(Topic ID: 198987)

Alien Poker, various issues


By Reality_Studio

2 years ago



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  • 37 posts
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  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Reality_Studio
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#1 2 years ago

Hey guys, I got an Alien Poker that I'm working on and have two issues. First is with the center drop targets. I took them all apart to see what's going on and saw that they use the new replacement circuit boards for all five of the drop targets, and I can see the faint marks from the horse shoe triggers going right down the middle so everything is aligned right. I went ahead and cleaned the horse shoe contacts and the circuit board contacts as well just in case. All five plastic rails are good, I replaced two that were possibly sketchy but now they are assembled nice and tight with nothing cracked. In testing they work perfectly, the way the game works is that you have to hit the targets in order otherwise they pop back up, and I can hit targets 2, 3, 4 and 5 all day long and they will always pop right back up, so it seems like the drop target assembly works perfectly.

The weird issue is that on rare occasion if you hit two drop targets just right, then the out of order hit target won't pop back up. It's rare, but I have seen it happen. I'm curious, is this possibly a known issue with system 6 drop targets? On most games it wouldn't matter, it's only an issue on Alien Poker because the targets are supposed to pop back up when not hit in order. Given that I never see the issue when hitting targets individually, it makes me wonder if those old drop targets can just act weird in rare cases when two are hit exactly right.

The second issue is with the right most flipper. On power up it works but after a few minutes what happens is that when you press the right flipper, rather than snap into position it will move up in extreme slow motion, it takes about 5 seconds to get fully into position. Does that sound like the coil needs to be replaced?

EDIT: Adding one more in case anyone knows. I fully led'd this machine, except for the pop bumpers. All the led lights I've tried won't sit tightly in them because the pop bumpers don't use a typical light slot. So I'd need to find an led bulb that has the same notch to lip distance as standard incandescent bulbs do. I know cointaker bulbs don't work, anyone by chance know who sells some that would fit?

#2 2 years ago

You can just squeeze the pop bumper sockets narrower, or replace with modern 555 sockets

#3 2 years ago

Cool that's an option for the pop bumper lights. Does anyone have info on the drop targets? Is that normal behavior?

#4 2 years ago

I've had no issues with using comet 2 smd LEDs in alien poker pop bumpers, they seem to fit and hold just fine.

My alien poker always resets out of order targets if 2 are hit at the same time. What you are describing doesn't seem like it should be normal behavior.

#5 2 years ago

The drop target boards are not wired right or could be changed to be better. There are two circuits on those boards. One is off-on-off and the other is off-on. Most Williams of that era had the off-on-off circuit wired in series with the other boards so it knew when all the drops we're down to reset.

Alien poker only needs one of the circuits and off-on circuit is best. If it is making a bad connection, a little vibration is all that is needed to get it to go. If the circuit is missed on the way down with off-on-off, your sol.

#6 2 years ago
Quoted from slapnuts77:

I've had no issues with using comet 2 smd LEDs in alien poker pop bumpers, they seem to fit and hold just fine.

Cool, is this the one you mean? http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/led.htm

Quoted from Jeewiz13:

The drop target boards are not wired right or could be changed to be better. There are two circuits on those boards. One is off-on-off and the other is off-on. Most Williams of that era had the off-on-off circuit wired in series with the other boards so it knew when all the drops we're down to reset.
Alien poker only needs one of the circuits and off-on circuit is best. If it is making a bad connection, a little vibration is all that is needed to get it to go. If the circuit is missed on the way down with off-on-off, your sol.

Hmm I see. All five circuit boards on the drop targets are new, it's this style of board:

http://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/1B-2001-AK04

They were changed to that by the previous owner in an attempt to fix the issue but it didn't seem to work because it's rare but still happens sometimes. On those boards you can see marks on the contacts from the horseshoe contacts and they go right down the middle across the off-on-off parts of the boards so they are aligned right and touching. I did clean the boards and the horseshoes with 91% alcohol and bent the horseshoes a little more to make sure they were making contact.

Is it possible the metal bracket of the horseshoe contacts just isn't strong enough anymore and a vibration as you say when two targets are hit sometimes makes them lose contact just long enough as a target comes down so that the "on" part of the circuit board gets missed? That's all I can think of as the boards are new, all the plastic rails are strong and don't have stripped screws or any cracks, and everything is well aligned and tight so there is no flex. Guess I'll see if I can buy new horseshoe contacts someplace.

Alternatively if I understand you correct, are you suggesting to rewire the give boards to only use the off-on part?

#7 2 years ago

To follow up, the attached image shows how they are currently wired up. To change it to only use the off-on part what would I need to change?

20170930_092610 (resized).jpg

#8 2 years ago

Another follow up, I found the website of the company that makes the replacement boards, they are here:

http://www.siegecraft.us/presta/index.php?id_product=21&controller=product&id_lang=1

...and I attached an image of how they show to wire them up. It's wired up differently than on my game though which is curious. In their diagram they use the center connectors labelled "All Down" on the boards but on mine it uses the outer connectors labelled "Drop Target". Not sure what that means, but the wires all seem to be in the correct order though.

AK-03-010 (resized).JPG

#9 2 years ago

To me it looks like it should wired like the diagram. I have a PBL replacement board and mine are wired in the center holes. The siegecraft diagram shows center holes. Yours are on outer holes.

IMG_20170716_104703 (resized).jpg

#10 2 years ago

Ok cool I'll get that rewired then, gives me something to try.

#11 2 years ago

The LED lights I use for my games and seem to work just fine in the Alien Poker bumpers are - http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/2smd-ct-ft.htm

#12 2 years ago

For the flipper, check your EOS switch. Sounds like hold winding is what is bringing it up slowly. They should be touching when not powered up.

#13 2 years ago

Ditch the horseshoes and go with leaf switches for the drop targets. Alien Poker works fine like this and it's more reliable. I converted mine. I bought a 5 bank that came from Jungle Lord, I think.

#14 2 years ago
Quoted from slapnuts77:

The LED lights I use for my games and seem to work just fine in the Alien Poker bumpers are - http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/2smd-ct-ft.htm

Ok I'll try them, my Cointaker bulbs just rattle around in there.

Quoted from Jeewiz13:

For the flipper, check your EOS switch. Sounds like hold winding is what is bringing it up slowly. They should be touching when not powered up.

Cool thx, I'll check that.

Quoted from winteriscoming:

Ditch the horseshoes and go with leaf switches for the drop targets. Alien Poker works fine like this and it's more reliable. I converted mine. I bought a 5 bank that came from Jungle Lord, I think.

Didn't know you can do that, is it just a matter of buying a bank like you did from a Jungle Lord and drop it in, or is it more involved than that?

#15 2 years ago

Looks like yours were built and wired from the earlier revision to the drop targets and schematics, and Alien Poker proved to be tricky to get the wiring right without having a machine physically here to look at. The target set in your machine is from the first batch I did for Alien Poker, which ended up not quite working right as you noticed. It's wired to use the momentary contacts in the middle of the board, not the constant contacts at the bottom. If you change the wiring you'll also need to move the diodes on the PCB's too, and make sure the stripe on the diode matches the orientation shown in the diagram.

I know not everybody is comfortable doing surface mount work, so I can also send you a fresh set if you feel it's outside your comfort zone.

-Hans

#16 2 years ago
Quoted from HHaase:

Looks like yours were built and wired from the earlier revision to the drop targets and schematics, and Alien Poker proved to be tricky to get the wiring right without having a machine physically here to look at. The target set in your machine is from the first batch I did for Alien Poker, which ended up not quite working right as you noticed. It's wired to use the momentary contacts in the middle of the board, not the constant contacts at the bottom. If you change the wiring you'll also need to move the diodes on the PCB's too, and make sure the stripe on the diode matches the orientation shown in the diagram.
I know not everybody is comfortable doing surface mount work, so I can also send you a fresh set if you feel it's outside your comfort zone.
-Hans

Ahhhh ok, well cool I knew I wasn't crazy lol, I rebuilt the drop targets to where they all looked perfectly fine. Ok great, so basically all I need are 5 of the newest version of those drop target boards and then wire them to how they are on the diagram I linked above, using the inside positions rather than the outsides, that sound right? Surface mount work is definitely out of my wheelhouse alas but I can handle basic soldering. I'll send you a private message, that way you can just invoice me via paypal, I'll follow up there.

#17 2 years ago
Quoted from Reality_Studio:

Didn't know you can do that, is it just a matter of buying a bank like you did from a Jungle Lord and drop it in, or is it more involved than that?

It's been a long time since I did it, but it likely involves soldering all the wires over onto the switches and potentially all the coils depending on how much you swap. The JL drop target bank comes with a bracket where the switches can sit, so potentially just that bracket can be swapped in, making it so there's a little less wiring work.

There's a post from someone who did it here:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/alien-poker-switch-matrix-problem#post-2263724

#18 2 years ago
Quoted from winteriscoming:

It's been a long time since I did it, but it likely involves soldering all the wires over onto the switches and potentially all the coils depending on how much you swap. The JL drop target bank comes with a bracket where the switches can sit, so potentially just that bracket can be swapped in, making it so there's a little less wiring work.
There's a post from someone who did it here:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/alien-poker-switch-matrix-problem#post-2263724

Thanks, I added that to my collection of bookmarks for Alien Poker. HHaase is going to send me replacement boards free which is really nice of him, so for now I'll try those first. Hopefully that will solve the drop target mystery behavior!

#19 2 years ago
Quoted from HHaase:

not the constant contacts at the bottom.

This is the reason AP can be converted to leaf switches, since it doesn't rely on momentary contact as the target falls. It relies on constant contact once the target is down, which is better suited to the leaf switch setup, in my opinion. Games with horseshoes that rely on the momentary contact would not work in a leaf switch conversion - so perhaps AP is among the few games where a conversion like this can happen.

#20 2 years ago
Quoted from winteriscoming:

This is the reason AP can be converted to leaf switches, since it doesn't rely on momentary contact as the target falls. It relies on constant contact once the target is down, which is better suited to the leaf switch setup, in my opinion. Games with horseshoes that rely on the momentary contact would not work in a leaf switch conversion - so perhaps AP is among the few games where a conversion like this can happen.

Yep, and same thing that threw me off when I did the original schematics. I got so used to everything being momentary.

-Hans

#21 2 years ago

Just got the replacement drop target boards, installed them and they work perfect! Played a bunch of games and also tried to make them fail by hitting them with my fingers and they always worked perfect. Also you were right about the right most flipper, the end of stroke switch was both filthy and needed tweaking, that is also now fixed. I haven't changed the pop bumper lights to led's yet but meh, I'll do that another time. The game is now 100% operation, time to deal and win big.

Thanks for the help everyone!

2 weeks later
#22 2 years ago

Hey guys, had one other question and figured I'd reuse this thread. Does anyone know the part number for the 5 springs used in the drop target bank? The alien poker manuals I've seen don't say which ones they use, and there seem to be many different types available for purchase. I want to replace all 5 springs with new ones, just not sure which ones to buy.

#23 2 years ago
Quoted from Reality_Studio:

Hey guys, had one other question and figured I'd reuse this thread. Does anyone know the part number for the 5 springs used in the drop target bank? The alien poker manuals I've seen don't say which ones they use, and there seem to be many different types available for purchase. I want to replace all 5 springs with new ones, just not sure which ones to buy.

This is what's in my AP:
http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=3877

#24 2 years ago

Awesome, just ordered 10 of them, thanks!

#25 2 years ago

Got a fresh problem so once again figured I'd piggy back it on my thread. I was having some occasional weirdness with the original game when i first got it, like sometimes you'd see weird game logic malfunctions, or the game wouldn't start, would make random sounds, etc so rather than diagnose all the boards I instead bought a Rottendog combo mpu/driver board and power supply about a week ago and have been using that, it's since been working fine.

Today I was playing for a while and around game 8 or so I noticed some of the led's started flickering, and then eventually wouldn't come on at all anymore. It was a few of them so I took at look at the light matrix (pic attached) and it's row 8 that is out, all 8 of those lights are the ones that don't light anymore. I looked at all their solder connections and they looked good but just in case I tested continuity from each bulb solder point back to the pin on the Rottendog board, and they all test fine for continuity. So that tells me all connectors and wiring going to all the bulbs are good. The Rottendog board is only about a week old so I assume that's ok. Does that only leave as the possible problem a bad diode on one of the bulbs? I read that a bad diode would cause weirdness on a row, but it wouldn't cause an entire row to be out like I'm seeing. Or perhaps the new Rottendog board went bad? I don't have much experience with those boards so I'm not sure how reliable they are.

Screenshot 2017-10-24 at 10.23.05 PM (resized).png

#26 2 years ago

Assuming all the soldered connections are good on the bulb sockets, I would think it is the connector at the board. Look for corrosion or maybe the connector is worn. Seems like it heated up and got angry at game 8.

#27 2 years ago
Quoted from Jeewiz13:

Assuming all the soldered connections are good on the bulb sockets, I would think it is the connector at the board. Look for corrosion or maybe the connector is worn. Seems like it heated up and got angry at game 8.

The way I tested it is I plugged the connector into the driver board but not all the way. So that way it made enough connection to work, but also left the pin on the driver board exposed, and that's where I tested continuity from. So all the connectors are good. I talked to the guys that sold me the board, they think a diode shorted on one of the 8 lights, sent current the wrong way and in turn burned up one of the mosfets on the new driver board. So...looks like some diode swaps and tests are in my future, I'll test all 8 and see if any did indeed short, then go from there.

#28 2 years ago

Ok after much sleuthing I believe the issue actually is with the Rottendog board. First I tested all 8 diodes on the light row which has the issue and they all test perfect, 0 one way and all around 0.57 the other way. Next I checked for possible shorts from open wires or stuff like that and found nothing.

Then I bought a little gizmo from Siegecraft, it's the 1st pic I attached, that lets you test the light matrix right on the board itself. Sure enough on power up the row 8 lights on the device would not light up. However after waiting a while I started to notice some of the lights on row 8 flickering, then sometimes lighting solid, basically after a while they would almost partly start working again. So I reconnected the wiring harness and sure enough after a little while with the Rottendog board the 8 lights would flicker, not typically stay solid but mostly flicker, almost like there is a cold solder joint somewhere on the new board that affects row 8 lights.

At this point I'm sure the wiring harness, connectors and diodes are all good because I've tested everything so I went ahead and put the original boards back in. After putting the original boards back all lights work perfect, nice and solid. You can see from the second pic attached the rightmost King is solid as is the right most jet bumper, both of those are on row 8 of the light matrix.

So the issue is with the Rottendog board, going to try and get that swapped. Meanwhile I reseated all the socketed chips on the original mpu and seems like no more malfunctions, game is playing well so I don't really need the Rottendog board anymore but I'll keep it anyways, I figure I'll probably own another System 3-7 game at some point.

All that's left now is to install the new springs on the drop targets and change a cap on the original power supply. For now I've left the Rottendog replacement power supply in there, that one seems to work fine.

20171029_141108 (resized).jpg
20171029_154909 (resized).jpg

3 weeks later
#29 2 years ago

Changed the thread topic because I have a new issue. I had to send the new Rottendog board back for repair and in the meantime I used the original mpu/driver board combo. It has a weird issue where it will occasionally malfunction. It's done this since I bought the machine, at first I thought re-seating some chips had fixed it but that's not the case, the issue reveals itself after you play for a bit.

Basically what happens is that it seems almost like game logic just stops working. You'll be playing normally and you'll suddenly notice no switches are registering anymore. So hitting the center drop targets does nothing, hitting the stand up targets around the playfield does nothing, ball drains and nothing happens, etc. Sound keeps playing but it's like all game logic has frozen. In some more rare cases the game will freak out and start playing random sounds, coils will fire, etc, it will seem like the game is possessed. This happened less often when I first bought the machine, but it's been happening faster and faster over time. Eventually I'll get the Rottendog mpu board back from repair so this won't matter, but hey I figure lemme see if I can fix this.

It did not do this with the Rottendog board, so I assume the issue is with the original mpu or driver boards. Some changes that have already been done by the previous owner were a new 40 pin connector, and the resistors/mosfets were changed on the driver board. I put in a new Rottendog power supply which reads good 5v at the mpu board test point and I changed the 3 rom sockets on the lower left of the mpu board. I did a check for bad solder joints but didn't see any off hand.

Not sure where to go next, any suggestions? Does this sound more like an issue with the mpu rather than the driver board?

#30 2 years ago

It sounds to me like the data is not getting from the MPU board to the driver board after the game heats up. I am wondering if reflowing the 40 pin connector might help.

#31 2 years ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

It sounds to me like the data is not getting from the MPU board to the driver board after the game heats up. I am wondering if reflowing the 40 pin connector might help.

Cool, I'll check that out.

1 week later
#32 2 years ago

Hey does anyone know how to reach Rottendog? I had bought their mpu/driver board for my Alien Poker (bought from K's Arcade) and it failed after about a week. K's directed me to Rottendog for warranty repair, so after speaking with them I sent it to them for repair about a month ago. My last three emails to them have gone unanswered so I'm kinda left in limbo, not sure of what's going on. Anyone have any luck reaching them via email? Just asking before i start a charge dispute claim on my credit card for the board.

#33 2 years ago
Quoted from Reality_Studio:

Hey does anyone know how to reach Rottendog? I had bought their mpu/driver board for my Alien Poker (bought from K's Arcade) and it failed after about a week. K's directed me to Rottendog for warranty repair, so after speaking with them I sent it to them for repair about a month ago. My last three emails to them have gone unanswered so I'm kinda left in limbo, not sure of what's going on. Anyone have any luck reaching them via email? Just asking before i start a charge dispute claim on my credit card for the board.

Wish you luck. Had the same quality of service with a new Black night CPU board from them. After a month of waiting for help or even a response I repaired it local and learned who Not to shop with again.

#34 2 years ago

That sucks I have always had good support from rottendig

#35 2 years ago
Quoted from Stretch7:

That sucks I have always had good support from rottendig

I did to Years ago. Recently support is non-existant!

#36 2 years ago

Hmm was worried about that. Ok I'll give it a few more days then just let my credit card company handle it.

#37 2 years ago

...of course the day after I make that post the Rottendog board arrives and it all works again lol, figures. In any case happy to have the game playing again, now I can try and beat my top score of 1.6 million.

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