(Topic ID: 218160)

RFM stuck on "starting update game code"; now no boot


By ForceFlow

1 year ago



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  • 30 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by mamawaldee
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#1 1 year ago

I just picked up an RFM. The seller showed it booting. When I actually picked it up, the game wasn't booting.

When I put the game back together, I got the multicolored test screen, then a "please wait" screen. Each line appeared after a couple seconds, then got stuck on "starting update game code".

Pin2k is a new beast for me, so I'm not entirely familiar with it. Some quick googling didn't reveal a symptom like this.

Any ideas? I'm wondering if this might be a botched update of some sort.

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#2 1 year ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

I just picked up an RFM. The seller showed it booting. When I actually picked it up, the game wasn't booting.
When I put the game back together, I got the multicolored test screen, then a "please wait" screen. Each line appeared after a couple seconds, then got stuck on "starting update game code".
Pin2k is a new beast for me, so I'm not entirely familiar with it. Some quick googling didn't reveal a symptom like this.
Any ideas? I'm wondering if this might be a botched update of some sort.

Do you have access to the Pinballninja site?I do believe Clay has some info about these Pin2k games

#3 1 year ago

Pull the PC in the head and reseat the ram. And reseat the prism cards. Also check the PC battery. Then put it back in and try it. If it is still doing it. Check, and try reseating the connectors to the board in the bottom of the cabinet. If that doesn't work, it's a deeper issue.
Than just something moving during transport.

#4 1 year ago

After reseating everything in the computer case, it sprung back to life.

Battery was at 2.97v.

Powering it down and later back up a few times, it didn't seem to be a fluke, and has come on each time so far.

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#5 1 year ago

Well, looks like I spoke too soon. It will boot 2-3 times, then that will be it for several tries before it finally starts booting again.

I don't think it's a heat-related issue since I have the back door, translite, and PC cover off, and for a few tries between successful boots, I wasn't waiting very long between attempts.

#6 1 year ago

Check ps voltages first 5 and 12 volt. Next check caps on mother board. Next borrow a prism from a friend to test. There are 2 coin batteries prism and on mother board.
http://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=File:Mediagxboard.jpg

#7 1 year ago

12v and 5v are good.

3v for the prism battery and motherboard battery are good.

Motherboard caps are not bulging.

#8 1 year ago

It looks like the original power supply was replaced, but the green caps on the motherboard have not been replaced.

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#9 1 year ago

I would suggest you change or test the caps to see if they are good. To properly test you need a sencore z meter or something equivalent that tests capacitance, not just esr. Not a bad idea to just change them. If you heat them with a hair dryer, they will probably work. That is a good indicator as well. Hair dryer, NOT heat gun!

#10 1 year ago

Would a dead battery inside the prism card stack cause any of this? I changed out both batteries on my friend's RFM just due to age, but I'm not sure what happens when they actually die.

#11 1 year ago
Quoted from cougtv:

I would suggest you change or test the caps to see if they are good. To properly test you need a sencore z meter or something equivalent that tests capacitance, not just esr. Not a bad idea to just change them.

I have a cap tester, so I'll probably try that next.

#12 1 year ago

I'm still guessing a heat issue. Even if the fans are moving they may not be moving fast enough. It is a cheap fix and one that needs to be done either way. Replace that CPU fan and the case fans as well I would even replace the Power Supply fan while I was at it. Don't go cheap, make sure that you buy quality fans.

#13 1 year ago
Quoted from TxJay:

I'm still guessing a heat issue. Even if the fans are moving they may not be moving fast enough. It is a cheap fix and one that needs to be done either way. Replace that CPU fan and the case fans as well I would even replace the Power Supply fan while I was at it. Don't go cheap, make sure that you buy quality fans.

That particular sparkle power supply started coming out in 2003. I'm fairly certain it's a later replacement for the original power supply. All the fans are working.

Sometimes it boots from a cold start, sometimes not. Sometimes it boots after a warm start, sometimes not. If it was heat related, I would think there would likely be a pattern of some sort, or that the game would lock up or crash after it warmed up. So far, that's not the case.

All the voltages seemed to check out, so the next thing on my list to check are those motherboard caps.

#14 1 year ago

One step forward two steps back. I replaced the caps and ended up with the computer not booting

The caps had low ESR. So, I replaced all 5.
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I put everything back together, and was greeted with a blank screen on power up.

So, I removed the prism card and booted without it. I got the BIOS screen going through it's RAM check, then it halted looking for something to boot from.

While I was at it, I swapped the 64MB stick of RAM with a 128MB stick to let it go through that RAM check at boot, but after I powered it back up, the screen went strange like the V-sync was out of whack. I can tell it is trying to show the BIOS boot screen, since those are the same colors and positions where the text and logo appeared. I tried adjusting the H-sync and V-sync, but that that only changed how the distorted/garbled/tearing image cycled across the screen.

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I tried swapping the 64MB stick of RAM back into the motherboard, then powered up again, but the screen still showed the same garbled image.

#16 1 year ago

Well, it booted normally a few times, and garbled a few times.

I read that there were a few different motherboard models that were used in pinball 2000, so between these issues and that fact, that got me thinking about the power supply, like was suggested earlier. So, I ordered a new power supply. Guess we'll see if that ends up being the problem, or if there's something else going on.

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#17 1 year ago

Since I was getting a normal BIOS screen, I went ahead and installed the prism card, and managed to get the game to boot once.

However, on the test screen, the image twitchy and was half flickering like there was a bad connection somewhere. When in the actual game, there were glitchy boxes around the graphics/sprites.

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#18 1 year ago

your two garbled screen shots appear to both be monitor problems - as you mentioned loss of sync and output to the monitor may be ok ?

if possible hook up a different monitor to rule the original out

bad caps in monitor can cause quite a few issues over time

#19 1 year ago
Quoted from creepykenny:

your two garbled screen shots appear to both be monitor problems - as you mentioned loss of sync and output to the monitor may be ok ?
if possible hook up a different monitor to rule the original out
bad caps in monitor can cause quite a few issues over time

The display issue is new problem that only started after I worked on the motherboard, so I suspect it's localized to the motherboard.

The prism card's LED is locked on instead of blinking, so it's not booting blind.

The previous owner said the monitor had been recapped, though I haven't yet had a close look at it to verify. The picture quality was perfect, though.

#20 1 year ago

Don't waste ur time, get Nucore/pinbox. Did it already with 2 RFM's. Sell the working parts, like prism etc.

#21 1 year ago

If the game was converted to episode one and back to rfm without reflashing the game code for rfm it will get stuck in game code update screen and just keep rebooting. It happened to my machine with swap. Not sure thats your issue, but I would download and update the machine. Good luck.

#22 1 year ago

Nucore does not have rfm 1.9 I thought though? Need an original pc for all the graphics and call outs if it a keeper. If not nucore it and move on imo

#23 1 year ago
Quoted from Loganpinball:

If the game was converted to episode one and back to rfm without reflashing the game code for rfm it will get stuck in game code update screen and just keep rebooting. It happened to my machine with swap. Not sure thats your issue, but I would download and update the machine. Good luck.

As far as I'm aware, that is not the case. It was routed as an RFM for at least 10 years or so.

Quoted from Gunske:

Don't waste ur time, get Nucore/pinbox. Did it already with 2 RFM's. Sell the working parts, like prism etc.

Quoted from cougtv:

Nucore does not have rfm 1.9 I thought though? Need an original pc for all the graphics and call outs if it a keeper. If not nucore it and move on imo

I'd like to try to get it up and running with the original hardware--it does come up and play games, albeit very intermittently. I didn't see version 1.9 mentioned for nucore, and I'd like to try that version out at some point.

#24 1 year ago

Want to point out that I had the same original problem, replaced the power supply, and it solved everything. The motherboard on that one was replaced only a couple years ago, though, so YMMV.

If you have to install the new power supply upside down, due to the wires not reaching, make sure you strap it in there really good with zip ties or something.

#25 1 year ago

Well, I replaced the power supply (with the green wire mod to turn it on), and nothing. The power supply fans turned on, but the computer didnt boot, even with the prism card removed.

For a good measure, I pulled an older atx power supply out of my parts stash, it turned on, but that too failed to boot the computer.

During the second swap, I plugged the fan into the 3-pin power connector in the motherboard, but the fan didn't run.

So maybe power isn't flowing through the board?

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#26 1 year ago

The other 3-pin connector runs the fan.

I did manage to get the garbled BIOS boot screen once, but that was it.

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#27 1 year ago

I ended up tearing down the entire computer and rebuilt it a part at a time. I managed to get a series of successful BIOS boot screens. Then I finally installed the prisim card, and got the game to successfully boot several times without fail.

I'll try it again tomorrow to make sure it's just not a fluke.

I'm not quite sure what the issue was. I don't think it was a ribbon cable, since I tested all of them and there weren't any breaks or flaky behavior. I didn't notice anything that could possibly be shorting something, nor any cracked solder joints on the motherboard.

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#28 1 year ago

Fired up the game this morning with no problem, so things are looking promising so far.

#29 1 year ago
Quoted from creepykenny:

your two garbled screen shots appear to both be monitor problems - as you mentioned loss of sync and output to the monitor may be ok ?
if possible hook up a different monitor to rule the original out
bad caps in monitor can cause quite a few issues over time

Ditto on the monitor problem. In my particular case it was the connector on the monitor chassis which comes from the VGA. The horizontal sync was intermittent and could be made to come and go by wiggling it. Took the monitor completely apart and found lots of cracked connections needing reflow on the monitor chassis. Been solid ever since.

#30 1 year ago

If you go to change the prism card battery, there is a tool needed to get the boards apart.

I asked the forum about this problem and it looks like the real tool is no longer available. Apparently there is some way to do it with a toothbrush but I have not pursued it any further.

I have new batteries waiting to be installed in my RFM, so let us know how you do with getting at the prism battery.

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