(Topic ID: 95576)

True beginner needs help

By PinPrincess

4 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 24 posts
  • 19 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by zippydapinhead
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders


Linked Games

Topic Gallery

There have been 8 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).


#1 4 years ago

My Fish Tales game had a few lights out, so I replaced them. When I turned the game back on, about 5 of the lights I replaced were still out. I figured the problem is more complicated than just changing out the lights I want to try to fix this on my own, but I do have a pinball mechanic I can call if I have to.

I went through all of the tests. I also went through every page of the operations manual. Most of it was like reading a foreign language. Luckily I am pretty math-minded, so I think I was able to identify where the problem lies. However, fixing the problem is something I have no idea how to do.

Below are pictures I took of the problems I documented while going through the tests/manual. If someone can help me make sense of this situation I would really appreciate it! Thanks!!!

Pic 1: photo_3-1.JPG
Locations not lit - 11, 21, 31, 41, 51, 58(not sure), 61, 71, 81, 88

Pic 2: photo_2-2.JPG
Seems like the problem is isolated to 1 or 2 rows.

Pic 3: photo_1-1.JPG
This is the board that matches the matrix I think Why are there no wires connected to J137 and J133? Should there be? Would that fix my problem?

Now here is what I documented during the switch test. I don't know which switches should be open or closed. The switches that are closed are: 16, 17, 18, 24 (always closed?), 38, and 48.

Switch Matrix: The problem looks like it is isolated to 1 column and 1 row.

CPU board J206 and J209: I'm thinking that I may be missing a piece that should be connected to J206?

Solenoid/Flasher Test: #13 not working, #19 and #23 not lit.


#2 4 years ago

I can't help you but wow this is how you ask a question!

#3 4 years ago

Judging from the screen name this is a woman. Women actually research and study things before they ask questions. Men typically are lazy and just ask away without a thought at all. Impressive.

#4 4 years ago
Quoted from PinPrincess:

The switches that are closed are: 16, 17, 18,

Did you take the balls out of the machine during switch test? If the balls are in the trough, these switches should show as closed.

#5 4 years ago

I dont have experience with fish tales... But i do appreciate your prep work.

#6 4 years ago

Make sure the power is off and look under the playfield and check to see if those light socket wires are all connected. Check the ground wires as well they are daisy chained together. If you have a multimeter put it on continuity test and check the wires below the playfield connecting those light sockets. make sure they are all connected with no broken wires. If a socket is corroded and the power is not getting through it the lights down the line will not work.

#7 4 years ago

I can tell you with the lighting that you should reseat the connectors at the boards a few times and make sure there is good connection on the ones that go to the lighting that is out. Sometimes with my game on I will wiggle a wire to the bad light just to see if it might be a bad connection somewhere. To start at least...

#8 4 years ago

Also, on a WMS game with optos, an untriggered opto also reads as "closed" ... e.g,. that's its normal state.

16/17/18 all reading closed, I betcha that's balls in the ball trough, as noted by RCA1.

3 switches, all next to another like that ... about the only other game mechanism that will do that is a 3-bank drop target, when all targets are down.

Now, the lamps ... any time there's an entire row or column that's out line that, you need to determine if it's the board, or the playfield.

Easiest way is to build yourself a little tester with a light bulb and two wires.

Unplug all the connectors from the lamp matrix plugs, and using your tester, connect column 1 to rows 1 through 8.
then column 2 to rows 1 through 8, etc, until you have covered all 8 rows.

In doing this you'll verify operation of all 8 column drivers, and all 8 row drivers.

I suspect you will find it's perfectly fine.

I also suspect what you'll find is a broken wire under the back part of the playfield.

Lastly, those unused pin headers are simply duplicates ... they allow multiples harnesses to plug in and access either the switch or lamp matrix.

#9 4 years ago

First what type of lights are they, general illumination or insert ?
Start there. LUK

#10 4 years ago

A lot of the boards/components were reused between different models, so not all connectors need to be hooked up. having said that, you are indeed looking at the power driver board (the transistors are a dead giveaway).

Those 'heat shrink' tubes around the wires in the second board photo kind of worry me. Its possible those are splices/repairs that haven't held up. I would get a multimeter and check continuity (good youtube sources on how to do that are easy to find) between the connector and the lamp socket itself. If no continuity, the hack is bad and should be repaired.

#11 4 years ago

Sorry looks like red brown row one. Take your meter and and put one end on red brown at the plug on the board and make sure you have continuity at each bulb socket on the red brown side. If theres a break its most likely going to be near the back of the game because it took the whole string out

#12 4 years ago

Sorry I though you were talking about the Gi lights not the controlled lamps.

#13 4 years ago
Quoted from hoby1:

First what type of likes are they, general illumination or insert ?
Start there. LUK

It is mentioned which numbers are out, it are inserts

Impressive fault description. Wish I had a fish tales to compare to be able to help

#14 4 years ago

It looks like you have a couple of issues going on based on the locations of lights that are out. That sound to me more likely an issue with the light sockets themselves than the boards (though it is possible).

I first start by unscrewing the insert light sockets (black) and re-tightening them/testing with known working light sockets to confirm whether the issue is the socket itself, or that light location.

If you switch sockets with a working one and it doesn't solve the issue, try reseating the connectors on both the boards in the backbox, and on the printed circuit boards for the lights.

If neither of the above work, you'd probably look at calling your repair guy - as your onto examining the molex connectors to see if they are fried and would need to change them out, or you'd be looking at working on the wiring harness or light boards.

#15 4 years ago


this tool would help you determine if you have a board problem or a wiring problem. Absolutely worth the price of admission. FYI.

Excellent way to research yourself and ask for help. You will have guys falling over themselves to help you out.

My .02? I would bet you have a wire off [where 2 are soldered on one lamp that daisy chains and goes to the next one]. Find the one that is working and track the wire to the next location on your matrix. You are all over the problem.

#16 4 years ago

You are missing a connector on 137 for sure. I can't see 133 in your pic but according to the manual page in your pic you should have a connector there, as well. Look for these IDC connectors in the backbox or even in the cabinet. If you can't find them in either location then you may have to trace the wires from under the playfield inserts and see where that leads you. J137 should be coming from the transformer and providing the power for these inserts. J133 will be connected to the playfield's wiring harness.

#17 4 years ago

Did you put LEDs back in or regular bulbs?

#18 4 years ago

If you know how to test transistors check Q98 for the 1st column and Q90 for the first row on the driver board. They may be bad. You can compare them to other tip 102 transistors on the same driver board.

#19 4 years ago

J137 and J138 are the same, as you can see by looking at the traces on the board.
Same with133-134, and also the two connectors on the CPU board.
I usually put those connectors on the innermost spots on the board, so it doesn't have to pass the other header pins.
The wires often come partly out of the Insulation Dis[placement Connectors (IDC) causing stuff to fail, That looks probable on your switch connector (j208).
Nice pics for requesting help, I bet you get it sorted out.

#20 4 years ago

Oh my gosh! I am overwhelmed by all of your helpful information! Squeakman, you're right lol. I am a woman and a school teacher too I am crazy organized normally, but even more so with this stuff since it is so new to me. It may take me a few days, but I am going to go through all of your feedback with a fine tooth comb. I really appreciate everyone taking their time to read through all of this mess to help me out. What a great forum! Thanks again!

#21 4 years ago

Welcome to pin ownership / repair. Can't have one without the other. You'll be a pro in no time. We're here to help.

#22 4 years ago
Quoted from zippydapinhead:

You'll be a pro in no time.

Have you seen what they did to their FT cabinet? They're already ahead of many of us!

Check out her gameroom pics in her profile. Impressive!

#23 4 years ago

PinPrincess - Pinwiki is a good place to go for pinball repair info .

#24 4 years ago
Quoted from Miguel351:

Have you seen what they did to their FT cabinet?


Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
€ 4.99
Flipper Parts
$ 49.99
Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
Lighted Pinball Mods
$ 49.99
Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
Lighted Pinball Mods
$ 9.99
Matt's Basement Arcade
From: $ 40.00
Cabinet - Other
Rock Custom Pinball
From: $ 369.95
From: $ 29.00
KAHR.US Circuits
$ 16.00
From: $ 209.99
Lighting - Led
Comet Pinball
$ 29.99
Cabinet - Sound/Speakers
Lighted Pinball Mods
$ 40.00
Lighting - Other
Rock Custom Pinball
$ 10.00
Cabinet - Sound/Speakers
Gweem's Mods
Machine - Wanted
Goffstown, NH
$ 159.99
Lighting - Other
Lighted Pinball Mods
$ 21.00
$ 9.99
Matt's Basement Arcade
$ 16.50
Lighting - Led
Machine - Wanted
Hackettstown, NJ
From: $ 16.95
$ 90.00
Lighting - Under Cabinet
Rock Custom Pinball
From: $ 5.00
Cabinet - Other
Rock Custom Pinball
$ 109.99
Machine - Wanted
Celina, TX

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside