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Area 51 Site 4 PCB Troubleshooting PDF Print E-mail

I picked up a dead Area 51 Site 4 kit with wiring, guns marquee and all. Previous owner reported it was DOA - nothing on screen.

Found out these boards are nothing more than a special JAMMA interface on a standard PC motherboard. The motherboard is a Cyrix P5GX-LG, and the interface board is referred to as an Atari "Jammit" board. They connect directly into each other via the VGA and parallel ports. In addition, there's an audio connector for sound, and a reset wire for a watchdog.

Looking the board over, I found the power led on the jammit board damaged. I don't think that's causing an issue but I'll prob replace it with a standard led. It was true that it is DOA, however the sound amps seem to work and the hard drive and motherboard are getting all the proper voltages.

Being a computer geek I focused on that first. There is a tiny speaker on the board and not hearing a bios beep - I knew it wasn't booting. I removed the jammit board and flipped it off to the side keeping the power wires connected. I connected a regular monitor to the VGA port, and plugged the jamma harness into the jammit board (for power). Fired it up, and sure enough, no boot or picture. I  reseated the RAM simms to no avail. Finally after doing some digging, I found some old ram simms and popped those in, and upon power up - the monitor now tells me it can't display the signal (arcade monitor res). YES!! Now getting a signal and bios beep means its functioning! Woohoo!

I put the jammit board back on, connect a monitor, and now have a boot picture/test menu. GREAT - it works! Now lets hook up some guns and set this up. Wait...guns not working...in fact, no data leds on jammit board...CRAP - still half dead

A minute after that - my bench switcher went up in smoke. Yay.

I moved the pile over to my Dynamo cab, and still getting the same results. Again I yanked the jammit board and went over it with a magnifying glass. I found one unused solder pad for a chip had a short, which I simply fixed with a dental pick. I found 1-2 crappy looking solder points on power connector that I resoldered, but alas, nothing that brings it back to life.

At this point I don't know where to go with it, other than look up a few of the chips (there's not a ton) and make sure each one is getting voltage. There are 4 leds that show data activity when the jammit board is communicating with the motherboard, and none are ever lit, so again that could indicate the jammit board is dead, or the parallel port is dead, or both. I shoudl be able to verify the parallel port with my oscope - the mobo looks like it tries to talk to the jammit as part of its bootup so hopefully that'll show some activity!

Madman Arcade Update (6-4-2009) PDF Print E-mail

Apparently I'm just going nuts with this stuff. I picked up 3 more cabs, a Galaga (Ms Pac/Midway cab), a 25" Neo Geo (to replace my existing cab), and an Asteroids Deluxe cab that was in bad shape and unfortuantely was "put down". The Galaga cab will hopefully provide a home for the Capcom bowling kit, and the Neo Geo cab will replace my existing Neo Geo cab.

In other news, the Madman is now somewhat useable thanks to a reorg at the garage, and with some shuffling of extra crap, all games are accessible and playable. Most games are now token enabled with the last few coming soon.

Atari Pinball has made its way to the garage and has been a favorite amongst visitors so far - I guess it's a keeper!

Lastly, I'm working on the site a little, adding some DIY content to it soon for the arcade section, and down the road the car section as well. I gotta get off my butt and get the car section put together I guess!

Madman Arcade Update (4-27-2009) PDF Print E-mail

Some quick updates....

 1. Asteroids Deluxe #1 has been sold. It went to a good home up in New York, to another Jeff nonetheless! Hope you enjoy it!

 2.  Asteroids Deluxe #2 is now completed and working again. The ARII board needed to be rebuilt, one of the amp chips replaced, and I want to put the original big blue back in since it seems to hum more with the new one. Other than that it looks great and works great!

 3.  Atari Video Pinball - IT LIVES!! As of tonight, I got the board working!! Thanks to the KLOV crowd I was able to troubleshoot the board and ended up replacing the two Playfield RAM chips (2114s). This is the first time I've done a repair like this, and I'm glad to say it has a happy ending!  Still need a 23" B&W Monitor though. If anyone has one local to the Philly (or close by in Delaware or NJ) let me know!

I'd also like to plug http://www.arcadecomponents.com. Ray from that site was a huge help in helping me get the Video Pinball board working. If you're looking for chips to fix an arcade game or classic console/vintage computer, look em up! They also do repairs.

Madman Arcade Update (5-16-2009) PDF Print E-mail

Well since I have a few updates, here's yet another posting...

 Atari Video Pinball: ALIVE!! I picked up a donor Motorola Xm501 monitor yesterday on the way back from a business trip(Thanks Rob!). It had the proper 22vatp picture tube I needed.  I tried the Moto first but for some reason it didn't work with the game, so I opted to swap the tube over. Once I swapped the tube I now had a picture, but a very dim picture. In doing some testing I found that the collector of Q203 (D40P3 transistor) wasn't showing 46v like it should. I found one I could temporary swap over (from a 19v2000), and now have a good picture!!

Mounting the tube/chassis back into the mounting frame wasn't fun, but I got it all back together for now, and played a couple games of video pinball. Sweeet!

I still need a D40P3 transistor (Made by Ge) for this, as well as a bezel.

 In other news, I made some progress on converting the arcade over to tokens. I picked up a couple boxes of coin/token mechs from the Allentown Pinball show, and since found out that those ugly tan plastic coin mechs are easily convertable to .984 tokens! Long story short I started converting a whole pile of them, and then installed them into the Megatouch, Qbert, Pole Position, and Asteroids Deluxe so far. So far so good - no jams!

Lastly - there would prob be more progress, however I've since become addicted to TriTowers in a huge way. Philly TriTowers high score owners beware! Already beat the high score on a few local bar Megatouches, and just today came very close to beating the very high score on my own.

Until next time!

Madman Arcade Update (4-16-2009) PDF Print E-mail

Been a while since I updated, so here's the latest scoopage; Readers Digest version...

  • NEW: A 1979 Atari Video Pinball has joined the lineup. Man I just gotta stop picking these things up! This thing will prove to be a challenge: Limited Production (1505 total), Badly scratched bezel, bad monitor tube (22" black & white), control panel in need of repair, and later found out the board has garbled video. Its a shame since the cabinet itself is in such nice shape, and its a very unique game in that like Asteroids Deluxe and others, uses a blacklight and a reflected image. We'll see if I can pull out yet another miracle to save this one. More Pics Here!
  • Space Duel: The Space Duel cabinet has joined the big arcade in the sky. I couldn't justify the cost to ressurect it, the game itself is a lot like Asteroids which I already have 3 of, and it had some moisture damage.Tried to give it away to no avail. I stripped all useable parts from it and sent it on it's way.
  • Qbert: The great news is that Qbert LIVES!! Within two weeks I managed to take an almost empty cab, and bring it back from the dead with the help of the KLOV Forums. Quite an addictive game!
  • Asteroids Deluxe: The replacement Asteroids Deluxe is coming along, but still needs some work to be complete. It works now however the AR board needs to be rebuilt, despite its mint appearance. My other Asteroids Deluxe is up for sale - asking $300 or best offer.
  • Asteroids Cabinet: The Asteroids cabinet I got from TNT which was supposed to be a parts unit looks too nice. I may end up keeping it and swapping my guts into it. We shall see!
Thats it for now - as spring moves on and summer approaches, my interest in the arcade will wane and time will be spent on getting some exercise and working on the GN. I still plan to get the arcade fully working in the near future and having a bunch of people over for some gaming fun!
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