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(Topic ID: 208387)

Star Gazer harnesses - back box and play field

By Mk1Mod0

2 years ago

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  • 117 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by cottonm4
  • Topic is favorited by 19 Pinsiders


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There are 117 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
#1 2 years ago

Third Coast Pinball is now set to manufacture Stern back box harnesses for Star Gazer. This harness is constructed of all new 18 and 22 gauge tinned and stranded wire with Molex and Mate-n-lok plugs and trifurcon pins where available. Proper wire color coding is adhered to. All plugs properly keyed and clearly labeled. This harness connects all five displays with the MPU (J-1 and J-4), SB-300 sound card (J-2 and J-3), light board (J-4), solenoid board (J-3 and J-4), the plug for the volume pot and speaker, the plug that powers the back box lighting(GI and controlled) and the rectifier board (J-3). I know a lot of the beautiful play fields that were recently produced are going into scratch builds and you guys are going to need these. I want to get an idea of how many people are interested in buying one. I already have the materials and there is no down. Payment is upon completion prior to shipping. The price is $150 plus shipping which should be between 10 and 15 dollars depending upon where you live. I can give shipping quotes to any Canadian, European or Australian customers. Those of you who have already spoken to me about these need not post. You are already at the head of the line. I construct 1-3 per week depending on my day job work load.

I can also produce the lower box harness if there is interest. This harness consists of everything from the power cord on. (You provide the power cord.) This includes the filter with varistor, plug to the service outlet, tilt panel wiring, plug to the coin door, power switch, plug to rectifier J-2, MPU J-3, all the wire in between and the wiring to the flipper switches. I'll also throw in enough 1/4" ground braid to outfit the cabs and the ground wire and terminals to do the shooter, legs, side rails, etc. The price for these would be $75 plus shipping and are constructed from all new materials and products sourced in the US.

Once I have completed the run of cabinet harnesses I will start construction of play field harnesses. This will include all the wiring and plugs, ground wire and GI in between wire. The wiring to light board J-2 will include the branch off to back board lighting and the wiring for that if you need it.

As always I can do coin door harnesses and transformer to rectifier wiring for anyone who needs it. I'll get those up in my Pinside store this evening. And rest assured all sales through this forum will have 5% sent in to Pinside.

Once all this is done I would be willing to do the same for Sea Witch so if you are interested in that just say so and I will start a list for it as well. All of this will be on first come first serve basis. Thanks to all of my customers who have helped me grow through word of mouth and those of you who found me here.

Third Coast Pinball

PS - The picture is from a KISS harness build I did and is only to show what the plug labeling looks like.

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#2 2 years ago

I have been fortunate enough to work with Shawn building my from scratch build fathom harnesses and his work is outstanding! You will not regret ordering from him, everything comes clearly labeled, organized, and with additional documentation.

#3 2 years ago

Very cool, great that you can offer this!

No pic showing yet though.

#4 2 years ago

Here's the harnesses he did for me.

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#5 2 years ago

I’m interested in the playfield wiring.

#6 2 years ago

I did the testing for Shawn with this new wire harness. Star Gazer uses the same back box harness as Dragonfist. Shawn shipped his test harness to me for review.

I received the harness, looked it over, removed the harness in my Dragonfist and installed Shawn's new harness. It was a hassle free installation and as soon as I turned my pin on I was playing pinball with all four score displays and the credit/ball in play display recording the scores correctly.

Shawn does nice work. This is quality wiring work. I'll be buying his play field harness when he has them ready. It is going to save me endless hours from not having to build my own harness.

Thanks to Shawn for seeing the need and providing an easy solution.

#7 2 years ago

Can we nominate this guy for sainthood?

#8 2 years ago

Tremendous. Thanks for taking care of us Classic Stern guys

#9 2 years ago

Thanks for all the kind words and let's get this show on the road!


#10 2 years ago

Anyone who has done board work or at least plug and pin changes on a classic Bally or Stern knows that the MPU (A4) plug J1 is a .100 28 pin plug that is now unobtanium. To avoid this problem I have found the best solution is to get some 25s and 3s and join them up with some super glue. It's not a perfect solution but it gets the job done. And until someone gives up a huge load of them or gets them manufactured somewhere it's all we've got. They have been discontinued for years and have become impossible to find.

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#12 2 years ago

Yes I will be wanting all of these as you produce them, thank you.

#14 2 years ago

Three things to note:
1) All wiring is tested extensively before it leaves my shop.
2) My test bed machine is an '84 model Eight Ball Deluxe.
3) I am lazy when I can afford to be.

With that info in mind, all y'all should be able to guess what this contraption is for...

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#15 2 years ago

I'd like to get on the list for the Star Gazer Backbox and Playfield harness.
Thank you

#16 2 years ago
Quoted from kickabit:

I'd like to get on the list for the Star Gazer Backbox and Playfield harness.
Thank you


#17 2 years ago

I sent Shawn at Third Coast Pinball some pics of my factory harness to show how some of the connectors were wired up and he sent me a prototype harness he built that was plug-n-play. It is quality workmanship. All of the connector pins are those better quality trifurcation pins which are so much better than the single-surface pins the factory used.

I do not think you will be disappointed when your harness arrives.

In case anyone would like to see the back box harness installed I took a few pics of the prototype harness Third Coast Pinball sent to me for tryout. These pics show the harness installed in my Dragonfist since it and Stargazer use the same player displays and credit display layout.

This pic is showing the two connectors that attach to the MPU plus one of the connectors that plugs into the sound board. I use the Alltek MPU which has a different profile than the factory MPU-200 board. The wire bundle that plugs into the upper connector on the MPU is too short to work with the Stern factory MPU-200. This short condition will be corrected on the production harness that you will be getting. All of the connectors have been labeled so you don't have to scratch your head trying to figure out what plugs into where.

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Next up is the back box connector where the displays harness connects to some wiring that will lead to other places.

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This is the harness where it attaches to the displays. There is some excess wire between Player #1 and Player #3 that I have bundled up with tie wraps to take up some slack. This excess wire has been addressed and will not be present in the production harness.

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All connectors are labeled for easy identification.

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And here is the other end of the harness located at the rectifier board and speaker connector. There is plenty of wire length in the harness do all you need to do.

EDIT: I forgot to add this: If you have one of these Classic Stern pinballs that you preparing to move and you have to remove the back box to make the move, you are going to need unplug all of your wiring so you can remove the back box. If you will disconnect the J-3 connector at the rectifier board and the connector at the speaker and roll this wire bundle up and feed it up into the back box you do not need to remove the wire harness from the displays.

I did not know this when I bought my first Classic Stern and went to the trouble of disconnecting ALL of the wiring from the circuit boards and all of the wiring from the display connectors and dropping it all into the cabinet. Others have done worse and cut all of the wiring that went to the displays and pretty much ruined the displays harness. You don't have to do all of that work or create any destruction to remove a Stern back box.

I'll say it another way for clarity. If you need to remove a Classic Stern back box for transport, or any other reason, first disconnect all connectors from the circuit boards and let them drop into the cab. Then disconnect the J-3 connector at the rectifier board and the speaker connector and roll this bundle up and into the back box and it will travel and make the trip inside the back box.

EDIT #2: Do not remove the wire connectors from the SDU board. The bundle that goes to the SDU are part of the displays harness. My apologies.

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#19 2 years ago


#20 2 years ago

Here you can see a test of the last one off the line. I test each one to ensure basic function before it rolls out the door. Until my Star Gazer play field is assembled, my testing is done in my EBD cab with the Ultimate MPU on Star Gazer settings. Took awhile to get it set properly for credit and match to show and get credits put in it. Bally and Stern machines are close, but NOT the same! The next harness is being constructed as I continue to map out the harness for the play fields. No sound yet as my SB-300 seems to be non-working for now...


#22 2 years ago

Yeah, well I'm one of those crazy old coots that buys boxes of old boards and fixes them up like new again. Except for MPUs. Got tired of dealing with battery acid issues. Waiting on a cap kit from GPE who once again seems to be up to his elbows in orders. A terrible problem to have.

#23 2 years ago

I love the smell of a fresh wire harness. Got my backbox harness in today and it fits like a charm. Thank you.

1 week later
#24 2 years ago

Next production pair completed and mailing out Monday after a few delays caused by a massively full work week at the day job. Everyone on the list moves up one spot.

Here's some shots of the upper harness and accessories:

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#25 2 years ago

Here's the lower:

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2 weeks later
#26 2 years ago

Quick update as I dance out the door for the annual two days at WindStar then four days in Frisco family vacation. And by family I mean me and the spousal unit. Upon return from TPF I have one lower to finish and one more to make along with three more uppers. At that time I will begin producing the play field harnesses at the rate of 3-5 at a time. Everyone ordering will be contacted regarding the plugs for playfield assemblies.

Once those are completed I'll be getting back on track with the acrylic Bingo project. My prices will likely rise a bit at that time as postage and copper are both increasing. Thanks for everyone's support and patronage! If you see me at TPF be sure and say hi. I'll look something like this...


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1 week later
#27 2 years ago

Shawn's work is amazing and precise, I have had harnesses made recently, and more to come, You cant find better. He takes pride in what he does.
Keep up the amazing work Shawn.


#28 2 years ago

Thanks for the kind words, Craig.

I have completed the unfinished lower and have begun the next pair. It occurs to me that not everyone is an expert, so here's a quick tutorial on installing the lower kit. By the end of next week I'll do one on the uppers as well. Now never mind that the test rig is an EBD, the cabinets are basically the same inside. I'll present this in what to me is the most logical order. You results may vary.

1) Step one with a fresh cabinet is to ground the stuffing out of it. Without proper grounding, your machine is a potential death hazard waiting on a victim. So lets start by running the ground braid.
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Start about 8-12 inches from the back of the cabinet and staple it to the side about 4 inches or so up from the bottom. Don't go nuts, just keep it tight and a staple every 5 inches or so will do. Run it under where the tilt panel goes and then across the front panel and up the other side. This should take about 7 of the ten foot length. Use the other 3 feet to run from your starting point up to the head where it attaches to the back plane. Be sure to screw it into the front leg supports as it passes by. Nevermind the part running acrodd the cabinet to the speaker. Not required in your machine.
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Next you'll need to take the grounding wire and ring crimps and make a series of grounding straps to connect all of the metal parts to the braid. In the next picture you can see where we connect the braid, which is screwed to the leg brace to the bottom and hinge side of the coin door frame.
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At the top of the hinge piece we'll run more wires to ground the side rail, lock down bar and top of the coin door frame.
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On the other side of the cab we see the braid run through the other leg brace with another wire running to the other side piece of the door frame.
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A little higher up the side we see the braid terminates just below the flipper switch. There we have run two more wires to the plunger back plate and the right side rail. This makes sure that no one will get shocked should something happen. ALL of these wires must be in place to ensure a path of least resistance in case a bare wire touches anything of metal within reach of a player or someone just touching the machine.
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#29 2 years ago

Now we're going to lay out the main part of the harness. The filter will need to be wired to your power plug first. It has three tabs on the top that you can solder to. Just be sure to match the colors below. White over white, black over black and the green ground on the center tab. (Not on the mounting screw tab!) The green on the center tab grounds the entire casing of the filter. To pass that on to all the work we just did, mount the filter with the bottom screw passing through the two eyelets with green wires in the harness and directly to the braid stapled on the cabinet.
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Once that is good and tight go ahead and add another screw to the top eye of the filter. This ensures it won't move.
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Now lets work our way down the harness to the left of the filter. The next part in line is the offshoot that powers the service outlet. I have also provided the other half of the plug already wired and ready to connect to an outlet of your choosing. And remember, when the machine is plugged in, it is live.
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Next we come to the wiring for the tilt panel. If anyone needs more info on what goes where there I'll be happy to post that up as well.
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Backing out a little you'll see the tilt panel wires, the blue and orange wires get routed up to the left flipper button. Then we have the coin door plug and the rest of the wiring crosses the cab to the other side. You will probably need to trim the flipper wires a little for a good fit. Always leave wires a little loose. Make them up too tight and they may eventually break from the stress of constant tension.
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Halfway across the cab will be the A2J2 plug that goes to the rectifier.
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#30 2 years ago

On the other side of the cab the harness will split into three parts. First is the green and black/yellow wires. They go to the knocker. Solder the two green wires to the banded side of the knocker coil and the black/yellow wire to the other side. Get this wrong and the knocker is the first thing you will hear when you power up the machine. Next is the double orange and red wires that go to the right flipper switch. Double orange to one side and red to the other. Doesn't matter which side here, its a switch. Trim as necessary. Lastly is the on/off switch that can be mounted in it's metal plate. And if it is in a metal plate, run another grounding wire to it from the braid.
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Lastly, at the other end of the harness are the two plugs that go to the MPU and the solenoid board. Secure them to the backplane and plug them in. Now, before you do ANYTHING ELSE, lets put our grounding to the test. And if your machine already has it, test it anyways. Can't hurt if you do, might hurt if you don't. Take your multi-meter and put it on continuity check. Connect the black probe to the ground on your plug that goes to the wall. Now touch the red probe to ALL of the metal parts at the front of the machine. Legs and leg bolts. Coin door and frame. Plunger. Side rails. If any of these do not check out, find out why and fix it. This is the most important thing we'll do. Bringing a machine to life is cool. Doing it safely is even cooler. More tomorrow.


#31 2 years ago

Nice write up and pics. Where did you get that plastic insulating cup that covers the on-off switch? I want some of those.

#32 2 years ago

Came on the ebd. I'll look up its part number and see if anyone makes it still.

#33 2 years ago

I finally finished a template for the Stargazer backbox lamp board. These are CAD cut to perfect size on paperboard. Please PM me if you need this for your stargazer scratch build.

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#34 2 years ago

I am in for all of this. I have a scrap field that needs to go into a cabinet. Let me know. LIght board, back box light board harness and inside cab. harness. IN!!!

1 week later
#35 2 years ago

So here's a quick overview of the upper harness and what comes with it. As some of y'all know, I am not building an entire machine, just the play field. So with the author's permission, I'll be using a few pics from the redketchup thread for photo reference.

The first things you'll be dealing with are the power rail for the light board and the GI and controlled lamp wiring.

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#36 2 years ago

Once you have made all the cut outs and mounted the light sockets you will need to run the bare wire provided as the power rail. Once you have it all layed out and soldered in, before you add bulbs, do a continuity check between the parallel lines to make sure you didn't cross it up somewhere. Here you can see the basic layout along with the red, white, green, orange and blue wires that close the circuit for these lights.

The 5 covered wires should come together leading off the lower right hand side of the light board.

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#37 2 years ago

One can see that the blue wire powers and daisy chains to all of the controlled lamps in the light board. (Game Over, Tilt, etc.) The red and white power the upper GI and the orange and green run the lower.

Here's a picture of the completed back board with all of the wiring. The wires that complete the circuit for the controlled lamps is included with the play field wiring.

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#38 2 years ago

The rest of the harness is pretty much plug and play. Every plug is well labeled and should go in with the label facing up or to the right of the machine. Now, for those of you building a franken machine (Bally and Stern parts) pay attention to this part - Star Gazer is a 7 digit game so this applies to the player 1,2,3 and 4 displays. I am sending the harness setup for Stern displays which have a gray wire in position 11. This is the one that powers the seventh digit and is not found on the credit/match display. Bally displays have a black striped green wire in the number 12 position.

So if you are using Stern displays, leave the harness as it came.
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If you will be using Bally displays, you will need to move the gray wire from position 11 to position twelve. To do this, you will need a sharp pointed tool to release the catch of the crimp.
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Simply press down on the catch at the top of the slot while giving a light pull on the wires and then insert it in the next slot up.
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Once you have all the plugs inserted and the harness secured in the back box, run the tail through the hole and down the left side of the lower cabinet to plug in the rectifier board and the speaker/volume control. Easy, right? Feel free to message me if you need more explanation or better pictures. And thanks again to all of you patronizing my business.


#39 2 years ago

Also, to keep shipping down I role the bugger up so you may need to do some twisting and tweaking to get it to plug in correctly. I recommend starting at the light board and then working my way from left to right.

1 week later
#40 2 years ago

Just awesome......

1 week later
#41 2 years ago

SG harnesses ordered. Thanks for what you do!

#42 2 years ago

I need similar for a Quicksilver...Insert for head and a wiring harness. Anyone have those or is planning on doing them? Thanks. I have a cabinet/PF missing head...


#43 2 years ago
Quoted from MeNaCeFiRe:

SG harnesses ordered. Thanks for what you do!

In the mail today, I'll email you the tracking number in a few. Thanks for your business!

Quoted from pintoys:

I need similar for a Quicksilver...Insert for head and a wiring harness. Anyone have those or is planning on doing them? Thanks. I have a cabinet/PF missing head...

I could do that soonish. Starting on the play field harness layout for Star Gazer today. I have over a dozen of those to make up and then I can get back to other stuff.


#44 2 years ago

Thank's Shawn! Looking forward to the Stargazer playfield harnesses.

#45 2 years ago

Sounds great. Thanks. Please keep me posted.


#46 2 years ago

Started the populating today, lights first. I learned a long time ago that when replacing light sockets on a play field it was advantageous to take some 120 grit and scuff the base where the power braid would be soldered on. Like so.
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After the third one I recalled that this was no "couple of sockets" replacement job. I ran down to my Ace Hardware and picked up a steel wire brush for the Dremel. Much better idea.
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83 GI and controlled lamp sockets later. Am I missing any?
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#47 2 years ago

Nice job!

#48 2 years ago

Thanks! This is what a thousand feet of power braid looks like... Quit drooling!

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#49 2 years ago

Keep the pictures coming, Shawn. I'd like to watch the construction on this harness. Nice work!

#50 2 years ago

What is your soldering solution for the lamp sockets & braid?

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