Announcing new product to help resolve resets in WPC era games

(Topic ID: 83912)

Announcing new product to help resolve resets in WPC era games


By rkahr

4 years ago



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  • Latest reply 9 days ago by rkahr
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28
#1 4 years ago

Pinball Peers,

I want to call your attention to a daughterboard I developed to reduce or eliminate system resets related to the 5 Volt power supply in WPC era machines. I designed this new solution out of frustration with recurring resets in my Party Zone machine. In designing the daughterboard I took a holistic view of the WPC power supply designs, the loading of the supplies, the many possible weaknesses that become triggers of resets, and my knowledge of modern semiconductor products. From this analysis and through experimentation with several prototypes I determined I could safely move the power load of the MPU from the 5 volt supply to the 12 volt supply via a daughterboard that genterates and delivers a separate, stable, 5 volt supply to the MPU.

I like my daughterboard design because:
(1) It is a plug-and-play installation and the installation is completely reversible. No soldering and no wire or trace cutting is required to install the daughterboard so it can be removed from your machine as quickly as it can be installed.
(2) The watchdog circuit remains fully functional monitoring the power on the MPU board where the most sensitive chips (processor, ASIC, game roms) are located. But off-MPU hiccups no longer cascade into the MPU to trigger watchdog resets.
(3) The resultant redistribution of power loads is an improved balance across the available supplies compared to the factory design.

You can find detailed technical descriptions of my daughterboard on my KAHR.US Circuits website at http://www.kahr.us . You can buy one through my website or through eBay (note - purchases outside the United States can only use eBay).

This new solution is not intended to substitute for maintaining the power supply circuitry in WPC systems, but it does eliminate the need to fret over every hundredth of a volt.

Thanks for taking the time to take a look.

#2 4 years ago

Cool product, just ordered one. I'll be back for more if I like it!

Might want to throw up a list of compatible games just to make it easier for buyers.

#3 4 years ago

I will check it out. My ST:TNG was rebooting during game play. And in attract mode . My tech wanted to put in a Rotten Dog board. He got sick and cancelled his appointment with me. I replaced a coil #11636 that had a broken diode . Still game reset. I am no tech. I poked and pushed on the Molex connections near the bottom cabinet speaker reseated J101 . Still rebooted. Then I reseated j101 3/4 on to pins and the game has not rebooted in a week on play 30 games or so. Pushed J101 female connector all the way down and still reboot have gone away. Got lucky I suppose. My Question is. Is the Daughter Board some thing I should use on a game that is showing no issues as a preventative maintenance. ST:TNG is not a good example cause I got lucky in resolving the reboot issue. But for example my TZ all boards were sent to Clive The Coin-Op Cauldron
103 Armistead lane
Easley, SC 29642

Telephone: (864) 238 1707
And came back 100% and beefed up. I realize you want to sell your product. Do recommend putting the Daughter Board on all my WPC 89 . And does it work for WPC 95 . Thanks , Rob Knapp

#4 4 years ago

I've ordered one. Would be good to have around for machines that go down at a bad time (league night), and you don't have time to play around with.

I've messaged with Rob for a couple weeks on this, and his logic for using the 12v seems sound. He's done quite a bit of review on the board set.

#5 4 years ago

Just ordered one. Never know when it will come in handy.

#6 4 years ago

Just ordered one too. Tired of not being able to have all my games running at once. Can't wait to try this out, then order a couple more.

#7 4 years ago

Ive been using one for about a week now. So far no resets. Seems like a great product to me.

#8 4 years ago

Awesome! Just ordered one to have on hand. Excellent idea!

#9 4 years ago

This is great and all, but should you really ignore the underlying problems of why it resets?

#10 4 years ago
Quoted from lordloss:

should you really ignore the underlying problems of why it resets?

Agreed - definitely not. However, I've been to at least one event where a WPC goes down with resets and it would have been nice to have one of these on hand to help make it through the day.

#11 4 years ago
Quoted from lordloss:

This is great and all, but should you really ignore the underlying problems of why it resets?

My underlying problem is too many games, not enough circuits. Rarely are all my games on at once, but during partys and get togethers they are all on, and my TAF will reset. Now it doesn't. I can remove the daughter board during light everyday use, but I've kept it in with no apparent issues so far.

#12 4 years ago
Quoted from KevInBuffalo:

Cool product, just ordered one. I'll be back for more if I like it!
Might want to throw up a list of compatible games just to make it easier for buyers.

Everything from funhouse to cactus canyon. Except some of the wide bodies are ready fairly taxed on 12v and ges with colordmd may be as well. I used one on a getaway a guy had on route that I was too lazy repair. Works well.

#13 4 years ago
Quoted from lordloss:

This is great and all, but should you really ignore the underlying problems of why it resets?

I don't see a problem doing that. If this solves the reset then you on exactly where the problem was also. And if you know its in the 5v circuitry but you aren't using that circuitry anymore, then who cares?

#14 4 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

I don't see a problem doing that. If this solves the reset then you on exactly where the problem was also. And if you know its in the 5v circuitry but you aren't using that circuitry anymore, then who cares?

Ah, but you are still using the original 5V circuitry for all of the chips on the Driver board, plus the chips on most of the other non-mpu boards. (although I think the sound board almost always generate their own 5V.)

But you are still correct. The real problem isn't with the 5V circuit it has always been a problem with how the reset circuit sees the 5Volts.

#15 4 years ago

Bought 2. Sounds great.

#16 4 years ago

At least this can help you troubleshoot and identify the problem.

#17 4 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

Everything from Funhouse to Cactus Canyon. Except some of the wide bodies are ready fairly taxed on 12v and ges with colordmd may be as well. I used one on a getaway a guy had on route that I was too lazy repair. Works well.

Wrong circuit. Color DMD and most of the mods pull from connectors J116-J118 and these supply 5V and Unregulated 12V, not the regulated 12V that goes to the MPU.

#18 4 years ago

reading up on this I love this idea and can't believe someone didn't think of this sooner. How easy and cheap to pop one of these on, rather than spend an hour+ replacing $20 worth of parts on the driver board.

#19 4 years ago

My Scared Stiff is resetting occasionally, haven't had time to mess with it. Gonna see if this does the trick for now.

#20 4 years ago
Quoted from kbliznick:

Wrong circuit. Color DMD and most of the mods pull from connectors J116-J118 and these supply 5V and Unregulated 12V, not the regulated 12V that goes to the MPU.

Actually, that's an awesome point. You're right. I see now downside here then.

#21 4 years ago

Bought the last one on the website. Still lists 7 more available on ebay.

#22 4 years ago

A properly repaired WPC power-driver board will have absolutely no need of this product. And there's nothing wrong with the watchdog circuit - it is doing its job and protecting against a failing 5V supply.

That said, I'd far rather see one of these in a machine than some of the disasters that power-driver boards turn in to after shotgun replacement of caps, BRs, regulators and additions of speaker wire to try and solve reset problems.

Also, a failing 5V supply or thermistor will eventually cause resets on the audio board.

Overall, a great fix - but it should be considered temporary IF you can do top quality repairs. It will save a lot of power-driver boards.

#23 4 years ago

even with a properly repaired or fully working wpc game, if you take your game to an auction, show, tournament and the ac at the venue has low voltage...your game can reset. so there isnt a problem to fix on the game itself.
so, if this product will cure that issue, that is huge.

#24 4 years ago

rkahr please let me know when you have these back in stock.

#25 4 years ago

It's not messy, and it's plug and play, but it's a hack. If your games are resetting when all your games are on, you don't have enough juice to turn your game on. Shows, auction, same deal, not the end of the world to run it a couple days, but we all know that's not how this product is going to be used.

If I'm buying a game, and I see this product on the machine, the game is worth a 5V troubleshooting process less to me.

The OP shouldn't come out and say the watchdog circuit is fully intact, it's not. He admits that there are components that are no longer on it after installing his device.

With even the cheapest DMD games going for around $2K, but a lot of them $4K, $6K+, what's another $125 and a little patience to either send the boards out and get it fixed right or call your local tech?

#26 4 years ago

People toss around the term "a hack" like its always a bad thing. It's not. A hack is simply a working solution that finds a way around the original designed method to accomplish the solution. Nevertheless, it is a solution. I would argue that Williams watchdog is a hack. They hacked in a watchdog to reset the machine in case voltage dropped a bit low because it "might" cause something bad to happen. Lots of board repair guys run blue wires to beef up traces. This is a hack - although a good one. A proper repair would be to remachine all the board traces so blue wires weren't run.

Yes, this addon is also a hack. But if it quickly gets a non working machine into a working state, then great.

#27 4 years ago

We've disagreed on this before. You are in favor of getting games running in the cheapest and easiest way possible. I have the opinion that there is a right way to fix the games, it might not be the cheapest or easiest, but to fix them as closely to original as possible. This isn't any more of a hack than when you were advocating installing switching power supplies to bypass +5V issues (or was it another voltage issue, I don't remember), this is probably better, less components to fail.

Beefing up traces is not the same as routing power from elsewhere and taking components off the watchdog circuit. A better example would be the resister fix that Clay advocates to slightly increase the voltage on the circuit. However, he advocates that as a last resort and is placed earlier in the circuit, not sure how much, but it's still a better "hack" than this.

Some hacks are better than others, this is better than some like a power supply, but not as good as the resistor hack. It's still a hack though, and not in a good way.

Quoted from markmon:

People toss around the term "a hack" like its always a bad thing. It's not. A hack is simply a working solution that finds a way around the original designed method to accomplish the solution. Nevertheless, it is a solution. I would argue that Williams watchdog is a hack. They hacked in a watchdog to reset the machine in case voltage dropped a bit low because it "might" cause something bad to happen. Lots of board repair guys run blue wires to beef up traces. This is a hack - although a good one. A proper repair would be to remachine all the board traces so blue wires weren't run.

Yes, this addon is also a hack. But if it quickly gets a non working machine into a working state, then great.

#28 4 years ago

i tried to buy one of these boards to check it out, because it is a cool idea. but they are sold out...

Most resets are easy to identify the problem and fix. Like the guy above that moves J101 and now the game won't reset. That's a clear situation where that connector needs to be replaced. That's easy stuff. But every once in a while after all the low hanging fruit has been done/checked, it would be nice to have a "try this" type solution to see if things change.

There is another solution too, and that's to replace the Dallas reset chip (3 legged transistor looking device.) The stock Dallas resets at about 4.7 volts. They make them to do the same thing but at like 4.3 volts. I know of a guy that does this and he claims it works well. Again i think it's a last resort type thing.

#29 4 years ago

Just snatched one off eBay, will used it for a testing board to confirm it's the 5 volts dropping down.

#30 4 years ago

Appears from pictures on the website write-up that it's based on the ezsbc.com 5v switch-mode regulator and puts that onto a plug-and-play board to get the regulator across the power lines. Neat idea to solve an issue and make it accessible to everyone by having it easy to install/remove. As others have mentioned, it could be even just be used to diagnose a reset circuit is at fault even if you aren't going to leave it in there long-term. I may have to pick one up sometime just for that purpose as I have at least one WPC game on the project list that isn't booting correctly.

That switch-mode regulator that takes the place of a 7812 is pretty cool in and of itself, seems like there'd be a lot of uses in pinball/arcade mods and such with it not requiring a heatsink. Neat stuff.

#31 4 years ago
Quoted from cfh:

i tried to buy one of these boards to check it out, because it is a cool idea. but they are sold out...

It appears that he may have restocked. I was able to purchase one off of his site directly.

#32 4 years ago

Wow - Pinside audience is amazing! Thank you for your consideration of my daughterboard and all the thoughtful comments. I have sufficient parts on hand to make quite a few more so sell-outs are temporary. They do take some time to make and test (each one sees at least one game in my PZ... good thing I don't play too well!)

Rob

#33 4 years ago
Quoted from rkahr:

Wow - Pinside audience is amazing! Thank you for your consideration of my daughterboard and all the thoughtful comments. I have sufficient parts on hand to make quite a few more so sell-outs are temporary. They do take some time to make and test (each one sees at least one game in my PZ... good thing I don't play too well!)
Rob

Could you post a list of all the games this would work in, for a quick reference.

#34 4 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

Could you post a list of all the games this would work in, for a quick reference.

see earlier in the post. This should work in every WPC generation from WPC (alphanumeric) Funhouse/Bride of Pinbot/Harley all the way up to WPC95 Cactus Canyon.

#36 4 years ago

sold out

#37 4 years ago

Sold out... Cant wait till you get more in

Over the pond tho, so relying on the Ebay thing to buy....

#38 4 years ago

I got one of these about 3 weeks ago when I first saw it on Ebay. I tried it right away in my TZ just to make sure it worked and it did. My TZ wasn't resetting before, but this will be real handy to have in the tool box as a testing aid when working on games.

Parker

#39 4 years ago

Isn't the best tool to test for this a DMM and 15 seconds to check for +5V on the CPU board?

Quoted from michiganpinball:

I got one of these about 3 weeks ago when I first saw it on Ebay. I tried it right away in my TZ just to make sure it worked and it did. My TZ wasn't resetting before, but this will be real handy to have in the tool box as a testing aid when working on games.

Parker

#40 4 years ago

I just tried to order and it said it's out of stock. You sold out already?

#41 4 years ago

Doh, sold out. When will you have more?

#42 4 years ago

For everyone who ordered today, I got them all packaged up, labeled and shipped. That's a lot less fun than soldering or testing them!

For those interested in buying, I have parts on hand to assemble 62 more - So less typing and more soldering!

For those wanting the 12 volt regulator with the daughterboard as a package, I don't think I will have any until Tuesday. If you want just the 12 volt regulator buy it directly from ezsbc.com once it is added to their site. They are good people over there.

-Rob

#43 4 years ago

I'm on for one!

#45 4 years ago

Just put 15 on eBay - they are set up to allow international shipping.

If you click through via this link I believe Pinside gets a very small kickback (at eBay's expense; not yours). ebay.com link

#46 4 years ago

Ordered one from the website. Looking forward to getting this. Thanks.

#47 4 years ago

Just ordered two. Thanks!

Todd

#48 4 years ago

I like the idea of having this as another diagnostic and troubleshooting tool as i think you can never have enough of those. Will be ordering a couple shortly...

Having said that, there aren't many people who would take the approach of engineering an alternate power source to solve their reset problem rather than simply hunt down and repair said problem. For that I applaud you.

But the question remains, did you ever solve the root problem of your PZ resetting or did you just not bother once you created this board? And if you did solve the problem what was it?

viperrwk

#49 4 years ago

I think my initial thought about this product was negative, but after thinking about it some more...

Man, I'll sure be glad if I find one of these in a pin someday instead of a pulled trace from some fool trying to replace components that they didn't have the experience or tools to handle. Solves their problem and mine. Awesome.

#50 4 years ago

Just ordered one - thanks again.

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