(Topic ID: 143516)

What did you learn from your last repair?


By swampfire

4 years ago



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  • Latest reply 3 years ago by MrWizzo
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There are 215 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 5.
#51 4 years ago

I've learned it's the simplest things.

Messing around with various options for why Solar Ride wouldn't coin up, and it boiled down to a failed connector from the power supply 5V to the MCU. Luckily it wasn't the -12V when that happened during a game for the original owner.

Sometimes it's better to just order a replacement part, then try to repair the original part. I've still got the original power supply for Solar Ride sitting off to the side of my workbench, although I'll probably just pop the new parts back off of it and consider ordering a brand spanking new power supply.

When something starts going wrong, power down immediately and figure out where the problem is. When you smell something distinctly non-edible (like plastic) cooking or burning, again power down immediately and figure out where the problem is.

In other news, coils trying to pull to stop and failing to move will not only get very hot very quickly, but will also make their mounting hardware very hot as well.

3 days is a long time to not have a working pinball machine.

#52 4 years ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

Are you sure that the outlet is grounded?

Funny you should mention that.
The section of the room that we moved it to still has wall outlets with no ground. So I had to use one of those little adapters to plug it in.
Did not realize that it would effect a 80's Bally that way so maybe that is it.
I have had other games plugged into that outlet with no issues in the past.
But I will run a cord to a properly grounded outlet tomorrow and see what happens before I start messing with the boards.

#53 4 years ago
Quoted from Arcade:

Funny you should mention that.
The section of the room that we moved it to still has wall outlets with no ground. So I had to use one of those little adapters to plug it in.
Did not realize that it would effect a 80's Bally that way so maybe that is it.
I have had other games plugged into that outlet with no issues in the past.
But I will run a cord to a properly grounded outlet tomorrow and see what happens before I start messing with the boards.

Yep, an adapter won't ground anything. And yep, see what happens with an actual grounded outlet.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/replacing-line-cords-plugs-wall-sockets-vids-guide#post-1945125

#54 4 years ago

I learned that keyed connectors are keyed for a reason...

#55 4 years ago

Careful inspection of a coin door GI lights can prevent direct cabinet switch problems.
Ground short feedback into the switch matrix due to a broken wire.
I missed it on the first inspection, because of improper lighting.
Caused complete havok with the MPU with switch "ghosting" when the wire touched metal.
No major damage however.

#56 4 years ago
Quoted from MrBellMan:

I learned that keyed connectors are keyed for a reason...

I learned the hard way when I first brought Taxi home that it has two connectors keyed alike - the one for the topper and one on the SDB. Now when I take a backbox off I label every connector to be safe. If you make this error, you will also learn how much smoke an MOV makes when it catches fire.

#57 4 years ago

I learned that when putting back the parts on the playfield after shopping a playfield, I shouldn't switch around the connectors of wires going to a coil and going to optos..
And that if the left mist opto on BSD is burned out, the game will not give an error about it, but instead load the mist ball like normal in the right side, andopen the gate at the start of a game, draining that pinball.

#58 4 years ago

...that apparently outside of the US they don't have phillips screws.

#59 4 years ago

I learned that replacing the LM339 differential amp on the Opto board of a Doctor Who is not always the fix. So about a year ago I was getting the "GND. SHORT ROW 1 IS STUCK CLOSED." So I tracked it down to U3 of the Opto board. So I cut the IC out and desoldered the pins out of the holes. I noticed that there was a lot of flux residue under the IC. I thought nothing of it and cleaned it. I then put a socket in and put the new part in. Piece of cake. Pin worked. Done. Right? Well, fast-forward to this past summer and I was getting weird problems of the VUK randomly firing while playing and the ESCAPE sequence randomly being completed without even hitting them and the "GND. SHORT" problem showing up again. I seemed to have begun around July 4th weekend when we had a party and the house was open and the humid air was coming into the house. The pins are located right next to the back door. So back to the problem. I just replaced U3 since it was now socketed and that would be it. Nope. So troubleshooting showed that it looked like maybe U2 was the problem. So I figured why not just replace U1 and U2 with sockets. Did that and the problem was still there but it came and went. Meaning it was intermittent and seemed to be better if I played it more. Ultimately I removed the IC's and just started ohming out the pins around U3 and U2. While doing this I found that I could measure a resistance between pins that should be wide open with no resistance. I then removed the socket from U3. Then the measurements were open with no resistance the way it should be. After that it was pretty obvious that the flux residue from the soldering was the cause. I then cleaned the board again and used a low flux solder and tried cleaning with flux off as best I could while the socket was installed. I measured again and now the measurements were reading open as they should. Now it works perfectly. So I learned that differential amps are very sensitive to flux contamination. So the flux was acting as sponge to the humid air.

#60 4 years ago

It would take days but a few things and some that have already been mentioned:

Connectors, connectors, connectors. Even on games where it seems like they are 'okay' repin a set and just see what suddenly works.

Look for previous repairs (maybe even a few of the first ones I did), quite often the problem is still there.

Switch matrix diagrams are really important to learn how to understand.

Even with the right tools, you can pull solder traces, even when you are really, really careful. Luckily, electricity doesn't care if the path is original, as long as it's solid.

It's likely someone else has already had the exact problem you have/had - if you find them you're lucky.

It's easy to get caught up thinking the problem was something you'd already looked at - same symptoms don't always mean same cause.

Real soldering/desoldering tools (not the $10 sh1t) are worth the investment (many times over sometimes).

Pin extractors don't just suddenly make the pins cooperative - gentle twisting and 'circling' the pins usually works better than brute force (i.e. if it isn't coming pushing harder will just hurt you/break your tool/ruin your mood).

In the last couple days and with the game I just picked up - I need to find a way to get rid of mouse pee smell FAST!!!!!

#61 4 years ago
Quoted from shimoda:

In the last couple days and with the game I just picked up - I need to find a way to get rid of mouse pee smell FAST!!!!!

Coffee grounds and orange peels.
Grounds absorb the smell, the peels will freshen the machine.
May require several treatments of each for several months, but just leave each in the cabinet.
Make sure all feces are out of the machine and the cabinet is fully vacuumed first, triple check this...
This method works well for smoke as well, but if tar residue is on the circuit boards that is not going away...

#62 4 years ago
Quoted from Catch86:

While doing this I found that I could measure a resistance between pins that should be wide open with no resistance...So I learned that differential amps are very sensitive to flux contamination.

Good story.

Some of our manufacturing has been using water soluble fluxes that require a thorough cleaning in the process. These fluxes are known as "leaky insulators" and some components are sensitive to them if they don't clean them well. I mostly use no clean fluxes for rework, as these are not so conductive, even when left on. They won't look as pretty, and we clean them with products designed to remove no clean flux residue. You really can't thoroughly examine the quality of the soldering work unless the board is cleaned of all flux residue, regardless of your preference.

#63 4 years ago

Helpful hint: Naphtha and a toothbrush make quick work of removing flux.

#64 4 years ago

I learned that early Bally/Stern power supplies are much easier to work on if you remove them from the backbox, transformer and all. It's only 5-6 screws. And, you can connect it to 120/240VAC right there on your bench (but be careful, of course).

#65 4 years ago
Quoted from swampfire:

I learned that early Bally/Stern power supplies are much easier to work on if you remove them from the backbox, transformer and all. It's only 5-6 screws. And, you can connect it to 120/240VAC right there on your bench (but be careful, of course).

So Glad I read this.
I was wondering how hard the power supply was to move.
I am working on a Bally KISS that needs a new power distribution board located right over the power supply.
And to make it worse all the wires on the backside of the board must be soldered in place. Arrrrrrgh.
Nice knowing I can easily remove the whole thing for bench work. I was not looking forward to soldering in the tight little space in the head.

#66 4 years ago
Quoted from Catch86:

I learned that replacing the LM339 differential amp on the Opto board of a Doctor Who is not always the fix. So about a year ago I was getting the "GND. SHORT ROW 1 IS STUCK CLOSED." So I tracked it down to U3 of the Opto board. So I cut the IC out and desoldered the pins out of the holes. I noticed that there was a lot of flux residue under the IC. I thought nothing of it and cleaned it. I then put a socket in and put the new part in. Piece of cake. Pin worked. Done. Right? Well, fast-forward to this past summer and I was getting weird problems of the VUK randomly firing while playing and the ESCAPE sequence randomly being completed without even hitting them and the "GND. SHORT" problem showing up again. I seemed to have begun around July 4th weekend when we had a party and the house was open and the humid air was coming into the house. The pins are located right next to the back door. So back to the problem. I just replaced U3 since it was now socketed and that would be it. Nope. So troubleshooting showed that it looked like maybe U2 was the problem. So I figured why not just replace U1 and U2 with sockets. Did that and the problem was still there but it came and went. Meaning it was intermittent and seemed to be better if I played it more. Ultimately I removed the IC's and just started ohming out the pins around U3 and U2. While doing this I found that I could measure a resistance between pins that should be wide open with no resistance. I then removed the socket from U3. Then the measurements were open with no resistance the way it should be. After that it was pretty obvious that the flux residue from the soldering was the cause. I then cleaned the board again and used a low flux solder and tried cleaning with flux off as best I could while the socket was installed. I measured again and now the measurements were reading open as they should. Now it works perfectly. So I learned that differential amps are very sensitive to flux contamination. So the flux was acting as sponge to the humid air.

Was this on the opto board underneath the pf?

#67 4 years ago

That I didn't blow up as much crap as I thought I did.

LTG : )™

#68 4 years ago

I learned that working on Gottlieb system 80B machines can be a pain.

#69 4 years ago
Quoted from Arcade:

Nice knowing I can easily remove the whole thing for bench work. I was not looking forward to soldering in the tight little space in the head.

I actually did do that with Skateball, and I feel dumb now. I replaced the entire GI header while standing painfully to the right side of the game, ugh.

#70 4 years ago
Quoted from swampfire:

I actually did do that with Skateball, and I feel dumb now. I replaced the entire GI header while standing painfully to the right side of the game, ugh.

Yea.
I put all the new molex plugs on while standing off the the right side and my back was killing me.
But at least I can now do the backside of the board in comfort.
Any tips on putting and soldering the wires in the through holes is appreciated.

#71 4 years ago

Yes it was underneath.

Quoted from Methos:

Was this on the opto board underneath the pf?

#72 4 years ago

Speaking of uncomfortable standing positions while repinning...yeah

If at all possible or if you know you will be repinning lots of stuff, either pull the PF and work the cables on a bench or table or pull the head. I had a GTB Sys1 I knew I had to redo several connectors, so before I put the head on the game redid the cabinet connectors. Made for a much more comfortable position for work.

#74 4 years ago

On my current shop out /repair:
I learned recently that system 11 games have connectors under the playfield to remove the pf easier, after I labeled and pulled all the edge connectors from the boards for no good reason on my current shop out.

I recently learned that I was dumb as hell to shop playfields over the years without a rotesserie , finally built one for my current shopout ( last of 5 games of mine to get shopped this fall )and love sitting on my bar stool working in comfort, why not sooner

I also learned that pop bumpers are not that difficult to take apart, I have avoided them for 20+ years.

JP

#75 4 years ago

I learned to check availability on a part before committing to being able to fix it.

#76 4 years ago

I learned that the Funhouse manual is riddled with errors. Thanks Williams!

#77 4 years ago

As a newbie pin owner, I continue to struggle with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" concept.
Just because I cleaned and successfully adjusted one or two relays on my EM doesn't mean that I needed to clean and adjust ALL the relays just because....lol
I wound up creating more problems than I originally had.

#78 4 years ago

Thanks to this thread I got my Bally KISS power supply out of the head with ease and soldered on a brand new power distribution board.
Here are some photos just in case anyone else is thinking of attempting this sometime.
If I can do it, anyone can.

IMG_1289.jpg

IMG_1291.jpg

IMG_1292.jpg

#79 4 years ago

Here is another one.

I once had a Haunted House main playfield that was not secured properly, fell forward, and hit me on the back of the head when I was working on the "cellar" playfield.
Knocked me unconscious with my arms inside the cabient for 5 minutes.
Woke up with blood on my face and a nasty headache as I struggled to lift the playfield back up.
Remember these Gottlieb System 80b games have no locking rails to ride on, and they are heavy in that awkward position.

ALWAYS secured non-locking playfields with bungee cords to the backbox and a towel from that point on.
No exceptions.

It could have been a lot worse.

No, the game was not "on", thank god, I was at least smarter than that with old games and no power interlock.

#80 4 years ago

I learned that having a box of bandaids on hand is a good idea. I've never cut my hands so many times on a game before.

#81 4 years ago

I feel inspired to invent something better than a bungee cord for holding playfields up. Probably using 2x2, and adjustable so it can work with any pin. I still have a scar on my head from Centaur's under-playfield raceway slamming down on it.

#82 4 years ago
Quoted from swampfire:

I feel inspired to invent something better than a bungee cord for holding playfields up. Probably using 2x2, and adjustable so it can work with any pin. I still have a scar on my head from Centaur's under-playfield raceway slamming down on it.

If the game is a "keeper", I use "hooks" installed underneath the playfield attached to a removable temporary slide mount (backbox size adjustable with screw clamps) with rods on the backbox with towel to protect the playfield. Never moves an inch, cannot fall, full upright locked position.
I do not like to use improvised "cheater bars" because of the potential to flex and warp playfields.
It gets so much worse with age of the playfield.
I do use the same "double bar" system for an extended service position for some games by attached them to the front of the cabinet, but it does not work for all manufacturers.
NOTE: I STILL use the bungee cords as a secondary lockdown, phobic now..

#83 4 years ago

That's what I was thinking: start with something that slides onto the top of the backbox. I don't know how the pinball companies avoided personal injury lawsuits, with those flimsy metal cheater bars.

#84 4 years ago

That even shiny, new looking boards can have bad components on them. Don't risk frying anything because it looks good. Start with the power supply isolated, check all the test points, then go on from there.

#85 4 years ago

Don't use a cigarette lighter to "light" your way through a trash can of thinner rags while searching for a lost part.

#86 4 years ago
Quoted from joey__p__1966:

I also learned that pop bumpers are not that difficult to take apart, I have avoided them for 20+ years.

Oh yes, they're easy to take apart. It's putting them back together that's a pain in the ass due to the order the parts have to be reassembled in. Can't tell you how many times I've had to take a pop bumper back apart because I didn't put it together in the right order.

#87 4 years ago

I learned (the hard way) to never attempt to solder a connection with the machine energized...blew up some minor shit, and Lloyd scolded me.....lesson learned........

#88 4 years ago
Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

Here is another one.

Is that for real?? I have this vison in my head of it happening to myself what a gut buster. I am rolling.

Them damn system 80 widow makers!

oh if it really happened sorry and glad you are all right.

#89 4 years ago
Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

Here is another one.
I once had a Haunted House main playfield that was not secured properly, fell forward, and hit me on the back of the head when I was working on the "cellar" playfield.
Knocked me unconscious with my arms inside the cabient for 5 minutes.
Woke up with blood on my face and a nasty headache as I struggled to lift the playfield back up.

When I replaced a pop bumper coil in our Solar Ride, I waited for my husband to get home, because I had an image in my head of him coming home to find me trapped in the machine like you described. At minimum, under playfield work needs a spotter.

#90 4 years ago
Quoted from CNKay:

Is that for real?? I have this vison in my head of it happening to myself what a gut buster. I am rolling.
Them damn system 80 widow makers!
oh if it really happened sorry and glad you are all right.

Yes, and I was I stupid, and I knew better.
Lesson learned the hard way.
Carry the scar.

#91 4 years ago

Hence to wearing of the Knights helmet?

#92 4 years ago
Quoted from Patofnaud:

Hence to wearing of the Knights helmet?

Full suit of medieval armor.
There is more truth to that statement which some people know.
A lot of it.

#93 4 years ago

Replaced the pf switch in the Tiger Saw lane in TOM a couple nights ago. Removed the diode from the old switch to attach to the new switch. After desoldering the old one, I stood up to talk to someone and raked my finger across the now exposed wire of the old diode. Those mofos can be sharp and I cut my finger deep. My lesson was that if there's a way to injure myself, I will, so I should always pay better attention.

#94 4 years ago

To always trust your first instinct. It was mechanical, I just couldn't easily prove it.

#95 4 years ago
Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

Full suit of medieval armor.
There is more truth to that statement which some people know.
A lot of it.

Whenever I go outside, I make sure to use my human-sized gerbil ball. Then I am invincible.

#96 4 years ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

Whenever I go outside, I make sure to use my human-sized gerbil ball. Then I am invincible.

Unless of course you have to go up a flight of stairs.

#97 4 years ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

Unless of course you have to go up a flight of stairs.

Go go gadget rocket boots.

#98 4 years ago

Gameplan's connectors use .084 pins and not .093.

#99 4 years ago
Quoted from SealClubber:

Gameplan's connectors are use .084 pins and not .093.

As far as I can tell, they used the mate-n-lock connectors instead of molex.

Did someone convert the connectors over to molex, or did gameplan make a change with their later games?

gameplan sharpshooter backbox connectors

#100 4 years ago

My Hakko FX-888D will take a 3' drop to the stone tile floor. I hope I never find out if it will take two. Yikes.

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