(Topic ID: 82803)

Stern Star Trek multiball magnet *Solution found*


By nodyeliab

5 years ago



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  • Latest reply 5 years ago by paul_8788
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There are 539 posts in this topic. You are on page 7 of 11.
#301 5 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

That's not the issue, you're not actually physically knocking the ball off the magnet with the other ball, you just need to break the opto in front of it to release it. The issue is with the opto. Defective boards, something else, but totally unrelated to the magnet strength.

Yup...you guys are absolutely right. I jumped to a conclusion based on just playing and not digging in. I just did a little glass off checking. This is definitely a weird one as the opto seems 100% in testing and throwing the ball in there by hand seems ok too. I'm wondering if stray light from the playfield is messing with the opto? I've heard of that before. I did notice that one side of the opto is quite far away from the "peek hole" in the ball guide. If light from the playfield is shining in there just right, it could be enough to make the reading unreliable. I don't have time right now, but it would be an interesting experiment to make a little shroud and see how that goes. Could also try remounting the opto closer to the ball guide, but not sure if that's possible/feasible. I've seen both very slow and very fast shots both stick rather than release, but also have seen both of those release it just fine. The intermittent issues are always the worst!

#302 5 years ago
Quoted from Kneissl:

I twisted my wires and tried to keep them away from the magnet.. seems to be working so far

Re-routing the wires away from the magnet was one of the first things I tried. It didn't help. I hadn't considered twisting them.

#303 5 years ago

Had area around optos cleaned and realigned a little, but problem still happens, but not consistent. Used to never happen on my LE.
Hard shot, both balls get stuck on magnet, shaking machine does not dislodge, third ball does not kickout, I watch my ball save disappear and sigh.
Optos check out fine in test and using ball in hand and sometimes during gameplay.

Game has been in same spot for playing, so I do not think it is stray light causing opto issue. No sunlight ever hits optos.

Will try to pay attention if I am holding a flipper or what mode I am on. Maybe stray light from a certain running mode, but doubtful.

Game does not get played a lot, so I don't think things should have moved around from vibration yet from ship shaking, but maybe.

#304 5 years ago

There's a thousand 'bad opto' replies to this problem yet we hear over and over they replaced and problem persists. Can we move on to a better solution now?

#305 5 years ago

Well I tried making some quick and dirty "shrouds" from black construction paper and failed. It may not have been good enough to block all stray light, but more likely that is not the problem.

The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking this might be a software thing. I have never had a Klingon lock miss putting up the drop target whether from a soft, barely making it shot, or a fast hard shot. I am assuming the same opto is being used in that case??? That seems to tell me it's not an opto issue. If it was an opto issue, you would think the Klingon lock would fail at least once in awhile, but it never has (for me), whereas the magnet keeps the ball during Vengeance about 75%+ of the time. Thoughts?

#306 5 years ago

I think it has something to do with the magnet, like what jediturtle said, it works for ball lock every time, but when that magnet is holding the ball it's hit and miss.

#307 5 years ago
Quoted from Jediturtle:

Well I tried making some quick and dirty "shrouds" from black construction paper and failed. It may not have been good enough to block all stray light, but more likely that is not the problem.
The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking this might be a software thing. I have never had a Klingon lock miss putting up the drop target whether from a soft, barely making it shot, or a fast hard shot. I am assuming the same opto is being used in that case??? That seems to tell me it's not an opto issue. If it was an opto issue, you would think the Klingon lock would fail at least once in awhile, but it never has (for me), whereas the magnet keeps the ball during Vengeance about 75%+ of the time. Thoughts?

Don't see how it can be a software problem when mine (and others) works 100%. There's definitely a problem though, as too many people have problems...but, I think it's gotta be some kind of hardware issue that will have to have some kind of physical service bulletin fix at some point.

#308 5 years ago

Mine work 100%, latest software, Premium. I knock it loose every single time, don't even have to touch the other ball, just kissing up into the opto beam releases it. Obviously it's a common enough issue, but don't think it happens to all games, because some work just fine.

That to me rules out software completely, bits are bits. It's hardware that varies. Maybe it's not as simple as "bad opto board", I certainly don't know. I suspect it's not that simple, because most people can make it work fine with the glass off and breaking the beam manually, it seems like the flipper engaging is tied to the problem.

#309 5 years ago

OK...so having others be 100% good does seem to say it isn't a software issue. So what other variables are we dealing with here? Cliffy magnet protectors? Mylar over magnet? Pinbits plastic protector with airball protector? I have none of the above and have a high percentage of sticking.

I'm wondering if those that work correctly have one of these things? Maybe I'll get lucky and all of you will have the Pinbits airball protector as I have mine waiting to be installed. It would kind of make sense if the ball were slightly airborne as it enters therefore missing the opto, and the protector keeps it down. BUT...that doesn't explain why a slow ball sticks for me too. Grr...

As for balls, mine stuck with both stock Stern balls and Pinball Life standard balls.

Anyone else with ideas about variables? Maybe mounting variables causing some misalignment for some of us? But then we are back to wondering why Klingon locks always work correctly....

#310 5 years ago

I'm 100 percent so far with my wires twisted... My guess is some kind of interference from wherever frequency they pulse the magnet coil when it holds.

#311 5 years ago
Quoted from Kneissl:

I'm 100 percent so far with my wires twisted... My guess is some kind of interference from wherever frequency they pulse the magnet coil when it holds.

I am not having the Vengeance Muti_Ball issue. Only 160 plays. And it releases 100%. my machine will miss a back to back Vengeance hit on once Multi- Ball has started every once I a while. Asked a fellow pinsider via PM who is not having Muli- Ball start issue either and he confirmed that his machine will not register every sigle hit once Multi-ball has started. My question is What wires are you twisting exactly are they hard to get to ? As I have not needed to mess with my machine since it works for the topic of this thread. But I would like to do what ever you have done to see if it will bring my Vengeance hits to 100%

Thanks .

#312 5 years ago

I think there is a timing issue on how fast you can repeatedly hit vengeance. Hit it too fast twice and it will not register second hit. This during any vengeance mode. It is unfortunate, but hopefully it will change in the patch. Has been like this on all games I have played. Pro/LE.

#313 5 years ago

I think what skulz said is the case. I will get some pictures next time i get to the game room.

#314 5 years ago
Quoted from Kneissl:

I twisted my wires and tried to keep them away from the magnet.. seems to be working so far

When you say twisted your wires, what do you mean?

#315 5 years ago
Quoted from damionrowe:

When you say twisted your wires, what do you mean?

#316 5 years ago

Stop , Touch and Tell . OK got it . What is your phone number so I can report in.

#317 5 years ago

I just spent a little time re-routing opto wires and I think I solved it. It would appear there is definitely some sort of interference between the magnet and the optos. The opto wires were all bunched together and tied to take up slack. Some of them ended up running right alongside the magnet wires. I untied them and routed each wire as far away from the magnet and magnet wires as I could.

I've played about a dozen games since and had absolutely no more sticking. A few times it wasn't a "clean" release, having a slight stick due to residual magnetism, but a slight nudge sets them free. Nothing like the real problem of the magnet not releasing. I will of course keep an eye on it, but so far, so good with re-routing the wires. If I start to have any issues again, I'll have to see about some sort of electrical shielding for the opto wires. Just moving them away seems to have done the trick though!

If anyone else gives this a shot, let me know how it works for you. Good luck!

#318 5 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Don't see how it can be a software problem when mine (and others) works 100%. There's definitely a problem though, as too many people have problems...but, I think it's gotta be some kind of hardware issue that will have to have some kind of physical service bulletin fix at some point.

I've gotta respectfully disagree with this. Here's why. We have seen people with this issue change all the hardware surrounding the issue and the issue still persists. Just because we all have the same software and we don't all experience the problem, does not mean it's not software related.

Look at cars for example. I was a master Mercedes-Benz technician for 7 years. I can't tell you how many times I've had a car come in with a strange random misfire or an unusual transmission shifting problem. A lot of those times, all the vehicle needed was a software flash to the newest software. Keep in mind there are 1000's of these cars on the road with the same software. Did they all experience the same issue? Absolutely not. Sometimes software acts up in certain cars and sometimes it does not. Same goes with pinball machines or anything electronic. I can't explain how, I'm not a programmer. But I have more than enough experience with these kinds of things to tell you, it could very likely be a software issue.

You could even look at anything electronic for that matter. I've has issues with my cell phones and computers that have the same software as other cell phones and computers. Do all of those same electronics with the same software experience the same issues/problems? Once again, no.

I have a Star Trek pro and do not have this problem. I'm glad I don't, but at the same time, my mechanical/diagnostic mind would like to dig into the issue...

On another note/possibility. Could this issue possibly be related to low line voltage? On more than one occasion I've picked up a pinball from someone where the game would reset or coils wouldn't fire etc. Then I get it to my house, plug it in, and it plays problem free. I'm just spitballing on this one. Is that a possibility? Has anyone with this issue tried moving the game to a different room and using a different outlet?

I'm still leaning towards this issue being related to software...but who knows what the real problem is? Obviously none of us yet! I can't wait to see what ends up being the fix. It's gotta be a bummer to have this issue.

#319 5 years ago
Quoted from Jediturtle:

I just spent a little time re-routing opto wires and I think I solved it. It would appear there is definitely some sort of interference between the magnet and the optos. The opto wires were all bunched together and tied to take up slack. Some of them ended up running right alongside the magnet wires. I untied them and routed each wire as far away from the magnet and magnet wires as I could.

I've played about a dozen games since and had absolutely no more sticking. A few times it wasn't a "clean" release, having a slight stick due to residual magnetism, but a slight nudge sets them free. Nothing like the real problem of the magnet not releasing. I will of course keep an eye on it, but so far, so good with re-routing the wires. If I start to have any issues again, I'll have to see about some sort of electrical shielding for the opto wires. Just moving them away seems to have done the trick though!

If anyone else gives this a shot, let me know how it works for you. Good luck!

This could be a real possibility. You should pick up some wire shielding and see what happens. Not sure where you can buy that stuff....radio shack maybe???

#320 5 years ago

Another dozen or so games with no issues. I think this is definitely an interference issue. Move or shield those wires and see what happens guys!

#321 5 years ago

I tried moving them, and it didn't help. How would one go about shielding them?

#322 5 years ago

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twisted_pair

This is the cheapest shielding, to start... working so far for me.

#323 5 years ago
Quoted from Kneissl:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twisted_pair
This is the cheapest shielding, to start... working so far for me.

Ugh, mobile site.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twisted_pair

#324 5 years ago
Quoted from Jediturtle:

I just spent a little time re-routing opto wires and I think I solved it. It would appear there is definitely some sort of interference between the magnet and the optos. The opto wires were all bunched together and tied to take up slack. Some of them ended up running right alongside the magnet wires. I untied them and routed each wire as far away from the magnet and magnet wires as I could.

I've played about a dozen games since and had absolutely no more sticking. A few times it wasn't a "clean" release, having a slight stick due to residual magnetism, but a slight nudge sets them free.

I did the same thing, but I also twisted the wires like Kneissl had suggested, and so far so good with only one nudge similar to what Jedi had.

#325 5 years ago

Sweet, hopefully twisting the wires is the fix.

#326 5 years ago

hit both ramps once then hit ball it will then release. then hit ramp again the then start hitting ship.

#327 5 years ago
Quoted from ek77:

hit both ramps once then hit ball it will then release. then hit ramp again the then start hitting ship.

You don't have to touch the ramps to release the ball, I'm not sure what you're getting at. When the game is functioning properly you break the lower opto and the ball releases, that simple.

#328 5 years ago
Quoted from ek77:

hit both ramps once then hit ball it will then release. then hit ramp again the then start hitting ship.

Gee, thanks!

#329 5 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

You don't have to touch the ramps to release the ball, I'm not sure what you're getting at. When the game is functioning properly you break the lower opto and the ball releases, that simple.

There are seven pages of people saying the magnet holds both balls. I do not no what it is supposed to do but I do know what seams to work.

#330 5 years ago

I can confirm, ramps are not needed. Mine works just fine and my strategy is to catch the ball immediately and then hit the ball on the magnet (no ramps hit).

Mine actually works so well I don't even have to hit the ball to get it to release. Just a shot up the middle that breaks the beam and the ball is released.

I am VERY grateful for this thread as I was looking at 3 different ST when I bought this one. 2 had the issue and the 3rd didn't. So I bought the 3rd one

I sure hope this gets figured out as I can't imagine how frustrating this would be to deal with.

#331 5 years ago
Quoted from 85vett:

I can confirm, ramps are not needed. Mine works just fine and my strategy is to catch the ball immediately and then hit the ball on the magnet (no ramps hit).
Mine actually works so well I don't even have to hit the ball to get it to release. Just a shot up the middle that breaks the beam and the ball is released.

This is exactly how my Premium works, and the ones I've played on location as well. No ramps involved in getting the multiball going - just a shot that breaks the first opto beam in the Vengeance.

#332 5 years ago
Quoted from mjannusch:

This is exactly how my Premium works, and the ones I've played on location as well. No ramps involved in getting the multiball going - just a shot that breaks the first opto beam in the Vengeance.

The ramps (white inserts) count as hits toward the Vegeance, but only a direct shot to the Vengeance (front opto break) gets you the 3rd ball for the Multiball. While you're in the Multiball, the ramps (white inserts) will give you Vengeance hits for a little bit, but then you have to hit it directly a few times to destroy it.

#333 5 years ago
Quoted from Kneissl:

I twisted my wires and tried to keep them away from the magnet.. seems to be working so far ...

Holy shit!!! Twisting the wires actually worked. I twisted the crap out of all 4 wires going in and out of opto board #1, and the game is now working perfectly. Prior to doing this, it would fail to release the ball 95% of the time. I just played 10 games in a row, and the opto registered every single time. I can only surmise that the theory about EM interference being caused by the magnet was spot on. I had suspected this, which is why I tried to re-route the wires away from the magnet, but twisting the wires hadn't occurred to me. My guess is that the magnet is more powerful on some games than others, which is why not all games are affected by this issue. Stern needs to change the way they are building these and issue a service bulletin.

Anyone who is experiencing this problem should immediately try this fix. I assume it will work on all games. Many thanks to Kneissl for coming up with this solution. It was a very annoying problem. Fortunately, it's an easy fix.

Happy happy, joy joy!

#334 5 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

Holy shit!!! Twisting the wires actually worked. I twisted the crap out of all 4 wires going in and out of opto board #1, and the game is now working perfectly. Prior to doing this, it would fail to release the ball 95% of the time. I just played 10 games in a row, and the opto registered every single time. I can only surmise that the theory about EM interference being caused by the magnet was spot on. I had suspected this, which is why I tried to re-route the wires away from the magnet, but twisting the wires hadn't occurred to me. My guess is that the magnet is more powerful on some games than others, which is why not all games are affected by this issue. Stern needs to change the way they are building these and issue a service bulletin.
Anyone who is experiencing this problem should immediately try this fix. I assume it will work on all games. A big round of applause for kneissl is in order for coming up with this solution. It was a very annoying problem. Fortunately, it's an easy fix.
Happy happy, joy joy!

Glad it worked for you! So far mine is all good with just some creative re-routing (I got those babies pretty far away from the magnet), but I'll probably twist them up for good measure next time I'm under the hood (or if it acts up again).

Great job figuring this out guys!

#335 5 years ago

I wonder what's up with the whole "flipper up" problem with glass off testing, in relation to that fix?

#336 5 years ago

Here's a pic a few have been asking for.
IMG_20140421_200346.jpg

#337 5 years ago

After the twist pic's I took a look at the wires I found un doing Sterns bunch/knot did the trick.

#338 5 years ago

I wonder if ferrite cores would do the trick as well.

#339 5 years ago

Good fix why would twisting wires help? More insulated?

#340 5 years ago
Quoted from Gorgar1:

Good fix why would twisting wires help? More insulated?

This is hardly my area of expertise, but I believe that twisting the wires helps to equalize the amount of noise that each individual wire is exposed to. The net result is that it cancels out the interference.

#341 5 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

I wonder if ferrite cores would do the trick as well.

That was my thought too. If it's RFI/EMI from the surrounding electronics then a ferrite core will definitely work. I need to get my digital probe on the optos and see what signals they are registering. IIRC, the opto receiver just registers a logical "high" when it 'sees' light and a logical 'low' when the beam is interrupted. I am not quite sure how the logic board could misinterpret that. In the logic-days-of-old, there is either +5v (or -5V) as a logical high and 0v when a logical low. Presumably when the opto receiver sees light, it conducts electricity and when there's no light, it doesn't.

The twisted pair works because noise such as EMI/RFI would travel down both conductors equally. When you twist them together the 'positive' magnetic field generated on lead number 1 by the emi/rfi will be cancelled out by the 'negative' magnetic field on lead number 2. The noise like that tends to ride 180 degrees out of phase on the leads and therefore will net out to zero when twisted like that.

As an additional step, I'd probably throw ferrite beads on the leads from the opto receiver board back to the cpu.

#342 5 years ago

On re-inspection of the pic a few posts above I think I may see what the problem is. Those leads run damn close to the magnet in the playfield AND the motor for the Vengeance. When that coil is energized (as it would be when the first ball is trapped), I'd gather there is all sorts of magnetic flux leaking from that coil. That magnetic energy would induce a voltage in those wires easily which might be enough to fool the cpu into thinking the opto is in a state it is not (eg., when the second ball breaks the beam, there is still sufficient voltage to make the cpu think it is in a 'high' state (beam not broken) when it actually is broken.

As a second suggestion, one could wrap the opto bundle in a foil-backed mylar, with the foil facing inwards (to not short anything out). Then just connect one end of the foil to ground.

#343 5 years ago

Decent explanation of twisted pair and what problem it solves: https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/20023/why-does-usb-have-4-lines-instead-of-3

Ferrite cores are readily available on Ebay and couldn't hurt to try. Search on "ferrite core" or "ferrite emi" - probably want to try the smaller ones (sometimes called ferrite beads) rather than the ones commonly for power cords which are big and heavy.

#344 5 years ago
Quoted from KeithinMI:

On re-inspection of the pic a few posts above I think I may see what the problem is. Those leads run damn close to the magnet in the playfield AND the motor for the Vengeance. When that coil is energized (as it would be when the first ball is trapped), I'd gather there is all sorts of magnetic flux leaking from that coil. That magnetic energy would induce a voltage in those wires easily which might be enough to fool the cpu into thinking the opto is in a state it is not (eg., when the second ball breaks the beam, there is still sufficient voltage to make the cpu think it is in a 'high' state (beam not broken) when it actually is broken.

I think you are on the right track with this line of thinking. It would certainly explain why the problem is more prevalent after a flip.

#345 5 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

I think you are on the right track with this line of thinking. It would certainly explain why the problem is more prevalent after a flip.

There may also be 'debounce' or 'filter' programming on some/all optos that the software is falsely applying to the sensor when seeing all the noise thinking it's due to flippers.

ie - If on flipper press you detect 'X' noisy signal(s), ignore switch for 'Y' ms...

#346 5 years ago

I played a bunch of games today, and the fix is still holding. This seems like the real deal. Should I change the thread title to reflect that this problem has been solved, or is this premature? Ideally, I'd like to see a few more people step forward first.

We should probably let Stern know about this. For all we know, they are still cranking games out that could potentially suffer from this issue.

#347 5 years ago

Had one stick tonight. Tomorrow I'll make like Chubby Checker and do the twist.

But still...once out of 25ish plays since rerouting wires isn't too shabby! Hopefully twisting will prove to be a perma-fix.

#348 5 years ago

Twisting the wires worked perfect for me as well. Started Vengeance multiball like 4 times, no issues. Previously the balls would get stuck together about 90% of the time.

#349 5 years ago

I'm still 100% with the twist.. It's looking good.. the best part is it's free!

#350 5 years ago

I just updated the thread title as well as the first post.

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