(Topic ID: 242158)

DumbAss test and reproduction PCBs

By DumbAss

6 months ago

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  • Latest reply 13 days ago by DGMartin
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    #1 6 months ago

    This topic is for discussing the test and reproduction PCBs that I have been working on and will be working on. I placed it in tech/generic although my experience is predominantly System 11 and WPC.

    The background is that I used some hillbilly engineering to make my own bench test rigs for initially WPC-89 and then System 11 and as yet WPC-95. I built some custom prototype boards to serve the purpose of testing on the bench but those boards took me about a few weeks to lay out (slowly in front of the TV) and then about a week to build (manually routing and bending wires, etc). This doesn't scale to building more test rigs (not that there's demand for that but when I got to building the WPC-95 one I didn't want to spend the time to build another prototype board). Instead I've spent about two months learning something new - more below. One week versus two months. Not very efficient.

    I'm not sure if there's a way to inline embed pictures so I'm just going to stick to uploading the pictures at the end of the post.

    Having said all of that ... away we go.

    The first two pictures show the prototype boards I built for the bench test rig. Lots of meticulous wire bending, routing and cutting. There was no schematic for these boards. I did the layout in notepad (a standard and simple text editor). Error correction took a long time.

    The third picture shows a bunch of small boards I had made to "get my feet wet". The ones on the left are general illumination testers. Two versions of a similar concept. With these boards and connectors you can go up to a machine and plug them in and instantly exclude the board or the playfield wiring for either J120 or J121 (as well as J119). The ones on the right are solenoid savers (I know barakandl makes these). I didn't make these to compete. I made these for myself and to make sure the fuse holders are correct. The boards in the middle are a reproduction of the relay boards in System 11. I've had a few of these burned out and wanted to start with something simple.

    The fourth picture shows the "professionally" designed test boards. One of the things I realized doing this is that the silkscreen is the best part. It allows the designer to put whatever notes they want. In the case of the solenoid tester I put the drive transistor on it so I don't have to bother consulting the manual and trying to find it when I'm testing the board on the bench.

    At some stage in the future I will get around to documenting the hillbilly engineered bench test rigs in a separate thread. There's been almost no demand for any information on this.

    #2 6 months ago

    And then I went a little crazy.

    The first two pictures show a reproduction System 11 Auxiliary Power Driver. I wanted to fix the diode issue (errant flashers with the flipper power stroke). I couldn't help myself with creeping featuritis and added a bunch of LEDs for diagnostic purposes as well as test points. Finally I converted the bridge rectifiers to discrete diodes. It was extremely satisfying to design, have fabricated and populate the board. The best part was putting it in a machine and having it work the first time with no revisions. In hindsight this board is not a bad choice because it's almost exclusively power and has no logic. It was however the second of the reproduction boards I had worked on.

    The third picture shows the first reproduction board I worked on. I chose this board for a few reasons. Every one of these boards I've worked on is a right royal P-I-T-A. The pads on this board lift so easily and there's nothing like the dreaded "Sound Board Interface Error" which I've had to deal with more times than I have enjoyed (read any amount more than one is too much). I actually have someone's board now that has this and I wanted a backup board in case I wrecked the old board. Another reason I chose this board is that it has logic and wanted to see how that worked - in terms of design and layout. The other final reason is that I don't like the original surface mounting of the PLCC ADSP-2105 so I replaced the SMD pads with a THT socket. I tested the digital side of that board on my bench and it works but I'd like to test the analog side although I need to finish the amplifier, heatsinks and capacitors to do that.

    I had both of these boards made in red because I actually think red looks cool although I know Williams used red for prototype boards and these actually are prototypes.

    What's next? Who knows?

    boards_005 (resized).jpgS11_AUX_WORKING (resized).JPGboards_006 (resized).jpg
    #3 6 months ago

    Finally ... I did explain in a different thread with respect to the System 11 Auxiliary Power Driver that I am not in the business of making and selling reproduction boards. I'd be happy to sell anyone interested a blank board with the BOM but I am really not interested in anything more than that. I don't want to rob people of the thrill of building and putting the board in the machine and seeing it work.

    As of the time of posting I have a few people interested in the System 11 Auxiliary Power Driver (from the other thread) and I'd like to wait a while before having more of them made to be able to send out to people. That's where the "have a little patience" comes in. I intend to have them made in green unless there's overwhelming demand for a different color.

    I'm not very good at tracking multiple things (I always tell everyone I know that I'm not good at multi-tasking). If you've requested something and I don't reply (in a reasonable amount of time - have a little patience) then I don't mind being reminded. I will tell you if you've overstayed your welcome.

    #11 6 months ago
    Quoted from Langless28:

    What’s your background?

    Me? I have a degree in medical sciences but spent almost 20 years in the software industry progressively heading closer to the software/hardware interface. Near the end of it I (re-)discovered pinball and since then have gone further toward the hardware side (even though I have no formal training in either software nor hardware).

    I love learning new things and having spent a lot of time fixing broken and (alkaline) damaged boards I thought that it would be interesting to make new ones instead of fixing old ones. The board below (thanks to ForceFlow who will probably recognize it) I originally wanted a challenge to try to fix but instead of fixing it I thought reproducing it would be a better solution.

    horror1 (resized).jpghorror2 (resized).jpghorror3 (resized).jpg
    1 month later
    #13 5 months ago

    It's been over a month since the last post. It's been a busy time with Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show preparation as well as attendance and contribution. After the show I picked up some boards I was asked to repair and just finished dispatching them. I had been wanting to get back to diagnosing the most recent board I am working on and only just found the time to work through the issues. More below. I will try and not ramble as I'm known to ramble.


    - I still need to build BOM lists for people. Some of the boards are fairly simple and experienced people could work them out if the board is desired more quickly than I can provide the information.

    - For those interested in test boards the current system will be available but I also tried a new system at the show that is better suited to field diagnosis and testing. They are currently a work in progress. I will provide more information when I return to the system.

    - The System 11 Auxiliary Power Board I built spent the weekend at the show in my buddy's Mousin' Around and it worked fine all weekend with the usual show hammering. I have the BOM list for this ready but want to fill in potential merchants in some of the fields.

    - Finally the latest board that has been giving some grief is shown in the pictures. I just got it booting last night and put it on the bench this evening. Seems to be working at the basic level. The design has daughter boards and I need to verify the diagnostic daughter board as well as the audio subsystem (both DAC and amplifier). I have to figure out how I'm going to do that on the bench so there will be a delay.

    Apologies for my slow progress. Life happens.

    S11_AUX_SURVIVED_WEEKEND (resized).JPGboards_008 (resized).jpgIMG_2627 (resized).JPG
    #14 5 months ago

    So the new System 11 board set is all working (with appropriate corrections). Most of the revision 00 boards have issues. Most are minor but one is severe enough that traces must be cut and re-routed so the board set is not available until these are fixed.

    Here is a list of what are the modifications from the stock Williams System 11 board(s).

    - Modified mounting holes to "keyhole" style mounting holes.
    - Removed reset section and replaced with reset generator (supervisor).
    - Removed batteries and replaced with connector (optional installation if desired).
    - Modified some jumpers to be 0.100" pin headers (allows quick/easy change for memory size).
    - Added test points for +12V and -12V (in addition to already present +5V and GND).
    - Added high frequency filter capacitors to restore functionality for NLA OEM SRC parts.
    - Added optional installation points for lamp matrix MOSFET modification.
    - Moved some of the sound circuit to daughter boards.
    - Added daughter board connection for diagnostic digit display (System 11 - only).
    - Added daughter board for sound circuit amplifier (System 11 -/A only).
    - Added daughter board for sound circuit digital analog conversion (System 11 -/A/B only).
    - Added optional RJ-45 modular 8P8C connectors for in-machine solenoid diagnostics (additional diagnostic boards required).

    With these boards I also recommend a special solenoid fuse board. Pinball Electronics (barakandl) sells these and while I have had this board made I do not want to step on his toes so I recommend his board. It'll also be cheaper than mine because his board uses fuse clips whereas my board uses fuse holders and fuse holders are not cheap (typically $1 each).

    Pictures below show old and new (blank and populated) and the new board set (main board and daughter boards). I need to correct the problems and build a revised board to verify everything works before these can be made available. One nice thing about the amplifier being separate from the main board is that a board for a more readily available amplifier can be made (I did this with a TDA2030AL as a test and while it works it doesn't work the same as a TDA2002). I'm either going to have to do more reading or get some help on this as I'm no electronics (particularly analog) expert.

    If you have a tired, old or damaged board this board set is a great option for you. It uses 100% original components so there's no "emulation" of the CVSD. It *IS* the Harris 55536 CVSD that is being used.

    #17 5 months ago
    Quoted from Tomass:

    Following this. How does one get on the list for the boards. I am interested in this as I mostly have system 11's in my coection and love them.

    If you're interested either post (which you just did) or PM. I have kept a list of people interested but I'm not super fast at doing things so please bring some patience. I'm doing this for fun, learning and to help keep machines going. Projects with no boards ... no problem. I'll just make the board!

    Quoted from PinballManiac40:

    dumbass System 9 MPU would make a good follow up to your System 11 MPU.

    I don't have any System 9 machines but I do have a friend who has a friend who has one (Comet). I have that board with me at the moment. The boards are very similar but I need to figure out the display (it looks like it's BCD from the CPU and decoded by the driver to the display). I'll get around to this one (in the list) but I have a few other boards I want to get done first. The next is another sound board for a friend who has a machine that is missing that board.

    #27 4 months ago
    Quoted from Tomass:

    ... are the aux boards already done?

    Yes. I started this thread due to a response in the other thread because what we're discussing in this thread is generic and not System 11 Auxiliary Power Board specific. These boards are done and I think I have a reasonable way of communicating the BOM. I wanted to get some more merchants but it's just taking more time than I'd like to fill in those fields. That's time not spent doing more on this stuff.

    Before making these available I'm going to have two local friends work through building the board so at least someone other than me has built a board. I do intend to provide support for building the board.

    Quoted from Tomass:

    Also have you worked up any type of cost associated with the bare aux boards?

    Not yet.

    Quoted from Tomass:

    I am very interested in where this is going though.

    Yes. Me too! My problem is that I have so many ideas for boards that I want to get done it's actually more interesting to work on the new thing than to try to make sure all the loose ends on the last item(s) are cleared so they are ready for distribution. I'm trying to temper that with a satisfactory level of completion before moving on to the next thing.

    #29 4 months ago
    Quoted from dc2010:

    Wow, I've always wanted to do what you are DOING, bravo!

    Thanks. I'm excited about doing new stuff and helping keep people's machines running!

    Quoted from dc2010:

    I do have a question, is it possible or is it your intention to make the system 11 board compatible example, 11,11a, b etc...?

    The pictures don't provide a lot of close detail. I apologize. I don't like super high resolution detail pictures as they kind of clog up the download of the thread.

    The System 11 board set consists of:

    - Main CPU board containing the generic base board for System 11C. No sound components are required. The sound section is silk-screened so it shows what components do not need to be populated.

    - DAC (digital analog conversion) daughter board. This board contains the circuitry required for the DA, CVSD and associated amplifiers.

    - Amplifier daughter board. This board contains the circuitry required for the final signal amplifier. There are two shown above but only one is necessary. The other is a test.

    - DDD (diagnostic digit display) daughter board. This board contains the original digit display for System 11.

    The daughter boards are connected to the main board with pin connectors. To match the original System 11 board revisions:

    System 11 needs all four boards (main+DAC+amplifier+DDD) - TESTED on my bench.
    System 11A needs three boards (main+DAC+amplifier) - although I don't have any actual experience with System 11A.
    System 11B needs two boards (main+DAC) - TESTED on my bench.
    System 11C needs one board (main) - TESTED on my bench.

    In the initial revision above the main (with a single minor correction), amplifier and DDD boards work but the DAC board has problems that require reasonable surgery that I don't expect people to perform so I need to revise them.

    Quoted from dc2010:

    What your doing is a huge asset to the community, looking forward to your progress, are the mpu boards going to be compatible universal to system 11? Maybe through dipswitches to combat the sound revisions etc...?

    You beat me to my post. I was typing it all up and you posted. Please see above.

    2 months later
    #35 77 days ago

    Sorry. I went to visit family for 5 weeks and now they're paying it back by visiting me for 6 weeks.

    I've got the corrections to the DAC board applied but I re-adjusted some of the positions on the CPU board rendering the bad DAC boards incompatible (even after manual application of corrections). I had the original configuration manufactured with corrections and just received those boards so I haven't tested them. Those DAC boards should allow me to use the remaining 4 CPU boards for revisions of System 11 other than C.

    I've got other things in the pipe but with the family visiting I won't be able to make much if any progress on these until they're gone. I will not be able to populate and test but I will be able to lay out other new boards and put them in the manufacturing queue.

    Family comes first.

    2 months later
    #36 17 days ago
    Quoted from CanadianPinball:

    dumbass Any updates?

    Here's an update for those following along at home. Thanks to everyone for their patience. I'm a one man show and find myself a little on the busy side.

    My plan is to get all the boards I have in the pipeline working correctly before even contemplating releasing them for any other person's consumption. Those who know me know that my quality bar is high. The problem I have is that I'm excited to move to the next board often at the expense of figuring out problems with previous boards (everyone likes the new shiny thing - right?).

    This next set of boards has dual purpose. Bench testing boards that double for use in real machines and two reproduction boards - one for a friend who needs the board and one for the fun of it.

    Pictures are below the descriptions.

    1) Panel alphanumeric display boards. These are slave boards. There is no logic on them. A double alphanumeric panel that supports later Data East (e.g. Phantom of the Opera), later System 11B and System 11C (e.g. Whirlwind) and alphanumeric WPC-89 (e.g. Funhouse). It should also support early Data East (e.g. Secret Service) and System 11A (e.g. Swords of Fury) but I have not checked the layout. The RJ-45 jacks and lower bank of small digit displays are for bench testing (support for the jackpot displays on Taxi, Police Force and Riverboat Gambler). SIP sockets are installed only for verification and testing purposes.

    2) Discrete alphanumeric / numeric display boards. These are slave boards. There is no logic on them. This is to support games that use discrete displays and a status (match / credit) display (e.g. High Speed). It should also support Data East Laser War.

    3) Display logic boards. These are master boards. They contain the logic. There is logic support for all the above mentioned games. I also have a master board that supports System 6, 6A, 7 and 9 but don't have any experience with those systems nor do I currently have a bench setup to test anything. I'll be working on those but with a much lower priority. The System 6-9 master board is for bench use only. It was not designed for use in a real machine.

    4) System 11B interconnect boards. This board has keyhole support for easy mounting and removal. The current limiting flasher resistors vary per game. There is an option to directly install the resistors for a specific game onto the main board or to use a daughter-board so that a main board can be swapped between games by simply swapping the resistor daughter-board. This is possible because the flasher resistors are electrically isolated.

    5) WPC-89 sound board. My buddy needs one. They sometimes appear on Pinside or eBay but there's something about a brand new board. This board also supports easy switching between early boards (pre-fliptronic machines) and later boards (fliptronic machines). There is a resistor difference between the boards. Pinwiki does not document this but Clay's guide does.

    I am currently working through populating and testing these boards (remember ... I am a one man show that does everything from design, parts acquisition to populating and testing). The alphanumeric LEDs arrived today so I will be trying to put the System 11B display boards on the bench and find out if they work.

    #51 14 days ago

    Thanks for all the interest. I'm a little surprised at the amount of interest (considering most of these boards are available from other manufacturers and merchants). As a reminder ... I'm doing this for me (I like to learn new things) for the purposes of having a bench test rig that's more compact and supports multiple systems.

    <TL:DR> - just scroll to the pictures if you want a summary.

    If / when I get to the point of releasing these ... words of warning.

    1) The boards will likely not be cheaper than the other commercially available products. These boards use the original components and there are more of them than re-engineered boards as well as using more robust parts (such as Littelfuse fuse holders rather than fuse clips). Using original components provides the greatest level of compatibility.

    2) If I do decide to go with an option for kits (with components) it will not supply any of the more difficult or rare components that are hard to find. I source these from merchants in China (often via eBay) and there's risk that the components are either counterfeit or knock-offs. I can't accept the risk of warranting these components. Perhaps I might decide to provide them without warranty to people that are having trouble finding them.

    3) Following on from that it's unlikely I'll provide kits because I don't want to warrant any of the components I provide (plus the hassle of sorting and bagging separate single components). Merchants you buy parts from can provide that warranty. I may decide to provide an option WITHOUT any warranty on the components. Sorry. I'm not a professional business - just a guy who enjoys the hobby where perhaps other people can benefit from what I've done by sharing these boards.

    4) I might consider providing fully populated boards (for those that aren't adventurous with building their own) but again ... these won't be cheap. It's a lot of (manual) labor to build these. PCB manufacturing companies can wave solder which is much faster. I don't have those facilities. If anyone really wants one of these I could be persuaded to build one (when finally ready). These would come with complete components (as well as rare components) - a fully plug-and-play solution.

    With that aside ... I've been working on testing the boards and getting them working focusing on the displays for the moment. I have success for all the System 11, Data East and WPC alphanumeric displays. The majority of the master display logic works but there are some minor errors that will need correcting and the WPC board is more screwed up than I thought (nothing I couldn't fix by re-wiring with prototype boards).

    I know I have a friend who likes the traditional orange (or amber) but I'm kind of liking the white. I acquired a few different (common) colors to see how things turn out in actual machines. If people are interested in the displays I will provide the LED components as they aren't easily available (I had to make a reasonably sized minimum order quantity to get the components).

    The following works (pictures below) - tested on the bench. Also tested was the RJ-45 data and power connectors and they work. The setup shown below is where the master display board is directly attached to the slave display panel (as would be used in an actual machine).

    Williams System 11 (discrete 7x2/7x2/2x2) - High Speed to Pinbot. I'm going to try the setup in my Laser War at some stage but I expect it will work. I have every reason to believe it will. Note the status on the smaller lower panels. I checked it works with the discrete displays.

    Williams System 11 (panel 7x2/7x2) - F-14 Tomcat to Swords of Fury. Unfortunately the double panel is NOT correctly placed for the 7x2/7x2 arrangement in an actual machine. I will need to make a (new) specific double panel for use in an actual machine. I need one for me as I have a Big Guns that doesn't have a display.

    Williams System 11B/C (panel 16x2) - Taxi to Riverboard Gambler. I tested the jackpot display with Police Force and it works (no picture).

    Williams WPC-89 - Fun House and The Machine.

    I currently have no plans to make side-by-side panels that are used in Bally branded machines (such as Elvira). I don't have any of these machines.

    I have plenty of other things to work through so it will be a while before any of these will be ready.


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