(Topic ID: 105554)

Help with Bally 1981 Flash Gordon repairs

By CalBinduur

7 years ago


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  • 34 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 years ago by WonkoTSane
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 7 years ago

My college fraternity recently acquired a 1981 Bally Flash Gordon pinball machine from an alum. It had been sitting in his garage for a good number of years and doesn't work anymore. A couple of the guys, including myself, tried our hand at figuring it out but have had limited success. *Disclaimer* I am not a pinball expert and had never seen the inside of a pinball machine in my entire life until a few days ago. Pardon my lack of proper terminology. Here's a list of what I know so far:
- The machine turns on
- The incandescent lights on the playing surface and back score area light up
- The fancy coloured lights on the playing surface don't turn on
- The score clocks flash on power up but don't remain on
- The green diagnostic light on the upper-left circuit board flashes once, pauses and flashes five more times (I understand it's supposed to flash once more)
- The start up sound plays
- The red button behind the door does nothing (I believe that's the diagnostic button)
- The strobe light behind the top panel doesn't work
- Nothing else works ie. the game doesn't play. No flippers, no ball loading, no way to start the game in the first place.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you have any suggestions I'd be happy to hear from you. Again, we would appreciate it if you could keep any explanations idiot proof and please explain any obscure pinball terms you use. We have an electrical engineer and a computer scientist living in the house who might know what they're talking about a little more than I do. Thanks for your help!

Cheers!
-Cal

#3 7 years ago

No doubt battery leakage has damaged the board.

#4 7 years ago

There does appear to be some corrosion on the main board. How should I go about fixing that?

#5 7 years ago
Quoted from CalBinduur:

There does appear to be some corrosion on the main board. How should I go about fixing that?

You have to unsolder affected components and clean the board.

Directions here (it's a Williams board, but you'll get it):

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-bulletproofing-williams-system-6

Here is Bally info:

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

#6 7 years ago

Thank you! I'll take a look and post any updates.

#7 7 years ago

It depends. Are you comfortable working on electronics? Do you have a multimeter?

Start here:
http://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Bally/Stern

If you are in a hurry and have the dough:
http://www.allteksystems.com

I've gone both routes with repairs. Some of it depends on skill set and time. Some of it depends how far the corrosion has spread.

Whichever way you go, the first thing to do is remove that battery from the board

#8 7 years ago

I would suggest replacing the MPU with this aftermarket one and resell the old one on Ebay.
http://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/ULTIMATE

#9 7 years ago

If it has been in his garage there may also be some major issues with the playfield. Freezing and thawing in an unheated garage causes the plywood to crack, warp, etc.

#10 7 years ago

FG is a kick a** game I hope you get it working. You are now in this club if you wish to lurk around.
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/flash-gordon-saviors-of-the-universe-club

#11 7 years ago
Quoted from WonkoTSane:

If it has been in his garage there may also be some major issues with the playfield. Freezing and thawing in an unheated garage causes the plywood to crack, warp, etc.

yeah also look for rodent damage.

#12 7 years ago

A couple of things:
1) what is the best way to get to the electronic components underneath the playing surface short of cramming as much of your body as possible through the front door?
2) we have an electrical engineer and a computer scientist who live in the house but the music major (myself) is the guy doing most of the work on the project. I have access to the proper equipment but absolutely no idea what I'm doing.
3) stemming off of me having no idea what I'm doing, what is the best thing to do right now? (You mentioned removing the battery) I have the machine open and am ready to get going but I don't know where to start. Here is the inside of my machine right now. What is step one?

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#13 7 years ago

Remove the glass and lift the playfield from the front like the hood of your car.

#14 7 years ago

On the coin door is a latch on the right side

Move it, then remove the long silver lockdown bar at the front. ( it lifts straight up)

The glass now slides out the front, and then the playfield lifts up.

There should be a bar on the right side of the cabinet that will keep the playfield up.

#15 7 years ago

Got it. Thanks!

#16 7 years ago

And it's hard to tell, but it looks like the battery has already been moved off the MPU board

#17 7 years ago

The battery has been replaced but there is still a lot of discoloration from the original battery leaking. If it was not neutralized it will continue to corrode. It is hard to tell how much damage has been done of if it was properly repaired.

#18 7 years ago

It appears the battery mentioned that should be removed has already been done. I assume that black and white "package resting just beneath the upper left board is a battery pack. Hard to tell if there is corrosion on that board or not...(Upper left is the main brain...MPU) Can you get us a closeup photo of that board? The lower portion of it is the most important to see.

Also on that board in the middle toward the bottom is a little green LED. When you turn the machine on what does it do?

#19 7 years ago

Should I just look at replacing the MPU then?

#20 7 years ago

Here is a closeup of the MPU
On startup, the light flickers, flashes once, pauses, flashes five more times. (I understand it's supposed to flash seven times in total plus the flicker)

image-732.jpg
#21 7 years ago

If the battery was changed and any corrosion was cleaned up, there is no need to replace it.

There are advantages to the Altek board. Better header pins, free play settings, etc. And no worry about battery leakage again. The down side is that it is $200.

#22 7 years ago

There are major issues with that board. It would be an advanced repair. The corrosion goes clear up the right and side and a ton of the ground traces are gone from the lower middle.

#23 7 years ago

Recommendations?

#24 7 years ago

Looking closer, I am betting you will need to replace the connectors on both sides of the board too. The corrosion goes up the pins and in to the connectors most of the time.

#25 7 years ago

I read that the best way to clean corrosion is to dilute vinegar 50/50 with water and use it to clean the alkali residue off the motherboard then clean that off with isopropyl alcohol. Is that legit?

#26 7 years ago

If you are not getting the correct flashes of the LED on the MPU, check all of the voltages. If they are all good, replace the MPU with an Altek after replacing the connectors.

http://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/CKBLY-MPU

You will not need the header pins with the Altek board but the kit still makes it easier.

A good crimp tool is a must as well.

#27 7 years ago
Quoted from CalBinduur:

I read that the best way to clean corrosion is to dilute vinegar 50/50 with water and use it to clean the alkali residue off the motherboard then clean that off with isopropyl alcohol. Is that legit?

Yes but if it has eaten all of the copper traces those need to be replaces as well as any damaged components.

It is also not 100%. It will slow the return of the corrosion but it will come back. A permanent solution is bead blasting or other abrasive removal of all the corroded material.

#28 7 years ago
Quoted from WonkoTSane:

Looking closer, I am betting you will need to replace the connectors on both sides of the board too. The corrosion goes up the pins and in to the connectors most of the time.

+1 on the connectors. It's a Bally & it's an '81.. gonna be some issues there for sure.
Good info here
http://www.pinrepair.com/connect/
Tools & repair parts here
https://www.greatplainselectronics.com/categories.asp?cat=35
https://www.greatplainselectronics.com/products.asp?cat=138

.1 & .156 Molex connectors used
Don't get the cheapest crimper, the 1026-CT Sargent is probably the best for the $$

#29 7 years ago

I guess we'd better start working haha. Thank you for your wisdom gentlemen.

#30 7 years ago

Also - here's a link that has the manual & schematics..
http://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=874

Check your mail on here, I am also sending you a good repair guide.

#31 7 years ago
Quoted from CalBinduur:

Here is a closeup of the MPU
On startup, the light flickers, flashes once, pauses, flashes five more times. (I understand it's supposed to flash seven times in total plus the flicker)

image-732.jpg 566 KB

So you have a flicker (normal) plus 6 flashes? You're almost there. The 7th flash is looking for solenoid voltage (43V) which I believe comes from the connector J4, that's the lower left connector on the mpu. Try removing and re-seating the connectors on the mpu. sometimes this helps make contact when games sit for an extened preiod. There's a key on each connector so becareful not to bend any pins. No 7th flash can also mean a bad PIA (U 10 and/or U11 ) on the mpu. Go to pinwiki.com and click Bally/Stern classic, then 1977-85 and scroll down to section 4.5.4.1 and it explains the flashes in detail..

-1
#32 7 years ago

I noticed that this resistor was burnt out. Could that be a contributor to this specific issue? It's in the lower left hand corner of the MPU, apparently the place where the issue is located.

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#33 7 years ago

I would unplug the connectors and remove the MPU board from the backbox. There are some obviously destroyed traces on the board. If they are repaired with jumper wires on the back of the board your problems may be much smaller then it looks from the front. Post a picture of the back of the board for us please.

#34 7 years ago

Have you been able to make any progress with this project?

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