(Topic ID: 216450)

Weyland Yutani - Dedicated to Keeping 3 Alien Specimens Alive


By knockerlover

1 year ago



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  • Alien Heighway Pinball, 2017

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Post #3 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by knockerlover (1 year ago)

Post #186 Links to 1.2 software release Posted by Ferret (1 year ago)


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44
#1 1 year ago

Weyland Yutani - In the Alien Universe, the mission of "The Company" is to obtain a living sample of the species they designate Xenomorph XX121. This is the story of three pinsiders obtaining four living specimens with the mission of keeping them at least alive, and hopefully transform as many as possible into "weapons-grade" (fully feature working, xenomorph heads, etc.)

This thread is first and foremost, a running documentation of all of the technical challenges, discussion, ideas, fixes, part sources, and anything that may help to keep this game going for all to enjoy for as long as possible, as discovered through our process of fixing these games in our posession. I humbly ask you to keep the other negative commentary about the drama surrounding this game, in "containment" and keep the acid burn leaking out of those facilities (other threads) to a minimum.

I'll provide a little background on the adventure in how the games came to be, to set the stage a bit, but recognize.. this thread isn't about the find, it's about the revival and sustainment of these creatures, and likely I'm not going to answer detailed questions about the find as it's really not all that interesting. But also recognize that in order to avoid PM's about "where did these come from?" some level of addressing it has to occur.

Before the full announcement came out about the bankruptcy of Heighway pinball, etc. I had began trying to source leads on at least one alien. The odd part about this is, it took a really long time to find someone who was willing to part with one at a price I was comfortable with and it seemed that the only people willing to part with their games at a reasonable price were for games that were less than stellar (non-working, damaged, etc.), but given that the alien community and the pinball community is so tight-knit one lead turned into two, and two turned into four. Given that we were basically buying non-working or damaged games, we figured that buying a few of them would be the best bet with the hopes of ending up with at least a majority of working games, and maybe 1, hopefully not 2 donor games.

The weeks leading up to the Allentown show I was putting the wheels in motion to have games in a place that was relatively convenient to us, renting a u-haul trailer from Manassas, VA and after approximately 12 hours of pure driving time pinbackpacker and I had 4 alien games in the back, one of which was the Cointaker prototype machine that has traveled around to all of these shows (We will call machine C). A piece of pinball history that I personally think is really cool, so many of us have played this game.

IMG_4935 (resized).jpg

When we finally arrived to Allentown on Friday morning, we thought.. what the hell, let's plug one, people can play it, and if it works, put a price on it, and hopefully this will help us fund a little bit of our adventure. To our surprise the game played extremely well minus the xenomorph head, and it had a 4-person deep line throughout the weekend. A few stuck balls, some weirdness early-on with ball searches, but all-in-all a success. The Allentown show machine (we will call Machine A.) Todd Tuckey was there at Machine A on Sunday doing his thing for quite a while and I look forward to seeing his video featuring it.

IMG_4938 (resized).jpg
IMG_4948 (resized).jpg
IMG_4958 (resized).jpg

This game being out on the show floor led us to a buyer who wanted to buy one from us, and after walking through the condition of all the games as we knew it (Machine D) was sold. Now we had three machines left between us three pinsiders and a little cash in reserve.

Allentown was a lot of fun, and it was great talking to everyone about the game, playing it, and seeing how excited everyone was to play one at the show. Those that know me, know that my passion is restoring games to top-tier level, and sharing them at shows for everyone to appreciate.

Machine C made a brief appearance at the ramada as well..

IMG_4944 (resized).jpg

After a long trip, time at the show, 4 exhausted pinsiders finally arrived back at home with 3 machines in various condition.

IMG_4963 (resized).jpg

To follow, the findings of condition so far.. and the process of getting these specimens converted into weapons-grade machines!

#3 1 year ago

Left to right is Machine A, Machine C, and Machine B.. (yes it bothers me that they are out of order in this picture.. sorry).

IMG_4981 (resized).jpg

Machine A - Is a pinball brothers game, some notable differences.
-It has the newer "open" PC with the plexiglass cover.
-It also seems like the playfield display uses DVI, vs VGA like the other two.
-The main trunk link runs up the right side of the game in a larger bundle.
-The IO boards underneath are a blue vs a red color.
-The main board underneath says "Pinball Brothers" vs Heighway pinball
-The cabinet has a sticker on the back that actually says "Alien Standard Edition" with a serial number.
-Has the upgraded xenomorph boards (2 boards vs one).

In terms of condition, it doesn't seem as though any features of the xeno head work at all. Other than this, I haven't found any issues (yet).

The underside of the playfield w/ the blue boards and pinball brothers labeling.
IMG_4983 (resized).jpg

Machine B -
- The backbox experienced some serious shipping damage, some possibly from us. The bezel on the backbox and translite were busted, the main display was shattered, and the display in the playfield was non working.

The backbox display and frame comes out fairly easily, it's 4 small screws on the bottom and 6 small screws on the top. The display itself is secured in the frame by another set of small screws, and luckily once removed there is a manufacturer label and model # on the back.

Manufacturer: AU Optronics
Model No: M270HV02.1

IMG_4976 (resized).jpg

I was able to source a refurbished one from ebay for $80 shipped, but it looks as though they are about $200 new. It's controlled by a smaller controller and power supply in the frame, which I assume is working but ordered two just in case as these are also used in the playfield displays.

Generic LCD Controller Driver Board
Manufacturer: Rowa (various China)
Model No: M.RT2281-E5

IMG_4979 (resized).jpg

This below, I believe is the power supply, but I havent found any info on it yet.
IMG_4980 (resized).jpg

The smaller 10" under playfield display also was not working. This entire assembly removes from under the playfield with four larger screws, and the display itself comes out of the frame with 6 smaller screws around the edge. Inside it contains the same generic LCD controller, a smaller power converter/supply, and the thin 10" display. The ribbon cable seems to be the main culprit as I can get the display to come on from time to time but it isn't sustainable. Luckily we were able to find an exact replacement 10" display (in case it was the connector on the display itself) for about $50 each.

Below is the inside of the smaller playfield display frame/box. Then the serial number on the smaller display.
IMG_4990 (resized).jpg
IMG_4991 (resized).jpg

Manufacturer: Innolux
Model No: Q101IRE-LA1 Rev 01

The underside of the playfield with the red boards and the "Heighway Pinball" labeling.

IMG_4985 (resized).jpg

Machine C - at first glance, appears as though the stepper motor that controls the alien tongue powers on, and tries to work, however it sounds as if the gearbox is stripped.

This machine has a sticker on the back that says "Full Throttle" w/ a serial number similar to the others.

Luckily there is a part # on this stepper motor, however I do know that later revisions had a larger and appears like a more rugged stepper motor. I'm going to try the originals in case they are specific to the boards that we have.

These look like they come from a UK based manufacturer, and are relatively inexpensive. I was able to order 4 of them for about $100.

Manufacturer: MotionCB
Model No: GMW32W0069

IMG_4975 (resized).jpg

#5 1 year ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

These four were all bought from Cointaker right?

One is the CT prototype machine.

#17 1 year ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Good lord, my body language sitting up there is pretty hilarious, way to broadcast what you're feeling to whole damn room Aurich.
When it comes to broken plastics, backglasses, anything with art, just know that I'm available as a resource. I obviously have a lot of feelings about this game, but at the end of the day I'll do anything I can to help the existing games be complete.

Thanks Aurich!

#21 1 year ago
Quoted from hank527:

This is nuts that they did this. Is it evidence they knew they were moving assets?

Acid burn.. quit leaking from the speculation threads!

#22 1 year ago

Machine B display works if I hold the connector in place just like this! Lol.

Not sure which it is, the connector, the display or both..

39452C4E-243B-4148-970D-1B1BB80ABA8B (resized).jpeg

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#25 1 year ago

After a closer inspection of Alien A and comparing it to the instructions in this thead post..

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/upgrading-the-heighway-alien#post-4248019

I figured out the Machine A has the upgraded boards and the upgraded stepper motor. I get the impression these might be a required pairing.

Using that thread post as a guide I eventually determined that the tongue motor was incorrectly wired and the board installed backwards.

Everything worked fine in test, but not in the game. It appears that adjustment 44 in the aliens adjustment menu can disable the xenomorph (which it was).

Alien xeno Head works perfectly now. Check out this video of the boot up and start of ambush MB.

#32 1 year ago

kneissl Which ramp returns?

#34 1 year ago

Given that the fully working game is the one with the 2-board system, and it seems like the one board system and old stepper motor was prone to failure.. I think our plan is going to be to reverse engineer and re-create the 2 board system with the upgraded stepper motor.

This is the upgraded stepper motor in the 2 board system.

https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/trinamic-motion-control-gmbh/QSH4218-35-10-027/1460-1074-ND/4843425?utm_adgroup=General&gclid=Cj0KCQjwuMrXBRC_ARIsALWZrIgBIk10-DKkcOBVESjjv2sYmebGr-7gH1suGwnnIO-5P3zwEnRZwJoaAng7EALw_wcB

Also, the daughterboard appears to control the stepper motor for the tongue is a "StepStick"

http://reprap.org/wiki/StepStick

#37 1 year ago

Alien B, and C all have teardrop shape left ramp inlane returns ball drop.

Alien A, has a circle shape drop but the artwork is still teardrop shape.

#40 1 year ago
Quoted from brett:

Can you tell us what date is on each one of the three pins, as far as build?
Seems like the earlier editions have had more issues than the later built ones.

Brett, do you know where to find the build date? I wasn't able to find anything on the cabinet decals or on the playfield.

#42 1 year ago

@partyking do you still have your game?

#44 1 year ago

Alien A - PA0113 (obviously the newest w/ the pinball brothers boards, and the updated xeno boards/motor)
Alien B - PA0028
Alien C - PA0025

#74 1 year ago
Quoted from FlipperFreak:

We're sourcing our own parts. We'll also be making replacement IO boards for those in need.

Very cool! Would love to know more about what types of games you have (protos va production) and what repairs and parts sourcing you have done.

#79 1 year ago
Quoted from Kneissl:

How much for io boards?!?

I would also be interested to learn if any design changes were made or if they are exact copies.

#81 1 year ago
Quoted from Kneissl:

I saw one guy with blown mosfets, is there a specific flaw in the heighway/pinbro boards?

I know that lots of people have trouble with the I/O boards. The only flaw I'm personally aware of is the brittleness of the USB interfaces.

#82 1 year ago

Working multiple angles here.. we've reached out to a few EE friends for advice on replicating the Xeno boards and all have said pretty much the same thing.

a.) These aren't complicated, but someone will need to spend the time to re-draw them in something like diptrace and work with a board prototype shop to get them printed.
b.) You'll need to get the code from them

The image below is the more complicated board and we believe controls the "jaw" servo.

jaw_controller (resized).jpg

The programming interface we believe is JP1 in the bottom left, as it appears to be a 6 pin AVR ICSP programmer. It's possible that we can pull the code from these boards using this interface if they are not protected.. we're hoping that heighway skipped this step given how everything else is hodgepodged together.

Here is the AVR programmed that I ordered to try.

amazon.com link »

#86 1 year ago

Confirmed today that these locks are a drop-in replacement for the backbox locks.

"CRL Nickel Plated Track Plunger Lock - Keyed Alike"
amazon.com link »

#88 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

Nice. Do you know where they sourced the PF TV panels b/c when I bought mine, the original issue was the PF TV and it was replaced and worked since but that might be something people want to buy a backup of....

I don't know exactly where they were sourced from, but they are made by Innolux part # Q101IRE-LA1 and are Rev 01. They are available at Ali Express for about $50/each.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Original-10-1-inch-Q101IRE-LA1-LCD-flat-screen-computer/32812494499.html

#89 1 year ago

Care package came in from cliffy today..

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#91 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

damn - 50 is cheap! They wanted to sell me an extra for 500 when they replaced my original for free. Good to know for future owners.

that is only for the display, the whole unit including the frame, boards, etc.. I can see them wanting to retail that whole unit for that.. still robbery..

#93 1 year ago

The display driver boards used in the backbox display and playfield are the same only the jumpers are set differently.

The backbox display (shown below) is set to 5v where the playfield display is set to 3.3v

B629D211-5FAE-4659-A79E-737330BAEA5E (resized).jpeg

#94 1 year ago

The stepper motor for the tongue on the upgraded gen 2's (two board system) is a Trinamic Motion Control GmbH QSH4218-35-10-027
https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/trinamic-motion-control-gmbh/QSH4218-35-10-027/1460-1074-ND/4843425

0D1BA613-5200-4EA4-A314-95F7BF27B169 (resized).jpeg

#97 1 year ago

Thank you mnpinball !!

#100 1 year ago

Using the USBASP ISCP programmer below, I was able to successfully connect to the jaw board and read off the hex code that resides on it..
amazon.com link »

Once the drivers are installed using Zadig, and a copy of avrdude.. The below command was successful.

avrdude -c usbasp -p atmega328p -Uflash:r:c:\directory\jaw.hex:i

Untitled (resized).png

65DEED44-6C7B-438C-8390-A986774EB42B (resized).jpeg

This means that once we get a run of PCB's that we should be able to load this hex code back onto the new boards, and hopefully successfully duplicate them.

10
#102 1 year ago

A few people have asked about the lock fuses (security settings) being set on these boards.. Best I can tell, they aren't locked. For anyone trying this in the future (or for myself when I forget how it was done)

avrdude -c usbasp -p atmega328p -U lock:r:Lockbyte:h

creates a file called lockbyte that contains only "0x3f" Using the fuse calculator at http://eleccelerator.com/fusecalc/fusecalc.php?chip=atmega328p this shows that only Bit 6 and Bit 7 are set w/ this hex code. Which according to the datasheet, don't do anything.

pasted_image (resized).png

Also, the below command will pull the whole flash memory including the bootloader.. and likely this will be what is used as the image on replica boards.

avrdude -c usbasp -p atmega328p -Uflash:r:flash.bin:r

Now.. we wait on the first draft jaw motor board drawings to come back.. and then try to get a proto shop to do a small batch for us. which will lead to a trial and error design phase which hopefully will be short given the simplicity of these boards.

A couple of unknowns about them that we're making educated guesses on. Surface mount capacitors aren't labeled, and is a common problem. I dont want to risk destroying our only good board set in order to desolder these components to try and run them through a capacitance meter which likely would be wrong anyway. With some help of a few others we've decided to try:

10uf capacitors that seem to be used for noise reduction on the power supply's
0.1uf capacitors for C5 on the jaw board which appear to be a bypass cap

hopefully the capacitors are close enough and have enough tolerance that it wont matter

Below is a couple of shots of the usb microsope, assisting in reading the SMD (surface mounted) components.
Image uploaded from iOS (1) (resized).jpg
image (resized).png

#105 1 year ago
Quoted from jwilson:

What boggles my mind is that the person (people?) who designed these boards doesn't just chime in and provide details. Heighway is dead, why not help the effort?
It's not like these are some long obsolete design, the company was a going concern less than six months ago.

It would be nice.. but if I was in their shoes, I wouldn’t want anything to do with this game.

#107 1 year ago

I don’t have any intention of selling a product from this, don’t want to mess with any legal/IP issues. I will make available everything I have learned so that others may hopefully keep their game running, or get their prototypes up to production levels.

#109 1 year ago
Quoted from DDDwingmaster:

The Xeno board looks like a very simple board. I could not see any ESD protection on signals from switches to the AVR chip, but maybe they are hidden behind the connectors. A pinball is a high noise environment with all the coils switching, so you really like to have some protection. If not present would recommencement to add them to your replacement board design.
The ball detecting boards can be very interesting for home build pinballs. Could you make some photo's from these tiny PCBs with your microscope?

The later production games had a two board system, one that operates the “tongue” and another that operates the jaw. Sounds like if you have an alien game, you have a single board system, one of the earlier run games just like two of ours.

Which boards do you want pictures of? I’m not sure which one does ball detecting if any.

#115 1 year ago

EDIT: After talking with the supplier I have confirmed that this is the correct PC and where they were purchased from.

The sticker on the newer PC says "www.hpraise.com" I'm fairly certain that it is this one.. w/ 4Gb memory and a 32G mini sata SSD drive installed

https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/AMD-A10-Quad-Core-industrial-motherboard_60781335264.html?spm=a2700.8592591.0.0.67e310a9paecj3

I put in a request for 2, so that we can move away from the Zotac computers.

#118 1 year ago
Quoted from swenny:

Knocker, just to clarify, you're saying this is the computer that was used in the production Alien machines? I want to get an extra as well and this one does look very similar to what I have in my pin.

Confirmed that this is the computer that was used in the production alien machines. They added a 32GB msata SSD drive, 4GB of RAM, they use the power supply in the game to power it, and also ordered DVI and HDMI cables from this same company.

pasted_image (resized).png

#128 1 year ago
Quoted from Otaku:

Yes, but the thread obviously appeared before whatever happened happened and turned from usual troubleshooting of games from any manufacturer into the a desperate scavenge for info and parts from the looks of it.
As I said, the info was so scattered out it's not easy to figure out what's going on - and I've never heard of that site.
Thanks everybody else for the warm welcome back!

The acid burn has penetrated two levels.. we need to surround this thread in asbestos..

#135 1 year ago

New China special replacement playfield displays and controllers arrived.. will try them out Sunday

64C9ED46-076E-47C2-805A-A0E8A95EE9CE (resized).jpeg

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#136 1 year ago

Airlock Cliffy Installation Instructions.

1.) Using an 11/32 but driver remove the 6 nuts behind the airlock display. You may need to hold the hex post standoff’s underneath with a 1/4” open ended wrench. You can now lift the display and remove it mostly out of the way.

BED40986-278C-460E-AD18-DC9F0BE45A3A (resized).jpeg

2.) Remove the Phillips’s screw, 11/32” nut, and three 1/4” hex standoff’s in order to remove the plastic.

7005E5C9-C6C2-437F-BB7E-8FB3DDD62AFB (resized).jpeg

3.). Remove the three wood screws surrounding the metal ball guide, and remove the guide.

5E78B1AC-F6A0-47C1-BF77-27F12FDEEE06 (resized).jpeg

Optional: Cut to size a small piece of Mylar for the front of the cliffy for extra protection.

7A2BA98B-12E7-4B86-8D4C-68C7DF6C4D23 (resized).jpeg
89122734-1B32-42CA-B1C2-5DFDF2151261 (resized).jpeg

(Now reverse the instructions)

4.). Install the cliffy underneath the metal ball and reinstall with original 3 wood screws.

CB62E530-0CBF-4BAC-ABC1-DF0A9CCB77C7 (resized).jpeg

5.). Replace plastic, hex standoff’s, nut, and screw in original locations.

6.) replace airlock display and secure using original nuts.
1040F044-9CBD-4B54-ACE3-A1199D401B7E (resized).jpeg

#141 1 year ago

astropin do you have the updated scoop with the plastic add on?

14
#147 1 year ago

pinbackpacker dropped off uniforms for the alien team today..

65BE6FB4-A193-471B-B364-551CF3819571 (resized).jpeg

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#148 1 year ago

Replacement alibaba playfield displays (innolux q101IRE-LA1 Rev B1) confirmed to work..

8E5521EE-0E4A-4FB3-9ED5-6AD1A6F922AA (resized).jpeg

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#150 1 year ago

Specimen B which had a broken playfield display and a broken backbox display now has both working again.

EF494383-B10F-4091-802F-71191E17E0BC (resized).jpeg

#172 1 year ago

join_the_cirqus could you tell us how your beacons are wired?

#178 1 year ago

Gerber files and bill of materials for the tongue stepper motor board were sent to the prototype place today. Likely a long road of revisions, etc. but hopefully at the end of this, those of you with early-run xeno boards will have everything you need to order replacement upgraded/production boards.

Here is the assumed parts list at the moment..

pasted_image (resized).png

#187 1 year ago

Thank you ferret, Helmut, and others helping to improve these games. The 1.2 release is outstanding.

#193 1 year ago

I'll send one of ours away for scanning, but it will probably be several weeks..

#201 1 year ago
Quoted from Mike_M:

knockerlover NOVA Labs just got a new high-end structured light 3d scanner that is accurate up to .05mm. I won't be signed off to use it until June 6th; after that I could scan that (or any other parts) for you.

Cool! Earlier today I sent an email to 3d herndon.. but I don’t know anything about them..

#224 1 year ago

join_the_cirqus is correct.

The shaker motor connector is a spike connector for spike and spike 2 systems, and plugs into the “shaker motor” PinOut on the power supply board in the bottom of the cabinet.

Pin 1 - red
Pin 2 - N/A
pin 3 - red (jumper or loop)
Pin 4 - black
Pin 5 - black (jumper or loop)

#227 1 year ago

Two new computers arrived today.. direct from China.

The box had been cut open though and not resealed.. delivery driver, or customs?

Hopefully the clonezilla image will take to its new home(s)

AE4EA677-12B0-4375-BCD7-83FA6969D03B (resized).jpeg
#229 1 year ago

There are so many differences betwween the prototype and production alien heads.. trying to mod the prototype stepper motor housing to fit the upgraded stepper motor without having to recreate it completely.

A5A7808C-0356-4838-9173-5C42DF0E23D1 (resized).jpeg
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#230 1 year ago

Today mavantix and I (but mostly him) successfully cloned the working PC image to the new PC drives and they tested successfully! So PC duplication is 100% now.

Mounting hardware and cables ordered to install completely.

4843E020-C225-4DC7-8E02-E57CA7B4AAC1 (resized).jpeg

2 weeks later
#242 1 year ago

Its been a while since we posted an update, I’m in the process of moving so progress has stalled a bit.

The tongue board has been redrawn in gerber and sent to seeedstudio for a prototype run to be made. They sent me this a few days ago.

“How are you? Hope my email finds you very well. This is Siting from Seeed and nice to e-meet you.
So sorry for the inconvenience!
Due to our negligence, delays in orders
your order is expected to be shipped to you on July 11. Thank you for your time.
I feel very sorry for this.”

We received a batch of I/O boards purchased from the original Chinese manufacturer, that one tested OK so I assume we at least have a few good ones to use as spares just in case.

A full set of beacons arrived as well that need to be painted and installed.

Additionally we figured out a way to reproduce translites. . With the help of some good friends in the sign printing business. Two of ours were cracked and we will have one spare.

Modifying the prototype xeno heads to the production style is the longest pole in the tent still. Looks like I’m going to need to learn how to do resin casting.

C32A24B6-AF4D-43CE-9C33-982534D9335C (resized).jpeg
#245 1 year ago
Quoted from SunKing:

I'm very curious about this - do you mind sharing some details? Like, how many did you order - how much? Do you think they may have more to sell? Is there a minimum order number? ...would you have spares to sell?
As many have mentioned, it appears the I/O boards may be the 'weak' link' to keeping these machines running long term, and I'd sure like to have a backup or two.

There is a minimum order number. It's more than I think there is a market appetite for. Since the manufacturer does not seem to have a way to offer replacement parts, this was a way for us to keep our own machines running as long as possible, thinking of them as a consumable. I personally have no intention of selling spares, as I don't want to get involved in any intellectual property issues. I will say this much, it is not impossible for them to be reverse engineered, but it is outside of the scope of what I/we are trying to do at the moment.

#253 1 year ago

Replica tongue stepper motor board being assembled in China.

EA412C82-31C6-46EB-8992-05F3FD4FA9F9 (resized).jpeg

#255 1 year ago
Quoted from Durzel:

Highway Pinball?
Is that accidental? Do you even want that company's branding (spelt correctly) on it? Or am I missing something?

That’s how you can tell it’s a knockoff

#258 1 year ago

To connect the playfield screen to the driver board you will need a 40pin LVDS connector.

Quickbuying 40pin LED Screen Cable Single 6 LVDS Cable LP140WH1 LED LCD Screen Cable Wire For Replacement amazon.com link »

But on these games the power is spliced into this cable from a small transformer/inverter.

There isn’t any alien/Heighway documentation, so you will need to read up on LVDS and figure out the power requirements.

I’m sure it would be easier to just buy a tablet or something self contained.

#260 1 year ago
Quoted from WeirPinball:

Anyone know the latest hardware update version?

1.2 for the game code, the latest I/O board firmware is 0.9

#262 1 year ago

If you have the latest game code installed, go into the test menu, select I/O boards, you will need to go into each I/O board individually and select update.

#272 1 year ago

Tongue board PCBs arrived today.. it will be a few weeks before any more updates as I’m still moving and the games and shop are basically all packed up.

3F6C0D97-A978-472D-944E-F9110A4058A1 (resized).jpeg
2 weeks later
#293 1 year ago
Quoted from RazerX:

If you prefer to just pull the old plastic gear off and put a brand new metal one on it with a proper set screw, this is the one I used and it's a perfect replacement:
ebay.com link
There are several listings on ebay and elsewhere, so if you want to shop around, it's a Pinion gear with the specs of 5mm bore (shaft), 32P (pitch), 28T (teeth). The outer diameter measures 23.7mm or .93". It seems like they are mostly all in the $10-13 range though if you get them from a domestic supplier.
FYI, you will basically need to take the whole xeno mech apart to replace the gear though. I had to.

Can you confirm if this is for the later model stepper motor shaft size?

2 weeks later
2 weeks later
#342 1 year ago

Finally moved into the new place.. still can’t find half of my stuff..

But, mavantix and I are reassembling the A machines xeno Head, and installing the production type PCs in the prototype games, replacing USB cables with ones with ferrite cores.. making progress again.
6E689F8F-AD5F-4D25-8620-54B7177D935A (resized).jpeg

#343 1 year ago

Ended up replacing the plastic gear jaw servo last night with the metal one.. two lessons learned from that experience.

amazon.com link »

1.) For some reason the pinout on the existing servo is different, and I needed to flip the red and brown wires (Red, Brown, Orange) vs how it is stock (Brown, Red, Orange).

2.) Don't attach the actuator arm until you know the position the game thinks the jaw is in. Go into test, and run calibration.. the servo should open the jaw and close it at the end of that sequence. Then you can attach the actuator arm to the servo knowing it is in the closed position. You have to try a few different positions to get the jaw to open/close right where you want it. So don't mount the head fully back into the game until you're happy with how it works.

On a slightly separate note.. the changes to the xeno head between prototype and later production games are numerous.. I still think that modifying the prototype heads, or casting/recreating the production heads is feasible.. but this many design changes that make it very difficult. I hope that we will be able to procure complete replacement xeno heads from pinball brothers for the two prototype machines.. via ballypinball so I don't have to go through this mess.

- Lower Jaw was shortened, I beleve to allow the xeno head to be mounted closer without hitting the drop targets in front. This makes the mounting screws go through the jaw vs on the metal bracket just above it.

- Stepper motor upgraded (and the boards modified to the two board jaw/tongue system)

- The metal brackets were completely redesigned to accommodate the large square upgraded stepper motor.

- The tongue rack gear was previously held in place by the drive gear, and a separate free spinning gear. This was changed to house the tongue rack gear completely in a plastic surround.

- The notch in the tongue rack gear was changed to only be on 1/2 of the metal bar vs a complete cutout.. probably to prevent the switch from slipping off the side.

#344 1 year ago

Machine A - the sample production game is completely back together and fully functional again. Hooray!

Machine B and C - Have the production PCs installed now, and as expected the 5 SMD LED towers aren't operating correctly because the single LED boards are needed so they can be addressed properly. Waiting for timebandit to complete his awesome work so we can resolve that issue.

We learned that the displays have to be plugged into the correct port exactly or you will have an airlock screen layered on top of the main display image or the airlock display on the main display incorrectly. (Will document this later)

The drop targets seem to work fine and aren't reversed as others have stated, but I don't know if these were replaced prior to us owning them somehow.

The xeno head and boards are the last major hurdle.. hopefully the replacement xeno heads from pinball brothers come through, and we can test our replacement jaw/tongue boards.

The prototype machines have early run (red) I/O boards, and do not have the "hack" to the zero ohm resistors that eliminates the protection circuit for the upper right flipper.

Machine B - has a broken left inlane return plastic and broken facehuggers, but those appear to be available from pinball brothers as well, so hopefully that works out. Otherwise we will need to fabriate something for the left inlane, and possibly resin mold/cast the facehuggers to make replicas.

The backbox frame is also broken, I’ve drilled and added pegs so it’s solid at the break but need to bondo, sand and paint.

Machine C - the backbox display isn’t working for some reason.

#347 1 year ago
Quoted from djh00000:

I was wondering the same thing as I wou lol d like to get a pair of face huggers as well.

In the other alien thread, ballypinball posted that he had access to a "stash of parts."

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/alien-pinball-official-game-thread/page/459#post-4538854

#361 1 year ago
Quoted from MK6PIN:

Well....I'll confess it here, and throw in a few pics.........
a) got the new mini actuator in, calibrated perfectly, everything worked, but didn't grab the ball......check
b) upon reassembly, I believe I'm seeing an opto or something inside the jaw of the xeno....check
c) stepped away after whining to you guys for the evening (learned the stepping away part from Lloyd).
d) went down just a couple hours ago, and was determined to solve the mystery
e) pulled the xeno back off (quite efficient at it now)....dissassembled, and saw the "opto" firmly inside the left jaw
f) decided to yank it off...and BAMM, it was the f**king magnet w shrink wrap, that had come off the end of the tongue!!!!
g) reassembled, tested.....all is well.
h) not sure what that tiny screw does on the xeno board, but certainly doesn't control the magnet (that's a plain, natural one). Fortunately didn't touch the setting.
Moral of my wasted Saturday night - no more Bourbon inspired "fixes". Yes, got the jaw dropping much more consistently w new stepper, but completely forgot how the damn tongue was supposed to look. Completely escaped me at the time. Don't panic, step away, and hope the mess of the prior night can be fixed, which was the case this time....
On to switches, troughs and other adventures, but had enough Alien for one weekend......mark[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Glad you fixed it.. the tiny screw sets the current limit on the stepper motor driver board effectively controlling how much power is provided to the stepper motor. More power = more torque/speed. It should be carefully set to the motors specifications, but if the motor isn’t operating as intended.. I.e. not pulling the rack gear past the point where it strips the ball from the magnetic tip.. not much other choice but to increase the current or somehow decrease the magnetic force on the tip.

1 week later
#392 1 year ago

I love timebandit more than lamp and lightning kitty combined.. Does anyone know how many of the tall 5 SMD towers are in each game off hand? If not I can go count I guess..

1 week later
#405 1 year ago

One of these tongue boards is an imposter.. can you spot the difference?

C4570DEE-A546-4097-842F-AD06D4C4D440 (resized).jpeg
#407 1 year ago
Quoted from Ballypinball:

The bottom one is the remade one

Yeah.. I like the minute differences in the screen layer.

#409 1 year ago
Quoted from TomDK:

One is HPE , one is PE

that one was unintentional.. "highway" vs "heighway" was the intentional change..

#415 1 year ago
Quoted from Knightman:Found it, installed...
It activates in test, no problem. When in-game? When activated it shuts down the whole game and restarts....on version 1.2 also.
color-codes match, the plug works, etc.
No clue...seems like more trouble that it is worth.

Make sure you are running 1.2 and your I/O boards are updated to 0.9. Particularly the IOC board. You can access this update by going to tests -> I/O Boards -> Update

Also just out of curiosity, can you validate that you are running blue I/O boards and they have the attached pictures hack above a series of 4 SMd 0-ohm resistors? A small wire soldered jumping over and between these resistors.

9E89FBB8-095F-43EB-B105-0B0D776F4B28 (resized).jpeg
1 week later
10
#420 1 year ago

Package arrived today from freeplay via Daniel Janson one of the pinball brothers.. at this moment we theoretically should have all the parts to make fully working production level machines!

5158753F-086C-41F2-820E-3ECD46E809B2 (resized).jpegB277E2DC-AFD0-4A80-B34B-1B5C76635D94 (resized).jpeg
#438 1 year ago

Testing and installing LEDs.. still need to find a light pipe solution..

B7172F76-5CA0-4DA9-89C5-7C1151912A78 (resized).jpeg
1 week later
#445 1 year ago

Wiring harness duplication.. we will get Xenos to work!

2D7F39B6-F0B0-4010-8836-35EB41B65776 (resized).jpeg
#450 1 year ago

Replacing these LED's I learned that the big light PCB's traces, and the connection points for the LED's are really finicky. Couple that with the serial light bus, and it quickly becomes confusing. ferret tipped us off that in single lamp test there is a code next to each lamp. Something like 1A-11, the format means IO Board, Chain, and Lamp. In this example, IO Board #1, Chain A, Lamp 11. So, if lamp 11 is bad, anything after that 12-20 will be off, or flickering, or stuck on.. etc.

So, to make it easier to track down I made a table of all the lamps..
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZtqbAPjQwFCOdWhHf2dGR8HS7ipjLsUZEXYAwFvWaQ4/edit?usp=sharing

There is one input and one output per LED, and you can visibly see the trace between LED's.. those traces can be jumped, but I would try reflowing the solder at the connection point first.

Another tip is to swap a potentially bad LED with the one at the end of the chain. A few case I found an LED that refused to send data upstream.. doesn't matter if it's in the last position.

#453 1 year ago
Quoted from SunKing:

Or, get some new LED's from TimeBandit. I'm glad I did. I was able to fix all the LED issues, and still have a few spares left over in case I need 'em later.

Agreed, but in this case the issues I was having wasn’t with the LEDs themselves but with the traces on the large PCBs.

I heard (and have found) that the early run PCBs were notorious for having fragile traces. I’m considering ordering a replacement Middle PCB (the big led board underneath in the middle) but need a minimum of 6mto do a small run. They are $300 each, so I know it’s a long shot but I’d like a backup/replacement of the newer style PCB. Perhaps some others might want one too.

#455 1 year ago
Quoted from Kneissl:

I'd be interested, what all is different from early run boards?

I don’t know the specifics, and haven’t evaluated them closely. But I heard from someone on the team that “crappy traces on the PCB. The early machines were infamous for that.”

Other than at some point the name changed from Heighway to pinball brothers and the rev # increased. I did notice on my prototype that there are several LED sockets that are unused like originally two LEDs were planned for certain inserts so maybe they were eliminated?

#457 1 year ago

Partial success tonight. If you remember the machine I have is machine B which I believe is sunking’s old machine an early prototype.

Has the new computer running the 1.2 code, and the timebandit LEDs and is 100% playable minus the alien head.

I ordered the production alien head and tongue board from “Mats” via free-play.se.

I also acquired a jaw board from another source but it didn’t have code on it.

mavantix and I made wiring harnesses from scratch based on the sample production machine we had. Machine A.

The tongue actually works.. in ambush multiball picks up the ball and everything.. yay!

The jaw however doesn’t. One thing I noticed is that my machine’s top PCB where the xeno connections are, the 12v connector is upside down. My game constantly resets when this connector is plugged in, flipping it over doesn’t seem to do anything.

Could be I’m flashing the code wrong, the wiring harness is wrong, the jaw pcb code isn’t flashed right.. or the top PCB has some kind of deviation that makes it not work... I guess the next step is to breadboard this thing and try different variations...

Production
F455694A-E389-4D8F-A3C1-8A5A3392D6C1 (resized).jpeg

Prototype
C75A64DA-AC0A-4BD4-B98B-1952B48DBE60 (resized).jpeg

Note the tab on the opposite side for the two pin (black yellow) 12v connector.

1 month later
12
#466 11 months ago

Here is where each display should be plugged in.

409FD235-D6EE-4BD4-99D3-7023F1F0783F (resized).jpeg
#476 11 months ago

Time Bandit graciously sent us a batch of his new GI LEDs. This is particularly awesome because two of our games originally had the 5SMD towers, which were replaced with the flat LED with no light pipes. The game worked, but the GI was super dark because it couldn’t cast light onto the playfield only up through the GI holes.

The below picture is a comparison of the original GI bulbs (right) next to his new tower (left)
548103ED-D6DB-44F6-ADDF-C8617AE38C49 (resized).jpeg

Here is a comparison of the lower playfield before (top) and after (bottom) installation, the difference is night and day, literally.
309ABBDA-90BF-4F9E-9FDF-813F84B42AB8 (resized).jpeg

A huge improvement! However, in these pictures you can still see the middle of the playfield has a dark area due to the orignal sling LED boards being directly behind the switch/rubber. He also makes an upgraded sling GI board, before (top) and after (bottom) picture below.
04CC71E4-D275-464C-AD03-F057525C3CDD (resized).jpeg

I literally had to clean my playfield between pictures because of how well you can see it now, and it was embarrassing how dirty it was! They were super easy to install once I figured out how to maneuver them up through the playfield.

Time bandits products don’t need an endorsement, but just in case here is mine. Great stuff.

3 weeks later
#480 10 months ago

Sometimes they are in stock here.. https://www.free-play.se/en/playfield-parts/playfield-plastics/plastic-sets/alien-plastic-set-petg.html

Various others are working on reproducing since the supply seems so low.

#490 10 months ago

There are several different people working on recreating the plastic sets..

#497 10 months ago
Quoted from brett:

My 10” LCD screen isn’t working. It has power going to it.
I’m sure it’s been discussed on previous posts. Does anyone know where to purchase a new one?

Before replacing it, the LVDS cable inside is notorious for coming unseated. There are four screws that hold the entire assembly to the underneath of the playfield. Remove those and the cables, then you can remove the display from the housing and inspect the cable connectivity and reseat. Be gentle, it's fragile (crap).

If you need a replacement, you can order them from AliExpress.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Original-10-1-inch-Q101IRE-LA1-LCD-flat-screen-computer/32812494499.html

2 months later
#507 8 months ago
Quoted from PinBackpacker:

mavantix you forgot to share the part about one of the boards blowing up on you.

oh yeah.. we ordered 5 boards from our friend in China.. one of them had a short and literally the capacitor melted in mavantix's hand.. another one the AMTEL chip was soldered in upside down.. the other three seemed OK..

smoke pouring out of the back of an Alien LE.. I had some brown in my jeans..

15
#509 7 months ago

9 months ago this journey started.. today, The “cointaker” prototype, that traveled to all the shows.. is finally a completely working game, just like the production versions.

Zotac PC replaced with “China PC” with correct mounting hardware and lexan cover

O/S and game code cloned to PC (v1.2)

5SMD tower GI bulbs replaced with Time bandits single LED GI bulbs

Later run Xeno head installed

Xeno Wiring harness duplicated and created

Jaw board code duplicated

Tongue board added with stepstik controller

USB and HDMI cables upgraded to low interference with ferrite chokes

I/O boards upgraded to 0.9 and “hacked” to bypass the circuit protection

Airlock Cliffy added

Metal jaw servo sourced and added

Thanks to everyone who helped us get to this point, I am confident that this community can fix ANY alien problem that may come to pass! Special thanks to TimeBandit for making his awesome LED products, Cliffy, Ulmpharmd, Ferret, Aurich, Joe Szabo, Daniel (Mats), and Matt at Backalley Creations. Hopefully I didn’t forget anyone..

Other accomplishments:

Beacons duplicated and installed

Translite duplicated and printed for both LE and SE

Playfield and Backbox displays sourced and installed

Replacement Facehuggers sourced and installed

Pop bumper alien eggs sourced

Xeno tongue board duplicated (but wasn’t needed)

11
#532 7 months ago

Thank you to all of you who have joined us on this journey. sunking’s original game is now just like a production game, working 100%.

Here is a video of the first time the Xeno fully worked.. what a journey.

3 weeks later
#534 6 months ago

Cliffy and I have been working on a solution to protect and in many cases repair cracked left return inlane plastics, whether you have an early or later run design in your game.. they are both fragile lexan, and with the poor design they are prone to damage and will eventually break! These are $18 each and can be ordered from cliffy directly at crinear@comcast.net

Check out the details with install instructions below.
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/alien-pinball-official-game-thread/page/480#post-4901703

Here are a few pictures of both the early and later run version.

Early run without front post, thin front plastic, and full "comet tail" ball opening.
dCH8JYKNQ5e2hSHaiTNLOg (resized).jpg

Later run, with front post, thicker front plastic, circular ball opening. (This cliffy is still cut in a comet tail shape to match the artwork..)
O9HY42W4SZqCTpDCVWuYRA (resized).jpg

Installed on my game (I have earlier run middle and top plastics, and a replacement "later run..")
4qG+0t1UT%CDgWsWRYvRlA (resized).jpg

#536 6 months ago
Quoted from delt31:

Nice! Does this also stop the ball from jumping out and over? I remember that being another thing that happens when being returned from this left inlane

I haven’t seen that happen once with this installed, I think the vertical metal tab causes enough metal on metal energy transfer and reduces the hole size slightly to make it a much more reliable drop into the inlane.

2 months later
#541 4 months ago
Quoted from megaladon:

I posted on another thread but thought I try here. Getting no boot to game. See pic. Tried bios settings nothing, trying weir install but doesn’t run usb at startup? Any help getting this alien running? Early full Throttle .92v zoltac pc.[quoted image]

How did you get to this point? What was done just prior to this issue occurring?

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