Awesome work timebandit !
I would agree with this statement. The /game/fw/ folder does contain hex files for updating the IO boards, but nothing for the Xeno jaw board or the sensors. The Xeno jaw board doesn't have the protection bit, as we dumped it.
If anyone is going to have sets of the acrylic speaker mounts made, I'm down for a set!
Wow! Last night the guys and I were talking about adding souround sound speakers to Alien, and in a dark room like that!! SO CREEPY!!
Any chance someone can inspect their Xeno jaw board cable (picture attached) and describe the pinout of the 3 blue wires?
The flickering lights, or “disco ball” effect is a byproduct of the Heighway IO board design. Latest IO board firmware should help minimize it, but it won’t likely go away completely. Assuming you have the latest game code (v1.2), the latest IO firmware is (v0.9) and you can update via the Test menu.
Quoted from webdiddy:
Anyone have any advice on how to get the Xeon mouth closed like in this picture when in "resting" mode?
The mouth on my Xeno needs to be almost all the way open all the time, if not it will not work properly and get stuck when opening/closing.[quoted image]
Remove the mech from the game, and adjust the servo arm on the bottom? Make sure the wire connecting to the jaw isn't binding. It's possible the servo is bad or the screw holding the arm is loose. The servo can be replaced with a more reliable one too. It's a bit of work removing the parts and wires, but definitely doable.
Quoted from DylanFan71:
Just got my Alien this weekend. Currently no coils are working. Anything to check?
I’m kind of suspicious of the interlock switch. Easy way to bypass?
Believe just connecting the wires going to it together with something like a test lead will be the same as the door closed.
Quoted from delt31:
guys - just noticed pinball life added some new aliens part - specifically those super large monstrosities (also known as PCB boards)! When I originally had one those scared the hell out of me b/c they're so unique that if they were to go, it would be a problem. I haven't seen those for sell ever - I think with those being up for sale, we technically have access to all the critical parts. I just bought bottom, middle and top. Who knows how many they have so I would grab them now!
Think you may have gotten the only ones... they're not listed on the main page anymore, and the direct link just has "add to wish list", not cart...
Quoted from delt31:
Sorry! I literally find it and report it here after I buy it. The PCB was def in stock after I bought mine. LE items seemed to be 1 stock only I guess. I suggest checking that pinball life link b/c they're posting/updating throughout the day.
When you get your order, post pics! ...and curious what revision number they're labeled too.
Looks like they're available on eBay:
ebay.com link » Alien Heighway Pinball Original Genuine Xeno Jaw Servo Drive Board Nos
...but they are probably not programmed. I have posted programming instructions and link to the Jaw board code here before.
However, it's rather unlikely the jaw board is the failure. It's much more likely the servo that moves the jaw in the bottom of the Xeno mech needs to be upgraded to the new one with metal gears. The factory ones with plastic gears are rather notorious for failing. This thread is a wealth of repair info:
That post specifically shows the upgraded "MG90S metal gear servo". You will need to swap the pinout in the server connector to match what you have, as it's not the same. You can purchase the servo and test plugged into the jaw board, if the new servo moves, then you can take the Xeno head out of the game and swap the servo, which is a bit of work but doable. Hope that helps!
Quoted from PinDoctor82:
The sheer amount of posts in this thread, many of which seem to be about issues with the game, have me worried if I ever am lucky enough to have Alien in my collection. That said, I hope that dream comes true and I am really freaking jealous of those of you who have one. I missed out on getting one this past week and I'm kicking myself so badly for it. I have some truly killer Aliens stuff to eventually display in my future mancave, and this pin would be utterly amazing to have there with it all.
The issues with Alien aren't any more common than any other pinball machine, I think what you see here is a result of Heighway not being around to support their games and the current and former alien owners of the pinball community coming together to help each other out with the collective knowledge we've garnered working on them. As MK6PIN said, once you address known issues (which are minor, mostly connectivity or "cheap" part choice related like the servo and the USB cables), then the game is rock solid.
Quoted from Nepi23:
In my game the playfield monitor has twice started to show garbled images and the picture has turned greenish. Reboot solved the problem. However, has anyone else experienced this and is there a fix to this?
Also, if one removes the playfield monitor from beneath the playfield, is the playfield hole covered with glass, or is there just a hole in the playfield, when the playfield screen is removed?
Thanks for any info!
What you're describing sounds like a loose cable between the computer, video board and/or the LCD screen. With the game off, remove balls, lift playfield, and check the video cable going to that monitor, ensure it's plugged in well on both ends at the computer and the monitor sides. If that doesn't resolve, then access the playfield LCD components inside the metal box it's in. There's a small board the video and power input cables go into, and a couple small internal cables that connect the LCD to the video board. Make sure those cables haven't worked loose, and reseat them. I believe you could remove the monitor and leave the plastic cover but...why.
Don't worry too much about those reverse drops, they're almost surely wired correctly and will work fine with new code. At least that was our experience. You may end up needing a center PCB, but it's probably worth inspecting it for defects on the traces and connections first. It could just be repairable, sounds like the IO lines aren't quite correct that controls the LED colors. As ferret said, you likely will be fine with those IO boards, hold off. I had to replace the one in the center PCB with a newer IO board, but the red ones were fine in the other 3 positions. Upgrade the USB cables if you have ones without ferrite cores too, cheap cables can cause weird IO issues. The Xeno is your biggest issue yet smallest effect on game play. You have the one board or two board design? (Look behind the back of the playfield). You'll need the newer motor/server Xeno head and the two board design if you want to make it work. That'll mean flashing code and making some delicate wiring harnesses too. Leave the Xeno for last, the rest will be easier.
Quoted from dung:
I have a one board design. Making a wiring harness is not a big issue for me. I will look to see how many/what length usb are needed and ordered replacements. Xeno will be an expensive upgrade as ordering a whole new one is 400+. I might see about a new mount for the motor.
If your Xeno is the old design (old motor), there's no way to get it to the new design unless you're good at custom metal fabrication. We attempted modifications to the metal structure to get the new motor to fit, and it's just not worth it. Buy the whole new Xeno mech, and the two new boards that drive it. Making the wiring harnesses is the hardest part IMHO, because the crimp connectors are so small. The Jaw board will need to be flashed and Atmel fuses configured, which I posted instructions and the code for it in the Weyland Yutani thread here:
All that being said, you can upgrade the game (Computer, Single LEDs, v1.2x code) and have it playing minus the Xeno.
Yes, the black plastic parts didn't appear to change, that one I sold you can fit your game as far as I know! It was just the metal and parts inside the Xeno mech that changed design. You can airbrush it and swap it right into your game, there's a screw on each side to hold it on.
PS. The one I sold you is the one we tried modifying to fit the new motor!
Order ones long enough to go all the way to the back of the bottom cabinet for each IO board, you'll eliminate the USB hub when you upgrade the computer, as the newer computer has more USB ports.
The cabinet measures the same as a WMS widebody. The backbox is not the same, maybe a bit more narrow than a standard backbox. It detaches completely, so if your concern is getting it through a doorway the backbox isn't an issue.
Quoted from dung:
Also, does anyone know where to get the chip for the stepper motor pcb? Digging through pics in other threads I realized I am missing the chip, but have not seen a source?[quoted image]
StepStick A4988 module...and it installs with the little screw on the left, larger connector side.
IMHO, cheaper to just order the correct "production" part from Freeplay. I'm sure you can re-wire the one you have if you can figure out the exact changes they made between pre-production and production boards...but you'd need to know how to do electrical design and IC soldering work.
Quoted from megaladon:
Interesting enough though when the magnet holds the ball it somehow deactivates the upper flipper and drop targets and mother hole On that switch string. It doesn’t look like it’s blowing any fuses it just somehow makes them stop working?
You have red "prototype" IO boards? Replace the middle playfield IO board with a newer design one and this issue *should* go away.
I say "should" because the issue haunted us in debugging it, and we believe it's caused by poor USB comms (collapsing due to electromagnetic interference), and the way in which the circuit overload protection circuits interact with the IO control design they chose. HWP hacked/disabled one set of the overload protection in the newer run IO boards, keeping the main protection circuit, and it seems to have helped this particular scenario, but actually doesn't 100% fix the root cause of poor USB IO and interference. I actually have oscilloscope screen captures of the upper right flipper coil getting "locked on" because of the way the USB comm collapses and doesn't receive it's command to switch coil to hold. I've been meaning to do a write up on our findings for some time.
The other thing that has been said 1000 times here is USB cable quality. Get high quality USB cables with the ferrite cores, and shorter the better. Run them away from noisy lines, meaning, keep them away from coils and other sources of EMI.
IMHO, the real fix assuming hardware is unchangeable, would be game code and an IO board firmware update that changed the USB commands around and did coil hold timing on the IO board, rather than in game code, so the board will know when to switch from fire to hold by itself even if USB comms drop, that way not reliant on the USB comms to stay 100% reliable during such timed command. The way it is now, if USB comms drop mid event, it is over taxing the coil drivers causing the protection circuit to save the day (and stop the coil from working until power cycle), but falling back to the main protection circuit isn't actually better either...which I'll save for another day when I can dig up the o'scope pics.
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