Bringing a Game Plan Star Trip back from the dead

Game Plan Star Trip

So I recently acquired a Game Plan Star Trip which had MCU issues. No life on the MCU. After testing voltages, checking clocks, replacing capacitors and transistors for a few days my next move was to start ordering some replacement ICs.

Not knowing if it would lead to a resolution and deciding that I didn't have the knowledge to go any further with debugging this MCU board I shelved it.

Next plan was looking into finding a replacement. Some searches turned up some old posts which had Jim Francesangeli from Echo Lake Pinball Service & Sales selling a replacement MCU board. After contacting Jim my name was on the list to get a replacement board, but it could be 12 months before the next batch is processed.

In the mean time I have a pretty cocktail pinball machine that does nothing but lights up. So my interim plan is to get this thing going by building a replacement MCU myself. I will probably still order the board from Echo Lake Pinball as I believe it will be a better long term solution.

I could have just ripped out all the old electronics and replaced it with new FAST controllers, however cocktail pinballs are not common especially here in Australia so I felt that leaving it as original as possible is best.

As I want to maintain the ability to use a replacement MCU in the future I cannot modify the existing cabling/connectors. I will have to interface with the cabinet as is. The other benefit of interfacing with the other control boards is I can validate they are working ok before spending the money on the new MCU.

Interfacing with the rest of the cabinet

Inside the cabinet

First step in getting this machine working again is working out how to interface with each of the wiring harnesses that used to plug into the original MPU board. Gaining control of the Light Driver Board LDR-1, Solenoid Driver Board SDR-1, Sound Board SSU-1, Display Board DDU-1 and the Switch Harnesses.

One really valuable source of information is lots of schematics and data on how things work that will come in handy.

Over my next few blogs I will describe the process of interfacing with each of these boards using Arduino's and then move onto driving them all together in making game play possible.

Stay Tuned....


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