(Topic ID: 284373)

Early announcement of a Game Plan MPU redesign

By Ilikewires

10 months ago


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  • 142 posts
  • 50 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 17 days ago by Isochronic_Frost
  • Topic is favorited by 27 Pinsiders

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

  • Yes 48 votes
    71%
  • No 20 votes
    29%

(68 votes)

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There are 142 posts in this topic. You are on page 3 of 3.
#101 4 months ago
Quoted from CoreyStup:

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.

If that is the route taken then may as well go larger and do a combined ROM for all the GamePlan games and just DIP switches to select the bank and the one chip does it all.

Having the option for a single combined ROM is nice but it is also good to leave the option to use the original ROM chips and just move them over. I can see dropping support of the odd TI chips that need the negative voltage.

Any of these are already a huge improvement over the original board. Cutting traces, adding wire jumpers, etc sucks.

#102 4 months ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

If that is the route taken then may as well go larger and do a combined ROM for all the GamePlan games and just DIP switches to select the bank and the one chip does it all.

I can see it either way. If they all fit in a reasonably sized/cost eprom, fine. The lower capacity ones are harder to get new too, so your point is taken there.

Quoted from Robotworkshop:

Having the option for a single combined ROM is nice but it is also good to leave the option to use the original ROM chips and just move them over. I can see dropping support of the odd TI chips that need the negative voltage.

If you move over 40 year old mask programmed roms with old tarnished legs and hungry power requirements, you're asking for trouble. Backwards compatibility is great but not at the expense of reliability.

#103 4 months ago

I will also be happy to help, I have two different models, the 110 and 120 ( MPU-1), have two Game Plan, a Foxy Lady and a Star Trip.

#104 4 months ago
Quoted from CoreyStup:

I can see it either way. If they all fit in a reasonably sized/cost eprom, fine. The lower capacity ones are harder to get new too, so your point is taken there.

If you move over 40 year old mask programmed roms with old tarnished legs and hungry power requirements, you're asking for trouble. Backwards compatibility is great but not at the expense of reliability.

I always carefully clean the legs of the old chips so that isn’t an issue unless the leads are rotted. But it’s good to call it out for others that may not clean the leads as a normal practice. I just revived one of my original MPU-2 boards last night and cleaned the legs on the ICs as part of the process. It is going to get new DIP sockets shortly.

The old EPROM chips that need multiple voltages I’d replace but I’ve found the old mask ROM chips to be reliable. Only had one failure on a Firepower. As long as they are working they should be fine. In theory the mask programmed ROM should outlast the programming of any EPROM since the charge on those can bleed off (everyone refers to it as bit rot). While others may have different experiences than me over the years i’ve seen more issues with EPROMs than mask programmed chips.

#105 4 months ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

The old EPROM chips that need multiple voltages I’d replace but I’ve found the old mask ROM chips to be reliable.

I had a masked ROM fail on my Flash Gordon Squawk and Talk board, so it can happen.

#106 4 months ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

I had a masked ROM fail on my Flash Gordon Squawk and Talk board, so it can happen.

They can fail and I've had one failure myself. It's just I've have far more EPROM issues. Even EPROM chips with covered windows I've seen many were a several bits have flipped back to 1's or large sections have reverted back to a blank state. Worse when people leave them uncovered. If you ever see any uncovered EPROM windows cover them with at least a piece of electrical tape.

I wouldn't write off the mask programmed chips for reliability issues. Not something that I've had issues with.

#107 4 months ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

They can fail and I've had one failure myself. It's just I've have far more EPROM issues. Even EPROM chips with covered windows I've seen many were a several bits have flipped back to 1's or large sections have reverted back to a blank state. Worse when people leave them uncovered. If you ever see any uncovered EPROM windows cover them with at least a piece of electrical tape.
I wouldn't write off the mask programmed chips for reliability issues. Not something that I've had issues with.

EPROMS are easily replaced though and I honestly can't say I have seen one fail yet aside from failure to write which is not uncommon.

#108 4 months ago

Well I gave up waiting, sold my nice coney island for parts.. take me off the list of buyers for this

1 week later
#109 3 months ago

How goes the battle here?

#110 3 months ago

I look for this thread every day..........always hoping for great news.

#111 3 months ago

I spoke with Jim at Echo recently and he is still in limbo as he doesn't want to make a bunch of boards only to be undercut by a cheaper version released at a later date.
I was hopeful that the new manufacture would be able to work with Jim at Echo and at least let him do another run to satisfy the current demand as I have myself have 2 customers waiting.
Jim has to do at least 50 plus boards at a time to make it worth it.
I have bought several in years past and never an issue. Always great support. I dont need a board that has multigame switchability like the new one being offered.
Hope this shortage of Gameplan cpus finds a solution good for everyone. Im ready to buy . I have customers with grandkids that want to play Sharpshooter again!!

On a side note if anyone wants to sell me their Echo board that wants to wait for the release of the new design please by all means let me know.

Im sure Jim would enjoy hearing from customers that like me are ready to buy a known good board. He is a nice guy with great support for the hobby thats been proven for many years. Please reach out via email or phone to him in support of this proven product. He would appreciate it. I have clients 10+ years no issues, proven product. I PREFER to pay more for a proven design than risk $ on something which may or may not be around 3-5 years down the road.

#112 3 months ago

I think the pinball world would love to see more Echo Lake boards. Encouraging people to reach out to Jim accordingly makes sense, and they definitely should if they do not want to wait to see how this project turns out.

As discussed previously, this project's owner has been trying to keep EL in the loop, even though he has no obligation to do so. I think everyone needs to stop drawing a connection between the two, and just let ilikewires do his thing without putting pressure on him. Jim's stance is understandable; if he truly needs to have 50 boards produced to make it financially viable, being reticent makes sense. But again, if a manufacturer bases their production on the possible competition of a non-existent product, you can't really turn to the guy working on that unfinished project and expect him to do something about that. If Jim's worried about it, he could simply take orders and say that if the number of orders reaches a target number, he'll make the boards. If it doesn't, then he won't. If the demand is there for 50 boards, and people are willing to pay (or place a deposit perhaps) to secure a board, then it lowers his risk. I'm sure there are other options as well.

Perhaps you should start a separate thread to support EL, and suggest people reach out to Jim. Maybe you can generate enough interest for Jim that way, rather than trying to draw that attention to EL here in the project thread.

1 week later
#113 3 months ago

Just sent an email to Jim - if we all do the same, maybe we can see if we can get this project back up and running as the progress by Ilikewires looks to have ceased.

#114 3 months ago

Good to hear. Jim is a great guy. I've spoken with him and reccomend others do the same. I'm in for 2 plus boards.

#115 3 months ago

You can reach out to Jim, certainly. He is a great guy that propped up Game Plan for many years. My efforts have not ceased though. I have the latest board getting to 4 flashes. I work on it regularly. I cannot prioritize the project any differently though, so it is what it is.
Sorry that you feel like you are in the middle on this. These complex projects take a ton of time to design and even more to make and test, so the project really is a pure passion effort.

#116 3 months ago

Keep up the good work @Ilikewire. Nothing worthwhile comes fast or easy, imho.

#117 3 months ago

Just picked up a Game Plan with an acid ruined motherboard. So following your progress Ilikewires with great interest. Got plenty of projects ahead of this one so hopefully by the time I am ready to work on it I will have a motherboard to put into it

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#118 3 months ago
Quoted from ReadyPO:

Just picked up a Game Plan with an acid ruined motherboard. So following your progress Ilikewires with great interest. Got plenty of projects ahead of this one so hopefully by the time I am ready to work on it I will have a motherboard to put into it
[quoted image]

Did that come from Michigan? There was one for sale for a while that finally sold.

#119 3 months ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

Did that come from Michigan? There was one for sale for a while that finally sold.

No it was close to home (40 minutes) and cheap so I said what the heck!

#120 3 months ago
Quoted from Ilikewires:

My efforts have not ceased though. I have the latest board getting to 4 flashes. I work on it regularly. I cannot prioritize the project any differently though, so it is what it is.
Sorry that you feel like you are in the middle on this. These complex projects take a ton of time to design and even more to make and test, so the project really is a pure passion effort.

Thank you for all your hard work on this Ilikewires , many of us really appreciate it. You've dedicated a lot of hours to this project for the sake of curiosity and the community, and we thank you for it. Whether it works out or doesn't in the end, everyone that comes across this project should commend you for your efforts. Thank you for the update!

#121 3 months ago

Ready to go just add a new MPU

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#122 3 months ago
Quoted from ReadyPO:

Just picked up a Game Plan with an acid ruined motherboard. So following your progress Ilikewires with great interest. Got plenty of projects ahead of this one so hopefully by the time I am ready to work on it I will have a motherboard to put into it
[quoted image]

How bad is the board? I have had success fixing several. Just brought a Bally -35 back to life last week.

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#123 3 months ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

How bad is the board? I have had success fixing several. Just brought a Bally -35 back to life last week.[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

They are usually worse than many of the Bally boards. The early Gameplan MPU boards lack a solder mask and on those many traces are just gone. I'm rebuilding one of those but it is tedious since there are a lot of traces to re-create. I've got one of the original boards running and currently working on another to revive a 2nd Sharpshooter.

#124 3 months ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

They are usually worse than many of the Bally boards. The early Gameplan MPU boards lack a solder mask and on those many traces are just gone. I'm rebuilding one of those but it is tedious since there are a lot of traces to re-create. I've got one of the original boards running and currently working on another to revive a 2nd Sharpshooter.

I have done one Game Plan MPU, a Pinball Lizard and it wasn't too terrible.

Luck of the draw I guess.

#125 3 months ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

I think the pinball world would love to see more Echo Lake boards. Encouraging people to reach out to Jim accordingly makes sense, and they definitely should if they do not want to wait to see how this project turns out.
As discussed previously, this project's owner has been trying to keep EL in the loop, even though he has no obligation to do so. I think everyone needs to stop drawing a connection between the two, and just let ilikewires do his thing without putting pressure on him. Jim's stance is understandable; if he truly needs to have 50 boards produced to make it financially viable, being reticent makes sense. But again, if a manufacturer bases their production on the possible competition of a non-existent product, you can't really turn to the guy working on that unfinished project and expect him to do something about that. If Jim's worried about it, he could simply take orders and say that if the number of orders reaches a target number, he'll make the boards. If it doesn't, then he won't. If the demand is there for 50 boards, and people are willing to pay (or place a deposit perhaps) to secure a board, then it lowers his risk. I'm sure there are other options as well.
Perhaps you should start a separate thread to support EL, and suggest people reach out to Jim. Maybe you can generate enough interest for Jim that way, rather than trying to draw that attention to EL here in the project thread.

I wish Jim would just make the boards. It’s silly at this point. He has a built in customer base and he knows they will sell. I highly doubt the board from Ilikewires will be done by the time EL produces his. It’s just silly. We will buy his board and he will definitely sell out of 50 of them. I’ve been at the top of the list with Jim for over a year now. He’s made a shitton of boards. He really should just make this batch and be set. As mentioned, it’s tried and true!

When Ilikewires board comes out, that will be great, but in the meantime there is almost 50 of us waiting to finish our Game Plan games!

#126 3 months ago
Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

As mentioned, it’s tried and true!

Unless you have a Cyclopes of course, then not so much.

I do think you are correct though, Echo Lake should just run off 50 boards but only Jim knows what the sell rate is. Trying to second guess what a possible competitor will do doesn't always work out and time is a wasting.

#127 3 months ago

Yep, that's what I've said multiple times. EL is basing a decision off non-existent competition, it is indeed silly.

I could call a small manufacturer and tell them I'm going to make something that could wipe out a part of their business, but they would be crazy to stop producing the existing item until they knew for sure I had a product that was viable. I am not sure when EL stopped producing the boards, but I'm guessing at this point they could have sold plenty if they just kept going until something else came out to compete. And even if a new board comes out, there's a good chance there won't be enough of them initially to cover everyone's needs, so any remaining boards EL might still have would sell just fine too.

Using this project as an excuse at this point is a little ridiculous. Perhaps there's another reason, or EL just doesn't want to do it anymore, and this is just an easy thing to point at, who knows? In the end I still say a simple solution, if Jim is truly worried, would be to take deposits or pre-payment on the boards. As long as the deposits/payments cover his costs, he can't lose out. I suggest those of you that are reaching out to EL propose an idea like that, if Jim is still using this project as an excuse not to produce boards. Hopefully that will help!

#128 3 months ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

How bad is the board? I have had success fixing several. Just brought a Bally -35 back to life last week.

Pretty bad, acid damage all over, traces broke/missing, etc. I will update this post with a picture later but it is way more work than I want to do/am capable of.

Updated: added some images, didn't look as bad as I remembered as traces look intact, but still a lot of corrosion.

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#129 3 months ago
Quoted from ReadyPO:

Pretty bad, acid damage all over, traces broke/missing, etc. I will update this post with a picture later but it is way more work than I want to do/am capable of.
Updated: added some images, didn't look as bad as I remembered as traces look intact, but still a lot of corrosion. [quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

You need to put those pics here --> https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/pinball-horror-pics/

#130 3 months ago

The board I’m working on now is similar to that. Many traces just gone. At least I have a working example board to compare against.

Cleaned off the corrosion with vinegar and then with the small scotch bright wheels for the dremel

#131 3 months ago
Quoted from ReadyPO:

Pretty bad, acid damage all over, traces broke/missing, etc. I will update this post with a picture later but it is way more work than I want to do/am capable of.
Updated: added some images, didn't look as bad as I remembered as traces look intact, but still a lot of corrosion. [quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

I could fix that but would take many hours.

many hours.

#132 88 days ago

Anyone had any joy contacting Jim at Echo Lake?
I have mailed him a couple times in the past few months to see if he is going to make anymore MPU boards and he just referred me to Pinball Replacement Parts.
Really hope he will reconsider and run another build.

#133 87 days ago

I've spoken with him and I encourage people to call him or email. I will take 2 boards. He is concerned that the new design might compete with him. I really want to help.my customers.

#134 87 days ago
Quoted from pinballplusMN:

I've spoken with him and I encourage people to call him or email. I will take 2 boards. He is concerned that the new design might compete with him. I really want to help.my customers.

It may be time to consider that Jim simply might not want to make the boards anymore. The excuse really doesn't hold water at this point.

#135 87 days ago
Quoted from Baz5783:

Anyone had any joy contacting Jim at Echo Lake?
I have mailed him a couple times in the past few months to see if he is going to make anymore MPU boards and he just referred me to Pinball Replacement Parts.
Really hope he will reconsider and run another build.

Perhaps you should start a separate thread, this one is dedicated to having a new non-Echo Lake board developed.

#136 85 days ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

Perhaps you should start a separate thread, this one is dedicated to having a new non-Echo Lake board developed.

Agreed. I think those that have issues with EL not producing boards should discuss it elsewhere. ilikewires started this thread to tell people about his project, and keep us updated over the course of time. While I understand some people are disappointed in Echo Lake's lack of production, and feel it's related to this project, it's been mentioned enough here that you're beating a dead horse on the topic. We don't need to rehash it any further.

Let's keep this thread focused on the project moving forward!

#137 85 days ago

Sorry guys, it would appear that I have posted in the wrong thread?
Looks like there’s a lot of topics on this thread other than just ones about the ‘new project’, but mine has been singled out.
Like most of the people on here I’m just trying to get a working MPU to save another Gameplan from the scrap heap.
Please accept my apologies, I will continue to monitor this thread and hope for a solution.

#138 84 days ago
Quoted from Baz5783:

Sorry guys, it would appear that I have posted in the wrong thread?
Looks like there’s a lot of topics on this thread other than just ones about the ‘new project’, but mine has been singled out.
Like most of the people on here I’m just trying to get a working MPU to save another Gameplan from the scrap heap.
Please accept my apologies, I will continue to monitor this thread and hope for a solution.

This wasn't really directed specifically at you Baz5783 , sorry if you felt directly targeted in some of the comments. There have been several people blaming this project for Echo Lake not producing boards, and bringing it up multiple times. There have even been requests for the guy working on this project to contact Echo Lake and tell them his project is delayed, or ask them to make more boards. He's just doing this in his free time, and because he's interested in it, so it's been frustrating to watch people blame him for things, or ask him to do things like reach out to a company that sees an incomplete, non-production project as a threat to their product. If you go back through the thread, you'll see it brought up multiple times, which derails the actual thread (which was made to tell us about the project, and provide updates and such).

Apologies if you felt singled out, it really wasn't about you specifically. It just gets tiresome seeing the thread has new posts, but it's all about Echo Lake not making boards, instead of project updates and discussion. I'm contributing to that derailment by responding, but my hope is to get the thread back on topic so everyone with interest in the project and keep track of how it's going

On that note, how goes it Ilikewires ? Any chance to mess with it the past couple of weeks?

3 weeks later
#139 59 days ago

Fingers crossed.

1 month later
#140 27 days ago

Can buy one?

#141 27 days ago

No. I don’t believe he's even finished the board yet. Hopefully soon.

1 week later
#142 17 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

It may be time to consider that Jim simply might not want to make the boards anymore. The excuse really doesn't hold water at this point.

I agree, at this point I think Jim is wrapping up Echo Lake and Ilikewires project is an easy scapegoat to avoid pissing off all of us who are waiting!

Can you give us any updates on your progress, Chris?

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