(Topic ID: 114167)

CYCLONE seems dim


By Grangeomatic

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 18 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by Grangeomatic
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#1 4 years ago

I've got a Cyclone that's working fine, but it just seems....dim.
Only had it since October and didnt think much of it until I had people over and they said "this one seems dark". So I checked the GI voltage, and its only about 4ish volts.
I pulled the GI fuses and put them back in one at a time, and as expected, each one added caused the voltage to draw down a bit.
I disconnected the plug after the transformer, and all voltages are slightly on the high side according to the schematics (nothing alarming), except the 5.9V for the GI. It's a little low (5.3V unloaded). So it makes sense that under load, that voltage would go down.
So, is there anything I can do without changing the transformer? I guess I can make sure any 44s are changed to 47s, or go LED. Or maybe this is normal for this machine?

#2 4 years ago

Have you checked the GI connectors in the backbox and under the playfield? Maybe burnt connectors causing an increase in resistance? I had a Cyclone with no GI and it turned out to be a cooked connector on relay board under playfield near the top.

#3 4 years ago

I,ve noticed the lights in mine are dim as well, went to CP Pinball and saw the Cyclone was so much brighter. I've put a few leds in the GI for grins, not surprisingly they are dim as well. I'll check the voltages later tonight see what I can find out.

#4 4 years ago

Sounds like new bridge rectifiers are in order to me...

#5 4 years ago

My connectors do not appear burnt, and there doesn't seem to be a measurable voltage drop across them. Perhaps ill try reflowing the solder on them as a test.
Was curious about the fact that all voltages out of the transformer are a tad high, except the GI tap. Odd.....

#6 4 years ago

No bridges on the GI...

#7 4 years ago

Whats the voltage coming from the home outlet with the game on?

#8 4 years ago

Just checked, was getting 4.0-4.1 VAC on the dimmest bulbs. Transformer putting out 5.7-5.8 no load. Under load was getting more like 5.3 (this was also the reading i was getting at the power supply board where the two sets of GI wires are soldered on). There seems to be a little parasitic loss with the voltage running through all the the wiring, connectors and relays. BUT I did find a voltage drop at the fuses as well when putting a lead on the power supply where the GI wires are (yellow and white) and a lead on the fuse spade terminals (on mine the voltage drop is on the fuses that service the playfield). After fidgeting with the connectors i was getting 4.5 at the dimmest bulb (under the dracula plastic). Good luck!
-Mike

#9 4 years ago

Swainer, thanks for checking. That sounds pretty similar to what I'm seeing, with minor voltage drops here and there. At least I'm not alone, but its still a head scratcher.

Grumpy, the line voltage measures a solid 120 with the game powered on, so it's not a low line situation.

I've got a busy couple of days coming up, so I might not get to try it, but I might reflow the GI connectors on the power board, though they don't seem to be the problem. To me it just seems like an undersized winding on the transformer that is getting loaded down by the relatively significant GI load.
Oh, and I've verified that it is tapped correctly for the 120V. Was thinking about tapping for a lower voltage until I saw all the other voltages above spec.

Thanks,
Jeff

#10 4 years ago

4.5 VAC to 6.3 VAC is about the nominal voltage range as measured at PSU 3J8 (Sys11A) or Interconnect board output 2P7 (Sys11B). I don't think you have a voltage problem, it seems you are lacking current. From what you have posted it seems you have enough basic electronics understanding to look for losses, poor solder, burnt GI connectors, etc. You know the odds are probably 90% or better that it is connector related. I would highly suggest repinning those GI connectors with Trifucon clips if you have not done so already.

Other than connectors, perhaps try to borrow or replace the transformer, at least to rule it out...these transformers are, what...over 30 years old? It is not beyond possibility that the transformer just isn't cutting it anymore.

#11 4 years ago

Switch to LEDs to reduce the load on the circuit, might save you the time of repining.

#12 4 years ago
Quoted from GRUMPY:

Switch to LEDs to reduce the load on the circuit, might save you the time of repining.

While switching to LEDs is helpful to reduce current and stress, and will brighten up the game, personally I would not advise to use LEDs as a substitute for properly pinned connectors. Get the game running correctly with incandescent bulbs before converting to LEDs is the best advice.

#13 4 years ago

Yeah, wayout, you're probably right. Won't have time to tackle that project for a bit.
Ill post back when I've got more info.

#14 4 years ago

To repined it, that will take maybe 15-20 mins tops. I just did this to mine and it will help

1 week later
#15 4 years ago

OK, after a whirlwind of a week, I was able to look into the connections on my Cyclone, and here's what I found:

Main GI connector on power board had already been repinned by previous owner to trifurcon pins. Headers looked good, but I reflowed the solder anyway.

PF GI relay board had been burned. It was hacked around with a wire soldered to the back of the board, etc. Not pretty, but electrically sound. I undid the hack and repinned.

Backbox GI relay looked OK, but I repinned it anyway.

Seems the backbox GI goes through the interconnection board, and one of those had been burned and was already repinned, again with trifurcon and good looking headers. Other one looked OK, so I didn't mess with it at the moment.

So what I'm getting at is that the connections all look pretty good.
I went through and checked for losses. I found, like Swainer, some "parasitic losses:" of 0.1 volts here and there with all the fuses and relays. They do add up a bit.

But what was most interesting was that I can eliminate sections of the GI at a time (right PF, left PF, backbox coaster, backbox name), and none of them are a smoking gun, meaning that no single one of them are really dragging the voltage down. I really think it's a cumulative effect of the load, and perhaps an undersized winding on the transformer. Just not enough VA in that winding to keep the voltage up for all those bulbs. Heck, even with only half of them, they're still not all that bright.

I might look into a "sidecar" transformer just for the GI. I'd have to do a little math and see what I can find, but I built tube amps in another life, so I know there are 6.3V heater transformers to be had out there, I'm just not sure of the current capacities at the moment.

Thanks for listening and I'm still open to suggestions.
Jeff

#16 4 years ago
Quoted from Grangeomatic:

OK, after a Whirlwind of a week, I was able to look into the connections on my Cyclone, and here's what I found:
Main GI connector on power board had already been repinned by previous owner to trifurcon pins. Headers looked good, but I reflowed the solder anyway.
PF GI relay board had been burned. It was hacked around with a wire soldered to the back of the board, etc. Not pretty, but electrically sound. I undid the hack and repinned.
Backbox GI relay looked OK, but I repinned it anyway.
Seems the backbox GI goes through the interconnection board, and one of those had been burned and was already repinned, again with trifurcon and good looking headers. Other one looked OK, so I didn't mess with it at the moment.
So what I'm getting at is that the connections all look pretty good.
I went through and checked for losses. I found, like Swainer, some "parasitic losses:" of 0.1 volts here and there with all the fuses and relays. They do add up a bit.
But what was most interesting was that I can eliminate sections of the GI at a time (right PF, left PF, backbox coaster, backbox name), and none of them are a smoking gun, meaning that no single one of them are really dragging the voltage down. I really think it's a cumulative effect of the load, and perhaps an undersized winding on the transformer. Just not enough VA in that winding to keep the voltage up for all those bulbs. Heck, even with only half of them, they're still not all that bright.
I might look into a "sidecar" transformer just for the GI. I'd have to do a little math and see what I can find, but I built tube amps in another life, so I know there are 6.3V heater Transformers to be had out there, I'm just not sure of the current capacities at the moment.
Thanks for listening and I'm still open to suggestions.
Jeff

Yes, the transformer not cutting it is quite possible, in light of everything else you have checked. This is exactly the best reason to convert the GI to LED. The GI circuits are demanding, and the design has very little "headroom" for all the variables of age, connector resistances, etc... That's not to say you can't use incandescent, I am just saying some games may just run "closer to the edge" than others, and reducing overall current draw by using LEDs buys you a bunch of headroom. Ten LEDs draw roughly 300 mA vs. ten #47 bulbs which will draw around 1000 mA, around a third of the current.

Post edited by wayout440: Additional info
I am not certain of the prices for replacing the transformer compared to conversion to LED, so a lot depends on how badly you want to keep the game as original bulbs, and how well everything else is working with this transformer (as in are the flippers, pops and slings nice and strong or are they weak as well)

#17 4 years ago

I've ordered some LED'S from comet. They're on their way now. I'll let you know the outcome once installed

1 week later
#18 4 years ago

Got my shipment from Comet Pinball earlier this week. Finally got all the GI bulbs replaced today, and got everything put back together. Things look much brighter, and the GI voltage was up around 4.8-5v after all was said and done. I'm going to call it fixed and see what I need to work on next.

By the way, Comet was a pleasure to deal with. I'd recommend them to anyone.

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