(Topic ID: 141588)

NVRAM experience -- $1.50-$2.00 chips


By lyonsden

3 years ago



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There are 648 posts in this topic. You are on page 13 of 13.
#601 2 years ago

I am still using the older ram only NeoLoch tester. I think it says v1.02 when it starts up.

It gives false failures on the first test of 6264 sometimes. 5114 nvrams the 2nd half of tests shows failed. 5101 rams always show address failure, but the tests are OK. 6116 nvrams always test fine.

#602 2 years ago
Quoted from barakandl:

I am still using the older ram only NeoLoch tester. I think it says v1.02 when it starts up.
It gives false failures on the first test of 6264 sometimes. 5114 nvrams the 2nd half of tests shows failed. 5101 rams always show address failure, but the tests are OK. 6116 nvrams always test fine.

Oh for 5114 the NVRAM tests seem very unreliable on the older LCD RAM Tester (pre-Inquisitor). David mentioned some voltage instability issue there.

The Inquisitor is *much quicker* compared to the LCD RAM Tester. I asked David if there was any way to speed up the tests.. just based on the LCD RAM Tester -- but seems that it's just a slower PIC being used so no ability to speed up testing. I sold all the Inquisitor Kits & assembled boards I had bought earlier this year... meant to keep one for myself, but usually how it goes. Now that I have an Inquisitor back in the line-up, the 6264 tests aren't *as painful*... much faster. He added a percentage indicator as it's doing the tests which is nice. Other than the blade being close to the ZIF socket, I do think the Inquisitor with SRAM blade offers a lot of advantages over the LCD RAM Tester. 5114 nvrams failed every time on the old tester, pass every time on the Inquisitor. I never had address failures on 5101 NVRAMs on the LCD tester though...may be a newer firmware for the older LCD tester that fixes that. Think mine is v1.03.

#603 2 years ago

And actually, the GQ-4X is kind of pissing me off any more. I bought the GQ-4X V4 recently too, just to see if it'd behave better. I've got an "older" laptop, bought it probably in 2012. It needs to be opened up & cleaned out, fan kicks on *a ton* so I'm sure it's rather dusty. I get some false checksums on it once in a while -- more than I used to when it wasn't heating up so much. I have to unplug the GQ-4X a few times when it's having fits.. then I get valid checksums every time.

Kind of annoying having some of these testers being temperamental like that. I love squashing those kind of bugs to ensure consistent testing when possible. Will probably cave in and get a new laptop soon. Never used to give me as much of a fit, but it definitely heats up more now.. and must be screwing with the USB voltages as it heats up.

Maybe it's just a Windows 10 thing too. People just code really shitty any more since hardware just keeps improving leaps and bounds. Why write efficient code when the hardware can handle really crappy code?

#604 2 years ago
Quoted from Radius118:

75% were good right out of the gate. 25% were good on the 2nd test.

To me this sounds like 25% of the chips fail 50% of the time. What am I missing?

#605 2 years ago

My gq4x works fine with windows 10. I had to manually install a special driver if I remember right. Only thing is it gets out of sync when the laptop in the work shop goes into sleep mode. So I keep it unplugged until I am ready to use it.

I want to make socket adapters so I can read / write to all the nvrams with the gq4x.

#606 2 years ago
Quoted from barakandl:

I want to make socket adapters so I can read / write to all the nvrams with the gq4x.

On my to do list as well. May be worth collaborating on. I've got a hacked 24 pin zif socket for 6116 testing right now that doesn't sit well in the GQ-4X. I'd like to do a tester for 5114 too. I like being able to use the GQ-4X as a secondary test for memory adapters.. and then clearing them as the final step. Especially after seeing how the Neoloch can sometimes give those false positives, just helps me feel better doing several types of tests on them.

#607 2 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

I wish the Neoloch testers wouldn't give "false positives" -- I haven't emailed David separately about that, but it gets a bit annoying having to run memory through several cycles even if it passes on the first, just to verify it's giving the correct results. And many people have posted if it fails on a chip, the next chip tested might also start off with a failure. So that for me turns into having to run every chip tested through at 2x cycles to make sure it's a valid result. Seems like something cached isn't getting cleared out.
My wishlist for the Inquisitor would be to see that issue cleared up, then every type of RAM "cleared out" once the test is complete. I'll probably still use some other methods to then verify the nvram modules I'm doing after that, I like not relying 100% on anything, but to know the RAM has been cleared for every type after testing was done would be nice.
One hardware wishlist I have for the Inquisitor is to move the ZIF socket below the LCD screen. Slows you down having it so close to the blade that sticks up on it. That and *anything* that could possibly make testing larger RAMs quicker. Maybe a faster PIC if the current one is running the tests as fast as it can.

If you have an Eprom programmer that either reports using either the Ramtron part, or the Dallas equivalent, you can always run a test of them by programming and verifying 00, FF, CC, and 55. Write, then verify, then write the new pattern and verify again. These 4 patterns (all zeroes, all ones, and then alternate 1's and 0's) normally will catch most bad parts. It may not take into account the shortest access time but that won't really matter since the pinball CPUs are running so slow.

Always do 00 last and you will have the chip ready to go fully wiped of any data.

EDIT:. Sorry for the somewhat duplicate info. I guess I didn't open the last page of posts.

#608 2 years ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

If you have an Eprom programmer that either reports using either the Ramtron part, or the Dallas equivalent, you can always run a test of them by programming and verifying 00, FF, CC, and 55. Write, then verify, then write the new pattern and verify again. These 4 patterns (all zeroes, all ones, and then alternate 1's and 0's) normally will catch most bad parts. It may not take into account the shortest access time but that won't really matter since the pinball CPUs are running so slow.
Always do 00 last and you will have the chip ready to go fully wiped of any data.
EDIT:. Sorry for the somewhat duplicate info. I guess I didn't open the last page of posts.

Thank you for this information, I have the GQ-4X, and was wondering how to test the ramtron chips with it, and you answered my question perfectly!

2 months later
#609 2 years ago

Thanks to this thread I finally updated two of my machines. I didn't have a Eprom programmer, so I didn't wipe the chips before install. Seems to work fine, no settings lost.

On my NGG, after removing the battery holder I did notice some damage I didn't see before. One trace seems to have exposed copper, and a little bit of green on the solder point. Anything to worry about, or just leave it alone?20170310_201811 (resized).jpg

#610 2 years ago

Looks like alkaline damage at C59, maybe more on neighboring components. You should definitely remove the capacitor, check for how far it has spread along the traces, clean, etc.

#611 2 years ago

As lyondsen stated it has spread to components below the battery holder. See the following for neutralization techniques. If left untreated it will continue to spread and damage traces.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/terrybs-guide-to-repairing-alkaline-battery-damage

#612 2 years ago

I'm concerned about U27, You can see corrosion on the right leg of C61

4 months later
#613 1 year ago

Just an update. I found a source selling FM1608-120-PG for $1.32 on Aliexpress: FM1608-120-PG

I ordered 10 and will report back on how they test when they come in.

#615 1 year ago

A few Reviews, they are not too good

Hope your experience is a good one. Looking forward to seeing how it goes.

GL

#616 1 year ago

I was going to put NVRAM in the T3 I recently acquired, and noticed it had an odd chip instead of the usual RAM chip. It seems to be a bigger chip with integrated lithium battery. Is anyone familiar with this? Seems like a cool idea, are these still available?

#617 1 year ago
Quoted from HighVoltage:

I was going to put NVRAM in the T3 I recently acquired, and noticed it had an odd chip instead of the usual RAM chip. It seems to be a bigger chip with integrated lithium battery. Is anyone familiar with this? Seems like a cool idea, are these still available?

It is a Dallas / Maxim SRAM with a battery monitor and lithium cell all in one potted package. DS1225 is the 8K x 8 one that would go into a game like T3. They are essentially the circuit Gottlieb system 3 used but all packed inside the dip28 part. I think they still make them, but probably more or as expensive as NVRAM, then they die after about 10-15 years.

https://www.maximintegrated.com/en/products/digital/memory-products/DS1225AB.html

#618 1 year ago
Quoted from barakandl:

It is a Dallas / Maxim SRAM with a battery monitor and lithium cell all in one potted package.

So does this have advantages over NVRAM? Will this keep the clock going, or is the clock not kept on this chip?

#619 1 year ago
Quoted from HighVoltage:

So does this have advantages over NVRAM? Will this keep the clock going, or is the clock not kept on this chip?

No advantage. Just disadvantage since you would need to replace it in 10 to 15 years from date of install.

The clock requires power to the WPC ASIC chip. So, no external battery, no clock.

#620 1 year ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

No advantage. Just disadvantage since you would need to replace it in 10 to 15 years from date of install.

In most cases they tend to last >20 years (if you install a fresh chip). Only advantages I can think of are compatibility and reliability. They work everywhere a standard SRAM would (because they literally contain a CMOS SRAM, along with the lithium battery and power mgmt chip). Simtek and Ramtron just don't work everywhere, due to power and/or timing issues.

#621 1 year ago

I finally had time to test my FM1608-120-PG to 6116 adaptor board. This board rewires the FM1608 to the pinout of the 6116 (24-pins) and is needed for System 11A boards which do not have the extra pins slots for the 28-pins of a FM1608-120-PG NVRAM chip. I'm happy to report that the board worked perfectly (currently in a Pinbot).

I've made the boards open source: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_boards/tree/master/NVRAM

If you want to order them, you can just submit the .zip file in the "Gerber" directory to Seeed Studio and get 10 made for $5-10 (plus shipping).

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#622 1 year ago

Someone asked how to place a seeed order for these boards. To do this, go to: https://www.seeedstudio.com/fusion_pcb.html

Drop in the zip file (in the gerber directory) and you can keep all the default options (though I selected red PCB boards).

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#623 1 year ago
Quoted from lyonsden:

I finally had time to test my FM1608-120-PG to 6116 adaptor board. This board rewires the FM1608 to the pinout of the 6116 (24-pins) and is needed for System 11A boards which do not have the extra pins slots for the 28-pins of a FM1608-120-PG NVRAM chip. I'm happy to report that the board worked perfectly (currently in a Pinbot).
I've made the boards open source: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_boards/tree/master/NVRAM
If you want to order them, you can just submit the .zip file in the "Gerber" directory to Seeed Studio and get 10 made for $5-10 (plus shipping).

I could swear there are unused pins for the 6116 on a sys11, all that needs to be done is install a new socket and change a jumper. I could be wrong but I will look later.

#624 1 year ago
Quoted from Drewscruis:

I could swear there are unused pins for the 6116 on a sys11, all that needs to be done is install a new socket and change a jumper. I could be wrong but I will look later.

11B and 11C do have the extra holes. 11A does not.

#625 1 year ago
Quoted from Drewscruis:

I could swear there are unused pins for the 6116 on a sys11, all that needs to be done is install a new socket and change a jumper. I could be wrong but I will look later.

Quoted from Mitch:

11B and 11C do have the extra holes. 11A does not.

This is correct. 11A does not have the extra holes and you are stuck at 24 pins. The adaptor board is the only way to go if you are going to use a 28-pin NVRAM chip like FM1608-120-PG.

This post has an example of using the extra holes and moving the jumper for an 11C: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/nvram-experience/page/12#post-3362864

And this post shows the mapping of the pinouts that I used for the adaptor board: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/nvram-experience/page/12#post-3363464 (which someone else had made for upgrading ram on a Super Nintendo -- I love how open work in one are helps out work in another -- I guess this is an example of Open Innovation). Extra thanks to barakandl for his constant great advice and ideas.

#626 1 year ago

Another thing. I can't believe I waited so long to get a chip puller: ebay.com link » 1pcs Hot Removal Chip Portable Tool Extractor New Tweezers Circuit Board Puller

At $1-$2, I'm kicking myself for not getting one sooner.

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#627 1 year ago

Thanks for the good work and sharing, I just ordered 10 of the adapters. I only own 2 older system 11 games, but I can give away the others to friends (and keep a few spare ).

#628 1 year ago
Quoted from lyonsden:

Another thing. I can't believe I waited so long to get a chip puller: ebay.com link » 1pcs Hot Removal Chip Portable Tool Extractor New Tweezers Circuit Board Puller
At $1-$2, I'm kicking myself for not getting one sooner.

Even cheaper on Alliexpress

http://s.aliexpress.com/JRZb6JJ7

#629 1 year ago

You folks realize that the black claw is designed to pull PLCC packages (like the WPC ASIC chip), not normal dip ICs.

#630 1 year ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

You folks realize that the black claw is designed to pull PLCC packages (like the WPC ASIC chip), not normal dip ICs.

I did not, but it has worked really well on DIP ICs.

#631 1 year ago

It's almost to easy. Never bend a leg again.

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1 week later
#634 1 year ago

Just got these in. Came in "typical" plastic wrap and all are pulls. All passed testing. For $1.58 per chip, I'm happy.

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#635 1 year ago

I think it's great to have these old chips reused: it's good to see things being recycled instead of using new resources all the time. I didn't get a faulty one yet, so I don't see a downside (maybe in the long term, but I socket them, so it's no problem if I ever have to replace it a bit earlier than a new one would have needed).

#636 1 year ago

Also, as a general update, I've put these in 30 games so far over the past 1-2 years and have had no failures. They have been purchased from different people/groups in China (Ebay/AliExpress) so I assume used/pulls/etc. They do the trick and at under $2 per chip, they are the same price or cheaper than batteries. Between the low cost and removing the chance of battery leak damage, they are a no-brainer. Of course, there is always risk involved with removing old chips from some boards (e.g., WPC) and pulling/damaging traces.

1 year later
#637 25 days ago
Quoted from lyonsden:

Also, as a general update, I've put these in 30 games so far over the past 1-2 years and have had no failures. They have been purchased from different people/groups in China (Ebay/AliExpress) so I assume used/pulls/etc. They do the trick and at under $2 per chip, they are the same price or cheaper than batteries. Between the low cost and removing the chance of battery leak damage, they are a no-brainer. Of course, there is always risk involved with removing old chips from some boards (e.g., WPC) and pulling/damaging traces.

While I've only done 2 of them (both of my pins), my experience has been the same as lyonsden with 100% success. I highly recommend ditching the batteries in exchange for NVRAM chips.

#638 25 days ago

Quick question here, what are the tips to desolder the RAM?
Have a desoldering gun, tried, but ended up damaging traces anyway

#639 25 days ago
Quoted from Nihonmasa:

Quick question here, what are the tips to desolder the RAM?
Have a desoldering gun, tried, but ended up damaging traces anyway

here's what I do but I am far from an expert:
1. Cut the legs off the chip
2. Heat pad with iron and remove pin
3. Remove solder with sucker

#640 25 days ago
Quoted from Nihonmasa:

Quick question here, what are the tips to desolder the RAM?
Have a desoldering gun, tried, but ended up damaging traces anyway

Like he said....cut the pins of old ic (Dremel cuts like butter),desolder pins, wick or desolder gun to clear solder....I've done all of mine...no issues.....Damn, year old resurrection posts lol

#641 25 days ago
Quoted from Irishbastard:

Like he said....cut the pins of old ic (Dremel cuts like butter),desolder pins, wick or desolder gun to clear solder....I've done all of mine...no issues.....Damn, year old resurrection posts lol

I prefer to use lead trimming pliers. If you slip with the dremel you can damage the board and traces.

#642 25 days ago

Cutting the legs is what I do when I have no choice.
Was trying to save the Ram, but if it is the only way, I'll follow this route

I also cut with a small plier.

#643 25 days ago
Quoted from Nihonmasa:

Cutting the legs is what I do when I have no choice.
Was trying to save the Ram, but if it is the only way, I'll follow this route
I also cut with a small plier.

I look at it this way:
You can save the board
or
you can save the part

You get to choose

#644 25 days ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

I prefer to use lead trimming pliers. If you slip with the dremel you can damage the board and traces.

If you slip with anything you risk damage to board/trace, but unless you're ten beers deep, it hard to slip with a Dremel cutting legs. I've used my precise snips as well, but found sometimes they cause more harm than good.

#645 25 days ago
Quoted from Nihonmasa:

Cutting the legs is what I do when I have no choice.
Was trying to save the Ram, but if it is the only way, I'll follow this route
I also cut with a small plier.

The RAM chip is dirt cheap... no reason to try to save it. Always clip the legs. Use flush cutters at the body of the chip.

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#646 25 days ago
Quoted from mattosborn:

... no reason to try to save it...

There's one fantastic reason to try and save it, and it's the best reason of all... If you can't remove an IC on a board you're working on in one useable piece, you shouldn't be doing board work.

By far the number one thing I get in to fix these days is botched NVRAM install attempts. My piece of advice is if you don't have 100% confidence in the work you're about to perform, let someone with the experience do it.

Now if you're absolutely the do it yourself kind of guy, then yes, destroying the IC is definitely better than destroying the board.

A Dremel is a horrible idea though. I've got some great photos of boards sent in to prove this fact. Not only does it go through IC legs like butter, it goes through board traces like butter too.

--
Rob Anthony
Pinball Classics
http://LockWhenLit.com
Quality Board Work - In Home Service
borygard at gmail dot com

#647 25 days ago
Quoted from Irishbastard:

If you slip with anything you risk damage to board/trace, but unless you're ten beers deep, it hard to slip with a Dremel cutting legs. I've used my precise snips as well, but found sometimes they cause more harm than good.

True. I all boils down to what you're comfortable with and what works good for you. I just prefer the lead cutters since that does work better for me. I had used the dremel in the past on a surface mount board and did slip. Luckily it was on a non pinball prototype board and I was able to fix it. That is when I knew that method wasn't for me...

#648 25 days ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

True. I all boils down to what you're comfortable with and what works good for you. I just prefer the lead cutters since that does work better for me. I had used the dremel in the past on a surface mount board and did slip. Luckily it was on a non pinball prototype board and I was able to fix it. That is when I knew that method wasn't for me...

To be honest, I used the Dremel method three times I believe...gave me zero issues, and yes, butter... I have used the close cut precision cutters for the rest, bought one of the most recommend brands...dulled out fast ..have a few dull pairs now. One instance during a cut it twisted the leg and ripped out the pad...sucked....so Dremel it was. If it works, go for it, it's not my profession, if I F it up it's on me.

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