Saturday February 24, 2024

Smart Ball Alley LIVES!
  Posted by: AceBHound on Nov 20th, 2011 8:38 PM
Continuing on the tune of my last post -- I tracked down someone that had a Smart Ball Alley manual and it even included schematics which was great. There were a few components on the power supply board which I thought might be faulty since under load, the 5v was reading low. One of those components was a variable voltage regulator -- NTE956.. the other a 2n3055 transistor. Scoured my bin of unorganized salvaged parts and *somehow* happened to have salvaged an LM317T variable voltage regulator, which substitutes just fine for the NTE956. Turns out, the schematics even listed an LM317T.

Replaced the LM317T figuring it was a good shot in the dark and with the CPU board & driver board connected, the 5v was stable. No display though. Looking at the schematic again noticed the display ribbon cable wasn't plugged in correctly. Obviously someone had been playing around trying to get the alley to work and plugged the ribbon cable in backwards. After that, display came on and game was playing! Now just need to get the audio working and we'll be set.

These Smart Ball alleys with the plasma displays are actually pretty cool. You can play a 4 player game and it allows you to enter initials for high scores and even has a MATCH feature where you can win a free game (similar to MATCH option in pinball games). The plasma display plays cute little animations of this ball.. like if you don't score any points it has the ball character (with a face, hands and feet) sitting on a wall and falling off Humpty Dumpty style and the words "UH-OH!". Looking forward to seeing if the sounds are as neat as the animations!

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