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  • Stern Dracula Project

    Hi All,

    Though I'd keep a thread burning here for my 1979 Stern Dracula.

    What I have done so far:

    1 - rebuilt mpu board, had corrosion damage, and had been (mutilated) repaired by a once well known mob. Took a long time to strip back and repair the board. I guess it's different when you own the thing...
    2 - Rebuilt power supply board - just basic component replacements
    3 - Re-did power wiring (I have to post pics) - damn good reason to inspect before powering up... this sucker was going to kill someone (probably me)
    4 - added 'SuperCap' to retain memory
    5 - strip back playfield and clean clean clean
    7 - derusted/polished all the metal rails (but not the little posts for now)
    8 - pulled, cleaned and rebuilt the solenoids (for now have left the aluminium coil sleeves as they were OK... but am tempted to replace with nylon)
    9 - reseated and glued loose inserts
    10 - carefully cleaned apron (that paint really wants to come off!!)

    What is remaining to do:

    1 - The usual dodgy light sockets are a PITA
    2 - Sound issues (not working every time it fires up)
    3 - Upper dead bumper is a generic star type cap is wrong should be a 'Deco' type with skull image.
    4 - Spinner is wrong - it is from a Future Spa
    5 - I need to get some 3" rubber rings (these were the only ones I didn't have handy)
    6 - Some switch adjusting
    7 - Missing Plastics: The small one above the saucer, the long thin one above the standup targets on the right, the curved one behind the cats/bats drop targets
    8 - adjust drop targets so they are level with playfield
    9 - outhole kicker transistor is bad
    10 - Play it

    What I need to do one day, but want to play first:

    1 - remove the craptacular mylar (http://www.aussiearcade.com/showthread.php?t=13171)
    2 - remove + tumble polish the posts
    3 - Have a good hard look at the cabinet and see what needs to be done, or is it OK.
    4 - The backglass is not in good shape, with a lot of paint shrinkage/cracking...

    Anyway, I'll update as I go. I have heaps of pics.. what sort of pics do you want me to put up?

    I am OK to try and create 'resto' plastics, but need an image source if possible (can create from flyer and imagination, but would prefer better sources). Balls of steel has nothing - will have when I'm done
    Last edited by askjacob; 7th April 2008, 05:01 PM. Reason: added mylar link

  • #2
    pics pleaseeee

    Comment


    • #3
      OK,

      1 - Partially stripped and grubby as hell

      2 - Now with a bit of novus #2...
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • #4
        Sound problem is most likely dodgy J5 cable between mpu and sound board.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yeah Rod71, I'm guessing it is something like that.

          If I fiddle with it, it crashes the machine out, with some interesting sound effects!

          The PCB pin connectors actually look slightly tarnished... I tried a temp fix with a brass brush but it didn't make it worse or better. I assume the mating connectors are in bad shape too

          Damn, I can't believe how many wires go from the CPU board to this sound card which only has 6 sounds!

          Can anyone point me to a circuit diagram for the stern soundboard? (more out of curiosity on how it works and why so many wires!)

          I would also like to figure out what the 3 trimpots on the soundboard do...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by askjacob View Post
            Yeah Rod71, I'm guessing it is something like that.

            If I fiddle with it, it crashes the machine out, with some interesting sound effects!

            The PCB pin connectors actually look slightly tarnished... I tried a temp fix with a brass brush but it didn't make it worse or better. I assume the mating connectors are in bad shape too
            Yeah usually the connectors themselves. Some games had ribbon cables and some had the regular wires with red connectors.

            You can purchase a new cable from the States which saves a lot of buggering around. Or you can rebuild it yourself etc.

            Originally posted by askjacob View Post
            Damn, I can't believe how many wires go from the CPU board to this sound card which only has 6 sounds!

            Can anyone point me to a circuit diagram for the stern soundboard? (more out of curiosity on how it works and why so many wires!)

            I would also like to figure out what the 3 trimpots on the soundboard do...
            I think i have a pdf of the SB-100 diagram somewhere. PM me and i'll sort it out for you

            The 3 pots control the pitch of the sounds.

            If the sounds are in tune, dont mess with it as it's a bugger to get sounding good again

            One of the pots controls the 10's and 10k sounds. Another controls the 100's sound, and the last one controls the 1k sound.

            My Hot Hand which uses the same sound board was shockingly out of tune. I'm a muso with a good ear, so i noticed it straight away

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rod71 View Post
              Yeah usually the connectors themselves. Some games had ribbon cables and some had the regular wires with red connectors.

              You can purchase a new cable from the States which saves a lot of buggering around. Or you can rebuild it yourself etc.



              I think i have a pdf of the SB-100 diagram somewhere. PM me and i'll sort it out for you

              The 3 pots control the pitch of the sounds.

              If the sounds are in tune, dont mess with it as it's a bugger to get sounding good again

              One of the pots controls the 10's and 10k sounds. Another controls the 100's sound, and the last one controls the 1k sound.

              My Hot Hand which uses the same sound board was shockingly out of tune. I'm a muso with a good ear, so i noticed it straight away
              Ah, so my will was strong enough to avoid 'fiddling to see what they did'. Good job too as I wouldn't have a clue if they would be in tune or not. It doesn't sound awful, but without knowing what it should be like, I guess I'll leave it well alone for now.

              Yeah, my wires are individuals with red connectors. Don't like the idea of making my own, there is a lot of wires to crimp... but then again money is a bit tight so I'll have a think about it.

              I'll PM you about the PDF. Cheers

              Comment


              • #8
                They are one of the worst designed sound boards.
                When Stern was busy stealing Bally board designs they should have copied their sound board as well instead of creating this woeful piece of shit themselves.

                Only around 17 wires are actually used for connecting Cpu to the sound board.
                The others are just for decoration.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just been looking at the soundboard diagram.

                  Damn! That is pretty darn complex design for such a simple set of sounds.

                  A lot of hardware to perform stuff that these days you wouldn't even blink over performing in software. CPU cycles sure were expensive back then!

                  I count 18 wires on J1 that actually do anything...

                  So the breakdown is:
                  8 data lines
                  1 power line
                  3 address lines
                  6 control lines (reset etc)

                  for 6 'sounds'... wow! (granted, this same soundboard if populated would also be capable of 10 sounds... but still )

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Progress update:

                    Fixed the outhole kicker problem: On a suggestion from Ballypinball, I replaced all the diodes on the power driver board. One of them fell apart while I was removing!

                    Sound seems to be stable at the moment. Looks like it is a dodgy connector... I think I'll leave it for now (unless it comes back )

                    Just played it for an hour. Can't get the grin off my face.

                    Work to do of course, but... I can play it!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      And is it playing as well as you (and I) remember it?

                      Always liked this machine (like all the 80's Sterns)

                      Wish List : Nugent, World Cup 78, Joker Poker, Silverball Mania, Cosmic Princess.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by candyflip View Post
                        And is it playing as well as you (and I) remember it?

                        Always liked this machine (like all the 80's Sterns)

                        Hmm.. how to answer that one

                        I was 4 years old when this machine was new

                        To be honest, I don't recall playing much pinball until I was around 15 or so, and by then I was being 'spoilt' with machines that had ramps, toys, music and alphanumeric displays...

                        I really really wanted to get something a bit earlier than that, even if I didn't end up keeping it - I guess to help complete my pinball exposure. In that vein I am still interested in getting an EM at some point...

                        So, to be fair, except from a few times 'out and about' (remember the awesome collection of old machines that used to be at the top of the Scenic Railway at Katoomba anyone?) I had not really played a machine like Dracula. Opportunity knocked, this is my one story of being in the right place at the right time, and I was able to get this machine....

                        All of that said, I really like the game. It is a much more 'zen' experience than my other machines (which are more modern). I now know why it isn't fair to compare machines from different eras - they are completely different animals. The selection of shots is few and simple, but their execution requires precision and sequencing (something I am not so hot at yet ). If you just want to bat the ball around and see what happens, hey that works too - it just is a different paced machine... All the mechanics have their own unique sound... a satisfying kerchunk from the drop targets, the rather startling whack of the flippers, and a very impressive replay knocker (I wonder why the moved from the cab to the backbox?)...

                        I am wondering about how my friends will react to it... I'm hoping they won't be asking how to start multi-ball, and complain about the 'crappy sounds'....

                        Cheers

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Project Update:

                          What is remaining to do:

                          1 - The usual dodgy light sockets are a PITA

                          Not really keen on doing too much here right now. I tried to solder the bayonet cups onto the brackets without much success... So until I het some flux I'll leave it. Any that were 'out' have been worked enough to get th ebulb to light. Quite a few a still flickery and sensitive to vibration though

                          2 - Sound issues (not working every time it fires up)

                          This seems to be more stable now. Looks like it was a bit of corrosion on the pins/connectors. A bit of working them in+out has 'cleaned' them. If it comes back I'll need to replace them though

                          3 - Upper dead bumper is a generic star type cap is wrong should be a 'Deco' type with skull image.

                          Found replacements online in the US. Am worried I'll have to get all new bumper caps though, as if I replace one it will be white, the other 3 will be yellowed... So more $$$ = more patience

                          4 - Spinner is wrong - it is from a Future Spa

                          Was hoping someone who has a Future Spa would want the spinner, and swap it for a plain one...

                          5 - I need to get some 3" rubber rings (these were the only ones I didn't have handy)

                          Still need to get these (waiting to tack them onto an order for some parts for my IJ)

                          6 - Some switch adjusting

                          Middle playfield Advance Bonus rollover not working. All the others seem to be fine after a bit of playing.

                          7 - Missing Plastics: The small one above the saucer, the long thin one above the standup targets on the right, the curved one behind the cats/bats drop targets

                          Have started asking if anyone has scans/photos/anything that would help to recreate these.

                          8 - adjust drop targets so they are level with playfield

                          Need to get some new socket cap head bolts to do this, as they are missing.

                          9 - outhole kicker transistor is bad

                          No it wasn't. It was all the diodes on the solenoid board going bad from age. All replaced now: http://www.aussiearcade.com/showthread.php?t=13306

                          10 - Play it

                          Finally got to do some of that

                          -----

                          Attached is an image showing why you really want to check over a machine before plugging it in. Some hack replaced the original power cord with a cut back extension lead (no real issue there). But, they couldn't solder for craps, so twisted the wires all over the originals which were cut back... and all the stray copper was only mm from the earth braiding
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by askjacob View Post
                            Hmm.. how to answer that one

                            I was 4 years old when this machine was new

                            To be honest, I don't recall playing much pinball until I was around 15 or so, and by then I was being 'spoilt' with machines that had ramps, toys, music and alphanumeric displays...

                            SNIP .....

                            .....about the 'crappy sounds'....

                            Cheers
                            Wow, nice writing. Thanks for the insight into how that is for the younger player. Being 42 yrs old, I'm the other way - its taken me a long time to get into the new fangled machines! (TAF and the like) with my younger partner.. but she's turning me around.

                            enjoy...
                            Wish List : Nugent, World Cup 78, Joker Poker, Silverball Mania, Cosmic Princess.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by askjacob View Post
                              Project Update:

                              Attached is an image showing why you really want to check over a machine before plugging it in. Some hack replaced the original power cord with a cut back extension lead (no real issue there). But, they couldn't solder for craps, so twisted the wires all over the originals which were cut back... and all the stray copper was only mm from the earth braiding
                              Hope you reattached the earth while you were at it!

                              cheers
                              Ian

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