Corrado Tomaselli

May 252017

I got for my collection an untested boardset of Defender which was really in great conditions with no battery acid leak.

The boardset is the newer revision of Defender with the red label roms.

The game is very difficult to find it in working conditions nowadays because it has several weak points, expecially the 24 drams 4116 which are very unreliable to due the fact the run very hot and they require +5V, -5V and +12V to be applied at the same time, otherwise they will be damaged.

The old Williams PSU become defective and often they ruin the drams.

After converting it to Jamma and triple checked all the power supply lines I booted it up but the game appeared to be dead.

Fortunately Defender has a lot of bibliography and a very good manual which is also a troubleshooting guide.

I check the clock and it was working correctly, but after checking the reset line I saw it was pulled low all the time.

To make it short, Defender has two +12V power supplies, one regulated and one not.

You have to supply +12V also to the not regulated one because it is needed for the power on reset.

After adding that +12V t, the game booted but as soon as the message ALL UNIT OK was displayed it reset in a never ending loop.

I found out that the problem was caused by the ribbon cable , after reseating it a couple of times, the game booted correctly.

I started the game but the ship kept always going down.

With the test menu , it reported that the down direction was always pushed.

I checked the interface board which has the circuit for the inputs. the hex inverters 4049 were all toggling correctly, the pull up resistors were good therefore there was only one chip to check: the Peripheral Interface adapter 6821P.

I desoldered it and installed another one I had on stock taken from another arcade games.

Since I had no way to test it, I decided to put a 40 pin socket just to be sure I could easily swap it with another one in case it was defective.

Luckily the inputs were now correct, thefore I could declare the board fixed.

In the end I was very lucky because the game had only the input problem and no other issues.


May 252017

The game had some missing background tiles



At first I thought it was a maskrom problem but once I checked all of them only to find they were good, I started to probe the ram responsible for the background.

A sram @IC31 had some weak data signals so I decided to change it and the guess was right because the game was fixed.

May 062017

Got this pcb from a friend for a repair.

At first it showed a OBJECT RAM ERROR which was fixed by reflowing the custom BCU-2 which had some lifted pins.

At this point the game showed all the sprites with black pixels

After some trials,  I could locate the circuit which draws the sprites.

There are 4x srams 6116,  by piggybacking  sram @12C ( marked in white on the below pic) the sprites were shown perfectly.

After exchanging it, I got another issue

From the above picture it is difficult to see, but on the upper half of the screen, the alternate lines of the sprites were displaced on the bottom side.

I was really puzzled and I was sure that something else got broken in the meanwhile.

After some days of blindly checking other parts of the circuits, I decided to probe the address pins of the very same sram I exhanged.

A10 and A9 were tied to ground on all 4 srams of the sprite circuit, while only A8 was floating on the sram @12C

The address pins were connected to some 74LS157 and all were working correctly.

That meant the trace A8 was somewhat broken underneath.

Fortunately I had another Vimana from which I noted to which 74ls157 output A8 was connected.

After fixing the connection, the games was 100% fixed

May 052017

I received this system 16 motherboard from an arcadeitalia member called Consoleman.

The motherboard was missing completely the sound and didn’t sync with the monitor.

After checking with my sound probe that the sound was really missing by probing the pre amps, I started to check the Z80 which was confirmed good and RAM which was faulty.

Changing the ram restored the sound completely.

The Sync problem was not easy to check because the TTL which outputs the signal to the finger board is under the romboard.

In anycase I managed to test it from the solder side and I noticed the composite signal was about 14khz, that is why was not syncing.

I proceeded to desolder it

and tested out of circuit with my programmer as good….

Instead of soldering the same part, I decided to find another 74Ls125 among my junk boards.

It was not common but in the end I found it on another board and soldered it.

Motherboard was 100% fixed.


Probably my programmer hadn’t enough sensibility to declare the part as bad.  First time it happens.

May 052017

A friend of mine sent this pcb to check why the background was all messed up

I immediately noticed  in demo mode that all the characters fell down in an endless loop because they couldn’t walk on the platforms

After searching for the fault in the video board for some days, I decided to test all roms starting from the program ones.

Program rom 04 didn’t match with anything in Mame and after checking the pattern I saw it was full of garbage.


After reprogramming with a good dump, the game was restored perfectly.

It seems rom 04 has only the layout of all levels because even without its presence the game is booting