(Topic ID: 249525)

Advice For Early Solid State Owners

By oldschoolbob

9 months ago

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  • 125 posts
  • 28 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 months ago by Coyote
  • Topic is favorited by 55 Pinsiders


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    #1 9 months ago

    I read many threads here about problems people are having with their early SS games. It seems like most of the problems are connector related. I am NOT a tech-pro but I have re-built over a dozen Stern – Bally and Williams games. To insure you have a solid and lasting game you must make sure you have good voltages and connectivity throughout the entire game. You could just replace a faulty part or connector and get the game working again but down the road some other connector will fail and you’re back to the workbench.

    My method is nothing new – it’s covered on Pinwiki as well as several other sites. I suggest going to those sites for more detailed information.

    First you must have reliable voltages. This starts with the rectifier board. I remove the entire transformer and rectifier board as a unit and work at the bench. In some games they’re mounted on a plywood base in the bottom of the cabinet – others on a metal bracket in the back-box. The original bridge rectifiers are undersized and must be replaced. Also replace the header pins – don’t just re-flow the solder. They’re old and probably burnt. Inspect the high voltage diodes and ceramic resistors. If they look suspect replace them now. It’s easy with the unit out. Also look at the fuse holders and replace if they look discolored or corroded. Check that they hold the fuse firmly. Replace if necessary. Lately I’ve been replacing the entire board – nvram. weebly.com has both kits and assembled boards at a reasonable price. After the re-build I check the voltages at the bench by connecting line voltage to J2 pin 6 and 7. Then check the output voltages at the test points. Take into consideration that nothing is connected. Next replace all the crimp connectors on J1, J2 and J3. This is very important but often overlooked. You’ll never have good connections with 30 year old connectors.

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    Next is the driver/regulator board. Replace all the header pins. Be careful removing the old headers – the solder pads are very fragile. (I just saw a thread with good tips on removing headers). Next replace the 5 volt capacitor (C 23) and the high voltage capacitor (C 26) Also add the ground and 5 volt mods as in Vid’s guide Bally/Stern driver board repair. Inspect for any burnt or damaged components – replace as necessary. Check the back side for any damaged traces. Again replace ALL the crimp connectors. J1 and J5 only have a couple of wires connecting to them. I usually add a couple of extra crimp connectors to the empty pins with no wire attached. This will help keep the connector seated. Install the board and connect J3 only. Check the voltages – they should be pretty close to specs at this time. Be careful with TP2 and TP4 – These are high voltage.

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    Next is the MPU. This board is subject to a lot of corrosion. First remove the battery then thoroughly inspect everywhere for corrosion. Remove the socketed IC’s. Check the IC’s and sockets for any corrosion. Replace if necessary. Also check under the solder mask. Corrosion can live under there and you can’t see it. If it looks suspect scrape or sand the solder mask to be sure. You must clean all the corrosion or it will come back. There are several methods for removing corrosion so I won’t get into that here. After a thorough cleaning and inspection you need to replace the battery. There are several methods to replace the battery (NVRAM, remote battery, coin cell, etc.) Again, replace all the headers and crimp connectors. J5 is a 32 or 34 pin connector. I find it easier and not too much more expensive to replace the entire cable. GPE and Weebly Nvram both have replacement cables. Install the board and connect J4 only. Now check TP2 = 11.9 VDC, TP5 = 5 VDC, TP3 = 21.5 VDC.

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    The lamp driver board is mounted just below the MPU and sometimes it will get corrosion from the MPU above so a close inspection is necessary. After inspection and cleaning, replace all headers and crimp connectors. A faulty SCR will seldom show any damage. But they will show up in the lamp test after the game is all back together.

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    Next is the sound board. Replace all headers and crimp connectors and look closely at the capacitors. Replace any that show bulging on the top.

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    Last are the displays. For some reason they are usually really dirty. Remove the connector on the back and slide them out the front. Be careful with the plastic angle bracket holding the glass in place and be careful with the glass. Usually a good cleaning with an air hose and a soft brush is all it takes to clean them up. Then replace the headers and crimp connectors. Some of the connectors get two wires in each connector because they are dazey chained. It’s a little tricky but you can do it. You may have some trouble with some numbers or segments out but those will only show after the game is on and you run through test mode. There is a good article on Pinwiki on repairing displays.

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    By following these steps you’ve eliminated 90 percent of your problems and will have a good running game for another 30 years.

    If you have any suggestions, comments, or tips please add them below.

    #4 9 months ago

    Mark, Like slochar said I reuse the old housings unless they are damaged. Just replace one connector at a time. (remove one connector - cut it off - crimp on new connector - put it back in the housing) You'll notice in the photo above that I mark the empty connectors before I start. This helps me remember to skip that slot when I put them back in.

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    #29 9 months ago
    Quoted from CUJO:

    Curious who makes the rectifier board you show in Post #1 of this thread?

    The boards shown are both original boards. I used rectifiers and heatsinks from GPS. The over sized rectifiers don't fit well mounted three in a row. So I mount two facing front and one facing back. However this requires modifying the mounting plate. This is one of the reasons I switched to using Weebly.

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    The Weebly boards come with two heatsinks. The third heatsink isn't necessary. But I install the third just to make it look balanced.

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    #30 9 months ago
    Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

    Can someone easily list the basic parts needed & the tools required to make this job easier? I need to do this myself in a couple weeks.

    This is one of my typical crimp connector work sessions. I attach a piece of plywood over the playfield. This protects the playfield and gives a good work surface. All the tools needed are shown. The light and glasses may not be required until you get old.

    I get my parts from GPE. He sells only top quality stuff.

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    #36 9 months ago

    If I'm going through all the work replacing headers and connectors I don't want to use questionable parts. Even GPE has a "value line" but I only use his Molex brand.

    When I remove a crimp connector I don't try to be careful. I never re-use a connector. Once it's out I cut it off and replace it.

    #37 9 months ago
    Quoted from bluespin:

    The first item that I listed doesn’t say if it works in both 0.1” and 0.156” connectors. Does anyone know?

    Yes - That's the same crimper that I use. One set of jaws for 0.1 and the other for 0.156.

    #52 9 months ago

    Several have asked about quantity and sizes of connectors. This is my standard order per game:

    10 - .156 headers
    10 - .1 headers
    100 - .156 trifurcon crimp connectors 22-26 ga. wire
    100 - .156 trifurcon crimp connectors 18-20 ga. wire
    250 - .1 crimp connectors

    This is probably more than you'll need but I'd rather have extras than run short.

    The following photos indicate the sizes of the connectors. Red shows the .156 headers and green shows .1 headers.

    All display headers (5) are .156.

    Hope this helps.

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    #54 9 months ago

    .1 headers come in 36 pin strips.
    .156 headers come in 24 pin strips.
    Cut to size.



    tip: if you look closely at the photos above you'll see that I mark where the key pins are located before I remove the old headers. This helps locate the key pins for removal after the new pins are installed.


    #57 9 months ago
    Quoted from pb456:

    What about sockets/receptacle connectors? What is best to keep on hand?


    If you're talking about connector plug housings, I don't normally keep any on hand - too many sizes. Look them over before you order - if any look burnt, broken, cracked or questionable I order replacements when I order the connectors. About the only ones I've found that need replaced are the ones on the rectifier board.

    #65 9 months ago

    I can never understand why some people will go to all the work to replace something and put in inferior or questionable parts.

    I also don't understand re-flowing. To re-flow a solder joint you should remove the old solder and re-solder. If the old header is corroded or dirty you haven't fixed the problem. Once you've removed the old solder you've already done most of the work. Why not just replace the header.

    #69 9 months ago

    I guess I just got lucky when I started. I asked about where to get parts and GPE was highly recommended. And his prices are reasonable.

    As far as de-soldering tools, I couldn't afford the Hakko so I got a much cheaper tool. It's worked great as long as I keep it clean. I've never looked back.

    Quoted from pinzrfun:

    lots of guys will pull the boards and re-flow all the headers real quick just as a matter of course.

    What I'm saying is why take the chance. You've got the board out and removed the old solder - for the price of a few headers just replace them and be sure.

    #79 9 months ago

    Several of you have talked about those solder suckers. I have a good de-soldering tool but I hate to use it for just one or two solder joints. It takes a while to heat up.

    I heard that you need one with a flexible and heat resistant tip. What do you recommend?


    #90 9 months ago
    Quoted from G-P-E:

    Do keep in mind that Molex, being the penny pinching company they are, has closed US plants this past year and started shipping contacts made in India this year.

    This really worries me - how much can they be saving?

    What are the dark areas on those photos? Shadows - I hope.

    I always liked the trifurcon connectors. But I'm not so sure anymore. Anyone else make these connectors?

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