(Topic ID: 234000)

6116 NVRAM Review


By newbieinKC

10 months ago



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  • Latest reply 10 months ago by acebathound
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#1 10 months ago

It seems like it has been a while since anybody has posted about this topic, so I thought I would weigh in.

Eight Ball Champ uses the Bally 6803 Control Board and Pinitiech's 6116 NVRAM is advertised as a "Plug and Play" replacement of the battery and RAM modules.

Yesterday, I cut the battery from my Control Board and replaced the RAM chip with the 6116 NVRAM. At first, I didn't realize how much force it would take to get the pins seated. They are a nice, tight fit. This is probably a good thing since there is no locking mechanism to keep the chip in place.

I booted up EBC and... blank. I took the control board out and put it on a firm surface and finally applied enough pressure to get the pins to seat properly. My fault for improper installation. After putting the board back in, the machine immediately booted up with factory default settings.

The instructions that came with the NVRAM did not apply to my particular machine; I think the instructions were written for later models - the A button does nothing on EBC and I am not sure where I would be able to read "Feature Options" on a display. I just followed the programming instructions in my EBC manual and aside from a typo in my manual (register 27 is for sound options, not 28), everything works perfectly! I set it to free play, customized background sounds, reset the high score, and set number of balls per game within a few minutes. High Score and all customized settings work perfectly and there is no battery within 30 feet of my 6803 control board.

This is probably the best $20 (with shipping) mod that I can think of. 6803 Control Boards are becoming hard to find and there is no reason to risk damage from a battery failure. I have seen battery mod suggestions elsewhere, but this is so much simpler, more elegant, failsafe solution.

Final opinion: No brainer, 5-star replacement for Bally 6803 Control Boards.

I would consider using it for Williams System 9 or System 11 boards, but that requires that you de-solder your RAM chip from the board and replace it with a socket. There may also be jumper change(s) required. Sounds like quite a bit of work but may also be worth the effort if you are OK with DIY circuit board repair. Other battery mods would be easier, but you still end up with a battery connected to your control board with the other solutions that I have seen.

#2 10 months ago

I had a Strange Science that I upgraded with NVRAM & think I had an issue with it not coining up after the install. Found some instructions online on doing the factory reset & worked for that machine. I just assumed it was the same for other Bally 6803 games, but looks like instructions may differ per game. I'll have to just note to consult the manual on resetting to factory defaults, setting sound options, FREEPLAY, etc. Shame if it can't be something consistent and easy.

Thanks for the review & the notes! Glad to hear you got the nvram working! Getting rid of the batteries and not having to worry about what's lurking behind the backglass each year is one of those piece-of-mind mods that's worth every penny!

---
http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
NVRAM, Bally/Stern LED Displays & Mods for pinball machines

#3 10 months ago

Restore factory settings is a must after replacing the ram in a 6803 game. Audits like current credit count get junk data in them and may not let a game start.

I think you enter 35 or 65 in the "restore factory default" audit/adjustment. Save it. Reboot the game.

Then you are working on factory defaults and can make any minor changes you want like freeplay. It is maddening to try and reprogram all the audits one at a time. Specially when the manual is not right =D.

#4 10 months ago
Quoted from barakandl:

Restore factory settings is a must after replacing the ram in a 6803 game. Audits like current credit count get junk data in them and may not let a game start.
I think you enter 35 or 65 in the "restore factory default" audit/adjustment. Save it. Reboot the game.
Then you are working on factory defaults and can make any minor changes you want like freeplay. It is maddening to try and reprogram all the audits one at a time. Specially when the manual is not right =D.

I assume since this was a fresh NVRAM chip, my machine automatically reset to default (as evidenced by high score = 5,555,555).
For giggles, I checked the total game count and other stuff before I took out the old RAM and it was almost for sure garbage data. There were something like 800,000 games. Doesn't seem possible with the condition of the playfield. It isn't pristine, but nowhere close to 1 million plays...

I forgot to mention that you might not want to try this upgrade on a 6803 unless you have a fully functional keypad. And if you don't have a keypad, you need to spend your first dollar on that.

#5 10 months ago
Quoted from newbieinKC:

I assume since this was a fresh NVRAM chip, my machine automatically reset to default (as evidenced by high score = 5,555,555).
For giggles, I checked the total game count and other stuff before I took out the old RAM and it was almost for sure garbage data. There were something like 800,000 games. Doesn't seem possible with the condition of the playfield. It isn't pristine, but nowhere close to 1 million plays...
I forgot to mention that you might not want to try this upgrade on a 6803 unless you have a fully functional keypad. And if you don't have a keypad, you need to spend your first dollar on that.

6803 games do not auto restore default settings so you gotta do it manually. 5,555,555 is the junk data. The default high scores are usually rounded off to the 100k or so. All fives is probably a test pattern left on the chip when it was made.

If you get in a jam and the keypad is missing/broke you can do it with the playfield switches. Just gotta map out the strobes and returns #s for the keypad on top of the pf switch matrix. And then if the PF switch doesnt exist you need can do it at the plugs... neither is fun

#6 10 months ago

I pulled this from Pinrepair:

"A Bad Control Board Battery and Memory.
The memory stays in the RAM due to a rechargeable (sic.) battery on the 6803 Control board (at this point in these game's lives, this battery should be removed and replaced with a remote AA battery pack, as shown here). If the battery dies, the game will still boot and operate normally, except of course all the audits and game adjustments will default to factory setting. This can be seen easily because all the high scores displayed in attract mode will be 5,555,555."

This is what my machine did when I cut out the battery, anyway. Everything went to default and high score was 5,555,555.

I completely agree about the keypad. Not impossible, but not easy or intuitive either.

#7 10 months ago

There may be some logic that corrects out of range audits like the high score but it does not restore factory defaults audits upon putting in a new ram or battery failure.

Usually it will coin up and play but best to do restore factory settings. Wrong sound settings. Disabled slings etc..

#8 10 months ago

I can't find the register to reset to factory default:

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#9 10 months ago

EBC may lack a restore factory settings. All the other 6803 games have test mode laid out differently. I guess because of the alpha capable displays. I think it is the only 6803 game like that?

I put a new NVRAM in a special force and it gets crap all through the audits which looks like the test pattern the RAM tester leaves on the module. You go to feature options. Restore Factory Settings. Enter '65'. Hit Advance. Reboot and then you are at factory settings.

EBC you may have to just do it manually one step at a time like the older Bally games that used a -35 MPU.

#10 10 months ago
Quoted from barakandl:

EBC may lack a restore factory settings. All the other 6803 games have test mode laid out differently. I guess because of the alpha capable displays. I think it is the only 6803 game like that?
I put a new NVRAM in a special force and it gets crap all through the audits which looks like the test pattern the RAM tester leaves on the module. You go to feature options. Restore Factory Settings. Enter '65'. Hit Advance. Reboot and then you are at factory settings.
EBC you may have to just do it manually one step at a time like the older Bally games that used a -35 MPU.

That is probably why in the instructions have you "Press A" and get into the "Feature Options" menu (like I said the A button has no function on my machine, per manual). The displays on EBC are not alphanumeric. Going through the registers after swapping, everything seemed to be what you would get out of the box, most everything set to "0", except high score. Probably programmed that way as a failsafe for a dead battery.

There are several goofy things on EBC, the programming of the registers on the control board apparently being one of them. The flippers and associated switches are also weird. Victim of Bally blueprint design and Williams manufacture apparently.

Doesn't change my opinion on the NVRAM, except that most users may find the installation instructions more useful.

#11 10 months ago

From the 6803 Bally Service Bulletin Book 1987:

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#12 10 months ago

I promise that is not correct at least for the majority of 6803 games.

Here is the high score table on a fresh nvram install. Not factory default. Also the slings are off. No sound. Both not set to factory defaults.

I do the install factory settings manually and then back to normal.

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#13 10 months ago
Quoted from barakandl:

Here is the high score table on a fresh nvram install. Not factory default. Also the slings are off. No sound. Both not set to factory defaults.
I do the install factory settings manually and then back to normal.

Yep I couldn't remember exactly all the symptoms but it's definitely wonky until you reset to factory defaults & then make changes to other settings per the manual. Really with the NVRAM installs, in all cases it's just easier to do a Factory Reset on games that have the option or plan on zero'ing out each adjustment/setting on games that don't.

Even the same manufacturer & same era games could be a bit different in what you need to reset or zero out, so consulting the manual on how to set defaults is best. A slight inconvenience when installing NVRAM, but once you make the changes it's good for a long while

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