(Topic ID: 346093)

TSPP Resetting

By Paradroid

8 months ago


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  • 31 posts
  • 13 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 59 days ago by slghokie
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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#1 8 months ago

Hi,

I have a Stern Simpsons Pinball Party (2003) that repeatedly resets on booting.

I am possibly at the limit of what I can try with no electronics training, but I’m technically inclined and keen to learn. I’m in Australia, so may not see any replies immediately if it’s overnight here.

I have read a number of threads on pinside and consulted pinwiki including the Sega/Stern Whitestar repair page but have had no luck so far.

General illumination lamps will flash on and off (the GI relay can be heard clicking on/off). The DMD will display the initial boot screen, show the display ROM revision number, go blank, and then repeat this process.

-Board inspection shows no overt signs of damage, including below the battery area of the CPU/sound board. The 3 AA batteries have been remotely connected since I purchased the machine in 2010.
-All voltages on the Display Power Supply Board test OK as per pinwiki. (CN2-7 tests at 0V rather than 12V which I have read can be normal)
-I have unplugged and reseated all terminals on the Power Driver Board. I saw no evidence of damage, in particular J16 looked good.
-All voltages on the Power Driver Board test close to their stated value at J16 (the 5V terminals read 5.12V).
-The CPU/sound board tests at 5.08V
-BRDG20 tests as OK
-All test LEDs light up. L204 blinks with each reset but the remainder stay solidly lit.
-Disconnecting the Power Driver Board from the CPU/sound board at J1 stops the reset cycle, but obviously the game then doesn't work.
-The Dot Matrix display works fine. I am able to enter the service menu and this appears to function normally. While in the service menu, the reset cycle is halted.

Recent service history.
-2 months ago a technician visited to fix a right lower playfield flipper. Both lower playfield flipper assemblies were replaced.
-1 month ago I replaced the RAM with a Ramtron IC - 28 PIN DIP NVRAM FM1608-120
-3 weeks ago I replaced all lamps (except flashers) with an LED kit and installed an OCD board from Comet Pinball. The machine worked well until now.

Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks

IMG_7930 (resized).jpegIMG_7930 (resized).jpegIMG_7933 (resized).jpegIMG_7933 (resized).jpeg

#2 8 months ago
Quoted from Paradroid:

-Disconnecting the Power Driver Board from the CPU/sound board at J1 stops the reset cycle, but obviously the game then doesn't work.

Well you at least now know where to look at. Something on the PDB is making the CPU reset.

#3 8 months ago
Quoted from Shogun00:

Well you at least now know where to look at. Something on the PDB is making the CPU reset.

It is pretty easy to undo the OCD board install. May be worth considering trying that? The ribbon cables between boards can also go bad sometimes…. worth reseating or replacing. Maybe hold the ribbon cable a certain way to see if the resets stop?

#4 8 months ago

I had an issue with my south park (same driver board) resetting recently and solved it by reflowing the j16 header and replacing brdg21. I noticed you mention brdg20 not 21. It may test good but still be defective. I haven't had an issue since so I'd consider making these repairs as my research showed these being the likely culprit for this issue.

#5 8 months ago
Quoted from Shogun00:

Well you at least now know where to look at. Something on the PDB is making the CPU reset.

Thank you. I’m not sure where to go from here though. I should have mentioned earlier, all the fuses on the PDB test ok.

Quoted from brainmegaphone:

It is pretty easy to undo the OCD board install. May be worth considering trying that? The ribbon cables between boards can also go bad sometimes…. worth reseating or replacing. Maybe hold the ribbon cable a certain way to see if the resets stop?

Thanks. I’ll try undoing the OCD install and I’ll have a look at the ribbon cable. I’ve already reseated it without any change.

Quoted from themotherbrain:

I had an issue with my south park (same driver board) resetting recently and solved it by reflowing the j16 header and replacing brdg21. I noticed you mention brdg20 not 21. It may test good but still be defective. I haven't had an issue since so I'd consider making these repairs as my research showed these being the likely culprit for this issue.

Thanks. I’m not sure what reflowing means but I’ll look it up. I’ll test BRDG21 also. If I need to replace a BRDG or do something that requires soldering on a PCB is that something best left to an expert?

I’ve just started my work day. I’ll try all these suggestions when I get home.

Cheers

#6 8 months ago

What I meant by reflowing is refreshing the solder in those joints by heating it up with your solder pen and letting it re-establish proper contact. That header is right above a heat sink which causes the solder to become brittle and joints crack from expansion/contraction over years of use. Use a little flux and add some new solder if needed.

#7 8 months ago

Reseat all the IDC connectors and the ribbon cable that run at the bottom of the MPU board and at the top of the driver board.

#8 8 months ago
Quoted from themotherbrain:

What I meant by reflowing is refreshing the solder in those joints by heating it up with your solder pen and letting it re-establish proper contact. That header is right above a heat sink which causes the solder to become brittle and joints crack from expansion/contraction over years of use. Use a little flux and add some new solder if needed.

Thanks

Quoted from PinballManiac40:

Reseat all the IDC connectors and the ribbon cable that run at the bottom of the MPU board and at the top of the driver board.

I have tried that but unfortunately it didn’t help. Thanks.

#9 8 months ago

Apologies that it has taken me a few days but here is the update. I've tried these with no fix:
-Uninstalled the LED OCD board
-Reseated the ribbon cables and tried shifting them in different directions
-Tested all BRDGs on the PDB (BRDG1, BRDG2, BRDG3, BRDG20, BRDG21)

I have not reflowed the solder on J16. I'm nervous to do any soldering until I am sure of the cause.

Thanks for all your suggestions. I guess I might need to get a technician out.

Cheers

#10 8 months ago

The heat sink under the 5V regulator...tighten the two screws/nuts as tight as you can get them.
--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://www.ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact
https://www.youtube.com/c/ChrisHiblerPinball
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

#11 8 months ago
Quoted from ChrisHibler:

The heat sink under the 5V regulator...tighten the two screws/nuts as tight as you can get them.
--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://www.ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact
https://www.youtube.com/c/ChrisHiblerPinball
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

I was hoping the legendary Chris Hibler might see my post!
I tightened the two screws over the U19 heat sink now the machine just freezes, without going through the reset cycle. The LED L204 is now flashing.
The manual suggests "If the LED is flashing this means that the watchdog is not being feed by the CPU/Sound Board and the I/O is oscillating into and out of reset." Have I got that right?
The only other change I can see is the display now shows a few random dots.

I am not very smart. I wrote the above before I realised I hadn't reconnected J16.
I tightened the two screws over the U19 heat sink but nothing has changed.
Many thanks.
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#12 8 months ago

I am flattered by your kind words. G’day mate.

Let’s try this. Jim Palson discovered this one.

https://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php/Sega/Stern_White_Star_Repair#Game_Resets_with_DMD_Controller_Board_Connected

So you have any other WhiteStar based games?

Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
Http://chrishiblerpinball.com/contact
Thank you for checking out the PinWiki - http://www.PinWiki.com/

#13 8 months ago

^The link in that post is what prompted me to change brdg21. When I installed the new bridge rectifier my resetting problem ceased. It's good info as it worked for me.

#14 8 months ago

I had the same issue on the same game a while back, the game would get to the "boop", then reset, boop again, and so on.

Replacing BR21 fixed it, the bridge tested fine as well, but apparently was failing under load.
It may also be good to check the installation of the watchdog chip while you have the board out. https://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php/Sega/Stern_White_Star_Repair#DS1232_Voltage_Watchdog

#15 8 months ago

Pretty sure the screw connection issue is only when they stack an extra black oxide heat sink on top of that aluminum one.

I didnt read every post but the connector between the power driver board and the MPU is probably burning up. it did in my TSPP that came out of a charles N cheesey powered on all day every day. Measure volts DC using test points on the MPU and compare it to using test points on the driver board. See if there is V- Drop. I think it is the one right above the big heatsink with red and black wires.

#16 8 months ago

I almost completed the Alien invasion and then *bam* reset.. Where should i start the troubleshooting?

#17 8 months ago

A year ago I had a Rollercoaster Tycoon that was driving me crazy with intermittent resets.

I replace pins and plugs with crimp-and-stuff trifurcon on the top connector of the Power Driver board. I also replaced pins and plugs on the CPU board power in, but I suspect it was the power driver board connector that made the difference.

On WPC games, I've been replacing connectors (pins and plugs, trifurcon for the win!) for a while and that seems to be lately what is solving my WPC resets.

There could be a lot of observer bias here. I don't KNOW that replacing the pins and plugs on my Rollercoaster Tycoon was what solved it... it could have been other connectors I disconnected and reconnected. But it was an every week service call for a while, and then after I replaced the power distribution pins and plugs I haven't had service on that machine for over a year.

Your power plug into the CPU is on CN2, and has been replaced. Does that have 'touch the pins on one side' terminals inside the connector or trifurcon 'touch the pin on three sides'? If it's touch on one side, that's what I'd look at immediately, along with replacing the pins.

#18 8 months ago

Oh yes.
I agree with a couple guys above that your primary concern should be the 15-pin header and female housing above the heat sink.

Next is the 6 pin power input header and female housing on the MPU board.

Is there any corrosion just above that 6 pin connector on the MPU board? I have seen a cap in that area leak and cause corrosion.

Replacing the bridge is only after those connectors are addressed.

Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
Http://chrishiblerpinball.com/contact
Thank you for checking out the PinWiki - http://www.PinWiki.com/

#19 8 months ago

Just for giggles, measure for 5VDC at...
...the lower leg of R115, just below the LM338 regulator.
...the 5V test point wire loop on the MPU.
Post each measurement.

Obviously, if significantly different, then connectors are an issue.
--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://www.ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact
https://www.youtube.com/c/ChrisHiblerPinball
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

#20 8 months ago

Sorry for the long delay between posts. It has taken me a couple of days to source everything I needed.

Quoted from ChrisHibler:

Let’s try this. Jim Palson discovered this one.
https://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php/Sega/Stern_White_Star_Repair#Game_Resets_with_DMD_Controller_Board_Connected
So you have any other WhiteStar based games?

Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
Http://chrishiblerpinball.com/contact
Thank you for checking out the PinWiki - http://www.PinWiki.com/

Thank you @ChrisHibler.
I replaced BRDG21 but the problem remains.
I don't have any other WhiteStar based games (or any other games at all).

#21 8 months ago
Quoted from themotherbrain:

^The link in that post is what prompted me to change brdg21. When I installed the new bridge rectifier my resetting problem ceased. It's good info as it worked for me.

Thank you @themotherbrain. Wish it worked for me.

#22 8 months ago
Quoted from Jahkub:

I had the same issue on the same game a while back, the game would get to the "boop", then reset, boop again, and so on.
Replacing BR21 fixed it, the bridge tested fine as well, but apparently was failing under load.
It may also be good to check the installation of the watchdog chip while you have the board out. https://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php/Sega/Stern_White_Star_Repair#DS1232_Voltage_Watchdog

Thank you @Jahkub. The DS1232s at U210 on the PDB and U218 on the MPU have both been clipped at pin 3. I have attached photos. Should I try one of the fixes at pinwiki?

IMG_7957 (resized).jpegIMG_7957 (resized).jpegIMG_7961 (resized).jpegIMG_7961 (resized).jpeg
#23 8 months ago
Quoted from barakandl:

Pretty sure the screw connection issue is only when they stack an extra black oxide heat sink on top of that aluminum one.
I didnt read every post but the connector between the power driver board and the MPU is probably burning up. it did in my TSPP that came out of a charles N cheesey powered on all day every day. Measure volts DC using test points on the MPU and compare it to using test points on the driver board. See if there is V- Drop. I think it is the one right above the big heatsink with red and black wires.

Thank you @barakandl.
On the PDB the voltage at the bottom leg of R114 (and R115) is 5.13V
All voltages at J16 test close to their stated value. The 5V terminals read 5.12V, the -12V read -13.17V and the 12V read 12.79.
The CPU/sound board tests at 5.08V

#24 8 months ago
Quoted from PinRetail:

Your power plug into the CPU is on CN2, and has been replaced. Does that have 'touch the pins on one side' terminals inside the connector or trifurcon 'touch the pin on three sides'? If it's touch on one side, that's what I'd look at immediately, along with replacing the pins.

Thanks @PinRetail. The connector has terminals that touch the pins on 3 sides and doesn't appear corroded, at least to my eyes.

IMG_7962 (resized).jpegIMG_7962 (resized).jpegIMG_7963 (resized).jpegIMG_7963 (resized).jpeg
#25 8 months ago
Quoted from ChrisHibler:

Oh yes.
I agree with a couple guys above that your primary concern should be the 15-pin header and female housing above the heat sink.
Next is the 6 pin power input header and female housing on the MPU board.
Is there any corrosion just above that 6 pin connector on the MPU board? I have seen a cap in that area leak and cause corrosion.
Replacing the bridge is only after those connectors are addressed.

Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
Http://chrishiblerpinball.com/contact
Thank you for checking out the PinWiki - http://www.PinWiki.com/

Thank you again ChrisHibler
I think the 15-pin header (J16) looks OK.
The female housing above the heat sinkable also looks OK to me. It looks a little older and more heat affected than some of the other terminals. I've attached photos.
My post just before this one answers the question regarding the 6 pin power input header and female housing on the MPU board (CN2) - I think they look OK.

Quoted from ChrisHibler:

measure for 5VDC at...
...the lower leg of R115, just below the LM338 regulator.
...the 5V test point wire loop on the MPU.

The voltage at R115 is 5.13V and at the 5V test point wire loop on the MPU it's 5.08V

Many thanks again to everyone for all you time and thoughts.

Cheers

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#26 8 months ago

If you can I would at least resolder the j16 header to rule out a cracked joint

#27 8 months ago

May want to replace those ribbon cables just to rule that out. I had so many issues like this on my TSPP...reconnecting always worked but if its a bad cable that won't work.

1 month later
#28 6 months ago

This problem is now solved.

After hours of research and trying many different fixes I accepted defeat and called a technician. He first confirmed that the all voltages were OK. He then concluded the problem was a corrupted chip on the CPU and did a factory reset to clear the NVRAM.

To my amazement (and embarrassment) it worked. The tech said it was only the second time he'd seen this solution work in 30 years.

Perhaps this is such a basic fix that I should have known to try it myself. In all my reading I never saw it suggested. I sat there with my head in my hands thinking of all the time I'd spent . On the plus side I learnt a lot about how my machine worked and I got to know the pinside community a little.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to this thread.

4 months later
#29 59 days ago

Paradroid how did the tech perform a reset if it was in L204 blinking infinite loop? I have a Dale Jr that is doing L204 blinking and I cannot get it to come out of it.

#30 59 days ago

I was wondering why you had an NVRAM replacement but were still using batteries.

#31 59 days ago

Paradroid or did they replace the corrupt chip then it came out of L204 blinking, then you could get to the service menu? If so, do you recall what chip?

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