(Topic ID: 274710)

Flash help needed


By Stephan28

7 months ago



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  • 18 posts
  • 4 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 months ago by Stephan28
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 7 months ago

I’m new the whole pinball realm but somewhat mechanically/electrically inclined. I just picked up a 1979 Flash pinball machine that is in need of some work. It was basically given to me for my son (avid pin head) and I to try and fix.

I am absolutely no expert but I am here to learn how to get this machine working for my son as a father/son project.

The known issue was that the F2 28 VDC 2.5 amp solenoid fuse would blow. This indeed was a problem and I noticed early on that the left slingshot solenoid was actuated constantly. I isolated the wires off of that solenoid and the fuse stop blowing. Shortly after that I noticed that the free game knocker solenoid was noticeably burnt and a wire was disconnected from that. I ordered a couple of solenoids from Marcos along with some more fuses and other items.

The free game knocker solenoid was definitely toast as it read almost a dead short across the two terminals. However, the left slingshot solenoid read about 4.6 ohms across it which is a nominal value. Regardless, I replaced the two solenoids.

Upon turning on the game after the parts replacement we started to test out the solenoids on the Playfield manually. Things were looking good. We had all the sound effects which we didn’t have before. At some point the 2.5 amp fuse blew again. However, it took some time unlike initially when it would blow almost immediately.

We replaced the fuse and tried it again. We noticed that when we dropped the 3 drop targets manually on the bank of 3 that the game crapped out and became unresponsive. We rebooted the game and we tried the three drop targets again. It died again and then we noticed (fortunately) some smoke coming from the driver board at the transistors just below the flipper relay. Immediately turned off power and unplugged the machine.

Upon removing the MPU board and the Driver board as 1 unit (that 40 pin connector looks like an accident waiting to happen) it was apparent that on the backside that the transistor area for the solenoids had gotten hot but more visually noticeable was the dark area around the large resistors for the lighting.

So, now I am at a loss. I’m not sure what I should do. I’ve heard/read a little about the Rottendog replacement board and that seems like a worthy purchase but I am a little concerned that I may have an underlying issue that might smoke that board and I wouldn’t want to do that.

Some items of note:

Reinstalled the boards and the game seems to be fine in attract mode. Lights flashing, looks pretty. Light resistors are getting quite hot to the touch. It also goes into play mode but I didn’t attempt to activate any solenoids for fear of letting out more smoke

When I test the power at the F2 fuse I read about 38 (not 28) volts DC and I think that is above a normal reading but I’m not 100% certain.

Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!!

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#2 6 months ago

I am considering sending out the MPU/Driver and power supply boards out for repair/overhaul.

#3 6 months ago

I'd recommend sending the boards out to a pro. In fact, it may be worth your while to send out the whole board set to have them go over them all. That's what i did with my first pin, a Williams Black Knight. It may cost a bit, but it's worth it, imo. You'll know that as long as everything is hooked back up correctly, it *should* work for years to come.

Once you hook up with a repair company, they can probably advise you further. I recommend Chris Hibler or the Coin-Op Cauldron for professional pinball circuit board repairs.

Good luck!

#4 6 months ago
Quoted from frunch:

I'd recommend sending the boards out to a pro. In fact, it may be worth your while to send out the whole board set to have them go over them all. That's what i did with my first pin, a Williams Black Knight. It may cost a bit, but it's worth it, imo. You'll know that as long as everything is hooked back up correctly, it *should* work for years to come.
Once you hook up with a repair company, they can probably advise you further. I recommend Chris Hibler or the Coin-Op Cauldron for professional pinball circuit board repairs.
Good luck!

Thanks! GMTA. Last night I was searching for a place to send the MPU, driver and power supply boards. I happened across a eBay listing that sounds promising. I send all three boards for a few of $239 plus $10 shipping and they repair, update and test them in a machine. I’m pretty confident that my MPU board is good but the driver board definitely has some issues and I will be much more comfortable that the power supply board is updated/tested as well.

Though it doesn’t say so in the listing I believe that it is Lenny’s Pinball World based on the address, similar wording on their site and the names of the folks who responded to my questions via eBay. (Jeff & Len). I believe that the website is pinballrepair.net.

The eBay listing is listed under the user name “pinball_services” and they have a 100% positive reviews but only about 9 or 10 so far.

I found one review in the pinside forums that was positive searching for “Lenny.” They indicate that they had a very good experience.

Any input or suggestions before I go ahead and purchase this service?

Thanks!

#5 6 months ago

Honestly, i can't really say I'd recommend going that route. If their name is Lenny Esposito, there's a few threads they're mentioned at here on pinside. Doesn't sound like a gamble i would take, myself.

Based on years of positive feedback, I'd go with either of my original suggestions. I just feel a little weird going through eBay for board repairs, but that might just be me.

Good luck, whichever way you decide to go!

#6 6 months ago

Hi there,

Depending how comfortable you are with soldering eletronics and so forth, you could check out this thread:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-bulletproofing-williams-system-6

Either way, check it out, so at least you know about what should be done.

The boards are quite serviceable, and yes, the original drivers create an incredible amount of heat, which you can eliminate once you move to a more efficient mosfet. Still, this heat is not a symptom, it is expected and just how this was originally designed with the tech they had back then.

I'd recommend posing the specific machine issues to the Flash pinball club here on pinside.

It sounds like the machine is generally pretty close tho. I would learn as much as you can before going in and shotgun repairing, as you could spend a thousand $ in parts easily.. lots of people just like to replace anything and everything, but really you can typically pinpoint most issues with the right tests.

#7 6 months ago
Quoted from koji:

Hi there,
Depending how comfortable you are with soldering eletronics and so forth, you could check out this thread:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-bulletproofing-williams-system-6
Either way, check it out, so at least you know about what should be done.
The boards are quite serviceable, and yes, the original drivers create an incredible amount of heat, which you can eliminate once you move to a more efficient mosfet. Still, this heat is not a symptom, it is expected and just how this was originally designed with the tech they had back then.
I'd recommend posing the specific machine issues to the Flash pinball club here on pinside.
It sounds like the machine is generally pretty close tho. I would learn as much as you can before going in and shotgun repairing, as you could spend a thousand $ in parts easily.. lots of people just like to replace anything and everything, but really you can typically pinpoint most issues with the right tests.

Thanks! I did post some things on the “Flash Owners Club” but I haven’t been able to locate the “Flash Pinball Club.” Maybe they are one in the same.

I’m pretty good at wiring, soldering, and using a meter but replacing IC’s on a circuitboard, testing logic, and transistors are not really up my alley.......yet.

I was comfortable replacing a couple of solenoids, but when I saw the heat damaged lighting resistors and I saw a puff of smoke come from the solenoid transistor area on the driver board I think I may be in a little over my head. That’s why I think sending out the 3 boards to a competent, experienced pinball board repair person would be a wise choice. I’m pretty sure the MPU board is working correctly as the game powers up with two LED’s flashing and then staying off.

I’m now trying to figure out who that person should be.

#8 6 months ago

I send an inquiry to Chris Hibler to get his take on his recommendations.

#9 6 months ago
Quoted from Stephan28:

I send an inquiry to Chris Hibler to get his take on his recommendations.

He replied. I’m going to box the boards up and send them his way. Thank you for the recommendations!

#10 6 months ago

Right on! As koji pointed out, everything you need to know to fix these games is here--but getting some experience and knowledge under your belt first is definitely smart before attempting board repairs. There's plenty to do with the rest of the game in the meantime

Be sure to ask any questions you run into along the way, there are many helpful folks here that are happy to share their knowledge.

Good luck!

#11 6 months ago
Quoted from frunch:

Right on! As koji pointed out, everything you need to know to fix these games is here--but getting some experience and knowledge under your belt first is definitely smart before attempting board repairs. There's plenty to do with the rest of the game in the meantime
Be sure to ask any questions you run into along the way, there are many helpful folks here that are happy to share their knowledge.
Good luck!

Thanks! Yes, lots to learn for sure. I’ve boxed up all the boards and they’re on the way to Chris Hibler to work his magic as we speak.

It’s great that folks here are helpful on this site. It’s a refreshing change from the sarcastic and condescending attitudes I have experienced with other groups elsewhere.

Right now my biggest concern is how to go about making certain that nothing is going to damage the newly refurbished boards once they are reinstalled.

#12 6 months ago

As long as you have all the appropriate fuses installed, you hopefully shouldn't have too much else to worry about for now. Still, in the meantime it wouldn't hurt to look over the wiring under the playfield and make sure nothing's loose or touching anything adjacent. Depending on what kind of damage they find on the board, they may also recommend examining certain areas for shorts etc. If you really wanted you could leave the coils, lamps, and switches unplugged for the first boot-up. Then if everything appears ok, turn the game off and plug in lamps, boot up...then turn off, plug in coils, boot up, etc.

You'll be fine, and if you have any further trouble we'll do our best to help you figure it out. It's a learning process sometimes, but you'll be flipping soon enough!

#13 6 months ago

They say good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement. I would suggest you find a local company that repairs pinball games or check craigslist for a tech. There are many things that have to go right for a good working pinball game. It also takes a working knowledge in electronics. What you have is shorted transistors that run those coils. You need to learn how to check a transistor. You need to learn how to understand schematics that tell you what wire goes where. You need an understanding of the technology and also build up your experience in what the machines do and why they do them. So the learning curve can be a bit frustration for someone new. I would say definitely get a pro in to get your game working right, then you can learn to fix problems as you go, like soldering wires and learning how to fix the flippers. Anyway that's my two cents.

#14 6 months ago
Quoted from frunch:

As long as you have all the appropriate fuses installed, you hopefully shouldn't have too much else to worry about for now. Still, in the meantime it wouldn't hurt to look over the wiring under the playfield and make sure nothing's loose or touching anything adjacent. Depending on what kind of damage they find on the board, they may also recommend examining certain areas for shorts etc. If you really wanted you could leave the coils, lamps, and switches unplugged for the first boot-up. Then if everything appears ok, turn the game off and plug in lamps, boot up...then turn off, plug in coils, boot up, etc.
You'll be fine, and if you have any further trouble we'll do our best to help you figure it out. It's a learning process sometimes, but you'll be flipping soon enough!

Thanks. I’ve been looking all of the wiring over closely and I’ll continue to do so.

Doing a slow systematic power up is a great idea and one I had in mind. Once I isolated the power wire on the left kick bumper all of the lighting was working in attract mode and in play mode at times everything on the playfield appeared to be working. At other times things would make the game act as if it had been tilted. The prime suspects were the left pop bumper, the spinner and the rollover star valued at 100. Activating any of these would “tilt” the game. This leads me to suspect components on the driver board as opposed to wiring issues.

The MPU board boots up, the two red LEDS flash and go out, it goes into game mode fine. The main power supply outputs are in line with what I should have, and the sound board apparently works appropriately. Once again pointing me towards a malfunctioning driver board.

Thanks again for the vote of confidence and the willingness to assist. Much appreciated.

#15 6 months ago

You're welcome! We all had to start off somewhere, and it was (and continues to be) other helpful folks willing to take the time to help me out that got me where i am today. Just trying to pay it forward, and admittedly share a bit of the joy of a newly fixed game vicariously

Quoted from Stephan28:

Once I isolated the power wire on the left kick bumper all of the lighting was working in attract mode and in play mode at times everything on the playfield appeared to be working. At other times things would make the game act as if it had been tilted. The prime suspects were the left pop bumper, the spinner and the rollover star valued at 100. Activating any of these would “tilt” the game. This leads me to suspect components on the driver board as opposed to wiring issues.

This is interesting--what you're describing sounds like it could have something to do with the switch matrix. I circled the "Row" of switches all the ones you mentioned are on. 2084633909(1).png

I would carefully inspect each of the switches in the circled row and make sure the diodes and wiring are firmly attached and oriented correctly. Problems with one switch can sometimes cause other problems on the same vertical "Column" or horizontal "Row" of switches shown on the diagram. Make sure they aren't touching anything adjacent, and that the solder lugs aren't mashed together. Also be sure they're gapped properly--you don't want any switches that are stuck closed.

You'll notice there's one or more white-brown wires at each of those switches. They Daisy-chain together, ultimately leading up to the driver board at connector 2J3, pin 9. You can measure continuity from that wire on any of those switches up to that female connector. 964739211.png

The left kicker switch is likely *not* going to be the 2 vertical activation switches that protrude through the playfield. On Flash, i believe there's a "scoring switch" mounted on the bottom of the playfield, and the kicker assembly has an arm or actuator of some sort that causes the switch to make contact when the kicker activates (to scores points). Can't say for sure though, you'll have to do some investigating there...but i think that's the switch referred to as Left Kicker on the switch matrix chart.

All the wiring and diodes etc may be fine, though--so that could still be a board problem anyway. Lots of possibilities here, but i think you made the right move starting off by the getting the boards serviced professionally. There was definitely a number of issues that needed to be addressed with them.

It's a very good idea to get familiar with the wiring and mechanics under the playfield in the meantime.

One last tip--i would also recommend only cleaning the switch matrix switches with a little rubbing alcohol and a clean piece of paper or business card. All the switch matrix switches are low voltage, and use gold-plated contacts. Filing those switches will usually damage them. The flipper cabinet and end of stroke switches are high-voltage and can be safely filed for cleaning. Also--it's not recommended to use electrical contact cleaner on the connectors or anywhere in the game. Maybe a tiny bit on a q-tip for cleaning switches but that's it. That stuff can be a fire hazard if used on a pin. I know you didn't ask, but it's good info to have.

#16 6 months ago
Quoted from frunch:

You're welcome! We all had to start off somewhere, and it was (and continues to be) other helpful folks willing to take the time to help me out that got me where i am today. Just trying to pay it forward, and admittedly share a bit of the joy of a newly fixed game vicariously

This is interesting--what you're describing sounds like it could have something to do with the switch matrix. I circled the "Row" of switches all the ones you mentioned are on. [quoted image]
I would carefully inspect each of the switches in the circled row and make sure the diodes and wiring are firmly attached and oriented correctly. Problems with one switch can sometimes cause other problems on the same vertical "Column" or horizontal "Row" of switches shown on the diagram. Make sure they aren't touching anything adjacent, and that the solder lugs aren't mashed together. Also be sure they're gapped properly--you don't want any switches that are stuck closed.
You'll notice there's one or more white-brown wires at each of those switches. They Daisy-chain together, ultimately leading up to the driver board at connector 2J3, pin 9. You can measure continuity from that wire on any of those switches up to that female connector. [quoted image]
The left kicker switch is likely *not* going to be the 2 vertical activation switches that protrude through the playfield. On Flash, i believe there's a "scoring switch" mounted on the bottom of the playfield, and the kicker assembly has an arm or actuator of some sort that causes the switch to make contact when the kicker activates (to scores points). Can't say for sure though, you'll have to do some investigating there...but i think that's the switch referred to as Left Kicker on the switch matrix chart.
All the wiring and diodes etc may be fine, though--so that could still be a board problem anyway. Lots of possibilities here, but i think you made the right move starting off by the getting the boards serviced professionally. There was definitely a number of issues that needed to be addressed with them.
It's a very good idea to get familiar with the wiring and mechanics under the playfield in the meantime.
One last tip--i would also recommend only cleaning the switch matrix switches with a little rubbing alcohol and a clean piece of paper or business card. All the switch matrix switches are low voltage, and use gold-plated contacts. Filing those switches will usually damage them. The flipper cabinet and end of stroke switches are high-voltage and can be safely filed for cleaning. Also--it's not recommended to use electrical contact cleaner on the connectors or anywhere in the game. Maybe a tiny bit on a q-tip for cleaning switches but that's it. That stuff can be a fire hazard if used on a pin. I know you didn't ask, but it's good info to have.

Great input and much appreciated. I’ll definitely check that out. However, looking at the playfield switch location chart, my issues are with the left kicker, lower right star rollover, spinner and the left jet bumper which don’t exactly correspond with the matrix that you circled. Those items are marked 17,18, 23 & 41 on the switch matrix. The tilt plumb bob was working, it was whenever one of the above mentioned items were actuated that the game would die and the tilt sound was annunciated. However, there was a moment in time when I actually got all those to work for a short period of time which is strange. Since it all worked at least for a period of time I lean away from a wiring problem and more towards a component issue. Maybe my logic is faulty

#17 6 months ago

Ah, ok. In that case, follow the same procedure for all of the switches on vertical column 3. You still may find something wired wrong/shorted/broken diode leg or wire/etc on any of those switches that may potentially be the source of the problem.

#18 6 months ago
Quoted from frunch:

Ah, ok. In that case, follow the same procedure for all of the switches on vertical column 3. You still may find something wired wrong/shorted/broken diode leg or wire/etc on any of those switches that may potentially be the source of the problem.

Roger that, WILCO.

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