(Topic ID: 341063)

Champion Pub - NVRAM Upgrade [Resolved]

By CelticKnot

11 months ago


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  • 22 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 11 months ago by CelticKnot
  • No one calls this topic a favorite

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#1 11 months ago

Hi Pinsiders. I would like to replace the battery board in my Champion Pub with NVRAM. From my research this will require a steady hand and a soldering iron.

I have soldered before, but I wouldn't call myself an expert by any stretch. Just don't want to destroy an expensive machine.... actually one that could be considered a classic, were it a car. Are there any posts or links you can provide for swapping batteries for NVRAM on 90's Williams DMD games? Also suppliers for said NVRAM?

Note... I pulled the batteries out when I got the machine and yes, unfortunately, they had leaked acid. I didn't see any damage, just crust on the batteries and the battery sockets. For whatever that is worth.

#2 11 months ago

The hard part is to remove the existing 28pin RAM Chip without breaking any of the fragile pads or traces...one needs some good unsolder skills and proper tools for it
Soldering the new Chip or better socket is the easy part of the job

#3 11 months ago

You can send the board to have it done. I do this around Houston for games I repair in the area. Most who do this service would already have some on hand.

Can you post a picture of the board just to be sure there is no damage?

This is the one I use the most.
https://www.pinitech.com/products/6264_nvram.php

#4 11 months ago

Keep in mind you aren't going to destroy the machine.

Just the CPU board.

Hehe.

Yeah, this isn't a job for amateurs. It can be quite a bit for a new person to make sure that every tiny connection to all those pins gets to every other place the wires are supposed to go.

It's not a 'starter project', if you've never desoldered chips before, I'd have this done by someone.

Maybe just replace the battery holder for now, and put in Lithium AA batteries so they won't leak?

That'll keep your game functional until the expiration date on the batteries, it'll give you a couple of years to practice your soldering skills!

(grins)

#5 11 months ago

Thanks for all the replies!

Quoted from PinballManiac40:

You can send the board to have it done. I do this around Houston for games I repair in the area. Most who do this service would already have some on hand.

Thanks, that might be the route to go. Approximately what can one expect to pay for such a service?

Quoted from PinballManiac40:

Can you post a picture of the board just to be sure there is no damage?

Photos uploaded!

Quoted from PinRetail:

Keep in mind you aren't going to destroy the machine.
Just the CPU board.
Hehe.
Yeah, this isn't a job for amateurs. It can be quite a bit for a new person to make sure that every tiny connection to all those pins gets to every other place the wires are supposed to go.
It's not a 'starter project', if you've never desoldered chips before, I'd have this done by someone.
Maybe just replace the battery holder for now, and put in Lithium AA batteries so they won't leak?
That'll keep your game functional until the expiration date on the batteries, it'll give you a couple of years to practice your soldering skills!
(grins)

Thanks, good suggestion! I may go that route for the time being.

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#6 11 months ago

Given the above photos, can I just clean the contacts and use Li AA batts as suggested by PinRetail or do I need to replace the entire battery board?

#7 11 months ago

The board seems ok but until that battery holder is cut off, it is blocking the view under it. I would cut it off close to the plastic as possible so it is still easy to remove the solder leads once heating them up.

You will not be able to scrub the backside of the contacts to remove the corrosion and it will travel within the metal contacts and get into the board for sure. Best to remove the holder now.

The cheapest route is to find someone who plays in tournaments in your area who can solder and do it for you. I don't mind doing it for the cost of the part and shipping back to you, but you still pay shipping to get it to me. Up to you.

#8 11 months ago

Thanks @pinballmaniac40. I think I might tackle this one myself. Gotta refine my soldering skills and get comfortable under the hood at some point. Any suggestions on replacement battery boards? How about this one?

FRANKS BATTERY BOARD PRO WILLIAMS WPC-95

#9 11 months ago

You don't need a battery holder or that battery board if you're installing nvram.

#10 11 months ago
Quoted from CelticKnot:

... Any suggestions on replacement battery boards? ....

I suggest you solder in a coin battery for like under $10. Buying this "dual battery board" (wtf why 2?) and then having to solder anyway makes no sense.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/wpc-cr2032-mpu-install#post-2881145

This is severely easy to do.

#11 11 months ago

If you are soldering anyway, NVRAM is the only option that makes since.

NVRAM never forgets, even if you do!

I installed on 250 NVRAM in games all around Houston. Naturally, my go to part to help preserve games way longer than I am alive.

#12 11 months ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

If you are soldering anyway, NVRAM is the only option that makes since.

Whats the price for a WPC95 these days?

#13 11 months ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

Whats the price for a WPC95 these days?

Just the place I like to buy from the most. https://www.pinitech.com/products/6264_nvram.php

#14 11 months ago

It's an option. $33....for half that (from 'Merica) you can get 10 holders & batteries delivered & easier to solder in.
Plenty of options out there.

#15 11 months ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

NVRAM never forgets, even if you do!

Sometimes pinball repair is not always about the cheapest route.

#16 11 months ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

Sometimes pinball repair is not always about the cheapest route.

Oh we all know the more expensive the better these days.

#17 11 months ago
Quoted from amxfc3s:

You don't need a battery holder or that battery board if you're installing nvram.

I decided to go for battery holder replacement over NVRAM after much advice (see above posts in this topic) to avoid it as a first-time project. I researched replacing battery holders, and that seems very easy, even with my plebian soldering skills.

Quoted from TheLaw:

I suggest you solder in a coin battery for like under $10. Buying this "dual battery board" (wtf why 2?) and then having to solder anyway makes no sense.

@thelaw, I read where the 2 batts allow you to replace one without losing settings. *shrug* Probably overkill. This is why I ask you guys before leaping.

#18 11 months ago
Quoted from CelticKnot:

..I read where the 2 batts allow you to replace one without losing
...

Yeah its overkill & it's recock. Just trying to soak up more monies for no reason. Shame!

#19 11 months ago
Quoted from CelticKnot:

I read where the 2 batts allow you to replace one without losing settings.

If you replace the battery while the game is on you don't lose settings anyway.

You are correct as to the difficulty of soldering in a battery holder vs. the nvram route - nv ram carries great risks of traces/pads lifting vs. relatively safe on the holder. (less connections, larger)

1 week later
#20 11 months ago

I finally got time to pop the board out and cut off the corroded battery holder, photo below. It doesn't look like any of the green corrosion crud traveled down to the PCB, *phew*.

Next up, desolder the old legs and solder in the replacement board.

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#21 11 months ago

Glad the board looks good.

#22 11 months ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

Glad the board looks good.

Thanks. After I took that photo, the legs came out pretty quickly with a hot iron and I was able to remove the solder from the holes. The new board went in pretty easily and I now can save settings. Definitely an easy fix/upgrade if you're slightly technical and have the tools.

I appreciate all the feedback and suggestions.

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