(Topic ID: 231367)

Williams System 6 Firepower won't boot


By rlbohon3

12 months ago



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  • 27 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 months ago by Budwin
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

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#1 12 months ago

I bought a Firepower recently that is physically in great shape but will not boot up. IDK the history of this particular game because I bought it at an auction, but I believe it was home use only, likely very little use, no battery corrosion, no playfield wear, etc. Aside from needing new rubbers, lights and a polish/waxing of the playfield, it "looks" just about mint. However, powering it up results in the GI lights coming on and the two LEDs on the MPU light up solid. Nothing on the displays. It doesn't appear to boot. I also found that the ball ramp thrower solenoid was burned up.

Here is what I've tried so far based on @vid1900 's helpful bulletproofing tips, my own exploring and advice from others:
1) Replaced 40 pin headers on MPU and 40 pin socket on driver board w/ parts from Great Plains Electronics.
2) Replaced all Scanbe sockets for the 6 game ROMs (IC26, IC22, IC21, IC20, IC17, IC14) and CPU socket (IC1) with SIP sockets. I haven't replaced the Scanbe socket on the RAM IC13 yet because I ran out of SIPs. More on order.
3) Tested all pins in #1 and #2 above for continuity and shorts (solder bridges w/ adjacent pins); found no issues.
4) Found shorted power transistor (Q29) driving the burnt up ramp thrower solenoid. Replaced w/ new TIP120. Also replaced solenoid/diode. Fuse F2 for solenoids on the power supply would blow prior to fixing this every time game was turned on. Now not blowing after replacing transistor & solenoid/diode.
5) Replaced all 4 axial caps on power supply. 5V, ground and ~12V measured at 3J6 on power supply.
6) Reflowed all connectors on MPU, driver board and power supply.
7) Removed battery holder and wired in external battery holder.
8) Added fuse mod for lamp and solenoid rectifiers for safety.

No change in behavior. Turning on game results in GI lights coming on, two LEDs on MPU coming on solid and that's it. Nothing on the display. If I hit the test button on the sound board, it goes through all the sounds; that seems to indicate the sound system is working but doesn't tell me why the game doesn't boot.

So I'm not sure what to do next. I'm not sure what to test/diagnose, or what would be the next likely cause of failure. I did notice that when I had the game ROMs out, many of the pins looked blued and tarnished possibly due to heat. Maybe a ROM is dead? I am wondering if it makes sense to remove the 4 game ROMs (IC26, IC22, IC21, IC14) and replace with a combo ROM on IC14 from someplace such as Action Pinball. Also IC20 and IC17 flipper ROMs, maybe replace them too.

Also, would it make any sense to swap out the 6808 CPU (IC1) and the 6810 RAM (IC13) since they were socketed chips and easy to replace? Replacing the ROMs and RAMs isn't too terribly expensive, but then again I may just be throwing parts at it w/o knowing for sure there is a failure. On the other hand, with the other things I've addressed to this point, I'm looking for the next likely candidate. Any advice?

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#2 12 months ago

If you don't know your chips are good that'd be the first thing I'd try to verify.

Do you have a logic probe?

#3 12 months ago
Quoted from rlbohon3:

I bought a Firepower recently that is physically in great shape but will not boot up. IDK the history of this particular game because I bought it at an auction, but I believe it was home use only, likely very little use, no battery corrosion, no playfield wear, etc. Aside from needing new rubbers, lights and a polish/waxing of the playfield, it "looks" just about mint. However, powering it up results in the GI lights coming on and the two LEDs on the MPU light up solid. Nothing on the displays. It doesn't appear to boot. I also found that the ball ramp thrower solenoid was burned up.
Here is what I've tried so far based on @vid1900 's helpful bulletproofing tips, my own exploring and advice from others:
1) Replaced 40 pin headers on MPU and 40 pin socket on driver board w/ parts from Great Plains Electronics.
2) Replaced all Scanbe sockets for the 6 game ROMs (IC26, IC22, IC21, IC20, IC17, IC14) and CPU socket (IC1) with SIP sockets. I haven't replaced the Scanbe socket on the RAM IC13 yet because I ran out of SIPs. More on order.
3) Tested all pins in #1 and #2 above for continuity and shorts (solder bridges w/ adjacent pins); found no issues.
4) Found shorted power transistor (Q29) driving the burnt up ramp thrower solenoid. Replaced w/ new TIP120. Also replaced solenoid/diode. Fuse F2 for solenoids on the power supply would blow prior to fixing this every time game was turned on. Now not blowing after replacing transistor & solenoid/diode.
5) Replaced all 4 axial caps on power supply. 5V, ground and ~12V measured at 3J6 on power supply.
6) Reflowed all connectors on MPU, driver board and power supply.
7) Removed battery holder and wired in external battery holder.
8) Added fuse mod for lamp and solenoid rectifiers for safety.
No change in behavior. Turning on game results in GI lights coming on, two LEDs on MPU coming on solid and that's it. Nothing on the display. If I hit the test button on the sound board, it goes through all the sounds; that seems to indicate the sound system is working but doesn't tell me why the game doesn't boot.
So I'm not sure what to do next. I'm not sure what to test/diagnose, or what would be the next likely cause of failure. I did notice that when I had the game ROMs out, many of the pins looked blued and tarnished possibly due to heat. Maybe a ROM is dead? I am wondering if it makes sense to remove the 4 game ROMs (IC26, IC22, IC21, IC14) and replace with a combo ROM on IC14 from someplace such as Action Pinball. Also IC20 and IC17 flipper ROMs, maybe replace them too.
Also, would it make any sense to swap out the 6808 CPU (IC1) and the 6810 RAM (IC13) since they were socketed chips and easy to replace? Replacing the ROMs and RAMs isn't too terribly expensive, but then again I may just be throwing parts at it w/o knowing for sure there is a failure. On the other hand, with the other things I've addressed to this point, I'm looking for the next likely candidate. Any advice?
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Hello
In your last photo, the empty ROM socket it looks like pins 23 & 24 are bridged by solder?
Cheers bob

#4 12 months ago

Try removing the driver board completely, then power on. This will let you know if there's something on the driver board mucking things up or not.
I just went through some problems on my firepower, and it ended up being a bad PIA (or two) on the driver board that was keeping the CPU from booting properly.
I'm starting to think that PIAs should've been named PITAs.

Good collection of Firepower info here (not sure why it's called "blackknightpinball" when it's really firepower):
http://blackknightpinball.co.uk/wp/
specifically in the margins here:
http://www.firepowerpinball.com/downloads/CPUBoard.pdf

Helped me out a LOT.

Good luck,
Jeff

#5 12 months ago

zacaj I don't have a logic probe and have never used one; only a standard multi-meter. I just did a quick search and they look pretty straight forward to verify highs, lows and signals. So I'm guessing w/ a logic probe and the schematic indicating which pins are a constant voltage, which are ground, which are not connected and which are some other sort of signal, I should be able to determine if there are signs of life going to and from each IC?

pinballtoys I'll double check that spot for a solder bridge, but I'm guessing it's something weird in the photo as I checked each earlier. Could be something though; thanks for pointing that out.

grangeomatic Thanks for the tips! I'll see what happens w/ the driver board removed tonight. Thanks for the links too.

#6 12 months ago

Just an update...

1) I checked the pins in the socket that looked like a solder bridge in the last pic I posted. No issue; must have been a weird reflection in the image.

2) I disconnected and unmounted the driver board then powered up the game. Same behavior. Both LEDs on MPU turn on solid.

3) I glanced at the game ROMs again. Visually, the only one that has the blued and tarnished pins is in IC14. The other game ROMs look normal. I haven’t found a logic probe locally so I may just order one to test.

2FF43D30-F619-47EB-A3CF-6DCEA61CF26D (resized).jpeg
#7 12 months ago
Quoted from rlbohon3:

I bought a Firepower recently that is physically in great shape but will not boot up. IDK the history of this particular game because I bought it at an auction, but I believe it was home use only, likely very little use, no battery corrosion, no playfield wear, etc. Aside from needing new rubbers, lights and a polish/waxing of the playfield, it "looks" just about mint. However, powering it up results in the GI lights coming on and the two LEDs on the MPU light up solid. Nothing on the displays. It doesn't appear to boot. I also found that the ball ramp thrower solenoid was burned up.
Here is what I've tried so far based on @vid1900 's helpful bulletproofing tips, my own exploring and advice from others:
1) Replaced 40 pin headers on MPU and 40 pin socket on driver board w/ parts from Great Plains Electronics.
2) Replaced all Scanbe sockets for the 6 game ROMs (IC26, IC22, IC21, IC20, IC17, IC14) and CPU socket (IC1) with SIP sockets. I haven't replaced the Scanbe socket on the RAM IC13 yet because I ran out of SIPs. More on order.
3) Tested all pins in #1 and #2 above for continuity and shorts (solder bridges w/ adjacent pins); found no issues.
4) Found shorted power transistor (Q29) driving the burnt up ramp thrower solenoid. Replaced w/ new TIP120. Also replaced solenoid/diode. Fuse F2 for solenoids on the power supply would blow prior to fixing this every time game was turned on. Now not blowing after replacing transistor & solenoid/diode.
5) Replaced all 4 axial caps on power supply. 5V, ground and ~12V measured at 3J6 on power supply.
6) Reflowed all connectors on MPU, driver board and power supply.
7) Removed battery holder and wired in external battery holder.
8) Added fuse mod for lamp and solenoid rectifiers for safety.
No change in behavior. Turning on game results in GI lights coming on, two LEDs on MPU coming on solid and that's it. Nothing on the display. If I hit the test button on the sound board, it goes through all the sounds; that seems to indicate the sound system is working but doesn't tell me why the game doesn't boot.
So I'm not sure what to do next. I'm not sure what to test/diagnose, or what would be the next likely cause of failure. I did notice that when I had the game ROMs out, many of the pins looked blued and tarnished possibly due to heat. Maybe a ROM is dead? I am wondering if it makes sense to remove the 4 game ROMs (IC26, IC22, IC21, IC14) and replace with a combo ROM on IC14 from someplace such as Action Pinball. Also IC20 and IC17 flipper ROMs, maybe replace them too.
Also, would it make any sense to swap out the 6808 CPU (IC1) and the 6810 RAM (IC13) since they were socketed chips and easy to replace? Replacing the ROMs and RAMs isn't too terribly expensive, but then again I may just be throwing parts at it w/o knowing for sure there is a failure. On the other hand, with the other things I've addressed to this point, I'm looking for the next likely candidate. Any advice?
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

I'am sure there are 3 balls loaded in the game. It would mess with me a bit while I was getting mine up and running.

#8 12 months ago
Quoted from iamdrunker:

I'am sure there are 3 balls loaded in the game. It would mess with me a bit while I was getting mine up and running.

Yep, I know what you’re talking about. Ran into that while helping a friend bring his Grand Lizard back to life. Not the issue in my case.

#9 12 months ago

Just an idea..what’s your reset signal doing? Does it go high? You can check that with a normal meter.

#10 12 months ago
Quoted from Grangeomatic:

Just an idea..what’s your reset signal doing? Does it go high? You can check that with a normal meter.

Ok, I'm not sure I know exactly what that is or how to check it.

#11 12 months ago

Referencing that 2nd link I posted, put your black lead on test point 10 (ground) and your red lead on test point 8 (reset). It should be 5v when machine is powered up. If it’s not, you’ve got a problem with the reset circuit, and there should be some things on pinwiki to help with that.

#12 12 months ago

Got it. It's measuring 4.9v. That's with the driver board still disconnected and unmounted.

#13 12 months ago

Wait a sec... what’s this on IC9 and IC10? I saw this earlier and thought it was just a soldered jumper of some sort, but shouldn’t these be IC’s 8T28?

DD37B080-195E-4F26-9F85-4DE7DAEA6C39 (resized).jpeg
#14 12 months ago

Nothing to see....Williams originally had some trancievers there, but decided they didnt need them, so replaced them with these things that look like ICs, but are really just strategic jumpers.

Reset is 4.9? That's probably good.

Is PIA IC18 socketed?

#15 12 months ago

Ok good to know on IC9 and IC10. Looked like they were done on purpose, but hadn't seen that in the schematics.

The PIA in IC18 is currently surface mounted, not socketed.

IMG_1030 (resized).JPG
#16 12 months ago

Sorry, I'm kind of out of ideas without being there myself.
Do you have the soldering skills to remove any soldered chips on the boards? If it were me, I'd probably remove the PIA on the CPU board and see what that did.
Do you have a logic probe? If so, you could check the address lines and see if they're pulsing (which would mean the CPU is running). I'm guessing they're not. You can see a lot with a logic probe.

In that picture of the IC9 and IC10 above, it doesn't look like your processor chip is fully seated in the socket strips.

#17 12 months ago

No problem and I appreciate the help. I've checked the CPU and it seems properly seated. I have a logic probe on it's way but I caved for now and pulled the trigger on a Rottendog board. After the basic things I've already tried, I'm concerned there could be a number of other things not functioning (PIA, ROMs, RAM, CPU, etc) and would like to get this game up and running soon. Cost to send it off and have someone fully repair possibly both the MPU and driver board starts to make the aftermarket option more attractive. That said, I'll probably hang on to the MPU and driver boards and might look at them again at some point. Again, thanks for the help.

2 weeks later
#18 11 months ago

I was in the same boat as you, but I decided to buy the Siegcraft testing fixtures instead of a Rottendog.
The reason I went that way was is because I have 3 sys6 CPUs and 2 driver boards.

My boards are not as good as your pictured CPU.
I learned a lot about troubleshooting these in the past couple of weeks.

First thing I learned is that the game ROMs ARE ABSOLUTELY WORTHLESS for troubleshooting a board who's past is unknown.
If there is even the smallest defect those ROMs do NOTHNG except flash the LEDs briefly and then lock on.

You REALLY must acquire a test ROM to make any progress on boards with defects.
I used the Andre v2.0 test ROM (sys7.bin - 2716 ROM) most since it has pretty comprehensive tests for major components.
(and it runs EVEN IF there are several defective components and the driver board does not have to be attached to test only CPU components)
You can leave the other ROMs in, just put the test ROM in the IC17 location.
You need to make the little LED board that the Andre v2.0 manual describes. (I think it took me 10 minutes to make one)
Once you have all the Andre tests passed (except PIA V sys7 only) you can think about putting the game ROMs back in.

Andre Fixture (resized).jpg

I highly recommend switching the six ROM configuration to the three ROM configuration. (2732 with FPcombo.732)
linked here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/firepower-tech-repair-and-restore

Then the Siegcraft boards (display tester, diag. switch, and lamp matrix PCBs) show that the game runs and you can step through the standard tests.

Bench Test (resized).JPG

This is all SO much easier on the bench instead of in the backbox.
Right now I have all three CPUs and one driver board working properly, one driver board is still not working, parts ordered.

Just things I wish I could have known about BEFORE I started down the sys6 board repair road......

#19 11 months ago

You can also try these test ROMs: http://pincoder.reversion.ca

You can run them in-game. just write a test ROM image to a chip and insert it where the green flipper 2 ROM is. all others can stay in the game. the LED test will tell you if your CPU is functioning and later tests will check RAM and CMOS, PIAs, etc.

#20 11 months ago
Quoted from pincoder:

You can also try these test ROMs: http://pincoder.reversion.ca
You can run them in-game. just write a test ROM image to a chip and insert it where the green flipper 2 ROM is. all others can stay in the game. the LED test will tell you if your CPU is functioning and later tests will check RAM and CMOS, PIAs, etc.

Have you made a way to use your tests without switching a ROM for every test?

That is really hard on sockets.
I have used those too just found Andre ROM covers many tests without swapping.

I really like your tests better if there was a switch tests easier.

Could you use The Andre LED user I/F and combine your tests?

#21 11 months ago

i am betting on a bad ram chip.........

#22 11 months ago

I had some very thready boot issues with my Blackout until I replaced the .156" male headers on the MPU and solenoid board. Also got them from Great Plains Electronics.

If not done so already, build up the power supply per the Vid1900 instructions (caps, diodes, resistor, voltage regulator replacements), and look carefully at the bridge rectifiers for burn marks, I replaced those as well. They were cheap and the new ones run much cooler.

Keep a close eye on what could get shorted out when the playfield is lowered; I had a few diodes and switches that got bent about over the years that would short out on playfield drop. I replaced most of the diodes that were questionable with 1N4004s on solenoids and switches.

Needless to say, it was a lot of work but the basket case I got is now working 100%.

#23 11 months ago

Just to follow up with where I ended up with my game, the Rotten Dog fixed things. Well, not at first. I did everything right to set it up but on the first play, as soon as it hit the pop bumpers, apparently a diode was about to fail. One of the diodes shorted so it took out a power transistor on the new board right away. Dangit... Looking back at it, I probably should have replaced all the solenoid diodes before running the game. I did put 1N4004 diodes on all solenoids after the failure, replaced the transistor and all is well now (especially after gapping standup target switches and a lane rollover switch out of adjustment). I still have the old boards. At some point I may dig deeper with fixing them with the test ROMs and fixtures out of the backbox.

#24 11 months ago
Quoted from Budwin:

Have you made a way to use your tests without switching a ROM for every test?
That is really hard on sockets.
I have used those too just found Andre ROM covers many tests without swapping.
I really like your tests better if there was a switch tests easier.
Could you use The Andre LED user I/F and combine your tests?

Yes, I agree, it is very hard on sockets to be continually replacing the chip. I am working on a board that will hold a larger, newer, and widely available EEPROM chip, that will hold all the tests on one chip (with room for more). The tests are selectable by dip switches. There is a gap reserved in the image for the user to place a copy of the original ROM, so that by setting all the DIP switches to zero/off you will be able to leave the board installed and still play the game.

I could also reserve an extra slot for placing the Andre ROM image. It wouldn't hurt. That would allow one to have the best of both worlds without having to pull chips in and out of the socket.

I could also write some tests to use the LED user interface, but that feels more like reinventing the wheel.

Another option exists, but it's expensive. It consists of plugging a ROM chip emulator ($300 USD+) into the socket and then just sending each ROM image to the emulator and turning on the game. I've been using one for test ROM development, and I leave it connected full time. If I want to go back to playing the game I just send the original ROM file to it. Works great, but again it's expensive. I've also added bluetooth to it, so I can send ROMs via bluetooth and I don't need to have a serial cable hanging out of my pinball machine. PM me if you want more details.

#25 11 months ago

I purchased an Aries 24 pin ZIF socket from Mouser for $10
Worth it!
Thanks for your hard work on those test programs.
BTW I tossed out my ROM emulator years ago.

#26 11 months ago
Quoted from Budwin:

I purchased an Aries 24 pin ZIF socket from Mouser for $10
Worth it!
Thanks for your hard work on those test programs.
BTW I tossed out my ROM emulator years ago.

You're welcome, I'm glad you find them useful

I love my emulator - I found some linux code for it a few years back so I don't have to keep using windows. Had to make some changes to it to get bluetooth to work, but its great not having the cable hanging out.

4 weeks later
#27 10 months ago

I added my System 6 (Firepower) bench test experience on YouTube.


Sorry for the blotchy video, just my iPhone.

Used the Pincoder ROM leds.bin to get the CPU to flash the two LEDs.
I also got the Pincoder displays.bin to work with the Siegecraft display before trying the Andre 2.0 ROM.

Bud

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