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Andy's Amazing
Pinball and Videogame
Test Rig Page

last updated September 20, 2014



Every company that made videogames and pinballs at some point knows their shit
is going to break down eventually. To avoid doing ALL the repair work at the plant, its
best to make test rigs that qualified or clued-up technicians can utilise in order to fix stuff.

These Test rigs were not made in large numbers, and most were not even really available
to operators. They were mainly sold to and used by Distributors. This way the service
industry could be regulated and ultimately racketeered on. If only X number of distributors
had the means to reliably and quickly test/fix certain PCBs, then the repair charge could be
standardised amongst the cartel of test rig owners.. A clever ploy at squeezing some more
cash out of those pesky operators.

Because a lot of these rigs were never generally available, they are pretty hard to find today.
Because they were used in the front line at distributors, often when they became obsolete,
they were gotten rid of, to make way for the new stuff making it doubly harder to find them.

In July 2004 I had the chance to obtain a number of pinball test rigs when a nearby Pinball
Restoration company sold up after the owner unfortunately died. He shared my interest
in test rigs, and had a 15 year head start on finding them, and was very successful. When
the inventory was sold off, I was able to obtain the majority of the pinball rigs that interested me.


STERN SAM II - Service Assistance Module
(sold in 2005 to someone in the UK)
Huuuuge coffin like box on wheels with two handles.
Push it onto its side to stop it rolling around
And crack open the lid... Instead of finding a body in the coffin, you find a SAM II. This one has had a lot of its PCBs removed already. Fortunately these are the PCBs that you actually fix, so are bog standard pin boards.
Here's a look at the horizontal panel
and here's a look at the vertical panel
and here's a look inside when you lift up the horizontal panel
here is the Test pcb... this looks to be custom, dunno what it does yet though :)
this is what lays behind the vertical panel. Looks like a complete set of playfield coils.

 

Zaccaria Pinball test unit
(sold in 2005 to someone in Italy)
Appears to be 2 units to be used side-by side, each unit does a different job.
Unit #1 - this one I think does something with the CPU board? the displays I don't think correspond to game displays, but are maybe diagnostic displays?
unit #2- This unit does the switch and lamp matrixes and game displays.
Inside unit #1, the CPU unit?
this is whats inside the CPU unit, not much, and the power connector has ripped out I think.
Unit #2 - the matrixes unit.
Here are the cables in the flip-down front.
Under the button/indicator matrixes panel
inside unit #2

 

D. Gottlieb & Co. Test rig
(sold in 2005 to someone in the USA -
however, the recipient showed me that it got completely destroyed in shipping which is very sad! )
this is a cool looking rig, and nicely put together. All displays along one side with 2 main boards in front. A cool keypad and a screen of LED's indicate lamp matrixes. The LED and button panel actually lays flat, but swivels up on guide rails and wingnuts to a vertical position.
You can see the rear of the unit has legs bolted on to keep it at an angle. There is a carrying handle, and clasps so I assume this should have had a lid, but sadly this is missing. I tested the unit, seems to work OK, but the main board that's on there isn't doing much of anything. 3 out of 5 displays light up, but I picked up a whole set of spare displays gotta try those out at some point.

 

Williams System 7 Test unit.
(sold in early 2010 in the UK)
Williams System 7 test unit. I believe this is an earlier system tester, but has been upgraded and added to, in order to give it system 7 compatibility, most evident is the extra head of displays and a driver board on the top.
This unit has the following missing : 2 displays, speech, sound and CPU boards... Same again though, these are standard pinball boards. Inside this unit is a ROM board with a flying lead to plug into an EPROM socket, it has 3 roms on it marked 'test' so I don't know what its for yet, untested...
 

 

Williams System 3 Test unit.
(sold in 2006 to someone in the UK)
Williams System 3 test unit. This is what i think the system 7 rig above is based on This unit has a few missing pcbs, as you can see. Inside this unit is also a ROM board with a flying lead to plug into an EPROM socket, it has 3 roms on it marked 'test' so I don't know what its for yet, untested...
overhead view..
Front view, you can see this has a Williams logo on the front of the chrome panel :)

 

 

Atari PAT9000's
This is the Pat that was on my workbench at retrokade, it is mostly working, except the power relays stick on sometimes. Its still very useable, Now owned by Danny P...

My Atari PAT 9000 #00067:
a bit tatty, is under restoration.

The rear, showing the Raster and Vector monitor plugs, speakers, fan, and serial stickers.
This is a detail of the serial number stickers and info etc.. you can see that it is serial number UR00067, model number 33900
The front, looking rather dirty, and various buttons knocked off, i have spares tho, so one day i'll put them back on :)
the left hand side, showing the auxillary connectors, used for testing trackbals and other peripherals. These were also 'user ports' where you could re-route various signals to (via the program plugs), so that you could hook up external equipment or controllers to them.
Right hand side view, these 2 connectors are for the main pcb connector harnesses, one for each pcb (as controlled/programmed by the program plugs on the front.
this is the inside of the unit, tonnes of wiring and switches :)
My Atari PAT9000 #00055
Full PAT setup, fully working with raster and vector monitors.
 

Plugs handmade :
- JAMMA plug
- main unit plug #1 (with strange 36pin adapter)
- Astro Blaster


Atari-made plugs
- Millipede
- Liberator
- Major Havoc
- Food Fight
- Warlords
- 'Extender Plug'
- Space Duel (A040583 loan)
- Dig Dug
- Kangaroo
- Arabian
- Blasteroids, Toobin, Cyberball
- Xybots, Vindicators
- System I
- System II
- Quantum
- Gauntlet
- Firefox (obtained from Danny P)
- Hard Drivin' / S.T.U.N Runner / Race Drivin' (NOS!)

 

Atari RAM/ROM Tester
Atari's first attempt at streamlining the troubleshooting process, The CATBox was the logical child of the ram/rom tester
Nice and simple, the 40-pin edge connector fits onto all CPU games made by Atari in the 1970's. Its a bit clunky and you need to follow a lot of procedures to run tests, but its a good start.

 

 

Atari CTF-1
The 1970's predecessor of the PAT9000, looks cooler i think! Designed for b/w games.

My #1 rig, looks a bit sorry but is functionally used these days. Click on the photo to be taken to the dedicated page i made for it!

My #2 rig, modified with a colour CRT into a hybrid rig, needs attention.. came with the plugs :

- Gravitar
- Dominos (marked) but its jamma?
- Food Fight
- Dig Dug (US Version)
- Pole Position

 

Atari PBS-1
Pinball Playfield Simulator
'Selector Switch cabinet' - A switch matrix unit onto which you put the overlays to simulate the playfield.
.. 'Display Cabinet' - LED annunciation - also has overlays to show you whats what.

 

Atari Superman Pinball Test Rig
not sure, this may be a prototype, or produced by Atari in very low
numbers just for distributers? If you have any info, please contact me!
Lots of annunciation for switches and lamp outputs all on the one console.
wires out of both sides for hooking up all the relevant pcbs
internal shots - very neatly made, makes me think it was done by Atari!

 

Taito Test Tech
(this wasn't actually mine, it was on loan from a fellow collector)
The case... a nice and neat little package. This is basically just a signature analyser with a neat Taito logo :)
Open it up, to see the business end in the bottom, and a secret panel in the top.
Heres a closeup of the main unit, you can see that it is capable of handling 6802s and the 6809D and 6809V.
This is whats in the secret panel, or false lid to be more accurate :) the pods and other associated cables... We managed to find a manual on ebay, when it turned up, it was just a photocopy, not like the aution photo :( some people are just plain scammers.

 

 

 


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These pages are (C) Andy Welburn 1996-2011. I cannot be held responsible if the information supplied herein results in a blown monitor/power supply/house fuse/mind. Oh yeah, have a nice day :)