Monday, August 29, 2011

black hole repair

Continued working on the Black Hole tonight.
Found a problem with relay Q - this activated when you start a game and provides power to the flippers and popbumpers (which didn't work on my game).
The relay just doesn't activate.

When I closed it manually, I got a spark/blue flame at one contact point and fuse F4 blew. Oops..
After trying some things I noticed it was a problem with the popbumpers, the coils just locked on.
Disconnected all the popbumper driver boards. Connected them one by one.. results aren't good :(
Four popbumpers lock on immediately.. Two others don't work at all.

I found 2 popbumper driver boards (untested), put these in but the coil locked on immediately. So either I now have 6 broken popbumper driver boards or something else is wrong..

Tomorrow I'll test the boards in my Haunted House.
Once I know these are ok, I'll investigate further what the problem is with relay Q..

Friday, August 26, 2011

Black Hole cpu is working

After a few days of not doing anything pinball-related, I continued working on my Black Hole this week. Learning a lot about Gottlieb Sys80 games now, as I have almost no repair experience with it. I only have experience repairing more recent games, there I know immediately what each connector is for, how to troubleshoot problems, .. with this game I have to search the schematics each time, find my way under the playfield and in the cabinet trying to locate the part, ..

Tested the cpu board in my Haunted House. It had been fixed by Leon (of many years ago.. but as there still was battery damage visible on the board which never had been correctly repaired, I expected the board not to work anymore by now. I do have a kit to replace most of these boards, bought once from GPE.

Much to my surprise the board still worked and booted ?!
I had put it in my Haunted House (not connecting the cable going to the driverboard) and all displays show 0000000 so it boots. Nice !
I still intend to neutralize the battery damage and install the parts of the kit - but for now I can continue testing to get the machine working.

Next step was to replace the connector going to A1J6. This is the connector at the bottom left of the cpu board, right under the battery. This had been replaced by a universal jamma connector. Put a correct type of connector housing on it, made sure al wires were in the correct position, ..
In the past this jamma connector may have been installed incorrect (reversed, or maybe a position shifted), so this may have damaged some of the ics that deal with the switch inputs.. not sure yet but it's an option I have to take into account when troubleshooting things.

Connected everything, turned on the game. Machine boots correct. Displays work. Put a credit on the game, this works, the machine even makes sounds.
Press the start button.. yes, a ball gets kicked into the shooter lane. Excellent ! For a moment I had hope this machine could be played real soon..

Then the good news ended. Flippers don't work, popbumpers don't work.
Simulated a game by closing targets and switches, most of them worked.
Drop target banks reset when all targets are down.
Then went into the switch test. Some switches don't seem to work :(
Still have to investigate if it's located on the cpu or on the playfield.

Then started a game again. Weird thing was suddenly almost nothing worked :(
Score stayed at 0 points, closing a switch didn't do anything, droptarget banks didn't reset when all targets were down ? :-(

Went into the selftest. All 6 controlled coils work.
Tested the switch matrix again. Most register.
One weird thing is that switch 34 doesn't work always, which is seen by the cpu as one switch but are physically more switches on the playfield.
It works behind the center triangle plastic at the bottom left and at the bottom right. But in the middle of the playfield it's also located behind a rubber, and also at the top behind the droptarget banks, and there it doesn't register ? So I hope it's an easy problem like a broken wire on the playfield (well easy - may not be easy to trace and detect where it is broken.. we'll see..)

Have to work on this switch problem later and double check each switch if it works..

Noticed something else weird in the selftest and audits - going through the audits (nr 1 to 15) it shows junk on the display. No real numbers, just random segments lit. But at bootup it correctly shows 000000, so probably this is because there's no battery installed in the game, and the cpu has random data for audits ?

Also have to find out why flippers and popbumpers don't work. Had inspected all fuses and they seem fine, so will now trace from the bridge rectifier to check for power and continue further..

My goal is to have this game working by the end of the months, only one week left.. so I expect some late nights coming up.

Friday, August 19, 2011

wpc boardset article

Put a few more articles online the last weeks.

Introduction to the WPC boardset. An overview of all boards used in the WPC games (Bally / Williams games from 1989 till 1998. In a lot of other pinball 101 articles I talk about the fliptronics, cpu and powerdriver board but never explained which board is which, the differences between revisions, ..

Different country settings and their influence on WPC games.
This article goes further on the previous one. On the cpu board of WPC games there are jumpers (or dipswitches) to set what country a pinball machine is in. Article is an overview of all the things that are influenced by these settings, which may be many more than you'd suspect or probably have ever seen..

Furthermore I've done some behind the scene changes to the website - all so it'll load faster.
Optimized the current css so it's much smaller.

Added a new css for mobile devices, so they can browse the site better. Seems to work, in June and July together I had about 2300 visitors from a mobile device, while in the first half of August I had already around 900..

Optimized the compression of all images, especially on picture intensive pages like visits to shows this will make a huge difference in loading time.

Finally played a bit with http parameters like cache settings, changed them for the different types of documents. Especially if you browse many pages or are a return visitor it'll help speed things up a bit, compared to before..

Monday, August 15, 2011

new belgian pinball forum

For the belgian and dutch people: since this weekend a new pinball forum has started:
Some belgian pinballers decided to start their own forum.
A lot of people have already registered, so if you want to meet/chat with belgian and ducth pinballers: join !
Links to the forum will be updated later this week on my site..