Yves M

Mahou Daisakusen repair log

 PCB Repair Logs, Repair Logs  Comments Off on Mahou Daisakusen repair log
Aug 222017
 

A friend got a Mahou Daisakusen (japanese version of Sorcer Striker) board with faulty graphics.

It was playing fine with sound but there was an obvious color palette problem.

I started looking at signals around the color outputs of the PCB and quickly found weak signals on the 74HCT273 at location U12. Piggybacking the chip with a working 74LS273 fixed the colors immediately.

I replaced the chip… Board fixed.

Here is a picture of the PCB with the defective chip highlighted in red:

 Posted by at 4:09 pm

Golden Axe 2 – The Revenge of Death Adder repair log #1

 PCB Repair Logs, Repair Logs  Comments Off on Golden Axe 2 – The Revenge of Death Adder repair log #1
Oct 042016
 

Got this Golden Axe 2 rom board (here plugged on a working Sega System 32 mother board from an Arabian Fight) with a black screen on boot:

goldenaxe2-1

I borrowed a friend’s working Golden Axe 2 rom board for tests and found out that the security board was the faulty part:

goldenaxe2-2

This board uses an encrypted V60 CPU to prevent conversions by swapping ROMs between boards. For example, there is the exact same board on Arabian Fight but CPUs have different IDs:
– 315-5533-01 for Arabian Fight
– 315-5533-02 for Golden Axe 2

So obviously, putting the security board from Arabian Fight didn’t make the game working, even with the EPROM from Golden Axe 2 plugged in.

ROM, PAL, oscillator and 75HC04AP were tested good but I found a few address lines which looked inactive with the scope. So the faulty chip could be either the CPU @U2 or the RAM @U1. As the encrypted CPU cannot be retrieved anywhere else than another Golden Axe 2, replacing the RAM was my only chance to repair it.

The RAM is a Fujitsu MB8421 (16 kb CMOS).

goldenaxe2-3

I bought a new one (got a MB8421-90L instead of the original MB8421-12L but not a problem as it is a faster 90 ns instead of the original 120 ns), replaced it and luckily the game booted with no other issue. 🙂

goldenaxe2-4

Aug 132016
 

Lately, I got a total of 4 faulty Night Slashers PCBs from friends to repair. Due to the fact that these boards are mainly populated by SMCs and customs ICs, a custom CPU and no available schematics, making them less handy to diagnose than some older generation boards. I decided to take advantage of having four boards on the bench and recently started working on them.

Among the 4 boards, I had three different board revisions (DE-0395-1, DE-0396-0 and DE-0397-0) only with very minor differences between each.

 

  • FIRST FAULTY BOARD (DE-0397-0 revision)

nslashers1a

Problem #1: The game was running but with major gfx issues. Most of the backgrounds were just plain while sprites seemed fine.

nslashers1b

Piggybacking the 64kb RAMs @ 5E, 6E and 9E successfully restored a lot of the backgrounds but there was still some garbled data, even after replacing them.

nslashers1c

Problem #2: The fourth RAM @ 10E was tested good, as well as the two MASK ROMs @ 8A and 9A where the background data is stored. Touching the contacts around the gfx area with slightly humected fingers revealed a few ones where data seemed missing/corrupted as we could see the garbled pixels slightly changing. These sensible contacts led to a 74F373 @ 12C, a 74LS373 @ 11C and a Data East ASIC number 74. The signals looked healthy on the scope so after desoldering the two suspicious TTLs chips, it was finally the Motorola 74F373 @ 12C that was faulty. Replacing the chip finally led to a perfectly fine looking game.

nslashers1d

Problem #3: FM sounds (synths, generated by an YM2151) were very weak compared to sampled sounds (voices, percussions and other samples, generated by two M6295)
Comparing the audio part with an other board revealed a factory mistake in the row of resistors that connect every sound channel to the amp circuit… They put a 15 kOhm at R17 instead of a 47 kOhm. For a good balanced sound, here are the correct values for them:
-R16, R20 & R21 : 8 kOhm (seen 7,4 kOhm on a DE-0395-1 board revision, difference isn’t perceptible)
-R17 : 47 kOhm (seen 50 kOhm on a DE-0395-1 board revision, difference isn’t perceptible)
-R18 & R19 : 67 kOhm
-R22 & R23 : 10 kOhm

nslashers1e

 

  • SECOND FAULTY BOARD (DE-0397-0 revision)

nslashers2

Problems:
-Game was booting but with some letters staggered.
-Game was crashing along with a vsync issue anytime an ingame screen appeared.

Never had this kind of fault before. The staggered letters could be an issue in the gfx part but the instant crash after an ingame screen was clearly a CPU related issue. Not really easy to diagnose (of course I checked the CPU ROMs and PALs but they were good) so I started focusing on the RAMs, a row of 4 SMC SHARP LH52250. Touching the pins on some of their address lines with humected fingers sometimes changed a few of the staggered letters so I replaced the whole lot of 4 and luckily one of them was the faulty one. Replacing it fixed the letters and crash issues.

ps. I cannot show pictures of the staggered letters as I forgot to take pictures of the screen before replacing the faulty RAMs. To give an example, the name of the character CHRISTOPHER in the player select screen appeared as CHRISTOGHER.

 

  • THIRD FAULTY BOARD (DE-0395-1 revision)

nslashers3

Problem #1: Board was booting on a garbled screen, randomly with a white or pink background.

P1140415

This type of issue is due to a problem in the main CPU section. It is a Data East 156 ARM based encrypted CPU and there is not much information online nor pinouts available so diagnosing it is a bit tricky. First, as it worked with the previous board, I replaced the 4 CPU RAMs, but with no change. Also, clock and reset signals around the CPU looked fine with the scope. Then, while probing the pins on the CPU, the game suddenly launched with minor gfx and sound issues but also with half of the controls not responding. I retraced the non working buttons from the JAMMA connector to the I/O custom chip which is a Data East 104. Everything looked fine on the scope. When I turned the power off and on again, I got the same garbled screen but after a few tries touching the CPU pins with the scope, I could sometimes get the game running again (with the same issues) or sometimes a black screen with a message : “CONFIGURATION MODE ERROR”.

All these missing controls caught my attention so I looked closer at this Data East 104 custom I/O chip.

nslashers3c

It basically makes the link between every button and the CPU. In fact, it is connected to the data bus and is sending information for all the controls to the CPU. If it is faulty then it could possibly send corrupted data to the CPU which may crash it. For example, that could happen in a lot of Taito boards from the late 80’s, early 90’s: if you plug the JAMMA harness upside/down you plug the 12V signal which normally goes to the audio amp to the controls and it directly damages the I/O custom chip which then send bad data to the CPU, leading to a non booting game.

I reflowed this 104 chip but with no changes so I decided to desolder it. I had a spare Fighters History board running on a DE-0395-1 revision board (same board than this revision of Night Slashers) and at the same location there was a very similar chip with its part number scratched off. I naturally guessed it was the same chip so I put it in place of the 104 on the Night Slashers board. No luck… Even worse than before: I could not have the game starting at all, only the message “CONFIGURATION MODE ERROR” at best.

So I contacted Bryan McPhail, author of the MAME DECO 32 driver and he was pretty sure this version of Fighters History used a previous revision of the I/O chip numbered 75, not 104. That would explain not having the game booting even once with it plugged in. So I desoldered it and put in place a 104 chip taken from one of the working Night Slashers boards as I needed to clarify the situation… And that time the game launched directly ! I also got all the controls working perfectly.

Good find, but now I had only one 104 working chip for two Night Slashers boards. Bryan told me every 104 chip could work as a replacement. This chip is present on these games: Caveman Ninja, Wizard Fire, Rohga, Boogie Wings, Diet Go Go, Double Wings, Schmeiser Robo, Pocket Gal DX and Dream Ball. The two last ones being the only ones I could imagine being donor boards, I put my hands on a Pocket Gal DX board, took the 104 chip out of it to put on my Night Slashers board then got it running with all the controls ok.

Problem #2: Had a few gfx issues (vertical lines on a few sprites).

nslashers3d

I quickly found something by touching pins on the gfx ROMs. Vertical lines seemed partially flickering and disappearing when touching some of the address lines on the MASK ROM labeled MBH-09. These are 512kb ROMs with MASK pinout so I burned the matching content on a 27C400 EPROM and tried piggybacking it. It resolved the problem so I put a socket and plugged it as replacement.

Problem #3: Had some sounds issues. Some voices/samples were missing and replaced by junk noise. One of the two M6295 voice generating chips @ 12M had previously been badly repaired and a pin was very near to fracture. Tracks #14 & #18 on the board were broken by the previous repairer and replaced by two wires going from the M6295 to the MASK ROM @ 14L. I removed the serviced chip and these two wires. In order to replace the missing tracks, I inserted tiny pieces of wire in the holes below the chip, bended them and soldered them in.

You can see here how they were broken on track #14 and how I fixed them on track #18:

nslashers3ee

And here is how it looks after a new chip in place:

nslashers3f

Part of the voices were back but some junk sounds were still audible. While checking the other M6295 chip @ 13N, I found a signal that seemed strangely inactive on an address line which goes to the MASK ROM @ 15L where these sounds are stored. I piggybacked the ROM with a burnt EPROM of the same content but nothing changed. Suspected the OKI M6295 so I replaced it and that fixed the issue. Everything is fine now.

 

  • FOURTH FAULTY BOARD (DE-0396-0 revision)

nslashers4a

Problem: Had some sounds issues. Some voices could be heard repeatedly at unintended moments. For example Christopher was saying “I take that !” repeatedly and randomly.
Found an I/O line on the M6295 @ 13N (pin #37) with no activity. This goes to the 104 chip but here there was no continuity with were it is supposed to go. There was a bit of corrosion around the M6295 and a closer inspection of the area revealed a broken hole connected to the track of pin #37:

DSC_5715

Only this side of the hole was damaged so I inserted a tiny piece of wire on the other side, bended it here and soldered both sides:

DSC_5718

That worked. No unwanted voices constantly repeating anymore.

Devil World repair log

 PCB Repair Logs, Repair Logs  Comments Off on Devil World repair log
Jul 212016
 

Got this Devil World PCB as non working. This game is running on a Konami Twin 16 hardware. It is a two layer board with the first one devoted to CPU/sound and the second one to GFX/video. The two faulty/replaced chips were on the video board and are highlighted in red.

devilworld1

Luckily the board was booting and got stuck on the RAM/ROM test screen with ROM #18 reported as bad (chip #1 on the board picture above).

devilworld2

That ROM is part of a 4 ROMs row which contains the GFXs. They are 40 pins Konami chips and looking in MAME I could see that they were 512kb MASK ROMs. I tried dumping it with my programmer but was unable as it found one dead pin. Compatible EPROMs for these are 27C400 so I burned one and replaced it.

The game was now booting but with a color problem on some tiles.

devilworld3 devilworld5

After a deep look at the video board I could find a Fujitsu 74LS153 located at 10H (chip #2 on the board picture above) with floating outputs (while inputs had healthy pulsing signals). I piggybacked it and got everything corrected. I desoldered the faulty one, put a socket and replaced it. Board is now working perfectly.

devilworld4 devilworld6

ESP Ra.De. repair log

 PCB Repair Logs, Repair Logs  Comments Off on ESP Ra.De. repair log
Jun 122016
 

Got an ESP Ra.De. board with faulty graphics:

esprade2

While looking for some suspicious signals on the GFX area, I found two PALs at locations U31 and U34 that got nothing on their output pins. U31 had healthy looking pulsing signals on its input pins but U34 had some input pins with no signal. These were in fact coming from U31 so that was totally normal.

These PALs are soldered and weren’t dumped yet so I needed to find a working board, desolder the PALs and dump them which was not easy due to the rarity of that game.

Anyway, I desoldered the two suspicious PALs from by board.

esprade1

I tried to dump them but got an error at pin #20 which is the +5V pin. Sounded they really were faulty as they got no power in order to work properly.

Finally, a good friend got a working board and kindly lent it to me so I could dump the PALs (they were unprotected).

I put sockets on my board, plugged new reprogrammed GALs in place (PALCE16V8 are compatible with GAL16V8). Everything looks perfect now:

esprade4

There is a total of 4 PALs on this board. I dumped all of them. They are available on JAMMArcade.net

Here’s a picture of the board with the two replaced PALs highlighted in red:

esprade0b

 Posted by at 1:01 pm