So I just resurrected a Firepower by rebuilding almost every aspect including all the boards, but its original Williams Sys6a MPU / Driver have been troublesome. So I bought a Rottendog 327-1 combo. On April 23 I finally installed the Rdog in my newly completed game and everything worked fine, save the typical dial-in tweaks and quirks. Family, Friends, and Guests alike played probably over 100 games practically trouble-free in its first week. Awesome!
Suddenly this past Saturday April 30 in the midst of a game, a ton of switches registered at once, including tilts which of course crashed the game. Troubleshooting revealed switches in column 4 were shorting to Column 1 primarily, as well as a few others. Further troubleshooting revealed this was not a two-way relationship. More troubleshooting revealed the problem did not appear to be in the playfield visually (no stuck / shorted switches, etc). All diodes seemed to test OK. Testing the switch and column wiring by metering each harness pin on 2J2 and 2J3 to ground, as well as to each other, revealed no continuity - so that should safely prove there are no hard shorts or wiring faults, etc.
Indeed, when running the switch diagnostic and jumpering the connector pins on the board, the problem appears: Column 4 registers all switches in any row. Apparently this problem is somewhat common as the buffer-driver chip that handles this is socketed.
I'm still waiting for Rottendog and/or Big Daddy to reply to my emails, I'm hoping they could send a couple replacement chips so I can get up and running.
But why the sudden death? I removed the board and bracket to check it and look what I found:
So it would seem that using the original Williams board mounting brackets, can short pin 1 of the row connector to ground!
Nowehere is this mentioned in documentation or mounting instructions. This seems like a major design flaw in the Rottendog board. It shouldn't be too difficult to move the connector over. Maybe the mounting brackets in my game were an odd revision. But this obviously could cause a major issue even if not the exact problem I had.
For my problem I should mention that I hadn't yet installed all the mounting screws when I put the 327 board in the game - I used the top ones just to see if things would work before fully buttoning things up... when the game came to life, we all got carried away with play over the next week. It seems very plausible that the board either might have settled and/or jostled with nudging over time or incidentally, enough to finally short that pin to ground. It clearly would not have taken much, and I should probably be amazed it ever worked at all?!
The good news is the fix is fairly simple: take a file, or a Dremel with a grinding stone, and remove some material from that center bracket mount:
DO THIS NOW - BEFORE YOU BLOW UP YOUR EXPENSIVE NEW BOARD OR GAME!
Hopefully Rottendog can comment on and/or fix this for future runs.