1350 Villaverde Lane, Charlottesville, VA 22902 Phone: 877-825-0769
1350 Villaverde Lane, Charlottesville, VA 22902 Phone: 877-825-0769
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Customer Service and a Pinball Machine Brought Back to Life

customer service troubleshooting

pinball machine replacement boards

I thought it was time for another story. Recently, I had been communicating with a customer that was having issues with one of my boards.  He had purchased my Trifecta, which is the replacement MPU, Solenoid, and LED/Lamp Driver board set. He had installed them in a Bally Mystic machine. I also should say he had purchased these boards months ago from one of my dealers. The customer said whenever he would ground the lamp board with one of the mounting screws, the game would have a boot up issue. I worked with him over the phone and thru emails/text for several days and he tried everything that I asked. The kicker to the story is  he told me that if he put the original lamp board in, the game would work fine (fine was very subjective as you will find out later in the story).  

So I wanted to see this problem in person since we were not able to get the new board to work in his game with all of my troubleshooting over the phone and thru emails. As luck would have it, the customer was located just two hours away and was kind of on the way to my Mom’s house. I set up a Saturday to stop in and take a look at the machine myself, go visit my mom, and attend a graduation party for my best friends’ daughter, Gabby. The first thing that I did after arriving to the customer's home was to recheck all the things that I thought must be wrong. Perhaps one of the mounting rails was wrong, or maybe it was a bad connector issue on the lamp driver, or not even a booting issue. But the machine was preventing the Ultimate MPU Board from booting, just as the customer had said, if you grounded the board.

So now I was ready to really start troubleshooting this game since it wasn’t something simple or easy. It was then that I noticed that if I removed the ground screw on the MPU board, I could ground the LED/Lamp Board. Also, the +43v LED was out on the Ultimate Solenoid Driver Board. After a closer look, the +43v LED and the 4.7k resistor were not out but burned up. I knew the game had +43v because the MPU would not boot up if it was missing. 

This is when the story gets interesting. I had not started up a game to play since I was interested in the grounding problem. I started up a game and the only solenoid that worked was the knocker coil. No flippers, no nothing. The first clue was that the flippers didn’t work. I then told the customer what I found. He then told me he was aware of all that. He had never informed me of anything else wrong with the game other than the grounding issue. He then told me not only had the solenoids not worked, but three different technicians have been out to look at this game and have never gotten the solenoids to work!

My next move was to measure the +43v fuse on the playfield since I knew the voltage was fine on the transformer assembly. The measurement was 5.6v.  That was strange. I would have expected it to have 0v. This was another clue because this is the switch illumination voltage. So, how was that possible? More clues. I spoke with the customer more about what I found and told him there must be an issue somehow with the transformer assembly. Then he let me know that one of the techs had been messing with one of the connectors on the transformer assembly and wasn’t sure he wired it right. Okay, we were getting closer to the problem. I started looking at the J1 connector on the transformer assembly which powers the playfield. Sure enough, instead of having the connectors in pins 1,2,5-8, the tech had miswired as it to be 1,2,4-7.  I moved the four wires as they should be and turned on the game. It worked perfectly.  Then I replaced the Alltek Systems Solenoid Driver Board with an extra that I had brought with me because it had board damage. I grounded all the boards with the proper screws, and fixed a few other small issues, such as some lamps and switches.  The total time it took me was 40 minutes and the game was as good as new.

So, the moral of this story is I should have asked the following important question - is there anything else wrong with the game that I should know about besides the grounding problem? The customer also should have told me all of the issues without me asking, such as, all the solenoids are not working and I have had every tech in a 50-mile radius look at fixing this game. In the end I played a game of Mystic, which is not a bad game, and then gathered up my girlfriend, who had been enjoying reading a book on their deck, and then we were off to see my mom.

As always Alltek Systems goes above and beyond to make sure that our boards work perfectly and that your game runs like new. If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact us.  And be sure to check out all our pinball machine replacement boards today.  

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  • Hollywood on

    Awesome service, and glad you figured it out! I hope you got a tip!
    You are a symbol of excellence, when I return home I will be buying a bunch of boards!

  • Robert Jansson on

    Sure this is customer service beyond what we are used to! Just installed the lamp driver board for my Bally Strikes and Spares. It fired up perfectly and I’m now waiting for the led kit! Regards from Sweden

  • Jim on

    Now that’s customer service. The kind you don’t see anymore.

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