, definitely check them out in the Winston area!

I was originally contacted about Party Zone having a blank display. Turns out the DMD Controller Board was missing one of its key voltages — +62VDC. I had some parts for the HV section on hand, but was missing some of the key components. In an effort to keep the game up for a large event, I sold my working DMD Controller board out of my Fish Tales and kept the in-for-repair DMD Controller at home and ordered parts (look out for the post on DMD Controller board rebuild next week when parts are in!)

With display up, I checked a few other parts of the game. The owner mentioned the Captain Bizarre head wasn’t spinning, so I did some sleuthing on that and found two columns of switches were not registering. Since the 2803 was socketed, I dropped a new one in to see if that did the trick. It didn’t, so I pulled the board and started buzzing continuity. A lot of these WPC games can loose continuity over time in the switch matrix, I’ve seen it quite a bit actually. So, whenever you’re missing a row or column, remember to check continuity before shotgun replacing chips!

The missing columns were column 5 and column 8. Turns out the connection between U20 pin 11 and R74 was missing and U20 pin 14 and R71 was missing as well. These pins of U20 travel through the resistor/capacitor chain to the male pins of J206-8 and J206-5 which go on to the playfield switches.

I tied jumpers between these connections and Party Zone was back registering all switches in game and the DMD was back crisp and bright.

Jumpers tied on CPU to bring back missing columns

Jumpers tied on CPU to bring back missing columns

Earthshaker’s issue was that the pop bumpers were not working, all three of them. I checked the voltage at the coils and it was essentially nothing, milivolts. However, the fuse on the auxiliary power driver board that supplies the 25VDC was fine and the connections looked fine. Even the Quake motor, left slingshot and right slingshot which are on the same power line were fine.

For a second, I was scratching my chin on this one, but then remembered that Earthshaker has an under playfield fuse behind the pop bumpers that lines directly to them. It’s kind of buried and hard to see, but this 2 1/2 amp slow blow fuse was for sure popped. Once replaced, ES was back to speed.

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1977 Bally Evel Kneivel Repair

This game was brought to me for some garage workshop love. Cosmetically, it was in actually very nice condition for an all original EK, but electronically it had sat for a long time and was a complete bring back to life game.

Unfortunately, the original Ni-Cad battery was still on the bottom of the MPU and there was heavy corrosion. After getting it on the bench, I determined that this was beyond the amount of time worthwhile to repair from a cost-benefit stand point. So, I used one of my spare boards that was already unlocked and had a coin-style battery on it and dropped it in with some new EK ROMs.

Working and replaced MPU with a spare and new ROMs

Working and replaced MPU with a spare and new ROMs

On the solenoid driver board, I did my usual upgrades. Replaced capacitor C23 with a new 15,000 uf 25 volt cap, ran a jumper from the negative end of C23 to ground and tied TP1 and TP3 together. This game also had a few chips replaced and socketed on it. A lot of the joints on these were cold, as well as a good deal of the header joints. So, I reflowed all of them.

The game was also having some flickering and flaky display issues on the first and fourth player. I pulled these and reflowed the header pin joints and that cleaned up those issues on the displays.

Immediately upon boot up, the game was blowing the 20 amp GI fuse. Turns out that the ground braid was taunt and when the playfield was in game flat, the braid was shorting to one of the back GI sockets. I insulated the ground braid and dropped in a new 20 amp fast blow fuse which took care of this issue.

At this point, the game would boot but only work correctly about half the time. The other half of the time, the solenoids weren’t firing in the right order or the right solenoid. A lot of times this has correlation to pins 1-4 on J4 of the MPU and pins 3-7 on J4 of the solenoid driver board. These are the lines that communicate from the MPU to the solenoid driver which solenoids to fire. I completely repinned connector J4 on the solenoid driver with a new female connector and trifurcn .100 connectors. I repinned pins 1-4 and pin 10 of J4 on the MPU with new trifurcon .100 molex connectors.

This got the issue much more stable, but still not 100% reliable. There were still a couple solenoids not firing right. The U11 PIA is a chip component in line with the circuitry that sends the data from MPU out 1-4 on J4. I replaced U11 with a new 6821 and between that and the repinning, we were back to reliable functionality of Evel Knievel!

Repinned J4 on Solenoid Driver Board.

Repinned J4 on Solenoid Driver Board.

After getting everything off the ground and working, I replaced all the GI lamps with frosted white LEDs, replaced burnt bulbs and cleaned sockets as needed, cleaned the plastics, adjusted switches and ensured good playability and responsiveness of the game.

Fully functional wrapped up Evel Knievel!

Fully functional wrapped up Evel Knievel!

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2012 Stern X-Men, 1988 Williams Taxi and 1991 Williams Hurricane Repairs

The three patients for the day.

The three patients for the day.

These three games are located at the soon-to-open Abari bar arcade near downtown Charlotte, NC.

The owner, Zach, is looking to open March 1 and with everything else going on for the big opening, looked to some outside help on some small issues on a few of his machines.

Firstly, let me say that I really loved the space. Nice, just outside of downtown location, and filled with probably 20-30 arcade games from Ms. Pac Man to Turtles in Time to the coveted X-Men 6-player, and pins including these three, as well as Tron, WWF Royal Rumble, Addams Family, Demo Man, and NBA Fastbreak. I think it will be a great addition to Charlotte nightlife.

So, here were the issues that affected the machines: X-men was blowing F10 on startup, Hurricane direct switches weren’t working and Taxi’s ball gate was not holding up open long enough for the ball to get under into Gorbie’s hole.

By the time I arrived, Zach had already unplugged J6 from driver board of X-Men and had confirmed the fuse did not blow with that connector unplugged. This isolates the issue from the board and means, somewhere on the playfield, there was a short spiking back to the board through that connector and causing the fuse to blow.

F10 is the 20v line and connector J6 is the flashers in the game. Looking over all the above playfield flashers and ones directly below, I couldn’t see any direct shorts. However, there are about five flashers behind the back panel that you can only see from looking under when the game is in service mode. The one on the far right corner literally fell apart when I touched it. This had to be our culprit. I didn’t have any 89 sockets with me, so for the time being I removed the broken socket and tied the power line which daisy chains together and insulated both sets of wires. This bypassed the short and allowed all other in game flashers to work. One down!

There are several issues that can cause direct switches in WPC games to not work. However, the most common that I’ve run into is a loss of ground to the switches. On the Hurricane, I removed the button switches from the door and inspected the ground wire that runs between them, no issues there. However, there was some hacks done around the ground door which tied several grounds together with a twist connector. One wire was out and the ground was off the coin mech. I soldered the ground back to the coin mech and added our loose wire into the twist nut. Hurricane was back in test mode and good to go.

Reconnected ground on Hurricane inside coin door.

Reconnected ground on Hurricane inside coin door.

Taxi, our final patient for the day, took a little more time. Zach had bought another coil mech to replace the under playfield mech, but the original worked from an electronic standpoint, just didn’t seem to stay open long enough. After digging around for awhile, I figured out it was more a maladjustment physically than any issue with the mech itself. Over time the spring that goes to the gate and down had loosened some, causing the clearance on the mech to not be enough to pull it open all the way. Not having a spring to spec on hand, I used some creative problem solving and took two pieces of cardboard, folded them and put them in between the mech plate and playfield so when screwed in, it would give more tension on the spring with the extra space.

Creative use of cardboard to allow proper function of ball gate mech.

Creative use of cardboard to allow proper function of ball gate mech.

This was just enough clearance needed to allow the ball gate to open fully and give the needed time for the ball to hit Gorbie’s hole.

The full line up of pins at Abari in Charlotte.

The full line up of pins at Abari in Charlotte.

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1978 Bally Star Trek Repair

Got a call from a gentleman with a Bally Star Trek. The game was mostly working fine but the player 1 display was missing a digit and there were no GI lamps working in the game.

Upon inspection of the rectifier board, I saw that the GI fuse had literally burned itself off the board. The bottom of the fuse bracket had completely burnt off, likely from being over fused at some point. Proper fuse for the GI circuit in these games is a 20 amp fast blow.

I brought the rectifier/transformer board and Player 1 display back home with me to repair. I replaced the GI fuse clip that came off and put in a new 20 amp fast blow fuse.

 

Replaced fuse clip and new 20 amp fast blow for GI circuit on rectifier board.

Replaced fuse clip and new 20 amp fast blow for GI circuit on rectifier board.

Missing digit on test bench:

For the display issue, I checked the common R1, R3, R5, R7, R9, R11 resistors that can easily go out of spec, but they were all fine. I reflowed the header pins across the entire bottom end of the board, and our missing digit reappeared.

Over time these header pins can become stressed and crack or lose continuity to the pins. I took the two items back, installed them and then went through the game to ensure all lamps, switches and solenoids were working properly. Star Trek is back in action!

Working Bally Star Trek

Working Bally Star Trek

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