(Topic ID: 208648)

NVRAM versus continuing with batteries


By GoChiefs70

1 year ago



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  • 44 posts
  • 23 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by acebathound
  • Topic is favorited by 8 Pinsiders

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    #1 1 year ago

    I was thinking of taking the NVRAM plunge with all my games, but read a couple of posts that indicated that your games with timed modes may not function properly? I have LOTR specifically, and virtually all my others have some kind of timed modes. Does anyone know of the actual limitations of the NVRAM, and if I still need batteries for timed or other functions? If so, I probably would not waste my money and time. Thanks in advance

    #2 1 year ago

    The limitation is NVRAM does not keep time when the machine is off.
    So, your issues become games with midnight Madness modes will be off, time stamp for last time you ruled the Kingdom on MM won't be correct...things like that.
    So for some people that isn;t a big deal at all.

    #3 1 year ago

    Just install Lithium batteries they will be fine if you feel you'll sleep better install Lithium Batteries in a remote battery holder.

    #4 1 year ago

    No. NVRAM does not affect any timed modes that you are referring too.

    It only affects very few DMD games (only when the game is turned off) that use a real time clock and which have the Midnight Madness mode and Twilight Zone (if you care about that cool feature), which actually keeps the real clock time while in attract mode. Alphanumeric games (non-DMD games) do not have a real time clock at all.

    MM is the only one in your collection that can be affected as what theLAW mentions about MM (I'm not familiar with).

    Upgrade to NVRAM. You will be glad you did. I'm installing them for every game I work on for others as a standard, minus the 5 or 6 DMD exceptions, if the owner wishes, then it is lithium batteries for those.

    #5 1 year ago

    Here is the way I put it to people when I work on their games. Say, I install Lithium batteries now in a game for you instead of NVRAM. Somewhere down the line, you sell the game and the new owner reads on the internet that you need to change alkaline batteries every year. Some people may not realize Lithium batteries last much longer and should not leak. Very likely what will happen is that the new owner (most likely, new to pinball ownership) will install alkaline batteries because they are cheap. So now the game is at risk yet again.

    So, I suggest that anyone who does install Lithium batteries in a game, put a label over the batteries stating "Only replace with Lithium batteries". That way the MPU board will be protected for a much longer life. New replacement boards may not be easy to find in 10+years.

    #6 1 year ago

    Great, thanks for the info everyone, extremely helpful and grateful to all!

    #7 1 year ago

    Any lithium batteries that anyone can recommend? (Or all they all the same?)

    #8 1 year ago

    NVRAM is great as long as you don't have to install the socket on the board first, there are dozens of us who pulled traces on the boards and had to send them out for repair because of this luxury mod, why do I call it a luxury mod? Because you can install a remote battery pack in 1 minute and be done with it. No need to chance damaging your CPU over it. If you have a Sega, or Stern Whitestar CPU, by all means, install NVRAM, because all you have to do is pop out the old chip and install new chip. But with WPC you need to be desolder old chip and install a chip socket, and that's where the devil in the details will get you.

    PS: I have installed NVRAM on (if memory serves) 9 of my games. I have a Hakko desoldering gun and I've gotten pretty deft at this kind of stuff now, but I still recommend a remote battery holder for the majority of collectors in my circle.

    #9 1 year ago

    This thread has a lot of excellent information: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/nvram-experience

    My take, without reservation, is go with NVRAM if you have the skills to put it into your games.

    #10 1 year ago

    +1 for lithium batteries. i use energizer ultimate lithium, never had one leak

    #11 1 year ago
    Quoted from PinballManiac40:

    Here is the way I put it to people when I work on their games. Say, I install Lithium batteries now in a game for you instead of NVRAM. Somewhere down the line, you sell the game and the new owner reads on the internet that you need to change alkaline batteries every year. Some people may not realize Lithium batteries last much longer and should not leak. Very likely what will happen is that the new owner (most likely, new to pinball ownership) will install alkaline batteries because they are cheap. So now the game is at risk yet again.
    So, I suggest that anyone who does install Lithium batteries in a game, put a label over the batteries stating "Only replace with Lithium batteries". That way the MPU board will be protected for a much longer life. New replacement boards may not be easy to find in 10+years.

    Does it matter though if they are in a remote battery holder?

    #12 1 year ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    Does it matter though if they are in a remote battery holder?

    You would be surprised what the fumes from Alkaline batteries can do.

    #13 1 year ago
    Quoted from kvan99:

    NVRAM is great as long as you don't have to install the socket on the board first

    I personally installed over 150 NVRAM in my games and others and I do not even have an electric desolder station. I do have my trusty old blue manual solder sucker. I purchase a minimum of 20 NVRAM at a time. I'm here to help give the longest possible life to a MPU that I possibly can. NVRAM for a long life!!

    #14 1 year ago

    OP, I'll be happy to install NVRAM for you, if needed.

    #15 1 year ago
    Quoted from PinballManiac40:

    OP, I'll be happy to install NVRAM for you, if needed.

    You're a good man PM.

    #16 1 year ago

    +1 for NVRAM whenever possible. If there is a socket there to begin with it is a no brainer. I have a desoldering station, so it is a no brainer to me either way. I don't even put a socket in. I just solder the NVRAM in place because it is permanent anyway...

    #17 1 year ago

    NVRAM, hands down. Just end any trepidation on battery leakage. For games with midnight madness, every once in a while set the clock to 10 PM.

    I see so many boards damaged from batteries that leaked. It’s an expensive mess that can be prevented so easily. And there is just no need for it. Stop f$&king around and just install NVRAM. I’m saying that to everyone here. It’s the first thing I do when I get a new game.

    #18 1 year ago
    Quoted from kvan99:

    You're a good man PM.

    Thank you for the kind words, Sir.

    I'm in the process of upgrading a fellow Houston collector upgrade his 45 pins to NVRAM. Lucky enough for me, 11 were DE/Sega/Whitestar games, so that was just a quick swap out. With the WPC/WPC95 games I already upgraded, I think I have 15 to go. Though, unlucky for me, he had 5 (3 are WPC95) MPU boards with Alkaline damage that I had already repaired and installed NVRAM. Here is one WPC before (speaking of fumes/leakage) and after 3/4 of the repair work was done to this point. Wish I had pictures of the other 4 boards handy, but can't seem to find them at this time. 20170408_115512 (resized).jpg20170409_111916 (resized).jpg

    Here is a Bad Cats MPU I repaired for someone who said there is no battery damage on the board. I got there and looked it over and removed the battery holder and you can still see the nasty wetness that was still under the holder. 20170311_130238 (resized).jpg

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    #19 1 year ago
    Quoted from DaveH:

    NVRAM, hands down. Just end any trepidation on battery leakage. For games with midnight madness, every once in a while set the clock to 10 PM.
    I see so many boards damaged from batteries that leaked. It’s an expensive mess that can be prevented so easily. And there is just no need for it. Stop f$&king around and just install NVRAM. I’m saying that to everyone here. It’s the first thing I do when I get a new game.

    Amen, Brother!!

    #20 1 year ago
    Quoted from John_I:

    I just solder the NVRAM in place because it is permanent anyway...

    You are a brave sole. The newer NVRAM now has a 73 year retention life. What happens when you out live it? Being I install mine in a socket, I will not have to worry about seeing very well in order to just swap in another if needed. haha

    #21 1 year ago
    Quoted from PinballManiac40:

    You would be surprised what the fumes from Alkaline batteries can do.

    Yes very true. Often wondered why transistors on another board no where near the cpu had turned green blue.

    #22 1 year ago

    Installed nvram in my f2k, super easy. Pop 2 chips out, pop the new card in. Good for 100 yrs. doubt the original board will live that long but hey not my problem.

    #23 1 year ago

    System 11_ and 11A boards should already be socketed from Williams and would use only a 6116 due to the layout of the board.

    #24 1 year ago

    A machine does not leave my house without NVRAM instead. Period.

    #25 1 year ago

    I made open source adapter boards for letting people put inexpensive FM1608-120-PG NVRAM into System 11A games: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/nvram-adaptor-boards-for-system-11a-open-source. Might be helpful for people.ts

    Costs $5 to get 10 made (plug shipping) by Seeed Studio. Just upload the zip file available on my github repo to Seeed Fusion.

    Zip file is located: https://github.com/elyons/professor_pinball_boards/tree/master/NVRAM/gerber-files
    Seeed Fusion: https://www.seeedstudio.com/fusion.html

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    #26 1 year ago

    Mostly, I use http://www.pinitech.com/products/cat_memory.php

    Have also bought a few from http://nvram.weebly.com/
    and even http://lockwhenlit.com/anyPin.htm

    Might even be other sources ready to use.

    1 week later
    #27 1 year ago
    Quoted from PinballManiac40:

    System 11_ and 11A boards should already be socketed from Williams and would use only a 6116 due to the layout of the board.

    Would be nice if this was true, but it's not. Some may be socketed, haven't looked at very many in quite a few years and my spare boards are in storage - but I'm looking right now at my PinBot's 11A board and it is very much not socketed. The MPU is actually out of #597 (Millionaire) but still an 11A regardless.

    Not a huge issue to deal with if one has any soldering skills, but an obstacle for those new to the game.

    Just placed my order for Pinitech NVRAM's for all my games, looks like a nice product.

    Richard

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    #28 1 year ago

    My taxi was socketed and my F-14 was not. I would always go with NVRAM.

    On games with midnight madness some people prefer to have NVRAM because then atleast they get to see the midnight madness mode since they dont normally play pinball at midnight. With NVRAM it will happen every 24 hours the machine has been on.

    #29 1 year ago
    Quoted from someotherguy:

    Would be nice if this was true, but it's not. Some may be socketed, haven't looked at very many in quite a few years and my spare boards are in storage - but I'm looking right now at my PinBot's 11A board and it is very much not socketed. The MPU is actually out of #597 (Millionaire) but still an 11A regardless.
    Not a huge issue to deal with if one has any soldering skills, but an obstacle for those new to the game.
    Just placed my order for Pinitech NVRAM's for all my games, looks like a nice product.
    Richard

    Well, was just basing it on what I have seen. Some may have been socketed after leaving the factory. I can install NVRAM for you if you want. I live close to the Katy area if you want to bring it by.

    You did order 5101 for you other 2 games? Normally the old SS Williams games are not in a socket either.

    #30 1 year ago
    Quoted from GoChiefs70:

    Great, thanks for the info everyone, extremely helpful and grateful to all!

    And....what did you decide?

    12
    #31 1 year ago

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    #32 1 year ago

    How long do the lithium batteries last?

    #33 1 year ago
    Quoted from HarryReimer:

    How long do the lithium batteries last?

    Possibly between 6 to 10 years. But you are still throwing batteries away and risking someone installing alkaline batteries in the place of them so the board is at risk yet again.

    #34 1 year ago
    Quoted from HarryReimer:

    How long do the lithium batteries last?

    The standby current a 6116 SRAM is usually really REALLY low. So the batteries would last a long long long time. I'd guess they might even self discharge faster than the SRAM could discharge the battery.

    Paper math i think says like 800 years if you figure standby current is 0.1uA

    #35 1 year ago

    Lithium batteries in a remote holder. Done and done. No drama.

    #36 1 year ago
    Quoted from PinballManiac40:

    Well, was just basing it on what I have seen. Some may have been socketed after leaving the factory. I can install NVRAM for you if you want. I live close to the Katy area if you want to bring it by.
    You did order 5101 for you other 2 games? Normally the old SS Williams games are not in a socket either.

    I'm good, thanks. I've done plenty of board repair so slapping in sockets for NVRAM's is not an issue.

    Richard

    #37 1 year ago

    Lithium batteries will also leak and cause the same type of damage but to a lesser degree.
    Fortunately, it takes them much longer period of time to leak ... but they do leak.
    Sooner or later, somebody will neglect the machine and forget to change batteries.

    How long do they last? Roughly 10 years, maybe less depending on brand of memory installed.
    In theory, they'll last a huge amount of time with some memories but the Lithium will discharge due to internal leakage long before that. Equipment at work - we got as long as 15-20 years (5101 memories) out of lithium coin batteries but that is pushing beyond the safety period. We have had a few that age come back and they were still holding up after that much time ... but the batteries were leaking.

    Although I don't have any NVRAMs in my machines and don't sell them either - I am a big fan of them. Really, there just aren't any down sides to them other than you may need to install new memory sockets.

    I can see where batteries would be kept, though -- such as Wms games that kind of use the real time clock. For those, I would go to Lithiums.

    #38 1 year ago

    I'm on board with the NVRAM because it's a "forget it forever" instead of a "forget it for (x) years" solution. Think about how many games go into the hands of someone that is not a hobbyist and will not remember to change batteries. Think about how many sit in storage with the batteries installed. You only have to have been around a little while to have found some games to buy just to open up the backbox and find a disaster inside.

    Richard

    #39 1 year ago

    Sorry for the noob question, but how do I know which nvram's to get? I've seen several for sale.

    #40 1 year ago
    Quoted from bbhenry2000:

    Sorry for the noob question, but how do I know which nvram's to get? I've seen several for sale.

    Ask and ye shall receive

    Here's a list of games organized by NVRAM type that should make it much easier to figure out what NVRAM you need.

    http://www.pinitech.com/docs/pinball_nvram_game_list.pdf

    Please let me know if you have any questions!

    Also if anyone finds any mistakes or I've missed any games (for which there is currently nvram for) let me know.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    NVRAM, kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #41 1 year ago
    Quoted from bbhenry2000:

    Sorry for the noob question, but how do I know which nvram's to get? I've seen several for sale.

    Classic Bally, Classic Stern, WMS 3-07, GTB sys 80 = 5101
    WMS Sys 9-11, Bally 6803 = 6116
    Data East, Sega, WPC, Stern Whitestar = 6264

    #42 1 year ago

    Just added a complete alphabetical list of games at the end of the document too, so easy lookup by title-only. Print the list, highlight or asterisk the games you have & immediately know the type of NVRAM to get for all the games in your collection. Been meaning to do this for a while as it simplifies the process for everyone.

    http://www.pinitech.com/docs/pinball_nvram_game_list.pdf

    Hope it helps Get rid of those batteries!

    #43 1 year ago

    So what are you guys doing for Newer sterns with the Coin lithium batteries?

    #44 1 year ago
    Quoted from TomGWI:

    So what are you guys doing for Newer sterns with the Coin lithium batteries?

    Unfortunately the RAM is surface mount, soldered directly to the board on those newer games. No NVRAM options available on those. The coin cells don't leak near as often at least. Probably not a bad idea to peak in your backbox at least once a year just to see if there's any issues.. or spiders taking up residence haha.

    Pretty much any game newer than 2005 went surface mount on many of the boards, so the NVRAM modules being sold are really only good for covering games from 1977-2005. Hopefully some of the newer games are starting to incorporate nvram into the designs.

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