(Topic ID: 303826)

Help Testing Spike LED Board

By davegauth

9 months ago


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  • 22 posts
  • 5 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 months ago by davegauth
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 9 months ago

I'm trying to diagnose and maybe repair a light board on a GB pro.(Stern Spike2)

I'm a newb with this - any help would be greatly appreciated.

The problem is - all LEDs and flashers connected to light board D are in a constant on status.

Things I did: I replace board D with a new board and I jiggled wires and plugged and unplugged things to ensure they were seated good. No luck same problem. I also checked continuity between the cables and the boards. B-C cable and C-D cable. These checked out ok.

Something that worked: I bypassed board C and plugged board D directly into board B and all lights on board D now function properly. So this leads me to believe board C is the culprit. Even though all the LEDs on board C appear to be functioning properly.

From here I am at a loss as to how to test or troubleshoot board C. The one thing I could think of was check continuity of the pins on the input socket to the pins on the output socket and there seems to be good continuity accross the socket pins.

I can buy a new board C for $150 - but maybe I can check/test something else?

Note: Picture shows normal link routing in green and the bypass test in red.

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#2 9 months ago

Here is a picture of the board C - the one I suspect has a problem with its communication out. There doesn't seem to be anything obvious that I can see. no loose solder joint, nothing looks burnt out etc.

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#3 9 months ago

I noticed there is some resistance between the MOSI sockets(in and out) whereas the other sockets do not show any resistance between them. No idea if this is normal.

I can check these sockets on another LED board to see if it's normal or not. But no time now, have to head to work.

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#4 9 months ago

Have you tried emailing Stern tech support? They usually respond within 24 hours. I’ve dealt with a few people for issues but recently Pablo. He is fantastic.

#5 9 months ago

Contact Borygard I believe he still troubshoots Node Boards.

Ken.

#6 9 months ago
Quoted from NovaCade:

Have you tried emailing Stern tech support? They usually respond within 24 hours. I’ve dealt with a few people for issues but recently Pablo. He is fantastic.

That's probably a good idea - I was a bit hesitant as I am not the first buyer and the game is old. My mind was saying they probably don't care. But now that I type it, it kinda seems a bit silly not to email them.

#7 9 months ago
Quoted from davegauth:

I noticed there is some resistance between the MOSI sockets(in and out) whereas the other sockets do not show any resistance between them. No idea if this is normal.
I can check these sockets on another LED board to see if it's normal or not. But no time now, have to head to work.
[quoted image]

Almost looks like you're a pin off? The right should be a pin higher? Sort of looks like a jog in the trace. I'm probably wrong, the big font makes it a little hard on the eyeballs.

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#8 9 months ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

Almost looks like you're a pin off? The right should be a pin higher? Sort of looks like a jog in the trace. I'm probably wrong, the big font makes it a little hard on the eyeballs.[quoted image]

The more I read about these boards, I see the mosfets are usually the bad components on them. Hopefully it is an easy fix.

#9 9 months ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

Almost looks like you're a pin off? The right should be a pin higher? Sort of looks like a jog in the trace. I'm probably wrong, the big font makes it a little hard on the eyeballs.[quoted image]

Good eye - I thought this was weird at first too. You are right the input and output side have different pin counts. One is 7 pin the other is 6 pin. I'm not sure why this is, but it seems like the one that says Key (the seventh pin) is actually not a live pin. maybe just something that takes up a spot and their way of designating which socket is in versus out? I'm not 100 on that, but I'm leaning towards it.

#10 9 months ago
Quoted from eyeamred2u:

The more I read about these boards, I see the mosfets are usually the bad components on them. Hopefully it is an easy fix.

I'm such a newb that I only know the mosfet is what actually does the switching of things on and off... Kind of like a relay, but only digital. If that's even the right assumption..... I have no idea how to test these though.

But also - all the LED's on this board do seem to work. I have no idea if a mosfet issue could be causing a communication issues between the data links between boards.

If I had some longer link wires that went between the boards, I bet I could just route this board at the end of the daisy chain instead of the middle and all would be good as I wouldn't be relying on the output data link of this board anymore as it's at the end of the chain.

#11 9 months ago
Quoted from davegauth:

I'm such a newb that I only know the mosfet is what actually does the switching of things on and off... Kind of like a relay, but only digital. If that's even the right assumption..... I have no idea how to test these though.

In a nutshell, a MOSFET is just a switch for this application, controlled by the gate pin. Apply the proper voltage on the gate, and the drain-to-source becomes a short (i.e. 'closed switch'). More to it than that, but that's the basic idea.

There's ways to test with an ohm meter, but this little gizmo is a lot easier. There's a bunch of different versions/vendors. I haven't used this version tho. Was just an example. You don't even need to worry about hooking up the leads - just hook them up and it will figure it out.

ebay.com link: itm
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#12 9 months ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

In a nutshell, a MOSFET is just a switch for this application, controlled by the gate pin. Apply the proper voltage on the gate, and the drain-to-source becomes a short (i.e. 'closed switch'). More to it than that, but that's the basic idea.
There's ways to test with an ohm meter, but this little gizmo is a lot easier. There's a bunch of different versions/vendors. I haven't used this version tho. Was just an example. You don't even need to worry about hooking up the leads - just hook them up and it will figure it out.
ebay.com link: itm
[quoted image]

I was just reading a post last week about these boards and the mosfets and that is why I mentioned it. Most are simple to troubleshoot was the basic idea of the post. I will try to find it.

#13 9 months ago

Thanks guys - I appreciate the tips and help.

Looks like I need to watch a couple youtube videos on checking mosfets and get a cheap tester.

#14 9 months ago
Quoted from davegauth:

Thanks guys - I appreciate the tips and help.
Looks like I need to watch a couple youtube videos on checking mosfets and get a cheap tester.

I read the article and it says the following:
The diagnosis was in the symptoms. I've blown enough fets on my Total Lightshow boards to know what's not working when a colour stays on on an RGB LED. The fets are right next to the outputs they are driving, just follow the wire back from the insert. A quick check with the meter confirmed which one had gone.

#15 9 months ago
Quoted from eyeamred2u:

I was just reading a post last week about these boards and the mosfets and that is why I mentioned it. Most are simple to troubleshoot was the basic idea of the post. I will try to find it.

I'm an electrical engineer (RF, retired), and I'm pretty darn impressed with what a cheap $20 tester will do. At least on mine, I think it shows FET gain, I think Rds (drain-source resistance) too. Plus it measures transistors, L's R's C's. Not too shabby. I did notice mine couldn't handle a Darlington transistor. So I think it does a better job than a simple ohm meter test. It is a quickie low power test tho. But I've checked plenty of parts with an ohm meter too!

One thing that will kill a switching FET pronto is if the drain-to-resistance is too high. The idea is to have almost zero ohms (if R=0, then no power dissipation). FETs Rds can even be in the low mini-ohms range. If you get one going south, that can wipe it out pretty quick. At least in my designs, anyways.

#16 9 months ago
Quoted from davegauth:

Thanks guys - I appreciate the tips and help.
Looks like I need to watch a couple youtube videos on checking mosfets and get a cheap tester.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/spike-board-repair-resource#post-3789248

#17 9 months ago

Here is where I'm at.(Haven't had much time to work on this)

I tried to move the C board to the end of the data daisy chain - but it seems to have issues like this. A few of the LEDs are out, and one of the RGB leds flashes blue during the LED test(on off sequence)

I'm not sure if this makes sense or not as it could be a function of data being dropped off at each of the boards and not moving on. But I have no clue.

If I run the chain as it should be (standard) then all the LEDs on board C flash proper and the board appears good. Of course all the LEDs on Board D are back to the constant on state which is my original problem.

The reason why I ran the test this way, is the LED board D works if plugged directly into Boarb B and bypasses Board C. So my thought was something was wrong with board C output. So maybe I could change the order of the data daisy chain and put board C at the end.

But.... not gonna work...

Any thoughts?

I'm going to try to get ahold of Stern today and see if they can give some guidance.

BTW - Nothing appears burned on any of the boards including the spike node board.
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#18 8 months ago

SOLVED....

Just wanted to leave this with an update for future searches.

I reached out to Stern as suggested, and had received some email help from Pablo. He was great and helped walk through some testing to confirm that Board C had a problem with its data link output. Board C would need to be replaced. (follow my troubleshooting above, because it's the same thing Pablo walked me through)

Also - for anyone following, apparently you can't just move a board to another area on the data link chain. It will not function properly as the position in the chain determines the data it receives. Something like that anyway.... You can also see it didn't quite work for me when I tried it above.

I went to Game Echange Colorado because they had a new board in stock and they are 30 minutes from me. While there I ran into Rob aka Borygard here on pinside who was mentioned above. He repairs boards and owns lockwhenlit. Great guy, and spent some time with me explaining some things - also confirmed what Pablo from stern had said.

Anyway - new board installed and all lights now appear to be functioning properly.

#19 8 months ago
Quoted from davegauth:

SOLVED....
Just wanted to leave this with an update for future searches.
I reached out to Stern as suggested, and had received some email help from Pablo. He was great and helped walk through some testing to confirm that Board C had a problem with its data link output. Board C would need to be replaced. (follow my troubleshooting above, because it's the same thing Pablo walked me through)
Also - for anyone following, apparently you can't just move a board to another area on the data link chain. It will not function properly as the position in the chain determines the data it receives. Something like that anyway.... You can also see it didn't quite work for me when I tried it above.
I went to Game Echange Colorado because they had a new board in stock and they are 30 minutes from me. While there I ran into Rob aka Borygard here on pinside who was mentioned above. He repairs boards and owns lockwhenlit. Great guy, and spent some time with me explaining some things - also confirmed what Pablo from stern had said.
Anyway - new board installed and all lights now appear to be functioning properly.

Awesome! Glad to hear you are back up and running. Pablo is fantastic. Has helped me every single time I needed it.

#20 8 months ago
Quoted from davegauth:

SOLVED....
Just wanted to leave this with an update for future searches.
I reached out to Stern as suggested, and had received some email help from Pablo. He was great and helped walk through some testing to confirm that Board C had a problem with its data link output. Board C would need to be replaced. (follow my troubleshooting above, because it's the same thing Pablo walked me through)
Also - for anyone following, apparently you can't just move a board to another area on the data link chain. It will not function properly as the position in the chain determines the data it receives. Something like that anyway.... You can also see it didn't quite work for me when I tried it above.
I went to Game Echange Colorado because they had a new board in stock and they are 30 minutes from me. While there I ran into Rob aka Borygard here on pinside who was mentioned above. He repairs boards and owns lockwhenlit. Great guy, and spent some time with me explaining some things - also confirmed what Pablo from stern had said.
Anyway - new board installed and all lights now appear to be functioning properly.

Rob is a great guy. Glad problem is solved.

1 week later
#21 8 months ago
Quoted from davegauth:

SOLVED....
Just wanted to leave this with an update for future searches.
...
Also - for anyone following, apparently you can't just move a board to another area on the data link chain. It will not function properly as the position in the chain determines the data it receives. Something like that anyway.... ...

The SW1 DIP switches on the NODE board set its location in the pinball network. So simply switch the DIPs on/off to match the board you are replacing.

John :-#)#

#22 8 months ago
Quoted from Flippers_com:

The SW1 DIP switches on the NODE board set its location in the pinball network. So simply switch the DIPs on/off to match the board you are replacing.
John :-#)#

The LED boards do not have Dip switches, like the main node boards..

The LED boards daisy chain off the main node boards.

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