(Topic ID: 298119)

Mata Hari (SS) Repair Journal

By grvo935

1 year ago


Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

  • 29 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 months ago by slochar
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

You

Linked Games

Topic Gallery

View topic image gallery

20211210_160307 (resized).jpg
20210807_104933 (resized).jpg
20210807_134350 (resized).jpg
20210807_134616 (resized).jpg
20210807_141229 (resized).jpg
20210807_144949 (resized).jpg
20210807_145447 (resized).jpg
20210807_162031 (resized).jpg
20210807_161822 (resized).jpg
20210807_161351 (resized).jpg
20210804_004008 (resized).jpg
20210802_085514 (resized).jpg
20210802_185046 (resized).jpg
20210802_165300 (resized).jpg
20210802_175816 (resized).jpg
20210702_194255 (resized).jpg

#1 1 year ago

Hello! In May 2021 I purchased a SS Mata Hari that had many problems with the goal of fixing all of the electronic and mechanical issues. I'm pretty new to the world of pinball repair, and at the time I had almost no experience working with electronics. I'm just a guy who wants to learn how to fix and build stuff. The goal of this Pinside post is to document my experiences publicly. I hope others find value in my posts, but I'm not concerned if they don't; after all I won't be treading any new ground here. I'm fortunate to have a few very knowledgeable good friends who have been generous with advice, and this forum has also been a valuable resource. I'm grateful for all of the information available on the internet, and I would like to express gratitude towards the giants and geniuses who guide my efforts.

First I need to catch you up to speed, as I've already done several things to improve the game. Here we go.

Back in May I drove about 75 minutes to purchase the game from a very nice facebook marketplace stranger. The man was not a pinball enthusiast, and had purchased the game about a decade prior to entertain his grandchildren. His grandchildren are older now and not interested in late-70s pinball, and when they game stopped being playable he decided to simply sell it instead of paying to have it fixed. When he turned the game on it booted up, the chimes worked, would add credits, and would technically start a game. But that's about it. None of the displays worked, and a bunch of playfield lights and coils were out. The flippers and knocker were the only coils that worked, which made it effectively unplayable. When I opened up the backbox I was glad to see all of the boards looked pretty good, with the exception of the rectifier board, which looked rough (I would later realize almost every wire to the rectifier board was soldered to Test Points instead of using molex connectors). We agreed on a price, he helped me load it into my SUV, and I was on my way home wondering what exactly I got myself into.

After I got it unloaded and in my basement, I booted it up and just stared at it. What the hell have I done? I don't know anything about this.

As I mentioned in my intro, I had almost no experience at the time working with electronics. I'd used a soldering gun only a handful of times in the past, and never for electronic components (well, never successfully... there was that one time in college i stupidly attempted to fix a PCB and ruined it, but i digress). Browsing Pinside forums and googling, I realized I would need to gain some new skills and equipment before I started diving into fixing my Mata Hari. I had a few basic/common tools, but I didn't own a soldering iron or anything. All I had was a pair of needle nose pliers, a 5/8ths wrench, various screwdrivers, a dedicated table in the basement next to the machine with a chair, a notebook, and a laptop. The first thing I did was buy a heat-adjustable soldering iron, solder, and a basic "learn soldering" kit (https://learntosolderkits.com/collections/all/products/learn-to-solder-kit-blink). In retrospect, it's almost painful how basic these types of kits are, but I'm not too proud to admit I wasn't born knowing how to solder electronics, and this experience was a very valuable first step for me. Seeing the lights work when I pressed the buttons was exhilarating, and gave me the confidence I needed to keep going.

While I didn't feel comfortable working with any of the electronics in her, I felt fine cleaning the game, replacing rubbers, etc., so I placed an order with Marco Pinball for a variety of items, including a new rectifier board. "Fear is the mind killer", "fortune favors the bold", and all that, right? Based on how it looked, and from what I read online, I knew enough to know the rectifier board needed to be replaced. Maybe I'd only ever made a LED blink, but I was determined to make this pinball machine sing. I also ordered a molex re-pin kit for the rectifier, a bunch of extra .156 and .100 crimp terminals, a crimp tool, some new pinballs (lol), replacement pop bumper caps, fuses, and some cleaning cloths. I happily cleaned the game and installed the new parts, as it motivated me to keep going, although every time I went into the basement, the sultry seductress's scorn stung.

Next I purchased a basic LED clock kit on Amazon (amazon.com link ») (inb4 yes, Jeff Bezos bad, Amazon bad). I wasn't able to get the clock to work after a few hours, and I was pretty frustrated, so I blamed crappy Chinese parts and bought another one. When I couldn't get that one to work either, I reached out for help. Turns out I was supposed to apply ~9VDC of power to the board, which I guess I was just supposed to magically know, since the instructions never once mentioned it. Pro-Tip: Don't assume people buying a beginner-level "practice learning kit" know anything, even things that seem obvious to people with experience. I felt a little embarrassed, but was undeterred. My mindset is that every mistake I make is an opportunity to learn, and one step closer to playing my Mata Hari!

I think it's worth mentioning that the game didn't come with a manual, but did come with full complete schematics, which have been so very helpful. When I first got the game I would sometimes open up the backbox and stare at the schematics and try to make sense of it. I'd had no previous experience reading schematics, so a little googling went a long way to help me learn the symbols/etc. Slowly but surely things started clicking. I realized that the boards are labeled A1 - A5, and the pin connectors on each were J1 - JX, and every connection, component, test point voltage, etc. were all spelled out for me. I could look at the wiring diagram and see the connections, and trace them on my game. It started making sense, and it was comforting. With a few hours (maybe a few more than I'd like to admit) of careful study, the schematics went from absolute jibberish to a complete road map of my game. What an amazing resource. Also, I'm learning, and it feels great.

After finishing up with "the damn clock", I wanted more practice but I didn't want to work on things that weren't useful in some way. The damn clock does enhance my pinball area a bit, but I had a hard time finding more advanced projects that interested me. As a guitar player, effects pedal building and modding has been on my radar for a long time, so I decided to jump in and build one. As with most things, there are some amazing resources out there and a whole lot of junk. Trying to save some money, I bought a Big Muff Pi Op-Amp kit on Amazon from China, not realizing it would take 6 weeks to ship until after i ordered it. Christ. So I started looking around online. There are many fine websites out there for pedal builders and modders, but I haven't found one I like more than www.generalguitargadgets.com. JD has aggregated an amazing amount of guitar pedal knowledge and content on his site, and he has all kinds of kits, pcbs, and parts for sale. I'm not affiliated with him in any way, but I really value the work he's done and he's an extremely nice, patient, and helpful person who answered several (very dumb) technical questions I sent him via email. If you're interested in building a guitar pedal, I recommend checking out General Guitar Gadgets. Give that man some money!

I know this is a pinball forum, and not for guitar pedals, but this is an important part of my journey. I won't be off-topic for long, so feel free to skip this paragraph if it doesn't interest you. I started off with a Ibanez Tube Screamer TS-808 clone: populated/soldered the PCB, and assembled the pedal. I was beside myself when I plugged it in for the first time and it worked and sounded great, even though I would later learn that I'd made a few small mistakes. Details, right? I took a bit of a detour here and spent about a month or so digging into the TS circuit, learning all kinds of stuff, and building 3 more pedals before I realized I'd gotten off track and had to pull my focus back to Ms. Hari. However, the final pedal I built, a Keeley modded TS-808 with 6-way diode selector, is simply *chef's kiss*

Back to Mata Hari. I'll admit I dragged my heels on installing the new rectifier board because I was intimidated by it. The transformer and the rectifier board provide power to the rest of the game, and I knew if I fucked it up I'd be in worse shape than I was at the time. Fear of further damaging the game caused me to slow down considerably, but wasn't going to stop me. The first thing I did was unscrew the trans/rect mount from the game and pull it out onto the glass (with everything still connected) to take pics and really evaluate the situation. The situation was bleak. Only a handful of wires in J1, J2, and J3 were connected, and most everything was soldered onto test points. Woof. I carefully labeled each wire as best as I could to help me identify later, and then clipped every wire (except the wires connecting rect to trans) from the rectifier board, and completely removed them both from the game and onto my table/bench. It was a big moment for me because I knew there was no turning back. It felt like the game was entering a chrysalis, as it was both at its most vulnerable and in a state of change.

The new rectifier board I got from Marco did require me to solder the connections, but that was old hat for me at this point. My real concern were the wires that were in place, as the wires connecting the trans to rect looked horrible and were of varying guages (I'm estimating they were between 20-24AWG). I can't remember exactly which post I saw, but I read here on Pinside that 18 AWG wire is the best to connect trans to rect, so I drove over to Home Depto. No luck. Ok, let's try Lowes. Not gonna happen, idiot. Alright, let's google hardware stores near me. My options were either Home Depot or Lowes. Good lord, ok, so I had to order some wire from the internet and wait. Not that it matters, but I ordered several guages at the same time to start building some inventory, and when I got the package they sent me everything except the 18 guage wire I immediately needed, so I had to wait a bit longer.

I finally found some time to sit down and rewire the transformer this past weekend. I guess it's worth noting that I have mild colorblindness, and while I live in a colorful world, I sometimes struggle with color identification when it isn't very obvious. Fortunately this almost never impacts my life (thanks, Crayola, for printing the name of the color on your crayons!), but often wires are color-coded in electronics, which does me absolutely no good. I noticed that many of the wires in my game are "scored", meaning there's a base color with a second color marked on it incrementally, but I was unsuccessful in finding a supplier than can sell me all of the colors and variations i need for my game. Side Note: If anyone knows where I can buy wires with the same color varieties in my game, I would be thrilled. However, right now all I have is my 6-color variety pack. There are way more than 6 colors, so I concluded it would be futile to attempt to follow any of the color guidelines when replacing wires. It would be great, but I'm shit at identifying colors, and i can't source the correct wires anyway, so what's the point? As of right now the only wires I've replaced have been the wires connecting the trans to rect, and it's pretty easy to identify where they're connected to, so I'm not worried about it. I'm sorry if my flippant disregard towards wire colors infuriates you.

Using the chart in the schematics, I initially wired up the transformer for 115V, was careful to mind which side of the rectifier board the wires should go, soldered everything, and mounted the new board. I pinned J2 6 and 7 (I think) only for the main power and return, plugged in the machine, and turned it on to test the test points. I conferred with my friend, and based on my results and an experience someone here on Pinside had, I decided to change from 115V to 120V. I changed the voltage output on the transformer, and did a little clean up of the wires so it looks nicer. Hooray! The new rectifier board came populated with new fuses, and at this time I also changed the fuse on the playfield and in the Solenoid Driver. Next step: pin the connectors.

As with many things in this process, I'd never used a crimping tool before, so I was grateful for this tutorial I found on YouTube:

Really, though, crimping the terminals is the easy part. The difficult part was identifying each connection. Using the schematics, I was able to narrow down most wires by noting which Test Point it was previously connected to and where the wire was going (even if I couldn't easily tell where it was plugged in, I could usually determine approximately where it was headed), and then I confirmed each connection with my new digital multimeter. One by one i identified, and pinned the connections until I had pinned them all. At this point the wires were a mess, but the rectifier board was fully pinned, and I was ready to turn it on.

I flipped the switch and nothing happened. I waited a few seconds and nothing happened. "Just great..."

I looked down and noticed I'd failed to plug the game in before turning it on. I flipped the switch off, plugged it in, and turned it on, and: We have attract mode!

Son of a bitch, I couldn't believe it. There were a few bulbs out here and there, but GI was working and attract mode was working. I started a game and I was playing Mata Hari! Every switch and coil seemed to work properly, except the right sling switch needed a minor adjustment (which took about 1 minute). At first the left drop target bank seemed a little sluggish, but after the first game I haven't had any issues, so I'm not terribly worried about it at this point. Test Point 2 on my Rectifier Board was the only one not testing within range before I pinned everything, and it was clocking in at 231.9VDC (on the schematic it says 230VDC), so I think I'm in good shape. The only noticeable part of the machine that wasn't working were the 5 displays. I turned it back off, cleaned up the wires, mounted the trans/rect inside the machine, put the backglass back on, turned off my basement lights and basked in the glow of my pinball machine for a few minutes. I won't lie, I celebrated a little bit for the progress I made and for not blowing it up, and the wife and I played a few games that evening.

But that's enough celebrations, I think, until we're at 100% functionality, and now I need to get these displays running. My gut was telling me that it's more likely for 1 thing that affects all 5 displays to go out than for each one of the 5 displays to be bad, although I did have to reckon with the reality that I might have to replace one or more displays. At about 70 bucks a pop on Marco, that's not really in the budget for this game, so I committed to doing everything in my power to fix them before deciding to buy new. In my first round of testing I failed to notice the cause, and I read a suggestion here on Pinside by Quench to jiggle J1 on the MPU. I could see in the schematics that a bunch of connections flow over to the displays, and while jiggling did nothing, I decided to re-pin J1 and test every connection while I was at it. I re-pinned it, and tested/confirmed every connection, and it didn't make a difference. I don't think that was a waste of time, and I'm planning on repinning every connection before I'm done, and it helped me narrow down the issue.

If you're still reading this, I assume you probably know what this issue is: The High Voltage Section on the Solenoid Driver is absolutely wrecked. After I finished re-pinning J1 I went back to testing with my multimeter, and noticed I'd previously missed the HV Test Point on the Display Boards, which was fluctuating all over the place. I tested the HV TP on the Solenoid Driver, and sure enough no High Voltage is being sent to the displays. I unhooked all of the J-connectors and dismounted the SD from the back-box, and carefully placed it on my table/bench. I tested every component on the board, and almost every component I tested in that High Voltage section was messed up. Fortunately the rest of the board seems fine.

https://pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Bally/Stern#How_to_Rebuild_the_Bally.2FStern_Solenoid_Driver_Board

I owe a beer to the person who runs this website, and I have taken every bit of advice they offer in regards to bulletproofing the HV section of the SD board. I have an order in with Marco Pinball for the replacement parts and a bunch of other stuff I needed, including some wire brushes to clean connectors, heat shrink tubing, an inclinometer, an extractor tool for molex connectors, and some desoldering braid (which I've never used, but looks cool). The tracking number I have says it'll be here on Saturday. My wife works this weekend, so I should be able to replace all of the parts on the board, and see what happens.

Stay tuned. Or don't. It's your world.

grvo

#2 1 year ago

Here are some photos

20210702_194255 (resized).jpg20210802_085514 (resized).jpg20210802_165300 (resized).jpg20210802_175816 (resized).jpg20210802_185046 (resized).jpg20210804_004008 (resized).jpg
#3 1 year ago

Congrats on the machine and trying to learn how to repair it. I was once like you, and knew nothing about fixing them either. You are doing great, keep up the good work. You'll learn as you go along, and this website and it's members are a huge help. Good luck, and never give up! Pinball is a great hobby. Both playing them and repairing them. As well as collecting them too.

#4 1 year ago

Does that fuse holder for the high voltage on the solenoid driver board have enough tension? It looks splayed out in the last picture you uploaded. Those caps are the original on that board so you will want to change those out as one of the next things you do.

#5 1 year ago
Quoted from Xenon75:

Does that fuse holder for the high voltage on the solenoid driver board have enough tension? It looks splayed out in the last picture you uploaded. Those caps are the original on that board so you will want to change those out as one of the next things you do.

Good eye on the fuse holder. It was absolutely splayed out. At some point after I took that picture I used my needle-nose pliers to bend it back into shape, and i think it'll be ok.

Every component in the HV section, including the big caps and the transistors are getting replaced this weekend.

#6 1 year ago
Quoted from pinkid:

Congrats on the machine and trying to learn how to repair it. I was once like you, and knew nothing about fixing them either. You are doing great, keep up the good work. You'll learn as you go along, and this website and it's members are a huge help. Good luck, and never give up! Pinball is a great hobby. Both playing them and repairing them. As well as collecting them too.

Thanks for the kind words!

#7 1 year ago

Yesterday my package from Marcos came, so I was able to get started early this morning. I went to https://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Bally/Stern#How_to_Rebuild_the_Bally.2FStern_Solenoid_Driver_Board and started off by desoldering all of the components in the High Voltage section. The chart on the website was extremely helpful. I then tested, installed, and soldered every component except one. I forgot that the big transistor, LM323K,was out of stock, so I wasn't able to replace it. It tested fine, so it's probably fine. Next I repinned J3 on the Solenoid Driver. At some point in the past, a previous owner clipped two wires off the molex connector, crimped them together to another wire, and soldered that wire onto pin 11 on the back of the board. I'm assuming the connector failed and this was a quick fix to keep the game playable, but i'm not sure. I cleaned all of that up on the board and followed the pinwiki recommendations to add 3 ground jumpers. i didn't feel great about soldering directly to the trace, so i took the two capacitor grounds to the ground Test Point. As far as I can tell that will be fine, but if it's a problem, I'd love to know. Finally, before I put the SD board back in the backbox I cleaned all of the metal pin connectors with a wire brush.

I reconnected all of the boards, plugged in the game, and flipped the switch. I was very pleased to see all 5 displays working beautifully. I turned it off and installed the higher tension spring I just received, and then played a few games. There are a few light bulbs out, but mechanically it played well for a handful of games before the left flipper started sticking in the up position just the tiniest bit. Also I did see some more sluggishness in the left drop target bank, which I believe will need to be addressed. As happy as I am for how far I've come, I'm making a list of things that still need to be fixed before it's 100%.

Mata Hari To-Do List:
Coin Door - A previous owner removed all off the lights and other things from the coin door. I know this needs work, but I haven't looked into it yet. I've got to figure out what needs to be done and then order the parts. Also I think the front of the coin door is ugly and I want to remove that sticker, polish it with metal polish, get a Bally sticker, and make it look sharp.
Left Flipper - 2 issues here. 1. Left Flipper sticks occasionally. 2. Left Flipper appears to occasionally score 10 points
Both Flippers - The flippers feel good, but they look like they aren't aligned properly.
Left Drop Target Bank - After a few games it started sticking, and 2 of them were difficult to drop. I think I need to disassemble it and clean fully. I'll probably do the right bank as well.
Tilt Bobber - I'm not sure what the ball does or if it's supposed to be towards the front, and I haven't tested the tilt bobber yet. I need to look into it.
Game Incline - inclinometer says the game is at 5.3 degrees, which I think is low. It feels a little low, although the game is pretty zippy. The foot screw things look rough, so I'll have to play with them to adjust.
Credit Knocker - It's set super low, at around 20k, and it just feels WRONG to get a reward at such a low setting. I'm pretty sure I can adjust this with a dip switch setting on the MPU, but I don't have a manual and I've had a bear of a time finding dip switch instructions. I was able to find the dip switch setting to change from 5 to 3 balls, though, which was nice. I guess I should buy a manual for it...
Molex Connectors - I'd guess I've re-pinned somewhere around 1/3 - 1/2 of the connectors in the game, and I want to do all of them.
Connector Pins - I want to clean all of the connector pins with my wire brush
Light Bulbs - about a dozen or so bulbs are out, so I want to get replacements. I wasn't planning on converting to LEDs at this time.
Transformer Protector - the game didn't come with a transformer protector, so I need to find one and install it

I guess that's all I can think of for now. Right now my goal is to get it 100% electronically and mechanically.

20210807_104933 (resized).jpg20210807_134350 (resized).jpg20210807_134616 (resized).jpg20210807_141229 (resized).jpg20210807_144949 (resized).jpg20210807_145447 (resized).jpg20210807_161351 (resized).jpg20210807_161822 (resized).jpg20210807_162031 (resized).jpg
#8 1 year ago
Quoted from grvo935:

but I don't have a manual

Download the manual from the Internet Pinball DataBase:

https://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=4501

Quoted from grvo935:

Connector Pins - I want to clean all of the connector pins with my wire brush

Cleaning them with a wire brush strips the tin from the pins. Consider this a short term solution.

Quoted from grvo935:

I forgot that the big transistor, LM323K

If the game is working, then the LM323 five volt regulator is good. Don't bother changing it.

Quoted from grvo935:

Tilt Bobber - I'm not sure what the ball does or if it's supposed to be towards the front, and I haven't tested the tilt bobber yet. I need to look into it.

The ball is supposed to be towards the front of the cage. Players that lift the machine will cause the ball to roll towards the rear where it triggers a tilt.

BTW, you're missing the plumb-bob on your tilt mech - you can just see it on the hanging steel rod in this pic:
https://www.ipdb.org/showpic.pl?id=4501&picno=34408&zoom=1

#9 1 year ago

Probably my early Bally grail pin...was so happy when I finally found one!
Good luck with yours!

#10 1 year ago

that ball in the 'cage' doesn't look to be original...

does it move if you try and roll it by hand?

it's no big deal if it's there or not, as mentioned.. it's there if a player lifted the machine from the front it would cause the ball to roll towards the rear of the cage making contact with the switch and causing the machine to 'TILT'.

it looks like it's an original playfield ball and is touching the top of the cage stopping it from moving....again no big deal.

as you probably know already? the front door has been modded to work (adding credits) by pushing the added on button above the coin return cut out.
I think you will struggle to buy new replacement parts and may be better off seeing if someone has a complete 2nd hand door and if your budget allows, put on a new door skin?

1 month later
#11 10 months ago

i've been having an intermittent reset issue with Mata Hari where occasionally the game will either reboot or all of the displays & coils will go dead until i reboot it. Last night I took a look under the playfield and noticed 2 of the capacitors on the pop bumpers were loose and 1 was missing. I resoldered the two loose caps, but i'll need to order some more of the 0.047uf/50v caps, so i'll probably get a handful and replace them wherever present on the playfield. the cap at the tilt bobber is dead as well.

poking around i noticed a few other issues:
-left 100pt pop bumper spring needs to be replaced. might as well replace all 4.
-the ground braid in the cabinet doesn't connect with the back box. I connected them and the issues i was having with the game resetting happened constantly instead of intermittently. I suspect there may be an issue with the grounding in the game. Possibly a ground loop?
-almost all of the coil mechs look rough, and a few are broken in various places. I'd really like to rebuild all of the coil mechs so they're nice and tight.
-i have some leaf switches that need to be adjusted, specifically the switches behind the drop targets.

if anyone has any solid resources for either fixing/designing grounding or troubleshooting the reset issue i've been having, that would be helpful. Am i on the right track thinking that the grounding in the game could be part of the issue?

Thanks

#12 10 months ago

buy crimp terminals by the hundreds!
On early Bally's I'm afraid your going to have to re crimp everything.
Just remember to take a break when your joints in your hands start clicking...LOL
Keep up the great work!

#13 10 months ago

I have vacuumed, cleaned, and waxed the playfield, as well as replaced all of the rubbers. Over the weekend I did a self-diag and had 2 switches that needed to be adjusted. The switches behind the drop targets we perma-closed. Since clearing the switch issues, I haven't had any instances of either phantom scoring or the game resetting. I did read somewhere here on pinside that if the 5VDC heading to the MPU board is greater than 5.2 there can be some reset issues. My 5VDC is reading at 5.23VDC, so I've made a note to pull the Solenoid Board and test all of the components in the 5V section when I'm able.

Seems like it's working complete and well at the the moment, and it's fast and furious with a freshly-waxed playfield. My work isn't done, though. I should get the caps i mentioned earlier for the coils this week, and I need to update my master list of wants and needs for the game. Before I'm done with it, I want to pull, clean, evaluate, and replace all of the mechs in the game, and I want to use vid's guide to put the fliptronic flipper on it. I want this game to be snappy and as future-proofed as possible. It'll have to wait a little bit, though, as I'm working on my Stellar Wars this week.

Note for myself: I noticed that I have the wrong type of drop targets in it, so I need to replace those at some point.

I would still like a general overview of how grounding in pinball machines is supposed to work, and and best practices or tips anyone has. It seems like grounding is something most people simply take for granted and I haven't found a resource that can explain it to me like I'm 5 years old. Is it really just super obvious, and I'm making too big of a deal out of it, and I should just tighten up everything that is there and stop worrying about it?

2 months later
#14 8 months ago

I've been enjoying my Mata Hari quite a bit lately now that it's working fully, and I haven't had any issues with it lately fortunately, but it's time to do a little bit more work on it. I have some warm white retro smd LEDs from Comet on the way, and I decided to pull the trigger on an arduino and adapter to attempt to set up the new Mata Hari 2020 code on it. I've never messed around with Arduino or C+, so it's going to be an adventure! Additionally, I still want to pull apart the pops and drops and clean them. It's not a major priority, but it's still on the list. I'll upload some pics when I have the LEDs in.

#15 8 months ago

I don't know what I'm doing, but that hasn't stopped me yet.

20211210_160307 (resized).jpg

*edit: I have since discovered this is the wrong arduino device for the Rev 3 adapter. Please see my other posts for additional detail, and do not order this device for the Rev 3 adapter.

#16 8 months ago

The grounding on old bally's is mediocre at best. there are guides on how to make the grounds better especially on the SDB

Quoted from grvo935:

I have vacuumed, cleaned, and waxed the playfield, as well as replaced all of the rubbers. Over the weekend I did a self-diag and had 2 switches that needed to be adjusted. The switches behind the drop targets we perma-closed. Since clearing the switch issues, I haven't had any instances of either phantom scoring or the game resetting. I did read somewhere here on pinside that if the 5VDC heading to the MPU board is greater than 5.2 there can be some reset issues. My 5VDC is reading at 5.23VDC, so I've made a note to pull the Solenoid Board and test all of the components in the 5V section when I'm able.
Seems like it's working complete and well at the the moment, and it's fast and furious with a freshly-waxed playfield. My work isn't done, though. I should get the caps i mentioned earlier for the coils this week, and I need to update my master list of wants and needs for the game. Before I'm done with it, I want to pull, clean, evaluate, and replace all of the mechs in the game, and I want to use vid's guide to put the fliptronic flipper on it. I want this game to be snappy and as future-proofed as possible. It'll have to wait a little bit, though, as I'm working on my Stellar Wars this week.
Note for myself: I noticed that I have the wrong type of drop targets in it, so I need to replace those at some point.
I would still like a general overview of how grounding in pinball machines is supposed to work, and and best practices or tips anyone has. It seems like grounding is something most people simply take for granted and I haven't found a resource that can explain it to me like I'm 5 years old. Is it really just super obvious, and I'm making too big of a deal out of it, and I should just tighten up everything that is there and stop worrying about it?

#17 8 months ago
Quoted from Randy_G:

The grounding on old bally's is mediocre at best. there are guides on how to make the grounds better especially on the SDB

Hey thanks for the advice. I upgraded the grounding on the SDB per the pinwiki recommendations when i pulled it to replace the HV components. Really the question is about grounding inside the cabinet. I can see the ground braid circling the inside of the cab, and I was thinking about replacing it. Are there any posts that are specifically devoted to talking about and thinking about grounding in general? Looking for a 1000 foot view perspective.

#18 7 months ago

I installed LEDs in Mata Hari over the weekend. Comet Retro SMD Warm White Bullets in the GI and Comet Retro SMD Non-Ghosting Warm White for the switched lamps, and used Comet's adapter boards as well. I wanted to update the game without changing the look too much, and i think i mostly succeeded. The Retro Warm White Bullets in the GI are a *tad* brighter than I'd like, but that's ok. I can live with it. At the same time I did this, I also installed LEDs in my 2 other games, Stellar Wars and Tag Team.

There are two things I'm not 100% happy with:
1. The switched lamps still flicker a bit. It isn't very noticeable, but if I look for it I can see some very mild flickering. It's pretty easy to ignore, but I thought I paid extra for non-ghosting bulbs and for the adapter boards to eliminate this, so it's annoying.
2. When I use the flippers, the current draw makes all of the bulbs flash off for a fraction of a second. It did roughly the same thing with incandescent bulbs as well, so it's not a huge deal to me, and I can ignore it, but it's annoying.

I'm not sure how to tackle the (barely) flickering bulbs, but I gotta believe a well-placed capacitor or two would help the lamps dying momentarily when flippers are initiated, right? Any thoughts would be helpful.

#19 7 months ago

Also, MataHari2020 has been flashed to the arduino. Big thanks to all of the geniuses who have written and given the code freely. Adapter from RoyGBev came in the mail today, and I'll be working on getting it running with the new code this week as time allows! Kinda pumped.

#20 7 months ago
Quoted from grvo935:

Also, MataHari2020 has been flashed to the arduino. Big thanks to all of the geniuses who have written and given the code freely. Adapter from RoyGBev came in the mail today, and I'll be working on getting it running with the new code this week as time allows! Kinda pumped.

I'm interested in your feedback about this code (and install). May I suggest a new thread...

#21 7 months ago
Quoted from Skidave:

I'm interested in your feedback about this code (and install). May I suggest a new thread...

Yeah, I can do that. There are some resources out there, but as a total noob to arduino stuff and coding, I felt pretty lost Friday evening when I was trying to get the code flashed. I made some very stupid mistakes, ha. I'll wait to celebrate, but if I can get this to work I'll document my steps for anyone else who isn't already familiar with arduino/C+, etc.

#22 7 months ago
Quoted from grvo935:

Yeah, I can do that. There are some resources out there, but as a total noob to arduino stuff and coding, I felt pretty lost Friday evening when I was trying to get the code flashed. I made some very stupid mistakes, ha. I'll wait to celebrate, but if I can get this to work I'll document my steps for anyone else who isn't already familiar with arduino/C+, etc.

Lol, I'm horrible at programming, but love Arduinos. Mainly because there is so much support on forums and other communities. I would like to see how difficult it is for you. By no means am I tech support, but may be able to help here or there. Electronics is my background; not code. I hated it in school and luckily don't have to deal with it for work.

#23 7 months ago
Quoted from Skidave:

Lol, I'm horrible at programming, but love Arduinos. Mainly because there is so much support on forums and other communities. I would like to see how difficult it is for you. By no means am I tech support, but may be able to help here or there. Electronics is my background; not code. I hated it in school and luckily don't have to deal with it for work.

I wouldn't say anything I've done so far has been "hard", it's just that I've felt kinda lost at times.

I used the arduino editor for this (https://www.arduino.cc/en/software), and the biggest obstacle for me was not knowing exactly what needed to be in the sketch. The BSOS and MH2020 readme files weren't much of a help there, and I didn't really use the process they seemed to describe. With trial and error I think I got it. Well, I got something flashed onto the arduino, anyway! WE'll find out later this week if it'll work...

It took about 2-3 hours of sitting on the couch friday night watching TV with my laptop to download the arduino editor (and create an account), grab the code from github (and create an account, lol), unzip it, build my sketch, set my revision #, and flash the code to the arduino. It would take me about 5-10 minutes to do it again now that I know what I'm doing. At first I had a bunch of linking errors that tripped me up because I hadn't added all of the files to the sketch, and googling and learning about that error message took a bunch of time.

I'm going to work on the adapter when I find time this week, and then see if I can get the MH2020 to work. If I can, I'll be happy to document what worked for me.

#24 7 months ago

Turns out I ordered the wrong arduino device. Womp Womp.

I decided to use the "Revision 3" board from RoyGBev (https://pinside.com/pinball/market/shops/1304-roygbev-pinball/05244-bally-stern-arduino-adapter-revision-3), and as far as I can tell this Adapter Revision requires the Mega 2560 PRO (https://robotdyn.com/mega-2560-pro-embed-ch340g-atmega2560-16au.html). Unfortunately I wasn't paying attention and simply copy/pasted "MEGA 2560 Arduino" from RoyGBev's ad into google and purchased Arduino Mega 2560 Rev3 (https://store.arduino.cc/products/arduino-mega-2560-rev3). I could have avoided this by taking a bit more care when ordering the arduino device.

Note: Rev 3 of the BallyOS adapter board does NOT mean Rev 3 of the 2560.

As far as I can tell anyway. I'll feel a lot more confident posting my experiences after I get it working, I just didn't want anyone who saw my above post to be misled into purchasing the wrong device.

I'm going to have to wait a few extra days for the new arduino device to come.

#25 7 months ago

Quick update here. I've installed the arduino and adapter, but I cannot get the game to boot from it; when I turn the game on it boots normally. When I plug the USB into the (installed) arduino and try to boot, the MPU LED is solid and nothing else happens, and it doesn't boot at all. I tested the 5v pin on the adapter board with my multimeter, and I'm only getting about 2.6v, so I suspect that may be part of the issue. This weekend I'll see if I can determine why I'm not getting 5v, and go from there.

1 week later
#26 7 months ago

Have you had any luck yet with the Arduino? Are you trying to power the Mega via USB while it is installed in the machine (while the machine is off)? I have found this won't work and it is different than the previous Rev 1 board that used an Arduino Nano. You have uploaded the code onto the Mega before it was in the machine? If so, and with it still out of the machine and connected to your computer, open the serial monitor. It should force the arduino to reset and then as it reboots it will pop up a message stating "Attempting to initialize the MPU". That would mean the code is there and looking for the MPU hardware.

In the machine, I power up the machine, then connect the USB to the computer, then open the serial monitor. The Mega needs to power up with the machine's power supply, then decides to halt the MPUs 6800. If it is already powered when the machine boots, it is past that step and may not work correctly.

2 weeks later
#27 6 months ago

Nice topic here. Fun to see someone go from newb to adequate to full on pinball nerd!
As a Mata Hari owner, more than once by a bunch, it was fun reading. I had a tendency to mumble the answers aloud knowing full well that the problem would be solved. Kind of like watching a horror movie and yelling at the screen “You idiot don’t take a shower! The killer is waiting in the tub!”
You started with a good machine, easy to work on and incredibly durable. I’ve come across many broken Williams System 11 and WPC games that someone thought “Oh yeah! I can fix this!” Then destroyed the boards so much that they end up investing hundreds of dollars on rottendog replacements… or just replace them from the start due to zero repair skills and an unwillingness to learn.
Admittedly, I lost interest in this thread when arduino mods started being discussed. It’s great that people who can’t enjoy a pinball machine the way it was meant to be now have a way to enhance it for themselves.
I simply don’t see the point, but so long as it can be pulled out and returned to original condition at any time, there’s nothing wrong with mods.

Perhaps I missed it in the thread, but there’s one modification (upgrade?) that you might want to consider.
My Mata Hari has Pinscore 5v LED displays, an excellent decision on my part (he says tooting his own horn!)
Please note, I chose Pinscore because theirs were the only ones in stock at the time. They are reasonably priced and fully assembled. I have used other brands in assembled and kit form and see no differences in quality.
End of disclaimer.
With the original gas displays removed, the High voltage section is no longer needed and can be disabled at the rectifier board by simply pulling the fuse out.
In a sealed box are my original fully working displays, 2 complete sets of unused incandescent bulbs for Mata Hari with a few extras, and a couple full sets of fuses (among other things).
They don’t make the gas displays anymore, and even with the power reduced to 180v, they will eventually burn out. If I ever sell Mata Hari (not likely) the next owner has the option to return it to original condition without paying however much it costs by then for those increasingly rare working displays that still exist.
More importantly, I never have to worry about a display burning out or getting myself electrokilled by the high voltage section!
Anyway good luck with your Mata Hari!

#28 6 months ago

Does mata Hari give 10 points every time the flipper is used? Everything works fine but I did not remember that before I swapped the playfield. Almost like it is a back feed from the coil.

#29 6 months ago
Quoted from bumper123:

Does mata Hari give 10 points every time the flipper is used? Everything works fine but I did not remember that before I swapped the playfield. Almost like it is a back feed from the coil.

nope likely vibration from one of the rubber standup switches

pretty common when pf swapping and with new posts/rubber the gaps need adjustment

Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
From: $ 1.25
Playfield - Other
Rocket City Pinball
$ 29.00
$ 22.50
$ 179.00
From: $ 170.00
$ 149.95
Boards
Allteksystems
1,900 (OBO)
Machine - For Sale
King George, VA
$ 49.99
Cabinet - Shooter Rods
Pinball Shark

Reply

Wanna join the discussion? Please sign in to reply to this topic.

Hey there! Welcome to Pinside!

Donate to Pinside

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run without any 3rd-party banners or ads, thanks to the support from our visitors? Please consider a donation to Pinside and get anext to your username to show for it! Or better yet, become a Pinside+ member!