Location: Littleton, Colorado.
Symptom: Left cannon/gun shooter wouldn’t find its home position.
This one had me stumped for a while. If I executed the diagnostic test for the gun shooter, it found the home position normally, without fail. Yet when powering up/booting the game, it just cycled back and forth. I checked and adjusted everything associated with the home microswitch. I finally concluded there had to be a bug in the firmware.
It turns out I was partially correct. There is an optical sensor located at the front of the gun to sense when the ball is in position and ready to be fired. If this sensor fails, the revision LX-3 firmware ignores the home switch, will not home the gun, and it gives an incorrect error message. This post helped steer me in the right direction.
I burned (programmed) a new game ROM with more recent LX-7 code. In the revision history, there is mention of “Enhanced the broken gun launcher opto compensation.” I don’t know if it fixes the problem of the incorrect error message or not, because I went ahead and fixed the opto sensor problem.
To troubleshoot the opto sensor problem, I first checked the voltage across the IR transmitter located on the left side of the cannon. It was about 1.3 volts, and this normal. Next I checked the voltage across the phototransistor located on the right side of the cannon. It was reading zero volts, with or without blocking the light beam. A properly working sensors would have approximately 12 volts across it with the light beam blocked, and between 0 and 1 volt with the beam unblocked.
Next, I checked the continuity through the wires down to the first connector under the playfield. It turned about both wires were bad. I noticed that the shooter solenoid wires to the gun had previously been replaced as well. It is a common problem that flexing wires thousands of times will break them. I suspect they are broken where they go through the playfield.
I ran two new wires from the phototransistor down to the connector and left the old wires in place. That fixed all of the problems.
ST:TNG is one of my favorite pinball machines in terms of theme execution. The audio clips are great and integrate well into game play.