Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Southland Little Pro manikin game added

This weekend we've bought a new game, it's a Southland Little Pro mini golf game, made in 1964.

I already knew it was for sale since Februari. We were a bit interested in it as it's a pretty rare game and from what I read it's fun to play. But it was a long drive, most of our weekends were already filled, and we didn't have space to put it. So I kind of forgot about the game.

Last week we got some magazines (Magische Machines by Henk de Jager) and in one of them the game was described. My wife therefor thought again about this machine and decided she really wanted to buy it. She phoned the seller and it was still for sale. We were just in time as their house was for sale and the machine was still in the basement.

So on saturday we went to buy the game. It's in quite good condition, legs are rusted and the bottom pannel had some moisture spots, but the rest of the cabinet is good, playfield is good, and backglass is perfect.

I haven't tested it (even haven't figured out how to open it) but it looks like it will work without a lot of problems.

We also got a large box of tokens. Not really valuable but we collect all different kinds of tokens and we didn't have this (they're from a company in London), and tokens are always useful (this Little Pro game needs them to start a game).

Problem is storage room.. but with some luck and reorganising the gameroom we can fit an additional game in there. I may also sell some of my project machines, I still have a nice Eight Ball and a Bally Fireball. Also have an Italian wallgame I need to fix up and sell (or sell as is) and two german wall-flipper games that I need to check if I can fix them..

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

dmd driver board repair part 2

OK this is beginning to become a funny story, guess I can add this to my
funny things I learned page soon.

As posted yesterday I had repaired a dmd driver board. Also have one for sale, someone asked about it, I tested it in my Whitewater pinball game, and - big problem: the display came on but was faded at the top. So I emailed the person it wasn't for sale anymore. (as I thought this driver board didn't give enough voltage). Connected the original driverboard in my whitewater pin and it didn't come on anymore. Oops ?!

Anyway, I had tested yesterday the rebuilt driver board in my Dracula. Also didn't come on. Tested it in my whitewater. Didn't work. Put in the original board in the BSD. Display didn't come on and the game even started to reset every 20 seconds. Big problems !
My first guess was that one driver board was bad and maybe had damaged the cpu (and I had killed my BSD and WW testing it).

Now I started to think (finally). 4 driver boards, suddenly all bad ? That can't be happening. Time to take out the manual and double check everything.. DUH - stupid me !!
I had put on the small flatcable that connects to the dmd the other way around.
What I thought was a marking on the pcb for pin 1, was actually pin 14.

Plugged in the flatcable correct and start to test every board and every game again.

Good news and bad news. My whitewater pinball display was a bit faded with my spare and rebuilt boards. The dots in the top line aren't bright and sometimes flicker a bit.
But when the original board is plugged in, it works fine and the dmd looks as new ?!
I'll leave the game as is, and if the display ever is really bad I'll replace it and rebuild that driver board too. (I ordered enough kits from GPE)

The rebuild and spare boards worked perfect in my Dracula pinball machine. I was happy.. my 2 hours of soldering yesterday wasn't wasted. And my spare board was ok.
Final problem then - the original BSD board doesn't work. I have no idea what caused this as it always worked fine (until now when I removed it from the game to test the one I needed to rebuild). I saw the 62 volts was missing, it was a broken fuse.
Replaced the fuse but it blew again after a few seconds..
Bad news :(

Anyway I didn't have any time to check it further, so I put in my spare board and will check the board one day..
at least now my BSD is playable again. Only need to check my Whitewater as it has a strange opto problem..

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

dmd driver board repair

Spent over 2 hours yesterday evening working on a dmd driver board.
DMD didn't work, one of the voltages (don't remember which one) was too low.

Ordered a dmd high voltage rebuilt kit from, it arrived fast. Nice product for a great price (buying the parts separate at my local electronics shop would probably cost me double).

But the soldering itself.. I really hate soldering these dmd driver boards.
Parts are pretty close to each other. I did start at the top (first did the 4 resistors, then removed the large ceramic resistors, the heat sinks, and moved my way towards the bottom of the board removing parts..
resoldering everything went the other way, first bottom of board and working my way up.

Each time I had soldered in a component I checked with my dmm resistance towards the next component, to make sure they were soldered correctly and I had no cold solder joints.

And still, when I finally tested the board in a pinball machine, the score display did not come on ?!
Aaaargh ! I've been busy for almost 2,5 hour and it doesn't work :(

It was already too late to do any troubleshooting, tonight I'll continue and measure the voltages.. (and test the board in another machine).
I hope it's not a big fault and I can repair this board, because else I would'be been cheaper off buying one of those high-voltage piggy-back boards you just put on top of the original dmd driver board.

Update: seems my soldering isn't as bad as I thought - check tomorrows post.

Monday, October 15, 2007

desktop wallpapers online

On my new site I've added a new category: desktop wallpapers.
There you find nice pinball-related pictures, in different resolutions so they are suitable to use as desktop background wallpaper for your computer.

More will be added when I have time.. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

lock picking guide

I recently saw a documentary about lock picking. It was impressive how fast professionals can open locks.
On my site I also have a page about opening locks
which gives you some information.

When you drill a lock you should first use a thin drill bit and follow up with a slightly larger bit. If you look at the picture on that page of the drilled slotmachine lock, it's drilled open too much. A smaller bit would have worked also.
I've even seen games where people completely drilled out the complete lock !
This takes a long time and is not necessary.. just a small drill through the center should be enough, so you have enough part of the lock left to rotate.