(Topic ID: 141099)

**NOW AVAILABLE** Bally/Stern Solenoid Driver Board Testers - Kits or Assembled


By acebathound

4 years ago



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  • 52 posts
  • 17 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by acebathound
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    There are 52 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 4 years ago

    This is a set of diagnostic boards for testing Solenoid Driver Board Inputs & Outputs on Classic Bally/Stern Machines.

    ballystern_solenoidtester_assembled_(resized).jpg

    The 1st board is the "Solenoid Output Tester" and has a bargraph led on it and connectors that can attach to headers J1, J2, J5 on the SDB. No harnesses are needed, but you do need to connect +5v to the tester board.

    The 2nd board is the "Driver" portion. It connects to J4 on the Solenoid Driver Board (the solenoid data inputs & solenoid select line). You need to connect +5v and GND to this board.

    There are numerous ways to use these boards in and out of a machine..

    STAND-ALONE MODE
    One big advantage is the ability to easily test SDB "stand-alone" (ie. not connected to any other boards, just using the testers & connecting GND/+5v to everything including the SDB test points). With both tester boards connected you can simulate the solenoid signals with the "driver" tester (ie. select via DIP switch the solenoid to activate, press the momentary button to activate). This should then light up the corresponding led of the transistor being activated on the bar graph led of the "output" tester. Very useful to anyone going through a lot of SDB's that wants a quick way to verify transistors before putting the board(s) back into a machine.

    IN-MACHINE TESTING
    There's a bunch of options for in-machine testing. With both boards connected you can do everything like you can at the bench (ie. manually trigger solenoids) but you can also watch solenoid signals being sent by the MPU too when you piggy-back the wire harness at J4 onto the "driver tester" header. The bar led's above the DIP switch will light up and correspond to the solenoid being selected. This is very helpful to identify missing signals by a quick visual check of the leds. If you have an issue where the wrong solenoids are being activated, it's a great way to isolate which signal is missing (ie. one of the bar leds above the dip switches never lights up during solenoid test) and you can isolate which wire/pin or signal on the MPU needs to be looked at to further diagnose and fix the issue. You can of course also watch the outputs on the bargraph led to identify locked-on or non-working transistors -- or if the bargraph led lights up for a solenoid that isn't working at all, then it would help identify a board versus wiring / mechanical / missing signal issue.

    Other Ways To Test?
    I'm positive there's some other ways to use these boards (because I've actually tested at the bench with an MPU connected.. with other test equipment I sell including the Cabinet Switch Tester & Bench LED Display) and had the MPU board drive the SDB signals via wire harness from J4 on the MPU to J4 on the SDB. So there's a good amount of ways to use these in and out of the machine to help with diagnosing solenoid related circuitry issues.

    NOW AVAILABLE @ http://www.pinitech.com/products/ballystern_sdb_tester.php
    **Note: Orders on these will begin shipping on 2/12 **

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #2 4 years ago

    PMing you about a project

    #3 4 years ago

    Hrm, ok -- maybe just include a low quantity of these with my next pcb order and offer up like 10x or so at that time and see how it goes. Have needed this for a bunch of Bally project machines I'll be going through, so happy enough even just for my own use.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #4 4 years ago

    I'm in for two dozen, to have available at my booth at shows. Nice and compact for the tool box, I like it!

    --
    Rob Anthony
    Pinball Classics
    http://LockWhenLit.com
    Quality Board Work - In Home Service
    borygard at gmail dot com

    #5 4 years ago

    Hell, you've got so much good stuff lately, I'm starting to consider carrying them myself.

    -Hans

    #6 4 years ago
    Quoted from Borygard:

    I'm in for two dozen, to have available at my booth at shows. Nice and compact for the tool box, I like it!

    Thanks Rob! Two dozen plus me is 25x lol.

    #7 4 years ago

    I would be in for a couple... Nice work

    #8 4 years ago
    Quoted from HHaase:

    Hell, you've got so much good stuff lately, I'm starting to consider carrying them myself.
    -Hans

    Hey, thanks Hans! Let me know if something peaks your interest or if you want to work out something at some point (wholesale horse-trading, etc). I've had the thought of offering other people's products on my website if they're in-line with the other things I'm selling. And it of course would build our inventories and allow customers to save a bit on shipping too.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #9 4 years ago

    I would take a couple. I love this stuff!

    #10 4 years ago

    I will take two.

    1 month later
    #11 3 years ago

    Finally had a chance to get back to these. The first Molex board-to-board connectors were too tight a fit on the headers (wrong Molex series part ordered). New Molex part works fine, but unfortunately wasn't able to get all the various sizes I needed, so was only able to test at the J1 header on the SDB. Not sure on long-term durability of the board-to-board connectors as they're rated at 30 cycles as with most Molex parts, but for test equipment it alleviates the extra costs and bulk of wiring harnesses (I'd have to charge $20-30 for a wire harnesses alone). Basically if you're using this like crazy, the board-to-board connectors could wear out after 50-100x cycles.. that's just a guess.. and not sure how they'd wear out (require fiddling or just look fatigued). I'm hoping to be rough with something that uses board-to-board connections like this over the winter so I have a better idea of high cycle durability.

    Anyway moving forward..

    I'm hoping to get this tested in-game sometime over the next week or two. Thought for sure that would have happened by now, but I haven't had a full machine accessible so have only tested this out at the bench and not all the solenoids can be activated in that manner. Should have a machine available for testing sometime this week or next week.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #12 3 years ago

    I would be in for a couple.

    #13 3 years ago

    Had a chance to test some in-game -- clearance becomes an issue at the J1 header on the SDB. Didn't realize the MPU & Solenoid board were quite *that close*. Really though, it'd just be to test "Q4" which you couldn't check in-game on J1.. unless you wired up a harness for J1. Q1 & Q2 are also available at the J2 header.

    I'm curious though.. after seeing multiple people say they'd be interested in "a couple" - is that just for having one at the bench, one upstairs/downstairs, in the garage? Or is that for connecting the boards to each header and testing all the solenoid outputs at once?

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #14 3 years ago
    Quoted from acebathound:

    is that just for having one at the bench, one upstairs/downstairs, in the garage? Or is that for connecting the boards to each header and testing all the solenoid outputs at once?

    Both. I'll move them around as necessary.
    I already have a homebrew one that I made with three separate connectors, wired to a PCB with LEDs, that does the same thing. But, I like the compactness of your design.
    --
    Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
    http://www.Team-EM.com
    http://webpages.charter.net/chibler/Pinball/index.htm
    http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

    #15 3 years ago
    Quoted from acebathound:

    I'm curious though.. after seeing multiple people say they'd be interested in "a couple" - is that just for having one at the bench, one upstairs/downstairs, in the garage? Or is that for connecting the boards to each header and testing all the solenoid outputs at once?

    One in the bag, one on the bench and for those moments I just don't know what my wife did with it.

    #16 3 years ago

    Trying something new I just added a "Wait List" for projects at the PINITECH Lab page I've been meaning to create some more excitement on projects & also have a way to gauge what kind of interest there is *BEFORE* I place orders for materials or in some cases, even continue working on a design.. since if there's not much interest it may not be worth developing more than just the board(s) I need.

    So if you're interested in this project, head on over to http://www.pinitech.com/lab.php and get on the wait list! Just need a name and email! Hopefully the clobbered-together HTML/CSS stuff works, but if not you're welcome to send a PM with what you're interested in.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #17 3 years ago

    Put in on the list for two different things. And a bump!

    #18 3 years ago

    Jumped on the waiting list. Can't wait.

    3 weeks later
    #19 3 years ago

    I'm in for one. Joe

    #20 3 years ago

    Think I may try a right-angle PCB header on the J1 header. So when testing the board would plug in at a 90-degree angle to the SDB. That'd fix the clearance issue with J1 when used in a machine and keep the board compact.

    #21 3 years ago

    I had to repin a connector because the housing was reversed and would not fit on the right angle header on a led adapter board. Joe

    #22 3 years ago
    Quoted from joe2012:

    I had to repin a connector because the housing was reversed and would not fit on the right angle header on a led adapter board. Joe

    Hey Joe! Sounds like you're referring to the Siegecraft LED board which I saw Hans had noted that on a few machines the right angle header caused clearance issues. This wouldn't be a piggyback style connection though.

    What a right angle header on J1 would do for this board is basically cause the board to fit in at a 90 degree angle (perpendicular to the SDB in the machine). Looks like there should be plenty of clearance for that. It'd be a way of still allowing you to test that header in-game and keeping the board at basically the same design it is now.

    #23 3 years ago

    Hi Wayne, That sounds good. Joe

    1 week later
    #24 3 years ago

    Just ordered some right angle molex parts for the J1 header on the board. As long as that works out, I'll be proceeding with finalizing designs of this board & very likely be doing the DIP switch board as well (as an option for people that want to test stand-alone). Should be getting a board order in early-January. Will probably have some boards for sale then mid-to-late January.

    If you haven't already, get signed up on the waitlist @ http://www.pinitech.com/lab.php -- I'll be using those numbers to figure out the additional material/pcb orders for the first run. Thanks!

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #25 3 years ago

    I'll take 2

    #26 3 years ago

    Great! Did you get signed up on the waitlist? If not, consider adding yourself as I'll be using that to gauge material orders when I order boards!

    1 week later
    #27 3 years ago

    Ok, getting this design off to the board house by end of this week.

    Here's the updated layout on the bargraph led portion of things.
    ballystern_solenoidtester_rev2_(resized).jpg

    After spending probably $70-80 in small "test" orders of connectors I won't be using on this I finally decided to move J1 over to the right side. That made the most sense for usability. Re-aligned a bunch of the silkscreen text for readability. The board should have plenty of clearance at any of the connectors on the SDB.

    Next up is the small signal driver board for J4 (dip switches / momentary buttons). Should have that board setup so you'll be able to test everything except Q15 (flipper enable relay).

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #28 3 years ago

    Driver portion is coming along, probably a few more tweaks & verification of things.. but getting close

    ballystern_solenoiddriver_rev1_(resized).jpg

    Figured might as well make it versatile both at the bench and in the machine.

    Piggyback connection so when used inside a machine you can "view" the PB0-PB3 lines being selected via individual bar graph leds (above the DIP switch) -- allows you to verify signals for those lines from J4 on the MPU are reaching the SDB J4.

    4-bit dip switch for selecting momentary solenoids. Push-button to then activate the selected solenoid.
    Transistor chart for reference of DIP SW. settings for momentary solenoid selection. The binary is reverse of what's in the manual so it follows normal DIP switch convention (ie. ON=1, OFF=0).

    Separate momentary buttons for activating Q15, Q17, Q18, Q19 (continuous solenoids).

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #29 3 years ago

    Boards ordered! Should hopefully have these available sometime early February. Will be offering them individually and as a bundle (driver + solenoid output tester).

    Final board designs posted over on the Lab page for this project. If you haven't already signed up for the waitlist, get signed up! I'll be placing some more material orders over the next week so it helps to know what kind of interest there might be from the start so I can order appropriate materials for the first round of boards.

    http://www.pinitech.com/lab/ballystern_solenoid_tester.php

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    1 week later
    #30 3 years ago

    Boards came in! Testing is going well so far, they work out pretty nifty I think

    Had to add one small modification to the back of the driver portion of the set (weak pull-up resistor for solenoid select). The SDB I was using didn't exhibit any issues without one (used a 74L154 in that board) so I hadn't caught it, but a board that had its chip replaced with a 74HCT154 was enabling its outputs without the pull-up resistor on it. Anyway easy enough mod to the back of the board to pull that line up (as below).

    driverback_small_(resized).jpg barback_(resized).jpg

    Here's a teaser video of driver in "slave mode" (ie. MPU is driving the signals in self-test mode):

    Will be doing a bit more testing with these over the next couple of days.. I'll add some more pictures / videos too. Going to be at least another week or two before they're available. I may be able to assemble a few with parts I have and get them sent out, but it's going to be very limited numbers (ie. 5 or less) until more parts arrive.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #31 3 years ago

    Looking forward to adding a few more of your test boards to my toolbox. Thanks for developing these handy test boards!

    #32 3 years ago

    Very interesting. I can see the need for this.

    #33 3 years ago
    Quoted from DallasPinball:

    Looking forward to adding a few more of your test boards to my toolbox. Thanks for developing these handy test boards!

    Quoted from JBK:

    Very interesting. I can see the need for this.

    Thanks guys! Encouragement and interest helps a lot on this stuff -- since the test equipment is so niche it starts feeling like you're having more conversations with yourself than anything else lol Always nice to hear from others!

    More videos demonstrating capabilities below..

    Video #1 - In-Game Testing (watching solenoid signals on the driver)
    What's neat here is the leds lighting up above the DIP switch will correspond to the chart silkscreened on the board. In other words 1001 would be lit, not lit, not lit, lit.

    Video #2 - MPU Self-Test (watching both the solenoid signals on the driver & the outputs on the bar graph led tester)
    Here both boards are being used while the MPU is cycling through solenoids in self-test mode. You can see the signals coming into the SDB to select the solenoid and also see the outputs are lighting up the solenoid being pulsed.

    Video #3 - Manual Driving Solenoids (setting DIP switches & manually activating)
    Here I manually drive the solenoids while the board is connected in the game.
    Of course you can also fire solenoids by grounding transistor tabs.. but this doesn't tell you that the driving circuitry (or transistor) on the SDB is functional -- it just tells you the wiring to the coil & the coil itself is fine.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #34 3 years ago

    So if I can get 5x or so of these done over the next few days and instructions written up, who wants one? I should have enough materials to build a handful and get them sent out -- and actually it'd help out with freeing up some funds for a Molex part order I need to make so I can build more of these out. Still waiting on the rest of the materials to come in, but should be able to get 5x or so assembled and shipped in the meantime.

    Introductory Pricing on these (subject to change after February 2016):

    SDB Output Tester (bar graph led):
    $25.00ea Assembled $20.00ea Assembled
    $16.50ea Kit $14.50ea Kit

    SDB Driver Tester (signal driver to SDB J4):
    $27.50ea Assembled
    $16.50ea Kit

    BOTH (bundle discount)
    $48.50ea Assembled $45.00 Assembled
    $30.00ea Kits $29.50 Kits

    Right now you would need to provide your own alligator clips to make the connections. I doubt this will be an issue for most people. The "Output Tester" has a large .156 header pins on it. The "Driver Tester" has KK .100 pins. I had thought about making up some cables for this, but that just adds to the cost and IMO too many cables is also a bad thing (you lose them, boards don't store as neatly, etc). You can of course make up your own wire harness/connectors for these as they are standard pins, but why complicate it when you're just testing quick and pretty much everyone testing boards has some spare alligator clips around for connecting things.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #35 3 years ago

    Now Available for sale!

    Bally/Stern SDB Output Tester & Driver (pair):
    http://www.pinitech.com/products/ballystern_sdb_tester.php

    Introductory pricing has changed for the better. Output Testers are $20.00ea assembled, $14.50 per kit. I figure some people are going to want 3x of these so they can connect to all the headers at once, so I've added some bundle options for that. I'm not sure I'll keep those at $20.00 assembled as the labor is fairly high due on them, so expect that pricing to go up a few bucks after February.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #36 3 years ago

    Getting some of these assembled. Will have some sets ready to ship for tomorrow / Thursday.

    sdbtesters_(resized).jpg

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #37 3 years ago

    I have a homemade arduino solution but I'm strongly considering this for the SDB output tester. One thing I like about the one I made is that it sends the messages to sequentially light the drivers rather than by their transistor number (ie. goes from one end of the connector to the next and so forth). But these look like a really solid, simple design. Heck, I still need to put together your other testers/kits.

    #38 3 years ago
    Quoted from shimoda:

    I have a homemade arduino solution but I'm strongly considering this for the SDB output tester. One thing I like about the one I made is that it sends the messages to sequentially light the drivers rather than by their transistor number (ie. goes from one end of the connector to the next and so forth). But these look like a really solid, simple design. Heck, I still need to put together your other testers/kits.

    I like the microcontroller idea too since as you mention you could sequentially activate transistors and keep it going. Only thing is, if you want to know what's being activated you need an lcd display. Then it gets more expensive and complicated. Maybe a bit limiting in its own way with or without a display if you aren't manually controlling things.

    Keeping it simple like this had some advantages.. you know if no buttons are being pressed, then nothing should be activating.. so none of the output leds on the bar graph should be lit. Set the dips and press a button -- or press the dedicated buttons for one of the continuous solenoids and you know what's being activated. So as you're isolating things, you could connect a mini-clip to a leg of an IC.. then to a logic probe.. and hold down the button on the tester to isolate just that one transistor circuit at the bench. Another advantage is that I was able to add the rectangle leds for signal lines.. it's neat that they match with what the DIP switches are set at (lit = dip switch on, unlit = dip switch off) and match the reference chart as well. Inside a machine they'll let you know that the wiring between the MPU & SDB is okay. I like both type of solutions for different reasons.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #39 3 years ago

    A couple more of these left the building Woohoo!

    Have another 5x sets fully assembled sets and ready to ship. Kits for a dozen or so ready to go. The material orders I was waiting on came in so plenty of parts on-hand.

    Looking forward to hearing some feedback as these make their way into the world!

    1 week later
    #40 3 years ago

    Since I've been playing around with a few junk SDB's for other testing, thought I'd mention a neat scenario I just had.

    An unknown junk board had a partially bad 74L154 in it. One of the inputs was shorted, so immediately when I powered the board up, without any of the DIP switches closed on the "signal driver" tester.. the rectangle led for the PB3 signal lit dimly. I was also getting some dimly lit solenoids on the "output" tester at J2 & J5. I then tested with a logic probe at the PB3 input pin on the 74L154.. and got nothing. Tested the opposite side of the resistor (that should pull the PB3 input HIGH and it was showing +5v). I didn't get into checking the outputs on the 74L154, but was pretty sure it was bad at this point (shorted internally at that pin).

    Added a socket, swapped out the 74L154 and all is well. Except, I have a locked on Q3 transistor that I'll have to replace

    I'm liking these boards so far. Way back, I used to connect boards in machines and *pray* nothing bad happened. In this case I'd have had a ton of solenoids activating at once, probably blowing a fuse immediately.. then have spent 30 minutes looking up the schematic and seeing what went wrong. Testing boards ahead of time, at the bench saves a lot of headaches... and fuses!

    One other time I was "bitten" where this board would have been useful was diagnosing a Mr & Ms Pac-man, where the pins in the connectors were junk (corroded) and I didn't realize it. So the wrong solenoids were activating.. well that was because not all the solenoid select signals were making it over correctly. This kind of tester would have helped identify that very quickly if hooked up inside the machine.

    #41 3 years ago

    Usps tracking is telling me, that my parts are delivered, but i think they stuck at the customs.

    That means at least 5 more days waiting. Damn.

    #42 3 years ago
    Quoted from master_of_chaos:

    Usps tracking is telling me, that my parts are delivered, but i think they stuck at the customs.
    That means at least 5 more days waiting. Damn.

    Oh that's odd, I just looked at tracking & says it processed through customs, then delivered. I'd have thought "delivered" meant delivered!

    3 weeks later
    #43 3 years ago

    How have these been working out for people that bought a set? Any issues with anything?

    #44 3 years ago

    I'm ashamed to say mine is still in its box. I've been busy trying to prep a couple of games for an upcoming show and have been trying to avoid being distracted by side projects.

    #45 3 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    I'm ashamed to say mine is still in its box.

    Yeah that happens a lot with kits They seem to get built out as the need arises, but might sit for a bit since there's other priorities. Not a problem!

    #46 3 years ago

    These are awesome! Have already repaired two boards on the bench - makes diagnosing and pinpointing problems a BREEZE!!

    Now we need one for the lamp driver and we'll be in business (wink, wink)...!

    Great job Ace!

    -scott

    #47 3 years ago
    Quoted from drscottsmith:

    These are awesome! Have already repaired two boards on the bench - makes diagnosing and pinpointing problems a BREEZE!!

    Glad to hear Scott! Thanks for the feedback!

    3 weeks later
    #48 3 years ago

    I just wrote up a quick review of these after using them to troubleshoot a bally SDB. It can be seen here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/review-pinitech-ballystern-sdb-testers

    #49 3 years ago

    Got mine today, already have one board fixed up.

    4 weeks later
    #50 3 years ago

    Great setup at Allentown, spotted your both in the TNT walk through video.

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