(Topic ID: 237892)

Can anyone help a newbie please?

By Geee

74 days ago

Topic Stats

  • 16 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 33 days ago by Geee
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    #1 74 days ago

    I have just purchased my first machine. I am very ignorant about these lovely machines but want to learn. So sorry as I'm sure it's a really dumb question.

    I took a look at the batteries. There are three in the holder, and they look nice and dry, no corrosion etc. But I was surprised to see they are all oriented in the same direction - i.e. positive at the top for all 3. With other devices like my radio, etc the batteries are oriented so that they are in series, so positive against negative etc. Hope I have explained that clearly.
    So is it correct that all 3 batteries are pointing in the same direction, so presumably in parallel rather than series?

    Also one other initial but dumb question. Its a 1979 Williams machine (solid state). Will everything be running at low voltage, i.e. does it all go through the transformer or is there likely to be parts at full mains voltage? I'm just wondering how careful I need to be when messing about with it.

    Many thanks

    #2 74 days ago

    The traces that cross from + to - are on the board to remove the guesswork.

    Only mains voltage at the transformer. The displays and coils can give you a decent DC kick though so use common sense.

    #3 74 days ago

    Hello and welcome to pinside, and pinball! It's a great site and hobby with a fantastic community full of lots of helpful folks... and characters

    Regarding batteries: yup, that's how they are. It threw me at first also, but every pinball battery holder I've seen is that way. When you look at the back of the circuit board, you'll see how the terminals are connected in series.

    As for the line voltage: you absolutely need to be careful. The transformer has multiple windings that convert the mains supply to different voltages, which are then further modified by the logic power supply and other circuits. There is everything from 5V for logic power, to 12V for bulbs, 50V for coils, and 100V for displays. And lots in between, going all over the place.

    So for now, power everything off before you poke around. Get the schematics for your game (ipbg.org is your best friend) and take some time looking things over, studying how things connect from where to what; how close some parts are to others; what color wires are used and repeated; what might be "safe" and what's very risky. It can be very overwhelming at first but at the end of the day it's just a computer: there is logic, there is electrical flow, A connects to B, and so on. Once you get more comfortable with things, you'll be lifting the play field powered on with little to fear in no time. Don't forget to ask questions if you are ever in doubt.

    Another site you should familiarize yourself with is pinwiki.... lots of valuable how-to and general info there as well.

    #4 74 days ago

    Thanks so much. Must say I am knocked out by the speed of the very helpful response.
    Really grateful

    #5 74 days ago

    Welcome to the hobby. Careful they multiply like rabbits.

    #6 72 days ago

    Another very basic and possibly daft question, if I may?
    According to the Internet database, my machine has a Williams System 6 MPU. It came with an incomplete set of schematics that has the name of a machine written on it, that is different to mine. But I see from the database, that machine is also a Williams System 6. Are the schematics the same for all machines with the same MPU? So are the circuit boards, etc interchangeable?


    #7 72 days ago
    Quoted from Geee:

    Are the schematics the same for all machines with the same MPU? So are the circuit boards, etc interchangeable?

    Generally the schematics for the MPU will be the same, but the other components are often different.
    Example: Pinwiki had a chart for the Williams system 6 games and shows different sound boards.

    What game?

    Also, welcome to Pinside!

    #8 71 days ago

    Thanks for the information.
    Mine is Tri-Zone, so I see from the Pinwiki link you kindly supplied, that mine has "Type 1 sound" the same as several others including Laser Ball for which I have some schematics.
    So does that mean, with the same System 6 MPU and the same Type 1 Sound, the two games from an electronics point of view are identical (at least with regard to those two boards)?

    I am just amazed by the amount of information I am finding on the web, but my inexperience with pinballs means a lot goes over my head. But I just know that for me, the learning will be as much fun as the playing - I am a bit of a geek that way.

    I have read a lot about boards damaged by leaky batteries. Could I ask a question about them as well please?
    Mine has Duracell Industrial Professional Alkaline batteries marked March 2025. I haven't taken them out as I have read that will mean the machine will need to be reset. Is that a big deal, i.e. is it just highest score, etc., or is it things fundamental to the game itself that will be lost?
    As I said in my first post, I can't see any obvious leak at the battery, but thought it might be sensible to take them out for a closer look.


    #9 71 days ago

    Keep pin on when changing batteries. Data will not disappear. I use Lithium batteries in all my pins.

    #10 71 days ago

    Since you don't know how long the batteries have been in service, I recommend changing them. Like Drummermike said, you can do it with power on so you don't lose settings.

    If you do lose settings, it not that big a deal to reset them. You will need a manual to find the various program function numbers to set them to your liking. Worse case, the machine will revert back to factory settings. Things affected are high score to date, number of coin(s) required per game, three balls or five balls per game, award levels for high games, among others. You can always ask on this forum how to get to the settings, but I really recommend finding/buying an instruction manual.

    #11 70 days ago

    Thanks for the advice.
    I will buy new batteries and then switch them over with power on. But I need to be patient as the machine isnt assembled at present - its a long story but we dont have time and space at present. Cant wait to get it together!

    #12 70 days ago

    I don't know how long you plan to leave the game unassembled, but if your talking months, I would remove the batteries and reprogram when you get the machine back together, especially of the machine head is in a non climate controlled environment.

    #13 70 days ago

    Many folks on this site will suggest that you get the batteries off of that board. remote battery pack, NVRAM or super cap. Lithium are better than alkaline.

    Be careful messing around under the hood with the power on, you can get a good kick or worse yet short out some electronics.

    I always buy a manual for my games, since I work on them but also for settings and part numbers and such. You can find it online and print your own but the quality may be lacking.

    There are indeed great online resources. I like https://pinballrehab.com site too.

    #14 69 days ago

    Thanks for the posts. We are moving home in 3 weeks, so after that I will get it back together.
    Thanks I have read about remote battery packs, capacitors etc, but I dont think I have the competence to do so at present. I need to do some practice soldering etc first. So plan is get the machine up and running within the month, then very carefully switch the batteries for lithium ones.

    Then perhaps allow myself to enjoy the game whilst learning more about how it works, etc.

    Thanks for help - that pinball rehab site looks really good too

    1 month later
    #15 34 days ago

    I knew it would have to be a while, but this evening I eventually set up my Williams Tri-Zone and it seems to be working reasonably ok - but not perfect.
    I have noticed a few things:
    1. Highest score shows 550,000 even though I reset the machine by removing batteries with the machine off. Is this likely to be a factory set highest score? I havent got any where near it yet!
    2. I am not a good player (but will improve!) but whilst playing all of a sudden I won a load of credits, on two separate occasions. Six I think first time and about 20 the second time. No idea why - guessing something is sticking somewhere?
    3. The ball in play display is normally accurate showing, 1,2 or 3, but then occasionally it has a digit in front so becomes. say 12 rather than 2. Seems to be happening less and less.
    4. When playing multi-player, no light appears to show who is playing. I would have thought there should be lights. Guess checking the bulbs is the obvious first step. The score is added to the correct player total.

    Sorry if these points are a bit random, but I have absolutely no idea where to start looking for most of them!


    #16 33 days ago

    Hmmm - more problems to report. Only the display lights work on the table - bizarrely other than one solitary light. So missing those lights and player number lights.
    Maybe its a fuse I need to track down or bad earthing, or...? Is it possible the one non display light that works is supposed to be on permanently so on a different circuit?

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