(Topic ID: 263598)

What have I done? bought a project Stern Lightning


By Md2020

10 months ago



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  • 36 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 months ago by thirdedition
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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#1 10 months ago

I’m baaaack!
Picked up a “rolling chassis” stern lightning for 1100. It looks ok. There’s some issues with the playfield inserts and what I assume is the Mylar lifting, and structural issues-pics attached.
It turns on and does stuff, but that’s about it. I can visually see a bunch of issues, but I’m thinking the main board may need replacing. I’m going to attempt to attach a video of what it does when I attempt to “play” it.
Photo bomb en route
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#2 10 months ago

Also, the playfield is probably the dirtiest I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen 2 playfields-including this one

#3 10 months ago

#4 10 months ago

Looks like it's in decent condition. Shouldn't be too much work to do. We don't have any classic Sterns here at the Olympia Pinball Museum.

#5 10 months ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

Looks like it's in decent condition. Shouldn't be too much work to do. We don't have any classic Sterns here at the Olympia Pinball Museum.

Maybe I ought to bring ‘er by when it’s done

#6 10 months ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

Looks like it's in decent condition. Shouldn't be too much work to do.

Agree with Ken here.

Those nail/pin looking things you've photo'd on the playfield are factory and supposed to be there. The little ones behind the flippers are what the flippers rest on.

#7 10 months ago

THE GODDESS SKULD

It's a good game but I didn't keep it in my Stern collection - biggest complaint was the relocking of balls during multiball (which of course I can now fix in software).

Be careful with those large blue arrow inserts, they are irreplaceable and those look decent other than the tip curl.

#8 10 months ago
Quoted from slochar:

THE GODDESS SKULD
It's a good game but I didn't keep it in my Stern collection - biggest complaint was the relocking of balls during multiball (which of course I can now fix in software).
Be careful with those large blue arrow inserts, they are irreplaceable and those look decent other than the tip curl.

I’m assuming I should reseat them. I’m going to need a x-acto knife to cut around the Mylar?

I’m headed to Chicago for 2 weeks on business, so I won’t be able to do anything until I get back.
I’m planning on pulling the PF out for a disassembly and cleaning as well as fix the inserts and the cabinet stability issue.

I guess the last thing on the list will be those gas discharge displays. They look like they could possibly be functioning, but whatever’s driving them could be the culprit.
One foot in front of the other...

#9 10 months ago

Watched your video, does it kickout a ball? I would try to take care of getting game to work before any cosmetic issues.

#10 10 months ago
Quoted from Quench:

Agree with Ken here.
Those nail/pin looking things you've photo'd on the playfield are factory and supposed to be there. The little ones behind the flippers are what the flippers rest on.

I was curious about those. On my Williams, there were little holes to get the flippers set up properly, never seen permanent nail installations under the flippers before. I thought it was a lazy operator, lol

#11 10 months ago
Quoted from poppapin:

Watched your video, does it kickout a ball? I would try to take care of getting game to work before any cosmetic issues.

I’ll load it with new balls and give it a shot before I take off. When I tested it at the guys house, it kicked out a ball.
I pulled out the balls that came with it, they were completely thrashed. one was even rusty lol. Glad the machine didn’t work, the playfield would have taken a serious beating with a rusty ball flying around

#12 10 months ago
Quoted from Md2020:

I was curious about those. On my Williams, there were little holes to get the flippers set up properly, never seen permanent nail installations under the flippers before. I thought it was a lazy operator, lol

Stern sent the machines out like that. Made it easy to line up the flipper bat.

#13 10 months ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

Stern sent the machines out like that. Made it easy to line up the flipper bat.

Plus the ones on the lower outside corners of the out lanes next to the apron help speed up the ball return to the outhole.

#14 10 months ago

cut that battery off of your MPU pronto!

#15 10 months ago
Quoted from Md2020:

I’m baaaack!
Picked up a “rolling chassis” stern lightning for 1100. It looks ok. There’s some issues with the playfield inserts and what I assume is the Mylar lifting, and structural issues-pics attached.
It turns on and does stuff, but that’s about it. I can visually see a bunch of issues, but I’m thinking the main board may need replacing. I’m going to attempt to attach a video of what it does when I attempt to “play” it.
Photo bomb en route

That game looks fantastic!! Playfield is in great condition by the looks of it. I would leave the Mylar even though it’s peeling. Try heating the inserts and clamping them. Peeling the Mylar will ruin the Art and it’ll be a real bitch after that.
As mentioned, the nails are factory, Seawitch has them too. All over. When I stripped a playfield I was amazed how many the use.

The grounding strap I believe was factory too. I’ve seen a meteor head like that. It seems utilitarian but stern was trying to make cheap, reliable games.

#16 10 months ago
Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

That game looks fantastic!! Playfield is in great condition by the looks of it. I would leave the Mylar even though it’s peeling. Try heating the inserts and clamping them. Peeling the Mylar will ruin the Art and it’ll be a real bitch after that.
As mentioned, the nails are factory, Seawitch has them too. All over. When I stripped a playfield I was amazed how many the use.
The grounding strap I believe was factory too. I’ve seen a meteor head like that. It seems utilitarian but stern was trying to make cheap, reliable games.

The Mylar is covering all the inserts that are curling up. Are you saying I should be able to heat them and apply glue from underneath? I’m willing to do whatever is needed to keep it from being damaged further.

#17 10 months ago

The inserts are probably cupped, and if you leave the Mylar, it will help with ball travel. I have a Lightning, and it is one of my favorite games, but the inserts, especially the blue triangle ones, have severe cupping.

#18 10 months ago

All your sound effects are normal, displays sure are honked up though, you have all the display plugs going to the right displays? Mine only had the mylar half discs in front of the slingshots that I was able to remove with no damage but agree that pulling that entire pf mylar is too risky and is helping with the cupped inserts. Maybe you can try carefully trimming away any edges that are curling up and screwing with the ball like above the blue arrow.

#19 10 months ago
Quoted from Jarson:

The inserts are probably cupped, and if you leave the Mylar, it will help with ball travel. I have a Lightning, and it is one of my favorite games, but the inserts, especially the blue triangle ones, have severe cupping.

On my Williams machine, I was able to use a heat gun to pull inserts that were loose and glue em back in with pretty good results.
Am I correct to assume that these “cupping” arrow inserts can’t be repaired the same way? I was thinking I could somehow trim the Mylar around the insert and attempt the same repair... or is this a bad idea?

#20 10 months ago

If i recall correctly, these inserts are fairly thin to begin with, and the usual sanding/flattening technique used for leveling inserts may be too much for these particular ones. There are no repro inserts available as far as i know, so if they're covered with mylar I'd probably leave them alone.

#21 10 months ago

Business trip got cancelled right in the middle of a class. Wasn’t even out of town for an entire week due to this corona virus thing.
Gonna go out and hopefully pull the playfield today after testing some voltages

#22 10 months ago

Anybody near me that has a Bally/stern display tester? If I have to, I’ll order one.
Power supply seems to be giving the right amount of juice to drive ‘em, just weird pulsating and such. I don’t expect these to work 100%, but I don’t think ALL of these are toast, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
The display on the playfield for the bonus/timer is fully lit, but it’s doing weird stuff in test mode. 3 zeroes are on the rightmost 3 digits and do not follow the test commands (8 from l to r, 1111111 222222 333333 444444 etc).

#23 10 months ago

Display test results

#24 10 months ago
Quoted from Md2020:

Display test results

First thing always is reflow the headers and check the connectors. It is also possible they all have issues. Bought a Stern Magic with 5 bad displays. Not one working 100%.

#25 10 months ago

I'd also try testing each display with the others unplugged, sometimes one bad display can cause others to get weird too. Have you checked what your high voltage is set to? (Tp2 on the solenoid driver unit, can be adjusted with the nearby potentiometer)... Should be around 170-190vdc.

Very important side note: never unplug or plug in the connectors to the displays with the power on. It will damage lots of stuff!

#26 10 months ago
Quoted from frunch:

I'd also try testing each display with the others unplugged, sometimes one bad display can cause others to get weird too. Have you checked what your high voltage is set to? (Tp2 on the solenoid driver unit, can be adjusted with the nearby potentiometer)... Should be around 170-190vdc.
Very important side note: never unplug or plug in the connectors to the displays with the power on. It will damage lots of stuff!

Saw this in another thread and played around with it. seems like at least 2 displays are working properly (p1 and 2 of course) when separated, but since the machine was disassembled when I bought it I don’t know which display cable goes to which display.
I decided to switch gears and start with the basics.... clean the machine and PF out.
PF is out of the machine to rebuild flippers and work my way backwards. The left flippers are not working and I have a hunch it could be dirty contactors on the enable relay.
It seems to “play” properly other than the left side flippers. Somebody earlier mentioned to get the machine working and then focus on the scoring stuff.
it needs to all be done anyway, I suppose

#27 10 months ago

Found my left side flipper problem- pulled the SDU board with the intention of checking the K1 relay contacts but found this burnt trace instead. Love it when the problems are obvious.
Is it acceptable to just jumper it over the damaged area with wire? I know why it cooked, there were bare wires/fried solenoid on the bottom of the PF.
Not tryna make the worst hack/repair thread
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#28 10 months ago

Also, I noticed the bottom (Main) set of flippers have a double contact EOS with the second set to activate the top flippers.
All of the rebuild kits I found have only a single contact EOS.
Anybody got a line on a complete rebuild kit?

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#29 10 months ago

Running a jumper there is fine, i had to do that on at least 2 SDUs I've worked on. Make sure your eos switches are adjusted properly to hopefully ensure it doesn't happen again.

Not sure where to recommend getting that type of switch. I usually just rebuild mine, but I'm sure there's a proper replacement available somewhere. Try emailing The Pinball Resource?

Edit: looks like the Pinball resource indeed has the eos switch you're looking for. Here's a screenshot of the part, which you can finding about halfway down the page here: http://www.pbresource.com/KT-BFLIP03.html

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#30 10 months ago

The under playfield display has a different type of driver for it, there's a separate circuit for it, essentially, the 3 right digits will always be 000. Don't worry about that!

Do one display at a time.

#31 10 months ago
Quoted from Md2020:

Found my left side flipper problem- pulled the SDU board with the intention of checking the K1 relay contacts but found this burnt trace instead. Love it when the problems are obvious.
Is it acceptable to just jumper it over the damaged area with wire? I know why it cooked, there were bare wires/fried solenoid on the bottom of the PF.
Not tryna make the worst hack/repair thread
[quoted image]

Those Stern flipper traces are way to thin. If the EOS is mis adjusted and does not cut the high power side those traces act like fuse. Patch with a wire and I'd do the three that are not burned too.

#32 10 months ago


Stoked. Pulled the displays and reflowed all the joints from connector to display, solid.
Found a ton of bad joints on the power supply and handled those as well.
Thanks you guys!
The old girl is coming back to life. Rebuild kit on the way. I’m thinking it’ll be playable by next week.

#33 10 months ago

I’m glad someone picked it up and decided to fix it. The owner did not know anything about pinball. It’s a unique game for sure and the layout is interesting.

I went to that scary basement at night (sheets for doors). There was a lady in the bed coughing and a caged pitbull that barked before I knew he was there. (this was all in the one bedroom in the basement) It was a bit like a scene from a haunted house. I jump in movies you can imagine this in real life. Yikes !!!

I was close to getting it but cant take on another project right now.

#34 10 months ago

She’s cleanin’ up right nice

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#35 10 months ago

It’s running, but I’m having an issue with the flippers “double tapping”.
I have a feeling I have a combination of EOS switches being out of whack along with weak coils.
When I get back today, I’m going to see if I can piece together a better set of switches.
The ones that came with the kit were junk

#36 10 months ago
Quoted from Md2020:

It’s running, but I’m having an issue with the flippers “double tapping”.
I have a feeling I have a combination of EOS switches being out of whack along with weak coils.
When I get back today, I’m going to see if I can piece together a better set of switches.
The ones that came with the kit were junk

I would buy a flipper rebuild kit. Most likely the coils are fine. Rebuild the flippers and gap the eos switch and you should be good to go.

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