(Topic ID: 124582)

Xenon Vocalizer EPROM Repair - Vid's Guide

By vid1900

5 years ago

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  • 12 posts
  • 3 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by SunKing
  • Topic is favorited by 23 Pinsiders


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#1 5 years ago

Mikepin emailed me asking if he needed an adapter board to replace a bad PROM on a Xenon Vocalizer board.

He also wanted to know if he has to replace all the PROMs or if there was a way to find just the bad one.

This is an old repair from my Geocities site, so not every pic is a masterpiece.....


#2 5 years ago

The problem with this Xenon, was that when you made the saucer shot, the female voice would say:

"Welcome to *&&%^%#@#@#" with a startling burst of static noise.

All the other voices and sounds appeared correct.

So the sound system was working, but one of the Masked ROMs had suffered from Bitrot - the physical data on the chip had become damaged from age.

The sound for Xenon is a set of two boards.

If you press the red button, it plays all the sounds and speech in order.

I did not want to replace all the Masked ROMs since the "Welcome to Xenon" sample would likely only be on one of them, but I had no way of knowing what samples were burned onto what ROM.

I removed one ROM at a time, then pressed the test button.

The sounds on the now missing ROM play back as silence when you run the test.

The second ROM I removed (U5) proved to be the "Welcome to Xenon" one.

So I burned a U5 image onto a standard 2732 EPROM.


#3 5 years ago

Those old Masked ROMs were not erasable like an EPROM is.

They also require a a different pin configuration, so that's where people get the idea that you need an adapter board to replace a Masked ROM with an EPROM.

But Bally designed the board to run with either chip.


#4 5 years ago

In front of each ROM there are 4 jumpers: A,B,C,D

If we jumper A and C, we can use a standard 2732 EPROM on the board.

Because there are jumpers in front of each ROM, we DON'T have to change all the ROMs with EPROMS when we need to only replace one of them.


In this pic we see that jumpers B and D are being used for the ROMs.

#5 5 years ago

Black corrosion is often found on these old ROMs.

If you want to take a desperate stab, you can clean the ROM legs and reinsert it into the socket. About 5% of the time, this actually gets the sounds working again.


#6 5 years ago

Since you have the de-soldering tools out to move the jumpers anyway, you might as well replace that crappy old socket.

If it was the socket that was actually flaky, and you thought it was the ROM, it could have you chasing your tail for a few minutes.


#7 5 years ago

Here you see the socket has been replaced and the B & D jumpers have been moved to positions A & C.

This position makes the board compatible with a 2732 EPROM.


#8 5 years ago

I installed the new U5 EPROM and Xenon had her full vocabulary back.

EPROMS have a little window in the center of the chip that lets you erase and reuse them. Exposing them to strong UV light will set all their bits back to zero.

We have to remember to cover the window after erasing, so that light does not damage the new programing.

I will note that I have left an uncovered EPROM out in full sunshine for an entire day and it did not alter the programming (testing the checksum still said the chip was perfect), but you can never be too careful.



#9 5 years ago

So this repair demonstrated a few interesting facts:

1. You can replace an old Masked ROM with an EPROM in Xenon's Vocalizer board.

2. You can mix the old ROMs with new EPROMs.

3. You don't need an adapter board to use EPROMs on the board.

4. With a little deduction, you can find just the faulty chip without replacing them all.

#10 5 years ago

Joel Iott had this great summation of the Xenon speech:


From: joeli@eu (Joel Iott)
Subject: The DEFINITIVE list of Xenon quotes
Date: 5 Jul 1995 18:41:17 -0500

I notice people reminiscing about Xenon quotes from time to time in r.g.p,
so I decided to create the definitive list of Xenon quotes.

The quotes are listed in the order that they show up in the sound test,
accessible on the sound board.

1. "Xenon" - robotic male voice
2. "Xenon" - highly processed, sounds mostly female
3. "Aaaaaaah" - female (sexy sounding)
4. "Aah!" - female
5. "Ooww!" - male (normal sounding)
6. "Enter Xenon" - male
7. "Two" - female
8. "Welcome To" - female
9. "Xenon" - female
10. "Try" - female
11. "Me Again" - female
12. "Tube Shot" - female
13. "One" - female
14. "Exit" - female

"Try Xenon" (10,2) - Attract Mode
"Aaaaaaah" (3) - Coin Drop
"Xenon" (1) - Start button
"Enter Xenon" (6) - Start of Ball 1
"Welcome to Xenon" (8,9) - First X * see note
"Xenon Two" (9,7) - Second X & 2nd time Second X
"Try Tube Shot" (10,12) - Third X (repeat on X until ball locked)
"Aaaaaaah" (3) - Lock ball in side saucer
"Xenon" (9) - 2nd time, First X *
"Xenon - Exit one - Exit two " (9,14,13,14,7)
- 2nd time 3rd X (Start multiball)
"Xenon" (2) - Ramp shot
"Xenon" (1) - Complete Xenon Bonus
"Aah!"/"Ooww!" (4/5) - Slingshots alternate between these quotes
"Aah!" (4) - 2 center pop bumpers
"Ooww!" (5) - 2 side pop bumpers
"Try Me Again" (10,11) - Game Over

* The top saucer plays an important part in the game.
Get the ball in the saucer 3 times to light lock at the tube;
3 more times to start multiball;
During multiball, 3 more times to light outlane special;
During multiball, 3 additional times for special.

Each saucer spots an "X" token (light) on the playfield.

Here is my best guess at the algorithm that Xenon uses for top saucer

if (ball locked & this is 3rd X)
say "Xenon - Exit one - Exit two"; start multiball
else if (tube_shot lit for lock)
say "Try Tube Shot"
else if (first saucer shot this ball)
say "Welcome To Xenon"
else if (this saucer makes 2 Xs)
say "Xenon Two"
say "Xenon"

Note on "sexiness" of quotes: (my subjective opinion)
"Aaaaaaah" and "Try Me Again" are said in a very sexy female voice.
The rest of the female quotes are somewhat less sexy.
"Aah!" and "Ooww!" are more ambiguous, and could easily be "Ow!" the cry
of pain instead of "ooooooh!", the cry of pleasure.

Note on other languages:
Xenon speech was recorded for other languages. There is definite proof
of French speech. Most of the english was replaced by French spoken in
a man's voice! It sounds pretty bad. The oooohs and aaaahs were left
intact. Thanks to Rick Schieve for this info.

#11 5 years ago

This is great. Very informative.

1 month later
#12 5 years ago

Great info as always - thanks Vid

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