(Topic ID: 285505)

Spike 2 Node 9 OVERCURRENT PROTECTION / G.I. Failure (Stern JPLE)


By timlah79

17 days ago



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#51 16 days ago

I did a playfield swap last year, and tried to diagnose a GI short "my way" (staring at stuff, poking prodding etc...) vs the right way (removing bulbs and
disconnecting wires to narrow down where the problem was).

I would have saved myself a decent chunk of time had I just gone to do it the right way rather than trying to figure it out otherwise. And in my case there were 2!!! GI shorts. Disconnecting wires allowed me to find them pretty easily.

I am not sure what tools or experience you have with soldering, and wait until others fact check me here, but if I was in your shoes I would use my desoldering gun to remove a socket from the GI string, then test for the short on either side of this "break" I made. Assuming I am reading a short in the string right now....

Always be open to this being something else, but if it looks like an intermittent GI short, sounds like an intermittent GI short, and acts like an intermittent GI short definitely rule that out. A lot of the PIN problems I have initially thought were electronic were actually mechanical (mangled sockets etc...).

#52 15 days ago
Quoted from Markharris2000:

Disconnect CN15 and see if all is well in the GI routines. I suspect you still have a short in that string since you never quite found the smoking gun.

He has already found that taking CN15 off clears the problem, so the area that needs to be checked is clear and fairly small.

#53 15 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

He has already found that taking CN15 off clears the problem, so the area that needs to be checked is clear and fairly small.

Yeah, I think so too, but I was trying to get Tim back to a known good working point, in case his other cabling changes (tie-wraps unbundling, etc) affected it. Surely sounds like something in the string of 154's at the end of CN15.

Tim, take a look at each and every socket in that string.

#54 15 days ago

Have you tried switching the node boards around? I had this exact same issue on a brand new TMNT and I switched the nodes boards around (they will reprogram themselves on boot). Fixed my issue. Seems not all nodes boards can handle the same currents etc.

#55 15 days ago
Quoted from Eagle14:

Have you tried switching the node boards around? I had this exact same issue on a brand new TMNT and I switched the nodes boards around (they will reprogram themselves on boot). Fixed my issue. Seems not all nodes boards can handle the same currents etc.

Might be the cause, but this is A> more advanced and prone to introduce more issues if done wrong and B> way down the road on diagnostic steps. As scattered as he's been, I was trying to keep him on a step-by-step elimination of potential causes.

#56 15 days ago
Quoted from LTG:

With CN15 unplugged, all bulbs removed. I'd take a meter to each of the two wires on each socket and see if one is shorted.
9 sockets, only take a few minutes and might turn up what your eyes don't see.
LTG : )

To the OP, I think you need to revisit LTG's comment and take an ohm meter and look for shorts again.

Someone mentioned a wire possibly rubbing up against some metal. Given then intermittent nature of the problem, I'd definitely grab a good set of magnifying glasses an look for some worn insulation on a wire, especially around metal that has a sharp edge (i.e. a corner, etc.).

Minding sending a screen shot of the other area that vireland highlighted (see below)?

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#57 15 days ago

Again thank you ALL for all of this help! I know I'm not quoting/replying to everyone but I am reading every piece of advice.

QQ Before I outline where I'm at: Is it safe for me to play the machine while it's having these issues or should I only be powering it up when I'm in the middle of diagnosing the issues for now? I do understand playing it is not a good idea while in this troubleshooting mode I'm in, just curious if doing so risks damage. I have not been playing so far unless I'm troubleshooting.

Quoted from Eagle14:

Have you tried switching the node boards around? I had this exact same issue on a brand new TMNT and I switched the nodes boards around (they will reprogram themselves on boot). Fixed my issue. Seems not all nodes boards can handle the same currents etc.

I have not. I am aware of this troubleshooting step though. A technician early on while working through my T-Rex opto issues did this. While it was incredibly time consuming, it did narrow down which board needed to be replaced at the time. For my issue in particular though, I though that I have already ruled out that the board itself is bad since I'm getting the expected 5-6V DC across pins 2 & 6 and 1 & 5? BTW I also unmounted the board temporarily to make sure no washers/screws/wires had fallen on top of or were touching the solder side contacts.

Quoted from mbwalker:

To the OP, I think you need to revisit LTG's comment and take an ohm meter and look for shorts again.
Someone mentioned a wire possibly rubbing up against some metal. Given then intermittent nature of the problem, I'd definitely grab a good set of magnifying glasses an look for some worn insulation on a wire, especially around metal that has a sharp edge (i.e. a corner, etc.).
Minding sending a screen shot of the other area that vireland highlighted (see below)?[quoted image]

mbwalker Underside screenshot attached. Let me know if you need a link to view it in higher res.

I feel like I have taken all measures to make sure no wiring is getting contacted by some metal. What I still have yet to do is un-ziptie all wires in the area and thoroughly inspect casings of ALL wires from Node 9 CN15. When I did a few, all of a sudden things were fine but of course then it all went to hell again out of nowhere. I have physically inspected all 9 GI sockets as well as run continuity tests across all. When the issue is there, all sockets have continuity = BAD. When the issue stops, all sockets do not = GOOD.

I have all the sockets and bulbs back in at this point (since I thought that last night I had resolved the issue) but I will remove them all again and do more shorts testing. I will also take hi-res pictures of every socket this time and post them.

Latest occurrence I wanted to point out in case it sparks any ideas: Today, instead of going back to the GI area in question, I decided to at least get any other wiring more "in order." I have the Stern amber rod mod. Its connection to the CN15 on the Node board 1 that is in the front of the cabinet has been disconnected this entire troubleshooting time (as I started by removing all mods). When I installed that a few months ago I didn't do the greatest job of making sure the wiring was secure so I went ahead and secured it a bit. I then thought, what the hell let's plug it back in and see what happens. Upon power up the errors/alerts were gone. They were still there prior to doing this. I resettled the playfield and did a power on/off a few times. Errors/alerts were still gone. I left the machine on for a while, did power on/off a few more times and all was well. I thought I was onto something. I disconnected that Node 1 CN15 connector for the amber rod and powered on and still no issues. Plugged it back in and powered on again, no issues.

This is the kicker: I then was like, no errors/alerts now, so I'll play a few games and see if the issues resurface. With the machine on I started loading the balls back in, just normally letting them roll down from near the flippers into the machine. Literally once the 2nd ball made its way into the trough, BAM upper left GI lights went out. I then went into Service and saw the Node 9 overcurrent protection alert. Powering off then back on, back at square one, Node 9 overcurrent protection alert, followed by TROUGH MALFUNCTION yet again (the original set of alerts/errors).

Now I know that my gameplay triggering the issue previously due to what we think is vibration reviving the short somewhere makes sense. However, this doesn't. A ball slowly dropping into the trough causes very little vibration. Is it possible that somewhere in the switches/wiring/anything of the seemingly unrelated area of the machine could be in play here? Or is what I witnessed likely a red herring and I should return to examining the GI area we think is the issue? I did inspect this new area and didn't see anything physically awry. But with all that said, the second alert after the Node 9 upper left GI has all along been TROUGH MALFUNCTION... Hmmm.

Anyway, I won't be able to return to this until tomorrow night and I will return back to the suspected Node 9 / 154 area at hand, do more DMM testing, and other bulbs/sockets exercises as before. I just wanted to mention this as it seems very suspicious.
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#58 15 days ago
Quoted from timlah79:

This is the kicker: I then was like, I'll play a few games and see if the issues resurface. With the machine on I started loading the balls back in, just normally letting them roll down from near the flippers into the machine. Literally once the 2nd ball made its way into the trough, BAM upper left GI lights went out. I then went into Service and saw the Node 9 overcurrent protection alert. Powering off then back on, back at square one, Node 9 overcurrent protection alert, followed by TROUGH MALFUNCTION yet again (the original set of alerts/errors).
Now I know that my gameplay triggering the issue previously due to what we think is vibration reviving the short somewhere makes sense. However, this doesn't. A ball slowly dropping into the trough causes very little vibration. Is it possible that somewhere in the switches/wiring/anything of the seemingly unrelated area of the machine could be in play here? Or is what I witnessed likely a red herring and I should return to examining the GI area we think is the issue? I did inspect this new area and didn't see anything physically awry. But with all that said, the second alert after the Node 9 upper left GI has all along been TROUGH MALFUNCTION... Hmmm.

Ok, I dug a little further into the issue, especially given you trough issue/comments. I looked up what appears to be the node board (520-7017-72) schematic. I haven't worked on the Spike system, but I am an electrical engineer. But first time looking at this, so a bit of a WAG as I sort thru it. Looking at the first schematic below, I see the FET drivers used to power the GI lights, going to CN15. There's also a line called 'COIL_RTN2' that goes to the current sense line. That line (circled red in the 2nd picture) is what monitors the current and indicates the fault. On that current sense line is also some of the flipper drivers. But looking at the CN7, those might be spares. Looking at the blue circled part, that's the current monitor that watches the trough (and other things too). Then it appears the two current monitors are combined together since the each current monitors output is an 'open collector' in the chip - resulting in a single fault line for both chips (black circle). The thing I don't know is what is powered down when a fault is tripped. Nor do I know how it figured out the trough is an issue.

Translating: It might not be the GI causing the over current, but rather the trough...and the lights just shut off as a result (not the problem). Or I could be wrong since you appear to be finding a short at times in the GI wiring (don't know what your skill set is. ). If you really do see a short in the GI wiring, then wiggle the wires until you narrow it down.

Again, first time looking into this, so I might be off in left field. But it might be beneficial to look at the trough for something obvious.

Link to what I think is the schematic: https://sternpinball.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/520-7017-72D-Core-Node-Hall-3amp.pdf

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#59 15 days ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

Translating: It might not be the GI causing the over current, but rather the trough...and the lights just shut off as a result (not the problem). Or I could be wrong

Removing CN15 (which ONLY handles GI, 1-3 is power and 5-7 is the returns) removes the problem and clears the error. That almost 100% means it's just in the GI. Could maaaybe be the node board, but swapping them isn't advised when the GI possible causes haven't been eliminated. Focus is the problem here, and all these other possible causes are doing is stopping the progression that will eventually fix the issue.

So the situation is likely the other way round from what you posit - that the GI short is causing the false trough error. And since eliminating all the possible causes of that short hasn't been done, everything else is a waste of time.

#60 15 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

Removing CN15 (which ONLY handles GI 1-3 is power and 5-7 is the returns) removes the problem and clears the error. That almost 100% means it's just in the GI. Could be the node board, but swapping them isn't advised when the GI possible causes haven't been eliminated.
So the situation is likely the other way round from what you posit - that the GI short is causing the false trough error. And since eliminating all the possible causes of that short hasn't been done, everything else is a waste of time.

Yep, I was even editing my comment about that after rereading the OP's comment about seeing a short at times. But you snuck in before I was done editing.

I do think it is worthwhile looking around the trough though. I just don't know how they determined the trough is at fault, unless all the supplies are shut off if it sees a GI fault, resulting in a false trough fault.

Perhaps the OP just leaves CN15 unconnected and plays a bunch of games and see if it still throws a fault eventually.

#61 15 days ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

Perhaps the OP just leaves CN15 unconnected and plays a bunch of games and see if it still throws a fault eventually.

It won't. Pretty sure the trough fault is a ghost error due to the GI short. I've seen that kind of thing before. Unplug CN15 and you won't see either error again, but you also have lost that GI. Better to just buckle down, stay focused, and finish tracking down the short in the GI. It's a very small area to check, relatively speaking. Resisting doing the steps because soldering is a pain is just delaying resolution.

#62 15 days ago

I do find it kind of hard to believe the trough vibration causes the wiring to short. If that was the case, I would think normal game play would set it off too.

#63 15 days ago

timlah 79, is this a plastic piece or metal? Might be a good idea to take off the plastic up top and look for shorts around the light sockets if you can't find it anywhere else.

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#64 15 days ago

Im betting its socket.

#65 15 days ago

Tim-

I hope I am not losing track, but with all the bulbs removed, and the cn15 connector disconnected, try to use a meter between the points I circled on GREEN on each of the sockets. You should see NO connectivity, regardless how how much wiggling you do with the wires.

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#66 15 days ago
Quoted from timlah79:

Again thank you ALL for all of this help!

Where the arrow is pointing, is that solder? It shouldn't be there, and if it's running down, it could be making a short.

Also, the area highlighted in red is the metal plate for the playfield rail to slide and rest on. Is the GI wiring over that area in the picture pulled away from that and tied back before the playfield is lowered so it's not pinched? That would DEFINITELY cause a short, and if it was pinched at some point in the past, may have created the short you have.

Also, have you tried power on with the playfield up and CN15 plugged in? Does that work? If it DOES, try wiggling each segment to see if one segment causes the GI to go out.

For the record, the yellow wire is the voltage lead. White is the return.

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#67 14 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

Better to just buckle down, stay focused

I love these threads where pinheads come together to help out and fix ones issues. I especially love the ones where Pin Monk lays down the wisdom with shit like "Stay Focused". lol

Good stuff and progression being made Tim - you will be up and running in no time.

#68 14 days ago

EDIT/POSSIBLY GOOD NEWS 1/12 10pm PST: Before you guys go reading through the below (that I wrote a couple hours ago), hang tight. I think I may have just figured out the root cause. Please give me until tomorrow 1/13 to report back. I don't want to jump the gun just yet. I will share my detailed findings in a new post if I determine that I actually found root cause and ultimate resolution.

PREVIOUS POST (keeping for good troubleshooting measure):

Quoted from mbwalker:

timlah 79, is this a plastic piece or metal? Might be a good idea to take off the plastic up top and look for shorts around the light sockets if you can't find it anywhere else.
[quoted image]

That appears to be metal. However the lights / w/e those lead to are not part of this GI AFAIK. For good measure I made sure nothing was touching that metal and I unplugged all 3 connectors one by one powering on/off in between. No change, same errors.

Quoted from Markharris2000:

Tim-
I hope I am not losing track, but with all the bulbs removed, and the cn15 connector disconnected, try to use a meter between the points I circled on GREEN on each of the sockets. You should see NO connectivity, regardless how how much wiggling you do with the wires.
[quoted image]

Yes with or without the bulb in, socket attached or reattached, CN15 attached or not, *when the errors are happening* EVERY socket in this GI has continuity. My understanding is that's because they are all in parallel. Which makes this so difficult to find a culprit. When the GI decides to be fine for a few min, all continuity is gone.

Quoted from vireland:

Where the arrow is pointing, is that solder? It shouldn't be there, and if it's running down, it could be making a short.
Also, the area highlighted in red is the metal plate for the playfield rail to slide and rest on. Is the GI wiring over that area in the picture pulled away from that and tied back before the playfield is lowered so it's not pinched? That would DEFINITELY cause a short, and if it was pinched at some point in the past, may have created the short you have.
Also, have you tried power on with the playfield up and CN15 plugged in? Does that work? If it DOES, try wiggling each segment to see if one segment causes the GI to go out.
For the record, the yellow wire is the voltage lead. White is the return.[quoted image]

That may have been solder. I was able to easily scratch it off with one swipe of my fingernail. No change. Also that was the first socket I unsoldered tonight, no change. Also, the reason why you see those wires near the metal guide is because I had started clipping the zip ties. To 1000% clarify, the issues occur when the playfield is up sometimes, when the playfield is down sometimes, no rhyme or reason. Every time I do test I make 100000% sure no wiring, no metal, anything is touching other metal.

Are we 100000000000% sure that this isn't just a Node board 9 issue itself or something completely not a part of this GI? In other words, do we really trust the DIAG's assessment of overcurrent protection continually pointing to Node 9 and shutting down this upper left GI? I understand you guys are saying, well the issue NEVER happens if you have CN15 disconnected but what is that really telling me?

Again like I've stated before I feel like there is a greater electrical problem in my machine that either has to do with a slowly failing Node 9 or something completely different.

These are the many reasons why I feel this way based on my statements/findings earlier plus what I've done and seen tonight:

  • Last night after giving up as the issues were still occurring, everything attached as is, I put the whole thing back together. Balls removed still. Powered it up once more to make sure the issues were still happening -- they were. Tonight all I did was flip the power on and NO issues. In other words nothing physically changed from issue to no issue within this time period.
  • I removed the glass while all GIs were working and started loading balls in again ever so carefully. This time on the 3rd ball BAM GI's went out. Going to the DIAG shows the overcurrent alert. Power off and back on, here we go again with the errors.
  • QUESTION: Why would that be the case if we think this is an intermittent, mechanical related short somewhere getting aggravated/triggered by vibration?

  • Now with the playfield up yet again, I unsoldered and completely removed 5 of the 9 GI sockets (starting with and including all the ones in question throughout this thread). In between each removal, I made sure sure no now exposed wires were touching anything, powered off and on, issues persisted each time. I tested continuity between each wire too each time and of course all have it.
  • I then returned to unraveling, unclipping probably 10-15 stock zip ties, separating wires, jiggling in between power cycles, etc. No change
  • I powered off, leaving the playfield up as is, no physical changes. Came back and powered on and NO issues/alerts + remaining GI bulbs were on again

I cannot go continuing to clip off zip ties. Each time I do I have to somehow make sure nothing is touching anything b/t power cycles. The more I do, the more I'm going to risk shorting somewhere I can't see or shaving off the shielding of any given wire.

When the overcurrent issue happens it's not like I can shake wires/connections to make the machine go back to normal. Even if I fix the short temporarily in that exercise, the machine doesn't just go back to normal. It's a power cycle over and over again (which is probably not good in general) just to see if xx wire or xx socket I've messed with has made any difference.

I can continue unsoldering the remaining 4 sockets and send pictures of each (which all yet again have no bulbs in them since I took them all out again tonight), testing continuity b/t wires of all at each step, but where is that going to get me? I'm now messing with wiring and sockets that have not been touched at all since day one. The continuity testing at this point is pointless since when the issues are occurring ALL sockets/wires show continuity regardless if CN15 is plugged in or not. Not once have I gotten to a while in the issue step to find xx socket or wire is bad. It's impossible since they are all in parallel, right?

Also please keep in mind that I've also physically inspected each wire/socket/board along the entire way to the point of bloodshot eyes. Again even if I can figure this out, I'm going to have to spend hours putting everything back together without messing something else up in the process.

I'm truly at a loss at this point. I've got to be around 20 hours into all of this. How much would I have to pay a technician especially since diagnosing the issue is such a step by step, hope for the best without any real data situation? Should I just buy a new Node board and go through that careful connector removal and re-plug exercise or are you guys certain that it's not a node board itself issue? The path that I'm on seems like wasted effort riddled with more confusion and going down the wrong rabbit holes, ending up in me having a mess I have to spend more time than I have troubleshooting in order to put it all back together. I really wish someone with a JP specifically who has had this UPPER LEFT GI and TROUGH FAILURE before would please chime in.

#69 14 days ago

Swap the node board...easy thing to try...

#70 14 days ago
Quoted from timlah79:

Yes with or without the bulb in, socket attached or reattached, CN15 attached or not, *when the errors are happening* EVERY socket in this GI has continuity.

Wait. So you're saying WITHOUT CN15 plugged in, you have gotten the overcurrent error?

#71 14 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

Wait. So you're saying WITHOUT CN15 plugged in, you have gotten the overcurrent error?

If this is the case he should definitely swap the node board.
Also, typically the wiring / bulb would be the issues - but if he truly exhausted this, then maybe by putting a "load" on the board ...it is showing a fault in the board (kind of like a car battery saying voltage is good....but it is a bad battery).

#72 14 days ago
Quoted from cpr9999:

If this is the case he should definitely swap the node board.
Also, typically the wiring / bulb would be the issues - but if he truly exhausted this, then maybe by putting a "load" on the board ...it is showing a fault in the board (kind of like a car battery saying voltage is good....but it is a bad battery).

I'm waiting for confirmation that is really what he meant to say before saying anything else because it's extremely hard to keep him focused, and I don't want to be doing this forever.

It's the first time he's said this. Prior he's always said if CN15 was unplugged, the error never happened. Which points directly to GI short.

#73 14 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

Wait. So you're saying WITHOUT CN15 plugged in, you have gotten the overcurrent error?

Quoted from vireland:

I'm waiting for confirmation that is really what he meant to say before saying anything else because it's extremely hard to keep him focused, and I don't want to be doing this forever.
It's the first time he's said this. Prior he's always said if CN15 was unplugged, the error never happened. Which points directly to GI short.

So sorry to confuse you vireland! No I have NOT reproduced the same errors/alerts when CN15 is UN-plugged. That was a mixed sentence of mine, addressing the continuity question when CN15 is unplugged or not. Poor wording on my part in that response, sorry!

The only alert that has come up while CN15 is plugged in and when the GI + TROUGH alerts are NOT happening, is one I mentioned a couple posts back: CHECK SWITCH #9 LEFT FLIPPER BUTTON. That was random and only happened a couple times at troubleshooting points where I was not getting the other errors/alerts in question.

GOOD NEWS: I literally just may have figured out root cause & resolution but I'm giving the machine some time to be sure. I just edited my post from a couple hours ago (that you've read) with an edit at the beginning to let people know there's no need to dig in for now. If what I just figured out is right, it was a socket all along (the GI short you and all have been saying all along).

See what I put at the top just now: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/spike-2-node-9-overcurrent-protection-gi-failure-stern-jple/page/2#post-6070285

Again really sorry for wasting your time about the CN15 thing, I'm trying to be accurate in my posts but I'm speaking languages I'm only now just learning. Please keep your fingers crossed for me. Like I said in my edit just now, I'm refraining from adding details until I'm certain that what I found is the ultimate resolution. I will do my best to picture and describe all steps if it is.

#74 14 days ago
Quoted from timlah79:

GOOD NEWS: I literally just may have figured out root cause & resolution but I'm giving the machine some time to be sure...If what I just figured out is right, it was a socket all along (the GI short you and all have been saying all along).

Great news. Fingers crossed.

#75 14 days ago

i hope you got it sorted Tim

#76 14 days ago

Please share a pic of the issue....bad socket insulator? etc.
SO GLAD you may have found it!

#77 14 days ago

Hope you find the specific problem, like a bad socket, because some part broken can be easily fixed and is definitive. Clearing an error by jiggling wires, while short-term satisfying, just kicks the can down the road.

LET US ALL KNOW, what specifically you found.

#78 14 days ago

UPDATE 1/13 9:30AM: Short story (pun intended) - The root cause appears to have been a faulty socket from this UPPER LEFT G.I. area all along.

Long story (How I came to this conclusion):
I messed with a yet to be unsoldered socket (from the location circled below) after all the steps I outlined earlier. Each time I'm moving these wires/sockets BTW I have the machine powered off. Then if I've done a fair amount of movement I stop and power up just to see if the issues are still happening. I was about to unsolder this socket like the other 4 I but all of a sudden the issue had gone a away again. So I grabbed a bulb and popped it in. It lit up. However, I could now trigger the issue by removing the bulb, re-adding it, power cycles in between. So I at least had an intermittent ability to start/stop the issue with this socket! I inspected it yet again and saw nothing but was like this has to be it though. So I unsoldered it.

I have since started at this socket over and over again. Just now I decided to take a ton of pics of it to post here. As I was going through the pics on my computer, I saw the tiniest little copper wire inside the socket housing. I couldn't for the life of me see this with just my eyes and flashlight. The pic I took with a flash shows it clear as day (pic attached). This isn't supposed to be here, correct? Please tell me this isn't normal, I don't see such a thing in any other sockets. What's puzzling though is with the socket (and I hope this isn't a stupid question) is as it is right now, I don't get continuity across its arms. Should I if it is the root cause? If so I suppose it's possible that at this exact testing moment, the wire is not causing a short? EDIT/Clarification: I can get the socket to short intermittently. With the bulb removed, DMM connected via alligator clips to each arm, as I wiggle the arms ever so slightly I get split second BEEPS/continuity. Apparently just the slightest movement/position of the arms, spring or w/e causes enough contact with that tiny little rogue wire fray to short it. I don't think I'm going to even bother removing that little guy. I'll put in a new socket and frame this SOB to put on my wall (of shame? ).

With 5 of the 9 sockets now unsoldered/disconnected, exposed wires electrical taped at the ends, then 4 of the 9 back in place with bulbs, I have played a few games. Issue has yet to resurface!

Irony here: I have never touched this socket/bulb before, it's always had a bulb in it, never disconnected until this issue, and is not one of the two used for those aforementioned mods. So how in the heck did this happen or has that wire been in there all along and I've just been lucky for 1.5 years?

Anyway let me know your guys' thoughts. I have some follow up questions about putting everything back together, but before I do that/ask I wanted to send this along.
Bad Socket_5 (resized).pngBad socket location (resized).jpg

#79 14 days ago
Quoted from timlah79:

UPDATE 1/13 9:30AM: Short story (pun intended) - The root cause appears to have been a faulty socket from this UPPER LEFT G.I. area all along.
Long story (How I came to this conclusion):
I messed with a yet to be unsoldered socket (from the location circled below) after all the steps I outlined earlier. Each time I'm moving these wires/sockets BTW I have the machine powered off. Then if I've done a fair amount of movement I stop and power up just to see if the issues are still happening. I was about to unsolder this socket like the other 4 I but all of a sudden the issue had gone a away again. So I grabbed a bulb and popped it in. It lit up. However, I could now trigger the issue by removing the bulb, re-adding it, power cycles in between. So I at least had an intermittent ability to start/stop the issue with this socket! I inspected it yet again and saw nothing but was like this has to be it though. So I unsoldered it.
I have since started at this socket over and over again. Just now I decided to take a ton of pics of it to post here. As I was going through the pics on my computer, I saw the tiniest little copper wire inside the socket housing. I couldn't for the life of me see this with just my eyes and flashlight. The pic I took with a flash shows it clear as day (pic attached). This isn't supposed to be here, correct? Please tell me this isn't normal, I don't see such a thing in any other sockets. What's puzzling though is with the socket (and I hope this isn't a stupid question) is as it is right now, I don't get continuity across its arms. Should I if it is the root cause? If so I suppose it's possible that at this exact testing moment, the wire is not causing a short?
With 5 of the 9 sockets now unsoldered/disconnected, exposed wires electrical taped at the ends, then 4 of the 9 back in place with bulbs, I have played a few games. Issue has yet to resurface!
Irony here: I have never touched this socket/bulb before, it's always had a bulb in it, never disconnected until this issue, and is not one of the two used for those aforementioned mods. So how in the heck did this happen or has that wire been in there all along and I've just been lucky for 1.5 years?
Anyway let me know your guys' thoughts. I have some follow up questions about putting everything back together, but before I do that/ask I wanted to send this along. [quoted image][quoted image]

That is EXACTLY what we expected you would find. A short in one of the sockets powered by CN15. That copper wire between the tip of the bulb and the casing is NOT supposed to be there. And it's the kind of thing that would yield intermittent issues, depending on vibration or heat expansion or almost anything that could cause it to bridge that air gap.

Look at you enjoying rolling your sleeves up and playing with a screwdriver and soldering gun!!!!! 8-)

#80 14 days ago
Quoted from timlah79:

UPDATE 1/13 9:30AM: Short story (pun intended) - The root cause appears to have been a faulty socket from this UPPER LEFT G.I. area all along.
Long story (How I came to this conclusion):
I messed with a yet to be unsoldered socket (from the location circled below) after all the steps I outlined earlier. Each time I'm moving these wires/sockets BTW I have the machine powered off. Then if I've done a fair amount of movement I stop and power up just to see if the issues are still happening. I was about to unsolder this socket like the other 4 I but all of a sudden the issue had gone a away again. So I grabbed a bulb and popped it in. It lit up. However, I could now trigger the issue by removing the bulb, re-adding it, power cycles in between. So I at least had an intermittent ability to start/stop the issue with this socket! I inspected it yet again and saw nothing but was like this has to be it though. So I unsoldered it.
I have since started at this socket over and over again. Just now I decided to take a ton of pics of it to post here. As I was going through the pics on my computer, I saw the tiniest little copper wire inside the socket housing. I couldn't for the life of me see this with just my eyes and flashlight. The pic I took with a flash shows it clear as day (pic attached). This isn't supposed to be here, correct? Please tell me this isn't normal, I don't see such a thing in any other sockets. What's puzzling though is with the socket (and I hope this isn't a stupid question) is as it is right now, I don't get continuity across its arms. Should I if it is the root cause? If so I suppose it's possible that at this exact testing moment, the wire is not causing a short?
With 5 of the 9 sockets now unsoldered/disconnected, exposed wires electrical taped at the ends, then 4 of the 9 back in place with bulbs, I have played a few games. Issue has yet to resurface!
Irony here: I have never touched this socket/bulb before, it's always had a bulb in it, never disconnected until this issue, and is not one of the two used for those aforementioned mods. So how in the heck did this happen or has that wire been in there all along and I've just been lucky for 1.5 years?
Anyway let me know your guys' thoughts. I have some follow up questions about putting everything back together, but before I do that/ask I wanted to send this along. [quoted image][quoted image]

Talk about finding a needle in a hay stack, good job!

#81 14 days ago
Quoted from timlah79:

I have since started at this socket over and over again. Just now I decided to take a ton of pics of it to post here. As I was going through the pics on my computer, I saw the tiniest little copper wire inside the socket housing. I couldn't for the life of me see this with just my eyes and flashlight. The pic I took with a flash shows it clear as day (pic attached).

This is exactly why I was asking for hi-res pictures of the top and bottom of each socket days ago.

The problem you have is not specific to JP, it's actually too common for Spike, so that's why when you kept wanting someone with JP that had the issue to chime in and tell you the answer, it was a waste of time because the issue had been seen many times before, it was almost always a short in a bulb or socket, and Spike2's very rudimentary diagnostics was telling you 9 specific places to look (which is why the intermittent trough error and other ghost problems were a waste of time to investigate until the GI problem was solved).

So now that you've been through this (and documented the outcome well), you can be on the lookout for someone else's sudden Spike overcurrent nightmare and help them. It won't need to be a JP, it can be any Spike game and the process and likely result will be the same.

Glad you got to the fix in the end and your JP will be back in business "shortly." <-- haha

#82 14 days ago

Good deal!

#83 14 days ago

I just had this same issue on my Batman 66 out of nowhere on the upper playfield GI. I went bottomside and removed each socket from the playfield and started removing bulbs. 4 bulbs in something fell out of the socket in to the cabinet. I removed the rest for good measure and then started the process of installing a bulb and booting up over and over again and low and behold the problem went away. My guess is whatever ended up in the socket was the culprit.

#84 14 days ago

I've marked two key posts, if any of you think others should be marked let me know.

#85 14 days ago

Glad you found it, welcome to pinball ownership, can be maddening at times but you've learned something.
Now you can make a song called "Sorted & Unshorted".

#86 13 days ago

Well done Tim, so glad you were able to find the culprit and while frustrating at the time, it is so rewarding when you solve the problem. Hope it doesn't take too long in getting the GI back together and you can get back to playing some games!!

Also great work vireland not just in helping Tim but being new to Stern machines myself it's helped me understand the Spike2 system better and how to troubleshoot. I feel more confident (to a degree ) in being able to tackle an issue. Thank you.

#87 13 days ago
Quoted from Manny65:

Well done Tim, so glad you were able to find the culprit and while frustrating at the time, it is so rewarding when you solve the problem. Hope it doesn't take too long in getting the GI back together and you can get back to playing some games!!
Also great work vireland not just in helping Tim but being new to Stern machines myself it's helped me understand the Spike2 system better and how to troubleshoot. I feel more confident (to a degree ) in being able to tackle an issue. Thank you.

Spike diagnostic messages are maddeningly obtuse and incomplete, especially for the novice. Glad I could shine a little light on this issue and how to narrow down the areas to look for the cause of this problem. That said, know that in Spike knowledge, I'm only a few steps ahead of you, so don't creep up too fast, or you'll be ahead of me and on your own.

#88 13 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

Spike diagnostic messages are maddeningly obtuse and incomplete, especially for the novice. Glad I could shine a little light on this issue and how to narrow down the areas to look for the cause of this problem. That said, know that in Spike knowledge, I'm only a few steps ahead of you, so don't creep up too fast, or you'll be ahead of me and on your own.

Your help in this thread for sure helped me sort out my Batman 66 like I said above! Kudos to you sir!

#89 13 days ago
Quoted from Bos98:

Your help in this thread for sure helped me sort out my Batman 66 like I said above! Kudos to you sir!

Ah, that's great. I somehow thought you were talking about that happening sometime in the past. I didn't realize you had just done it.

The crazy thing about the Stern Spike diagnostics sucking is Gomez was involved with Pinball 2000, more than 20 years ago, which had a diagnostic system with animated menus that showed you where the problem was, which JJP basically copied and improved on. It would tell you what bulb was out, too (created problems when LED bulbs came out later, but that's another issue). So why doesn't Gomez make it a priority to get this into Spike 2? He KNOWS it's bad, and he's been involved with a platform where it was done right...

#90 13 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

Spike diagnostic messages are maddeningly obtuse and incomplete, especially for the novice. Glad I could shine a little light on this issue and how to narrow down the areas to look for the cause of this problem. That said, know that in Spike knowledge, I'm only a few steps ahead of you, so don't creep up too fast, or you'll be ahead of me and on your own.

LOL you got nothing to be worried about there mate

This morning I went back to the JP manual and retraced the steps in pinpointing the particular connector and associated lamps, it always makes sense when you are following the "bouncing ball". Whether I can do it myself is another question .... but troubleshooting is an area I do enjoy, it's just that the whole spike system is a bit of black art to me atm. I am quite shocked at the lack of information in the manuals (adjustment settings, LED diag info on some of the boards), no help in the service menus and what seems to be a very rudimentary diag system - I understand that this all costs money but I think that this is an area that definitely needs improvement.

#91 13 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

The crazy thing about the Stern Spike diagnostics sucking is Gomez was involved with Pinball 2000, more than 20 years ago, which had a diagnostic system with animated menus that showed you where the problem was, which JJP basically copied and improved on. It would tell you what bulb was out, too (created problems when LED bulbs came out later, but that's another issue). So why doesn't Gomez make it a priority to get this into Spike 2? He KNOWS it's bad, and he's seen it done right...

Maybe it's a patent issue. If WMS has a patent on the Pin2K diagnostic system Stern may not be able to just clone it without getting in trouble.

#92 13 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

Ah, that's great. I somehow thought you were talking about that happening sometime in the past. I didn't realize you had just done it.
The crazy thing about the Stern Spike diagnostics sucking is Gomez was involved with Pinball 2000, more than 20 years ago, which had a diagnostic system with animated menus that showed you where the problem was, which JJP basically copied and improved on. It would tell you what bulb was out, too (created problems when LED bulbs came out later, but that's another issue). So why doesn't Gomez make it a priority to get this into Spike 2? He KNOWS it's bad, and he's seen it done right...

Literally happened 2 nights ago and I fixed it yesterday rather quickly as a result of reading through this thread.

#93 13 days ago
Quoted from RandyV:

Maybe it's a patent issue. If WMS has a patent on the Pin2K diagnostic system Stern may not be able to just clone it without getting in trouble.

I think it's more that Stern simply re-used the service menu design (including diagnostics) from the SAM architecture rather than invest in the development to make use of the LCD to show much more detailed information. For example the diag info showed overcurrent on Node 9 TOP GI-LEFT, they could easily display a picture of the PF, highlight the 9 LEDs associated with TOP GI-LEFT, also indicate the location of Node 9 under the PF and even note the associated connector and pin for TOP GI-LEFT. I don't think this would breach any patent because Stern wouldn't be copying the underlying diag system as such but rather simply displaying the information in a similar (but improved) way, which is what JJP also do.

#94 13 days ago
Quoted from RandyV:

Maybe it's a patent issue. If WMS has a patent on the Pin2K diagnostic system Stern may not be able to just clone it without getting in trouble.

If that were the case, JJP would be in trouble. They basically ripped it off and extended it. One of the reasons their service menu is the best in pinball.

No, I don't think that's the issue. Smells like Stern has an ongoing case of lazy/goodenough-itis.

#95 13 days ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

I've marked two key posts, if any of you think others should be marked let me know.

Those two are definitely the key ones I'd want people to read first, thanks for doing that. Do you think it's appropriate/would be helpful for me to change the title of the thread? I feel like it's fine since if someone searches the text of the alerts they should find this pretty quickly.

Quoted from vireland:

This is exactly why I was asking for hi-res pictures of the top and bottom of each socket days ago.

I feel terrible for not doing that right after you asked, I'm sorry.

Quoted from vireland:

The problem you have is not specific to JP, it's actually too common for Spike, so that's why when you kept wanting someone with JP that had the issue to chime in and tell you the answer, it was a waste of time because the issue had been seen many times before, it was almost always a short in a bulb or socket, and Spike2's very rudimentary diagnostics was telling you 9 specific places to look (which is why the intermittent trough error and other ghost problems were a waste of time to investigate until the GI problem was solved).

Lesson learned and fully understood now!

So now that you've been through this (and documented the outcome well), you can be on the lookout for someone else's sudden Spike overcurrent nightmare and help them. It won't need to be a JP, it can be any Spike game and the process and likely result will be the same.

I will absolutely look out for others screaming about this and help in any way I can. In fact I'm going to post a link to this in the two main JP owner threads for good measure since that's where I first started searching for answers.

Quoted from vireland:

Glad you got to the fix in the end and your JP will be back in business "shortly." <-- haha

I commend you for this wordplay, well played sir!

In summary, thank you again vireland and EVERYONE for jumping in here, providing the exact advice I needed from the get go (albeit even though I didn't follow it as well as I should have)! Also thanks for reading my short stories of frustration during some of my feeble attempts. I've learned a lot in the past few days from all of you and I couldn't be more grateful.

#96 13 days ago
Quoted from Manny65:

I think it's more that Stern simply re-used the service menu design (including diagnostics) from the SAM architecture rather than invest in the development to make use of the LCD to show much more detailed information. For example the diag info showed overcurrent on Node 9 TOP GI-LEFT, they could easily display a picture of the PF, highlight the 9 LEDs associated with TOP GI-LEFT, also indicate the location of Node 9 under the PF and even note the associated connector and pin for TOP GI-LEFT. I don't think this would breach any patent because Stern wouldn't be copying the underlying diag system as such but rather simply displaying the information in a similar (but improved) way, which is what JJP also do.

at the very least they could of used the old big dmd service menu design (sega games that used the new menu at the time) (including diagnostics) that showed more info then the small dmd games.

Spike started as DMD so that made it be stuck in the past. Did WWE reuse old DMD art from DE WWF?

#97 13 days ago
Quoted from Joe_Blasi:

at the very least they could of used the old big dmd service menu design (sega games that used the new menu at the time) (including diagnostics) that showed more info then the small dmd games.
Spike started as DMD so that made it be stuck in the past. Did WWE reuse old DMD art from DE WWF?

I guess when the introduced Spike 2 to support the LCD in Batman 66 they had bigger things to get right than introduce enhanced diags and a new GUI for the service menu

#98 13 days ago
Quoted from Manny65:

I guess when the introduced Spike 2 to support the LCD in Batman 66 they had bigger things to get right than introduce enhanced diags and a new GUI for the service menu

or there main os code base needs to work with spike 1 and spike 2 and the error / diags / basic os code can't be easily redone with out game code changed needed?

There maybe stuff in the code base from the SAM hardware.

JJP was able to start new on an FULL PC based hardware with an SSD and not the smaller SD cards and spike 1 started some time ago with then having some what buggy test games running some kind of SAM emulator.
I have played and seen some of them years ago at testing sites.

And some SAM games have early spike node boards.

#99 13 days ago
Quoted from RandyV:

Maybe it's a patent issue. If WMS has a patent on the Pin2K diagnostic system Stern may not be able to just clone it without getting in trouble.

The Pin2K patents have already expired (utility patents last 20 years, design patents 14 or 15 years.)

#100 13 days ago
Quoted from Joe_Blasi:

or there main os code base needs to work with spike 1 and spike 2 and the error / diags / basic os code can't be easily redone with out game code changed needed?
There maybe stuff in the code base from the SAM hardware.
JJP was able to start new on an FULL PC based hardware with an SSD and not the smaller SD cards and spike 1 started some time ago with then having some what buggy test games running some kind of SAM emulator.
I have played and seen some of them years ago at testing sites.
And some SAM games have early spike node boards.

Yep good point, and very pertinent when Stern first moved to Spike 2, but I guess they've got to bite the bullet at some stage or otherwise have an antiquated UI compared to the competition. Stern's challenge is that the investment of money isn't directly revenue generating.

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