Chase rope repair in Data East ST and Hook

(Topic ID: 150865)

Chase rope repair in Data East ST and Hook


By Patofnaud

2 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 27 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 months ago by Patofnaud
  • Topic is favorited by 15 Pinsiders

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#1 2 years ago

Data East made 2 machines that used chase rope light, Start Trek and Hook. Both can be trouble to repair and both have a fairly high failure rate. You know its a pain when in machine for sale ads they specifically list "Rope light works".

I've spent some time fixing my DEST lights, and I also own a Hook so I've spent some time working on chase lights and wanted to put it all down for posterity.

Basic Theory:

o DE uses 12VDC incandescent rope light containing 3 strands of lights and 1 common 12VDC power in both games.
o To supply power to the rope they take 12VDC off of the power supply CN6 pin 3 and feed the common line
o Then they 'ground' the other side of the bulbs through a unique 'chaser module' mounted in the head.
o The chaser is a simple bit of logic that grounds one side on the lamp chain as dictated by the CPU.
o The feed for these 3 'grounds' off the CPU are basically repurposed drive signals to the 'alpha-numeric display'.

Even though both machines are DMD, the CPU still has the logic and capability to drive an old plasma alpha-numeric display and DE took advantage of this unused logic.

All the CPU does to create the illusion of a 'chase' is to start repeating 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,etc,,,,,

My crappy drawing skillz...

Chaser_(resized).png

#2 2 years ago

Problem:

The physical rope light is made up of a plastic tube with all 3 strands of lamps and the common 12VDC supply shoved in and siliconed shut. This wire is the same wire used in making coils and is simply enamel coated to insulate it.

The 3 strands of bulbs are joined to their own wire and to their common 12VDC wire by crimps.

The problem is with time and vibration these crimps can wear through the insulation of the adjacent strand of wire and short them out.

Once shorted the Chaser Module can no longer handle the load and it blows.

Here is a pic of the wire and the crimps.

20160131_190247_(resized).jpg

#3 2 years ago

The wire fix..

Using my DEST as an example. You do not have to pull the playfield or disconnect anything. You cut all the tiewraps except for the far end one (it will be loose enough to slide back into it after).

You take the free rope and you slide it away from the backboard a few inches.

You then carefully use an X-acto blade and split about 1 inch of the end of the rope so you can free the silicone holding it in.

20160131_182337_(resized).jpg

#4 2 years ago

You then slide the wires out of the tube.

20160131_182359_(resized).jpg

#5 2 years ago

Once you have all the wires out, you carefully separate the strands. You can then coat the un-insulated crimps with nail polish.

20160131_183052_(resized).jpg

For Star Trek you have to repeat for other side, for Hook just the one long one.

After the nail polish is good and dry, reinsert into tube(s) and re-tiewrap back on the ramp(s).

#6 2 years ago

At this point your rope light is probably ok but the short would have wiped out your chase board.

To test your rope you can use a 9VDC battery and by removing the Z connectors that directly feed the ropes you can manually feed it.

You hook one side of the battery to the common, and the other pole of the battery to one of the rope feeds.

For DEST there is a Y connection to a pairs of small Z connectors behind the backboard. Just below where the Y ramp enters the backboard.

One for each strand. Almost impossible to take a pic and a real pain to reach. You need to raise the playfield and use the prop rod to hold it at a 45deg and fish for it.

For Hook this connector is a LOT easier and just below the 3D buildings on the left side under the playfield.

DSC01132_(resized).JPG

The 3 orange wires on the right size are the 3 lamp strings, the grey is the 12VDC.

Unplug this connector, hook one side of the fresh 9vdc battery to the grey, hook the other to an orange and you should only see every 3rd lamp on. If you have two adjacent lamps on you still have a short.

#7 2 years ago

Now that both sets of strings as showing proper operation with the 9vdc battery. You can hook everything back up and test the string.

With the Up/Down switch DOWN you press the Audit/Adjust switch inside the coin door. The last test in adjustments is the rope test. Each press of the "Start" button increments the test Off,1,2,3,Off,1,2,3,Off,1,2,3,Off,1,2,3,etc....

Assuming the you had a short, and you blew your Chase Module you will see either nothing or you will see Off,Off,2,3,Off,Off,2,3,etc,,,.

DEST was the original machine to use a Chase Board. It was made up of 2 chips. One was a simple 74xxx series to take the CPU input and the other was the driver that would sink current for the 3 strings. This chip was only capable of 500ma and if you shorted multiple lamp treads together you would blown the chip. Sometimes so bad it popped and burned the board.

It looked like this:
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When Hook came out they removed that chip and installed 3 discrete driver transistors. Much beefier and robust.

It looked like this:
DSC01133_(resized).JPG

Both boards are interchangeable, but the Hook one is much perfered.

If you board is missing and or unrepairable due to more carbon that fiberglass on the board,,, there is an aftermarket replacement.

http://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/520-5054-01

Although if you have the original blown board, the parts are much cheaper. For DEST the parts are:

My last Great Plains order...
ULN2003A IC, Transistor Array $0.50 3 $1.50
74HCT04 IC, Hex Inverter $0.30 3 $0.90

$1.50 for the driver, $.90 for the 74xxx series (usually not blown) so $2.40 and a socket for the driver for next time and about 20 mins on the bench.

1 month later
#8 2 years ago

So I pulled the wires from my tubes, and they are a little different than your DEST. Mine are color coded all the way through and I do have a short somewhere as hooking up power with some test leads shows 2 bulbs on next to each other when I try either the green or brown wire. I have coated all the crimps on both sets of wires and it persists. Any ideas on how to track down the short's location?

How the heck do you get your hands behind the back box to the splitter for the z-connector???

I also have the driver board from Hook in mine. the connector on the left side with the orange wires in it is burnt on one connector so I am assuming the board is fried too, unless this one is a replacement someone put in to try and fix this prior to properly fixing the short.

Thanks!

#9 2 years ago

Ok I "Chased" down the short and that is fine now. Tested the lights at the Z connectors and each pin triggers a different every 3rd light so no more shorts. I tried to run the diagnostic but I get nothing, so I am assuming my board is Kaput! Before I drop $60 on one is there anything else to check?

#10 2 years ago

Nice write-up.

#11 2 years ago

1 week later
#12 2 years ago
Quoted from Bos98:

Ok I "Chased" down the short and that is fine now. Tested the lights at the Z connectors and each pin triggers a different every 3rd light so no more shorts. I tried to run the diagnostic but I get nothing, so I am assuming my board is Kaput! Before I drop $60 on one is there anything else to check?

Sorry to not reply sooner.

Yes, the board is very fragile. The chip on the original version in the DE:ST only had a max of 250ma. One string with a short will not exceed that, but as they tie the two strings together behind the playfield a short in one string lights both strings and blammo, dead chip.

Don't spend the $60, spend a few dollars and replace the chips and socket them. Buy a few of them. One for now, one for the next time and one for good measure. Can fix you board under $3 in parts and $5 or 6 in shipping.

Unless you have the newer version that came out with Hook, then the ULN chip will be 3 transistors instead. However on the newer board you tend to not lose all 3 drives.

#13 2 years ago
Quoted from Patofnaud:

Sorry to not reply sooner.
Yes, the board is very fragile. The chip on the original version in the DE:ST only had a max of 250ma. One string with a short will not exceed that, but as they tie the two strings together behind the playfield a short in one string lights both strings and blammo, dead chip.
Don't spend the $60, spend a few dollars and replace the chips and socket them. Buy a few of them. One for now, one for the next time and one for good measure. Can fix you board under $3 in parts and $5 or 6 in shipping.
Unless you have the newer version that came out with Hook, then the ULN chip will be 3 transistors instead. However on the newer board you tend to not lose all 3 drives.

I have the newer board. I will attempt the repair.

#14 2 years ago

Ahh then you will want the;

74HCT04 IC, Hex Inverter $0.30 3 $0.90

And 3x of the transistors.

However where as the old style, the ULN chip was the 'fuse' prior to getting back into the MPU, I do not know if the 74 series chip would be that weak spot. YMMV.

3 weeks later
#15 2 years ago

Should fuses be added for each of the 3 light chase circuits? Has anyone done that?

#16 2 years ago

Its not a bad idea. I had that thought that myself and got lazy and stopped short.

The UDN chip is rated at 250mv. If I recall. I would have to look at the datasheet again to see if that was per driver or total. I would assume per driver. So a 1/4 fast blow should cover it.

You could also do the 12vdc source but then UDN would still be the weak point.

1 week later
#17 2 years ago

And I finally got the rope lights working!! Alas the game has been sold.

1 week later
#18 2 years ago

(see 2 for my rope light question) The rest is for background information.

1) I initially installed a Rottendog MPU along with all of my other changes and the Pinsound board worked initially. Then after turning the machine off, it would only work randomly. It appears that the Rottendog MPU and the Pinsound board don't always communicate. I contacted PinSound and they are working on a firmware update to make the board more responsive to recognizing the Rottendog MPU each time since I wasn't the only person with this problem. So, I repaired my Data East MPU board and switched back for the interim. That board works with the PinSound board every time. So clearly there is a compatibility issue between the Rottendog MPU and the PinSound board based on that troubleshooting. Just mentioning that here in case anybody else runs into the same problem.

2) I've noticed that my rope lights don't work exactly as they should when I go into test mode or when the machine is running. They operate as OFF/OFF/1/2&3 SIMULTANEOUSLY instead of OFF/1/2/3. I've seen posts about this that talk about a short between two of the strands causing this problem in addition to posts about the driver board for those lights getting fried. However, this is the strange part. When the Rottendog MPU board was in the backbox, the rope lights worked exactly as they should OFF/1/2/3 without doing anything to the lights or to the special board for the rope lights. As soon as I went back to the Data East board, it was back to OFF/OFF/1/2&3 SIMULTANEOUSLY. That makes me think that there isn't a short or a problem with the special board but instead there is a problem in my Data East MPU board.

3) When I received the pin, the knocker had been disconnected and the coil was sitting in the bottom (without any of the rest of the knocker mechanism). The coil had a melted coil sleeve in it. I purchased a new knocker and installed it and it worked fine. Of course, I had already replaced my power supply with Rottendog and the playfield power supply with rottendog before I ever tried this new knocker. However, since I've been having the sound cutout problem with my pinsound board, I decided to put my old data east power supply back in to see if the cutout problem went away. This would tell me if there was the regulated/unregulated 12v issue causing my sound problems. However, with the old power supply back in, the knocker went crazy and started pounding away nonstop from the moment I hit the start button to try it all out. I turned the machine off and on and had the same problem again, so I just took the data east power supply out and put the rottendog back it and then the problem was gone.

What do you think?

1 year later
#19 7 months ago

Patofnaud,
Can you provide details on the blue tubing used?
What ID and OD?

I'm looking at tubing via google and this came up:
https://www.grainger.com/category/polyurethane-tubing/tubing/pipe-tubing-and-fittings/plumbing/ecatalog/N-qxaZ1yzahfo

I'm going to need to build completely new Chase Light assembly as my game did not come with one. (I assume an OP removed it when it stopped working).

#20 7 months ago
Quoted from Zitt:

Patofnaud,
Can you provide details on the blue tubing used?
What ID and OD?
I'm looking at tubing via google and this came up:
https://www.grainger.com/category/polyurethane-tubing/tubing/pipe-tubing-and-fittings/plumbing/ecatalog/N-qxaZ1yzahfo
I'm going to need to build completely new Chase Light assembly as my game did not come with one. (I assume an OP removed it when it stopped working).

If you want to save yourself some bother a replacement board is available here:

https://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=4701

#21 7 months ago
Quoted from Homepin:

If you want to save yourself some bother a replacement board is available here:

Thanks. I think my machine has a board and I'm skilled with a soldering iron.

I may be converting to LEDs in the rope; but want it to look close to the stock version - hence the reason I'm looking for the tubing information.

#22 7 months ago

Haven't heard from patofnaud so I figured I'd begin documenting my progress on my blog at:
http://pinball-mods.com/blogs/?p=673

I'll post more here when I get data back from the PCBs.

#23 7 months ago

After retrofitting my origionals (some of the lights were burned out) I made a pair from scratch for a fellow pinsider who was lacking them about a year ago. It was tedious but I found some blue vinyl tubing online, 12V cool white 5mm leds, soldered them together with a common positive and soldered every third light to make the 3 chaser circuits (with the leds, the i had to make sure the polarity was correct). The only problem was the leds washed out the blue tubing, it looked fine with the lights off, but very pale and too bright when lit. The fix was dipping each bulb in the felt wick of a blue sharpie. The only thing i would have done differently would to be to try using 3mm leds with being able to try to slide the whole assembly in the tubing vs having to slice the tubing long way and slowly push the mess of wires and lights into the tubing. I does look quite nice on my star trek. Ill try to post a video later. Good luck!

#24 7 months ago
Quoted from Swainer80:

After retrofitting my origionals (some of the lights were burned out) I made a pair from scratch for a fellow pinsider who was lacking them about a year ago. It was tedious but I found some blue vinyl tubing online, 12V cool white 5mm leds, soldered them together with a common positive and soldered every third light to make the 3 chaser circuits (with the leds, the i had to make sure the polarity was correct). The only problem was the leds washed out the blue tubing, it looked fine with the lights off, but very pale and too bright when lit. The fix was dipping each bulb in the felt wick of a blue sharpie. The only thing i would have done differently would to be to try using 3mm leds with being able to try to slide the whole assembly in the tubing vs having to slice the tubing long way and slowly push the mess of wires and lights into the tubing. I does look quite nice on my star trek. Ill try to post a video later. Good luck!

You could try 3mm blue LEDs?

#25 7 months ago

Hmm, there is a thought. I went with cool whites to keep a similar look to the original, if not slightly improve the look. I don't know how the blues would have looked (I just wanted to avoid that dark blue/indigo blue look that led's can produce). The reason i used the whites on spyderturbo's was because i had like 80 whites left over from my initial project. Perhaps the blues would take care of the washing out of the blue tubing I was having, good thinking on your part. Of course the problem showed itself AFTER soldering both strings together!

Here is the video

The scratch made lights used this tubing, although the 1/4 ID is no longer listed.

HydroMaxx® Flexible Non-Toxic BPA Free Translucent Colored Vinyl Tubing - Blue - 1/4" ID x 3/8" OD x 100 ft
Sold by: DHL Stores
$24.95

amazon.com link »

Quoted from Zitt:

Haven't heard from patofnaud so I figured I'd begin documenting my progress on my blog at:
http://pinball-mods.com/blogs/?p=673
I'll post more here when I get data back from the PCBs.

PS Just read your blog, why not use 12v leds and just make it plug and play? Also spacing of the originals is about 1.5 inches.

#26 7 months ago
Quoted from Swainer80:

PS Just read your blog, why not use 12v leds and just make it plug and play? Also spacing of the originals is about 1.5 inches.

Because 12V LEDs don't exist.
They are all just normal LEDs with series resistors.
And I'm difficult.

If my plan holds; it won't matter anyway - because mine will look very different from the stock rope anyway.

2 weeks later
#27 6 months ago

Hey Zitt! Sorry, I'm really busy with work/life and not on Pinside as much lately. PM I do see in my mail so poke me next time. Barely have time to turn on my machines never mind play them.

I did not have to replace my blue tubing, I surgically just removed the silicone end caps by putting a small slit in the blue tube, then slid all the rice bulbs out.

You cant use standard led as they are all in a row and you do need them wired every third in a row. I have heard of someone who took the rice bulbs out and swapped each one with a very small LED (old fashioned 2 lead type, not the SMD type). But to me that is wayyyy to much work.

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