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Crystal Castles Board Repair Log

Updated: 11/17/23

Found some (more) free to time to dig through a box of Crystal Castles boards we accumulated over the years. Had to deal with some more complicated ones that last time:

Sprites have vertical line (11/16/23)

  1. Issue wasn’t very noticeable, but sprites had a vertical line through them. Reseating sprite roms solved the problem.

Ram 4F Error on Boot (11/16/23)

  1. Same issue as the last board.  Ram 4F was replaced at some point by someone else. They had to jumper some traces when they replaced it, but the work looked okay.​
  2. Replaced prom at 11L based on previous repair and board now works.  Thank god.

Ram 4F Error on Boot (11/16/23)

  1. This board drove me nuts, kept reporting a 4F ram error, two high beeps and five low beeps.  Ram 4F was already replaced as well as the other ram when I last worked on it. ​
  2. Rechecked everything in the circuit and after replacing way too many ICs (a few buffers, a few ICs in Dynamic Ram circuit and circuits that drive), I finally suspected prom at 11L.
  3. I pulled that prom from a parts board, installed it in this board and it now works.

Sprites Flickering, Colors not right, some distortion (11/16/23)

  1. At first I suspected a bad 2149 ram as piggybacking changed things. Replaced both 2149s, but no change.
  2. Probed around the graphic roms and motion object circuits. Didn’t see anything off. Piggybacking ICs in this area didn’t help.
  3. Grabbed a prom 10K from another board and piggybacked it.  Issue cleared right up. Removed 10K and installed a working prom to fix the issue.

Boots, coins up but Start Buttons don’t respond (12/17/19)

  1. Inputs at buffer chip at 11C seemed to be behaving normally.
  2. Swapped Pokey chip at 3D to fix the problem.

White Screen, Swirl sound on boot (12/17/19)

  1. Board sounded close to working, had a white screen like other boards on boot and the swirl sound at boot, but stopped there.
  2. Quick inspection show rom at 1N was a revision 205 rom, other roms were 300 series revisions. Installed 305 Rom at 1N and board booted properly.

Garbage on Screen (12/17/19)

  1. Board was beeping on booted, beeps indicated bad ram at 4E.
  2. Replaced 4416 at 4E to fix the board.

Dead, Reset Low (12/12/19) –

  1. Poked around reset circuit, noticed Q2, 2N3904 transistor tested differently than a known working board. 
  2. Replaced, Q2, reset line now high, board still not working.
  3. Swapped 6502A, board booted up.  Reinstalled original 6502A, board also worked. Reseating 6502A fixed problem.

Watchdogging, Garbage on Screen (12/12/19)

  1. Swapped 6502A with known good processor. Board works!

Quite a Few Konami Classic Board Repairs

Updated: Added Frogger Repair (3/7/21) and Tutankham Repairs (4/12/21)

Had a free day today and spent some time digging out some Konami boards from the dead pile.  Make some good progress, nothing extremely complex, but always good to get some boards running again. I will update this page as I fix other Konami boards. Here's some of the highlights:

Circus Charlie, Bad ram on boot – Very clean boardset that reported “Ram Bad” when powered on.  Checked manual, but no reference to what ram it is referring to.  

I started by replacing 2128 ram at 3E just for the heck of it, but no change.  There are two more 2128 rams and 2114 rams, moved on to 2114 rams at 2F and 3F, checked the outputs with logic probe and they were dead.  Replaced 3F first, no change, replaced 2F and board booted and played perfectly.  Rechecked both of the 2114 rams that I removed and they were both bad.

Frogger, No Sound (3/7/21)

  1. Clean board, played fine, no sound with volume pot connected.
  2. Swapped Z-80 and AY-8910, no change.
  3. Clock and reset line were fine on Z-80, there was activity on data and address lines on Z-80. Also activity on AY-8910 when sounds should have been playing, so I suspecting it was further down the line.
  4. Replaced LM741 for the heck of it as I’ve seen many op amps fail in the past. Sound now works.

The End, Video Board, Color issue in high score text (12/19/19)

  1. Color in the high score text was yellow and red mixed, not all red as it should be. Noticed that it booted solid red and then changed about a ½ second after boot.
  2. Suspected bad 2125 Ram as I’ve seen them cause similar issues in Galaxian boards.
  3. Swapped them all out, no change, swapped other socketed ICs just in case, but didn’t expect a change.
  4. After a bit of probing found the outputs at IC 15, 74LS32 to be low. Replaced this chip to fix the problem.

The End, CPU Board, Boots to garbage (12/19/19)

  1. Fairly clean board, swapped out Z-80 and started with 2114 Ram, found a bad 2114 Ram at IC25.
  2. Pressed on rom sockets and it showed signs of life.
  3. Pulled roms, cleaned legs and reseated, board boots and plays with sound but has video issues, lots of extra garbage on screen, but you can see and hear game playing behind video stuff.

  1. Suspected a bad trace from the video board, but couldn’t find one.
  2. Poked around the CPU board for a while, no luck.
  3. Noticed a scratch near the ribbon cable connector, very small, found one bad trace that was very close to connector and hard to find.
  4. Fix broken trace and video came back.

The End, CPU Board, Boots to garbage (12/19/19)

  1. Swapped boards, narrowed issue down to top CPU boardset.
  2. Pulled roms, Z-80 and 2114 working ram, all tested good in known working boardset.
  3. Replaced them and board would boot up and play, but was touchy.
  4. Spent too much time on this one, replaced a few factory jumpers that looked iffy (but not all of them).
  5. Was touchy near ribbon cable, replaced it and the 50-pin connector, but no change.
  6. Finally replaced one more factory jumper to fix the problem.

The End, CPU Board, Working, Sound Issue, then booted to garbage randomly. (12/19/19)

  1. This board was working with a sound issue, started booting to garbage randomly.
  2. Replaced factory jumper wire near edge connector to fix booting issue.
  3. Swapped sound roms, Z-80 and 2114 ram chip and found a bad 2114 ram chip at IC57.
  4. With good 2114 ram, still didn’t get proper sounds (would get some random noise sometimes).
  5. Probing around roms found address line AV8 stuck low also noticed data lines DV6 and DV7 were low.
  6.  Found bad 74LS08 at IC41 causing AV8 line to get low, replacing it brought it back to pulsing state.
  7. Two data lines were stuck low, quickly noticed that pin 21 of Z-80 was not in socket (my fault, rushing when swapping chips).
  8. Installed Z-80 properly and board had full sounds and music.

Hyper Sports, video issues - Board had noticeable video issues, background was mostly gray, some game play could be seen, but it looked pretty far off.  Starting by reseating roms, found sockets at A12 and A14 to be bad.  Replacing those got board much closer, some sprites had vertical lines, starting by replacing rom sockets at G17, G18, and J17.  Video improved, finally left with one character on the vault stage that had vertical lines, which was due to a bad socket at J19.

Hyper Sports, marked as "touchy" - Board was tagged as OK, but touchy.  Tested it and pressing on the ribbon cable would get it to boot sometimes.  Replaced the ribbon cable, but no change. replaced the bottom connector for the ribbon cable, but no change.  Started pressing on ICs as it was booting and noticed one of the custom ICs was the cause. Removed it, cleaned pins and reseated it to solve the problem.

Hyper Sports, graphic issues - Board had vertical lines on some screens (but not all). Starting pulling socketed chips, they were very clean, just reseated them all and the problem went away.

UPDATE: board didn’t survive burn-in, problem reappeared, found socket at 12C to be bad by pressing on roms when game was on.

Hyper Sports, was working, boots to "Qualify as DIP SW" - Clean boardset that came from a Track and Field game and was working one at one point. After bench testing it started acting up though.  Suspected a bad socket, found that when I pressed on the processor on the top board at E18 the board would boot. Replaced this socket and the board booted and played, but started acted up again with a similar error within a few minutes.  Started pressing on the roms on the same board and found another dicey socket at G9. Replaced that and the board booted right up and played with no issues. Not the first time I've seen suspect sockets on Hyper Sports boards.

Lost Tomb, No Sound (12/12/19) - Clean boardset, tagged as no sound.  Roms, processor and 2114 Rams tagged as okay. Turned pot and did hear some amp buzz, so didn't suspect amplifier. Started probing Z-80, rams and roms for activity, there was none, noticed pin 8 of 2114 was dead (not high or low, no signal). Traced back to 7404 at 4J, pin 11 was high, output at pin 10 was dead. Replaced 4J and sound came back to life.

Pooyan, Sprites had vertical lines in them

  1. Sold this board to a customer, arrived with a sprite issue, had vertical lines running through them.
  2. Socketed ICs on bottom board checked out okay (roms, custom ICs).
  3. Replaced 2149 at B11 as well as B8 and D12 but no change.
  4. Did some more probing and noticed outputs on 74LS163 at C10 were stuck high.  Replaced C10 to fix the problem.

Pooyan, Board marked as has graphic issues, had no sound as well.

  1. Pulled custom ICs on the CPU boardset, cleaned legs, reseated them and the video issue was gone.
  2. No Sound, but some amp “buzz”.
  3. Reset line on sound board was stuck low, replaced 74LS02 at D7 and it was high again (more on this later).
  4. Still no sound, removed Z-80 (it was soldered on), installed socket, known working Z-80, no change.
  5. Tried another set of sound roms, no change.
  6. At this point I should have pulled the Fluke 9010a out to test stuff, but removed 2114 rams, installed sockets and tested them, all OK.
  7. Again, should have pulled 9010a out, but replaced a couple more ICs near Z80 thinking it would solve the problem, didn’t really feel like “thinking” today.
  8. Finally pulled Fluke 9010a out, ran Bus test on it reported a CTL Error. 
  9. After poking around for way too long, finally realized I installed a 74LS20 instead of a 74LS02 at D7.
  10. Installed correct 74LS02 at D7 and the sound came back.
  11. Lesson learned: Don’t fix arcade boards after playing two late night hockey games the night before and not getting enough sleep.

Scramble, no sound - Clean boardset, played, but no sound, sometimes a very low pulse or something like it was trying.  Started by swapped out processor and roms and then AY-3-8910s into a working boardset.  Found a bad AY-3-8910 at 3D.  Replaced this and the sound came up but was low. Replaced a couple electrolytic caps in the sound section just in case, but no change.  Noticed that pressing on op-amp at 3A would cause some buzzing and a bump in sound. Found a parts sound board and grabbed another op-amp which fixed the problem.

Scramble, no sound – Very clean boardset tagged as having no sound and “amp broke”.  Sure enough the amplifer was physically broken, grabbed another one from parts board and the sound came back.

Tazz-Mania, CPU Board boots to garbage (2/8/17) – Boardset was tagged as having Rom 2E Error.  Pushing firmly on Z-80 would sometimes get it to show a Rom error, 2E or 2H.  Replaced Z-80 socket and the board would boot now, sometimes come and play with graphic issues, other times Rom Error.  Replaced sockets for Roms at 2C, 2E and 2H and board booted with graphic issues. Pressing on rom at 5F would make things change, replaced socket at 5F and board worked perfectly.  Let it run for two days just in case any other sockets were bad, but seems to be very happy now.

Time Pilot, Dead (1/8/19) - Very clean boardset, was surprised it wasn't working. Couldn't find me spare test board to swap out parts, but eventually came across an incomplete boardset months later.  Swapping out custom ICs, I found IC3 to be bad, installed another one and board works fine. It is always useful to have a spare working boardset set to swap from when fixing boards.

Time Pilot, distorted graphics – Board was working, but in testing developed some distorted graphics, but still played. Starting pressing on custom chips and found IC4 at F12 to have dirty legs.  Cleaned the legs, the problem persisted so I replaced the socket and the problem was fixed.

Track and Field, No Sound (3/3/17) – No sound at all, no amp buzz, suspected a bad amplifier. Recapped sound section and replaced amp, still no sound.   Started checked sound CPU, signals looked good, used scope to see if the board was making sounds before the amp and it appeared to be behaving normally.  I replaced the LM324, LM358 and 4066 ICs in sound section as I wasn’t sure what else to do, but no change. 

Still no change, pulled the amp I installed and noticed it was a LA4460 as indicated in the manual, BUT the board had a LA4461 amp installed, which uses the same pinout, but in reverse. Removed LA4460 and installed it “backwards” and the sound came back. Wish I would have looked closer at the amp I removed, I assumed it was LA4460 as that is what is in the manual. 

Sound Board, Spitting out Wrong Sounds, no Music (4/9/21)

  1. Suspected AY8910, replaced the one at F8, no change.  Thought maybe a bad 2114 ram as most sounds were there, just not synced up, but that turned out to be wrong logic.
  2. After replacing 2114 ram, no change. Replaced the other AY8910 at F7 and that fixed the problem.  Should have stuck with my first hunch.

Sound Board, no Music (4/8/21)

  1. Didn’t really feel like diagnosing this one, started by replacing AY8910 at F8 (which are soldered on this boards) on a whim as I suspected one of those to be the issue (roms were tested good).  Installed new socket and tested AY8910 and music now works.

CPU Board, Tagged as Lots of Horizontal Lines (4/8/21)

  1. Board I checked years ago, but didn’t spend too much time. Lots of horizontal lines, shorting 4116 output pin 14 and found that ram at 14A was causing sprite based lines. Replaced to fix it, but still had more lines going across screen.
  2. Replaced 4116 at 12A, line colors changed, but still present, shorting 11A and it got even better.
  3. Replaced 4116 at 11A to fix the issue.

CPU Board, Tagged as for Parts (4/8/21)

  1. Visual inspection showed 74LS240 at 2A was desoldered but still on board.  Removed it, installed new socket and new 74LS240.
  2. Board now boots up find with some graphic issues.
  3. Rom 71 had “bad chip” written on it, replaced, graphic issues improved, but still some artifacts
  4. Shorting pin 14 at 4116 and found artifacts disappeared when shorting 12A. Replaced 4116 ram at 12A to fix the problem.

CPU Board, Locks up, Graphic Issues (4/7/21)

  1. Seemed to be close to working. Reseating program roms got it running with graphics issues, lines and lots of garbage on playfield screen.
  2. Shorted outputs of 4116 at pin 14 to find the bad 4116, still plays with a lot of extra graphics on playfield.
  3. Stopped here…

Tutankham Sound Board, no Sound (3/7/17) – Removed, checked and socketed Z-80 processor to further troubleshoot with Fluke 9010a. Z-80 and 2114 rams checked out. Rom 7A did not verify with 9010a, grabbed another, but still did not verify. Pressing firmly on it and the sound came back. Replaced rom socket at 7A to fix the problem.

Tutankham, horizontal lines - Video board had lines on boot-up.  Suspected a bad 4116 ram, just wasn't sure which one.  Started replacing a couple and finally spent some time with a logic probe looking at outputs and found two that seemed to be different than the other rams. Replaced these two and board booted.

Yie Ar Kung Fu, graphic issues - Booted with blocks around some graphics.  Started swapping the graphic roms (don't remember location off the top of my head) with a known working board.  All checked out okay. Reinstalled and powered non-working board back up and it worked.  Apparently one rom wasn't seated well or making good contact.

Super Pac-Man Board Repair Log

Had a box of Super Pac-man boards sitting for years (some tagged as being checked in 2002), also had some free time to go through and get them running.  One of the easiest boardsets to work on, in my opinion, most of the crucial ICs are socketed (customs, processors, roms and most ram).  So chip swapping can solve a lot of problems.  Luckily it seems most of the Namco customs on these boards don't suffer from oxidation, at least not many in this pile.  Here's the recap:

Repair Procedure

  1. Narrow down to video or CPU board first, having a working set makes things very easier in this case.
  2. Most of the important ICs are socketed, swap between to find bad one.
  3. Use Self-test to assist, checks most rom and rams.

CPU Boards

Rom 3 Error (3/11/21)

  1. Immediately noticed a blob of solder near the input connector, didn’t appear to be shorting anything out, but took it as a sign.
  2. Sure enough found another blob of solder next to rom 1K (Rom 3), figured this was a simple repair. Removed the solder and board works, right?
  3. Wrong, removed the solder still got rom 3 error. Swapped Rom 3, processor at 1L, 1M and 1N, not change.
  4. Really puzzled now, pulled socket shells to look for extra solder, no sign of it.
  5. Finally moved on and removed 15XX custom at 3N, board passed self-test this time, but no sound.
  6. Put 3N back in socket and board works.

Vertical lines and Vertical garbage (3/11/21)

  1. Started swapping ICs into known working board, first one, custom 07XX at 1N was bad.

Blank screen, dead (3/10/21)

  1. Bad 6809 processor at 1A

Video Boards

Blue Screen, plays blind  (3/10/21)

  1. Checked socketed, ICs, no change, but found that 3C and 3D when removed produced similar issue. 
  2. Using logic probe worked my way forward and found dead outputs at 74LS298 at 4L. Replaced 4L to fix the problem.

Asteroids / Asteroids Deluxe Board Repair Log

On Coronavirus lockdown for the past few days, what better way to spend the time, fixing 40 year old arcade circuit boards.  Pulled out some Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe boards, getting much better at fixing these, here are some repairs from the past week or so and a few other tips on fixing them.

Some things I do first on all Asteroids boards (haven't replaced all sockets on AD boards yet, so far they seem to hold up better).

  1. Replace rom and 6502 sockets (if original), just good preventative maintenance.
  2. Burn new roms (if original proms show any signs of brittleness), check rom and CPU sockets.
  3. Put game in self test, listen for Ram errors.
  4. Check clock and reset line on CPU.
  5. Test ALL Voltages, including regulators near the front of board, 8.2 VDC at 4016s in vector section.
  6. Start in-depth testing with Fluke 9010a if you're lucky enough to have one and confirm program code is running.

Asteroids Deluxe, Dead (3/16/20)

  1. Board doesn’t do much of anything, cleaned roms, processor, nothing on power-up, board was watchdogging. Actually a fun repair as I figured out most issues relatively quickly, but probably still spent 3 hours fixing this one due to multiple issues.
  2. Used 9010a to test roms, none of them passed rom test.  Probed around on address lines, A7, pin 1 of roms stuck low. Input at 74LS244 (C1), pin 2 was active, output, pin 18 was stuck low.
  3. Replaced C1 and board now boots with video issues, asteroids stretched, video off.

  1. No activity on DACx8 line, pin 5 at D11 is stuck low. Output at D/E10, 74LS157, pin 4 is stuck low, inputs look okay.
  2. Replaced D/E10 and pin 4 is now pulsing, video still distorted, but maybe slightly better?

  1. No activity on DACx6 line, pin 7 at D11 is stuck low. Pin 6, D10 stuck low, replaced D/E10 again and picture much better, first “new” 74LS157 that I just installed was apparently bad.

  1. Probing around vector circuits, found pin 7 at F8, 7497 was stuck low. Replaced F8 to fix issue. Board now works...
  2. While typing up repair look over to see some large lines on screen, looks like player ship is now screw up. 
  3. Quickly found output at 74LS175 at M6, pin 6 was stuck low. Replaced M6 to fix board, again.
  4. Board lasted a few more hours before developing video issues during bench testing.
  5. Found dead outputs at A10, 74LS157, Logic Comparator confirmed IC was bad, replaced it and picture improved, but still not right.
  6. Output at D10, pin 9 was high (74LS374), input was pulsing. Replaced D10 and image is back to normal (again).
  7. Guess what? Board developed issues again during testing. 
  8. This time looked like something on the Y-axis before the DAC, took a little while to figure this out as all inputs to the DAC were pulsing, I was sure the everything the  Y Position counters circuit was okay. Finally noticed to DACY7* input to the DAC was pulsing but not right (used scope to notice it). Replaced 74LS374 at B10 to fix the problem.

Asteroids Deluxe Beeps (3/16/20)

  1. Board beeps on power up, two high beeps, one low beep. Manual indicates bad 2114 ram at M3.
  2. Removed suspected ram, installed new socket and new ram and board works.

Asteroids, Dead Board (3/13/20)

  1. Installed new processor and rom sockets as preventative maintenance, board plays beeps constantly in test mode, it is watchdogging.
  2. Use 9010a to test rams and roms, everything checks out okay.
  3. Replaced L6 to lift pin 1 to isolate program code from vector generator, board plays blind.
  4. Replaced 74KS42 at E7 and 74LS175 at M7, thought they might be the issue, no change.
  5. Swapped out Prom at C8, board now plays blind (no more watchdogging).
  6. Replaced TL082 at A12 as piggybacking led to some vectors.  Board now has some bad video.
  7. Replaced TL081 at B/C12 as piggybacking helped, slightly better picture, but everything now collapsed on Y axis, asteroids looked squished.

  1. Found bad output, pin 6 on 7497 at H8, replacing that brought picture back perfectly.

Asteroids Dead Board (3/3/20)

  1. Installed new processor and rom sockets as preventative maintenance, board plays blind, no Z output activity.
  2. Found bad leg (it wasn’t reaching board) 74LS109 IC at A9.  (D8 pin 14, HALT line was not pulsing).
  3. Board now works but 00 in score are off on boot (kind of misaligned) for about 10-20 seconds. Voltage at 4016s was -8.4 VDC at boot.  Replaced most caps in circuit and it seems to better, still a little high on boot, but calms down quickly.

Xevious Board Repair Log

Fixed a few Xevious boards a couple of months ago, still struggle with the sound on these. I have a few that I just can't get the sound going right (static at times, music issues), finally threw them back in the box for another day.  As with any board using those Namco custom ICs (Dig Dug, Galaga, Pole Position), I recommend carefully removing them and cleaning the oxidation of the legs, seems to solve some problems.  Most of these fixes were fairly simple, involving socketed rams and processors.

Here's some of the recent repairs and some from a few years ago. Enjoy!

Xevious Video Board Repairs

Garbage on Boot – Bad 6116 at 2S.

Garbage on Boot – Bad 6116 at 2R. Plays by vertical lines in explosion of player’s ship. Bad 2149 at 6M, piggybacking fixed problem.  Died on bench, garbage on screen (flashing), bad 6116 at 2E.

Vertical Lines in some Video (10/18/11) – Video board issue, boardset booted up just fine, passed self test, but there were vertical lines in certain video portions (such as the “Xevious” in the title screen).  Piggyback 2148 rams at locations 5N, 5M, 6N and 6M.  Once I did 6N the video issue went away. Removed the ram (it is soldered) and installed a new 2148 ram and the video was good.

Vertical Lines in most Video (10/18/11) – Video board issue, boardset booted up just fine, passed self test, but there were vertical lines in certain video portions (such as the “Xevious” in the title screen).  Piggyback 2148 rams at locations 5N, 5M, 6N and 6M.  Once I did 5M the video issue went away. Removed the ram (it is soldered) and installed a new 2148 ram and the video was good.

Video Board has Garbage (10/19/11)  - Video board was not booting, came up with some garbage and would kind of reset/repeat the garbage.  Start swapping 2016/6116 Rams at locations 2E-2J.  Turned out Ram 2J was bad.  Replaced it and the board fired right up.

CPU Board Repairs

Continually resets – Bad Z-80 at 4A fixed problem.

Garbage and static sound – Bad Z-80 at 1N. Boots to Rom 6 error = 4C. Replaced 4C, but no change, replaced Z-80 at 4A.  Never fixed the static sound issue.

Boots and resets continually – Swapped out socketed ICs, bad custom 50XX at 6C.  Music was off, bad IC at 6L had no 32H signal.  Board died in testing, started reporting Ram 7 error. Replaced 6116 at 1H to fix problem.

Rom 6 Error on CPU Board (10/18/11) – Tried replacing Rom 4C which translates to Rom Error 6.  Didn’t have any affect. Swapped at the Z-80 next to that Rom at location 4A and the board booted up.