(Topic ID: 193543)

Slow cannons.


By mcklit

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 41 posts
  • 13 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by Pin_Guy
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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STTNG motor ON drive (resized).png
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#1 1 year ago

Hi

I'm fixing a STTNG that I bought not to long ago. I'm trying to deal with both cannons that are moving way to slow in game mode but move perfect in test mode (with no load - opto beam unbroken).

I've searched around and found more topics on this matter with a solution saying the shafts in the cannons should be taken apart for cleaning and thereby removing the problem. So I've done just that but still struggles with the cannons being to slow.

I found that the cannons turn slow as a result of closing the opto in the loading part of the cannon. So if I break the beam the cannon will slow down and if I remove the object breaking the beam, the cannon will regain it's speed. I guess you can say this proves that it's NOT grease slowing the cannons. I mean - would anyone suggest that the grease is reacting to breaking the beam on the optos

I've also found an solution that says it could be the transistors controlling the cannons. And others saying it could be the 12v on the power driver board. To target that, I've swapped the PDB with another pinball - but this has not cleared the problem. I guess this eliminates the PDB as the source of the problem?

I've also swaped the opto board in the play field. That also changed nothing. Thinks we can rule out the opto board also then?

I've tested the cannons in the test menu and both register their switches correct as they turn. So the physical switches under the cannon also seems to be fine. I've also looked at the switch matrix and found that all optos registers as they should.

So - I'm stuck here hoping some of you can point me in the right direction.

Quick recap:
Cannons move slow in game. Moves perfect in test mode if there is no load (opto beam is not broken). PDB has been swaped. Opto board has been swapped. Grease on the shaft of the cannons has been removed. So what's next ??

#2 1 year ago

I'm just commenting to say that I'm in the same boat. I discovered the same things you did, minus the board swap, plus disassembling and cleaning the cannon mechs. I'm not stressing out too much since everything still works but it would be nice to get this corrected at some point.

#3 1 year ago

I had the same issue and I think it's the game rom? I'm running LX-7, and have the issue, but I changed to a different version (can't remember which) and the problem went away. I put the LX-7 back because I like that version better, and will live with the slow cannons until someone finds a fix for the rom.

#4 1 year ago

boiler415 Yeah - this makes no sense to me. But - perhaps I can ask you, which version of the ROM you are running? Looking at the reply from twinmice the ROM could be the next place to do some testing.

twinmice If you have a chance to find out which version of the ROM was working without problems, I would be pleased to get that information.

Anyone else that owns a STTNG reading this topic - please let us know the version of your ROM and if cannons are running as expected.

Thanks!

#5 1 year ago

I've got the LX-7 ROM as well and I do notice that the test runs the cannons about 50% faster than normal use. When I had the original power driver board, the cannons were pretty sluggish - but that also made aiming a bit easier. Since I swapped out to a Rottendog board, the cannons picked up the speed (about 20% faster) for whatever reason.

#6 1 year ago

It was a while ago, I don't remember which version rom I tried.

#7 1 year ago

Hmmm - looks like I need to start another topic to get STTNG owner key in there ROM version and if the cannons work as expected.

So - I'll keep this one open to continue the search once I have more feedback from the other thread.

#8 1 year ago

I am running ROM version LA-7. I don't think it's related to the ROM as I've had the game for a few years and this is a recent development.

Since it only happens when the opto is blocked, my current guess is that it is power related and somehow the opto being blocked causes a voltage drop to the cannon motor. I haven't had the time to meter back along the circuit yet.

#9 1 year ago

boiler415 - I agree, but - It's has to be at times where the opto is "in play". I mean - you can block the opto in test mode and the cannons will run at full speed anyway. It's only when blocking the opto and the game cheks for a blocked beam you will see that the cannon run slow. Or you can say - it's only when the game is out of test mode you'll see the slow cannons when the opto is blocked.

Anotother thing I tried was testing the cannons in the MARK and HOME switch test. As you know - this is a separate test option in the test menu. In this menu I put a ball in the launcher and activted the "coin door closed" button to have the solenoids active while testing. In this mode the cannons ALSO run at FULL SPEED even with a ball ready (opto blocked). When it reaches the MARK position on it's way back to HOME, it will "empty" the launcher in the same way it's done when the game runs and you havn't launched the ball.
My point - here the cannon runs in full speed with the opto blocked. And we know it test the opto because it will eject the ball when the cannon is heading home. Yeah- strange !!!

All I'm saying is - I havn't ruled out the ROM thing yet. I follow what you say and we will love to have your feedback with the metering figures when you have had time to look into this.

By the way - I run on a LX-7

#10 1 year ago

"Start simple, be methodical, work foward."
Instead of jumping into electronics, and following the wrong direction, start with basic pinball repair procedures for these types of assemblies.

EPROM game logic does not cause this problem, physical aspects do. Neither does optos.

Check the wire tensions for correct slack.
Check the cranks for cracks and binding which when a ball is loaded adds weight and stress to the assemblies which causes the swing to be slower. These are not the same as the motor shafts. This is very common.

Most importantly rebuild both motor assemblies that have not most likely been touched in over twenty years. That means taking them apart, cleaning them out, and regreasing, or buying new ones. You will be amazed at the difference this makes.

If the motors are working (and the associated motor EMI boards and a correctly rebuilt PDB) you need to eliminate all other basic maintenance requirements upfront. This includes the looms, optos, and solenoids while doing the other checks. No sense in doing things twice while conducting the other work.

After every thing is rebuilt the last step is to make fine tune adjustments to the roller switches for home and mark positions, but never before the rest is validated.

Keep flipping.

#11 1 year ago
Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

"Start simple, be methodical, work foward."

Agreed - actually think that's what I'm doing.

Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

Instead of jumping into electronics, follow basic pinball repair procedures.
EPROM game logic does not cause this problem, physical aspects do.

Well - I'm sure you'll agree that it's logic controlling the cannons. So I don't see how that can be ruled out.

As written in previous post - I started by taking the assemblies apart, cleaning and greasing. Reading on you'll see that I also tested the cannons in different situations.

Please tell me - how the opto can influence the speed of the cannon when NO WEIGHT is added to it? Also explain how cranks, slack and bindings can be of influence in game mode where as they do NOT impact the speed of the cannons in test mode?

I appreciate your time and input - but I don't see your arguments adding up to what I see here. What am I missing?

#12 1 year ago
Quoted from mcklit:

Agreed - actually think that's what I'm doing.

Well - I'm sure you'll agree that it's logic controlling the cannons. So I don't see how that can be ruled out.
As written in previous post - I started by taking the assemblies apart, cleaning and greasing. Reading on you'll see that I also tested the cannons in different situations.
Please tell me - how the opto can influence the speed of the cannon when NO WEIGHT is added to it? Also explain how cranks, slack and bindings can be of influence in game mode where as they do NOT impact the speed of the cannons in test mode?
I appreciate your time and input - but I don't see your arguments adding up to what I see here. What am I missing?

I share my experience when looking at problems holistically, and eliminating all variables which cause problems.
I already stated optos were not related, when I rebuild cannon assemblies in STTNG I do simply everything at the same time, because that means I have have to take the assemblies apart and do work over again.
This applies to any similar BLY/WMS game such as DH, T2, and others.

Game is under added voltage stresses while being played.
Less while under test mode, balls or no balls.
This changes aspects of the motor assemblies as well and their speeds.
It is important to test the PCBs that control the motor assemblies, but not before all physical aspects.
When the crank turns, if there is a hairline crack, it will slow down as it binds.
You have to closely inspect the parts.

The greasing of the offset shaft is not the motor assembly, but I do not really know what was done in your case.
The case has to be opened, and stripped of caked grease to eliminating that area of potential bind.

Other points to consider.
Has the voltage regulation levels on the test points been evaluated during diagnosis?
What happens to the test points when the cannons are moving?
How much of a variance drop is recorded by your DMM?

If everything I mentioned has been checked and rebuilt, then an owner moves onto the EMI and PDB.
You have successfully eliminated any other causes of the problem.

#13 1 year ago

Ok - let us skip the discussion about physical vs. electronic impact on this issue. We are on the same page talking about "other points to consider". I'll be back with some figures in a few weeks. As for now I have other "things" I need to attend.

So it's not forgotten - just delayed for a few weeks before I can get back with more details.

#14 1 year ago

One thing to consider, which theblackknigt alluded to, was to check for voltage drops on the motors, PCBs, and driver board while the game is in play, rather than when under test mode.

#15 1 year ago

xtheblackknightx and forceflow - point taken. I'll be back

2 weeks later
#16 1 year ago

Back from vacation

As suggested, I took out some readings of the cannon in game mode. Here is what I saw on my multi meter.
The readings was taken under the PF directly on the motor itself.

The game started in power off.
I turned on the game, and the motor gets just above 10v. The cannon moves in a nice flow and speed.
I start a game and put a ball in the cannon launcher. The cannon moves slow and the multi meter reads 4.8v. The second i launch the ball the meter reads just above 10v and the cannon speeds up to "normal / expected" speed.

So what can be concluded by this test?
To me it sure sounds like a electrical issue and not a "dirt" / wear issue? But I'm open to suggestions.

Video here: https://1drv.ms/v/s!Ark__7XSDktRg75oVlN6yy7KSNio5w

#17 1 year ago

Ok - new readings. This time taken directly from the PDB. I've attached the probes to J118-2 and J126-2. This is correct - right?

I start with the game in off.
I power on and I see close to 12v sendt to the cannon. It moves i a nice flow and speed.
I then start a game and put a ball in the launcher. The cannon moves slow and the multi meter is jumping in values between -2.5v and -3.5v ?!? Once I launch the ball the meter reads close to 12v.

Does this make any sense?

Video here: https://1drv.ms/v/s!Ark__7XSDktRg75pH1rpUerTGcpRBA

right_gun (resized).JPG

#18 1 year ago

Try it with J1 or J2 of the motor EMI board unplugged?

#19 1 year ago
Quoted from zacaj:

Try it with J1 or J2 of the motor EMI board unplugged?

Not sure I understand what you mean.
Do you want me to unplug the motor and the read the numbers from J1 or J2?
I mean - if I unplug the motor I can't see how it runs with the opto open and how it runs when opto is closed.

But - if read the multi meter of EMI board J2 - with motor connected - I'll get the exact same numbers as on the PDB. That beeing 12v when nothing is in the launcher and between -2.5v and -3.5v when the ball is in the launcher.

#20 1 year ago

Ok - new finding !!

I found out, that if i measure the voltage with the negative probe connected to ground wire in the cabinet, it will read just above 13v on J2 on the EMI board when cannon is idle. Once the cannon is loaded with a ball (in game mode) the multi meter will measure the voltage just below 12v on J2 on the EMI board.

Can any conclusions be made based on that?

#21 1 year ago

Have you cleaned and or replaced the Optos?

Once your in there I would suggest replacing the transmitter Optos anyway

In some cases Flipper a can become weak when another motor feature is active due to a weak {failing) opto on its flipper board.

#22 1 year ago

From your readings, it sounds to me like the game pulses the cannon in order to slow it down, additional evidence points to this as this cannon behavior seems to be tied to LX7 firmware. When I have some free time, I'll clip my o'scope on the activation signal and see what it looks like.

#23 1 year ago

I still do think it's a software thing.

#24 1 year ago

Ok, here is your confirmation that it's operating as intended. Point-of-test base of Q40 on the power driver board; in cannon test, bootup, etc. the drive is a constant high allowing Q40 to turn on for the duration of the test. In operation, with the STTNG L7 program in control the "ON" drive to Q40 is pulsed as shown in the image below.

STTNG motor ON drive (resized).png

You do have some options though:
- enjoy the game knowing its working as intended (my recommendation)
- revert to an older ROM version
- reprogram your L7 ROM to provide a constant drive to Q40
- build a secondary drive module and connect it in between the MPU and Motor EMI board to extend the duration of the drive pulse going to the motor by 13ms in order to provide a continuous drive to the motor.

#25 1 year ago

pin_guy Well - that's interesting data !! So someone programmed the ROM and added an "off-pause" to the transistor to slow down the cannons. Nice finding !

In my case - I'm not pleased with the slow speed, so I need to take some of the other options you have listed. Revert to an older ROM is most likely what will happen because on my game the "slow" speed in L7 is close to being stopped which is no fun either.

I'll be happy to take a look at the code if someone can provide the source. I'm not going to start with the binaries and work my way through the code. That will take forever. But if someone has the source and can tell me where to find a suitable programming tool / environment I'll give it a go.

The last option to build a secondary drive module is out of my skills. So I'll not be able to see that as an option in my case.

#26 1 year ago

Have you done a comparison of the speed of the cannons to another game?

Here's a gameplay video that starts at the battle simulation mode:

#27 1 year ago
Quoted from Eddie:

Have you cleaned and or replaced the Optos?
Once your in there I would suggest replacing the transmitter Optos anyway
In some cases Flipper a can become weak when another motor feature is active due to a weak {failing) opto on its flipper board.

eddie When you say a flipper can become weak when another motor is active - do you then mean the flipper in the game, or are you talking about the game (flipper machine) as a hole? Because I don't see any weak flippers in the game. They work as expected. But the speed of the cannons are slow. How do you see opto error and speed of the cannons as being related? Am I missing something here?

I'm asking because you might be on to something here. So it's an interesting point!

#28 1 year ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

Have you done a comparison of the speed of the cannons to another game?
Here's a gameplay video that starts at the battle simulation mode:
ยป YouTube video

Thanks for posting this for comparison. I can say that my cannons move slower than this. But do you know which version of the software (ROM) is being used in this game. As suggested in another reply, it might be the pulsing of the cannon that slows it down which is done in version LX7, so if this is another ROM version it might not be comparable.

#29 1 year ago
Quoted from Pin_Guy:

Ok, here is your confirmation that it's operating as intended. Point-of-test base of Q40 on the power driver board; in cannon test, bootup, etc. the drive is a constant high allowing Q40 to turn on for the duration of the test. In operation, with the STTNG L7 program in control the "ON" drive to Q40 is pulsed as shown in the image below.

You do have some options though:
- enjoy the game knowing its working as intended (my recommendation)
- revert to an older ROM version
- reprogram your L7 ROM to provide a constant drive to Q40
- build a secondary drive module and connect it in between the MPU and Motor EMI board to extend the duration of the drive pulse going to the motor by 13ms in order to provide a continuous drive to the motor.

I took a similar reading on my game - and sure enough - my scope also shows the pulsing in game mode.
So we know that pulsing is going on - but when you recommend keeping the game as is, and I still think the cannons are way to slow, I think that somethings doesn't add up. This is my second STTNG, and I'm sure the cannons on my first STTNG moved way better. I'm almost sure that one also ran LX7.

I'll post a video later on so you can see the speed when the game is running.

There's another suggestion about the influence of failing optos making an impact on the motor in the gun. I'm going to look into this as well to see if that's part of the problem too.

#30 1 year ago
Quoted from mcklit:

I'll post a video later on so you can see the speed when the game is running.

That will probable help as "slow" is such a relative term. My cannons move roughly half the speed during active modes, than they do in test, again this is relative...I wonder if I can slow down my scope enough to measure the duration the cannon is away from home <ponder>

#31 1 year ago

I've uploaded a video on the link below. Please let me know what you think of the speed.

For your information I've changed the optos in the cannon before taking this video.

I also have a ROM (version LG) at hand that I can try. But I'll let that be for now, until I have your feedback.

Please pay special attention to the part of the video where the cannon has a ball loaded and has reached it's turning point and heads back home.

Video is found here: https://1drv.ms/v/s!Ark__7XSDktRg75r7caPniS-WRx34A

#32 1 year ago

That is the exact same speed that mine is moving

#33 1 year ago
Quoted from Axl:

That is the exact same speed that mine is moving

Ditto

#34 1 year ago
Quoted from mcklit:

I've uploaded a video on the link below. Please let me know what you think of the speed.

I see why you don't like it, the cannon speed in your video appears to be very slow.

Here is a video of the right cannon at the start of the Battle Simulation mode, the speed the cannon is moving at in this video is roughly half the speed it moves at in test.
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=0BxXahPQ9L8rLMHVtaFh6Vmk1Z0E

My cannons were fully rebuilt as part of my restoration project, both gearboxes were replaced, all parts were degreased to remove the old dried up grease then polished in a tumbler for three days; a thin coating of PTFE synthetic grease was reapplied to the cannon shafts (this will prevent wear and corrosion)

Before:
258 (resized).JPG

After:
439 (resized).JPG

#35 1 year ago

pin_guy Wow !! That's more like it !!!

Guess changing the motor and gearbox could be something to consider.
Argh - if only importing stuff from the U.S. was not so expensive ...

I'll give it a thought. Might also be that I test the other ROM before I go any further. Could be fun to see what that can bring into the equation.

#36 1 year ago

The cost of parts are painful enough, the prospect of additional shipping on top of it is just torture. I purchased mine from Marco, they are sold as a single gearbox motor assembly for $65 each, so $130USD + shipping for the pair. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet if you want them to operate as new; for me, I had no choice really, one of my gearboxes sounded like it was going to die any day, and the other had a bad gear that was binding intermittently.

http://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/A-17562

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck with your repair.

#37 1 year ago

Just FYI - my cannons move faster than yours in the video.

As opposed to fixing this mechanically, have you thought about eliminating the pulsing electronically? Basically making a second solenoid drive transistor with a capacitor on the base to smooth out the pulses. Use the second transistor to drive the motor.

#38 1 year ago

I have two things left for now.

1) Try the LG version of the ROM. Check if it also pulse the cannon. If not and speed is OK I'll have to consider if I can live with then LG ROM or if I need to fix the real cause of the problem.

2) Disassemble the gearbox. Clean and regrease. See if that fixed the problem.

If none of the above work I'll have to "bit the bullet" as said by pin_guy

#39 1 year ago

I don't think it's software.
If you can see very very close when you put the ball in the cannon it go slow,but without ball it move nice.It's easy to see.
So when the switch is active,the cannon move slow.
Can you test with different CPU or Power Driver Board?
I have similar problem with the ground of the machine,not same like your but similar problem.
There have wire that touched the rails and load additional GND and when cannons were active they moved very slow.
Mine now work like you video but when the ball is not in it.

3 weeks later
#40 1 year ago

Hi everyone

Ok - a final note on this issue.

I tried changing ROM - no effect.

The gearbox was drilled open (not by me ). It was degreased cleaned and greased again. It was reassembled and after that it was the best moving gearbox ever seen in a STTNG But still no cigar !!

At that moment everything had been tried except putting in a new motor. So - yeah - I had to "bite the bullet" and order two new cannon & gearbox assemblies from Marco. Upon installing the new hardware the motor and gearbox was separated. I was amazed to learn how hard it was to spin the gears and I had serious doubt that the motor would ever be able to move the cannons with the all new gearbox. But guess what - it did just that. And with no problem at all !!

So - I'm quite sure that the gearbox was never a problem. The original gearbox was running way better (or at least with more ease) than the new one. And still the new motor had no problem spinning the new gearbox and cannon in a perfect tempo.

Cut short - in my case it was the motor causing the problem on each of the two cannons. The motor would do just fine when NOT being pulsed. In other words when in game mode and with a ball loaded the software will pulse the cannon and with a weak motor this will have a huge impact on turning speed.

Thanks to everyone for all the help and suggestions. Took a while but now that it's working I can only say it was worth the effort (and money !!).

#41 1 year ago

Thank you for taking the time to update this post with everything you did and your findings. I'm glad you got her purring!

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