(Topic ID: 342731)

Strange intermittent switch issues on a Ripley's

By C0untDeM0net

10 months ago


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  • 24 posts
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  • Latest reply 6 months ago by cooke
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#1 10 months ago

I recently purchased a routed Ripley's and it was playing great when I got it home. I factory reset the machine then set it up as I liked and we've been playing it for a few weeks when it started having the dreaded idol opto issue but nothing else was wrong until today.

My family and I were playing and suddenly the vari-target VUK just stopped registering. I put the game into switch test and manually actuated the switch and there was nothing. I pulled the assembly and checked the diode and switch and both appear to be good. I did swap out the diode to be safe and put the assembly back in the machine. Since then the VUK has been working so not sure if it was the reseating of the connectors, the new diode, or just stupid luck so far.

On my last game I had been playing for about 5 minutes or so when suddenly the main scoop VUK stopped working. Put it into switch test and manually actuated it a few times. At first there was no response but then it came back to life and started working again.

So far the only switches I've had this issue with are the VUKs but they are on completely different rows/columns in the switch matrix. I've tried reseating all of the connectors at the board and components.

I'm really at a loss on what else this could be and I'm looking for suggestions on what else to look for. In both cases when the switches stopped working the machine would go into ball search and eventually spit the ball out.

Thanks

#2 10 months ago

Please post a picture of the MPU board surrounding the battery holder, especially the left and below the holder.

#3 10 months ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

Please post a picture of the MPU board surrounding the battery holder, especially the left and below the holder.

Here is that area. I can get a closer up cleaner pic of any area needed.

IMG_20230903_145551377 (resized).jpgIMG_20230903_145551377 (resized).jpg

#4 10 months ago

Being scoop switches, both get hammered regularly. I would suggest ordering new switches before doing any more troubleshooting. Switches are cheap and if those are originals, they're about 20 years old.

If either switch is intermittent while testing with your finger (in switch test), it's just likely going bad. No fixing it. If either can be triggered every time with your finger, you may be able to slightly bend the actuator so that it recognizes the ball every time.

#5 10 months ago

Thank you, I'll get some ordered and try bending them in the mean time. I did find it odd it was on the VUK's. I couldn't find anything in common circuit wise.

#6 10 months ago
Quoted from C0untDeM0net:

Here is that area. I can get a closer up cleaner pic of any area needed.

Yes, mainly to the left of the holder with the flash turned on please. It may be no damage, but want to be sure.

Quoted from C0untDeM0net:

So far the only switches I've had this issue with are the VUKs but they are on completely different rows/columns in the switch matrix. I've tried reseating all of the connectors at the board and components.

Really doesn't hurt to test all the switches in the game.

#7 10 months ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

Yes, mainly to the left of the holder with the flash turned on please. It may be no damage, but want to be sure.

Good eye. Right solder points on R401 and R402 are definitely discolored. Both are part of the switch matrix. I still suspect the switches (no whole rows or columns out), but those should be fixed too.

#8 10 months ago
Quoted from phishrace:

Right solder points on R401 and R402 are definitely discolored.

Sometimes the angle of the light can seem like it is damaged.

#9 10 months ago

Here are the close ups. It's hard to get an even light on the board. I don't see any discoloration on any of the solder joints.

Parts are on order and should be here later in the week I hope. Game is down now due to the Vari-target VUK no longer working at all so we'll see if a new switch fixes it.

IMG_20230904_091221771 (resized).jpgIMG_20230904_091221771 (resized).jpgIMG_20230904_091231022 (resized).jpgIMG_20230904_091231022 (resized).jpgIMG_20230904_091240037 (resized).jpgIMG_20230904_091240037 (resized).jpg

#10 10 months ago

The parts came in today and I was able to get a little time to replace both of the opto boards as well as put a new switch on the vari target vuk. I've only had a chance to play about 30 minutes of the game, but in that 30 minutes, I've not seen the idol award when it wasn't supposed to. The vuk has worked every time as well. Keeping my fingers crossed this was all at was wrong. Tomorrow, I'll replace the main scoop switches but it's really nice to have it working again.

#11 10 months ago

We've played a bunch of games now and I'm pretty sure the switches were just showing their age. The new switches are working perfectly.

The idol optos on the other hand are not. It took a few games but I started to notice it more and more. The symptom has changed a bit though.

I don't generally see the issue when the idol is lit. I've intentionally not gone for it during a game and when the game is over I've not accumulated any idols. It tends to happen the most when I have already collected one idol and I'm waiting to relight it. That is when I'll see some collect. I thought at first it was the flashers so I disconnected the flasher closest to it. That did not resolve it. It does seem to happen more often when I am flipping the right flipper so I'm wondering if it may be a power issue? That flip includes both lower and upper flippers at the same time. Note that all 3 flipper son the game have the LOTR special coils.

I am seeing some strange issues with the adjustment settings as well. I'm hoping someone can verify, but I have noticed that the flasher brightness adjustment does nothing. I tried to turn it off completely but that did not turn them off. Making them dimmer also does nothing. The consolation ball option won't even turn from no to yes when I try to change it as well. I know when I bought the game that setting and the flasher brightness was working. I'm wondering if I may need to reflash the rom as it's possible the factory reset (the top level one that resets everything) mucked something up. I know the consolation ball setting was working when I got it as I turned it on to see what it did.

I'm grasping at straws here at this point. I cleaned the area on the surface and I've cleaned the under side of the insert. I've replaced the idol optos, the opto boards, and I've reseated all of the connectors I could find. Is there anything else I could be missing? Clearly the receiver is believing the transmitter is engaging, even for a split second, to register the idol when it shouldn't be.

#12 10 months ago

In continued testing I disconnected the transmitter and receiver for the idol and then in the game tested it out. Interestingly nearly 99% of the time the number 1 tombstone would award the idol

As a test I gapped that switch so that it couldn't trigger and reattached the idol optos. It seemed to be better but I was still getting phantom hits.

I think this test proves the optos themselves are not the problem I'm just not sure where to look next. I'm hoping one of you might have an idea.

#13 10 months ago

In switch test, see if tombstone 1 switch #17 also actives idol eye switch #24. Both are in the same column so it could be a switch matrix issue.

IMG_5109 (resized).pngIMG_5109 (resized).png
#14 10 months ago

In switch test I never seen any issues. Opto only triggers when the beam is split and the target only triggers itself.

I also tried switching out the receiver just for giggles and there was no change in the behavior.

This is the craziest thing. The only thing in the game that is randomly triggering is the idol. Sometimes it seems to be the target, sometimes it's the right flipper, sometimes the left flipper. Sometimes, after the game is over and it's going through the bonus calculation, you will hear the idol go off. I've even heard it trigger when in attract mode almost like a flipper button was hit.

#15 10 months ago

Yesterday we had some friends over and the issues snowballed. First the idol started going off all the time, then the head stopped detecting the ball going through. Then on next player up the idol would go off causing the machine to auto plunge.

Out of desperation, I remembered that the issues only appear to happen when the transmitter is off so I plugged it directly into the board causing the transmitter to always be on. All issues disappeared completely. Seems there is something up with the CPU control aspect of the transmitter.

#17 10 months ago

Yes a long time ago and several times. Also replaced the optos boards no change. This issue is farther up.

#18 10 months ago
Quoted from C0untDeM0net:

Yes a long time ago and several times. Also replaced the optos boards no change.

Did you replace the shrunken head and mini ramp optos too? If not, I suggest replacing all four of those. Whitestar optos are horrible and I wouldn't put it past one pair causing trouble elsewhere.

Does this game have LED's installed? LED flashers?

#19 10 months ago

I've replaced the head optos but not the super ones. I used the ones for the super as a second replacement for the idol ones and don't want to reuse potentially bad ones. I bought all 6 of the replacements from pinball life since they are $4 each and not $12 each as Marco has them. I do have a pair coming from Marco this week and will try those on the idol.

It was upgraded to led before I purchased it. I have manually disabled all above playfield flashers to test if light from the flashers could be causing it and the game still malfunctioned. In that Marco order I have non led flashers I'll try as well. Hope that order is here early this week.

1 month later
#20 8 months ago

Was this ever resolved? Dealing with an Idol opto issue myself. I contacted Stern and they said the following:

1. Remove the magnet from the underside of the playfield and clean the Insert. They have seen this before and customers have reported back that any small amount of dirt can cause the opto to trigger. Also, clean the top receiver board and plastic and check the alignment.

2. Look over the Opto Amp board and verify that the wiring on the 2 pin connectors are properly inserted in the connector. look over the pins on the actual amp board and spred the OUT just a bit in order to get a tighter fit when you plug the 2 pin connector back on the board. Also, check the solder on amp board and verify you have no cold solder on the board.

Stern also sent me the following attachments.

RBION1 (resized).JPGRBION1 (resized).JPGRBION2 (resized).JPGRBION2 (resized).JPG
#21 8 months ago
Quoted from cooke:

Was this ever resolved? Dealing with an Idol opto issue myself. I contacted Stern and they said the following:
1. Remove the magnet from the underside of the playfield and clean the Insert. They have seen this before and customers have reported back that any small amount of dirt can cause the opto to trigger. Also, clean the top receiver board and plastic and check the alignment.
2. Look over the Opto Amp board and verify that the wiring on the 2 pin connectors are properly inserted in the connector. look over the pins on the actual amp board and spred the OUT just a bit in order to get a tighter fit when you plug the 2 pin connector back on the board. Also, check the solder on amp board and verify you have no cold solder on the board.
Stern also sent me the following attachments. [quoted image][quoted image]

My issues have not been completely resolved. For the time being I have bypassed the special wiring that controls the idol transmit opto and I've plugged the transmitter directly into the new opto board that I bought. The side effect is that the idol transmit opto is now always on and does not require the re-lighting using the lower left side pops. Once I made this change 90% of the issues went away.

I'm still seeing occasional issues with ball searching when going into the vuks and audio hissing which I don't think are completely related.

I'm glad to hear stern responded to you. I've cleaned the insert and also replaced all of the optos and the opto boards and it's still doing it. One person I talked to did say that they had to use electrical tape on the idol receiver to keep external light from hitting it and that resolved it for them. Even with my hack of removing the control from the situation I still get false idol hits from time to time so I'll probably do something similar next.

#22 8 months ago

Cook (above) has been VERY helpful in this thread!

Machines this age use these bright red visible light optos.

LED's have a lifespan, and they are specified to that lifespan when they are at half brightness... so LED's can be plenty bright to the eye, but not quite bright enough for completely reliable switches, and they will get more dim over time. No amount of cleaning will make them as bright as they used to be a couple of years ago.

Because of this, I replace the optos with a higher brightness LED.

I buy these:

LTL2F3VEKNT

From mouser:

https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Lite-On/LTL2F3VEKNT?qs=Sv%252BigzQKaoVYLcEZH8BKGw%3D%3D

These are significantly brighter, and I've used them anywhere Stern/Sega had a visible LED opto switch with no problems.

You will need to replace the opto LED on both the Transmitter side and the Receiver side with this same part. Don't do half the job!

These are visibly considerably brighter, and they solve about half of my problems.

Unfortunately, the other half get fixed when I replace the 2-pin tiny white connector pins on the opto boards, and then replace the connectors in the 2-pin plugs with fresh .100 terminals.

Looking at these tiny pins, you'll see a little tarnish, or wear, and there will be a spot on the pin where the contact rests, and right there it seems to get an intermittent connection.

Brighter LED's, and replace pins and plugs at the intermittent connection 2-pin plugs at the opto boards. That's what resolves the problems I've been having.

Good luck!

#23 8 months ago

I've replaced the optos twice but my next step is to do this change with the led's to the brighter ones.

2 months later
#24 6 months ago
Quoted from PinRetail:

Cook (above) has been VERY helpful in this thread!
Machines this age use these bright red visible light optos.
LED's have a lifespan, and they are specified to that lifespan when they are at half brightness... so LED's can be plenty bright to the eye, but not quite bright enough for completely reliable switches, and they will get more dim over time. No amount of cleaning will make them as bright as they used to be a couple of years ago.
Because of this, I replace the optos with a higher brightness LED.
I buy these:
LTL2F3VEKNT
From mouser:
https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Lite-On/LTL2F3VEKNT?qs=Sv%252BigzQKaoVYLcEZH8BKGw%3D%3D
These are significantly brighter, and I've used them anywhere Stern/Sega had a visible LED opto switch with no problems.
You will need to replace the opto LED on both the Transmitter side and the Receiver side with this same part. Don't do half the job!
These are visibly considerably brighter, and they solve about half of my problems.
Unfortunately, the other half get fixed when I replace the 2-pin tiny white connector pins on the opto boards, and then replace the connectors in the 2-pin plugs with fresh .100 terminals.
Looking at these tiny pins, you'll see a little tarnish, or wear, and there will be a spot on the pin where the contact rests, and right there it seems to get an intermittent connection.
Brighter LED's, and replace pins and plugs at the intermittent connection 2-pin plugs at the opto boards. That's what resolves the problems I've been having.
Good luck!

Thanks! I solved this problem on the game I was working on by repining the female connector at the opto board.

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