(Topic ID: 279311)

Tech advice for a noob for fixing electrical issues


By blaze1635

3 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 14 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 28 days ago by blaze1635
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 3 months ago

    Hi. First off, sorry if this is a redundant post. And if anyone has any pointers to similar asks in the forum, please let me know.
    I have been collecting pins for a number of years, but finally have enough time to work on them beyond basics. As I am starting my troubleshooting/tech work, I am certain that I am missing tools/techniques commonly used to get things done.

    My current project is fixing some lighting issues in Williams’ Indiana Jones. In the process of installing LEDs, I identified a string of GI lights (upper playfield) that aren’t working. I traced the wiring back to a jumper on the driver board, and where one of the wires goes into the connector, there is some charring, and it seems like the electrical connection is now broken. Also, the fuse for this string of lights seems intact. I am assuming there is a short somewhere in the string, and I don’t want to clean and repunch the wire, because that may blow the fuse or do worse. So a couple thoughts come to mind... If I want to drive the lights with an external voltage source, are there variable power supplies that people use to drive lights (instead of using the machine itself)? Are there “tricks” to use to trace down where the likely short in the string of lights resides? Are there toolkits that come with connectors with breakout leads so I could use alligator clips/etc.?

    Once again, I feel like I am asking questions that have documented answers, or that any pinball tech could answer. Pointers would be greatly appreciated. Also, I live in the Pasadena, CA area, so if someone knows of a good tech around here that might help as well.

    Thanks in advance.
    -Geoff

    #2 3 months ago

    Changing the connector is pretty easy and pinball life sells a kit. Do you have a picture of the connector?

    #3 3 months ago

    Check out the burned connectors section on Pinwiki if you haven't: https://pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Williams_WPC#Lamp_problems
    It's a great reference for other issues you may encounter as well.

    #4 3 months ago

    Thanks so much for your replies. It’s an 11-pin .156 IDC connector. I probably will need a new one, or at least to swap it with another one on the board that doesn’t use the same pin that’s fried.
    But I don’t really want to do that until I am sure I don’t have a short with the light string. Also not sure why the fuse didn’t blow before the connector got singed.
    That pinwiki link looks like a great resource.
    Thanks again.

    #5 3 months ago

    You will need to change the connector on the circuit board, too. Just changing half of the connection is not good enough.

    I doubt you have a short- IJ and others of that era had connectors that were undersized for the lighting load they were asked to carry. You can lighten the load by installing LEDs in place of the incandescent bulbs.

    #6 3 months ago
    Quoted from blaze1635:

    Thanks so much for your replies. It’s an 11-pin .156 IDC connector. I probably will need a new one, or at least to swap it with another one on the board that doesn’t use the same pin that’s fried.
    But I don’t really want to do that until I am sure I don’t have a short with the light string. Also not sure why the fuse didn’t blow before the connector got singed.
    That pinwiki link looks like a great resource.
    Thanks again.

    Burned GI connectors are normal.

    Williams did a crap job on these, way to cheaply made.

    If the pins on the board arent burned thru, buffing them with a dremel wire brush can bring them back to life for a long time. Especially if you now have LEDs installed.

    Always replace the connectors on GI circuits with trifurcons.

    The wires are just too crispy now for a reliable IDC connector replacement.

    #7 3 months ago

    As others have said, a burned connector is common, and should be replaced whenever possible. But a burned connector doesn't directly mean a shorted line. If the connector burned enough, there's simply no more contact or the resistance is way too high for current to flow. Measuring to see if there is a short is super easy. Just locate one of the bulbs that doesn't light and measure continuity between its 2 tabs. All the bulbs are in parallel on the string.

    The fuse didn't blow, because there probably isn't a short, but rather an open circuit because of the charred connector. You should inspect all connectors while you are at it.. The input voltage might be charred as well and might eventually cause resets.

    #8 3 months ago

    Thanks for the additional advice everyone.

    #9 3 months ago

    Friendly Tip: you know for a fact you have one problem. Fix that. Do not automatically assume the worst and look for a different or additional problem. Sometimes it really is the easy stuff. If you have a short in the string the fuse will blow but that probably isn't your issue. Is there a way to feed this string with an alternative power supply? Sure, but there is about 100 different things down there that you could blow/mess up while trying to do so. I don't think this is your stage of troubleshooting now.

    It is always good to be cautious (for example if this would fry your board) but in this case the fuse will save you if need be.

    Fix the connector and then report back. A bunch of awesome people are here and ready to help.

    #10 3 months ago

    Thanks brainmegaphone!

    1 month later
    #11 57 days ago

    Hi. Back with another question on this issue. I had to take a break from this issue for a few weeks, but am now back to addressing it. I bought new headers, connectors, and trifurcons. (Thanks for the advice)
    So now I am busy trying to remove the old GI header from the board. I have a decent soldering iron, and I have been watching videos on YouTube, but I am having a hard time getting the header loosened to the point where it will come out easily. I don’t want to apply a lot of force, and I don’t want to leave the iron on the connections for a long period of time.
    Any advice for the best way to remove old headers? Higher temperature? Other tricks?

    Also, the pins on the two GI headers are connected by the traces. Is there any reason I shouldn’t run all the GI wires to the one connector that still looks good?

    Thanks.

    #12 57 days ago
    Quoted from blaze1635:

    Any advice for the best way to remove old headers?

    One pin at a time. Heat up and gently pull from the board. Cut away the old plastic too.

    That is how I do it.

    LTG : )

    #13 57 days ago

    Read Terry B’s posts on desoldering. If you don’t have a good way to remove the solder, ie, a Pace or Hacko desoldering station, you would likely be better off to send the board out for repair while you repair the connector. There’s several folks out there that do board work- Chris Hibler comes to mind. He’s easy to find around here.

    4 weeks later
    #14 28 days ago

    Hi all. I have an update on the issue, and another question...

    I was able to replace the header, and replace with a trifurcon-based connector. This addressed the GI issue nicely.

    In the process of more work, it appears I have lost an entire column (#3) of the matrix switches. Using the strategy from the MPC wiki I was able to confirm (by trying all the column/row combinations on the headers) that the issue (or at least one of them) seems to be on the MPU board. Visual inspection of the board without removing it does not show any obvious issues issues with the chips, or any sign of battery leakage/corrosion. Also, they were working fine until I was messing around under the playfield.

    I ordered a logic probe and will start trying to trace back the issue for column 3, but any advice would also be welcome.

    Thanks again.
    -Geoff

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