(Topic ID: 108087)

Flash Gordon Rebirth: What Was I Thinking


By Skins

4 years ago



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  • 229 posts
  • 42 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by chucktee
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There are 229 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 5.
#1 4 years ago

So I've always wanted a flash Gordon. One finally popped up someone local for very cheap price. It was described as a project. It is a very rough project. I may have finally gotten in over my head. I am going to have to draw on the wealth of knowledge here on pinside if I ever want to get this game back to its former glory.
I was able to source a CPR playfield, plastics, drop targets and spinner decals. I also purchased Alteck MPU solenoid driver board, light driver board and auxiliary light boards. As it sits now all I have is G.I. lights. The MPU gives one hard flash and then three short flashes. I'm afraid to put the new boards and and blow something. This project is going to go slow until I complete my restoration of my twilight zone. The game is filthy and has either been in a barn someone or or been sitting for a long time unplayed. Here it is as she sits now. I'll suggestions tips and pointers are greatly appreciated. I've never messed around with early solid-state games so I'm definitely swimming in the deep end of the pool. God help me.
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And a few of the new playfield. The registration isn't the best and the clear is thin in spots showing the wood texture. It's so so in my book but better than what's in the game.

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#2 4 years ago

The holes for the slingshot components on your new field look...odd.

Start with the transformer/rectifier and pinwiki.com

You can do it, it's not that awful.

#3 4 years ago

Mine was pretty close to that condition. Best of luck.

#4 4 years ago

I want to just plug the new boards in but I don't want to cook new boards. I'm a dmm dumby. Thanks for the words of encouragement.

#5 4 years ago

You are going to HAVE to be methodical. Test and repair the rectifier board. Connect and test solenoid board. Connect and test MPU. Displays, Aux light board, etc.

One at a time is so much less daunting than all at once, and less likely to blow anything up.

#6 4 years ago
Quoted from cody_chunn:

The holes for the slingshot components on your new field look...odd.

It looks like the holes for the GI lights and the activation switches were combined. Never seen it done that way. Factory? I have no idea.

My kind of project. Good luck!

#7 4 years ago

It's a brand new CPR playfield. Never been out of the box. Please tell me I didn't get a defective playfield.

Just putzing around in the garage while smoking a cigar, I disconnected everything from the mpu other than j4. Led still flickers, then only flashes 3 times. I'm going to buy a new alteck rectifier board btw.

#8 4 years ago

I checked the playfield in the game and the sling switches share the same hole as the light sockets the same as the CPR one

#9 4 years ago

Good luck; I have two similar condition Flash Gordons, I have one now working. Just need to replace the drop targets (only one broken, rest are just for show). And whatever else to tune it up, replace the crusty old rubbers etc.

Just got it hopefully running on Saturday last week. ~20 hours of labor so far? Replacing connectors, replacing old capacitors, getting the boards running in the right order. I should post all of the stuff I have found wrong... so far . The relatively microscopic strand ground braid wrapped around the tilt bob was a pisser. Caused what seemed to be a random tilt .

Bottom line is I will have a kick ass game that I don't care if someone whacks the side of the game with whatever. If I am jamming enough on it I will replace the beat PF in it with the bronze class CPR one I bought for relatively cheap. A true "rat rod" restoration. I will play perfec hopefully, but still look beat to us pickyh pinheads.

#10 4 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

I checked the playfield in the game and the sling switches share the same hole as the light sockets the same as the CPR one

So it's factory. Cool! See? I learn something every day. So after taking a quick look around the collection, I see the 6M$M has four holes(two for lights, two for switches), Black Pyramid has a combo slot on one side of the slings and two holes on the other, EBD has four holes and Space Invaders has a combo slot on one side and a single hole for a switch on the other. (So only one GI light per sling!) Either the engineers couldn't make up their minds or the designer had reign over that. Weird. I never noticed it before...

#11 4 years ago

The original PF actually looks pretty good for a FG, pretty minimal wear from the pics you posted. You should be able to get some decent scratch for it to offset the cost of the CPR.

#12 4 years ago

So all the test point values tested were withing 5% of the stated values for a rectifier board as stated on pinwiki except test point 2 was 162v when wiki states it should be 230v. So I guess that's my first clue.
On the solenoid driver board everything is in spec except tp2 at 116 and tp4 at 164.7. It appears the high voltage is the issue?

I want to test the mpu values but I can't find a ground (gnd) tab like the other boards. Is there one on the mpu?

I think I'm just going to get an alteck rectifier board, put that in line and see if it boots, the continue up the chain if not. Any thoughts?

Quoted from Spitfiren8:

The original PF actually looks pretty good for a FG, pretty minimal wear from the pics you posted. You should be able to get some decent scratch for it to offset the cost of the CPR.

It's mylared over the center area. Someone tried to stop the insert wear from getting worse. It's filthy but cleaned up I guess it's serviceable. The upper has the clear coat all craked and brittle.

#13 4 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

As it sits now all I have is G.I. lights. The MPU gives one hard flash and then three short flashes.

Those flashes are the board trying to tell you something.

It's telling you that U11 PIA chip (6821) is not functioning.

It could mean a bad 6821, or a bad socket, or corrosion of the MPU board (post some good pics, especially the bottom of the board around the battery).

#14 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Those flashes are the board trying to tell you something.
It's telling you that U11 PIA chip (6821) is not functioning.
It could mean a bad 6821, or a bad socket, or corrosion of the MPU board (post some good pics, especially the bottom of the board around the battery).

Thanks vid. I posted some voltage readings on the driver and rectifier boards. Does that narrow anything down. I thought that getting 3 flashes was telling me it got past the chips and it was elsewhere?

Pics as requested. Can you tell me where grn is on the mpu? I don't see it. I also don't see the battery and there are jumpers in place so it has been worked on before.
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#15 4 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

Can you tell me where grn is on the mpu?

Ground is TP4 upper right. Label is covered by that sticker.

Quoted from Skins:

I also don't see the battery

It has been cut off (that's a good thing).

You can see the two stubs centered at the bottom of the board.

Quoted from Skins:

I thought that getting 3 flashes was telling me it got past the chips and it was elsewhere?

Nope.

Not getting the 5th flash is somehow a U11 related problem.

Looking at your pictures, I see your U11 is an AMI chip - very sucky brand. If I were a betting man, I'd say 80% chance that is your problem. AMIs are total crap.

Quoted from Skins:

I posted some voltage readings on the driver and rectifier boards.

Your HV section needs work, but that is seperate from your MPU problem above.

#16 4 years ago

Great info vid. You're a life saver. Is it safe to drop the alteck mpu in to see if it will boot or do I run the risk of blowing the new mpu. I believe there was issues with the solenoids. The solenoid board doesn't have a fuse in it and the right sling and right flipper coils are removed. My guess is the game went down way back when, couldn't get it fixed and ended up a brick in someone's garage.

#17 4 years ago

Ok, I'm an idiot, wiki clearly states tp4 is ground. Thanks vid. The tp values are spot on except tp2 is .55v above tolerance.

#18 4 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

Is it safe to drop the alteck mpu in to see if it will boot or do I run the risk of blowing the new mpu.

Slow down a little bit.

You can be 99% certain that the new Altech board will be fine, but you don't need to install it yet. You have other work to do first.

Job list:

1. Will the game off, pull out every fuse, one at a time, on the rectifier board and verify that it is the correct value. Old games will often have too large of fuses replaced and this is where you get into trouble.

Don't forget the fuse in the black fuse holder next to the transformer.

If any fuses are the wrong value, don't power up the game again until you have replaced it.

Get 5 of each value fuse on your next part order.

2. Order your flipper and sling coils (make sure you get any spring or mountings you need for the sling). Get a flipper rebuild kit while you are at it. http://www.pbresource.com/rebuildkit.html#KT-BFLIP03

Read: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-upgradingrebuilding-flippers/page/11

3. The solenoid board has the fuse out because it probably blew from a shorted component. Can you solder?

http://www.bigdaddy-enterprises.com/repairkits/bally_kits.htm#b-hvreg1

Read: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-quick-bally-driver-board-repair-bulletproofing

#19 4 years ago

Thanks vid. I have rebuild flipper kits. I will get all the parts to get the sling back together but I was wrong the coil is still there and wired up. I have the coil for the flipper but my guess is the diodes are probably bad? I can solder but not on boards. I do have a new alteck solenoid drive board (also bought heat sink grease), light board and auxiliary board. The only new board I didn't get was the rectifier, go figure. LOL

I did check continuity on all the rectifier fuses out of the holder including the one in the black holder. I bought a fuse kit from marco but the fuse filaments don't look like the ones in the rectifier even though the values seem to match.

I will read up on the threads you linked.

#20 4 years ago

Pics of the sling/pop area. image-620.jpgimage-639.jpg

#21 4 years ago

Also worth noting, a few of the controlled lamps power on during boot but once it fails at three flashes, they go out. The GI stays lit as well as the inserts at the 1-10 circular inserts. I believe those are controlled lamps as well and not GI correct?

#22 4 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

I will get all the parts to get the sling back together but I was wrong the coil is still there and wired up.

Did you notice that the diode is blown wide open on that sling coil?

#23 4 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

I have the coil for the flipper but my guess is the diodes are probably bad?

You can test them with your meter, or for .01 cents each, just replace them.

You can test the coil with your meter too, in Ohm mode.

#24 4 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

I do have a new alteck solenoid drive board (also bought heat sink grease), light board and auxiliary board. The only new board I didn't get was the rectifier, go figure. LOL

Disconnect all the connectors on your rectifier board except the 2 bottom transformer ones.

Check that your high voltage is correct.

Assuming it is, then you have enough boards to bring the game back to life.

Don't throw the old boards out, they have value to techs like me who can refurbish them.

#25 4 years ago

I just wanted to post vid1900 are such an asset to Pinside thank you I love reading you post and input.

#26 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Disconnect all the connectors on your rectifier board except the 2 bottom transformer ones.
Check that your high voltage is correct.
Assuming it is, then you have enough boards to bring the game back to life.
Don't throw the old boards out, they have value to techs like me who can refurbish them.

With the setup suggested, tp2 now reads 192v. Still not 250v but an improvement from 160v

Quoted from vid1900:You can test them with your meter, or for .01 cents each, just replace them.
You can test the coil with your meter too, in Ohm mode.

No exploded diodes.

Quoted from 1967Firebird:

I just wanted to post vid1900 are such an asset to Pinside thank you I love reading you post and input.

Agreed!

#27 4 years ago

I put some video's on my Youtube channel from when I restored my FG that may be of use. This is the link to Part 1 (think there's 6 or 7):

#28 4 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

With the setup suggested, tp2 now reads 192v. Still not 250v but an improvement from 160v

You should be set to go then.

With connector J3 removed, TP2 on the Rectifier board can be as low as 150v.

#29 4 years ago

Ok I will put them in an let you know. I said it before, but thank you again.

#30 4 years ago

If you want to be cautious, connect just the Solenoid board check it's test points, then add the MPU and displays.

#31 4 years ago
Quoted from ronsplooter:

I put some video's on my Youtube channel from when I restored my FG that may be of use. This is the link to Part 1 (think there's 6 or 7):
» YouTube video

That's awesome I actually watched all of them last night. Where did you find the rubber nuts holding the plastics down?

Quoted from vid1900:

If you want to be cautious, connect just the Solenoid board check it's test points, then add the MPU and displays.

Will do. I actually got into a few more beers than I thought I was going to, so the big test will probably be delayed until tomorrow.

#33 4 years ago

Success!! The game boots. All the diagnostic LEDs on the new alteck boards are correct. Game isn't close to playable yet. When I start a game the drops (left bank and upper bank) keep chattering like the are resetting but they are already up and the game is scoring a ton of points by itself very past. I'm guessing a switch is stuck closed somewhere. All but one of the displays work but I think they are missing the first digit out of seven. I also don't have sound. At least it's booting!

Quoted from vid1900:

Don't throw the old boards out, they have value to techs like me who can refurbish them.

Make I can trade them for a refurbished squawk and talk board and or repair displays? I have no idea of the value against the cost of repairing the board and or displays. I fit by a cap kit for the squawk and talk board but I don't trust myself on board work.

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#34 4 years ago

So I think I know why I don't have sound.

No connector plugged in. I don't know what I'm missing? I have all available plugs in their respective spots.

image-16.jpg

Also, the power connector doesn't mach up pin-wise

image-144.jpg

Lastly, since I'm not familiar with the game, should the lights flash in attract mode? Right now they are solid on. I tried putting them in flash with diagnostics but nothing.

#35 4 years ago

Actually, the whole game looks to be in pretty decent shape as is. Twisted pin makes a stencil kit for cabinet repaint. Just finished up repaint on my Gottlieb High hand using these & it came out pretty nice. That would look really great with a fresh paint job!
I'm interested in your MPU board if you should decide to sell.

#36 4 years ago

Give the old boards to vid, it's the least you can do. He has saved you a world of stress and time.

#37 4 years ago
Quoted from PinPatch:

Give the old boards to vid, it's the least you can do. He has saved you a world of stress and time.

I get it up and working and see I don't need them, I don't have a problem with that.

Still no sound, attract mode, controlled lights. **EDIT: I tested tp 1 and it is rock solid at 5v. Checked rectifier voltages and all my voltages are spot on including the previously low high voltages. Now tp1 was 0v and fuse F1was blown. I don't have the same goofy filament replacement fuses but I had a 1a slow blow 250v fuse that matches the specs. Controlled lamps came then off. Fuse filament looks good but no continuity at fuse F1 **

Now on to other issues. Bunch of flaky stuff firing coils when switches are activated. Solved the lower bank drops by gapping the leaf switches. Went around making sure switches were gapped. Still issues with switches firing random coils. Pop switches, sling switches, right/left outlane switches all dead. Diagnostics show stuck switch 33 right spinner. It's gapped and not stuck closed. So looking at the matrix all the problem switches are all on the same row or column. Visually I don't see any broken wires or blown diodes on the switch tabs. Any thoughts?

image-935.jpg

#38 4 years ago
Quoted from Mk1Mod0:

It looks like the holes for the GI lights and the activation switches were combined. Never seen it done that way. Factory? I have no idea.
My kind of project. Good luck!

Yes factory, for games with linear type slings.

#39 4 years ago

The text on that apron overlay does not look correct to me... Specifically the "I" in Pinball is touching the "P". I have a feeling I know where you got it.

#40 4 years ago
Quoted from Gov:

The text on that apron overlay does not look correct to me... Specifically the "I" in Pinball is touching the "P". I have a feeling I know where you got it.

Not sure what you are getting at? It came as a package deal with the playfield.

#41 4 years ago

I am saying that if you look closely at the text on the apron decal it is not correct. It is fine if that doesn't bother you. I had bought a similar decal for my Paragon and had to throw it away as it had the same flaws. I missed the part where you got it in a package deal.

#42 4 years ago
Quoted from Gov:

I am saying that if you look closely at the text on the apron decal it is not correct. It is fine if that doesn't bother you. I had bought a similar decal for my Paragon and had to throw it away as it had the same flaws. I missed the part where you got it in a package deal.

Oh, ok. Honestly I haven't even really looked at it close. I'm just trying to get her running now. Thanks.

#43 4 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

So looking at the matrix all the problem switches are all on the same row or column. Visually I don't see any broken wires or blown diodes on the switch tabs. Any thoughts?

Get your meter in DIODE mode and check each diode.

Look for solder splash from past repairs on the switches.

Most bad diodes are not blown wide open, so they need to be metered to know for sure.

#44 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Get your meter in DIODE mode and check each diode.
Look for solder splash from past repairs on the switches.
Most bad diodes are not blown wide open, so they need to be metered to know for sure.

Got it, so I went to switch 33's diode (man they are f'ing tiny) and I think I found the issue. The tab is broken off the switch stack. I'm assuming this is the cause of the switch showing in the diognostics as closed and causing the switches on the same string downstream to be dead as well?
image-217.jpgimage-264.jpg

Btw, wth are these red (caps) things on some switches. Never seen them on dmd games.
image-996.jpg

Any thoughts on the controlled lights?

#45 4 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

Btw, wth are these red (caps) things on some switches. Never seen them on dmd games.

Those capacitors give more time for the MPU to sense that the switch has been triggered.

They can cause problems as they get old, by falsely triggering the switch.

If a switch is phantom firing, cut one leg of the capacitor off. If that fixes the problem, replace the Cap.

Don't just leave a bad Cap off, or a switch activation will sometimes be missed.

#47 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Those capacitors give more time for the MPU to sense that the switch has been triggered.
They can cause problems as they get old, by falsely triggering the switch.
If a switch is phantom firing, cut one leg of the capacitor off. If that fixes the problem, replace the Cap.
Don't just leave a bad Cap off, or a switch activation will sometimes be missed.

Funny you mentioned clipping a leg. The two on the pop switches were off and I assumed they were just broke off so I soldered them back on. LOL

So is the broken tab on the switch stack the cause of it showing closed and affecting the switches on the string to be dead too?

#48 4 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

Funny you mentioned clipping a leg. The two on the pop switches were off and I assumed they were just broke off so I soldered them back on. LOL

Some half-assed tech work there for sure.

Quoted from Skins:

So is the broken tab on the switch stack the cause of it showing closed and affecting the switches on the string to be dead too?

Picture the switch matrix as an elaborate truth table.

if we lose connection, anything below that in the table can not be read.

A shorted switch or diode can cause false closures to be read by the MPU. That is why in the switch test, a switch number may be appearing that is not actually being closed.

#49 4 years ago

Thanks for the explanation. I think I inderstand. I'm just trying to determine if the tab being broken off is the cause of it showing as an error in the diognostics and boogering the others on the string. I already tried to source the switch and of course marco is out of stock.

#50 4 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

I already tried to source the switch and of course marco is out of stock.

Just make one - Pinball resource has all the parts needed for this & it is easy to do.

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