(Topic ID: 162041)

STTNG: Trough Opto Issue


By Bendit

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 42 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Pin_Guy
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

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#1 3 years ago

Hey guys. Table was playing great for a dozen game or so. All of a sudden...

Catapult keeps loading 2 balls, so I go in test mode...

In switch test, trough opto #3 keeps firing, kind of randomly. The LEDs are clean. R4 on the transmitter board gets really hot, almost too hot to touch. But I don't know if that's normal, I never touched the board before.

So my question is, should I just replace the transmitter and receiver boards and be done with it?

Thanks for any info guys! Cheers!

#2 3 years ago

It is normal for the resistors to get too hot to touch. That's one of the main reasons the original boards are not ideal.

I would replace them with a more modern set of aftermarket boards made by several vendors.

#3 3 years ago

Most likely a connector issue, in switch test wiggle the connector on the board and you'll probably see #3 and possibly other trough optos registering.

#4 3 years ago

Check for a cracked solder joint. Try reflowing the solder to the header pins and transmitter/receiver optos.

#5 3 years ago

Make sure you have correct number of balls in the game...6. My who dunnit was playing fine for many games, then it all of a sudden started loading two balls in the shooter lane. I had one too many balls in the game. Simple things first.

#6 3 years ago

Had the same issue on mine. I replaced both boards on the trough and it fixed it for me. good luck on your repair

#7 3 years ago

Thanks guys! I will try to reflow solder if I can't find new boards. Out-of-stock everywhere! Not ideal luck.

Another quick question: Is the receiver board more reliable? You think I can replace the transmitter board only?

Quoted from Homepin:

It is normal for the resistors to get too hot to touch.

crazy eh? I didn't think 2watt resistors could get that flipping hot!

Quoted from bobukcat:

in switch test wiggle the connector

You're right. It seemed to light up like a christmas tree when I did, but not always. Weird.

Quoted from Lermods:

Make sure you have correct number of balls in the game

Oh yeah. 6 for sure. That would have been funny to not have 6. Thanks for the tip though.

#9 3 years ago

Well, crapola.

Reflowed the connector. Tested OK after that. During 1st game, loaded 2 balls again. Went into testing, now LED #3 doesn't trigger anymore. Bummer.

#10 3 years ago

I repinned the connectors to the trough boards and that helped. Also, check the resistor legs on the LED board. Those crack due to vibration.

You can view the LEDs through a camera (a cell phone camera works fine) to make sure they are working.

#11 3 years ago
Quoted from foxct:

You can view the LEDs through a camera

Yeah. I guess the camera would tell me... Wait. I already know LED #3 is not working.

If the resistor fried, it also took the LED with it. Correct?

#12 3 years ago
Quoted from Bendit:

I guess the camera would tell me...

That only works with the transmitter optos. The transmitter trough board is easy to remove. I actually change out all the trough transmitter optos in all my games when I shop them out or in some cases after I buy them shopped out.

#13 3 years ago

Before you go any further, there's a few things to check ...

TNG, when first built, used PCBs that mounted directly onto metal posts on the trough weldment.

The vibrations of the balls running through the trough would literally shake parts off the PCB.

WMS came out with an update kit (part # A-18244) that contained new PCBs, and nice little rubber shock mounts.

If you don't have this kit, or a proper modern replacement (like the Great Lakes Modular trough PCBs), you're never going to get this to work correctly.

It will continue to shake itself to pieces.

(worth noting, IJ, JD, and Popeye, and other 6-ball games also have this issue ... the 4-ball opto troughs that followed do not)

GLM parts:

http://www.greatlakesmodular.com/products/pinball/dcs_tr.html
http://www.greatlakesmodular.com/products/pinball/dcs_tt.html

#14 3 years ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

The transmitter trough board is easy to remove

Indeed! I have it out. Tried to reflow the connector pins.

Quoted from litz:

The vibrations of the balls running through the trough would literally shake parts off the PCB.

Indeed, that's what I read. Thanks for confirming this. I have an email out with great lakes modular. Any idea where and how to buy the trough kit? Doesn't seem like their web site can accept any sales transactions...

Looking for a reputable web site that sells their boards. Thanks guys, for all the info!

#15 3 years ago

I bought mine from pbresource.com. He ended up being the lowest price too. Not the type of part I think of when I think of that site but he has them.

I wouldn't hesitate to get the upgraded boards. I kept fixing small issues on my original boards and finally got sick of it a year or two ago. No problems since the upgrade.

#16 3 years ago

Don't have time to label the pics but here is what you need to do to put Floating mounts on your trough boards. I can answer questions later tonight.

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#17 3 years ago
Quoted from Boiler415:

I bought mine from pbresource.com

Thanks! I had found those guys too, but they do not do online sales, no CC and no paypal, nothing. They want people to open an account! How 1940's of them. I might call them if I'm desperate, but looks like days and days just for the account opening process. Weird!

Quoted from Boiler415:

I wouldn't hesitate to get the upgraded boards.

Yeah, I'm going to do that. Sick of the old boards already.

Quoted from Eddie:

Floating mounts on your trough boards

Sure, sure. Enlarge the holes and install grommets. Great idea. I would do that if my board(s) weren't fried already. Awesome pics. Thanks for the idea. I just bought grommets like those too (from Ace Hardware), for a lighting project at home...

#18 3 years ago

Yep, if you need to DIY it, that's exactly how you do it. Drill out to the exact diameter specified for the rubber grommets, install, put the metal sleeve in, install new screws, done.

The main issue is, if your PCBs are already damaged, reliability might not be restored. Replacement PCBs are required for that.

And don't forget the connectors, too ... vibration affected those as well (it causes the internal wipers in the plug that contact the pins to weaken over time).

#19 3 years ago
Quoted from Bendit:

Thanks! I had found those guys too, but they do not do online sales, no CC and no paypal, nothing. They want people to open an account! How 1940's of them. I might call them if I'm desperate, but looks like days and days just for the account opening process. Weird!

It's actually really easy. You call Steve and tell him the part numbers you want and your address. A few days later your parts arrive with an invoice and an account number. Then you send the payment to them. It's a great place to get some harder to find parts.

#20 3 years ago
Quoted from Bendit:

Thanks! I had found those guys too, but they do not do online sales, no CC and no paypal, nothing. They want people to open an account! How 1940's of them. I might call them if I'm desperate, but looks like days and days just for the account opening process. Weird!

Yeah, I'm going to do that. Sick of the old boards already.

Sure, sure. Enlarge the holes and install grommets. Great idea. I would do that if my board(s) weren't fried already. Awesome pics. Thanks for the idea. I just bought grommets like those too (from Ace Hardware), for a lighting project at home...

In stock at AU$55 the pair (that's only about US$40 for you) and greatly improved over the originals. Many buyers report delivery from Australia by ordinary air post in under two weeks:

http://www.johns-arcade.com/#!product-page/c1cs/e16af231-9f4b-6d3d-7631-be95f87ae1ed

#21 3 years ago
Quoted from Bendit:

So my question is, should I just replace the transmitter and receiver boards and be done with it?
Thanks for any info guys! Cheers!

If you do, I would love to have your original boards (even if they don't work) ... call me weird but I just thing the older stuff was built better.

#22 3 years ago
Quoted from Pin_Guy:

If you do, I would love to have your original boards (even if they don't work) ... call me weird but I just thing the older stuff was built better.

I also advocate repair over replacement but I disagree that "older boards were better built". I repaired a WMS driver board yesterday (transistor broke off its legs) and the tracks are disgustingly small, the print quality is woeful and the plated through holes are hopeless.

Modern printed circuit boards are a massive improvement over 30 year old tech.

#23 3 years ago

Thanks guys. I finally got ordering info from Great Lakes Modular directly. I am posting it here:

Hi Ben,

Thank you for your interest in our products!

You can purchase them directly from us or through one of our
distributors, such as Marco Specialties, K's Arcade, Bay Area
Amusements (Nevada Pinball), and others.

If you would like to order directly from us, please find the ordering
instructions and shipping costs below.

The cost for the item(s) on your list are as follows:

1 - DCS-TBS - Widebody Ball Trough Board Set - $60

Shipping to most US destinations via USPS Priority is $7.00, bringing
the total for the order to $67.00

Shipping to Canada is $25.00 and would bring the total to $85.00.

Shipping worldwide is $35.00 and would bring the total to $95.00.

Payment can be made by Paypal, check, or US Postal Money Order.

If paying by Paypal, please send payments to:

sales@greatlakesmodular.com

If in the US and paying by check or money order, please make/send them to:

Tony Clark
Great Lakes Modular
6950 US Hwy 31
Berrien Springs, MI 49103

Most orders ship within 1-2 business days from receipt of cleared
payment.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Best Regards,

Tony

--

Tony Clark
Great Lakes Modular
www.greatlakesmodular.com
Design, Engineering, and Manufacturing Services
--
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greatlakesmodular

#24 3 years ago
Quoted from Boiler415:

It's actually really easy. You call Steve and tell him the part numbers you want and your address

Really? Their web site says that 1st order has to be pre-paid. I was assuming this means you cannot be billed later before your account is confirmed. Know what I mean? I'm sure it's easy after that.

Just ordered from great lakes modular directly, and it's shipped already. They are fast!

Quoted from Pin_Guy:

I would love to have your original boards (even if they don't work)

Sure. Let me see what my plan will be. I might try to install just the new transmitter board and see how the receiver board acts? If I replace both, I'll pm you if I decide to ship the old ones to you! Thanks man!

Quoted from Homepin:

In stock at AU$55 the pair (that's only about US$40 for you)

Thanks! I would totally buy from you guys, but I cannot wait 2 weeks. Bummer.

#25 3 years ago

TBH, once you receive the set from GLM, I'd just replace both of them.

#26 3 years ago
Quoted from litz:

once you receive the set from GLM, I'd just replace both of them.

Probably sage advice. Thanks.

#27 3 years ago

brain fart! Had false info so deleted.

#28 3 years ago
Quoted from nitrojcrawf:

I believe Terry at PBL has them

Hm. Those are different, I beleive. STTNG uses different Williams part numbers. STTNG is not in the supported game list for that set. That would have been great though, those listed on the pinball life site are much cheaper!

#29 3 years ago

Your right, my bad. I forgot the wide bodies are different. Side note, I have the GLM boards in my STTNG and love them.

#30 3 years ago
Quoted from nitrojcrawf:

I have the GLM boards in my STTNG and love them.

Awesome to know! Can't wait to receive mine. I can't stand it when my STTNG is down...

#31 3 years ago
Quoted from Bendit:

Awesome to know! Can't wait to receive mine. I can't stand it when my STTNG is down...

Glad to hear they're on their way! You'll be flipping in no time!

#32 3 years ago

There are two different types of trough opto boards ...

It's very easy to tell the difference ...

The original style (TNG through DM) has all the opto drive circuitry on the transmitter board - load resistors and all.
The replacement style moves all that to the game's normal opto driver PCB, so the transmitter board only has the actual optos themselves on it.

#33 3 years ago
Quoted from Bendit:

Really? Their web site says that 1st order has to be pre-paid.

He will only make you pre-pay if the order is over $50 or so.

#34 3 years ago
Quoted from WonkoTSane:

He will only make you pre-pay if the order is over $50 or so.

Correct. The opto board kit is more than $50.

#35 3 years ago
Quoted from Homepin:

I repaired a WMS driver board yesterday (transistor broke off its legs) and the tracks are disgustingly small, the print quality is woeful and the plated through holes are hopeless.

While this is all true, I have the equipment to perform these repairs and have a soldering iron with a tip that's about the same size as these tracks.

#36 3 years ago
Quoted from Pin_Guy:

While this is all true, I have the equipment to perform these repairs and have a soldering iron with a tip that's about the same size as these tracks.

We have some of the best equipment available in the factory (as you might expect) and I have a lot of experience repairing these over many decades but I still cringed at having to do it and work with kid gloves - you just don't have to do this on newer PCBs and that is my point:

Newer PCBs are far and away superior in every way to 20~30 year old ones.

With that said, I certainly still advocate repair over replacement where it is practical and where the end result will be reliable. These trough boards are a well known weak point due to the continuous mechanical thumping of the balls and the (IMO) poor original design, putting large, hot resistors on a board in this position was plain silly.

In fact this original design looks like it was done by a high school hobbyist - there is no need for these large, heavy, hot resistors in the design to start with - but that's a different story, there are tens of thousands of them out there working just fine so it's not all bad!

#37 3 years ago

Case is solved.

I have installed the new GLM boards.

Thanks for all the help, guys. You've been awesome.

Now moving on to my next STTNG problem... Watch for new post!

At least I keep you guys entertained.

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#38 3 years ago

NICE! I have to admit I do like all the status LEDs on those boards

#39 3 years ago

+1 for HOMEPIN boards

8 months later
#40 2 years ago

Verry helpfull,
just got my sttng and it sometimes works great but
I have the same 2 ball launching issue,
my opto board is hacked pretty bad
Fingers crossed a new board helps

#41 2 years ago

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#42 2 years ago

Hopefully whoever did that realized that they should never work on circuit boards again.

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