(Topic ID: 322513)

Need help reviving Stern Meteor

By Pookiegus

5 days ago


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  • 27 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 days ago by Aflacjack
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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  • Meteor Stern Electronics, 1979

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#1 5 days ago

I just got a Stern Meteor. It's been sitting in an un-heated garage for 25 Years. We were told worked when it went in the garage. . . IMG_5613-2 (resized).jpeg
I checked the test points on the rectifier board and it's producing the proper voltages, however J1 pin 1 is burned and there were two wires missing from J1 and an orange wire jumped to a different point on the board. I repinned J1 and that brought the GI on the playfield back to life.

When I turned on the game it beeped and the red LED on the MPU flashed 6 times and then nothing.

What does the MPU check after the 6th flash?

A few times after cycling the power it flashed 7 times and a few of the score displays lit up with a few numbers on them.

The GI is working but none of the special lights are functioning.

The underside of the playfield has a lot of rust on all the metal parts!

I'm thinking I should replace the rectifier board and repin J1-J3 to get a clean start.

I have a bally solenoid driver board and a lamp driver board and I'm wondering if they would work in this stern machine?
IMG_5616 (resized).jpeg

What do you folks think I should do next?IMG_5615 (resized).jpegIMG_5618 (resized).jpegIMG_5613-2 (resized).jpeg

IMG_5617 (resized).jpeg
#2 5 days ago
Quoted from Pookiegus:

I just got a Stern Meteor. It's been sitting in an un-heated garage for 25 Years. We were told worked when it went in the garage. . . [quoted image]
I checked the test points on the rectifier board and it's producing the proper voltages, however J1 pin 1 is burned and there were two wires missing from J1 and an orange wire jumped to a different point on the board. I repinned J1 and that brought the GI on the playfield back to life.
When I turned on the game it beeped and the red LED on the MPU flashed 6 times and then nothing.
What does the MPU check after the 6th flash?
A few times after cycling the power it flashed 7 times and a few of the score displays lit up with a few numbers on them.
The GI is working but none of the special lights are functioning.
The underside of the playfield has a lot of rust on all the metal parts!
I'm thinking I should replace the rectifier board and repin J1-J3 to get a clean start.
I have a bally solenoid driver board and a lamp driver board and I'm wondering if they would work in this stern machine?
[quoted image]
What do you folks think I should do next?[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]
[quoted image]

I personally wouldn't replace the rectifier just yet. If the output voltages are within spec I would replace all of the header pins and repin the connectors, then move on to the rest of the electronics.

The 7th flash is checking for 43V at the MPU (J4 pin 15, the zero crossing circuit). If you have 43V on the playfield coils, but not at the MPU, there could be a problem with the solenoid driver board, or more likely, the .100 connectors on the driver board or J4 on the MPU.

Your Bally driver boards are compatible with the Stern boards.

#3 4 days ago

I suggest swapping out the power switch. I had a stern game that sat in a garage and the switch rusted. It work for a week or so then burst into flames. FYI

#4 4 days ago
#5 4 days ago

Through the haze that playfield doesn't look half bad. Nice pick up.

#6 4 days ago

Similar to the above, if you have good power at the rectifier I would move on to the connectors and check the mpu for damage. If it has been sitting that long and the original battery was on the board it likely leaked and probably took the mpu and some of the lamp board with it.

#7 4 days ago

I would personally clean and shop the game first. Who knows what kind of treasures / horrors are trapped under all that dust and dirt. It is much easier to troubleshoot a clean game.

#8 4 days ago
Quoted from dothedoo:

I personally wouldn't replace the rectifier just yet. If the output voltages are within spec I would replace all of the header pins and repin the connectors, then move on to the rest of the electronics.
The 7th flash is checking for 43V at the MPU (J4 pin 15, the zero crossing circuit). If you have 43V on the playfield coils, but not at the MPU, there could be a problem with the solenoid driver board, or more likely, the .100 connectors on the driver board or J4 on the MPU.
Your Bally driver boards are compatible with the Stern boards.

Thanks dothedoo I have started re-pinning all the connectors for the rectifier. There always seem to be hacks and patches on many of these early Solid State Machines. J1 was already burnt on pin 1 which I think is the ground for all the GI. On this stern the rectifier is in the cabinet close to the front instead of the back box on Bally's so it makes it easier to repin. I will report back after I have done this and tested the solenoid board. It has the original caps on it so I bet they need to be replaced. I have spare solenoid board from a Bally that I will try in it.

I have a feeling that I am going to have to repin many of the other connectors since there is so much rust and corrosion under the playfield. I bet many of the connectors are bad.

I will definitely replace the switch. Thanks Friengineer.

One of the things that I'm wondering about how to proceed with all the rusted plungers for every single coil on this machine. . .
The three for the flippers and the 4 for the drop targets, one for the pop bumper and two slingshots.

Should I try cleaning them all up with a wire wheel? Should I just order new ones?
Also, the coils on this machine have aluminum sleeves -Should I clean and re-use them or replace them with new plastic sleeves? Luckily they are aluminum so they never rusted liked the plungers. . .

Thanks for everyone's advice!

#9 4 days ago
Quoted from Pookiegus:

Thanks dothedoo I have started re-pinning all the connectors for the rectifier. There always seem to be hacks and patches on many of these early Solid State Machines. J1 was already burnt on pin 1 which I think is the ground for all the GI. On this stern the rectifier is in the cabinet close to the front instead of the back box on Bally's so it makes it easier to repin. I will report back after I have done this and tested the solenoid board. It has the original caps on it so I bet they need to be replaced. I have spare solenoid board from a Bally that I will try in it.
I have a feeling that I am going to have to repin many of the other connectors since there is so much rust and corrosion under the playfield. I bet many of the connectors are bad.
I will definitely replace the switch. Thanks Friengineer.
One of the things that I'm wondering about how to proceed with all the rusted plungers for every single coil on this machine. . .
The three for the flippers and the 4 for the drop targets, one for the pop bumper and two slingshots.
Should I try cleaning them all up with a wire wheel? Should I just order new ones?
Also, the coils on this machine have aluminum sleeves -Should I clean and re-use them or replace them with new plastic sleeves? Luckily they are aluminum so they never rusted liked the plungers. . .
Thanks for everyone's advice!

Get you one of these. That will take care of your rusty parts.

F04EA15E-5C38-4544-B2AC-E2CDBF5093E1 (resized).jpeg

#10 4 days ago
Quoted from Pookiegus:

One of the things that I'm wondering about how to proceed with all the rusted plungers for every single coil on this machine. . .
The three for the flippers and the 4 for the drop targets, one for the pop bumper and two slingshots.

Should I try cleaning them all up with a wire wheel? Should I just order new ones?
Also, the coils on this machine have aluminum sleeves -Should I clean and re-use them or replace them with new plastic sleeves? Luckily they are aluminum so they never rusted liked the plungers. . .

You can sand off the rust in most cases, I put some mother's mag polish on the plunger and use 220-320 grit to sand, takes off rust like magic. Any that are crazy pitted replace of course, but I'm cheap It's faster than other methods as well, less than a minute per plunger once you get into the groove of doing it.

Dump those aluminum sleeves. Not needed for this type coil, replace with the nylon type. They'll work much better.

I would get your seventh flash going first before doing all this other work, once you have a booting machine, then do all the bulletproofing stuff.

#11 4 days ago
Quoted from Mad_Dog_Coin_Op:

Get you one of these. That will take care of your rusty parts.
[quoted image]

So a vibratory cleaner that tumbles ammo casing. What medium would you put inside it? What does one cost?
Is a vibratory cleaner better than soaking everything in rust remover? Or can I just sand with fine grit sand paper and polish on a polishing wheel?

Quoted from Mad_Dog_Coin_Op:

I would personally clean and shop the game first. Who knows what kind of treasures / horrors are trapped under all that dust and dirt. It is much easier to troubleshoot a clean game.

Mad_Dog_Coin_Op - I have started cleaning and shopping the machine.
A_Bord The playfield is in pretty good shape which is this machine's saving grace so far! Meteor has 4 different sets of drop targets. The reset coils and plungers are rusted pretty bad. I think I'll have to dismantle and clean

#12 4 days ago
Quoted from Pookiegus:

Is a vibratory cleaner better than soaking everything in rust remover? Or can I just sand with fine grit sand paper and polish on a polishing wheel?

Rust remover will remove rust, the tumbler is really for polishing. So she you can polish by hand if you want, tumbler does things a little more hands off. Your choice.
Either way you should be soaking in evaporust.

To your above absolutely clean up the plungers yourselves and don't order new ones unless you really need to.

#13 4 days ago

Following because I am literally in the same boat. I started mine last year but stopped when it came time to populate the bottom.

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#14 4 days ago
Quoted from Pookiegus:

So a vibratory cleaner that tumbles ammo casing. What medium would you put inside it? What does one cost?
Is a vibratory cleaner better than soaking everything in rust remover? Or can I just sand with fine grit sand paper and polish on a polishing wheel?

They run about $100. You want to use crushed walnut shells. I buy the media at the pet store. It is used for reptile bedding. If the part is metal and fits inside, the tumbler with take care of it. All your parts will come out looking great. I also add a little metal polish to the media. It speeds things up. Drop in all your brackets, posts, screws, nuts and miscellaneous metal and come back a day to two later. You’ll be amazed on how nice it looks.

#15 4 days ago
Quoted from Aflacjack:

Following because I am literally in the same boat. I started mine last year but stopped when it came time to populate the bottom.

Nice Aflacjack ! Where did you get the new playfield? How much was it? I have yet to do a playfield swap. It seems to be the most daunting thing in pinball revivalism! This pin has a bunch of special lights that I'm nervous about working on since they are all probably corroded. I do have lamp socket cleaner(Long rubber post with some abrasive in it). I just read you can put them in a drill and make short work of cleaning each socket.

My playfield is not bad, just a few spots where the paint is worn. I have a feeling once I re-pin all the connectors on the Retifier board I'm going to find out that I need a new solenoid board. Then I'm hoping I just need to re-pin the connectors on the MPU and Lamp Driver board to fix everything else. . .

#16 4 days ago

That pf is a CPR first run its missing numbers on the meteor target bank.

#17 4 days ago

any rust has already shown the protective zinc has been eaten through and you can make it look nice, but it will eventually come back, nature guarantees it.

any major parts you can get replated, although there will still be the pitting from corrosion showing.

getting the chestnut media out of Philips head screws sucks. Just buy new ones, sooooo cheap and their new.

first job on a playfield, IMO, is to fix down both the general and switched illimitation braid. Hardware in the way will make it near impossible.

#18 4 days ago

In my opinion I'd replace the rectifier with a new board as part of your restoration. There's several good options available for reasonable prices. This along with repining connectors will go a long way to making the game reliable.

#19 4 days ago
Quoted from Pookiegus:

Nice Aflacjack ! Where did you get the new playfield? How much was it? I have yet to do a playfield swap. It seems to be the most daunting thing in pinball revivalism! This pin has a bunch of special lights that I'm nervous about working on since they are all probably corroded. I do have lamp socket cleaner(Long rubber post with some abrasive in it). I just read you can put them in a drill and make short work of cleaning each socket.
My playfield is not bad, just a few spots where the paint is worn. I have a feeling once I re-pin all the connectors on the Retifier board I'm going to find out that I need a new solenoid board. Then I'm hoping I just need to re-pin the connectors on the MPU and Lamp Driver board to fix everything else. . .

Yeah a CPR Silver. I got one of the last ones from the run and has the letters missing. I just stare at that bottom side and am like “nope, not today”. Been saying that for a year. Shhhhh

#20 3 days ago
Quoted from jgreene:

In my opinion I'd replace the rectifier with a new board as part of your restoration. There's several good options available for reasonable prices. This along with repining connectors will go a long way to making the game reliable.

I have a rectifier (Homepin) on order, https://www.pinballlife.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=AS-2518-18&Category_Code=

I have already installed 4 so I have experience. This stern has it in the cabinet which makes re-pinning J1-J3 easier.

Then I will probably need a new solenoid board. I have a spare one and after swapping it with the current board allowed the machine to boot but only after I messed with the connectors. So I will probably have to re-pin all the connectors.

Does anyone know of a kit that has all new molex connectors and trifurcon connectors for all the boards on an early solid state like this meteor?
I'm pretty sure all the metal on this machine is corroded!

Quoted from Aflacjack:

Yeah a CPR Silver. I got one of the last ones from the run and has the letters missing. I just stare at that bottom side and am like “nope, not today”. Been saying that for a year. Shhhhh

Aflacjack Your playfield swap is pretty daunting! I totally understand why you've waited a year! I agree with Rikoshay First you gotta get the general and special illumination braid installed before you start moving light sockets or other stuff over which will get in the way. Do you have a roll of braid like this:
https://pinside.com/pinball/market/shops/1041-third-coast-pinball/00473-ground-braid
or were you going to just try and move it over from the old one? I think if you got a roll you could look at the old one and just try and run it in the same pattern, stapling it as you go. Just start chipping away . . . it'll get easier and less daunting as you progress!

#21 3 days ago
Quoted from Pookiegus:

I have a rectifier (Homepin) on order, https://www.pinballlife.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=AS-2518-18&Category_Code=
I have already installed 4 so I have experience. This stern has it in the cabinet which makes re-pinning J1-J3 easier.
Then I will probably need a new solenoid board. I have a spare one and after swapping it with the current board allowed the machine to boot but only after I messed with the connectors. So I will probably have to re-pin all the connectors.
Does anyone know of a kit that has all new molex connectors and trifurcon connectors for all the boards on an early solid state like this meteor?
I'm pretty sure all the metal on this machine is corroded!

Aflacjack Your playfield swap is pretty daunting! I totally understand why you've waited a year! I agree with Rikoshay First you gotta get the general and special illumination braid installed before you start moving light sockets or other stuff over which will get in the way. Do you have a roll of braid like this:
https://pinside.com/pinball/market/shops/1041-third-coast-pinball/00473-ground-braid
or were you going to just try and move it over from the old one? I think if you got a roll you could look at the old one and just try and run it in the same pattern, stapling it as you go. Just start chipping away . . . it's get easier and less daunting as you progress!

I just ordered 20 ft thanks to your link. My plan is to lay down the new braid, staple it, then disconnect the old, slide cardboard under it, and move it all over as a single piece. Sounds good in theory, so we’ll see. Hahaha

#22 2 days ago

I don’t like using ground braid for the playfield bus. It’s not what they originally used, it’s vulnerable to fraying, and also it’s really wide. I feel like the more surface area there is, the more likely things are to short to it: unlike a true ground, playfield buss is usually a positive voltage in reference to ground.

Ground braid is for the metal parts in the cabinet to be brought to ground potential. Playfields need something called buss wire.

Buss wire is available from any electronics supplier and it’s what Stern and Bally originally used. It doesn’t fray, it’s pre-tinned, and it’s stiff so you can make it look nice when stapling it down:

https://www.allelectronics.com/category/113/buss-wire/1.html

#23 2 days ago
Quoted from semicolin:

I don’t like using ground braid for the playfield bus. It’s not what they originally used, it’s vulnerable to fraying, and also it’s really wide. I feel like the more surface area there is, the more likely things are to short to it: unlike a true ground, playfield buss is usually a positive voltage in reference to ground.
Ground braid is for the metal parts in the cabinet to be brought to ground potential. Playfields need something called buss wire.
Buss wire is available from any electronics supplier and it’s what Stern and Bally originally used. It doesn’t fray, it’s pre-tinned, and it’s stiff so you can make it look nice when stapling it down:
https://www.allelectronics.com/category/113/buss-wire/1.html

What size?

#24 2 days ago

Here is what you need for pf wire bus:

https://wirebot.xyz/products/18-awg-stranded-bus-wire

#26 2 days ago

Bally mostly used stranded, Stern mostly used solid. Both are fine. I used 20AWG solid in my meteor rebuild because it was what was on the original board, but the 18AWG stranded will probably be a better option.

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