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(Topic ID: 238950)

[System 9] Space Shuttle - Bad Mylar - Work in Progress

By nestreble

1 year ago

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  • 9 posts
  • 5 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 days ago by nestreble
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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20190317_093032 (resized).jpg

#1 1 year ago

Disclaimer: I'm still a bit of a pinball newbie but I know my way around electronics. I specialize in arcade/CRT repair and have done the odd pinball repair.

A friend of mine picked up a non working Space Shuttle for a decent price. The previous owner bought it from a vendor "when the game was 8 years old" but apparently has been sitting in their basement not working "for at least 20 years". The aftermarket mylar is in horrible condition but the cabinet, backbox, playfield (besides mylar), and electronics are in good physical condition. No oxidation around transformers, no battery rot, no sketchy/hacked/disconnected wiring. The few repair jobs to the MPU appear to be done well (RAM replaced, small transistor, all pins reflowed).

First try we get playfield GI and backbox lights but nothing else (no playfield/gameplay lights, no attract, nothing on all displays, no coinup). The MPU was reporting Error code 7. After checking all fuses (nothing blown), removing/inspecting MPU, reseating all connectors and chips in sockets, the MPU boots (code 0). The game passes the Sound/Voice test with SW2 on the MPU. However, upon reboot the game still appears in it's frozen state (only GI and backbox lights) and won't coinup until SW1 is pressed on the MPU. After SW1 is pressed the game does a quick audible blip/chirp and then the playfield lights comes alive with coinup, gameplay & sound working (couple faulty switches, nothing major) but without displays. The displays never show anything at any time.

Checking schematics and testing displayboard power input while disconnected I get -93v (both lines) and +5v, but the positive HV line is only at +55v. I was running low on time so took the main Power board home for further inspection (didn't have proper tools with me) and will look at it tomorrow. Everything after F1 on the Power board appears display related so I'm hoping to find a problem there.

My main concerns are; why does SW1 need to be pressed for the game to work, is there a known issue regarding the displays not working, and what is the best way to go about removing a mylar overlay? The mylar is cracked, bubbling, peeling/flaking, but luckily doesn't appear to have damaged the playfield artwork. I can see the faint outline where the factory mylar once was and the replacement is smaller/shorter at most edges. Once removed, what is the best approach to protecting the old playfield?


#2 1 year ago

Your displays won't work on 55v. I bet you it would boot if with the coin door open you turn it off and back on again in quick succession.

#3 1 year ago

If your friend got this at a "decent price" and doesn't mind putting a bit of money into it, go with a Hardtop for the playfield. Its basically a plastic overlay with new art that covers the old playfield. You would need to remove all the topside pieces (not as hard as you think) and sand the inserts. Looks AMAZING when finished!!
Just search Outside Edge Hardtop
20190317_093032 (resized).jpg

Plus it gives you a chance to thoroughly clean everything.

#5 1 year ago
Quoted from the96stang:

Your displays won't work on 55v. I bet you it would boot if with the coin door open you turn it off and back on again in quick succession.

Just as mentioned above is a good start. Since you do not have the proper voltage to the displays, you would not see it booting up in audit mode. Which either the MPU batteries are missing, failed, or the batteries were replaced with the power off. Even a damaged battery holder may be a problem.

Post a picture of the MPU board so we can look for any battery alkaline damage.

The best alternative for batteries is to install NVRAM and cut off that battery holder so no batteries ever get back into the game. U18 would require desoldering to remove the old RAM so an IC socket can be installed and the NVRAM installed for easy replacement, if you can outlive the 100+ year retention of this part.

I also suggest replacing all the electrolytic capacitors on the power supply for reliability. Here is a list of them.

2 weeks later
#6 1 year ago

This repair got pushed to the 'back-burner' for a little bit. Thanks all for the replies.

Upon inspecting the Power Supply Board, I found R4 to be blown open and suspect Q3 to be bad (not shorted or open, but voltage-drop readings seam very low). Replaced R4 and the electrolytics I had on hand (all but C1, C4, C10) and fired it up. Most displays work but strobe on & off. Player4 display comes on for a split second at power-up but immediately goes dark and never shows life again until next power cycle. All other player displays and ball/credit display show correct numerals (while strobing, and you can see a single zero for a few milliseconds before it displays the correct numerals, then goes dark and repeats the cycle). Getting -99v, +5v, +56v at the connector - basically the same as before but the negative voltage is dead stable now (it fluctuated around -93v before). Good news is there's correct communication between MPU and display driver board, poor board is just starving for power.

I have a Mouser order coming up, so will replace remaining electrolytics and order replacements for Q1 through Q4 just to be safe. Looks like some of the original parts are EOL but I found compatible replacements.

We figured out the issue with the game not starting until MPU SW1 is pressed, no batteries. A very poor oversight on my part. There is no corrosion whatsoever on the MPU. Minor oxidation on the battery holder contacts (simply from age) but that was it. The batteries we pulled from the unit, although old & dead, looked brand new. We got lucky! Will replace with a remote battery holder or memory capacitor.

I have looked into the Outside Edge Hardtop and really like the idea. It would definitely save all the tedious work removing the old mylar as the playfield needs to be sanded for the hardtop anyway. The machine was only $500 CAD (~$375 USD) so this looks like a good option.

Will report back.

1 year later
#7 7 days ago

20 month bump... So the machine ended up sitting in my buddy's basement for well over a year, but it's mine now!

On the Power board I replaced Q1 with MJE340 and Q3 with MJE350 (just swapped Collector & Base lead positions). Also replaced R1, R4, Q2, Q4, and all electrolytics. Cleaned up some traces and reflowed all connectors. On the MPU board I removed the battery holder and installed wire leads for a remote holder, replaced all electrolytics, reflowed a bunch of high-heat areas, reflowed all connectors. Tons of switches needed cleaning/adjusting, half the machine is incandescent and the other half LED, but everything (electronically) functions now.

The machine still needs lots of physical work, but it's technically playable (although I wouldn't lump it into that category, the playfield is horrid). The playfield wood isn't very worn but there's paint damage surrounding some inserts, and lot's more paint will come off as I pull the mylar. This is the playfield's second mylar and there's lots of old residue remaining from the first application. The amount of time it would take to carefully remove the mylar, then touch-up the artwork - I think it would be easier for me to just sand it down to a whitewood and buy a hardtop.

Besides the playfield/hardtop issue, I will also need new; plastics (slingshot plastics are the only decent ones), shuttle toy & decals, lane changers (blue), target stickers, and the usual (LEDs, coil sleeves, flipper rebuilt kit, ect). The only thing I can't seam to find is a set of the dark blue plastics. Everyone that carries the reproduction is the light blue version, which I personally don't like.

More progress to come. Hopefully not another 20-month period before the next update.

#8 7 days ago

Play it, over and over again. Forget about all that detailing work, just enjoy it!

#9 4 days ago

I figured I would try the Freeze method with a can of dust off to remove the mylar. It definitely helps it release but because this aftermarket mylar is in such terrible shape it's impossible to peel pieces larger than 2cm squared. Between the cracks and the freezing making the mylar brittle, small pieces just break/flake off as you're trying to peel it. It's a very time consuming and tedious task.

I also gave the Goo Gone method a shot. I dumped a generous amount on the playfield, spread it around by hand and then left it for about an hour. It released a little bit of mylar, but as expected (due to it's lack of penetrating power) it only really worked at the edges. The only positive here is the mylar has hundreds of "edges" from all the cracks in it. Scrubbing the mylar with a paper towel ball got lots of little pieces to flake off from in/around the cracked areas. The pieces braking off aren't nearly the size as the ones removed using the Freeze method, but you get tons more at one time. The mess the paper towels & Goo Gone leave behind (glue residue and paper bits) come up fairly easily with rubbing alcohol and a little elbow grease. I didn't have any naphtha kicking around.

Surprisingly, the playfield paint is holding up relatively well. The only paint loss I've gotten is around some of the inserts and most of these areas were already visibly damaged.

the Pinball Adventureā„¢ continues...

Quoted from phil-lee:

Forget about all that detailing work, just enjoy it!

Unfortunately that's not really possible with the machine in this state. The ball gets deflected all over and sometimes gets stuck on the mylar's high spots. There are bubbles, waves, and ripples in the mylar - all in various states of cracking (see playfield shot of my previous post). The game may be "playable", but it is not enjoyable. It's hard to just leave it be when it's sitting besides other machines that play perfectly.

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