(Topic ID: 252975)

Bally MPU’s suck


By oldschoolbob

13 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 24 posts
  • 13 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 days ago by oldschoolbob
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 13 days ago

    I picked up a couple of MPU 100’s that needed some work. (one Stern and one Bally). I worked on the Stern first because it was in the worst condition. I had no problem replacing the headers. Today I started on the Bally. When I removed the headers I lost over a dozen solder pads. The lost pads were not connected but they just fell off. I’m not sure but I don’t think the holes on the Bally boards are plated on the inside.

    Now I got a bunch of stitching to do.

    Bob

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    #2 13 days ago

    They are 40 years old, I wouldn't say they suck. Just well past their service life, by many decades.

    I like that there's an affordable alternative to repairing or maintaining them, at $200 most of my Bally games end up with a new Alltek.

    #3 13 days ago
    Quoted from oldschoolbob:

    When I removed the headers I lost over a dozen solder pads. The lost pads were not connected but they just fell off.

    But the copper pads/traces are still in place right?
    I notice very often working on these Bally MPU boards that the factory solder comes off the copper traces because it never properly attached. The boards were not properly treated when they were solder flowed.

    #4 13 days ago

    I've found the copper foil was tarnished underneath the green coating.

    #5 13 days ago

    Here's an example of a Bally MPU board I stripped the headers off just yesterday.

    You can see how the original solder has detached from the boards copper pads.

    Before installing new headers I clean the copper pads and pre solder tin them with some flux.

    MPU_Bally_Headers.jpg

    #6 11 days ago

    Levi, I hope we don’t throw out everything that’s over 40 years old and past their service life because that would include me.

    Besides I didn’t get these for a game – I got them to rebuild. I enjoy fixing them.

    Upon closer inspection it looks like just the solder broke away from the solder pads and stuck to the bottom of the headers.

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    However, I still lost several pads.

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    It looks like the lost pads are from places that no traces were attached. (like key pins). But I did lose a couple of pads on the top of the board that will require some stitching.

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    Do you just not solder the key pins where they lost the pads?

    #7 11 days ago

    Looking at the amount of solder remaining on the pins in your picture, it would appear that your iron is not hot enough, or you are not waiting long enough for all the solder to melt before applying suction with your desoldering iron.

    I use a Pace desoldering iron and when done properly you can vacuum off just about every spec of solder. I've had IC's and header pin rows literally fall out into my hand with no external force. Pace irons are expensive but so worth it if you are going to be doing board rework.

    As for the oxidized copper left behind, I use Zep toilet bowl cleaner and they shine right up and the solder sticks like it's supposed to. There's another thread on Zep toilet bowl cleaner here on Pinside as well.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/stripping-battery-corrosion-with-a-strong-acid

    #8 11 days ago

    acid damage? fumes can wreak havoc.

    #9 11 days ago

    You still have copper so all is not lost. The "tinned"coating is just scaling off.

    When boards do this they often also get the solder bubble effect which drives me crazy.... where you form a joint and as it cools down a bubble forms inside the solder and it pops leaving a crap joint. Reheat and add more solder, pops again, over until finally get a nice joint formed. No amount of even the most aggressive flux helps and too much makes it worse

    Roughing up the copper with fine sand paper helps get the new solder to stick. Just dont sand through the copper. The copper will re-tarnish over again in days/hours so gotta solder before that happens.

    #10 11 days ago

    Bally boards were the best to work on when they were used on route during their intended commercial service life. The holes between board sides/pads are indeed plated. A board exposed to leaking batteries, especially in storage without the game being turned on daily to dissipate moisture can easily be to blame what you're seeing.

    Williams boards, made by the former Menasha Controls Corporation were a couple steps below Bally's stuff in terms of quality, durability and serviceability.

    Like Pinfixer said above, A high quality desoldering station is by far the best way to repair these boards. Most components fall off of the board when the last pin is desoldered.

    All of the distributors of commercial coin-op equipment had them (I worked briefly for Bally Midwest-the former Empire Distributing) which had two of the Pace setups. As soon as I started working for a route operator in 1979, I convinced them to invest in a Pace system and lots of spare tips, Glass tubes, cleaning brushes both types of filter pads as well as improved test equipment.

    #11 11 days ago

    I guess I was a little harsh. Maybe a little disappointed because I always found Bally boards were better built (especially their solenoid driver boards). Might be me or my equipment but I didn't loose a single pad working on the Stern board.

    I'd love to have one of those Pace systems but WOW. That's professional equipment. I'm just a hobbyist.

    At least this repair work will keep me busy for a while.

    Bob

    #12 11 days ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    They are 40 years old, I wouldn't say they suck. Just well past their service life, by many decades.
    I like that there's an affordable alternative to repairing or maintaining them, at $200 most of my Bally games end up with a new Alltek.

    As much as I hate to agree with Levi...i'm going to have to do it here. These have been around for decades. It's time for a new board.

    #13 11 days ago
    Quoted from oldschoolbob:

    I didn’t get these for a game – I got them to rebuild. I enjoy fixing them.

    Bob, I applaud you for your interest in bringing these old boards back to life. Keep it up!

    #14 11 days ago
    Quoted from Daditude:

    These have been around for decades. It's time for a new board.

    I hope my wife don't feel that way about me.

    Thanks Quench. That's what makes this hobby so great. Some like to fix them and other like to play them.

    Bob

    #15 11 days ago
    Quoted from oldschoolbob:

    I hope my wife don't feel that way about me.
    Thanks Quench. That's what makes this hobby so great. Some like to fix them and other like to play them.
    Bob

    I appreciate you bringing them back. I just don't think that saying they "suck" after decades of use accurately portrays their quality. Just my opinion.

    #16 11 days ago

    Bob, pry the plastic housing off the headers so you can remove them one by one you'll be much happier with the results. You can also pull them out one at a time heating from below if you can't get the housing off. Much better results. If you're really fast you can pull the pin with your fingers (heat with iron, push down, pull really quick before you burn yourself).

    #17 11 days ago

    I replaced all 4 mpu headers on a Bally mpu recently using slochar's suggestion (removing the plastic housings, then removing one pin at a time)...i used pliers instead of my fingers, but it worked like a charm. I only busted out my Hakko 808 to clean the solder left in the pads. I would also recommend trying a higher temp setting for your iron. As another poster pointed out, it looks like the pins may have been lifted out before they were hot enough which pulled the plating up with the pins.

    #18 10 days ago
    Quoted from Daditude:

    I just don't think that saying they "suck" after decades of use accurately portrays their quality. Just my opinion.

    As I said in post #11, I may have been a little harsh. I apologize for that.

    slochar and frunch - I read that post recently about removing the housing and found it very interesting. My method is similar. First I use my desoldering tool and as someone said most of the time the headers will just fall out. If they don't then I pry off the plastic housing and remove the remaining pins one by one as you suggested. However, on this board I had a lot more pins that stuck to the board. Maybe I need more heat on the Bally boards. But it seems more heat causes the pads to fall off - especially the pads that don't have a trace attached. Seems to be a careful balance between heat and time on each pin.

    All the pads I lost on this board did not have a trace attached but I didn't loose a single pad on the Stern board. That's the reason for my rant in the first post.

    Bob

    #19 10 days ago

    If you've already removed most of the solder the stubborn stuff is going to help lift the pad when you stress it with the housing removal. I usually use the leave the housing in place method for .100 headers and pull the pin out instead.

    #20 10 days ago

    Just wondering why you needed to remove all the headers completely? Seems to me that operation has the potential to cause more damage than simply re-flowing the solder on the headers as-is.

    #21 10 days ago
    Quoted from BigAl56:

    Just wondering why you needed to remove all the headers completely? Seems to me that operation has the potential to cause more damage than simply re-flowing the solder on the headers as-is.

    They're likely tarnished. I usually evaluate each board depending on how the plating looks and if I'm having issues, and also what my intended purpose of the board is (test, beater, etc.) - I'm not going to put 10's of hours into a board I'm most likely just going to put in a stock pile of "mostly working" for bulk sales.

    #22 8 days ago
    Quoted from BigAl56:

    Just wondering why you needed to remove all the headers completely? Seems to me that operation has the potential to cause more damage than simply re-flowing the solder on the headers as-is.

    The plating of the headers corrodes, rubs off from connector cycling, tarnishes, etc after the 40 long years. Unless the MPU was saved from battery leak and kept in a good environment its entire life the header pins are usually in really bad shape.

    20191011_211359 (resized).jpg
    #23 8 days ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    They are 40 years old, I wouldn't say they suck. Just well past their service life, by many decades.
    I like that there's an affordable alternative to repairing or maintaining them, at $200 most of my Bally games end up with a new Alltek.

    Can you please say something crazy? You really aren’t living up to your user name.

    #24 8 days ago

    That's a great photo showing the ware on the headers. I change headers as standard procedure. Also change crimp connectors. I don't like chasing down connector problems.

    Maybe now they'll last another 40 years.

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