(Topic ID: 284373)

Early announcement of a Game Plan MPU redesign

By Ilikewires

5 months ago


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Topic Stats

  • 108 posts
  • 46 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 days ago by Mitoska
  • Topic is favorited by 23 Pinsiders

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“How likely are you to buy a new Gampelan MPU in the next year?”

  • Yes 33 votes
    66%
  • No 17 votes
    34%

(50 votes)

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There are 108 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 3.
#51 81 days ago

Im in the market for good working gameplan currently if anyone is offering. Have a patient customer waiting.
Always used incognitos board and found them to be top notch.

#52 81 days ago
Quoted from Ilikewires:

Sorry Robotworkshop, no blank boards are planned. The new board is much different than the original, mainly to use as much available parts as possible.. still working away at it, lost a week due to vacation.. but I am close.

What is the part in the PLCC package? Is that a PLD or other unique part? If so will documentation be available to properly support it down the road?

Is close as in close to shipping or close to getting it working 100% and then more time to get boards built and ready? Just trying to determine if I should focus on other projects or just dive in and rework the existing MPU-2 board in the game. I know I can fix it but I am not fond of acid damage. It's a pain.

#53 81 days ago

If you modify the PCB again:
The 74154 -- replace it easily with two 74138s. Easy, plentiful and still made in a DIP package.
Although this image was for a different board, the pinouts remain the same --

U2_From_To (resized).jpg
#54 79 days ago

Robotworkshop, the PLCC was a CPLD to do glue.. but it was a hassle, and the current rev does not have one.
Any parts that touch a connector are through hole. The rest are SMT wherever possible.. it is the only way to make it somewhat affordable.
I am not close to shipping, but close to working. The board does run the program, and access the I/O, but the sticking point is that it does not get the timing interrupts from the CTC. I also dispensed with the separate sockets for original ROMs, and have one combined socket, and suspect that something is not right there.. capturing commands going to the CTC indicate that the program is sending the commands to it, but alas..
The 138 replacement of the 154 is awesome, GPE.. love it.

#55 79 days ago

Ilikewires I'm glad to hear that you ditched the CPLD. While I know they can help simplify things they can make long tern repairs, etc a pain. Sounds like it is getting better. Hope that you're able to get the last bits sorted out and it ships sooner than later.

In the meantime I stripped down my original MPU and I think I can save it. At least enough to get the game going and get me by in the meantime Then I can replace it down the road.

Just need to see if I can find some good reference photos of the MPU-2 rev 1 that cover the area around the battery. After cleaning the board many traces are just gone. Will be making a lot of new traces on this one.

#56 79 days ago

Three images of a rev 1 around the battery area (one with socket, a different one without socket), and one pic of the latest rev of the prototype MPU-3.

IMG_20210401_094633457 (resized).jpgIMG_20210401_094645594 (resized).jpgIMG_20210401_094712089 (resized).jpgIMG_20210401_095135266 (resized).jpg
2 weeks later
#57 65 days ago

If you don't have a hardware logic analyzer, I can share a simple design for a single step circuit that makes it easy to step through cycle by cycle to debug issues like the interrupt issue you are currently working. Actually, it might not be a bad idea to include it in the design for future debugging. Used the single step circuit in a Z80 hardware debugger that I built for a senior design project back in 1980. https://z80project.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/single-step-instruction-circuit/

#58 64 days ago

I m interested in one for my Sharpshooter

#59 60 days ago

I would like one as well.

#60 60 days ago

Please don't use that battery backed up SEALED memory chip. Boards are coming through now after 10 years and they are difficult to repair. The correct part is hard to find, expensive when you do - and already many years expired - they are a BAD choice for memory if you want to keep the game working for many years to come IMO.

#61 58 days ago

Will You Post to Australia ? I am just about to rebuild by sharpshooter board this weekend I scared its not going to work out so I would really love one of these boards

#62 58 days ago

I have not gotten the board working yet, so bear with me.. still sorting out the details.
On the memory chip, the FRAM chips that are so popular are not available new.. but the battery module SRAM type is. Would you prefer an NOS part? I am avoiding NOS as much as possible.
On ship to Australia, when you buy through the web site you can get it shipped there, and I have shipped stuff down under before..

#63 58 days ago
Quoted from Ilikewires:

I have not gotten the board working yet, so bear with me.. still sorting out the details.
On the memory chip, the FRAM chips that are so popular are not available new.. but the battery module SRAM type is. Would you prefer an NOS part? I am avoiding NOS as much as possible.
On ship to Australia, when you buy through the web site you can get it shipped there, and I have shipped stuff down under before..

As long as that part is socketed and the same pinout as the DIP FRAM chips or modules then it shouldn't be a problem. However why not just get the DIP NVRAM modules from nvram.weebly.com and use that instead of the battery based unit? Probably around the same cost. He has them in a DIP footprint.

#64 57 days ago

Unless I am mistaken, the 5V FRAM chips that are used for those (many have made them) are no longer in production. I used SMT FRAM on an MPU89 design, but now it uses NOS parts.

#65 57 days ago

Maybe they are. But as long as the part is in a socket and could take either one then that would be good. Some people would prefer the FRAM chips while still available and whether NEW or NOS really makes no difference on those. On the other part with a battery it does since even though the battery isn’t supposed to kick in until first use I would want a fresh new one if possible.

There is room on your board for additional parts and my suggestion would be to make it as flexible as possible. Default setup could be for that NVRAM with internal battery like you have now or FRAM chip or hybrid FRAM module. They should all share the same pin out so any could be used.

As an alternative for down the road if those NVRAM chips become unavailable then I would add open spaces for the components like a 1n5817 blocking diode to the board along with an extra connector for an external battery pack and a spot for a coin cell holder. Those could be left unpopulated. Then that opens up an easy path to swap out a standard low power SRAM chip and someone can add the off board battery or add a holder for a coin cell (which is the only style battery I would even consider on board). Your board can then support all the options. May have to add a few components but worth considering.

#66 52 days ago

Just spoke with Jim at Echo Lake. He was willing to "give up" the Gameplan MPU2 replacement business to Ilikewires, but his understanding was that the board would be available by now. FYI - Jim's boards are 100% made in the USA. The PCB is printed here, and the boards are stuffed and tested in Cleveland. This MPU3 board, if figured out, is slated to be built in China, making the costs lower. However Jim, and many others, refuse to source parts from China, for various and sundry reasons. Jim was getting $299 for his board, so I would have to think that a board Produced in China would be $200 or less. Me personally, I would pay the extra $100 for an American-made board.

I said all that to say this - Jim is considering another run of 40 boards since this project is clearly delayed. If you want Jim to make another batch, do as I did and let him know!

I do hope this MPU3 board is eventually figured out. I sure liked the idea of switching our own roms, but I guess that's just not in the cards anymore.

#67 52 days ago

Problem with echo lake isn't the cost. Its the rom situation which really screws people long term.

#68 52 days ago

Since Echo Lake sells their boards with the ROM preinstalled for one specific game, is it possible there is no IP issue? They don't reuse the original ROM chips, they load the ROM on one modern chip, not 3 like the original MPU2.

I would love to see an MPU that would work in any GP game, like has been done for the early Bally SS's. Just adjust the switches on the board to make it work in any game. This may or may not be possible, but if it was done for Bally, I don't see why it couldn't be done for Gameplan.

#69 52 days ago

Weebly makes some really nice boards but I don't know if he has a desire to take on a project like this. I agree that the rom issue and price is kind of a deal breaker with the echo boards. I'm sure everyone wants to support USA products. $300 is a hard pill to swallow when Gameplan pins don't seem to sell for much.

#70 52 days ago

Ive used echo boards with great success. I spoke with him and want to support a proven design that is built by someone with passion. I will buy 3 boards at a higher price to support echo even though I only need one. I encourage people to support him as he has saved dozens on gameplans from the landfill this pastb15 plus years.
Hope he reconsiders.

#71 51 days ago
Quoted from pinballplusMN:

Ive used echo boards with great success. I spoke with him and want to support a proven design that is built by someone with passion. I will buy 3 boards at a higher price to support echo even though I only need one. I encourage people to support him as he has saved dozens on gameplans from the landfill this pastb15 plus years.
Hope he reconsiders.

How do I contact him ?

#73 51 days ago
Quoted from dung:

Problem with echo lake isn't the cost. Its the rom situation which really screws people long term.

Agreed.

I don't even own a Gameplan at the moment and I'd buy a MPU-3 spare to support the cause if it was along the lines of the Weebly Bally MPU's. Being locked into one game with an aftermarket board at the mercy of the manufacturer is a deal killer for me.

1 week later
#74 44 days ago
Quoted from Asterix:

It's a really good news... Count me in for a couple.

I finally found a star trip, it had been a while since I was looking for one.
So you can count on me for another couple which makes us a total of 4 mpu.

#75 44 days ago

I emailed jim last week and said id be in for two, didn't get a response though

1 week later
#76 33 days ago

Ilikewires How is this project going ?
Do you need help - I can beta test on a Star trip.
I have some electronic knowledge and can help if needed.

If this project has stagnated or been abandoned, please let us know so we can move on and perhaps get the Echo boards back in production.

#77 33 days ago

I am still on the project regularly.. I went back to the revision that has sockets for U12, U13, and U26, and wired up some glue logic for decoding. It does not blink out a pass, so I am troubleshooting it to see what it is missing.
The revised board is also being fabricated so that I do not have so many fudge wires all over it. The design shifted from 4 layer to 2 layer.
I attached a shot of the sockets and jumpers, and also a complete schematic. I hope it can be zoomed in to see it.. If you see a flaw on the logic, please say something.
Thanks!

PicOfJumpers.pdfSchematic.pdf
#78 33 days ago
Quoted from Ilikewires:

I am still on the project regularly.. I went back to the revision that has sockets for U12, U13, and U26, and wired up some glue logic for decoding. It does not blink out a pass, so I am troubleshooting it to see what it is missing.
The revised board is also being fabricated so that I do not have so many fudge wires all over it. The design shifted from 4 layer to 2 layer.
I attached a shot of the sockets and jumpers, and also a complete schematic. I hope it can be zoomed in to see it.. If you see a flaw on the logic, please say something.
Thanks![quoted image][quoted image]

Sorry, I can help test and do logic traces on boards but design is not my strongest skill.

How far away from production would you say you are - 6 months or so ?

-2
#79 32 days ago

I have 3 customers waiting for Gameplan cpus.
The gentleman in Ohio (echo pinball)has ceased production of his proven board due to this new cheaper design that has yet to materialize. A proven design by him has already happened. I have 4 clients with 10 plus years on a proven Gameplan reproduction cpu with no issues whatsoever.
I hope Echo reconsiders. I myself will buy the more proven Echo expensive board out of principal as he had the balls to make a proven design and didnt take some one else's idea.

#80 32 days ago
Quoted from pinballplusMN:

I myself will buy the more proven Echo expensive board out of principal as he had the balls to make a proven design and didnt take some one else's idea.

1) No interest in an Echo board that is locked to one game.

2) How is it someone else's idea? Please illuminate us.

#81 32 days ago
Quoted from Ilikewires:

If you see a flaw on the logic, please say something.

Just having a quick look comparing schematics against the original (sorry if actual factory board uses what you've spec'd).

* You're missing an inverter between the output of the zero crossing detector and the CTC chip.

* Your C11 on the input of the zero crossing detector is 0.1uF. Original is 0.001uF

I've seen some problems with timing of HC/HCT chips, do you just for test purposes have LS chips to try particularly U2, U27, U29?

Have you written any Z80 test code to try help determine why the Z80CTC isn't generating interrupts?

#82 32 days ago

If this new board from Ilikewires can run a Cyclopes using the original ROMs and not have switch issues, unlike the Echo Lake board, I'm fully in.

Bought an EL board and it wasn't compatible with Cyclopes. Jim tried everything he could to get it to work and never did. Then he just quit responding to my emails. Luckily my original works...for now.

#83 32 days ago

There are already so many dead Game Plan machines out there that need cpu boards. In my opinion, *any* reproduction cpu board that works is good.

Any chance anyone could do a LISY style board for Game Plan?

#84 32 days ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

There are already so many dead Game Plan machines out there that need cpu boards. In my opinion, *any* reproduction cpu board that works is good.
Any chance anyone could do a LISY style board for Game Plan?

I have something in progess for my Sharp Shooter and have a portion running on the bench. Just need to bring my machine home to try in the actual game. This does NOT have a Z-80, Z-80 CTC, or use the original ROM's so it is unlike either of these options but should work for people that want new custom rules. Original rules could be emulated but I can do better than that for my Sharp Shooter. Should apply to Sharp Shooter II as well as Coney Island since I think those used the same ROM's.

Anyone that wants to run original code or keep the Z-80 should wait for the other options.

#85 30 days ago
Quoted from Quench:

Just having a quick look comparing schematics against the original (sorry if actual factory board uses what you've spec'd).
* You're missing an inverter between the output of the zero crossing detector and the CTC chip.
* Your C11 on the input of the zero crossing detector is 0.1uF. Original is 0.001uF
I've seen some problems with timing of HC/HCT chips, do you just for test purposes have LS chips to try particularly U2, U27, U29?
Have you written any Z80 test code to try help determine why the Z80CTC isn't generating interrupts?

Great advice, I will study that. I have been making Z80 test code.. NOP chips with jump backs at the end.. they all work so far.
I embarked on this project only because it appeared that Jim was not doing it any more.. my misunderstanding. and we communicated very amicably.
As soon as I find the run issues, I can release a final design and have working boards. But I must still grind out assembly code to see what it is missing.
Thanks,
Chris~

#86 30 days ago
Quoted from Ilikewires:

Great advice, I will study that. I have been making Z80 test code.. NOP chips with jump backs at the end.. they all work so far.
I embarked on this project only because it appeared that Jim was not doing it any more.. my misunderstanding. and we communicated very amicably.
As soon as I find the run issues, I can release a final design and have working boards. But I must still grind out assembly code to see what it is missing.
Thanks,
Chris~

Great ! Keep it up - there's nothing like Z80 assembly ... I still remember debugging on the ZX Spectrum !

3 weeks later
#87 9 days ago
Quoted from Zigzagzag:

I can beta test on a Star trip.

All of Game Plan's cocktails except Vegas and Lady Sharpshooter were MPU-1. Will Ilikewires board work on them? I thought it was aiming to emulate their MPU-2, but maybe it will still work? I also have a Star Trip I can test on, and I ask because I'm talking with a guy about a Chuck-A-Luck with a corroded MPU. Not sure if this board can bring it back. If this board would work on a Chuck with a dead MPU, count me in for one.

#88 9 days ago

If the only true difference between MPU-1 and MPU-2 is the amount of RAM, like Pinwiki says, then I would think it would be very easy for this to work on cocktails and full size machines. Swapping out a RAM chip would be cake after all the other work, I'm thinking. There are plenty of Star Trips and other tables out there waiting for new life. Props to you for giving this a go Ilikewires !

#89 7 days ago
Quoted from VALIS666:

All of Game Plan's cocktails except Vegas and Lady Sharpshooter were MPU-1. Will Ilikewires board work on them? I thought it was aiming to emulate their MPU-2

The original MPU-2 was backwards compatible to the MPU-1. The cocktail displays use a ribbon cable on the edge connector on the top right side of the board, the upright displays used the edge connector on the top middle of the board. They are differently sized (.156" verses .100"). All of the data carried on both is the same EXCEPT for 1. Each connector has 1 distinct data line, but that's it.

All the photos of the MPU-3 design included both display edge connectors so it should work on cocktails.

#90 7 days ago

This is the latest revision of the board.. although pretty is no substitute for working right, but I get tired of the fix wires all over the board.
Note the 5V DC/DC converter on the right, so no 5V issues. Same circuit as the MPU89 that I did.
Also see the EPROM jumpers.. this allows all manner of ROMS and EPROMS.
Also, remember that I started the thread as an early announcement on the project.. did not quite expect to get such a demand for progress..
Hang in there with me, work has been hair on fire for a while here, but I still make progress in fits and starts.
On the question of MPU-1, I will have to study the issue, but I did leave the chuck a luck wiring in there.

IMG_20210612_200919638 (resized).jpg
#91 6 days ago

Ilikewires If I have understood correctly, you have communicated with Echo lake about half a year ago.

The mail I have received from them states this on January 7th 2021 :

"We have contacted the owner, and he stated that he will have his design ready to go, and in production, by the end of this month. ...... Therefore, we have decided not to produce our boards any longer."

We are now in June and apparently you cannot say how long it will take for your boards to be production ready.
Your latest post also indicates it might not be compatible with MPU-1 machines.

I understand this is not your fulltime job and you have not made any promises, but your actions have put a stop to the waiting list that was and our chances of getting these pinballs up and running.
If you wish to keep going on a hobby basis it is of course your right and I applaud your work and enthusiasm.

If you do not see your product being finished in the near future or if your product is not certain to support MPU-1, I (and I suppose many others with me) would appreciate it if you could contact Echo lake and tell them to go ahead with production of their existing design and fulfilling their waiting list.

Don't you think this is the right thing to do - both for the pinball community but also for Echo lake as a business ?

#92 6 days ago

It's not really his responsibility to tell Echo Lake what to do or not do. He decided to work on this project, and they decided to stop producing boards. If they based that decision on a single person saying they were going to attempt to do something that hasn't even been completed yet, then that's not really his fault. If I said I was going to build a better, cheaper electric car than Tesla, and Tesla shut down production without me ever actually producing or selling a car, it would be a little strange, right?

Just my two cents, but there's effectively no competition for the previously made boards yet, so there was really no reason to stop producing/selling them. There has been a mention of an email from the Echo Lake, so perhaps I don't know the whole story, but unless Ilikewires had some sort of agreement with them or something, then he has no control over their decisions or what they do/don't produce.

It's great that Echo Lake has been producing these boards for everyone in need, and I applaud them for it. I encourage them to keep doing so, and if there comes a time where it's not cost effective because of competition from other sources, it makes sense to bow out. Until then though, I'm not sure why they would stop, and I certainly wouldn't blame Ilikewires for them doing so. He has repeatedly said this is a project, not a full-time priority. I don't expect him to contact Echo Lake and say "Hey, this is taking a while and I've hit some snags, you guys should make more boards." I understand that EL probably doesn't want to spend time/resources to make more boards and then get undercut at the last second potentially, but at this point given the demand and supply situation, I think it's safe to say that they could go ahead and make some if they wish, regardless of the progress of this project.

I hope both EL and ilikewires keep at it. Thumbs up to both for helping all of us out! It would be great for the hobby to have more MPUs out there, and a lot of games would have renewed life. Fingers crossed in the near future, a lot of Game Plan pins are being played again.

#93 5 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

It's not really his responsibility to tell Echo Lake what to do or not do.

MaxAsh Of course Ilikewires is not responsible for what others do nor under any obligation to give Echo lake a call.

This is of course why I asked him a question - not sure where the obligation part came in here

Nothing would make me happier than Ilikewires succeeding with this project, and I have also volunteered to help with testing which is an offer I stand by.

#94 5 days ago
Quoted from Zigzagzag:

MaxAsh Of course Ilikewires is not responsible for what others do nor under any obligation to give Echo lake a call.
This is of course why I asked him a question - not sure where the obligation part came in here

Quoted from Zigzagzag:

Ilikewires If I have understood correctly, you have communicated with Echo lake about half a year ago.
... your actions have put a stop to the waiting list that was and our chances of getting these pinballs up and running ... I (and I suppose many others with me) would appreciate it if you could contact Echo lake and tell them to go ahead with production of their existing design and fulfilling their waiting list.
Don't you think this is the right thing to do - both for the pinball community but also for Echo lake as a business ?

Well, the way you phrase things both implies it's his fault that Echo Lake stopped making boards, and that it's the "right thing for him to do" to reach out to them to "tell them" to go ahead with production of their boards.

He didn't start this project with any intention of impacting Echo Lake's plans, and his "actions" didn't put a stop to anything. It was Echo Lake's choice, based on an incomplete project being worked on, to stop doing what they were doing. Similarly, you imply it's on him to reach out to them to tell Echo Lake what to do. That somehow that's the right thing to do. If he wants to do that, that's up to him, but I don't think there's any right/wrong thing involved. Maybe it's just semantics/wording, and you mean it differently than it sounds I think we all want the same thing, boards for our dead games

There have been some other posts knocking him for this situation (not by you), and I just think people need to cut him some slack on the whole Echo Lake thing. I think I can understand their position, but I also think EL needs to make their own choices on board production, and stop trying to base it off whether or not this project ever comes to fruition.

#95 4 days ago

Just a little background, I try to pursue projects that others have not done, or in the case of the MPU89, there is great demand for. I also could not work out if Jim was still making them.. he was, he stopped? He is again?.. my bad for not contacting him directly. We did speak, and he is a great fellow that did this for many years out of passion.
And now we find ourselves overlapping, which I take full responsibility for.
On the MPU-1, it is a matter of logistics.. I have one Gameplan machine here, sharpshooter. I do not have the ability to try it out in a -1 machine. I will be relying on others to test it in other titles, but to do that.. MPU-3 must work right first.
I can say that I enjoy this a lot, and will not stop until I solve it.

#96 4 days ago
Quoted from Ilikewires:

I also could not work out if Jim was still making them.. he was, he stopped? He is again?

I think a lot of us felt this way. I had heard several times they were no longer being made, only to later hear there was a waiting list, and some were coming. I have passed on a few Game Plan pins over the years because of that uncertainty, which is unfortunate. I think that's part of the reason so many people are excited to see you working on this, because perhaps there will be another (potentially more consistently available and less expensive) option out there. Although I think people would settle for just more readily available!

Regarding testing, plenty of people would be happy to assist with (and pay for) a test board in their cocktail pins. VALIS666 is picking up a Game Plan cocktail from me this week, so I'm sure he would be happy to jump in and help with testing.

#97 4 days ago

There are many great Game Plan machines out there just sitting as paperweights/doorstops because of a lack of working cpu boards. Please someone make us some cpu boards.

#98 4 days ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

There are many great Game Plan machines out there just sitting as paperweights/doorstops because of a lack of working cpu boards. Please someone make us some cpu boards.

It will be good to see some replacement options that are compatible with the original code. Didn't want to wait any longer to get my Sharpshooter running so I'm working on an alternate MPU based on the Arduino. Am able to control the Solenoids and lamps. Still have to resolve an issue with the switch matrix and displays. Using a WAV trigger for new sound sets. While the original rules could be coded I am focused more on it being an upgrade. I've been using a couple of my Gameplan proto boards. One is more of a bridge and the other is getting wiring closer to the original boards.

I'm sure the original poster will get his original style replacement MPU resolved and ready to go. For people that want something different with upgraded sounds and rules that is a piece I hope I'll be able to help with. So, I expect there will be several options for people going forward.

#99 4 days ago
Quoted from Ilikewires:

Also see the EPROM jumpers.. this allows all manner of ROMS and EPROMS.

Suggestion:
All those eprom socket options is a waste. Replace with a single 28 pin socket for a 2764.
Just like single eprom bally-35 boards, people can combine the existing rom images (A/B/C) into a single 8K image and go from there. Easy.

#100 4 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

VALIS666 is picking up a Game Plan cocktail from me this week, so I'm sure he would be happy to jump in and help with testing.

Certainly. Also have a Game Plan Star Trip (MPU-1) I can test in.

There are 108 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 3.

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