(Topic ID: 105354)

Meteor Drop Bank Won't Reset


By CUJO

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 75 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by Quench
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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  • Meteor Stern Electronics, 1979

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#1 5 years ago

This happened to my Meteor before and I had a tech fix it about 2 years ago.

When the three drop targets on the #3 right bank are dropped, they will not reset.
The other two banks and the METEOR top bank are fine.

Switch, Fuse, Transistor? What to look for at first?

#2 5 years ago

Do they reset at new game start?

#3 5 years ago

No...
They do not..

#4 5 years ago

OK, if you got through the tests, they probably won't reset then either.

Pull the glass and (take the ball out) raise the playfield up on the kickstand. Push the reset plate up towards the playfield. The targets should get pushed up and latch in place.

If the reset plate won't move, the sleeve is probably melted by a shorted drive transistor (new coil, sleeve and driver trannies).

If they reset by hand smoothly, you have a loss of power or ground (ON signal) to the coil.

Measure DC Volts at the lugs of the coil. It should have the same reading on both lugs...the same as any other coil nearby you can measure for reference.

If you have voltage at both lugs of the coil (no broken wires), put the playfield back down and pull the backglass. Refer to manual and locate the header pin for that coil (Sol # whatever). Using a jumper, hold one end on that header pin and tap the other end quickly on the ground braid. It will probably spark. That is normal. Don't hold the lead on the ground braid more than one second.

Let us know what you discover.

#5 5 years ago

Forgot to add that the targets reset by hand easily by pushing the reset plate up.
After the three targets are dropped during a game, then the scoring goes crazy since that bank
won't reset. Will try what you said in a few hours and report back. Thanks.

#6 5 years ago

Use a multimeter to verify you have power at the coil. If not, you have a break in your power line to the coil.

If you do have power, take a test lead and clip it onto the top exposed metal tab of the driver transistor (Q13 I think) on the driver board and briefly touch a ground panel. If it fires the coil, you have the same problem I do, and I can't help you quite yet, as I haven't been able to fix mine yet

If it doesn't fire the coil you've got a bad coil, or a standard 'coil won't fire' driver problem with a multitude of fixes depending on what broke. I would start by checking the coil resistance, and ground continuity from the coil to the backbox in this case.

#7 5 years ago

So drop bank #3 is controlled by Q13 on the power driver board?
When you test for power at the coil, there shouldn't be any there all the time, right? Only when the bank resets.

#8 5 years ago
Quoted from CUJO:

So drop bank #3 is controlled by Q13 on the power driver board?
When you test for power at the coil, there shouldn't be any there all the time, right? Only when the bank resets.

No, you will see potential (Solenoid B+) on both lugs at rest since it's just a piece of wire. When the tranny fires, it provides a path to ground and then the coil becomes a "load". At that instant when the coil fires, one lug will still be potential and the other lug will be ground (through the wire back through the tranny to ground on the solenoid driver board.

#9 5 years ago

Ok, shorted Ground TAB on Q13 to game gnd for a few milliseconds which caused BANK #3 to reset.
So not a coil problem.
I pulled the driver board out of the game and tested the transistor and it seems to be ok.
In diode test, I get .494 on each outer leg to the ground tab.

#10 5 years ago
Quoted from CUJO:

Ok, shorted Ground TAB on Q13 to game gnd for a few milliseconds which caused BANK #3 to reset.
So not a coil problem.
I pulled the driver board out of the game and tested the transistor and it seems to be ok.
In diode test, I get .494 on each outer leg to the ground tab.

That sounds correct, granted the others test the same way. In some rare cases, they will test okay but are still internally failing. They're cheap enough to replace, may want to just shotgun replace it if you have one and see if it fixes the issue.

#11 5 years ago

It looks like the original transistor from its age.
I am gonna check the trace to the J5 connector first to make sure its not a bad solder joint or broken trace issue.

Update: Looks like the center pin on Q13 makes it fine to J5-12 Pin. Could it just be a bad connector at Position 12?

#12 5 years ago

I've had the game intermittently working a few times only to be fooled into thinking it's fixed, but last night I replaced the pre-driver transistor array U1 (its a CA3081 I believe?) with a new one (socketed it of course) and so far so good. Played about 10-20 games and haven't seen a problem pop up.

Unfortunately replacing a 16 pin DIP IC isn't everyone's cup of tea so I don't know how much this will cheer you up. On something like a Sys 11 it's way easier to troubleshoot and replace a pre-driver.

Quoted from CUJO:

I am gonna check the trace to the J5 connector first to make sure its not a bad solder joint or broken trace issue.
Update: Looks like the center pin on Q13 makes it fine to J5-12 Pin. Could it just be a bad connector at Position 12?

Good job on troubleshooting so far identifying that the coil and playfield circuitry appears to be adequate. It sounds to me like you certainly have a board problem which on the easy end can simply be some solder reflowing, or on the hard end could require some IC's to be replaced. Wouldn't hurt to repin any connectors involved with an issue like this (or all of them if the parts are on hand) but at a minimum I would reflow the headers and replace Q13 to be 100% sure nothing internal is an issue. Check the other two legs of the transistor to make sure they are making connections to the end of their circuits as well.

One tactic I use for older boards (especially with Williams awesome 40 pin connector) is physically (carefully!) flexing and holding the driver board flexed in different ways during a coil/switch/light test to see if functionality comes back. Unfortunately if you don't get functionality back it really doesn't mean anything, but if it does come back it indicates a poor connection somewhere, either at a solder joint, a trace, or even inside an IC.

For Meteor I pressed in the center of the driver board right on U1 actually and while flexed in that state, the coil would always work. When relaxed it was rare if ever. Since I'd already replaced the driver twice, reflowed and checked every connection related to the circuit, I concluded it could in fact be the internal components in the old IC chips acting up (especially since my E target was starting to fail too, also running thru U1). So I replaced U1 and all seems well right now. If it craps out again I shall report back.

For right now, if I were you , I'd try pressing reasonably firmly on U3 during a coil test, but I take no responsibility for you breaking stuff. If you don't want to do that, I'd be sure all related circuits are fine, and replace U3.

#13 5 years ago

Here's what happened:
Re-flowed the solder on header pins J5-12,13,14,15 and underside of Q13.
Also took your advice and touched up a few pins (3) on U3.
Some of you may roll your eyes and shake your head when I say this next part.
I took some 400 wet/dry sand paper and lightly sanded the pins on J5. Very lightly to remove some of the brown discoloration. ( I can always re-pin later)
Threw it all back together and voila! Bank #3 resets now.
I'll see how it holds up in the next few days/weeks.
Thanks to all that replied to my post w/ advice.

#14 5 years ago

Nicely done. I don't roll eyes at anything that fixes it, but be aware it may be temporary and more permanent measures may be necessary.

Enjoy the game, it's one of the best from that era IMO!

#15 5 years ago

Thanks Purpledrilmonkey!
I replaced a few #44 bulbs that were burned out on it too while I was fixing it.
I noticed that the ADVANCE WHEN LIT 3 quasi "pop" bumper (not sure what you call it) won't light.
I put a good bulb with test clips directly to the wires under the playfield on that socket and it won't light that way either. I checked the manual for info on that wire and couldn't find a thing! I'm sure I just overlooked it. The controlled lighting wiring schematic did not show either of those ADVANCE WHEN LIT 1 or ADVANCE WHEN LIT 3 in the list. Weird. Am I Blind?

#16 5 years ago

I would replace the sockets in those things for good measure - old bumper sockets suck. They also suck to change so that's something to keep in mind if you ever do have a bumper apart - just change the thing even if its working.

I believe the lines you are looking for are RT BUMPER (J2 pin 23) and LT BUMPER (J1 pin 4) on the lamp driver schematic. The lamps on these old machines are directly driven (no lamp matrix) and can have only a few simple things go wrong. You have a bit of a luxury here in that it seems those lamp lines are shared by a few other lamps (Left and Right outlanes it seems - reversed from the right and left bumper for whatever reason)

The limits of my work has been to replace the sockets, fix wiring, or replace the appropriate 2N5060 for that lamp line. Note that despite looking like a pre-driver transistor these are NOT the same.

Based on my brief read of the schematics, if your outlane lights are working its probably a wiring problem under the playfield. If your outlanes are not working its probably the 2N5060s - I had 2-3 of them bad on mine (I also burned one up as well working on the lamps powered on - don't do that ). Note that I have found you HAVE to go into lamp test mode (or play a game) to properly test certain lights on Meteor - the attract mode doesn't use both bumpers if I recall... only the right one I think?

#17 5 years ago

When I put the Meteor in bulb test, all the lights will flash except the RT BUMPER. The outlanes flash ok so I guess it is wiring under the playfield..It is really hard to test the voltage at the RT BUMPER because the lamp test just flashes on and off so voltmeter doesn't have time to react.
That is why I used clips and tried to test the bulb under the playfield, I got no light from it in test.
Do you know who sells this ole school type of bumper socket? Don't see them online anywhere I've looked so far.
Don't recall if both LT and RT BUMPER lite in attract. I think the left one does for sure. Will try to track down the broken line tonight. Thanks!

#18 5 years ago
Quoted from CUJO:

When I put the Meteor in bulb test, all the lights will flash except the RT BUMPER. The outlanes flash ok so I guess it is wiring under the playfield..It is really hard to test the voltage at the RT BUMPER because the lamp test just flashes on and off so voltmeter doesn't have time to react.
That is why I used clips and tried to test the bulb under the playfield, I got no light from it in test.
Do you know who sells this ole school type of bumper socket? Don't see them online anywhere I've looked so far.
Don't recall if both LT and RT BUMPER lite in attract. I think the left one does for sure. Will try to track down the broken line tonight. Thanks!

http://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/E-120-25

Or you can upgrade to
http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=299
or
http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=1245
but be aware these take 555 bulbs and Meteor uses 44/47 style. The old ones are pretty frustrating to deal with as they are hard to work with under the playfield and often have loose-bulb problems over time I find. Up to you which way you go.

As far as testing these things goes, yeah it's annoying to have the lamps on and off. The better the multimeter you have, the better you'll see the cycling on/off in test mode. Testing with a bulb is also perfectly acceptable if you have the fixturing for it, you just have to verify against working lamps that your fixture works

And yes, I would guess there's a break in the power or ground line to that socket. Find where the daisy chain goes from that socket to the outlane that its related to and figure out why one works and the other seems to be left out of the fun. What's nice is if that outlane is working, you should be able to use continuity on the DMM to figure out which side (power or ground) the break is on between the two, rather than trying to trace back to the boards - also try comparing it to the wiring of the other bumper.

Absolute worst case, run jumpers from the bumper (haha) to the proper outlane light and see what happens.

#19 5 years ago

Found RT BUMPER in the manual at last based on the description. Thanks.
Put pin in lamp test just now and oh-oh. The left outlane bulb is not illuminating after all. Missed that last night.

#20 5 years ago

Personally, I bet its the 2N5060 for that line. Easy fix, just an annoying part to have to acquire if you don't work on old bally/stern games

#21 5 years ago

It's J2-Pin 23..it runs thru Q15, that 2N5060. Can I test it like any transistor do you know with DVM in DIODE TEST?
I may have one of those in my parts box.

#22 5 years ago
Quoted from CUJO:

It's J2-Pin 23..it runs thru Q15, that 2N5060. Can I test it like any transistor do you know with DVM in DIODE TEST?
I may have one of those in my parts box.

It's a Silicon Controlled Rectifier and I have no clue how to test one. That's beyond my knowledge at this point - I just replace parts, rarely do I check them haha.

#23 5 years ago

From what I remember from before, SCR's don't test like a transistor does with a DVM in diode test mode.
I am gonna dig around here this weekend for a 2N5060 to swap out on the board and if not are here, order from Great Plains Electronics.
Easy enough to try...

#24 5 years ago

Found some 2N5064's in my inventory. Turned on the Meteor one last time before replacing that SCR and now the LEFT OUTLANE and ADVANCE WHEN LIT #3 blinks in LAMP test!
However, I noticed that the 4X bulb wasn't blinking. So tested that bulb in the backbox socket and it's a good bulb. Also used test clips at the 4X socket to bypass the socket and bulb won't lite...So weird.. I see 4X goes thru J2 -2 so might try to clean and reseat that portion of the connector. I highly doubt the 2N5060 went bad.

#25 5 years ago

Update: Lightly sanded J2-2 with 400 grit wet/dry and the 4X light is back!
One of these days, re-pinning will be needed...but until then, lightly burnish the brown off worked.
Not suggesting anyone do this light sanding as I am sure heads are shaking back/forth and eyes rolling. But for me, I think I would have caused more damage trying to re-pin myself with my available equipment/skills.

1 year later
#26 3 years ago

Well, I'm back..with the same exact problem. BANK 3 won't reset but the coil is good and the plate moves freely.

#27 3 years ago

Time to repin connectors

#28 3 years ago

The problem with fixing the past issues with light sanding is that it is temporary. You are removing corrosion and making a connection in the short term, but you are also removing the plating that was intended to prevent corrosion and high resistance in the first place, thus you will inevitably be back to square one sooner than later. The classic fix from years ago was to plug and unplug the connectors a whole bunch of times and they magically worked - this is essentially equivalent to a light sanding. It's a good way to get 'up and running' to enjoy (or operate) a machine, but it's not a solution to the ultimate issue of old worn out connectors.

First step imo at this point would be to replace the headers and ideally repin/replace the connectors if you have the tools to do so. Since you know this was a problem area before that we fixed up with a 'quick fix' it's a logical place to start before worrying about IC's or transistors.

#29 3 years ago

Update: Ran a SOLENOID test this morning and BANK 3 will not reset like BANK 1 and BANK 2 if that helps pinpoint.

#30 3 years ago
Quoted from Purpledrilmonkey:

The problem with fixing the past issues with light sanding is that it is temporary. You are removing corrosion and making a connection in the short term, but you are also removing the plating that was intended to prevent corrosion and high resistance in the first place, thus you will inevitably be back to square one sooner than later. The classic fix from years ago was to plug and unplug the connectors a whole bunch of times and they magically worked - this is essentially equivalent to a light sanding. It's a good way to get 'up and running' to enjoy (or operate) a machine, but it's not a solution to the ultimate issue of old worn out connectors.
First step imo at this point would be to replace the headers and ideally repin/replace the connectors if you have the tools to do so. Since you know this was a problem area before that we fixed up with a 'quick fix' it's a logical place to start before worrying about IC's or transistors.

I agree. Just trying to quick fix it again for company. I do not have the tools to do a repin but have a friend that can and might hit him up after the new year.

Updated: 12/17/15: Pulled the driver board tonight. Q13 which resets Bank 3 ok ..Continuity test good between center pin of Q13 and connector J5-12. Grounded TAB of transistor Q13 to GROUND for 1/2 sec and Bank 3 resets..
So what is this telling me to replace to get this fixed? Is it really U1?

#31 3 years ago

Bump...
Thank you

#32 3 years ago
Quoted from CUJO:

Updated: 12/17/15: Pulled the driver board tonight. Q13 which resets Bank 3 ok ..Continuity test good between center pin of Q13 and connector J5-12. Grounded TAB of transistor Q13 to GROUND for 1/2 sec and Bank 3 resets..
So what is this telling me to replace to get this fixed? Is it really U1?

If you grounded the tab of Q13 and that fired the coil that just tells you that the path to the coil is good. It does not mean that Q13 is good. You need to test Q13 with a MM. Set the MM to diode test and see if you get between .4 and .6 between the outside leg and middle leg. It could still be bad even if it tests good. But if it tests bad then you know its bad. So I would replace that before replacing any chips. If replacing Q13 doesn't work then replace U1.

#33 3 years ago
Quoted from kguenther6:

If you grounded the tab of Q13 and that fired the coil that just tells you that the path to the coil is good. It does not mean that Q13 is good. You need to test Q13 with a MM. Set the MM to diode test and see if you get between .4 and .6 between the outside leg and middle leg. It could still be bad even if it tests good. But if it tests bad then you know its bad. So I would replace that before replacing any chips. If replacing Q13 doesn't work then replace U1.

Thank you. Worth a shot. I'll report back.

#34 3 years ago
Quoted from kguenther6:

If you grounded the tab of Q13 and that fired the coil that just tells you that the path to the coil is good. It does not mean that Q13 is good. You need to test Q13 with a MM. Set the MM to diode test and see if you get between .4 and .6 between the outside leg and middle leg. It could still be bad even if it tests good. But if it tests bad then you know its bad. So I would replace that before replacing any chips. If replacing Q13 doesn't work then replace U1.

Test Q13 out of the game. It tests ok, but gonna replace anyhow.
Let you know.

#35 3 years ago

What's the equivalent SE9302 transistor used for Q13 on the Driver Board?
Would that be a TIP102?

#36 3 years ago
Quoted from CUJO:

What's the equivalent SE9302 transistor used for Q13 on the Driver Board?

TIP102

#37 3 years ago

Ok, replaced Q13 this afternoon with TIP102 transisitor.
Put pin back together..Problem solved! (So I thought). Bank 3 resetting after all 3 drops dropped as it should.
Play 2 or 3 games. Shut it off.
Went back to play tonight..Bank 3 no longer resetting...ARGHHHH!!!!

#38 3 years ago

Is there anyway to test U1 with a DVM and a logic probe which I have?

#39 3 years ago

Does it work in solenoid test? Did you also replace the diode (1N4004). I always replace them together. I'm guessing what ever blew out the transistor the first time took it out again. Or if it works in test, the switches on the drop target bank need to be cleaned with some non-coated card stock and adjusted.

#40 3 years ago
Quoted from Superchicken:

Does it work in solenoid test? Did you also replace the diode (1N4004). I always replace them together. I'm guessing what ever blew out the transistor the first time took it out again. Or if it works in test, the switches on the drop target bank need to be cleaned with some non-coated card stock and adjusted.

No, Drop Bank 3 does not reset in SOLENOID test mode.
Are you saying the 1N4004 on the driver board or on the solenoid under the playfield?
Good call on cleaning the switches on Bank 3 but that wouldn't make it not reset in solenoid test mode.

#41 3 years ago
Quoted from CUJO:

Are you saying the 1N4004 on the driver board or on the solenoid under the playfield?

I always swap the 1N4004 on the board when I do the TIP102, but a bad diode on the coil could be the root cause.

1 week later
#42 3 years ago

Update: Meteor Drop Bank 3 reset = Fixed!!!
Ok, here's how I did it: Lightly sanded points on upper flipper w/ 600 grit, then I
lowered playflield, open backbox, short Q13 Base to GND (Bank 3 resets); Get crazy and do the same for Q12 and Q11 (even though they worked ok); Then start a game; I could see Bank 3 wiggle from the solenoid fire; Push down all 3 drop targets on Bank 3, they reset;
Play 4-5 games yesterday; All good w/ Bank 3; Turn on pin today and played a few more games. No issues with Bank 3.

Is any of this meant to be the solution??..No...but we'll see how long it plays ok from here on out.
Finicky little sucker...

#43 3 years ago

Update: Bank 3 still working...Is it possible by cleaning the points on the upper flipper switches, that did something, like does the ground from Bank 3 travel thru there somehow?
Also the points were white covered (from burning/sparking) before I burnished them.. I think I remember reading a way to add a resistor or something to keep the sparking minimized?? Thanks!

#44 3 years ago

No, flipper switches totally isolated from switch matrix.

Flipper button and EOS switches should be filed occasionally to eliminate pitting and build-up.

You can use a 2.2uFarad 250V NON-POLARIZED cap on both the flipper button and EOS switches....if I remember accurately.

#45 3 years ago
Quoted from cody_chunn:

No, flipper switches totally isolated from switch matrix.
Flipper button and EOS switches should be filed occasionally to eliminate pitting and build-up.
You can use a 2.2uFarad 250V NON-POLARIZED cap on both the flipper button and EOS switches....if I remember accurately.

I haven't used caps on both switches, but I have used them on EOS switches and they seem to help.

4 months later
#46 3 years ago

Well, Meteor worked for about 5 months and the BANK 3 RESET problem reared it's ugly head again.
PurpleDrillMonkey? Did yours stay fixed after replacing IC U1?
I think that's my next strategy here.

#47 3 years ago

No idea how I stumbled in here today but yes mine was bulletproof after replacing U1. I don't have my extras any more or else I would send them out to you

#48 3 years ago
Quoted from Purpledrilmonkey:

No idea how I stumbled in here today but yes mine was bulletproof after replacing U1. I don't have my extras any more or else I would send them out to you

Lucky me I guess!
What was the issue you were having that made you replace U1?

I went to Great Plains Electronics to order the CA3081 IC and they are out of stock.

#49 3 years ago

.

Quoted from CUJO:

What was the issue you were having that made you replace U1?

Drop bank 1 wouldn't reset regularly but after much fixing/troubleshooting I found that by physically pressing on U1 and flexing the board I could make the coil behave properly so I thought that the IC itself might have some internal issues. Replaced it and all was well.

Can't recall if it's socketed - I no doubt replaced the socket if so, and added one if not.

Note I have sold the machine so I can't attest to longevity past a few months, but it never showed up for me again.

#50 3 years ago
Quoted from Purpledrilmonkey:

.

Drop bank 1 wouldn't reset regularly but after much fixing/troubleshooting I found that by physically pressing on U1 and flexing the board I could make the coil behave properly so I thought that the IC itself might have some internal issues. Replaced it and all was well.
Can't recall if it's socketed - I no doubt replaced the socket if so, and added one if not.
Note I have sold the machine so I can't attest to longevity past a few months, but it never showed up for me again.

I tried pressing on U1 and U3 while running solenoid test and couldn't get Drop Bank 3 to reset. I had already replaced Q13 before.
Can't remember now if game worked after that. I think it did for 5-6 games then quit. But I was able to just monkey around, cleaned the upper flipper contacts and then it worked until last week so I don't believe Q13 is the issue this time.

Gonna replace U1..It would be U1 that would be the pre-tranny array that includes Q13, correct?

Just need to locate a CA3108N after installing a socket. Rare item nowadays.

Thanks for the offer of sending the IC anyways!

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