DEFYING OBSOLESCENCE... a pinball board quest.

Restoration/upgrades/fixes/fabrication of pins and vids
Sparky
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DEFYING OBSOLESCENCE... a pinball board quest.

Postby Sparky » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:22 pm

"Goddamn it... I fucked up."

Usually, any novel or great story starts with a catchy opening sentence. Well, mine conveys as much truth as a mix of humor and self-deprecation, with a dash of embarassment. It all starts at a Borderland meeting in CowLand... What starts off as a gesture of me seeing what I can do, ended up causing a big booboo.

Flashback to a few months ago, Chris Silver buys a Wico Af-Tor, told by the seller that the #2 and #4 displays (all on one display board) were not working. Well... actually, the fucking things were never there in the first place. LOL. Oh well... happens to us all...

So, now at FarmBoy's place for storage (that is another story), I decide to take a look at the display board on the left side, for players 1 and 3. After removing it from the center board with the 4-digit ball in play and credit display, I took a closer look at it. Simple yet funky design, as the display board can be installed on either side, having 0.100" interconnect sockets on both sides, and joined by the traces on the back of the board. I even managed to get the part number off the display glass, which REAAAAAAAALLY looks like a 7-digit GTB display...

#7-GS-01Z by Futaba...

So I put everything back... and that is when shit went sideways... One of the header pins didn't go in properly, and it touched another... BOOM... game goes dead, and a chip on the display board went bye-bye, with the all-too-familiar smell we pinballers all dread... toasty electronics.

OK, so I removed the display board and replaced the display fuse on the power board. CPU shows that everything is oK, yet game doesn't start. OK... that will be for another time.

So, I grab the display board and start my quest of redemption.

Spare boards? Fuhgeddaboudit. Unobtainium.

So... I start on the process of repairing... and as I did so, I found some bad shit... Seems that this baord had been "repaired" before. Soemone replaced a couple of the 4 chips on it, but didn't socket them. Result? The traces were really bad to start off. OK... Not the end of the world, but still sucks. I removed the chips, only to have my desoldering iron die on me. FUCKSHITBALLS... So, now I ordered a new gun for the desoldering station... :evil:

So, a few days later, I receive 18 and 20-pin chip sockets from Digikey, 6118 chips from a web seller and 74LS374 chips from EBay. The only other parts on the board are 0.100" interconnect sockets (which I found at Digikey), 2 résistors (easy), and... the displays.

And HERE is where I started thinking... well, shit-fuck... there isn't much on these display boards... can I reproduce them?

So first step, I look for the manufacturer... says on the board "DESIGNED BY X-TAR". Dead end, it seems.

OK... then, the other component, hee display tubes... I searched everywhere, and found nothing. Finally, I called Futaba. The rep told me that the 7GS01Z display was a short run and ended production in 1985... FUCKNUTS.

But... what about a 7-digit Gottlieb display... Hmm....

Gottlieb used a #7-JS-03Z... I compared the schematics of both and the pin-outs are not that far off... for the most part, one to two pins off. Nothing impossible. And the schematics mention that Wico displays had a +40V supply, while Gottlieb had +60V. OK... again, not impossible to do...

So, I searched EBay and found 2 NOS 7-digit GTB display glass for 60$CDN shipped... hmm... no brainer. Why not...

So, now, I have the parts. The GTB display is about 20% larger than the Wico glass. Again, not much of an issue. Still can be done.

So... here I am... now looking into possibly recreating a Wico display board, modified to accept a Gottlieb display. Usually, people start into PCB making by doing something with 2-3 components. Not me. LOL :FP:

So... the quest begins... recreating the obsolete. Well, at least it's not a complete fucking MPU... just a board with 190 holes in it or so. LOL

I will have pics later...

So... join me on the journey... should be interesting.
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Sparky
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Re: DEFYING OBSOLESCENCE... a pinball board quest.

Postby Sparky » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:54 pm

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Re: DEFYING OBSOLESCENCE... a pinball board quest.

Postby Azatotht » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:12 pm

Oooooooops !!!
I am the monster that breathing men would kill.
I, am Dracula... (and you're not!)

Sparky
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Re: DEFYING OBSOLESCENCE... a pinball board quest.

Postby Sparky » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:36 pm

It's Ok... I relish the opportunity. A person only thrives by getting out of their comfort zone. Wanna learn shit? Do shit. Nothing comes preprogrammed. Life isn't the matrix...
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Chris Silver
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Re: DEFYING OBSOLESCENCE... a pinball board quest.

Postby Chris Silver » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:49 am

It sounds like it's going to be very interesting. You're going to be the new local board man if this works. ;-)
Pins: Lightning, Af-Tor, Embryon, Stellar Wars, Beat The Clock, Tropics Isle (project pin)
Gone: Space Station, Top Score, Flash Gordon, Solar Fire, Haunted House, Fire!, Vector
WTB: Punk!, Spirit, Elektra, Mars god of War, Cosmic Gunfight, Barracora, Centaur, Centaur II, Medusa, Buck Rogers
Its better to have played and lost than never to have played at all.

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DrDude
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Re: DEFYING OBSOLESCENCE... a pinball board quest.

Postby DrDude » Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:39 am

Given the simplicity of this board (2 headers, 2 displays, 4 chips, and 3 discrete components) it might be easier just to breadboard it on a piece of perf-board with wires. That way you don't have to re-route traces to the displays, but simply run flying leads to take the place of traces.
Grant Goodes
Stern: Meteor, Nineball, Seawitch, Lightning, Cheetah
Bally: Fathom x 2, Centaur
Gottlieb: Black Hole
Wanted: Catacomb, Solar Fire, Balls-a-Poppin Seawitch backglass
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Sparky
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Re: DEFYING OBSOLESCENCE... a pinball board quest.

Postby Sparky » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:42 am

DrDude wrote:Given the simplicity of this board (2 headers, 2 displays, 4 chips, and 3 discrete components) it might be easier just to breadboard it on a piece of perf-board with wires. That way you don't have to re-route traces to the displays, but simply run flying leads to take the place of traces.


Well, I could, but I count 198 holes ... that means 99 wires at a minimum. So that would be time consuming, and look like a goddamn mess.

My goal is actually 2-fold... 1- get this machine running with working displays, and 2- sell the other display boards AT COST in order to save more pins.

I am not in it for the money. I am just trying to do my part in trying to save some rare beasts.
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