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(Topic ID: 150411)

Firepower issues with multiple switches

By njPinWiz

4 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 24 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by njPinWiz
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders


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#1 4 years ago

Williams Firepower having a problem(s). The right inner lane, right outer lane, 3 of the top 4 lanes and the 3 "power targets" on right side mid-playfield are not activating when rolled over/hit. Two original boards (see diagram), the CPU & Driver boards were replaced with a new Rottendog board (see photo) which has been in the machine for almost a year, working flawlessly until now. It was installed for me by a competent tech. Dip switches are all in the proper setting. The switches that are not functioning are # 01, 03, 04, 05, 09, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 34 and 39.

I re-seated both connectors on right side of Rottendog board & tested. Still has same issues. Any suggestions or ideas of what is causing the problem & potential fixes? Thank you.



#2 4 years ago

Assuming nothing is wrong with the new boards, you might have bad female connectors. My Gorgar was having horrendous switch issues, and it turned out to be bent connectors on the female end of the plugs not making good contact. I'm not familiar with the design of the rottendog replacement, so I couldn't tell you off hand which connectors go to the switch strobe/columns, but It'll probably the 2 connectors on the right hand side of the board. Pull them out to see if they're bent or corroded. Note: Reseating connectors really won't do much at all.

It couldn't hurt to repin those connectors anyway, as that'll be cheap bulletproofing insurance. If fixing those connectors doesn't work, you might have a board problem.

#3 4 years ago

I would call Rottendog for advice. They always seem be very helpful if any of their boards have issues.

Have you replaced the pins in the connector housings? I usually do this as a matter of course just to eliminate connector problems when troubleshooting.

#4 4 years ago

Are the driver board connectors regular Molex type or IDC type connectors?

#5 4 years ago

Thanks for the quick post guys. The connectors are molex type, will have to inspect those very closely. What puzzles me is that the board has been in place for almost a year & all was working well. Could the female ends experience problems after so long a time? I guess anything is possible.

#6 4 years ago
Quoted from njPinWiz:

Could the female ends experience problems after so long a time?

I would say that this is almost certainly the case. Molex connectors only have a connection life span of about 20 (at or about) connects and disconnects (+/- a few), and being that the game is already 30+ years old, it has most certainly exceeded that lifespan. Metal corrodes, and the elasticity of the pins wears away over time. Repin those female connectors. If the problem persists, you have a board problem and should contact rottendog.

I recommend the molex .156 trifurcon pins. Those are the best.

#7 4 years ago

yep, good point m. I've never re-pinned connectors but I guess there is a first time for everything.

#8 4 years ago
Quoted from njPinWiz:

I've never re-pinned connectors but I guess there is a first time for everything.

It's honestly a really simple job, and there's very little room for error. Grab yourself a pin extraction tool, a crimper (you'll need to get a proper molex crimper) and a handful of those molex pins. I recommend Great Plains Electronics, but it looks like a lot of their pins are out of stock. I tend to order from Mouser Electronics mostly anyway as they stock more stuff.

Give this tutorial guide a good read. It should answer most, if not all of the questions you might have:

Good Luck!!

#9 4 years ago

Cool, thanks for the advice. Will check out the tutorial.

#10 4 years ago

+1 for rebuilding connectors on this game, but if this was a connector issue the OP would see an entire row or column of switches out. For example column 4 contains switches 25-32, while only 26-31 are out.

OP, can you please confirm switch 25 and 32 (bottom left pop scoring switch and the "F" rollover) are indeed working?

#11 4 years ago

My sincere apologies guys....I have been using the wrong reference document for the switch #s that are presenting a problem. Refer to the diagram below, which is the correct diagram. The switches that are not functioning are: #33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 48. Answering erichill question: swithc # 25 (bottom left pop bumper) and #32 ("F" rollover) are working. Sorry for mixing things up, am pretty much a novice at this. Thanks everyone for you help!


#12 4 years ago

It looks like all of column 5 isn't working and part of column 6. In the case of column 6 it is likely a broken wire in the daisy-chain (grn-blu wire). Column 5 could be connector, broken wire at first switch or board. I would first narrow it down to the board or playfield. Pinwiki is down at the moment, but they should have a procedure for jumpering the switch matrix for testing.

Note: The switches are not necessarily wired in the same order as shown on the switch matrix diagram.


#13 4 years ago

thanks terryb. Now that I have a better idea of what to go look at I will check those wires/connectors much more closely.

#15 4 years ago

I replaced the U17 integrated circuit (which on the Rottendog board replaced IC17 and IC19) on Firepower & it seemed to work initially. All the lanes/switches/targets were activating. Then, a series of odd things began to happen.
The lane change feature didn't work
On ball drain, bonus score registers...then it loads ball in plunger, but even though I had only pressed 1 player, when ball drained it moved to 2nd player, and gave score just as the ball was loaded into the plunger...about 5,000 or 6,000...again, when ball drains it gave player 3 added score, etc.
And upon new ball being loaded in plunger, the upper right kick-out hole activates repeatedly, even tho there is no ball in the does that until you shoot the new ball out of the shooting lane and onto the playfield.
After further checking, now the inner & outer lanes to the right of the bottom sling do not activate.

Not sure where to go from here, but seems like the problem has gotten worse....

#16 4 years ago

This must be "RottenDog" failure day. My Bally Xenon lost her RD power supply yesterday. Think it is a bridge rectifier but still troubleshooting.

Regarding your Firepower.....

Your connectors on the board are at least up to date. Someone has already re-pinned those at some point. They may still be your issue, because certainly they are NOT brand new.

Something else to consider. All of the wire bundles going to the boards have intermediate connectors so you can take the head off. Whatta ya wanna bet those have never been re-pinned? Real pain because you have to do both sides, male and female. Start with the one that takes the switch signal back to the board...... If that works, great, but remember to go back and do them all.

If you need help with getting the right tools for doing the re-pinning let me know. I recently did both of my games and can get you into the right tools. Yeah, some of them are kind of expensive. It is however best that you have them. Re-pinning is part of owning cool vintage pinball machines....

#17 4 years ago

Guess I will go ahead and re-pin the molex connector 2J2....and, will keep my fingers crossed & hope for the best.

#18 4 years ago

Do you have a logic probe?

After replacing the chip did you check across board and through board continuity on everything? If you can post a hi-res photo of the back of the board where the chip is that would be great.

#19 4 years ago

No terryb, haven't done any testing for continuity on the board itself. Not sure how to do that. Photo of board is in thread above. I'll post a photo of the back later today.

#20 4 years ago
Quoted from njPinWiz:

Not sure how to do that.

Honestly I think it's easier to follow with a logic probe, but not sure if you have one?

See the following post for checking continuity. It is best done before the chip is replaced and most damage is done when removing components so that works out fine. You will need to be able to read the schematics.

#21 4 years ago

Update: replace IC #U17, and re-pinned both Molex connectors 2J2 and 2J3. While this did solve some of the issues, there are still two remaining. Game starts properly...but, when 1st ball is loaded from the out hole it rests on the ball shooter switch (# 46) which then activates the right eject (kick-out) hole which is switch #30 and adds some score incorrectly.

Also, when right flipper/lane change is activated (switch #45) it causes activation of left eject (kick-out) hole which is switch #13. This action also adds score incorrectly.

Am thinking this might be a board problem, since I closely inspected all impacted switches under play field & they all look fine. Am planning to contact Rottendog tech & see if they can walk me thru testing the MPU board.

#22 4 years ago

Did a cross-connect test between posts on Rottendog board that connect to 2j2 and 2j3 connectors. Seems like there might be a problem on the board itself. Rottendon tech very helpful in guiding me thru that testing. Sent the board to Rottendog for further testing/fixing if necessary. Keeping my fingers crossed that the problem can be detected & resolved. Will update in a few days when I get board back.

1 week later
#23 4 years ago

another update: sent MPU board to Rottendog, and when returned installed it back into the Firepower. Good news is that the pin turned on, started a new game, played, scored properly & all switches worked! That was awesome. The only related problem now is that I can't get into the diagnostics in order to change the game settings. The old board had a switch marked "Diagnostic Start"...but, the Rottendog doesn't. Will continue reaching out to Rottendog to see if there is some kind of work-around, or if I need to go into "Master Command Settings" and set the dip switches to restore factory settings....don't really want to do this - am afraid something else might go wrong.

Anyone experience this problem - that is Williams System 3 not being able to go into "diagnostics" mode?? Thanks.

#24 4 years ago

Last update: I believe all issues have been resolved. To get the diagnostics to start up again I re-seated the two connectors on the top left side of the board which provide connectivity to the coin door diagnostic buttons. Then I reset the diagnostics - there are two push-buttons (black, square shaped) towards the left side of Rottendog board, by pushing the "SW1 - Diagnostics" button the diagnostic buttons on the coin door activated! Able to run diagnostics now as well as changing game settings. Thanks all for the great help!!

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