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(Topic ID: 237281)

Stern Meteor ROM Issue - Bugfix, Sound Issues, NVRAM Discussion

By acebathound

1 year ago

Topic Stats

  • 89 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by I_P_D_B
  • Topic is favorited by 13 Pinsiders


Linked Games

  • Meteor Stern Electronics, 1979

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#5 1 year ago

As a side note, potentially related -

The 'original' 7-digit ROM (unversioned number) used a hacked way of handling the additional digit. This caused the display routine to suck up a lot more cycles than was necessary. (The v24 version is based off of Stern's 7-digit OS.) But - because of the different times needed in the display interrupt (which happens quite often), this will cause sounds and speed of the game to be noticeably different. I didn't notice it affect gameplay, but it's possible that if the display interrupt timer is too quick (say, quicker than my MPU-200 was), it could start to cause other things to fail.

Oh, and the Bonus 255x issue was a RAM mapping error. The ROMs labeled 'Alt' on IPDB was Stern's fix for it. v24 does *NOT* have this fix in it.

#14 1 year ago

Dumb question, but the 4x MASK vs 2x EPROMS, could it be a voltage issue?
Could the additional load on one or any of the lines be preventing an address or data line from getting high enough (current draw) for the NVRAM to see it, but is high enough for the SRAM to recognize it as a HIGH?

3 months later
#22 1 year ago
Quoted from slochar:

None of which explains why it was working fine and stopped working from a simple move from one part of the basement to another. Oh, I also pulled out the Weebly ram module in there and stuck in the Pinitech ones and same result so still NVram issues. I'm about to stick the software onto a 512 chip and put it on a newer revision Weebly mpu to see what the results are there I suspect it will work fine so I'll probably just leave that board in the game.

Random thought - if the display interrupt timer starts to shift over time (55 chip and RC networks), is it possible that the interrupts are affecting timing for sounds at all?

2 months later
#53 1 year ago

I have been holding off saying anything, because I know that sometimes 'noise' can be bad and help get away from the real issue, but I thought I'd share something -

I was running v24 (the 7-digit OS) for over a year now. On original hardware (do not know if my MPU had that trace fix or not) - without any issues. No sound issues at all.

Then, at some point back in this past December or January, it started showing the sound issue. I went ahead and rebuilt my SB-300. A LOT of chips for replaced (almost all of them, except for the timer), and caps all got replaced. This did NOT fix the issue.

Then I went ahead and got @barakandl 's MPU board. (For two reasons - to have a good 'test' board to swap out if needed, and to see if it helped with this.) Setting the DIPs to the v24 on IT (not sure if code was identical), the issue did NOT go away.

I have NOT replaced the timer on my SB-300 yet. That is next.

However! Here's something interesting. Back in May, had guests over, and was playing multi-player games. Everything seemed to be fine - except for the audio. A couple weeks after they left, I turn the game on, and notice that my HSTD is .. corrupted. Displays read "5<space>438". I have yet to reset the board, but.. thought I'd mention it in case it was important.

Also - at some point between the start of v24 and now, I replaced the sound cable. My **original** cable was ALL pins. The replacement I got was only 32 pins. (Hey, @barakandl - remember I mentioned a long time ago to make a second adapter for the audio cable, allowing it to use a ribbon cable? So in case new sound boards are released, it'd be easier to hooke them up? And you said 'nnaaah' .. and now you made a sound board, even, and STILL can't use a ribbon cable. )

#55 1 year ago
Quoted from barakandl:

Adding a two row ribbon cable would be nice but the reason I don't switch to that is the the original boards where not designed that way. Not everyone is going to replace both the MPU and Sound board at the same time and they may mix aftermarket brands. Sure I could have both connectors but then assembly and BOM goes up... by a negligible amount but still. Then I would also get email questions about where the connectors go and why there is an extra one etc... I had China make new 16p 0.1" and individual wires which works fine for SB100 and SB300. They are reasonably priced even compared to ribbon cables so I will probably never change to two row ribbon. Go back in time and tell Stern to do 2x16 ribbon instead. =D

Eh, i was just being a dick. I'm not actually upset. I DO (and have) wondered hot 'iffy' connections could affect the soundboard, though.)

Quoted from barakandl:

I can email you a ROM file that will clear out the RAM back to FF and that should fix the replacement and original MPUs having sound issues. I am going to start including RAM clear software in the combo ROM.
If you don't mind, that'd be great. I haven't hyet done anything with the game since I noticed the high-score corruption.

Not sure what to make about the memory corruption. If the game ever jumps out of the software for whatever reason it can write crap to the NVRAM chip. Best guess is something like that happened at some point. Unplugging the J5 plug while the MPU is running is one way to possibly do it.

Haven't unplugged anything while the game's been up. Been solid, save for the sound!

#58 1 year ago
Quoted from barakandl:

Meteor versions besides the factory bug fix one does not initialize the RAM like it should and corruption of certain areas of the memory will cause the sound problem.
To fix this problem you need to fill the (NV)RAM with 00. I have put software on my website that will fix Meteor sound problems. Burn the software onto an appropriate chip. Power on. Wait until the LED starts to blink. Then the RAM is filled with 00 and you can go back to Meteor and the sound will work.
Bottom of the page you can find a zip file with the ROMs in it.
THANK YOU to everyone who helped with information and resolution of this bug.

Ah, awesome! Thank YOU!
I have the source for v24, and would like to add it in. Or have it added in to that version, if we can work that out!

#60 1 year ago
Quoted from barakandl:

The memory clear is a separate ROM file from the meteor ROMs. You would remove the Meteor v24 rom. Boot up the mem clear rom. Wait for the LED to start blinking. Then the RAM is filled with 00 and you can switch back to your meteor ROM. The sound problem will then be fixed. Audits will also be cleared back to all 00.

Sorry, I was referring to this part, here:

Quoted from barakandl:

Meteor versions besides the factory bug fix one does not initialize the RAM like it should and corruption of certain areas of the memory will cause the sound problem.

Could we get it added to the v24 ROM? (Either sending me the code you have, or I send you the source for v24..)

#62 1 year ago
Quoted from barakandl:

I don't know how to modify the sound bugged Meteor ROMs but the theory for the fix would be to write zeros everywhere sound values are stored in memory at boot up.

Ah, okay then! I can look into it. It's be nice if the true 7-digit fix could fix it itself like the Factory Fix one does - by wiping the needed areas. I'll look into it then. (I have NO trouble burnig ROMs - however, since I'm working on adding some small features to v24, I'd rather just nip it in the bud and prevent me from having to swap out ROMS because of some bad code of mine.)

2 weeks later
#63 1 year ago

Well, update on my machine -
The pinball gods hate me, sadly.

Reset NVRAM using the ROM above - turned game on, went through audits and reset everything. Played game, still had sound issues. I thought, 'Hey, maybe one of the new audits in the v24 is affecting it!' So I put the RAM clear ROM back in, power game up. Got static out of the sound board, and lights would randomly flicker. Took ROM out, checked to make sure (idiot me) didn't bend a pin - nope. Reinsert ROM, this time get the expected flash. Remove ROM, turn game back on and play withOUT resetting audits. Still messed up sound.

Next step for me? Replacing the chip on the sound board.

#68 1 year ago
Quoted from barakandl:

What sounds are wrong? When the bug is happening the credit noise will be wrong(i think its a beep instead of explosion) and the spinner sound is missing or just a click that silences all other sounds.
After running the RAM clear software did you notice that the audits all got reset back to 00?

(1) - Yes, that is correct - the background noise is wrong, the spinner silences everything, and other (seemingly) random noises are cut off or distorted. (Like the explosion.)
(2) - No, everything got reset to either "blank" or "0000". In this state, I CAN play a game - no display in the credits window, but it'll start games. After manually resetting all audits to "00", then I have to add credits before starting.

I'm not TOO worried - at least, not until I get a new timer chip for the soundboard. It's been completely rebuilt, including bypass caps (and audio caps), and there's only two chips that have NOT been replaced on it.

Quoted from barakandl:

another idea is to try the bug fixed version of meteor as the sound bug does not exist in that version no matter the ram contents. if the sound is still wrong there is some other issue going on.

Ah, good point! No wonder you get paid the big bucks. I didn't think of this; will give it a try tonight.

#69 1 year ago

Well, this is interesting.

So, the board is pfutzed - SLIGHTLY. I'm missing some bass cap or a chip I replaced is bad - my bonus countdown is just 'wrong' (hard to explain), and some of the sounds sound different. This does not affect below.

That's not the interesting thing, though -
Booted up to the alt/fix. Everything sounded pretty normal. Had to reset all audits after changing. Peachy.
Played a couple games. Then booted back up into the 7-Digit ROM.
Sounds were PRETTY CLOSE to being on-point. The spinner sound played, but it seemed as if it was getting cut short. ALL other sounds (save for what I say above) sounded correct.

So I will stop my testing there for now, until I either go over my audio board again (or just get a new one). The rest of it can wait on my machine.

#71 1 year ago
Quoted from barakandl:

(2) the audits should all show 00 after the memory clear so it did not reset the ram properly. If you push the NMI button while the LED is blinking it makes the ram clear software it do a FF fill where the bug will still exist and most audits will be blank or show 0000. Boot memory clear, wait for led to blink, and then power down. Don't push the NMI. Then the audits should all show 00 and the sound bug goes away. If you used the 27512 sized file run it from U1 expanded ROM spot, if you used the 2764 sized file run from U2.

Yup, I'm not touching a thing - I'm putting U2 in (27C64), removing the jumper, turning on. Almost immediately (under a second) LED blinks a little faster than once/second. Turn game off, remove ROM, replace jumper, turn game back on. Will do it again tonight and grab a pic of the displays.

(Also, since it's working for other folks, I'm not blaming the MPU or the ROM. I seriously am some kind of Bermuda Triangle when it comes to //odd// issues with games.)

1 week later
#73 1 year ago
Quoted from Alby:

Just joined the Meteor club. The machine plays fantastic but has the scoring bug. I'm a bit confused as to how to fix it. Do i replace the roms with the code fix? Can i buy these. Also i want to add the 7 digit displays so i take it that i need the correct roms for this? Do these roms come with scoring bug fix. Sorry for all the questions.

Use the 'Alternate' ROM on IPDB for the bonus bug, 6-digit.
The "7-digit bootleg" does not have the bonus bog, and runs slower due to how the 7th digit was implemented.
The "v24" version supports 7-digit natively, but has the bonus bug and COULD mess up sounds on your game.

Eventually, the v24 version will be fixed to correct the sound issue and bonus bug.

#75 1 year ago
Quoted from slochar:

That's already been done. It's just not on ipdb yet since they are slow as heck to post updates. I sent them the requested scan of the eight ball deluxe manual they were looking for almost a year ago (maybe more) and it's not posted yet.

Has it? I don't have a copy, and I thought I had the last one. Can you forward it please?
Also, is it still v24? I would forward it to barakandl so he can update his MPU.

#77 1 year ago
Quoted from slochar:

I suppose it helps if you are the author of the mod, then you always have the latest version.

Pffft, dick. After I gave you some help, and then you tell me you're no longer gonna work on it, now you come out and say this? I'm hurt. You have it posted somewhere so I can find more issues with it?

1 week later
#79 1 year ago
Quoted from slochar:

I think I sent IPDB v26 I'm still testing v27.

Mind forwarding v26? Because of issues with Jay and IPDB, it will likely be a while before it's posted. (It's not up there now, and depending on when you sent it, it could be a while before it is posted up there.

#81 1 year ago
Quoted from slochar:

Ever notice any "extra" silence between sounds? I played a stock meteor a couple weeks ago and noticed the sounds flowed together better.

I HAVE noticed this - BUT - my SB300 is also really old and seriously hacked. (No, I don't have a new replacement yet!) Up until we found that the RAM has to be zeroed out, I figured all MY issues were just coming from a bad board. (In fact, I'm still having other issues that IS because of the board still, so.. I put very little thought that my_ issues are because of things outside the sound board. Heh.)

Understood though - if you want a tester (like on v24 last year), lemme know. Be glad to do some testing on OEM and barakandl 's MPU.

#86 1 year ago
Quoted from slochar:

Yeah I don't think the silence is normal. I'll play around on my large supply of OEM boards with and without NVram as well as probably every revision of Andrew's boards. Probably send you a test version once I determine what's different (probably a timer somewhere.....)
First things first is I have to remove the non-working background sound quash that doesn't work... like, at all. I'd always assumed it did from RGP years ago but I guess no one (including me) ever tested it until v27. I don't WANT to remove the bg sound, people that get meteor, get it, and all other people that don't like it.... tough

Didn't even realize people were complaining about that. Interesting. Guess I need to start popping and catching up on RGP again. In either case, awesome. Good to hear then.

#88 1 year ago
Quoted from slochar:

No, it was one guy several years ago re: the BG sound in meteor. I posted a fix that apparently no one (including me) ever tried.... and it didn't work.
RGP is dead as a doornail, it's people posting accidentally on old threads, John Robertson replying to everything, JT amusements replying back to John, and franknfurter trolling as usual.

*snrk* Glad I didn't miss much then. Heh.

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