Another new Bally/Stern test board!

16 July, 2010 (05:26) | Pinball | By: admin

A lot of my projects are finally starting to come together. These boards are another step toward a dedicated lamp driver board testing system. These boards connect to J1, J2 or J3 on the lamp driver board and connect an LED to each SCR output. There is a chart screened on the board that shows which SCR is associated with which LED based on which connector the board is attached to. They can be used by themselves to troubleshoot problems with the Bally/Stern lamp driver board while it’s installed in the machine. There is a wire soldered to the board with an alligator clip on the other end that connects to the switched illumination bus. Alternatively the boards can be used with my lamp driver tester board to test lamp driver boards out of the machine.

Here are some pictures:

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Bally/Stern MPU Test Board Version 2

7 July, 2010 (22:05) | Pinball | By: admin

A while back I designed some boards to replace the EPROMs on Bally/Stern MPUs. Once I started using it to test boards I realized that I needed to design another board geared more toward testing. What you see below is the result of this effort. It’s basically the same board but I’ve added a test LED connected to CPU address line A6, a reset LED (on when reset is high), a reset switch (which actually resets the CPU rather than triggering a non-maskable interrupt like the button on the MPU) and a jumper selectable on-board reset circuit (using Dallas DS1811 150ms reset).

These boards turned out really well. I’ve already used them to repair a couple of MPUs and I won’t consider working on a Bally/Stern MPU without one ever again. I will have a limited number of these for sale at $40 each including shipping within North America. Email me at if you would like one.

Moving pinball machines is my business and business is good

29 June, 2010 (20:56) | Pinball | By: admin

Recently the company that I’ve been renting my warehouse space from needed to use the space for their own storage so I was forced to move out. Most of the pinball machines I had stored there are now being stored in my basement and I’m planning to restore and sell 50+ machines over the next few years. This is good news for readers of this blog but it has been a lot of work to get everything moved and get back to a state where I can actually work on games again.

Here are some pictures of the games being moved. I couldn’t have done it without the help from some great friends and fellow collectors. We moved 5 truck loads the first day and another 3 truck loads about a week later.

There is still a lot of shuffling of stuff going on but I should be back in restoration mode by the end of July 2010.

Enjoy the pictures.

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The Great Game Giveaway Of ’09

24 February, 2010 (23:19) | Arcade | By: admin

I gave away a dozen or so games to a local friend last year. I took some pictures to commemorate the event.

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Just what I need! More projects!

8 February, 2010 (22:12) | Pinball | By: admin

I picked up these 2 Mousin’ Around pinballs the other day. For the price I couldn’t turn it down. I made a short video showing how I load and unload games by myself. I’m not sure when these machines will be restored but I’m hoping it will be some time in the next couple of months.

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New Toys!

8 February, 2010 (01:55) | Arcade, Pinball | By: admin

Recently I decided to treat myself to some new multimeters. The main meter that I wanted to buy was the Uni-T UT81 scope meter but I was having it shipped from China and the seller had a bunch of other meters available for really good prices so I decided to go a little crazy and order a few more. I can definitely use all of these meters in the future.

I had to laugh when I saw that the contents of the package were listed as “Toys” by the seller.

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Bally/Stern MPU Testing Just Got Easier!

18 January, 2010 (10:06) | Pinball | By: admin

The hardware that runs the classic Bally/Stern series of pinball machines is by far the most prolific of all the pinball systems. Consequently there are tens or even hundreds of thousands of these machines still out there. Many in need of repair. Over the years I’ve grown to know this hardware quite well and currently I’m working on some new hardware designs for use with this system.

One of the projects I’m working on is a daughter board to replace all of the RAM and ROM on the MPU board with a new board that connects to the J5 test connector on Bally/Stern MPUs. The board I’m covering in this article replaces the ROM only and uses two 2732 EPROMs. This is a proof of concept for a future design that will use a 2764 (or 128, 256, etc…) and an NVRAM.

My main intent with these boards was to be used as a test aid with Leon’s test ROM but they also work well to simply replace the EPROMs. This is especially useful on MPUs that are strapped for 9316 ROMs. I liked these boards so much that I designed a slightly nicer version with a couple more LEDs that I’m going to produce intended strictly for testing.

Here we see the board in action:

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Coming Attractions!

18 January, 2010 (07:24) | Arcade, Pinball | By: admin

Here are some sneak peaks of hardware I’m developing:

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Pac-man Granddaughter Board

26 November, 2009 (00:05) | Arcade | By: admin

You’ve heard of a daughter board but how about a granddaughter board?

I built this thing a couple of years ago. I’ve been working with a fellow collector on some hardware development and he wanted to see an example of a logic IC hiding under and EPROM so I figured I might as well write something about this board.

The picture below shows 2 boards. One is a Ms. Pac-man daughter board and the other is my home brew Pac-Man board tester. It’s a daughter board on a daughter board so I like to call it a granddaughter board.

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Classy Bowler Woodrail Comes Home!

27 October, 2009 (04:14) | Pinball | By: admin

Recently a friend of mine found a 3 game bulk deal and this was one of the games. He knows that I’m always looking for woodrail machines so he was kind enough to cut me in on the deal and sell it to me. Based on the price and his description I agreed to buy it without seeing it first. As you can see below I was not disappointed. The backglass is trashed but the cabinet and playfield are in amazing condition given the age of the machine. I really love the old woodrail machines and they don’t come up too often around here so I was really happy to get this gem.

Shay Arcade Group has a reproduction backglass available. It will end up costing me more than twice the price of the whole machine but given the condition of the playfield I think it will be worth it.

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