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(Topic ID: 266491)

Trouble with Earthshaker


By Jagdad

6 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 50 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 months ago by ChrisHibler
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 6 months ago

New guy on the site with a reasonably good Earthshaker, Williams 11B System in the basement and no experience, at all in Pinball. My game quit about a month ago and I finally decided to take a shot at repair. Found the manual and got up to speed. Found two problems. Lamp coil circuit of the transformer was dead! Easy fix, new trans.
Second problem was the game lost it's programming everytime I turned it off. More research showed the game had batteries that I didn't even realize. Changed the batteries but realized the battery holder was toast. Not too bad, got a battery replacement mod from Todd at TNT Amusements for the coin battery modification board. Pretty simple install, fit like it was supposed to and I reinstalled the board. Powered up the game, changed one item in programming to free play, closed the program and the display went to every segment lit up. Game now locks up with full segment display at the end of programming. Before I changed to the coin battery, I could still play the game. Now it won't play at all.
The display flickers slowly once it displays all segments but never allows play.
Tried everything I could think of all to no avail.
I sure would like to hear if anyone else has run into this problem. I don't know where to go from here
Any help would be greatly appreciated

#2 6 months ago

First is make sure the game is booting. https://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Williams_System_9_-_11#MPU_boot_issues

If it is, I would remove the battery you installed. If that doesn’t work either, try removing the new battery holder you installed.

You can play it without batteries, it just won’t save any settings or high scores.

#3 6 months ago

reversed polarity on the battery perhaps?

#4 6 months ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

First is make sure the game is booting. https://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Williams_System_9_-_11#MPU_boot_issues
If it is, I would remove the battery you installed. If that doesn’t work either, try removing the new battery holder you installed.
You can play it without batteries, it just won’t save any settings or high scores.

Thanks for the suggestions
Game is booting correctly according to the manual.
I had already tried removing the battery but tried again. No luck so I removed the newly installed battery board.
No luck. Still locks with all segments of the message board lit.
Bummer!

#5 6 months ago

Reseat both ends of that display cable, with power off. Also please post a picture the the MPU surrounding the battery holder. i hope there is no battery damage.

#6 6 months ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

Reseat both ends of that display cable, with power off. Also please post a picture the the MPU surrounding the battery holder. i hope there is no battery damage.

Tried the cable with no luck. The display seems to work fine until it locks up at the end of programming. I did think maybe the cable was the issue since it's been on and off so many times. MPU photo along with the display once it locks up
Thanks very much for trying to help

IMG_2237 (resized).jpgIMG_2238 (resized).jpg
#7 6 months ago

Can you flip both ends of the ribbon cable? So pin 1 of the ribbon cable will be at pin 26. This should rule out the cable for sure. Honestly, I would not mind seeing a video of this problem. Pinside only accepts links to videos from elsewhere. I do not know what you mean by "locks up at end of the programming". Do you mean once a game ends? Is the diagnostic LED still blinking when the display locks up?

What game ROM version is in it? It should show when you turn on the game. Can you go through the display test and let it run a couple of cycles?

What other games do you have?

#8 6 months ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

Can you flip both ends of the ribbon cable? So pin 1 of the ribbon cable will be at pin 26. This should rule out the cable for sure. Honestly, I would not mind seeing a video of this problem. Pinside only accepts links to videos from elsewhere. I do not know what you mean by "locks up at end of the programming". Do you mean once a game ends? Is the diagnostic LED still blinking when the display locks up?
What game ROM version is in it? It should show when you turn on the game. Can you go through the display test and let it run a couple of cycles?
What other games do you have?

Flipped the cable, still acts the same. I don't think the display is the problem, runs through the display test fine
Status LEDs don't change and diagnostic is still flashing
ROM version is LA3
No, I don't have any other games.
I have a video of what happens but not sure how to make it available

#9 6 months ago
Quoted from Jagdad:

Flipped the cable, still acts the same. I don't think the display is the problem, runs through the display test fine
Status LEDs don't change and diagnostic is still flashing
ROM version is LA3
No, I don't have any other games.
I have a video of what happens but not sure how to make it available

Wait, you can get into the machine's display test and the display works correctly there? Is that a replacement LED style display? Some of them have a jumper to switch between Data East mode and Williams mode (the signals are inverted)..... although, it wouldn't work correctly in audit mode, either.

Does the machine play "blind"? By until the end of programming, do you mean when you enter in the parameters or just booting up?

#10 6 months ago
Quoted from slochar:

until the end of programming, do you mean when you enter in the parameters or just booting up?

He’s setting it to free play and it’s apparently locking up after exiting the settings menu.

#11 6 months ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

He’s setting it to free play and it’s apparently locking up after exiting the settings menu.

OK, I reread the whole thread.... maybe a power supply issue at this point? The Mpu looks really decent I don't see any damage there, but segments locking on at bootup could happen with low voltage - the game wouldn't come out of reset at that point.

#12 6 months ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

Pinside only accepts links to videos from elsewhere.

#13 6 months ago

If I turn the game on with the coin door open, the display reads 'Factory Reset'. If I turn it on with the coin door closed, the display says 'Adjust Failure" because it has no battery installed. If I install a battery and turn it on with the door open, it stays like the photo above, all digits lit. By pressing the advance button, the display indicates the Earthshaker, ID00, 568 and LA3. Pushing the Auto-Up/Manual-down button to the DOWN position and then pushing the ADVANCE button once, the display reads INSTALL FACTORY AD70 and DONE. When I press advance to finish the settings, it lights all digits on the display like the photo above and locks up. Once that happens, none of the programming buttons do anything. Display also goes into a slow flicker but stays lit.

The game locks after exiting the settings menu and no, the display is original, not an LED replacement
Far as I can tell, all the boards are original

#14 6 months ago
Quoted from slochar:

OK, I reread the whole thread.... maybe a power supply issue at this point? The Mpu looks really decent I don't see any damage there, but segments locking on at bootup could happen with low voltage - the game wouldn't come out of reset at that point.

The segments don't lock on bootup, only when I exit the settings menu

#15 6 months ago

I’m wondering if you have a bad memory chip because it seems ok until it tries to write your changes to memory.

Did the battery replacement you installed include NVRAM? I think the system 11 games have tiny traces that are easily damaged in that area.

Does it lock up if you don’t change anything, just exit from the “adjust failure”?

#16 6 months ago

Here's a link to the video. I turn on the power with the door open.
Jit the advance button to the Earthshaker display
Push the red button down and hit advance to 'back into' AD 70
Push the red button to raise it up and push Advance
Lock up!

#17 6 months ago

So I guess by the crickets I hear, no one has a clue what’s wrong
Can anyone tell me where to go from here?
Do I send the MPU out for repair?
Worst part of this is the game worked before I started “repairs”!
It just wouldn’t retain programming
Suggestions please!

#18 6 months ago

Did you verify the power to the board is good? I would start with the power to rule that out first.

#19 6 months ago

It definitely is not a commonly seen issue. Seems like it has a problem resetting after exiting the adjustment menu. After turning on the game, can you add credits, start a game and play through a full game and it ends a game properly?

#20 6 months ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

It definitely is not a commonly seen issue. Seems like it has a problem resetting after exiting the adjustment menu. After turning on the game, can you add credits, start a game and play through a full game and it ends a game properly?

Can't do anything. When I turn it on with the door open, I get what the video shows. Factory Settings, Earthshaker screen etc.

#21 6 months ago

Try turning on the power with the door closed. You will probably get an "adjust failure" message. Quickly turn the game off and back on. Sometimes that will trick the game into thinking there is no adjust failure.
Odds are it will lock up at that point but it's free to try.

Let's go over the sequence of events from the beginning.
Your game was working a little over a month ago but not saving your settings
You replaced the transformer (to fix a lamp coil circuit issue)
Did you test the game at this point? Or did you remove the battery holder and install "Frank's lithium battery board... Williams System 7 to System 11a-b-c-1982-1990" https://www.tntamusementsstore.com/wptnt/product/franks-famous-battery-board/
Wondering if we can rule out the new transformer. We can if the game was tested prior to installing the new battery board.
Game started locking up after the battery board was installed.
Battery board removed, game still locks up.
Photo of any soldering work done while installing or removing the battery board might be helpful.

Is there a factory reset in the settings menu? Might be worth trying that in case your memory got some bad data in there that's causing the issue.

#22 6 months ago

The problem started with the TNT battery mod. Remove it and temporarily hook up a battery pack and test the game again. It's not clear what you've done to the game so we can go backwards and see what modification may have caused it.

#23 6 months ago

Thanks again for your help Guys. I'll try to answer questions in sequence
1. Tried the door closed startup and on/off with no help
2. Sequence of changes:
When I turned game ON, I would get Factory Reset or Adjustment Failure depending on whether the door was open or closed
Cycled the adjustment items to AD70, left item in Factory Reset and hit advance to close Settings.
Game played normal til I turned it off, then needed to set Factory Reset to play again on startup. Battery holder was corroded so I removed and installed Lithium Battery Board.
Game NEVER worked again
Then, testing indicated the 5.6 volt transformer winding was open and no general illumination worked at all.
Purchased an old used transf. from TNT and installed in place of my original transf. Lights now work but nothing else changed.
Removed new transf. and re-installed original transf. Nothing changed
Removed MPU and removed Lithium Battery Board. Nothing changed
You mention a Factory Reset but I believe that is what I'm doing at AD70 by clicking Done

New development. I removed the MPU yet again to more closely inspect the board and found some repairs previously unnoticed.
These are obviously old repairs but I have included photos.
The repairs appear to have replaced Q33 and Q29 transistors. Traces for both components lead to J11 connector pins on the board. This connector is located on the MPU in the lower left corner when the MPU is mounted in the game
Both appear to be in a single solenoid circuit.
Don't know if this could possibly cause my problem but I'm grasping at straws
Photos attached address a question or two and also show the repaired section

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#24 6 months ago
Quoted from Jagdad:

You mention a Factory Reset but I believe that is what I'm doing at AD70 by clicking Done

I think so too. It's suspicious that this started after the new battery board was installed. Some high resolution, well-lit, well focused images of that work might be helpful. There is a drop-down menu in the "Attach images(s)..." section of every new post. Change that to Original Size and then we can zoom in and still make out details. Also make sure the camera you're using is taking high resolution photos. If it's taking a 640x480 image you're not going to get much detail no matter what you do.

Does the game act up at all while in the settings? Will it run all the tests (sound, music, solenoid, etc.) including the auto burn in mode at AD 67?

There is a slam tilt switch on the coin door (and probably other places). It's number 7 in the switch test. Are any of the switches acting up in the test?

#25 6 months ago
Quoted from Jagdad:

The repairs appear to have replaced Q33 and Q29 transistors. Traces for both components lead to J11 connector pins on the board. This connector is located on the MPU in the lower left corner when the MPU is mounted in the game
Both appear to be in a single solenoid circuit.

Not related to the adjustment menu or adjustment failure.

It is between the battery, RAM and some supporting logic.

#26 6 months ago

It's most likely not related to this particular issue, but the third picture you posted of the transistor repair.
The middle set of three, below the soldered trace repair, the lower and middle pins have poor/cold solder joints.
The lower set. The left most pin seems to be possibly missing a pad along with a really poor solder job, the middle pin looks like a cold solder joint, and there might be a solder bridge between the middle and right pins.

I'm curious to know have you tested voltages on the power supply board? You said you replaced the transformer are you getting the proper A/C voltages to it? You should be getting 85-95 volts A/C at J3-8-9 (this is the voltage that runs your display high voltage)
and 9.3-9.7 volts A/C at J3-2,4,and 6 (This is the voltage that creates your 5vDC logic voltage.
Let us know what voltages you are getting on your PS Board from the "new" transformer, and we can walk forward from there.
I may not be an EE, but this issue is quietly screaming electrical issue to me.

#27 6 months ago

Good idea, the new transformer maybe the issue. By the way, I wouldn’t worry about Q29 and Q33, they’re for coils. Also what ever is causing this is most likely from the things you changed or repaired, so concentrate on those areas. I would check the manual to make sure you’ve plugged in all the connectors correctly, it’s easy to miss a pin on a connector or plug in the ribbon cable backwards etc. Occam’s razor, start with the simple things/ things you touched first.

#28 6 months ago

I suggest having 6116 NVRAM installed if you are not able to solder. Removing batteries from this nice original board seems like a no brainer to me. chrishibler can install one for you.

I also suggest having the electrolytic capacitors replaced on the original power supply as their life has expired.

#29 6 months ago

kvan99 Yeah, but since he has the board out it should be addressed so it won't be an issue once we figure out the bigger problem.
pinballmaniac40 NVRAM isn't a bad idea, but a remote battery holder is much cheaper and does not require shipping it off, that being said both of those guys could also trouble shoot the board while they had it and repair it too.

#30 6 months ago

Thanks again for ALL your help
Today's update as follows:
1.Re-installed the replacement transformer. (I had removed it to test the original transformer) Neither transformer changes the display problem
2. I re-installed the TNT Lithium Battery Board ( I DID NOT install a battery) When I had a battery in previously, I had to remove it to unlock the display once it locked.
3. I re-installed the MPU and carefully checked all connectors when plugging in
4. Checked the power as directed on the power supply board. J3 Pts. 8 & 9 reads 92.4 VAC J3 Pts 2 & 4 reads 10.32VAC Pts. 4 & 6 also 10.32VAC
5. To answer a previous question, I can do anything in the adjustments section including Auto Burn IN at AD67 . Everything works fine, Music Test runs, Lamp Test, Solenoids, etc.
One last item. I have noticed while in the adjustment section, the flippers work normally. Once the screen goes to all digit display and the game locks, flippers won't work.
Last comment. I would do NVRAM if I thought it would help in any way. As I mentioned, when I install a lithium battery and the game locks up, I have to remove the battery to get into the settings menu again. Seems to me that indicates the battery and installation are okay.
Also included the solder side photo of the re-installed Battery board

IMG_2258.jpg
#31 6 months ago
Quoted from Jagdad:

I would do NVRAM if I thought it would help in any way.

It will help...new NVRAM now has 123 year retention rate. Board will be totally protected. No more batteries to throw away. Those coin cells are made in China and usually only last 2-3 years. They do leak at some point once they begin to fail. I can't see why anyone wants to ever risk batteries of any type anymore these days. This also will benefit anyone else having the game after you.

Good thing about sending it off for repair to install the NVRAM is that if it does not solve the problem, it will get looked at.

#32 6 months ago

Try this...Turn on the game with the door closed. Press this CPU reset switch in momentarily. Give it a few seconds for it reset. Now does it go into attract mode? Display went back to normal?
20200423_141531 (resized).jpg

#33 6 months ago

Also, what is the diagnostic LED doing while the game is locked up? This issue could possibly be a faulty memory protect switch, or a faulty IC chip.
If the game thinks the switch is closed when it should be open the memory will be protected from being over written and/or corrupted.
Does the game lock up if you blow all the way through all the audits and adjustments without making any changes? If you scroll to AD70 and advance past does the game go into attract?
I attached the Diagnostic and memory protect page from the manual in case you don't have the manual hard copy.

Williams_1989_Earthshaker_Manual(1)_Page_038 (resized).jpg
#34 6 months ago
Quoted from Jagdad:

1.Re-installed the replacement transformer. (I had removed it to test the original transformer) Neither transformer changes the display problem

It didn't change because the issue is not with the voltage to the display from the transformer. You should have measured the -100v and -98v at the power supply that ends up going to the display.

This is definitely an issue with the CPU board. It is quite possible the problem is with the original U25 RAM. Out of all the repairs I have done on System 11 games and issues reported with Adjustment failure, I never seen one act like yours. Step 1 would be to replace the U25 and then see what the result is.

1 week later
#35 5 months ago

Just a final heads up
Took your advice and shipped the CPU off to Chris Hibler for NAVRAM and analysis
Thanks for your tip and all your help

#36 5 months ago

That is great. Did you send the power supply with it to have the capacitors replaced, or you believe you can handle it? The electrolytic capacitors have only a certain lifespan.

Between that and NVRAM, your board set will be the most reliable it can be. Many less worries.

#37 5 months ago

Update us once you get the board back from Chris, I'm curious to see what failed, and if we were on the right track.

2 weeks later
#38 5 months ago

WELL... I'm back!
As discussed, I sent the MPU to Chris Hibler. Re-installed it this morning
Review is at


Video shows the board modified, tested and working fine
Here's what my game looks like after re-installation
Disappointing to say the least
Back to square one. Obviously not the MPU
I did try flipping the ribbon cable to the display on the MPU side as we talked about that cable at one point
Strangely, display stays locked and nothing changes

IMG_2237 (resized).jpg
#39 5 months ago

One last item for analysis
I did not send the power supply with the MPU
Should this be my next step or is there something I can test first?

#40 5 months ago

Is that an OEM plasma display or is it an aftermarket LED? If LED, which manufacturer?

Never mind. I read back and see that it is an OEM plasma display. Good suggestion from someone above to check for DE/WMS Jumper on display panel. My XPin panel is like that.

Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
Http://chrishiblerpinball.com/contact
http://www.PinWiki.com/ - The new place for pinball repair info

#41 5 months ago

Chris, I don't know where the DE/WMS jumper is so can't check that. I did reread the whole thread and PBM40 suggested I press the CPU Reset Button
Grasping at straws as I am, I pressed the reset and Display 1 reads MEM.PROT.FAILURE
Any hints?

#42 5 months ago

Can you use the buttons inside the coin door now? Should be able to back out of the menu and add some credits.

#43 5 months ago

Soon as i release the CPU reset, display goes back to all segments lit and locked up. None of the buttons do anything

#44 5 months ago

Disconnect the connector that goes to the coin door area (1J14 I think). It sounds like there's an issue possibly with the physical switches there, because memory protect being bad on the cpu board would have showed up at Chris's. You can't do anything with the memory if that signal isn't correct, and those plunger switches on the door area do go bad.

#45 5 months ago

Have you put batteries in it? Mine did not seem to do much with out batteries just thrower those mem errors

#46 5 months ago

Slochar!!!!!
You are The Man!!!
Disconnected the door and game went to Attract.
I'll trace and read the harness and replace all three switches
THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH

#47 5 months ago

I don’t think the 3 switches on the door are the issue. It’s the memory protect switch which should be on the left side of the door near the top and stays stationary when you open the door. It is probably registering stuck closed.
It looks like this

4C71B583-3434-46E0-979A-0465F16B0754 (resized).jpeg
#48 5 months ago
Quoted from slochar:

Disconnect the connector that goes to the coin door area (1J14 I think). It sounds like there's an issue possibly with the physical switches there, because memory protect being bad on the cpu board would have showed up at Chris's. You can't do anything with the memory if that signal isn't correct, and those plunger switches on the door area do go bad.

Good call slochar. That was going to be my next suggestion since everything else was pretty unlikely.

Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
Http://chrishiblerpinball.com/contact
http://www.PinWiki.com/ - The new place for pinball repair info

#49 5 months ago

Thanks for the input Jmckune.
i unplugged the connector to the door and the game works
The memory select switch you reference is on it's own circuit and not on the connector
Thanks again guys
You are the best!!

#50 5 months ago

I wonder how that switch mechanism is honked up to cause this failure.

Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
Http://chrishiblerpinball.com/contact
http://www.PinWiki.com/ - The new place for pinball repair info

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