(Topic ID: 198711)

Credit Display for Stern Star Gazer 6-digit from factory??


By acebathound

2 years ago



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  • 20 posts
  • 5 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 months ago by acebathound
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stargazer_BG.jpg
7versus6 (resized).jpg
stargazer_displaywiring (resized).jpg
FLIGHT2K (resized).jpg
000-pins0 (resized).jpg
manual (resized).jpg
IMG_0080 (resized).JPG
stargazer_superimposed (resized).jpg
000-pins2 (resized).jpg
000-pins0 (resized).jpg
stargazer (resized).jpg
stargazer_plasma (resized).jpg
star_gazer_credit (resized).jpg

#1 2 years ago

Had a customer tell me they originally had a 7-digit display in the credit/match position and that lined up better than a 6-digit display. Should the credit/match display in Star Gazer be a 6-digit or 7-digit? It looked like Orbitor 1 was the only game where 5x 7-digit displays were used.

It also appears there's possible differences in the Alltek ROM versus original MPU board + ROMs. Rob @ Credit Dot Pinball has a set of my RETROFIT displays in a Star Gazer with a 6-digit in the credit/match display. Credits and ball count go on 4x consecutive digits and line up fine with the display window. Yet a buddy of his also with a Star Gazer got it with a 7-digit display in the credit/match position that also seemed to line up better than a 6-digit. Throwing another puzzling issue into the mix, the original MPU had two blank digits between credits & ball count. An Alltek board puts one blank digit between the two. Yet the display windows look like they're setup for 4x consecutive digits (which is what Rob had on his machine).

In all of this weirdness, I'd just like to know if originally in this game a 7-digit display was used in the credit/match and then go from there

The display window in the backglass does seem pretty tight. Looking at pictures online, I'm seeing half of them with cut-off digits.. either because a 6-digit display is in there, display window isn't properly sized or backglass isn't shifted over far enough in the channel.

#2 2 years ago

It's really looking like a 6-digit to me with the small spacing in-between the credit and ball count windows. That spacing would seem more likely to cut off some of the digit(s) on a 7-digit display.

I'm leaning toward this theory..

Backglass artwork and display window positions for ball count and credits leave little room for error in how everything is mounted. Any variances in lamp panel mounting, display hole cut-outs, drill holes for the brackets, positioning of the backglass in the channel.. are shifting things slightly and causing a 6-digit display to get cut off. Maybe some people found a 7-digit display works better and stuck that in there? When really it's a problem of needing *exact* positioning that either was never the case from the factory or as things "settled" it caused issues with everything lining up. I'm not imagining Bally or Stern were perfectionists when it came to displays lining up either. If it's mostly readable, it was probably good enough.

The thing with Alltek or the original MPU putting blank digits in-between ball count and credits still doesn't make any sense.. unless there were ROM updates at some point and someone was updating code figuring most games have a blank digit between those.

#3 2 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

It also appears there's possible differences in the Alltek ROM versus original MPU board + ROMs.

The Alltek board has the Star Gazer Home ROM ver 9 built in which is based on 6 digit Credit/Ball In Play display - same as the factory Star Gazer ROM that's out there.

Maybe the games you're seeing with 7 Digit Credit/Ball In Play displays have the digit enable signals swapped on the connector.

#4 2 years ago

Customer pictures with a 6-digit display and 7-digit display installed. Blank digit between credit & ball count (which is why on the 6-digit the "3" is on the far left.. the "0" to the left of the "3" is hidden behind backglass artwork). I haven't asked if this is an Alltek or original board. When a 7-digit is used the "0" in the credit display is not hidden behind backglass artwork.

star_gazer_credit (resized).jpg

Suppose the digit enables could be swapped in the connector but then it seems odd that there's two games out there like this (my eBay customer and then Rob's friend). Both of which had a 7-digit display in the credit/match position originally from the sounds of it.

Some pictures I found on a Google Search are also showing alignment issues with what looks to be a 6-digit plasma..
stargazer (resized).jpg

Above blown up..
stargazer_plasma (resized).jpg

This is where I'm confused. The credit window is slightly larger than ball count. Yet an unlit digit between the numbers doesn't really look right and usually artwork was done to hide any unlit digits. Then two separate people both had 7-digit plasma displays in the credit position when they bought the game and a blank digit between the numbers (which hides one of the digits on the credit display if a 6-digit display is used).

Again just speculating here, but maybe there were issues from the factory with alignment on some of the run, and they used 7-digit displays to "fix the problem" since it looked good-enough. Some games go out with 6-digit displays in the credit position and digit enable signals setup to light 4x numbers consecutively. Some games go out with 7-digit displays with digit enables setup to leave a blank digit between the numbers. That or operators not happy with how things were lining up could have made the modifications. That would explain things a bit I think.

#5 2 years ago

Game was built with a six digit display for Credit, Match/Ball in Play.

#6 2 years ago

Can you get pictures of the ROMs on the MPU board that may show version numbering difference between the two differing systems?
Also pictures of the display connector might reveal if there was any digit re-wiring on these 7 digit games.

#7 2 years ago
Quoted from Quench:

Can you get pictures of the ROMs on the MPU board that may show version numbering difference between the two differing systems?
Also pictures of the display connector might reveal if there was any digit re-wiring on these 7 digit games.

Sure, I sent an email to my customer. I'll also check with Rob to see if he can get some pictures of that on his friend's machine.

#8 2 years ago

Paging Mr. Drano ...I'll let him chime in with all the different "hardware configuratuions" he's been trying in his game to get the spacing figured out.

For what it's worth, the first photo of my Star Gazer shows no spaces between the credit/ball in play numbers. They are positions 3-4-5-6 of a six digit display (if I recall correctly). It's running a Alltek MPU with acebathound's Retrofit conversion kits for the displays. The backglass is a Greatwich repro.

000-pins0 (resized).jpg

The second photo below is uploaded to show the spacing of the window on the swing-out display board, if that makes a difference or not. Pay no attention to the garbled displays--the picture was taken before I wiped the memory of the Alltek. FWIW, my backbox harness tag had "BIG GAME" stamped on it, and the game itself was likely one of the first to roll off the production line.

000-pins2 (resized).jpg

#9 2 years ago
Quoted from spiroagnew:

The second photo below is uploaded to show the spacing of the window on the swing-out display board, if that makes a difference or not

I was going to say something about the backglass spacing between the display windows looking about even as far as backglass artwork goes, yet obvious spacing differences between the displays on the lamp panel..... but then I super-imposed one image over the other and it looks fine & makes sense with digits 3,4,5,6 being used on a 6-digit display.

stargazer_superimposed (resized).jpg

I'm not in disagreement at all about the backglass and machine being setup for 6-digit. I'm just wondering if some factory blunder with exact positioning of things lead them to use 7-digit displays for credit/match in some of the run instead of redrilling holes or scrapping lamp panels that weren't matching exactness needed for positioning -- or if this was done by operators.

The interesting part will be looking at wiring at the connector & at the ROMs used. If ROMs on original boards are factory PROMs and wiring at the credit display doesn't look messed with, that'd be a heavier indicator some games went out with a 7-digit in credit display position from the factory.

#10 2 years ago

Alltek board is being used in my customer's machine.

Picture of the display connector..
IMG_0080 (resized).JPG

Doesn't really tell you if it was factory modification or operator since someone could just pop the crimp terminals out and swap the positions.

But....

I just scanned through the IPDB Star Gazer Manual again. It was incomplete without schematics or board info.

LOOK WHAT WE HAVE HERE..

manual (resized).jpg

C-645 is the part number for a 7-digit display AFAIK. It lists 5x of them. Hmm......

#11 2 years ago

My connector for credit/match on Star Gazer. Some colour changes in wires, but same connector position.

000-pins0 (resized).jpg

#12 2 years ago

Comparison to Flight 2000 Manual module list..

FLIGHT2K (resized).jpg

#13 2 years ago
Quoted from spiroagnew:

My connector for credit/match on Star Gazer. Some colour changes in wires, but same connector position.

You indeed have digit enable signals swapped around to suite 6 digit displays.. The normally blank digit between credits and match is moved out the way and the credit display digits are shifted right one position on the front display side.

The display connector picture acebathound posted has standard digit enable wiring.

#14 2 years ago
Quoted from Quench:

You indeed have digit enable signals swapped around to suite 6 digit displays.. The normally blank digit between credits and match is moved out the way and the credit display digits are shifted right one position.
The display connector picture acebathound posted has standard digit enable wiring.

This was probably from the factory since the head harness was from a Big Game.

#15 2 years ago
Quoted from spiroagnew:

My connector for credit/match on Star Gazer. Some colour changes in wires, but same connector position.

Here's a better image of customer's wiring..
stargazer_displaywiring (resized).jpg

Comparing to your wiring Rob, it looks like some of the terminals were swapped around.

  • You've got yellow at pin #8 (digit 5), my customer has that at pin #6 (digit 3)
  • You've got green at pin #6 (digit 3), my customer has that at pin #7 (digit 4)
  • You've got solid white at pin #7 (digit 4), my customer has that at pin #8 (digit 5)

I've got to look at this some more, I think that's what I'm seeing.

#16 2 years ago

The wire differences were confusing me, so I threw this together quick..

7versus6 (resized).jpg

Numbers at the top are Digit number, not wire number.

Rob, on yours the blank digit was thrown to digit #5. Other wires shifted up one digit.


I'm hating Stern on this one. Hopefully this exception is useful to other people out there. It's looking like Star Gazer had 7-digit displays in it from the factory -- or a mix of 6-digit in the credit position went out (as in Rob's) for part of the run and all 7-digit displays (as the manual indicates) for the other part of the run.

#17 2 years ago

Sorry for the late response guys. I'm Rob's friend with the original issue.

Mine had a 6 digit. It was odd because there were two empty spaces with the factory MPU and then just one space with the Altek... but still not well aligned.
Using the 7digit with the Altek produces the desired effect due to the tighter digit spacing, but appears its more of a hack/fix than proper.

Nice work on the wiring comparisons. I'll have to look at mine tomorrow to see which version I have.

I had bought a blue LED set of displays for it ages ago and so would love for it to work properly with 6 since that is what I've got and Xpin has since discontinued their blue displays.

1 year later
#18 10 months ago

Well, I decided on calling Star Gazer a 5x 7-digit display game. But, some recent activity in another thread had me questioning it again as some people believe a 6-digit display was used in the Credit position. I could go either way because it may very well be that with how the displays are mounted, some of these look better with 6-digit in the credit display position, some look better with 7-digit.

The problem of course is that from various reports some of these games appear to have been wired several ways.. lighting the right-most 4 digits in the credit display (assuming for a 6-digit setup) or lighting digit1,digit2 & digit4,digit5 if a 7-digit display is being used. And, in some cases the backglass not appearing to align well when a 6-digit display is used, though this may in some cases just be how the backglass is sitting/shifted or mounting positions of the display brackets.

I'd love to have a definitive answer, but the only thing I can think of that would give that is if a few people owning a Star Gazer, with an original MPU & masked ROMs (not eproms, not an Alltek, etc) can chime in on what type of display (6-digit or 7-digit) is at the credit position. Posting pictures of both the MPU with masked ROMs & the displays lit up would also be helpful.

Just came across this picture (from PNWPinball.com) where it appears a 7-digit is being used in the credit display..

stargazer_BG.jpg

In the above picture, it looks like the 100s digit is unlit.. too much spacing there for it not to be a 7-digit display. And numbers all line up nice with the backglass.

6-digit credit display (plasma):
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Pinball/StarGazer

6-digit credit display (unknown aftermarket LED):
http://www.pinballrevolution.com/threads/star-gazer.5399/

Video of a 6-digit plasma in the credit display and looks fine..
https://pinballvideos.com/v/234

For now, I guess I'll list it as a 4x 7-digit and 1x 6-digit game, despite the manual only listing display module part number C-645 and mentioning "5 each".. no mention of a 6-digit display. To add to the confusion, a few people had the same issue as my original customer where a 6-digit display just didn't work.. no matter how the backglass was shifted. So, I'm left confused on this one, until anyone reports back with machines that are still using original factory masked ROMs to give some definitive answers to how these games left the factory.

#19 10 months ago

Factory was a 6 digit display for credits/ball in play and, if activated, Match.

#20 10 months ago
Quoted from MrBally:

Factory was a 6 digit display for credits/ball in play and, if activated, Match.

Ok thanks sir! I know you mentioned that earlier, just had a few people with alignment issues and alternate wiring that had me wondering what was going on. And again, it's just odd that the manual on IPDB mentions 5x each of C-645 display module. But I'll let that rest..could be a misprint, who knows.

How about, whatever your game has in it, that looks nice, that's what you go with on Star Gazer

As a compatibility list goes, I'll put Star Gazer as a 4x 7-digit and 1x 6-digit standard display setup.

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