(Topic ID: 250331)

Laser Cue Project - Troubleshooting Williams System 7


By jameshalko

20 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 10 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 days ago by jameshalko
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

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#1 20 days ago

Hello and welcome! I recently picked up a Laser Cue machine based on one picture and the description "Lights work and flippers work. Ball won't eject, unable to play" so pretty much going in blind. I should mention, this is my first pinball machine that wasn't purchased from a dealer and I couldn't have been more excited to finally work on a machine myself!

Round 1:
I got the machine to my house and immediately plugged it in and tried running a game.... Whomp, whomp, whomp. The game goes into the dreaded 'audit mode'. I open the the box and behold(!) a leaky battery with corrosion going down the driver board. I was able to start a game by cycling through the diagnostics. My displays are 100% working and I am getting sound as well, but I have never played the game so I'm not sure if the sound is right.

So when I start the game, as mentioned in the brief description I received, the ball does not shoot out of the outhole! Not only that, but the pop bumpers, drop targets, and slingshot are all dead with no action what-so-ever. I believe the bell is also dead but I'm not 100% sure. However, all the flippers DO work.

Start of repairs:
I replaced the battery pack with NVRAM, replaced the capacitors on the power supply, and replaced all the fuses.

Round 2:
I turn on the machine and it now start in attract mode and I also notice general improvement to the lights on the play field. (Win!) When I go to start the first game, one pop bumper went off and then I get a fuse blown. One drop target reset as well during this. Outhole, pop bumpers, drop targets, and slingshot are all still dead. This is where I am currently and could use some help diagnosing what the issue is!

#2 20 days ago

Not sure your experience level, so pardon me if you are beyond some of my comments.

Do you have or have read the manual? A copy is here: https://www.ipdb.org/files/1414/Williams_1984_Laser_Cue_Manual.pdf

Pinwiki reference info is here: http://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Williams_System_3_-_7

Read through those and familiarize yourself with the operations of the machine.

Which fuse was it? Knowing this will narrow down the problem area and we can help you better. Also, did you replace it with the right amperage or just replace what was there. Often they are wrong, so cross your fingers and hope you just put one in that was too small. Use the manual to verify the size.

A key thing to learn is the switch and coil test procedures. Switches can trigger random actions if they are stuck. Coil test can show you which coils actually work or not, regardless of game state.

Using the switch test, make sure all the balls are recognised in the trough (i'm not sure if it is a multi ball game), System 7 machines will not start without all the balls in place and with switches activated. Make sure it is on free play or has credits.

Figure out what the fuse is connected to and visually inspect all the coils, diodes, and transistors (on the driver board) on that circuit. You may have a burnt coil that has shorted. If you find one, disconnect it and see if the fuse blows.

If neither of those reveal anything, trace the wiring on that circuit to make sure nothing is shorted somewhere. Pay particular attention to ground braiding. Sometimes it works loose and touches stuff it shouldn't.

Post results her and hopefully we can help you more.

#3 20 days ago
Quoted from jameshalko:

I got the machine to my house and immediately plugged it in and tried running a game.... Whomp, whomp, whomp. The game goes into the dreaded 'audit mode'.

Audit mode isn't dreaded - this is actually a good thing. When you turn it on and nothing happens and the LED display on the mpu board locks on.... that's where you start to have dreaded issues. You game was booting... it just had an error.

#4 19 days ago

“When I go to start the first game, one pop bumper went off and then I get a fuse blown. One drop target reset as well during this. Outhole, pop bumpers, drop targets, and slingshot are all still dead.”

2 possibilities: a bad driver board transistor, or a misadjusted pop bumper switch (or both). Congrats on getting to attract mode!

#5 19 days ago

Get that 40 pin connector on the driver board and mpu replaced!

#6 19 days ago
Quoted from Black_Knight:

Not sure your experience level, so pardon me if you are beyond some of my comments.
Do you have or have read the manual? A copy is here: https://www.ipdb.org/files/1414/Williams_1984_Laser_Cue_Manual.pdf
Pinwiki reference info is here: http://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Williams_System_3_-_7
Read through those and familiarize yourself with the operations of the machine.
Which fuse was it? Knowing this will narrow down the problem area and we can help you better. Also, did you replace it with the right amperage or just replace what was there. Often they are wrong, so cross your fingers and hope you just put one in that was too small. Use the manual to verify the size.
A key thing to learn is the switch and coil test procedures. Switches can trigger random actions if they are stuck. Coil test can show you which coils actually work or not, regardless of game state.
Using the switch test, make sure all the balls are recognised in the trough (i'm not sure if it is a multi ball game), System 7 machines will not start without all the balls in place and with switches activated. Make sure it is on free play or has credits.
Figure out what the fuse is connected to and visually inspect all the coils, diodes, and transistors (on the driver board) on that circuit. You may have a burnt coil that has shorted. If you find one, disconnect it and see if the fuse blows.
If neither of those reveal anything, trace the wiring on that circuit to make sure nothing is shorted somewhere. Pay particular attention to ground braiding. Sometimes it works loose and touches stuff it shouldn't.
Post results her and hopefully we can help you more.

Lots of good info here. Get acquainted with the manual and the components on each of the boards. My first step with any solid state is to reflow solder on the header pins. Next, for WMS of this era, I would replace the 40 pin interconnect on both sides as mentioned. Ensuring the fuses are the correct value is also a must. I wouldnt do any further troubleshooting until these things are done. I can take any pictures you need for reference.

Also check out vids guide on bulletproofing these games

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

#7 18 days ago

Also be sure to add fuses to the 2 backbox-mounted bridge rectifiers, as detailed in vid's guide fatpanda posted above. It's a potential fire hazard without the fuses! Here's the specific section of the guide I'm referring to: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-bulletproofing-williams-system-6/page/2#post-945742

#8 17 days ago
Quoted from frunch:

Also be sure to add fuses to the 2 backbox-mounted bridge rectifiers, as detailed in vid's guide fatpanda posted above. It's a potential fire hazard without the fuses! Here's the specific section of the guide I'm referring to: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-bulletproofing-williams-system-6/page/2#post-945742

This is an absolute requirement and is such an easy mod I'm shocked when I see a machine without it.

If you want to add the fuses and replace the bridges and filter cap all in one step you can use inkochnito's bridge board. I have installed it a dozen times and have yet to have a fuse blow on it

1 week later
#9 7 days ago

Thanks for all the input everyone! So far this is where I have ended up.

I replaced 40 pin connector, capacitors on the power supply, and diodes on all of the solenoids.

I tested all of the solenoids and the only one I get a weird reading is on the bell solenoid @ 16.5 Ohms.

These are the current issues:

Problem 1) When adding connector 2J11 to the driver board, fuse F2 blows.

Problem 2) When adding connector 2J9 to the drive boards, GI lights turn on with machine but then go out. (new problem)

Problem 3) With connectors 2J10, 2J12, 2J13 in the driver board, the right pop bumper is freaking out a bit. It is firing occasionally on its own and doesn't trigger normally.

These are the next steps I have:

Problem 1) Remove solenoids 1-by-1 to determine the exact solenoid where it is failing. I am also going to replace the transistors on the driver board.

Problem 2) Totally lost on the GI lights going out.

Problem 3) I haven't tried looking at this. There was a bit of corrosion where the special solenoid transistors and such are so I am going to replace the components to clean it up and see if that helps.

Again, thanks for all the suggestions!

#10 6 days ago

Problem 1) I removed the solenoids 1-by-1 but the fuse only stopped when I cut out the last one! I am going to make sure the last solenoid wasn't the issue but since all the solenoids are looking good, and the diodes have been replaced I am starting to think that the problem lies elsewhere.

Problem 2) This stopped so I am going to not worry about this.

Problem 3) I believe this is a blown transistor on the driver board or another issue with the board. the other two pop bumpers trigger and fire correctly however the one that isn't working won't trigger and will half-pop occasionally. You can hear a "build up" of some sort before it pops.

I have transistors coming and will be replacing transistors and resistors on the driver board hopefully this weekend. I am also going to do a comprehensive test on the power supply to ensure all the correct readings. And then all my problems will be solved and I can play the game! (probably not)

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