(Topic ID: 354082)

PIN2DMD problems on an NBA Fastbreak

By AlexRogan84

3 months ago



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#1 3 months ago

I recently installed a colour PIN2DMD display in my NBA Fastbreak. The display is from Retrocity in Australia. The display came to me nicely packaged and all looks fine there. I got it installed seemingly without issue, using the J138 plug on the power driver board and the existing ribbon cable. The display came to life and looks great. Colours are all there and it goes through the various attract mode animations, high scores and team player profiles.

I had the game on for quite a few hours and never once saw any problems while it was in attract mode. I can notice slight oddities in the transitions at times though. This would be where the intended colours don't immediately show up on the next screen, they kind of flash a leftover colour scheme from the previous screen briefly. It seems to correct itself while it scrolls. I don't notice this during gameplay as much, but that could be because I'm looking at the playfield more than the display.

Anyway, the problem comes when you get a little ways into playing a game. I have had this happen 4-5 times now. The display will just turn off. Like blank. No dots or lines or colours. The game is still going and the sounds are there and you can keep playing, just without a display. Game will end and you can hear it doing the match sequence, but you can't see anything. Going into the game menus using the buttons inside the coin door doesn't bring the display back to life. Powering the game off and back on though does. No wiggling or moving wires or fussing with the display. Just turn the entire game off and back on again and the display works again.

I don't know what the pattern is yet or what is causing this. I need your help for that. I played a few shorter games and the display stayed on. With longer games though, they end up with the display going blank. Not always at the same animation or mode, because I have gotten to Egyptian Soda and then it went out, but I also had at least one game where the Trivia question was while it was blank. I have seen the extra ball awarded animation, all four of the combo shots, each of the two main multiballs and most of the pop bumper modes. Not all though as I haven't gotten to trophy multiball yet without the display going out.

I feel like it is related to the screen transitions as right before it goes blank, it sure seems like the colours all go to just red and then blank soon after. Like it gets confused or there is some kind of software glitch and it runs out of memory. I don't know as I don't know how to do these colorizations nor how to build or program one of these displays. That's why I buy them complete!!

Pinball machine is/was running great before the display change. No issues with actually playing pinball. The game is running code 1.3, the display is on firmware 4.52 and the colorizations are by PRESIDENT. I am using the same ribbon cable I had been and while it is not brand new, it wasn't giving me any trouble while being used with my original non-colour display. I've rechecked the connections both on the boards and on the back of the display and they all seem fine. Again, no wiggling necessary to get the display back on. Power cycling the game gets it back.

I can check or swap or replace whatever you think might help me figure this out. Ribbon cables, fuses, files? I didn't change anything with the files that came to me on the memory card. I don't know if they can get corrupted or if there are better files out there?

Thanks for the help.

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#2 3 months ago

I did some further troubleshooting this morning. Here is what I found:

With the wiring harness supplied by Retrocity, I swapped the cable ends for J138... no change.
I then tried the cable ends into J140 using the Z-clip... no change.
I swapped the ribbon cable out with a spare I had... no change.
I removed the microSD card... working fine. Looks dumb, because it's defaulted to some generic use of the colour palette, but ok, at least that tells me something.

What does it tell me? Not sure, lol.

I noticed this morning that even when the display was scrolling through the high scores pages, it would glitch and slow oddly. Kind of like it might if it was buffering or running out of memory. Is that possible? Is there a memory setting on this thing somewhere?

My game also has no batteries, it's got the NVRAM instead. It messes with the internal clock settings so that while it keeps a time, it isn't the accurate time. Midnight Madness comes on at odd times. Could this be related? Some kind of internal clock timing that is doing this to my display?

#3 3 months ago

Would the type or brand or size of microSD card make a difference? Like if it was a slow card and the display couldn't read the information off fast enough to keep up with the CPU. Is that possible? I could swap the files over to a different card and try that...

#4 3 months ago

I recently got one also but for Data East Hook. It to does some of the same things but has never went blank. I have a few color files on my virtual cab and they act the same. I believe its just the nature of the beast, hints why they are so much cheaper then a colordmd.

#5 3 months ago
Quoted from AlexRogan84:

Would the type or brand or size of microSD card make a difference? Like if it was a slow card and the display couldn't read the information off fast enough to keep up with the CPU. Is that possible? I could swap the files over to a different card and try that...

Andrew from Retrocity will surely help you out with this if you haven't reached out to him already, so definitely speak to him and get his advice before you start spending money on new SD cards or anything like that, especially if this is a new purchase - the SD card came pre-supplied, right? There can be some issues with certain SD cards, but I'm positive he would only send an SD card make with a proven track record. It's not impossible that the files on the SD have got corrupted somehow, so again, reach out to him and if necessary I would hope he can supply a fresh copy of the files for your display.

The issues you describe remind me of similar problems I have heard of regarding my own CFTBL project on some machines, in almost all cases they were caused by some kind of power issue, so perhaps an external PSU might be worth trying if you have access to one, but I implore you to speak to Andrew first!

The "colour bleeding" you see during the transitions are a result of the project not necessarily colouring those transitions rather than a problem with the hardware. It is possible to fix them a lot of the time, but it can be masses and masses of work and it is very hard to justify 10+ hours of work for what is essentially milliseconds of screen time. It varies between projects and the artists who did them, for CFTBL I went to town and covered everything, for I500 I chose a default palette that hides or blocks out the transitions, but for DemoMan the transitions are a mess!

#6 3 months ago

Thank you for the suggestions. I've reached out to Andrew to ask for his advice. Best to start with the source and go from there.

#7 3 months ago
Quoted from slippifishi:

The "colour bleeding" you see during the transitions are a result of the project not necessarily colouring those transitions rather than a problem with the hardware. It is possible to fix them a lot of the time, but it can be masses and masses of work and it is very hard to justify 10+ hours of work for what is essentially milliseconds of screen time

Depending on how diverse the colors are that are being used in the colorization a simple and quick solution is changing the default color scheme (pal-0) to the most neutral colors. Use a white to grey range for example and you won't notice the transitions that have not been colored correctly that much. Can easily be done in the editor.

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#8 3 months ago
Quoted from slippifishi:

Andrew from Retrocity will surely help you out with this if you haven't reached out to him already, so definitely speak to him and get his advice before you start spending money on new SD cards or anything like that, especially if this is a new purchase - the SD card came pre-supplied, right? There can be some issues with certain SD cards, but I'm positive he would only send an SD card make with a proven track record. It's not impossible that the files on the SD have got corrupted somehow, so again, reach out to him and if necessary I would hope he can supply a fresh copy of the files for your display.
The issues you describe remind me of similar problems I have heard of regarding my own CFTBL project on some machines, in almost all cases they were caused by some kind of power issue, so perhaps an external PSU might be worth trying if you have access to one, but I implore you to speak to Andrew first!
The "colour bleeding" you see during the transitions are a result of the project not necessarily colouring those transitions rather than a problem with the hardware. It is possible to fix them a lot of the time, but it can be masses and masses of work and it is very hard to justify 10+ hours of work for what is essentially milliseconds of screen time. It varies between projects and the artists who did them, for CFTBL I went to town and covered everything, for I500 I chose a default palette that hides or blocks out the transitions, but for DemoMan the transitions are a mess!

Thanks Slippi, you pretty much covered it. I'm working with AlexRogan84 directly to get this resolved.

For anyone who buys any of our products, please contact us direct for any issues. We support all our products and we believe that the seller should be responsible for the support. The community is absolutely fantastic and we do appreciate all the help they give, but please don't hesitate to contact us direct.

Please keep in mind we don't control the files themselves, so the usual disclaimer on bugs, issues related the file/author do apply here and expectations should be managed. We do work with the majority of artists and have contributed to their projects in some way or another. If we can help get the colour file related issue fixed, we will. There are many bug reports, files and support documentation filed by us and handed over to artists and all we can do is wait for them to implement them. A lot of these aren't trivial and could take a large investment of their time to implement as it does us to put together, and some of these are being added and fixed quietly. Some bugs as Slippi said, may be very minor but the amount of time and effort vs the milliseconds of screen time they are there for may not be worth it, so some artists may rather put that effort into a brand new file or adding extra content. Either way it is their choice and their control.

We would love everything to be absolutely perfect but we are focusing on larger issues at the moment such as major bugs, scenes missing colour and games that have not been coloured at all.

Thanks,
Andrew

#9 3 months ago

I had this issue and it was resolved by swapping the SD card. They are just defective sometimes. I swapped in a SanDisk 8gb if that helps.

#10 3 months ago

Just wanted to quickly say thank you to Andrew and the others for chiming in here with their thoughts. Andrew is very much providing excellent support and some lengthy emails with suggestions and explanation and things we can do or swap to resolve things.

I stepped out midday yesterday and just got home now. Before I left, I formatted the card and reloaded the colorization files and so far so good. It hasn't blanked again and I've played a handful of games. I'll keep playing this and making note of anything unusual. Looks like many of you who commented about the SD cards being the possible culprit were right. Which is nice and good because it's pretty easy to correct.

Thanks again.

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