(Topic ID: 157999)

Opto / ?Phantom Switch? / Coil/ Issue - WPC (White Water) REALLY FIXED NOW


By Jam_Burglar

4 years ago



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  • 14 posts
  • 4 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by Jam_Burglar
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Miswired_Insanity_Falls_Switch_(resized).jpg
Whitewater_Manual_-_Switch_Matrix_Excerpt.pdf (PDF preview)
Whitewater_Manual_-_Switch_Matrix_Excerpt.pdf (PDF preview)

#1 4 years ago

My White Water has been running great for years. The other day, it started to get phantom switch issues. This wasn't a situation where I was fiddling with the machine and the problem arose. This just started happening out of the blue during play.

Specifically, the opto associated with the Lost Mine kick-out (a/k/a the "Whirlpool Popper") will register when the Insanity Falls (a/k/a the "Rapids Main Ramp") switch was activated. The Insanity Falls switch is a normal micro-switch. So, pressing the micro-switch triggers the opto to be "interrupted".

I checked all of the other switches and I'm not seeing any other problems or phantom closures. I unplugged the power to the opto board and the phantom switch no longer registers when I press the Insanity Falls switch. I'm not sure how much that helps though because all those optos normally register as "closed" in their resting state and when you unplug the power the all the optos from that board register as "open". Since "opening/interrupting" that opto usually registers the hit, it may be that I get no phantom switch because that opto is already registering as "open".

In any event, here's the switch matrix to show what's going on. My theory at this point is that I have a bad 7-opto board rather than a playfield switch issue, although I'd like to see if there are additional ways to diagnose the problem before sending out the boards for repair. I'd rather not spend the time and money to send the boards off and then find out it's a playfield issue. Unfortunately, I don't have any boards to swap so that's not a good option.

Whitewater_Manual_-_Switch_Matrix_Excerpt.pdf

#2 4 years ago

Check the diode on #71..

#3 4 years ago

Will do.

#4 4 years ago

Off-hand, that's the only thing I can think of.

#5 4 years ago

So, the plot thickens.

Over the past few days, the issue has gotten worse, and stranger. Now, the Lost Mine opto will trigger over and over, not always constantly or consistently, but it will trigger even if no switches are hit. The ball can be cradled in a flipper and I'll be getting the lost mine hits. Also, the popper coil in that spot has started firing as well (presumably because the game thinks there's a ball in there).

Also, at points the game plays totally fine for a 5-10 minutes, and then the issue will start back up again.

In my (somewhat limited) experience with PCBs, they don't usually fail and then come back, unless they are not getting consistent power or they overheat. Makes me wonder if I'm getting a short somewhere, but if it's a short, why would it randomly trigger when the game is dead still with no movement?

#6 4 years ago

I've had a similar weird problem and then it was solved by re-inserting the square asic. You do need a special tool for this don't try to it out with a screwdriver..

#7 4 years ago

Oh - no, easy.

Likely unrelated to your first issue - the opto may just need cleaning, or to be aimed/adjusted.

Take the area apart and clean them, and check their aiming / direction, etc.

#8 4 years ago

go into swicht test and do ..... nothing !!

wait for a phantom switch to appear.
If it's an opto, dont clean it, REPLACE it (opto's get weaker after a long period of time)
If you only clean the opto, the problem will return soon.

2 weeks later
#9 4 years ago

Little update on this.

I checked the switch and diode on Rapids Ramp Main (Insanity Falls) and all is good. Continuity seems good there at the first run to the next switch, although I still need to check the entire line. Unplugging the harness here stops the switch from triggering the phantom Whirlpool Popper opto (obviously) but I still get phantom opto hits out of the blue, when the ball is not even in play. So, while this switch reliably triggers the Whirlpool Popper opto, there are other triggers as well. Hmmmm.

Also, I'm not seeming to get any random triggers of the Whirlpool Popper while in test mode, only in gameplay mode. Hmmmmm.

Unplugging the harness from Whirlpool Popper Opto ceases the issue, but again, I'm not sure how much that helps because that opto normally registers as "closed" (deactivated) in its resting state and when you unplug the harness the opto constantly registers as "open" (activated). Thus, the opto is always activated from power on and there's no way to tell if it's getting triggered or not.

Also, Disaster Drop main, which is in the same column as Rapids Ramp Main (Insanity Falls), has now stopped working. I checked the switch and diode and those test good. I'm going to follow the line and check for continuity next. I believe all of the other "upstream" switches in that column still work.

At this point my plan is to double check all the switches in the same row and column as the suspect switches and to make sure I'm getting good continuity to the boards. If this gets me nowhere, then I'm sending the 7-opto board, the CPU board and the Power Driver Board to Clive at Coin-Op Cauldron for a 2-month vacation. I suspect that I've got a bad 7-opto-board because the way the switches are acting don't seem to match up with what I've read to expect from a broken wire or a short. I need to go back and read those areas of the repair guides though because I'm still pretty newbish at this.

2 months later
#10 3 years ago

Okay, so I sent my boards (CPU, Power Driver, and 7 Opto boards) off to Coin-Op Cauldron for servicing. I got them back last week and the problem persists. Boards needed servicing anyway but disappointing.

That being said, the switch activated by the phantom switch has changed! Previously, Switch 71/Rapids Ramp Main (i.e. Insanity Falls) would trigger Switch 61/Whirlpool Popper optos (i.e. the Lost Mine). NOW, Switch 71 triggers Switch 67, which is NOT USED. Both of these switches are in the same column. WHAT I DISCOVERED IS THAT UNPLUGGING THE HARNESS THAT GOES TO SWITCH 61 (Lost Mine optos) ALSO STOPS THE PHANTOM SWITCHING OF SWITCH 67 (not used). *If you read above, I was previously unable to determine whether unplugging the harness changed the symptom because of the way that the optos work on Switch 61. Now that the switch triggered by the phantom switch is not an opto, I can see that unplugging the harness DOES stop the phantom switch.

The only thing connected to the harness for Switch 61 (Lost Mine optos) is the optos. Does this mean that its the optos or the harness that's faulty? Switch 61 tests perfectly in the single switch test mode, but something is wonky there.

Also, I don't know if this is important or not, but the soleniod in the Lost Mine fires one or more times on power up, then stops. This is not normal. This seems to suggest the opto for Switch 61 is registering as interrupted (like a ball is in the trough) but again, if I go into test mode it tests perfectly (I've tried this both with playfield up and down just to make sure I wasn't getting a short when the playfield is down).

#11 3 years ago

Did some more troubleshooting this evening. In order for the problem to show up the following needs to occur:

1. Switch 71 must be closed (this is Rapids Ramp Main/Insanity Falls microswitch)
2. Switch 77 must be closed (this the Center Trough switch, normally closed when a game starts due to ball in the trough)
3. Switch 61 must be closed (this is the Whirlpool Popper/Lost Mine OPTO, normally closed because its an opto)

If all 3 of the above are closed, then Switch 67 (Not Used on the Switch Matrix) closes too.

So, I think I've found my rectangle (see below) although I have no idea why the phantom switch used to trigger Switch 61 in test mode and now it triggers Switch 67. Also, I STILL get Lost Mine phantom hits during gameplay, even though you'd suspect I'd only be getting phantom hits to the "not used" switch which would presumably have no effect at all.

I don't know what to make of the fact that one of the corners of my rectangle is "Not Used" in the switch matrix.

Whitewater_Manual_-_Switch_Matrix_Excerpt.pdf

Also, I tested the diode at Switch 77 and that tested good (desoldered the ground, held down the switch and tested, getting 4.something and OL on the reverse).

I retested the diode at Switch 71 and that still tested good (unplugged the harness connector, held down the switch and tested, getting 5.3 and OL on the reverse).

I can't test any diode for the opto on Switch 61 because there is none.

I don't think I can test switch 67 because there is no switch there?

Weird. Anybody know what to do? I've looked for shorts but haven't found anything yet.

#12 3 years ago
Quoted from Jam_Burglar:

Did some more troubleshooting this evening. In order for the problem to show up the following needs to occur:
1. Switch 71 must be closed (this is Rapids Ramp Main/Insanity Falls microswitch)
2. Switch 77 must be closed (this the Center Trough switch, normally closed when a game starts due to ball in the trough)
3. Switch 61 must be closed (this is the Whirlpool Popper/Lost Mine OPTO, normally closed because its an opto)
If all 3 of the above are closed, then Switch 67 (Not Used on the Switch Matrix) closes too.
So, I think I've found my rectangle (see below) although I have no idea why the phantom switch used to trigger Switch 61 in test mode and now it triggers Switch 67. Also, I STILL get Lost Mine phantom hits during gameplay, even though you'd suspect I'd only be getting phantom hits to the "not used" switch which would presumably have no effect at all.
I don't know what to make of the fact that one of the corners of my rectangle is "Not Used" in the switch matrix.

Also, I tested the diode at Switch 77 and that tested good (desoldered the ground, held down the switch and tested, getting 4.something and OL on the reverse).
I retested the diode at Switch 71 and that still tested good (unplugged the harness connector, held down the switch and tested, getting 5.3 and OL on the reverse).
I can't test any diode for the opto on Switch 61 because there is none.
I don't think I can test switch 67 because there is no switch there?
Weird. Anybody know what to do? I've looked for shorts but haven't found anything yet.

Opto diodes are on the 7-Opto board. You said you had it fixed, but I would double-check. (Best scenario, swap the opto board out with another 7-Opto board.)
Just because #67 is unused, all the wiring is there - in the opto board. So, that could still be a culprit.

#13 3 years ago

Checked all the diodes on the 7-Opto board, they were fine.

I found a miswired switch (see below) but, unfortunately, this was something I did in trying to troubleshoot the original problem. After spending hours tracking and fixing that I'm really just back to square one. LOL!

I'm now not even sure this is a phantom switch issue. Its entirely possible that the opto switch is just going off on its own.

Symptoms that I can verify for sure:

The Lost Mine solenoid almost always fires when I turn the game on. Specifically, it kicks after the initial boot process (after the bar fills up on the DMD), right as the game program kicks in. Sometimes it kicks once, sometimes it may kick 2 or 3 times.

Sometimes the game plays fine. On some occasions I can get through a whole game without the issue showing up.

Sometimes I get a handful of seemingly random Lost Mine hits during the game (as if that opto had been interrupted).

Other times the Lost Mine will fire over and and over.

Sometimes the solenoid coil fires along with the event, sometimes it does not.

I have never seen the issue happen while the game is in test-mode (keep in mind I've had the came in switch test mode a LOT while troubleshooting).

So, my next plan of attack is to reflow the solder connections at the Lost Mine opto switch, then probably replace the optos there. Maybe the opto is dying and it's getting flakey? If that doesn't work I'll either check the coil or go on a rampage and trash my whole basement.

Here's the miswired switch I found.

Miswired_Insanity_Falls_Switch_(resized).jpg

1 week later
#14 3 years ago

This appears to be truly fixed now by replacing the Lost Mine (Whirlpool Popper) Optos. I attempted a reflow only but that didn't help. After installing new optos the game appears to be playing 100%.

My error was that I THOUGHT the symptom was being triggered by hitting various playfield targets when in reality it was just triggering by itself .... mostly (see below).

So, the phantom switch thing is still a bit of a mystery.

One possible explanation is that I actually caused my own phantom switch issue by miswiring the Insanity Falls (Rapids Ramp Main) switch when I was poking around.

There is a second explanation though and my memory and notes above lead me to believe I did not miswire the switch, that it was already that way. I suspect that I was dealing with three separate problems: (1) a flaky opto; (2) a miswired switch; and (3) switch 67 (Not Used) reading as closed when it should have been reading as open.

Before sending my boards in for repair, the phantom closure was the Lost Mine. In test mode, closing Insanity Falls ALWAYS triggered the Lost Mine. I seem to remember switch 67 reading as closed prior to sending my boards for repair and I think it would HAVE to be closed to cause a phantom closure at the Lost Mine. My best theory is that the board repairs corrected Switch 67 (Not Used) so that it now read as open instead of closed. Therefore, when switch 67 (Not Used) was corrected it would be impossible for the Lost Mine to be the phantom closure because a phantom closure would require the other three switches in the rectangle (including switch 67) to be closed. This could't happen because switch 67 (Not Used) is always open! So, the result was that the phantom closure changed to switch 67 (Not Used) and occurred ONLY when the other three switches in the rectangle were closed, which rarely happens because the Lost Mine opto is usually open. Correctly wiring the switch fixed this but the phantom opto issue remained.

It's easy to see how the miswired Insanity Falls could go unnoticed for so long because it would rarely cause a phantom closure and when it did, it would only close a switch that was Not Used. When the Not Used switch started reading as closed, the problem became apparent because now the Lost Mine became the phantom closure.

In any event, regardless of what was happening with the phantom closures, the issue appears to have been fixed.

Lastly, I read somewhere that optos don't go "flaky", they either work or they don't, but this was not true in my case. This opto must have been flickering on and off one or more times right as it first got power, and would then randomly flicker at times throughout the game. At first it wasn't showing up in test mode (this must have been by chance) but by the end it was and I could put the game in Edge Test and that opto would go off all by itself every few minutes. I keep thinking of failing light bulb, where it starts flickering when you turn it on and every once in a while at the end of it's life.

Anyway, I hope all this helps somebody in the future!

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