(Topic ID: 174026)

Stern Galaxy - Strange Intermittent Kicker Issue


By bdPinball

4 years ago



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  • 45 posts
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  • Latest reply 4 years ago by bdPinball
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  • Galaxy Stern Electronics, 1980

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#1 4 years ago

Got this game from a guy in O-Town, who said he has just taken the game back from Florida Freeplay.

I played it before I bought it, and everything seemed to work, it did not display the Intermittent kicking behavior.

You can play several games with no problems. A couple of bulbs are out, even after replacing the bulbs with good known ones. An ohm meter shows no power to these sockets. I think it's the 30,000 bonus lite, and more problematic, since it may somehow replace to the kicker issue, neither of the "X"s in galaxy lite up. No power to sockets. But you CAN complete Galaxy. Sometimes though, maybe on the 3rd, maybe the 10th, game the kicker will stop working. In the middle of a game.

Related I guess, sometimes the kicker will get stuck "kicking" as if the switch were closed, because the kicker kicks over and over (not to be confused with locked on). Turning the game off and on doesn't fix it. Starting a game will. VERY odd behavior!

-B

#2 4 years ago

After More Research.....

It seem like Switch 39, the Star Rollover for the second "A" in galaxy, was intermittently stuck on, due to mis-adjustment. Seems like it only fires when you actually roll the ball over the star, not when something next to it gets bumped. I'm not sure if that affected anything else, I haven't witnessed the continuous-kick from the galaxy kicker again. Maybe that was somehow related.

Unfortunately however, the problem with the switch for the Galaxy kicker gets deeper. When it goes into "No kick" mode, that is, the ball is on the Galaxy Kicker switch, but for some reason it isn't telling the solenoid to kick, if the ball IS making that switch, like it's supposed to kick, then, several other switches cause strange behavior. For instance:

- G rollover causes the TOP Pop bumper to fire
- A Rollover causes the Lower Right pop bumper to fire
- L Rollover causes the Lower Left pop bumper to fire
- A Star Rollover causes the right lower kicker to fire.

I'm not exactly sure what this all means, but it seems like something is quite wonky in the switch matrix! Is this the symptom of a bad, or a series of bad diodes?

-Brian

#3 4 years ago

Watched some videos on Youtube talking about how to diagnose switch matrix issues. Seems like I've replaced all the diodes in all 4 corners that relate to this- Or maybe I haven't. Seems like Ball Kicker, 35 makes a rectangle with Switch 16, left sling shot. Earlier I missed that the saucer, causes the left slingshot to fire. Replaced those Diodes too.

While the ball is in the kicker lane, not being kicked, any of the switches on the same row, saving #33, the outhole, that seems to work okay. I tripped that, while the ball was still in the galaxy kick lane, and the ball ended, and counted up bonus like normal.

I'm giving up on this for the night. If anyone has any constructive advice, I'm all ears.

-Brian

#4 4 years ago

It sounds like you may have some connector issues to me. If the game was working fine and once you got it home, some intermittent things started happening.. that's usually a good indication.

The feature lamps not lighting are most likely cracked solder joints at the headers on the Lamp Driver Board and/or fatigued or broken pins inside the Molex connectors that attach to the LDB headers. Wiggling the connectors that the offending lamps are on while the machine is in "lamp test" sometimes will tell you that.. because the lamps will light up or flicker on/off as a connection is made or broken.

The solenoid issues may be something similar. There's "solenoid data" signals wired from J4 on the MPU to J4 on the Solenoid Driver Board. There's 4x BCD data lines coming over.. the MPU can set any of those lines to a "1" or a "0" -- and those signals are interpreted by the circuitry on the SDB. The problem is, if the connection for any of those signals is broken or intermittent, you'll get other coils firing. That's just because a broken connection is the same as a "0" as far as the SDB is concerned. It's perfectly fine firing an incorrect coil if there's a missing signal. Once again you can try wiggling the connectors to see if that changes behavior. I'd first start by putting the machine in solenoid test mode and just make sure things fire as they're supposed to according to what the manual lists for solenoid #s in Galaxy.

These wouldn't be the only possible causes, but they're the first to rule out IMO.

Also as an FYI, I have some diagnostic tools that make testing these things easier (great if working on a large number of these machines):
http://www.pinitech.com/products/cat_diagnostic.php

#5 4 years ago

Thanks Ace.. I guess I'm just ignorant/inexperienced in these issues. Can you tell me where I went wrong in my thoughts that it would be a Diode issue? In my past experience - albeit mostly with Williams games - But when you see things happening that aren't being fired, and they all seem to be on that same row - or Strobe line as I'm beginning to understand. The videos I watched described several scenarios where a broken diode would cause these types of issues. Is there anything other than just hard won experience that tells you it's connectors vs. Diodes? I'm not doubting you, I'm trying to figure out where my diagnosis went wrong so I can correct it for next time.

I suppose the connector could cause the intermittence I've described. It's just so frusterating.. I thought I'd had it licked, and then 8 games into testing, the kicker stops working. AGGG! Calgon Take me away!

I know for sure that connector issues are even WORSE for Bally/Stern games. On Williams games things seem fairly straight forward, and if you see a problem with the flippers, then it's likely related to the flippers. With Bally, it might not be the case. Like the strange issues causes on my Meteor before by connectors not making good connections.

On this Galaxy, I plugged, and re-plugged several times, but as it seems like the .10 connectors are even more fragile than the .156s.

Just when I'm going to order my complete set of .10 headers / pins / keys, etc.. Ed from Great Plains is on vacation.

Also, does anyone know if the crimper for the .156's work to crimp the .10 pins as well? It's sort of hard to tell from the websites.

Regarding those tools of yours, I looked at them, and I was thinking of order the whole batch of them.. It didn't look like it'd be that expensifve, and you'd have the entire kit! These tools would somehow have pointed to no problems with the diode?

-Brian

#6 4 years ago
Quoted from bdPinball:

Can you tell me where I went wrong in my thoughts that it would be a Diode issue?

Nothing wrong with the thought. I'm just not sure the "4-corner" logic works there, I really never thought about it. Certainly a missing diode or shorted, open or missing diode would cause some issues.. trigger multiple switches, not register, etc. I haven't been bitten too much by any of that, so my first thought is -- check the connectors!! You'll notice that's a pretty touted recommendation around here. Better to check connectors before you start replacing any circuitry on the boards.

Quoted from bdPinball:

On this Galaxy, I plugged, and re-plugged several times, but as it seems like the .10 connectors are even more fragile than the .156s.

They're rated at I think 25-30 cycles. You usually get quite a bit more out of them, but yeah they're a bit more fragile. I've had several games where there's a bluish-green substance on the connectors.. no battery leakage at the MPU. Some reaction with the insulation or chemistry of the metals. It wicks up the wire some too. The pins literally just fall apart. But even if that's not the case *at all* (ie. no battery leakage on your MPU board, no bluish-green substance on the connectors) the pins can still just be fatigued from old-age. It's basically the first step when you have problems, especially intermittent stuff.. to verify continuity between connectors and/or re-pin if wiggling them makes or breaks signals.

Quoted from bdPinball:

Just when I'm going to order my complete set of .10 headers / pins / keys, etc.. Ed from Great Plains is on vacation.

That's tough. Ed's got a nice selection and it's quite convenient, but yeah he takes the site down for holidays, etc.
Big Daddy Enterprises has them: http://www.bigdaddy-enterprises.com -- and if you know the part numbers, many electronic vendors have them too (Mouser, etc).

Quoted from bdPinball:

Also, does anyone know if the crimper for the .156's work to crimp the .10 pins as well? It's sort of hard to tell from the websites.

Yep, some will do both.

Here's a pretty good one IMO (much better than what I started out with):
amazon.com link »

It does both the insulation & wire crimp at the same time which is nice. Not sure if others may have other recommendations. I crimp enough that I bought the $100-200 used Molex crimpers I *may* actually have one of those HT-225D crimpers new in package if you're interested.. I paid far more for it before realizing what the model number was and it was available elsewhere. Not sure I can do much better than what Amazon Prime can do for you though.

Quoted from bdPinball:

Regarding those tools of yours, I looked at them, and I was thinking of order the whole batch of them.. It didn't look like it'd be that expensifve, and you'd have the entire kit!

It's a fairly complete kit. The idea was to be able to fully test an MPU board on the bench, there's some things you still can't test but it saves a ton of time not having to run back and forth to the machine to know if a board is booting properly or if there's switch issues caused by an MPU problem, etc.

Quoted from bdPinball:

These tools would somehow have pointed to no problems with the diode?

What a switch tester would do is allow you to trigger all 40 switches to verify they're reading correctly during self-test (the displays will indicate the switch number that was activated). So it'd be a way of verifying the MPU switch circuitry is all working, essentially then isolating your problem to "not the MPU". The solenoid driver / output testers would do the same with the solenoid board since you can activate one solenoid at a time and see that the correct output is lighting up. An alternative to diagnostic equipment is having some known-good boards and swapping them in/out of a machine. The most time-consuming part of diagnosing is when you don't have spare boards and don't have easy ways to isolate issues down to the offending boards. Need some way to start drilling down to the actual problem, otherwise the problem is *anywhere and everywhere* (black box).

I sometimes offer the entire bundle of Bally/Stern tools for a single price. I just haven't had time to get a few of those built-out, so that's not currently being offered. I'm actually out of some parts for the SDB testers right now, but should have more parts coming in early December.

#7 4 years ago

Thanks for your help Ace. I'll be trying all of your suggestions- Wiggling, etc. haha..

As for the test kit, yeah, if you got a bunch together as a kit, I would consider buying one.. Like i said, I added up the cost of all the components and it was less than $200 I think.. Some of the test pieces were VERY cheap! Anyway, let me know, I'd be in for buying a set of these things..

Thanks again. I'm going to do some wiggling!

-Brian

#8 4 years ago

WELL-Well-welll!! (said in the Dana Garvey church lady voice)

When I got this Galaxy, Paul the guy i got it from drew my attention to A4J2 which he told me he replaced since I guess it was bad. To be fair, I've yet to get my crimping equipment and crimp the first one. However in my experience, the physical test the crimp must pass afterwards if you apply nominal force to the crimp joint, it holds. These came off in my hand without pulling. I'm surprised it worked as well as it did. Even if you're inexperienced in crimping, if you pull on the wire and it and it comes off in your hand- ITS A BAD CRIMP!!!

"100% no problems." Should be a flag for me. Because I've only seen ONE Game that gave me "no issues" it was a newer mousin around. If someone claims a game is perfect. It's gotta be a fib!

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#9 4 years ago

I don't know if I've actually looked at that many of these plugs, and I know the guy wasn't a robot, but the female pins that are exposed through the little slits there, usually when they're from the factory they're all perfect in a row. These don't look so uniform. You can see the one on the right looks definitely different, some of them looked like they were sort of stuffed back in there.

Oh! I just noticed the pin second from the right is coming out of the plug! What is with this thing? It looks like the standard pin though, with a base part crimped on the wire, and the top part crimped on the insulation. I wonder if he didn't have the proper crimper?

So about doing this repinning...

When one does this re-pinning, and crimping these little ends, is it common to re-use some of them? It seems like with the Duty-cycle issue you referred to, it's going to be nothing but problems to have a couple new pins, and the rest old ones, just to get one or two of the oldest ones to make. Sort of like only replacing the fibrelink, and not the rest of the flipper kit and wondering why the flipper still sucks. It looks like he replaced A4J2's plug, as it's white unlike the red ones used from the factory. So the idea is to replace the WHOLE thing, Headers, Socket, Pins, ALL of it, so there is no "Weakest Link" anymore, correct? Wait, two of the boards in question are newer Altek boards. I guess I don't know HOW new, but not the originals - I assume these aren't going to have any cold solder joints, or problems with corrosion on the header pins? The blue stuff of which you spoke. But new boards don't replace the plugs or female pins.

All toward the idea of making the game 'bulletproof' -- at least for a few years so you won't have to keep coming back and fixing the same problme over and over. Do it once right and be done with it.

-Brian

#10 4 years ago
Quoted from bdPinball:

However in my experience, the physical test the crimp must pass afterwards if you apply nominal force to the crimp joint, it holds. These came off in my hand without pulling. I'm surprised it worked as well as it did. Even if you're inexperienced in crimping, if you pull on the wire and it and it comes off in your hand- ITS A BAD CRIMP!!!

Yep, bad crimp. The wire should not ever pull out like that, on a good crimp you'll mangle the Molex terminal/pin trying to pull the wire out

#11 4 years ago
Quoted from bdPinball:

When one does this re-pinning, and crimping these little ends, is it common to re-use some of them?

Typically if you're going to repin a connector at all, it's good to just do the entire connector & be done with it -- rather than leave some of the wires with the old terminals on them and crimp new terminals on other wires. Sometimes you don't have a choice (many of these Bally/Stern games used insulation displacement connectors that the wire is pushed into, so you have to repin the whole connector).

Quoted from bdPinball:

So the idea is to replace the WHOLE thing, Headers, Socket, Pins, ALL of it, so there is no "Weakest Link" anymore, correct? Wait, two of the boards in question are newer Altek boards. I guess I don't know HOW new, but not the originals - I assume these aren't going to have any cold solder joints, or problems with corrosion on the header pins? The blue stuff of which you spoke. But new boards don't replace the plugs or female pins. The headers are good to re-do in some cases, especially if they're not shiny or they're "pitted" and they're carrying any great amount of current.

IMO it's situational. I take care of the priorities first -- anything with signs of heat damage, power supply connection points known to fail, anything corroded .. or if I'm noticing that a bunch of pins were failing on say the lamp driver board connectors -- then you know it's just going to come back and haunt you again and again. I had a machine like that, most of the lamp issues tracked back to the pins on LDB connectors so I just redid them all on that board.

In terms of your situation, no need to do anything with the Alltek board. I'd repin the connector you showed in the picture.. you can reuse the white Molex connector, you just need very small flat-blade screwdriver like you get with an eye glass set of screwdrivers.. and to push down the locking tab that's viewable in the "slot" on the bottom of the connector. You should then be able to pull the pin out without an issue.

Some people have the philosophy to replace *every* connector. There's nothing wrong with that, it does help assure you that the connectors themselves are good. But say the guy you bought the machine from did that, it wouldn't have helped much at all considering all the bad crimps that happened there. He'd have done more harm than good. So in that sense, it's not *always* the right way to ensure the machine is bulletproof. If you're decent at crimping, don't mind putting the time/money in to redo the connectors.. it can give you some peace-of-mind on that failure point. Personally I just evaluate the situation and do what's needed many times. Might not be something everyone agrees with, but it's what's worked well-enough for me. Then if it gives me trouble down the road, and things keep failing.. I'll redo more of the connectors.

What I have learned with these Classic Bally/Stern machines though is *always* pull the LDB and check for cold solder joints on the back of the headers. Of all the boards in those machines.. that one is almost always going to have some cold solder joints.. anywhere from just a couple to dozens. Taking care of that before even trying to test lamps saves you a lot of time.

#12 4 years ago

Well, there you have it.

Thanks for your help Ace. I'll get these clips, plus, pins, etc.. Install them... and Let you know how it worked out!

Thanks again Ace.. And let me know about a set of the tools to debug- Well, is it going to be a different set of tools to diagnose Bally vs. Williams? They both have a switch matrix, but the plugs won't, right? Do you supply some sort of cross-over plug, or ways to clip into different systems?

Thanks Ace!!!

-Brian

ps. Have a happy T-Day - Don't overstuff!!

#13 4 years ago
Quoted from bdPinball:

And let me know about a set of the tools to debug- Well, is it going to be a different set of tools to diagnose Bally vs. Williams? They both have a switch matrix, but the plugs won't, right? Do you supply some sort of cross-over plug, or ways to clip into different systems?

For the switch matrix testing, there's a universal tester here:
http://www.pinitech.com/products/64switch_tester.php

It's a super handy tool, I'd recommend that over machine-specific switch testers if you'll be getting into a lot of different manufacturer's machines.. it's something that can grow with you as you get heavier into more machines & it makes testing at the bench or in the machine *a breeze*.

I should have some more materials in for a few of the Bally testers that I'm currently OOS on due to a materials shortage -- early-to-mid December. I'll let you know when that happens

#14 4 years ago

So I was looking At the options, #4 looks like it might be right up my alley!! I've been soldering since I was a little kid, however sometimes the things I solder still look like it! Ugh, if this is how they look when I'm 48, I can't IMAGINE the stuff I soldered when I was 8!!

Someone at work keeps threatening to give me his soldering class. He used to teach it to government employees. But most of my experience has been with several of those Vellman stamps Ive put together. Traffic light, xmas tree, dice, I never finished the message led.. but with this megar experience putting together electronics, is this something I would be able to do? I have the crimpers, (and this thing keeps replacing crimpers with crumpets!)

But maybe it'd be better to spring for the extra and make sure it's assembled correctly.

Thanks Ace! I might just know what to ask Santa for this year!!

#15 4 years ago
Quoted from bdPinball:

but with this megar experience putting together electronics, is this something I would be able to do?

You'd probably be okay, it just depends on what tools you have and how comfortable you are with taking your time. If you use too hot of a soldering iron or the wrong type of solder, you'll get yourself into trouble fairly quick. But for some people, putting together a 64 Switch Matrix Tester Kit helped them improve their soldering/assembly abilities.

There's lots of recounts of that in the original post when I introduced that tester here:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/announcing-for-sale-64-switch-matrix-tester-from-pinitech

One recommendation I can definitely make if you might do more DIY boards is to pick up this:
amazon.com link »

It's insanely cheap ($12.31) for what it is & what it does for you. I just picked one up myself, despite having about $100-120 wrapped up into a Panavise holder. What I love about this cheap one is, you can spin the board 360 degrees. The Panavise doesn't allow you to do that easily, you have to release the board and insert it into the holder again, or it only lets you reposition it 180 degrees... so if you *really* need to go front-back-front-back a lot it gets to be a pain. This cheap one isn't built like a tank and is slightly quirky, but overall I'm very happy with it.

A temp controlled iron is also a good idea.

Really it just depends if you want to learn a bit more, soldering isn't too hard to pick up.

Here's a great guide that I've been linking in some other posts:
https://cdn-learn.adafruit.com/downloads/pdf/adafruit-guide-excellent-soldering.pdf

That's a great primer for what tools are needed & how to create good solder joints. It's really one of the most comprehensive easy-to-understand guides I've found thus far. I started linking it in some of my instruction documents since everyone's at a different skill level and this covers a lot of the basics & beyond.

#16 4 years ago

Strange, I know I posted about this a minute ago- Anyway, I got the plugs, and pins, etc. All is good except for one of the plugs, they had to source them from 3 different suppliers.. Molex, TE, and someone else. Anyway, the TE ones, are Gold terminals. Its only for I think the 12 pin connector, but everything I've read says do NOT mix dissimilar metals! The plugs I need for this, and the earlier problems with the Meteor, I've got the stuff I need to do those.

Oh, GREAT document on soldering! Thanks! Got one on crimping? I don't want it to fall out like the originals did! I think I can handle it though, I've crimped some wires before at work and things worked out okay. Those were RS232 connectors, but same idea, crimp on the insulation, crimp on the wire, pull to test, insert into clip until it locks! "Easy-Peasy" as Brooks would say.

-Brian

IMG_4690 (resized).JPG

#17 4 years ago

Replaced the fault plug and pins at A4J2. I verified the colors and positions with the manual. Unfortunately, this did not fix the problem. It's amazing the thing worked at all with those crimps hanging on by a thread like that. I watched a couple of good videos about it, one from TE that is WAY professional. It took a couple to get in the swing of things, but now that I know which wire sizes to use for crimping, stripping, etc. it all comes together well. Anyway, I'm very satisfied with my crimping tools, and materialsg That plus is, "Rock solid" as they say.

Unfortunately however that didn't fix the problem. It still does that strange thing where in the middle of a game, the Galaxy kicker will stop working. I've never seen it happen on the first ball, and you always know it's going to happen, becuase normally when the ball goes into the outhole the Galaxy lights don't flicker like the ball landed in the Galaxy trough. If you pick the ball up manually, and put it back into play, everything works fine. If you leave it in the Galaxy trough, and start a game, everything is fine, and it starts working again. However, if you turn the game off, and back on, it'll kick kick the ball out of the Galaxy trough, and when the ball lands in the outhole, the Galaxy kicker will kick repeatedly as if it's switch were being pressed. This is in GAME OVER mode mind you- I tried several other switches, and while the ball was in the the outhole, the Galaxy Kicker going to town, when I hit the left sling shot, it triggered the Saucer Kicker!! Which I believe is the OPPOSITE of what happens abnormally happens, in that you trigger the saucer, and the triggers the left Slingshot.

I WILL get to the bottom of this. It just might take a little while.

-Brian

#18 4 years ago

Once attract mode begins if it detects a ball in any saucer / kickback, it immediately tries to eject the ball so the game is ready to play. If it senses that the switch is still closed after activating the respective solenoid, it will try ejecting again and repeat until it sees the switch go open.

Things are different in game mode though. When a switch is detected as closed and it's been serviced, game mode will then IGNORE that switch until it detects that the switch has been first released. This is to stop stuck switches scoring endlessly.
This should explain why it appears to "fix" the repeating Galaxy kickback solenoid problem when you start a game.

You have a short in the switch matrix somewhere:
Firstly make sure all drop targets are reset back up and take all balls out of the machine.
Then go to the switch test in service mode:
a) Does it show '0' in the Ball display or is it showing a closed switch number in all Player displays?
b) If you press the Galaxy trough kickback switch, what number appears on the Player displays?
c) If you put the ball in the outhole, what number appears on the Player displays?

Looking back at the symptoms you described in your second post relating to a ball sitting dead in the Galaxy trough kickback and you then pressing the G-A-L-A switches causes pop bumpers/slingshots to activate, does this happen both when the blue drop target is up or down, or only when it's down?
If it only happens when it's down, it tells me the diode on the Galaxy kickback switch is shorted. Can you test this diode? You might as well test the diodes on the outhole switch and probably the drop target switches too.

BTW, which exact diodes have you already replaced and did you orient them the right way around? (diodes are directional)

#19 4 years ago
Quoted from Quench:

Once attract mode begins if it detects a ball in any saucer / kickback, it immediately tries to eject the ball so the game is ready to play. If it senses that the switch is still closed after activating the respective solenoid, it will try ejecting again and repeat until it sees the switch go open.
Things are different in game mode though. When a switch is detected as closed and it's been serviced, game mode will then IGNORE that switch until it detects that the switch has been first released. This is to stop stuck switches scoring endlessly.
This should explain why it appears to "fix" the repeating Galaxy kickback solenoid problem when you start a game.

Thanks man! Yes.. I thought it was a switch matrix issue too. After watching some videos, and the one thing triggering several other things to go wrong, or versa-visa. I have a matrix I printed out from some site, but I looked at it and it also jives with the switch matrix as layed out in the Manual, it's just, um, backwards, and inverted.. But using the "Rectangle" Method, I first drew the rectangle from 11 Blue Drop Target, to 15 Right Sling Shot, , and 35 Galaxy Kicker, to 39 Top Right Rollover Button, All 4 of those diodes were replaced, and in the direction that the came out from, verified by the other switches around them. That didn't fix it, Plux, looking at the "Rectangle", it seems I missed the larger Rectangle of 09, Black Trop Target, 16 Right Slight Shot, 33 Outhole, and 49 Saucer, since I discovered they were involved too. My notes say I replaced all 3 of those, and tested the outhole, which according to the -> setting on my Multi-meter shows 541 in one direction and 0 on the other, so I took that for good. Is that valid though? I wanted to ask- Are diodes something that will intermittently fail?

Firstly make sure all drop targets are reset back up and take all balls out of the machine.
Then go to the switch test in service mode:
a) Does it show '0' in the Ball display or is it showing a closed switch number in all Player displays?
b) If you press the Galaxy trough kickback switch, what number appears on the Player displays?
c) If you put the ball in the outhole, what number appears on the Player displays?
Looking back at the symptoms you described in your second post relating to a ball sitting dead in the Galaxy trough kickback and you then pressing the G-A-L-A switches causes pop bumpers/slingshots to activate, does this happen both when the blue drop target is up or down, or only when it's down?
If it only happens when it's down, it tells me the diode on the Galaxy kickback switch is shorted. Can you test this diode? You might as well test the diodes on the outhole switch and probably the drop target switches too.
BTW, which exact diodes have you already replaced and did you orient them the right way around? (diodes are directional)

Test mode shows 0 with no switches pressed. Galaxy Ball trough Jives with the Manual as 35. Outhole reads correctly as well -

It's hard to get the game into service mode while it's acting up, I think I did though, and it seems like the Galaxy Trough still reported itself as 35, even though the game didn't seem to be interpreting it correctly. Turning the game off, and back on does not seem to fix, nor does a slam-tilt that re-sets the system. I see your point about how the game treats balls in troughs, and saucers differently if a game is in game over mode, or if it's playing a game, however if it works the way you say, and the problem isn't really GONE so much as ignored when you start a new game, why is it that the kicker will return to normal operation for a while? What is it that makes the problem intermittent? Or is that what we have yet to uncover?

Did I mention these are alltek boards?

-Brian

#20 4 years ago

Did the machine come with the Alltek MPU board? Or did you change it to the Alltek and that's when the problem started?
I don't have any experience with them but usually people seeing unusual behavior are suggested to confirm they have the correct game configured via the game select dip switch settings also importantly to perform the "Memory Clear Function".

Quoted from bdPinball:

Are diodes something that will intermittently fail?

I have seen them fail intermittently, but it's an uncommon failure condition.

Quoted from bdPinball:

Multi-meter shows 541 in one direction and 0 on the other, so I took that for good. Is that valid though?

Yeah, it should be about right for those diodes.

In terms of the intermittent nature of the problem, do you notice whether any of the Drop Targets being down have any effect on the Galaxy Kickback?

Just for a quick test, can you remove the playfield switch connector off the MPU board (usually the top right connector on a normal MPU board) and see if the Galaxy kickback solenoid still fires in attract mode?

Since the diodes are quick and easy to test, I would just test them at every playfield switch one by one - it'll only take a few minutes.

#21 4 years ago
Quoted from Quench:

Did the machine come with the Alltek MPU board? Or did you change it to the Alltek and that's when the problem started?
I don't have any experience with them but usually people seeing unusual behavior are suggested to confirm they have the correct game configured via the game select dip switch settings also importantly to perform the "Memory Clear Function".

I have seen them fail intermittently, but it's an uncommon failure condition.

Yeah, it should be about right for those diodes.
In terms of the intermittent nature of the problem, do you notice whether any of the Drop Targets being down have any effect on the Galaxy Kickback?
Just for a quick test, can you remove the playfield switch connector off the MPU board (usually the top right connector on a normal MPU board) and see if the Galaxy kickback solenoid still fires in attract mode?
Since the diodes are quick and easy to test, I would just test them at every playfield switch one by one - it'll only take a few minutes.

The alltek boards, both the MPU, and the Solenoid driver. The Lamp Driver, as well as the sound are original. They were in there when I got the game and was told the guy had "bulletproofed" it. >

<strikethrough>
I don't believe the drop targets have any bearing on whether or not the kicker kicks, but I'll verify that in a little bit.
</strikethrough>
HOLY $hit You're right!! While the kicking behavior is happening, the Blue Target causes it to start/stop!! What does that mean?

Regarding the testing, you mean clip the leg, test the diode, and solder it back together? It's not possible to test them in place, without cutting the lead, is it?

-Brian

#22 4 years ago
Quoted from bdPinball:

While the kicking behavior is happening, the Blue Target causes it to start/stop!! What does that mean?

Usually switch problems would be things like this:

  • Switch blade grounding out on something when it shouldn't be (ie. touching lamp ground braid, etc)
  • Switch adjusted too close, so MPU keeps sensing the closure (causes other switch detection to be slow on these older games)
  • Reversed or shorted diodes
  • Bad connection at the MPU or switch itself.. wiring, connectors, solder points

Sounds like you're saying if the blue target switch is closed that's when the issues start? Is that a drop target or regular target? Either way, you'll want to check visually that it's open when not activated and closed when activated. Also look for anything touching the switch blades or solder lugs that shouldn't. You can check the diode if you have a diode test on your meter, with the machine off.. should beep and/or read about 0.6-0.7v. I know on Gottlieb Sys1 games if a switch is closed that shouldn't be, it'll hose some other things in the matrix.. like not detecting other switch closures on that strobe/return. Sometimes something really simple like having a switch adjusted too close will cause issues.

Sorry I've been knee-deep in that Holiday Sales Thread & Black Friday activities. Looks like Quench has helped steer you in the right direction

#23 4 years ago
Quoted from bdPinball:

Regarding the testing, you mean clip the leg, test the diode, and solder it back together? It's not possible to test them in place, without cutting the lead, is it?

The diodes on the playfield switches can be tested in place without cutting legs because as long as the switch is open, the diode is effectively already disconnected (make sure your drop targets are up)
As acebathound mentioned, be safe and test the diodes with the machine off.
Testing diodes on circuit boards though sometimes you do need to disconnect one end. Usually if I get a weird reading testing in circuit then I'll unsolder one leg to test it properly.

Quoted from bdPinball:

While the kicking behavior is happening, the Blue Target causes it to start/stop!! What does that mean?

The blue drop target is on the matrix "rectangle" with the Galaxy kickback switch which is where those phantom pop bumpers are coming from when the ball is stuck in the galaxy kickback and you press the G-A-L-A switches. This points directly to a shorted diode on the Galaxy kickback switch which I mentioned in the first post. Please check/replace it (again?). And recheck the diodes on the drop target switches for good measure.
If it still doesn't work, please post a clear picture of the kickback switch.

#24 4 years ago

I looked at the Galaxy switch, I don't see any shorts. I tested that diode - my notes say I replaced it. (Btw, these diodes are 1N4001s 1 amp 50V?, that doesn't matter, does it?). The readings on the tester were similar to the last one I tested, 0 and 500 something. I'll go test the rest of the diodes In question. Since you say you can test them in place.

I went ahead and snapped a couple pics, one is of the Galaxy switch, The other is the back of the switch bank. Is that right that one if those drop targets doesn't share the same common like the other three targets?

IMG_4703 (resized).JPG
IMG_4702 (resized).JPG

#25 4 years ago

It's a little hard to see in that picture of the drop targets, but I noticed that the left three drop targets, Blue, Yellow black, which are all on the same common wire (The strobe line?) Anyway, each of the drop targets is wired up the same, the top lug is the common one, current goes through the switch, and then through the diode, and out the other wire. well on the last switch, It looks like the common wasn't long enough so they hooked it to the other lug, and switched the direction of the diode. I'm trying to figure this out logically if it still works right- It seems like an odd change to make to save an inch and a half of wire. Does anyone have pics if it came from the factory like that? I doubt it- it doesn't make any sense from a manufacturing point, and really confuses the situation.

-Brian

#26 4 years ago

What's that red wire doing soldered on the top of the kickback switch? Disconnect it and see what happens.
Galaxy_Kickback_1.jpg

#27 4 years ago
Quoted from Quench:

What's that red wire doing soldered on the top of the kickback switch? Disconnect it and see what happens.

Yeah that doesn't look like it should be there.

I was also looking at a few other things in the other picture that looked odd to me at least..

I'm not sure what that wire is the red arrows are pointing at. Is that bare or insulated.. is it touching anything?
The diode marked with the green arrow.. orientation looks opposite the other switches.

targets.jpg

#28 4 years ago
Quoted from bdPinball:

(Btw, these diodes are 1N4001s 1 amp 50V?, that doesn't matter, does it?).

I didn't think 1N4001 were made anymore. The switch matrix only runs at 5V so it should be ok. 1N4007 (1000V) are the default replacement these days due to price/availability.

Quoted from bdPinball:

each of the drop targets is wired up the same, .... well on the last switch, It looks like the common wasn't long enough so they hooked it to the other lug, and switched the direction of the diode.

Quoted from acebathound:

I was also looking at a few other things in the other picture that looked odd to me at least..

I think we all agree that some techo has rewired that bottom drop target switch and yeah the common bare wire was too short (probably because they clipped it), so they reversed the connections on the switch. It's best if you extend/replace that common bare wire and restore the correct wiring/diode orientation to that switch so everything looks in order. It looks confusing the way it is.

#29 4 years ago

I've thought this before several times during this last few days, but I think I fixed it. Before my attempts to fix were sort of stabs in the dark, I mean, that connector with the pins that were falling out, okay, it wouldn't have worked anyway, but this determining that the way that drop target was wired didn't look right, and when I looked closer I saw remnants of the original common wire that fed that lug, and how it was backwards. One thing I tell myself, "when it left the factory, it worked, and was put together a certain way. That is PROBABLY the best way to have it work now, if I can return it as close to the way it looked when it left the factory. That drop target hookup definitely looked out of place!

And I had noticed the before, but I saw that they reversed the direction of the diode, so I figured Oh, okay, they thought about this and made the change, but apparently they didn't think it all the way through. Because if you're going to change two of the connections, That common wire, and the Diode, You'd think you'd have to move that third wire- The "out" or "in" I'm not sure which is the right term for it, but that connection stayed the same and looked like the rest of them, so I guess that's it! I sure hope so.

You know that scene in Apollo 13, right after they get the air scubber thing plugged in, and everyone is looking around wondering if they're going to still suffocate, but Tom Hanks looks at them and says, "Breath normal Fellas.." That's how I feel every time I think I've fixed this little bug.

I think I'll go play 15 or 20 more games before I hit send on this post....... It still hasn't failed again. Whoopie! i can breathe!

Thank you gentlemen - sincerely.. If you guys hadn't kept telling me to keep looking, and especially Ace, that part where you listed the types of things to look for, bent switches, or things touching, or basally "out of place" which is when I thought about how it ought to look from the factory, and that the drop targets weren't that.

I owe you guys a round next time we're up at the pub.

-A very Thankful and Grateful
Brian

#30 4 years ago

Good to hear it's working and all part of the learning experience.
On an isolated switch that reverse wiring/diode would work ok. However because it's on the drop target mechanism, the switch leaf closest to the frame touches the metal parts of the falling mechanism at the moving tip (there's no insulation between them), so in your case it's causing a short on the strobe line between the switches across the metal parts of the drop target assembly.

What about that red wire on the kickback switch? That's another hack to unravel. Trace where the other end of that wire is going to. It certainly shouldn't be soldered where it is hindering the free action of the switch.

#31 4 years ago

Regarding the red wire that is not what it seems. I posted- or started to post this on my phone, but by the time the picture uploaded the conversation had moved on and I had fixed the problem.

This other picture shows how the camera caught this in such a way, as to distort it into looking like an actual connection.

-Brian

IMG_4704 (resized).JPG

#32 4 years ago

All Good

#33 4 years ago

The three drop targets on one line and the 4th separate is the way mine is wired and also how it shows in the schematics.
All the diodes should be facing the same way though.
Here is a pic of mine.

Pic21 (resized).jpg

#34 4 years ago

Ace- in your markup to that picture, 1) solder blob. Affirmative. I'll remove that.

regarding "bare wire". Is that. Problem? Seems like they do that all the time on target banks with a common like that. They usually use one piece of wire, looked like it's tinnned, or some silver cable of some sort that is weaved through the same lugs along the Bank. I've seen it on older machines I guess. This is one of the target banks in my EBD. I looked at my RBG, but it's got boards and IDC plugs with optos,so that'll be a whole DIFFERENT set of issues. Next time I do one of these I'll put some shrink wrap on it.

-B

IMG_4705 (resized).JPG

#35 4 years ago

Can anyone tell me if the wireform that the ball goes through after the spinner- Is that supposed to be one-way? Mine isn't.. And- if not- what is this thing's purpose??

-Brian

#36 4 years ago
Quoted from bdPinball:

regarding "bare wire". Is that. Problem?

Nope, not a problem at all. I just couldn't tell from the picture if it was touching anything, the whole depth perception was hard to make out

#37 4 years ago

The final issue with this game (will the issues ever stop coming??) is the two Xs. Both in the Trough, and on the left rollover never lite up, even though you can complete Galaxy so it is getting made, just not displayed.

I thought seeing as they were both the same letter, and they both are out with known good bulbs, but they're fed off completely different lines. Both on the same J3 connector, Pins 1 & 15 - And if you trace it back to the transistors, they get run from Q51, and Q57 - no relation at all apparently.

How do you go about debugging something like this? neither light will light under any circumstance - with lighting the X during a game, or with the light test in self test mode, or in attract mode. It's just incommunicato!

Thanks Gentlemen..

-Brian

#38 4 years ago

Are the sockets good?

#39 4 years ago

Have you checked the solder joints on the back of the LDB? That board notorious for cracked solder joints at the headers.

Easy way to isolate is one of these:
http://www.pinitech.com/products/ballystern_lamp_tester.php

But an LED with a resistor connected to one side.. then a wire connected to feature lamp bus -- then other side of led connected to a wire and touching the header pins on the LDB will do the same thing. That tester above just makes an easier plug-and-play solution to check all connections on one connector.

Could just be bad SCRs.. but as YeOldPinPlayer mentioned, could be the socket.. or the bulb itself. So first check the bulb in another socket. A lot of times the "nipple" on the bottom gets all oxidized and loses contact. You may be replacing with new bulbs.. in which case they *should work* and the oxidation is a non-issue though so that'd rule that out. Still, good to at least know the bulb is good. Could be a bad pin in the header, unless you redid that.

A way people check lamp sockets is jumpering from one lamp to the other on the feature lamp wire (the striped wire).. jumpering a working lamp to a non-working lamp should light up the non-working one if the bulb is good. That would tell you the problem is back at the LDB or connections in-between.

#40 4 years ago

Sockets- Like the ICs? I'm not sure. I haven't dug that deep. I'm more of a If it's not broke, don't take that part out, and bend the legs putting it back in. But I could, or reseat the chips if need be.. or at least that one.

But with the experience the other guys have given me, it's always connector first, then branch out. I'd like to test those pins at the board to see if they're transmitting correctly. Pin 1 is the 30K Bonus light, and that wasn't lighting up either. So I'm having problems with things on pin 1, 15, and Wigging the connector wire at pin 1, if you get it just right the 30K will light up when it's supposed to. I was NOT able to get Pins 1 & 15, the x's to light with plugging and unplugging, wigging, or prayer.

I'm still thinking that plug is suspect and is going to have to go. where there is one flakey pin, there are bound to be more. Like roaches!

-Brian

#41 4 years ago

Sockets YeOldPinPlayer was referring to would be the bulb sockets.

#42 4 years ago

They're known good bulbs. I tested for power at the socket and it's not there.

I have a logic pen.. Seems like I could use that to tell if those pins were begin triggered or not.

I'm thinking more like cracked solder joints, or problems with the plug & Pins. I was just looking at the BOLT the Einstein before me used to mound the board. I'll pull and check for solder joints. I guess if I'm going to go that far, I'll replace the header too. I got all that stuff the other day from Marco. I hope it wasn't the 28 Pin set that had the Gold connectors instead of the Tin ones. I don't have any gold headers to mate it to.

-Brian

#43 4 years ago
Quoted from bdPinball:

I'll pull and check for solder joints. I guess if I'm going to go that far, I'll replace the header too. I got all that stuff the other day from Marco. I hope it wasn't the 28 Pin set that had the Gold connectors instead of the Tin ones. I don't have any gold headers to mate it to.

It's not bad to replace the headers. It's not always needed though. That's the thing with these older machines, it's just deciding how far you go.. some people that only have a few machines might redo every single connector.. and every single header. Personally I attack the big stuff.. headers and/or connectors that are burnt, or if it's low voltage signal headers.. and the pins inside the connectors are corroded, breaking off, etc.. you know the rest of the connector is like that. To each his own. I've fixed a lot of LDB's just with reflowing any cracked solder joints on the headers and leaving the old headers there. Sometimes it's just a few cracked solder joints, sometimes it's a dozen. After hitting that issue *enough times* I pretty much pull the LDB on any machine I work on immediately, without even turning the machine on. It happens THAT often, just not worth messing with a board you haven't looked at.. when bad solder joints will cause intermittent issues and you'll be chasing your tail over and over trying to figure out why a bulb you got working just stopped working

#44 4 years ago
Quoted from bdPinball:

They're known good bulbs. I tested for power at the socket and it's not there.

If you tested by raising the playfield, starting the lamp test, then checking for power on the back side and there was none then I would move on to header pins & such. If you only tested from the top side your sockets could be bent or oxidized and simply not passing voltage to the bulbs.

#45 4 years ago

I replaced one of the headers, except that uhh.. it was the wrong 28 Pin header. Agg.. Also, is there a better method for removing the old header? I ended up having to pretty much have to chop it into little pieces and finally work the pins out one by one.

I started by sucking a bunch of solder, but for some reason even after it looked like all the solder as gone from all the holes, MOST of them still seemed to be holding some how or other.

Maybe I'll go find a video, or paper about such things- the video on crimping terminals was so helpful, I love doing the crimping part now, they come out looking so perfect!

Alas.. I'll do the other header tomorrow.

-Brian

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