(Topic ID: 234457)

Cheap Power for Bally/Stern Displays - Will this work


By Cheddar

3 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 63 posts
  • 15 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 day ago by gianfri
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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    There are 63 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 3 months ago

    So I found a couple cheap power supplies for bench testing early bally/stern displays. These are made for running Nixie tubes and I wonder how different that is from bally plasma displays.

    So this guy is China only and only does 20ma
    Here's the first tiny little module: ebay.com link » 170v Dc High Voltage Power Supply Module Transformer Glow Nxie Tubes Magic Eye

    Then there's this one (with US sellers) that can do 55ma
    ebay.com link » Genuine Nch6100hv High Voltage Dc Power Supply For Nixie Tubes

    finally this one from Lithuania that can output 100ma
    ebay.com link » Power Supply For Nixie Tubes K155id1 Nixie Driver Same Sn74141

    I only test 1 display at a time and currently test all digits at once. The factory fuse is 3/16A which is 187.5ma. Is it simple enough that I can divide by 5 for the load from a single display ~40ma

    The 100ma supply should be sufficient for this but I am not an electronics expert.

    I'm willing to buy and try but I'd like to know if there are any red flags before I do. Thanks

    #2 3 months ago
    Quoted from Cheddar:

    I only test 1 display at a time and currently test all digits at once.

    Do you have your own software/hardware solution to do this (test all digits at once)?
    Bally/Stern only display one digit at a time on any display.

    Have you tried measuring the HV current draw with your single display test being powered from a Bally/Stern SDB?

    #3 3 months ago
    Quoted from Quench:

    Do you have your own software/hardware solution to do this (test all digits at once)?
    Bally/Stern only display one digit at a time on any display.
    Have you tried measuring the HV current draw with your single display test being powered from a Bally/Stern SDB?

    I do for LED conversion displays.

    Great idea about checking at the SDB. I'll try that out

    #4 3 months ago

    I keep seeing ads for this Zaccaria/Bally/Stern display tester here on Pinside. Have you checked that out?

    https://pinside.com/pinball/market/shops/1046-pinballsolutionseu/02004-tester-for-bally-stern-amp-zaccaria-displays

    #5 3 months ago
    Quoted from bluespin:

    I keep seeing ads for this Zaccaria/Bally/Stern display tester here on Pinside. Have you checked that out?
    https://pinside.com/pinball/market/shops/1046-pinballsolutionseu/02004-tester-for-bally-stern-amp-zaccaria-displays

    yeah that's what made me think of this. The price is fine but the $25 shipping kills it for me since I already have a partial solution.

    #6 3 months ago

    Exercise caution with what you do here..

    I'm guessing you'd like to see if you can fake signals at the .156 header for the plasma displays, as I described in the Pinitech RETROFIT instructions.

    As already mentioned, the original plasma displays were engineered with the multiplexing design of the displays in-mind. It may cause damage to attempt locking on a digit with constant current, without any multiplexing happening. Any homebrew or aftermarket display testers should probably follow a similar multiplexing rate as the machines are doing, to avoid any unintentional over-current conditions on plasma / LED displays. Even just in regard to aftermarket LED displays, there's a few using low ohm value resistors on the segments that at FULL BRIGHTNESS are then *fully* dependent on the multiplexing of the machines to be within safe operational limits of pulsed current to the LEDs. Signals faked at the bench and displays at full brightness would damage the LED segments on some of these displays within seconds... burning them out completely or damaging them to the point they only light dimly.

    The LED displays I sell were all designed to not drive the LEDs so hard, which is why on my displays you can fake signals at the bench to lock on a digit continuously for testing purposes. Won't work on some other aftermarket LED displays and I'd imagine plasma displays would be in a similar boat of being damaged without multiplexing happening.

    #7 3 months ago
    Quoted from acebathound:

    Exercise caution with what you do here..

    OK this is some good advice here and I'll take it. If I was to grab the pinballcentereu tester could it be driven by the power supplies I mention above?

    #8 3 months ago
    Quoted from acebathound:

    Exercise caution with what you do here..

    I'm guessing you'd like to see if you can fake signals at the .156 header for the plasma displays, as I described in the Pinitech RETROFIT instructions.

    As already mentioned, the original plasma displays were engineered with the multiplexing design of the displays in-mind. It may cause damage to attempt locking on a digit with constant current, without any multiplexing happening. Any homebrew or aftermarket display testers should probably follow a similar multiplexing rate as the machines are doing, to avoid any unintentional over-current conditions on plasma / LED displays. Even just in regard to aftermarket LED displays, there's a few using low ohm value resistors on the segments that at FULL BRIGHTNESS are then *fully* dependent on the multiplexing of the machines to be within safe operational limits of pulsed current to the LEDs. Signals faked at the bench and displays at full brightness would damage the LED segments on some of these displays within seconds... burning them out completely or damaging them to the point they only light dimly.

    The LED displays I sell were all designed to not drive the LEDs so hard, which is why on my displays you can fake signals at the bench to lock on a digit continuously for testing purposes. Won't work on some other aftermarket LED displays and I'd imagine plasma displays would be in a similar boat of being damaged without multiplexing happening.

    Good advise acebathound . A couple years ago I built a microcontroller-driven tester that emulates how the original boards drove data to the displays. I've used for my own purposes but kinda lost interest so it just sits on the shelf...

    -Rob
    -visit http://www.kahr.us to get my daughterboard that helps fix WPC pinball resets or my replacement LED display boards for model H and model S Skee Ball

    #9 3 months ago
    Quoted from Cheddar:

    OK this is some good advice here and I'll take it. If I was to grab the pinballcentereu tester could it be driven by the power supplies I mention above?

    Not sure, I haven't actually attempted this myself to know what the minimum recommendations would be for a power supply. I'd imagine Gianfri / Pinball Solutions could make a suggestion and/or comment on what you've selected there since his tester was intended for use with plasma displays. Might also want to ask if the multiplexing is happening at a similar rate as the original machines while you're at it. Regardless, at least his tester is doing multiplexing in some form and will be safer than sending constant locked-on current to the display.

    #10 3 months ago

    he's here on pinside let's see if he'll weigh in. Hey gianfri can you weigh in?

    #11 3 months ago

    They still use nixie tubes?

    #12 3 months ago
    Quoted from Validpowerdetect:

    They still use nixie tubes?

    They make some pretty cool clocks out of them.

    #13 3 months ago
    Quoted from Cheddar:

    They make some pretty cool clocks out of them.

    Yep, most of what I've seen people using them for nowadays are novelty desk clocks.

    #14 89 days ago

    Hello,

    somebody calling me from here in order to jump from sofa to PC

    Few answers, as said by Wayne, my tester doesn't force any segment or digit at any moment therefore no risk to damage either LED or Plasma display because it's compatible with all aftermarket LED displays, even the ones with low resistance.

    Last weekend I decided to get rid of a pile of old zaccaria damaged displays and I used my tester to test them and detect was was wrong.
    In few hours I tested more or less 30 displays and recovered/repaired something between 10 and 15 of them.

    the testing goes so quick when you know what to look for that you really save a bunch of time.
    On bally is even easier because you only have one IC and in most of the cases if you have no data it's the 4543 to be replaced otherwise it's the plasma display itself or some transistors when segments/digits missing.

    Now coming to the main question, unfortunately I cannot tell you how reliable are those boards on Ebay/Internet because "shame on me" I never had time to test them, I even have one waiting on the desk since more than one year. Maybe I'll test it soon... but do not forget that you need quite poverfull power supply in order to step up from 20v to 200v

    So you would wonder how do I test them?
    I have two test benches for Zaccaria and therefore I have the Zaccaria power boards which provide me with the 170v current needed for both Zaccaria and Bally.

    Now let me be honest with all of you, some of you know how much time we can spend in inventing/developing some test boards (Wayne???) and how few of them are sold around and that's one of the reasons why I never wanted to invest more in finding an external power source for HV, just because I have literally no more free time for this and the hours I would need for it wouldn't be paid off by sales.

    Last thing, since Cheddar just came up with this topic and the shipping fees, I'm happy to give a 10$ discount off the shipping fees for the ones here who want to get one tester V2, but this will require some delay in shipping as I won't be able to ship them before Monday the 11th of February.
    You can PM me in case of interest.

    That's all for the moment, hope I could answer some of your questions.
    Gianfri

    _________________________________________
    Pinball Solutions
    www.pinballsolutions.eu
    LED displays for Zaccaria, Bally/Stern, Williams/Data East and much more... visit our website.

    #15 89 days ago

    Good enough for me. I'll send a pm to order a tester and I'll order up one of the nixie power supplies and let everyone know what the results are.

    Thanks everyone for your advice!

    #16 89 days ago
    Quoted from Cheddar:

    Good enough for me. I'll send a pm to order a tester and I'll order up one of the nixie power supplies and let everyone know what the results are.
    Thanks everyone for your advice!

    Fantastic, I don't hide the fact that a feedback on those steppers would be really apreciated.

    gianfri

    #17 89 days ago

    Support these test/diagnostic tools while you can! Many of them go the way of the dodo bird because sales are very low & dwindle to the point of only a few units selling a year at some point. Very difficult then the next time a PCB or material order is needed to take the plunge on ordering more parts in, unless you've got enough people committed to a new batch. Ask me how I know

    #18 89 days ago
    Quoted from Validpowerdetect:

    They still use nixie tubes?

    @ZITT made a score display with nixie tubes for his Star Trek "Mirror Universe" build. Freaking awesome.

    #19 85 days ago

    OK got this unit into today. Dialed it up to ~180. The dial is very sensitive. Ran $20
    2019-01-28 16.40.15 (resized).jpg
    ebay.com link » Genuine Nch6100hv High Voltage Dc Power Supply For Nixie Tubes

    Hooked it up to a garbage display and got the glow. Waiting for my tester to give it a real try.
    2019-01-28 16.40.03 (resized).jpg

    #21 84 days ago

    I wonder how long the tester will take to get here from Ottignies-louvain-la-neuve?

    #22 84 days ago
    Quoted from Cheddar:

    I wonder how long the tester will take to get here from Ottignies-louvain-la-neuve?

    Normally 7 working day starting from today

    #23 84 days ago
    Quoted from gianfri:

    Normally 7 working day starting from today

    That's surprisingly quick. What carrier is used? In the US it's $10-15 just to ship a 3oz package out of the country.. rates jump pretty quick as the weight goes up... $20, $30, $50... On the positive side, packages do reach the destination countries quicker than before 2014.. used to take 2-3 weeks or more for First Class International.

    Hope you sell a lot more of these Gianfri! Test equipment needs some more love/sales. It's nice that some people make this stuff available even though some of it only sells a handful of units a year. I think being able to make a few suggestions on a power supply like Cheddar is trying out will help it sell too.

    #24 84 days ago
    Quoted from acebathound:

    That's surprisingly quick. What carrier is used? In the US it's $10-15 just to ship a 3oz package out of the country.. rates jump pretty quick as the weight goes up... $20, $30, $50... On the positive side, packages do reach the destination countries quicker than before 2014.. used to take 2-3 weeks or more for First Class International.
    Hope you sell a lot more of these Gianfri! Test equipment needs some more love/sales. It's nice that some people make this stuff available even though some of it only sells a handful of units a year. I think being able to make a few suggestions on a power supply like Cheddar is trying out will help it sell too.

    I love these little testers. I think I own the suite of pinitech and siegecraft testers. I have my eye on some gottlieb sys1 and 80 testers in my future too.

    #25 84 days ago
    Quoted from acebathound:

    That's surprisingly quick. What carrier is used? In the US it's $10-15 just to ship a 3oz package out of the country.. rates jump pretty quick as the weight goes up... $20, $30, $50... On the positive side, packages do reach the destination countries quicker than before 2014.. used to take 2-3 weeks or more for First Class International.
    Hope you sell a lot more of these Gianfri! Test equipment needs some more love/sales. It's nice that some people make this stuff available even though some of it only sells a handful of units a year. I think being able to make a few suggestions on a power supply like Cheddar is trying out will help it sell too.

    Well, logistic is quite a mess over here.
    In Europe we have different postal services for each country and different tariffs too.

    I'm therefore obliged to juggle (is it the correct word?) from one service to another in order to find the correct option for national, international, intercontinental shippings.
    Shipping to France doesn't cost the same as shipping to Germany nor Italy or UK.
    Then you have USA, Canada and Australia where each one has different tariffs too and different delays.

    Australia it's quite long to deliver, Canada is ok unless they decide to go on strike like in December, two customers were waiting for more than one month to get a parcel.
    US is ok, in general it takes one week as I said, I can follow the tracking and it's more or less like that.

    So to answer the question, for Intercontinental I only use National postal services around Europe depending on size, weight and destination

    And yes, I have been informed that USPS has increased the postal fees over there which is not a good thing.

    #26 83 days ago

    It works!
    Thanks Cheddar!!!
    You motivated me and tonight I tested my voltage stepper which was sleeping on my shelves since ages.

    12V regulated to 165V

    here it is:

    In the picture you have a defective display with 4 working digits.

    Now good night from Europe!

    20190131_013232 (resized).jpg
    #27 83 days ago
    Quoted from gianfri:

    It works!
    Thanks Cheddar!!!
    You motivated me and tonight I tested my voltage stepper which was sleeping on my shelves since ages.
    12V regulated to 165V
    here it is:
    In the picture you have a defective display with 4 working digits.
    Now good night from Europe!
    [quoted image]

    Sweet that looks like the same voltage stepper i bought! I tested it could adjust to 180v but never hooked it up to a plasma because i wanted to drive it multiplexed.

    #28 83 days ago

    This thing? ebay.com link » Dc Dc 10 32v To 45 390v High Voltage Boost Converter Step Up Booster Module Hv

    Crap I would have bought that one for the price. Although if the Nixie board works it can almost be mounted on the tester.

    Edit: only 20ma. So my board at ~50ma should work fine.

    #29 83 days ago

    If you are in the US (i.e. 120VAC) then with about a dollar or less worth of parts you can easily get 162-163 VDC no problem. The current is controlled by a single resistor and can be pretty much whatever you want it to be. I have a small board which contains 2 of these circuits which I use to drive 51 RED & 17 BLU LEDS each (102 RED & 34 BLUE LEDs total). I have it to output 20ma which is standard for LEDs. If 163VDC is enough voltage then this would work easy.
    I include a photo of the board I created. The connectors for the 163VDC output is at each end of the board on the backside (it plugs directly into the board containing the LEDs) and the 120VAC is connected to the screw terminal connector which is a plug-in type.
    A single output version uses:
    1000V 1A Bridge Rectifer
    47uF 450V Electrolytic Capacitor
    330K 1/2W Resistor (this is a bleed off so the capacitor doesn't hold the voltage when turned off)
    LM317 Adjustable Regulator
    63.4 Ohm Resistor (this limits the current to 20ma but could be changed for whatever needed)
    And that is it. Only one set of the first three items are required and you can have multiple sets of the last two.
    I have been using this for a long time and @20ma it doesn't even get warm.
    This baord is 20mm x 74mm but could be smaller if only one regulator required.
    BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THE VOLTAGE INVOLVED!!

    (I would include a .pdf of the schematic but I don't know how to include .pdf only photos)

    IMAG0212 (resized).jpg
    #30 83 days ago
    Quoted from acebathound:

    I'd imagine plasma displays would be in a similar boat of being damaged without multiplexing happening.

    I have on several occasions hard wired GND to the collector output of a particular segment locking that segment on for all digits to see if the problem is drive circuit or display related. It is a little bright but no problems occurred. I don't leave it on a long time - maybe 5 seconds after it goes through boot-up.
    This is with AS-2518-21 displays.

    #31 83 days ago
    Quoted from Cheddar:

    This thing? ebay.com link ยป Dc Dc 10 32v To 45 390v High Voltage Boost Converter Step Up Booster Module Hv
    Crap I would have bought that one for the price. Although if the Nixie board works it can almost be mounted on the tester.
    Edit: only 20ma. So my board at ~50ma should work fine.

    Yes, that's the one

    Thanks Dayton for your picture, looks nice and of course it perfectly fits the US market!

    #32 82 days ago

    Additional test with Bally 7D display

    20190201_164453 (resized).jpg

    #33 82 days ago

    I need to get one of these now!

    #34 81 days ago
    Quoted from Pbpins:

    I need to get one of these now!

    If you talk about the stepper then -> ebay
    If you talk about the tester then -> PM

    1 week later
    #35 75 days ago

    tester is due for delivery today but I had something else that needed help. I did not adjust the stepper output voltage (left it at 170) but adjusted the output on the SDB to the same. I'll fine tune it in the machine.

    2019-02-08 10.04.09 (resized).jpg

    #36 74 days ago
    Quoted from Cheddar:

    tester is due for delivery today

    Yes, I got the notification!
    7 working days was respected

    #37 74 days ago

    Got the tester today with a lovely assortment of stamps. In exactly 7 business day. I put a .156 header pair on mine as I'm hoping to just mount the nixie board on it.

    Initial test with a known "needing repair" board worked as expected

    #38 74 days ago
    Quoted from dayton:

    If you are in the US (i.e. 120VAC) then with about a dollar or less worth of parts you can easily get 162-163 VDC no problem.
    ....

    A single output version uses:
    ...
    LM317 Adjustable Regulator
    ...
    [quoted image]

    Are you really using an LM317 in an HV environment?

    #39 74 days ago
    Quoted from Cheddar:

    Got the tester today with a lovely assortment of stamps. In exactly 7 business day. I put a .156 header pair on mine as I'm hoping to just mount the nixie board on it.
    Initial test with a known "needing repair" board worked as expected

    Cool! When you get a display fully working, I'm interested in hearing if the digits seem to light brighter than when installed in a game or if they look about the same. From the videos I've seen, it kind of looks like when in single digit testing mode, the digit lights brighter than when it's multiple digits being lit?

    #40 74 days ago
    Quoted from Cheddar:

    Got the tester today with a lovely assortment of stamps. In exactly 7 business day. I put a .156 header pair on mine as I'm hoping to just mount the nixie board on it.
    Initial test with a known "needing repair" board worked as expected

    Using the tester I found the solution for 1 bright digit = Replace digit driver and level shifter and fully working display!

    #41 74 days ago
    Quoted from acebathound:

    Cool! When you get a display fully working, I'm interested in hearing if the digits seem to light brighter than when installed in a game or if they look about the same. From the videos I've seen, it kind of looks like when in single digit testing mode, the digit lights brighter than when it's multiple digits being lit?

    That is absolutely the case. Individual digits are bright and they dim when all are lit. I don't this will be the issue for LED displays. I'm working on some conversions now and I'll upload a vid when I can test the first one.

    #42 74 days ago
    Quoted from G-P-E:

    Are you really using an LM317 in an HV environment?

    Rottendog uses a LM317AHVT in their HV section on their replacement Bally solenoid driver board which can run at the limit of max dropout voltage spec..

    #43 74 days ago

    <Deleted original post>

    Yes - he does use the LM317AHVT and the LM337T.
    Is it a sound design? No.
    Is it worth arguing any longer as people switch from gas discharge displays to LED's? No

    A bit less inflammatory explanation can be found here:
    https://www.greatplainselectronics.com/Information.asp?region=136

    #44 74 days ago
    Quoted from G-P-E:

    I have sold hundreds of LM317AHVT and LM337T regulators to replace their blown regulators

    With their output voltage set around 180 volts and an input voltage that can be over 240 volts..
    The tiny heatsink the 5V regulator is attached to gets very hot I hear.

    Anyway we're getting off topic.

    #45 74 days ago

    Yes... we have.

    Personally, I like Chedder's use of that boost type switching supply. MUCH more efficient than using a series pass regulator.
    The reason for the excessively sensitive dial is the quite tiny radius of the trimmer that they used. The smaller the radius, the less granularity you get. But for how he is using the supply - it doesn't really matter.

    #46 74 days ago

    This voltage booster from China (same as gianfri is using above) also has an option for an aluminum case if anyone's interested:

    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/DC-DC-8-32V-To-45-390V-High-Voltage-Boost-Converter-ZVS-Step-up-Booster-Module/32900346733.html

    DC-DC-8-32V-To-45-390V-High-Voltage-Boost-Converter-ZVS-Step-up-Booster-Module.jpg_640x640.jpg

    #47 71 days ago
    Quoted from G-P-E:

    Are you really using an LM317 in an HV environment?

    Yes, for several years now. It is used as a constant current source, not to regulate any voltage. The 163VDC comes directly from full bridge rectifying the 120VAC.

    #48 71 days ago

    I have thought of selling my Bally "Brown Box" Display tester from time to time. It would be hard to part with due to the TLC myself and Clive Jones gave it. I guess it's gotta' go somewhere before I croak, and the clock is ticking. If there is enough $ interest, I'll eBay it away I suppose. Actually this may not be to difficult to make copies of.

    #49 71 days ago
    Quoted from Mombo-number-5:

    I have thought of selling my Bally "Brown Box" Display tester from time to time. It would be hard to part with due to the TLC myself and Clive Jones gave it. I guess it's gotta' go somewhere before I croak, and the clock is ticking. If there is enough $ interest, I'll eBay it away I suppose. Actually this may not be to difficult to make copies of.

    While there's no way I could afford it I'd love to see some pics of it.

    #50 71 days ago

    I'll try to post some pic's at some point. It's not brown anymore, I had to make a new cabinet for it, I copied the original to a Tee though. Socketed all ic's put in a new cap, made an extra cable, new long power cord. Maybe lost my mind a bit when I reconditioned it but I do that regularly when I shop a game so... what the hell.

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