(Topic ID: 256744)

Laser War - Various Issues


By MaxAsh

8 days ago



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  • 31 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 hours ago by MaxAsh
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#1 8 days ago

I picked up a Laser War (Data East, 1987) recently, and I'm working through some issues. It boots and starts a game, so that's a good start. I have a few issues with it. Here's the one I want to tackle first:

Flipper Lock On Issue

The flippers didn't work when I got it. I checked the fuse on the flipper power board in the head, it was blown. I inspected the flippers and the left flipper looked cooked. The coil sleeve is completely melted inside, so cleared that coil fried at some point. The right flipper looked good, and moved fine (manually). It's the wrong coil, but only slightly, so I can deal with that later.

I replaced the fuse and started a game. The right flipper works fine. If I press the left flipper, the fuse on the flipper board blows within a second or two. I believe I heard a short click/hum from the left flipper area a moment before that happens.

I'm not familiar with the early Data East flipper setup. I see a small board with a relay on it under the playfield, near the left flipper. It's got a fuse (not blown), a resistor that looks possibly fried, and a couple diodes.

Would the fried flipper coil cause the lock on/fuse blow? If so, I'll simply replace it and assume the issue will go away. If it's more likely to be something else, like that board, or a transistor I'm unaware of, I want to make sure I check that before replacing the coil. Better to cover all the bases. Suggestions welcome. Thanks!

#2 8 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

Would the fried flipper coil cause the lock on/fuse blow?

Yep, it sure can. It's possible that there's an internal short.

#3 8 days ago

The coil very seldom every goes bad.Test the transistor that runs that coil it’s most like bad and also if there’s diodes on that coil they also might be bad/shorted if the coil is burnt/locked on there’s 3 things to do
1.replace transistor
2.replace burnt coil
3.replace blown fuse

-1
#4 8 days ago
Quoted from pinmike:

1.replace transistor
2.replace burnt coil
3.replace blown fuse

What he said.

#5 8 days ago

I'll start going over the schematics and see what I can find. I don't know DE very well, so I'm not sure what the setup is regarding the flippers. If anyone is familiar, some quick direction would be great. Which transistors, diodes, etc. I don't see anything on the flipper board itself, so I'm guessing they're located on the CPU board.

I can say that there is some messy looking, but I think well done, board hackery on this one. I will take a pic and post later, but it appears a hole was burned through a small section of board. Someone tediously wired up a breadboard to re-route all the traces and components affected, and despite it looking scary, I think it was done really well. I'm pretty sure it's unrelated to the flippers, but I'll know more once I figure out where to look for the associated transistor(s) and such.

Another small issue is related to the displays. I know you can use a Williams master display board in these, so I'm wondering if you can use Williams displays without any problems? This game is missing the Credit display. I have some spare Williams ones with the same connection type. I put a credit display on there (unhooked the rest temporarily just in case) and turned it on. Looks like it works fine. Just want to verify that's okay before leaving it like that.

#6 8 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

I'll start going over the schematics and see what I can find. I don't know DE very well, so I'm not sure what the setup is regarding the flippers. If anyone is familiar, some quick direction would be great. Which transistors, diodes, etc. I don't see anything on the flipper board itself, so I'm guessing they're located on the CPU board.

Drivers for the flippers and coils are on the playfield power board (PPB) usually.

Quoted from MaxAsh:

Another small issue is related to the displays. I know you can use a Williams master display board in these, so I'm wondering if you can use Williams displays without any problems? This game is missing the Credit display. I have some spare Williams ones with the same connection type. I put a credit display on there (unhooked the rest temporarily just in case) and turned it on. Looks like it works fine. Just want to verify that's okay before leaving it like that.

Yes they interchange.

#7 8 days ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

Drivers for the flippers and coils are on the playfield power board (PPB) usually.

Not sure what that is, I don't see a reference to it in my manual as such. There's the small board I described, just to the left of the left flipper assembly. It has a fuse, relay, some diodes and a resistor. Is that it? It's wired over to the flipper coil.

#8 8 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

Not sure what that is, I don't see a reference to it in my manual as such. There's the small board I described, just to the left of the left flipper assembly. It has a fuse, relay, some diodes and a resistor. Is that it? It's wired over to the flipper coil.

Can you shoot us a picture of the backbox boards? There maybe one at the back of the lower cabinet with a bunch of ceramic resistors as well.

#9 8 days ago

I'm looking at the wiring diagram now, little different than Time Machine.

I don't see a driver for the flipper coil, just 50v power from the supply board and a playfield ground for the other end of the chain. Replace the coil and make sure the EOS switch is good and there isn't anything odd going on with the flipper switch in the cabinet.

#10 8 days ago

Attaching some pics. Please note that I'm aware of that scary looking repair with the remote breadboard thing on the CPU, and it's a bit shocking to see. But from what I can tell, everything is working aside from this left flipper coil locking issue, so unless the transistor for the flipper is in that area, I'm not touching it. It looks messy, but I'm pretty sure whoever did this, did a pretty good job (at making things work, not necessarily the proper method of repair).

Please let me know if there are other things you want to see pics of. Including images of the melted flipper coil (sleeve is completely melted inside), the relay board/fuse to the left of the flipper assembly, the flipper power board. I can post all the boards if needed. I noted the one resistor that looks a little cooked on the board near the flipper.
LW_flip_relay_board (resized).jpgLW_flip_relay_board_1 (resized).jpgLW_flipperpowerboard (resized).jpgLW_left_flipcoil (resized).jpgLW_zBoardRepair (resized).jpg

#11 8 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

But from what I can tell, everything is working aside from this left flipper coil locking issue, so unless the transistor for the flipper is in that area, I'm not touching it.

Like I said, diagram looks pretty clear there is no transistor for flipper coil so go ahead and replace the coil and make sure EOS switch is working.

#12 8 days ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

Like I said, diagram looks pretty clear there is no transistor for flipper coil so go ahead and replace the coil and make sure EOS switch is working.

Do you think I should worry about any of the components on that little relay board? Not sure what it's for exactly. The fuse on it has never blown. Only the one in the backbox on the flipper supply board.

#13 8 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

Do you think I should worry about any of the components on that little relay board? Not sure what it's for exactly. The fuse on it has never blown. Only the one in the backbox on the flipper supply board.

I think that is the kickback relay (SMIG) board, not related.

I'm ASSUMING that is what they called "laser kick" on the later games.

#14 8 days ago

Man,there’s plenty of hacks and wires going in many different directions.That coil hanging like that is horrible.

#15 8 days ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

I think that is the kickback relay (SMIG) board, not related.
I'm ASSUMING that is what they called "laser kick" on the later games.

Ahhh yes, makes sense. Thanks

#16 8 days ago
Quoted from pinmike:

Man,there’s plenty of hacks and wires going in many different directions.That coil hanging like that is horrible.

Yeah, the coil is only hanging for that pic. I took it off to see what was going on inside, and saw the melted/fused coil sleeve. It's not still hanging like that, don't worry. I'll test the coil just for kicks, but it's clearly a goner. I need two new ones, since the other flipper is the wrong coil (just slightly).

#17 8 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

I think well done, board hackery on this one. ...
I think it was done really well.

Could not disagree more with these statements. All that charred mess should have been cleaned up. I'm surprised it's not shorting through the carbon char. If it works, more power to you, but I could not leave that in my machine.

#18 8 days ago
Quoted from Tomass:

Could not disagree more with these statements. All that charred mess should have been cleaned up. I'm surprised it's not shorting through the carbon char. If it works, more power to you, but I could not leave that in my machine.

Oh I agree it's ugly as hell. When I say "done well" I simply meant that all the connections and such seem to be working. I'm shocked.

#19 8 days ago

Having a non-moving flipper will cause the fuse to blow on these early DE games (Wms sys 11 clone). You have high power voltage going to the coil until the EOS opens(usually fraction of a second), which it can't since the flipper is seized. Replace the coil/sleeve and make sure the EOS opens.

Cheers,

Mike

#20 8 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

Oh I agree it's ugly as hell. When I say "done well" I simply meant that all the connections and such seem to be working. I'm shocked.

Sorry, wasn't trying to be mean about it, but was shocked to see it. Lol

#21 7 days ago
Quoted from MrMikeman:

Having a non-moving flipper will cause the fuse to blow on these early DE games (Wms sys 11 clone). You have high power voltage going to the coil until the EOS opens(usually fraction of a second), which it can't since the flipper is seized.
Mike

Makes sense. I'll go ahead and order the coils, along with whatever else I spot at a glance.

Display Question

I know on some older displays, reflowing the solder on them can often get them back up and running nicely. Right now I have one display (P2) that's a little jittery and sometimes missing segments. Should I reflow it, or is it more likely to be the common resistors that need replacing (or just a gassing out display)?

#22 7 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

Display Question

I know on some older displays, reflowing the solder on them can often get them back up and running nicely. Right now I have one display (P2) that's a little jittery and sometimes missing segments. Should I reflow it, or is it more likely to be the common resistors that need replacing (or just a gassing out display)?

Been awhile since I owned a Laser War.. Tough one. Can be a number of things. Probably outgassing. Never heard of having to replace resistors though. Resistors tend to work until they don't(burn out). It wouldn't be an intermittent issue.

If you tap/press on the display does it affect it? If yes then reflowing may help as it would be an indication of an intermittent connection. If not then I'd look somewhere else for the issue. Could also be a bad connection between the display and the MPU.

#23 7 days ago

Kickback (aka Laser Kick) isn't working. I checked, and the relay on the "SMIG" board (first and second pics above) is clicking when the outlane switch is hit (and kickback lit). So I'm guessing something else is messed up. Since the TIP122 on the board is what controls the relay, I'm thinking I don't need to worry about the transistor since it's triggering when it's supposed to.

I found the SMIG board in the schematics, looks like a 150ohm 1W resistor, diode and capacitor on the board with the relay, along with the fuse. I'll try grounding the coil to see if it fires.

EDIT/UPDATE- This issue is Fixed. Loose wire on the kickback coil.

Back to the flipper stuff. Going to check some of the non-working flashers out too.

#24 7 days ago

I tested the left flipper EOS. It's showing closed, even when it's open. The switch itself seems fine, so I'm guessing that the short-effect is related to the coil. With the EOS never seeming to "open", it's just staying at high power, as mentioned above. I need to remove the coil anyway, so I'll do further testing.

#25 4 days ago

Various parts arriving soon. Looks like removing the coil has kept the fuse from blowing, so it's likely going to be all set from a flipper perspective once the coil arrives. I'm currently trying to track down why some flashers aren't working. Seems like several along the upper right side of the playfield. Bulbs are good, sockets seem okay. I'll do some digging and check the associated transistors (wow, they are packed close together on this board).

#26 3 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

Various parts arriving soon. Looks like removing the coil has kept the fuse from blowing, so it's likely going to be all set from a flipper perspective once the coil arrives. I'm currently trying to track down why some flashers aren't working. Seems like several along the upper right side of the playfield. Bulbs are good, sockets seem okay. I'll do some digging and check the associated transistors (wow, they are packed close together on this board).

For flashers, if it’s like system11(I can’t remember), then you need to check resistor boards. Big rectangular resistors. They often fail.

#27 2 days ago

It turns out there's some sort of issue with a section of the GI. I mentioned the upper right side of the playfield, but it turns out the entire right side GI is out. I did a quick jumper over to the left side GI and the bulbs lit up along the whole right side, so I know the sockets/bulbs are fine.

The game has (4) GI fuses in a row, just below the power supply. I found the first one was blown. I checked the others and they tested fine, but none of them are the correct Amps. According to the manual, they should all be 5A Slow Blow. I found (from left to right) a 10A, 7A, 8A, 8A. I replaced them all, and the first one blew within about 5 seconds. The right-side GI did come on briefly before it blew.

So now I need to try and figure out what's going on and causing the fuse to blow. I looked around and tried to locate a short in the GI chain, but haven't found anything yet.

Possibly silly question: When I removed all 4 GI fuses, I still tested for continuity across the empty fuse holders, and found continuity. Is that normal because it's an AC GI circuit? Seemed strange to me. That made me think there was a short somewhere in the chain, but maybe my tired brain is just off.

Thoughts?

#28 2 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

Possibly silly question: When I removed all 4 GI fuses, I still tested for continuity across the empty fuse holders, and found continuity. Is that normal because it's an AC GI circuit? Seemed strange to me. That made me think there was a short somewhere in the chain, but maybe my tired brain is just off.

I think it's because they are all tied together at the transformer. See page #23 of the manual for the wiring.

#29 2 days ago
Quoted from MaxAsh:

It turns out there's some sort of issue with a section of the GI. I mentioned the upper right side of the playfield, but it turns out the entire right side GI is out. I did a quick jumper over to the left side GI and the bulbs lit up along the whole right side, so I know the sockets/bulbs are fine.
The game has (4) GI fuses in a row, just below the power supply. I found the first one was blown. I checked the others and they tested fine, but none of them are the correct Amps. According to the manual, they should all be 5A Slow Blow. I found (from left to right) a 10A, 7A, 8A, 8A. I replaced them all, and the first one blew within about 5 seconds. The right-side GI did come on briefly before it blew.
So now I need to try and figure out what's going on and causing the fuse to blow. I looked around and tried to locate a short in the GI chain, but haven't found anything yet.
Possibly silly question: When I removed all 4 GI fuses, I still tested for continuity across the empty fuse holders, and found continuity. Is that normal because it's an AC GI circuit? Seemed strange to me. That made me think there was a short somewhere in the chain, but maybe my tired brain is just off.
Thoughts?

The GI circuit is a notorious weak link on DE games, replace all the GI bulbs with LED and look close at the connectors and pins on the board where the fuses are located along with the traces on the back of the board. Early boards had traces that were too thin and would burn up.
20190427_130640_resized (resized).jpg20190427_130647_resized (resized).jpg

#30 2 days ago

Doesn't surprise me DE is weak there; it's pretty common with a lot of games from that era. A lot of System 11s and other games I've had look like the connectors you posted pics of, which is never good. These look pretty clean, but I'll probably repin (and possibly new headers as needed) if it's an issue.

I actually was able to isolate the problem, I think. I noticed when I got the game that the door wiring was a little hacked up on one side (credit switch missing, wires dangling around). Even though the GI lighting heading to the coin door doesn't look messed with, I had a feeling the problem might be there. Since there's a separate branch-off connector with yellow/white-yellow wire for the door, I unplugged just that small connector (leaving the same color wires still going to the playfield GI right side). Sure enough, the fuse has Not blown since I unplugged the coin door lights. I'll keep doing testing, but if that's truly the culprit, I'll go through the wiring and find the short or fault.

Going to go ahead and do LEDs to reduce the stress on everything, then dig back into the other things (flashers, etc).

#31 4 hours ago

Installed the new Flipper coil today. Started a game, and pressing the flipper button caused the coil to immediately lock on hard. I shut the game off immediately. After checking the wiring to make sure it matched the wiring of the original coil, I did some EOS gap adjustments just in case (it looked fine, but it didn't hurt to double check it). I turned the game back on and as soon as I started a game, the Flipper coil locked on again (didn't even press the flipper button).
Can someone help me verify the wiring to the coil on this game? It seems fine to me, but I could use another set of eyes. Also, I noticed that the new coil has (2) diodes on it, one between each set of lugs, instead of just one all the way across the two end lugs (skipping the middle lug). Is that normal? Should I have removed one or made an adjustment?
Now that the coil is locking on as soon as a game is started, I'm worried I damaged something (or maybe the diodes). Thoughts?

UPDATE - Figured it out. The flipper button switch itself was the issue. The contact on one side was mostly gone, and it was jagged enough of a piece to actually catch onto the other side. So the switch was stuck closed. I'll do some testing and verify that's the only issue.

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