(Topic ID: 266563)

ColorDMD displaying incorrectly

By NRM3333

1 year ago


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  • 30 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by NRM3333
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 1 year ago

Hey everyone,

So I have been doing some work to my South Park machine while in quarantine. Installed all new LEDs, fixed some plastics, etc. I installed an LCD ColorDMD. After installation, I noticed that it only correctly animates about 75% of the time and then randomly doesn't display correctly. For example, I'll have a score of 500,000 and then it will shoot to 999,100,000 (which distorts the screen to blue) and then will randomly switch back to my actual score in the game with correct animations sporadically. It will also randomly read weird numbers for high scores, credits, etc. It's all sporadic so there really isn't one set pattern for the problem.

I emailed Randy over at ColorDMD (who was super helpful). He suggested replacing the ribbon cable. I replaced the 26 pin ribbon cable and I thought that fixed the problem but, after checking on it again tonight, it appears the problems are back from before.

Anyone ever dealt with something like this? I'm a newbie here so I don't really know where to start to try and diagnose this problem. Any help would be appreciated.

#2 1 year ago

Bump

#3 1 year ago

Did you provide that feedback to him? You did not mention whether you installed the color ROM for South Park. You did? Click the menu button once to be sure SP shows on the info screen.

#4 1 year ago

It may be the actual connection from the display board. You may want to ensure that no pins are bent, that it's making a good connection

#5 1 year ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

Did you provide that feedback to him? You did not mention whether you installed the color ROM for South Park. You did? Click the menu button once to be sure SP shows on the info screen.

Yes, I installed the rom from the ColorDMD site. I let Randy know about the 26 ribbon not solving the problem yesterday. He responded saying:

"The different colors you're seeing are caused because the display board is sending a frame to the ColorDMD that is not recognized. Unrecognized frames are displayed in a default color. The problem you're having is unrelated to the ColorDMD and is a communication problem or hardware problem between the CPU and display boards."

Just new to this so not really sure where to start to diagnose/fix

#6 1 year ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

It may be the actual connection from the display board. You may want to ensure that no pins are bent, that it's making a good connection

Thanks, so just go to the board and start double checking all of the connections and pins to those connections?

I've also read that it may be caused by battery corrosion leaking on the board. I'll check that too.

#7 1 year ago
Quoted from NRM3333:

"The different colors you're seeing are caused because the display board is sending a frame to the ColorDMD that is not recognized. Unrecognized frames are displayed in a default color. The problem you're having is unrelated to the ColorDMD and is a communication problem or hardware problem between the CPU and display boards."

This could be because you are running an older game ROM. Are you using the latest game ROM v1.03? https://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=4444

Maybe the display ROM version may be different as well. What version is on your DMD controller board? That display ROM image is not posted on IPDB. I don't have this game, so we'll have to check to see what display ROM version others are using with the ColorDMD.

#8 1 year ago

Yes this sounds like a version issue. Had the same behavior on a pinball magic until I upgraded the machine.

#9 1 year ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

This could be because you are running an older game ROM. Are you using the latest game ROM v3.01? https://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=4444
Maybe the display ROM version may be different as well. What version is on your DMD controller board? That display ROM image is not posted on IPDB. I don't have this game, so we'll have to check to see what display ROM version others are using with the ColorDMD.

So it appears that the CPU rom and the DMD rom are different. See the attached pictures. The first is from the CPU, the 2nd is from the DMD.

Newbie here so, please bare with me, but would I just get the updated rom chip for the DMD and install it to fix the issue? If so, where would I get one?
20200417_151059 (resized).jpg20200417_151104 (resized).jpg

#10 1 year ago

It seems you do have the latest Game/display ROMs installed. Thank you for posting.

#11 1 year ago

Can you do a factory reset on the game? Where the lithium batteries installed recently? With the game on or off?

#12 1 year ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

Can you do a factory reset on the game? Where the lithium batteries installed recently? With the game on or off?

I did a factory restart and it still does the same thing (have tried that a few times).

I haven't replaced the batteries since I've had the machine (about 2 years).

20200417_153214 (resized).jpg
#13 1 year ago

Ok. I would keep the Lithium batteries in since they should last 8 years or so. Could upgrade to NVRAM though to remove them completely. That does not seem like the issue right now.

I updated my post to v1.03. I had looked up a wrong game and posted v3.01 based on that game.

#14 1 year ago

Haha yeah I figured that but I wasn't sure

Yeah, doing research for this, I see you can install a chip for no batteries. I'll probably do that in the future but I just want to get this current thing fixed, I'm lost.

#15 1 year ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

It seems you do have the latest Game/display ROMs installed. Thank you for posting.

And they are the same even though the one says 1.03 and the other 1.01?

#16 1 year ago

I remember now reading other Whitestar games most recently having issues like that, even with an original orange plasma DMD. As Randy mentions, the ColorDMD is only displaying what it is told.

The issue others have posted recently have been related to the DMD controller. The RAM on the board must be causing what you are seeing cause the score issues displaying larger numbers than it should.

Do you have another DMD controller board you can borrow from a friend or install yours into their game? Any DE or Sega game should do. Just to make sure that R11 is removed on the other board since only one display ROM is used. Some older DE games have 2 display ROMs, such as LW3 so R11 needs to be installed.

#17 1 year ago
Quoted from NRM3333:

And they are the same even though the one says 1.03 and the other 1.01?

1.03 is the Game ROM on the CPU and 1.01 is the display ROM on the DMD controller. I reviewed it with Randy, and these are the correct latest revisions.

On WPC games, there is just a Game ROM that combines it all. This is the difference between Whitestar and WPC.

#18 1 year ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

I remember now reading other Whitestar games most recently having issues like that, even with an original orange plasma DMD. As Randy mentions, the ColorDMD is only displaying what it is told.
The issue others have posted recently have been related to the DMD controller. The RAM on the board must be causing what you are seeing cause the score issues displaying larger numbers than it should.
Do you have another DMD controller board you can borrow from a friend or install yours into their game? Any DE or Sega game should do. Just to make sure that R11 is removed on the other board since only one display ROM is used. Some older DE games have 2 display ROMs, such as LW3 so R11 needs to be installed.

Unfortuantely I don't

#19 1 year ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

I remember now reading other Whitestar games most recently having issues like that, even with an original orange plasma DMD. As Randy mentions, the ColorDMD is only displaying what it is told.
The issue others have posted recently have been related to the DMD controller. The RAM on the board must be causing what you are seeing cause the score issues displaying larger numbers than it should.
Do you have another DMD controller board you can borrow from a friend or install yours into their game? Any DE or Sega game should do. Just to make sure that R11 is removed on the other board since only one display ROM is used. Some older DE games have 2 display ROMs, such as LW3 so R11 needs to be installed.

Should I purchase a new DMD controller board or is that going overboard at the moment?

#20 1 year ago
Quoted from NRM3333:

Should I purchase a new DMD controller board or is that going overboard at the moment?

I feel better if you can prove it is the problem. This particular fault hasn't happened until very recently on a few different games.

ChrisHibler does repair these boards. He could test it and repair it, I'm sure, cheaper than what a new Rottendog board would cost.

#21 1 year ago

Have you tried putting the old dmd back in? Would be interesting to see if that still works properly.

The colordmd was acting up the other day in my Hurricane, luckily just a loose wire (about 6 months after install).

#22 1 year ago
Quoted from jaytrem:

Have you tried putting the old dmd back in? Would be interesting to see if that still works properly.

I expect no change.

#23 1 year ago

Just to provide a little more insight for others assisting with the debug, here are a few snapshots of the OP's display from a video he sent in. Might be helpful to post a link to the video but this show's some of the main issues.

The credit and score information is sent from the CPU to the Whitestar display controller. You can see this information is being corrupted somewhere between the two boards. The CREDITS text is incorrect and the high scores and replay scores end in nonzero digits.

The easiest/best way to narrow down the problem is to try a different display board. There might be someone local to you that would be willing to lend a board to try.
Whitestar1 (resized).pngWhitestar2 (resized).pngWhitestar3 (resized).png

#24 1 year ago

Kinda like this one?

F872C035-3355-4A46-B90F-C7FFDA6A41F7 (resized).jpeg
#25 1 year ago
Quoted from Black_Knight:

Kinda like this one?[quoted image]

Yes, exactly like that. Would yours do something like that and then go back to "normal" and kind of fluctuate back and forth?

#26 1 year ago
Quoted from NRM3333:

Should I purchase a new DMD controller board or is that going overboard at the moment?

NRM3333, yes, that is going overboard. Unless you just want to throw money at it.
First...all batteries leak, even Lithium batteries. You should get those off the board and install NVRAM. With WhiteStar MPUs, the job is trivial.

The usuals issue I find with comms between the MPU and the Dot Controller, in order of probability, are...
1. Flakey ribbon cable. You can remove the ribbon, and swap the ends to the opposite board as a test.
2. Alkaline corrosion on the dual row header on the MPU that is labeled "Plasma Display"
3. Failed 74LS374 on the MPU board that acts as an output buffer to the dot controller.
4. Failure on the dot controller.

I'm happy to help with repair of either/both boards, install of NVRAM, etc., assuming the issue can be isolated to a board.

Regards
--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://www.ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

#27 1 year ago

This was a one time thing. Never saw anything like it again or any weird uncolored screens on that machine. So I’m taking credit for that score.

I did see similar symptoms in a pinball magic I just worked on. It had old rom version and didn’t sync with the colordmd until I upgraded the cpu roms. That’s why I thought that might be the problem.

#28 1 year ago
Quoted from Black_Knight:

Kinda like this one?[quoted image]

That's just Luci's phone number. Call her anytime....

3 weeks later
#29 1 year ago

The resolution to this particular problem was to socket and replace the 74HCT273 that acts as an output buffer to the plasma display. With the proper tools, technique, and experience, the task is straightforward. However, desoldering ICs on WhiteStar boards isn't trivial as ALL of the chip leads are bent over during manufacture.

--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://www.ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact fore repairs
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

1 week later
#30 1 year ago
Quoted from ChrisHibler:

The resolution to this particular problem was socket and replacement of the 74HCT273 that acts as an output buffer to the plasma display. With the proper tools, technique, and experience, the task is straightforward. However, desoldering ICs on WhiteStar boards isn't trivial as ALL of the chip leads are bent over during manufacture.

--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://www.ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact fore repairs
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

Chris was a pleasure to work with. Super helpful and friendly. Thanks again Chris and thanks to everyone else for trying to help out.

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