Declaration of defeat.

Remember that Tempest machine that John and I were halfassedly trying to repair from September through November?

To recap, when I bought it, the right half of the monitor wasn't lighting up, but scoping out the logic board showed a full signal, so the problem was within the monitor. We replaced several dozen components, re-soldered almost everything, and along the way, made it worse. Now the monitor doesn't light up at all.

So, this is clearly beyond our skill level, and also it ceased being any fun at all at about day three.

A few people suggested we just call in the experts, and have someone who repairs these things professionally come out and make a house-call. Sounds good to me. Two separate Bay Area operations were suggested -- "Ken & TJ" and "Tilt Electronics" -- but it's been two months and neither of them has returned repeated phone calls or emails, so one can only presume that they're not interested.

Any other suggestions of someone I could get to come out here and fix this damned thing? Or is it now kindling?

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7 Responses:

  1. Eric Smith says:

    There are pairs of transistors for the deflection, 2N3716 and 2N3792, mounted to the chassis. It looks like the original problem was probably the Q606 2N3792. It's hard to find original replacements, but the 2N3792 can be replaced by an NTE285. Could also be the Q603/Q604 preamp that drives the Q605/Q606 amp.

    Check whether the filament of the tube is glowing. If so, check whether the spot killer LED800 is on. If so, one of the deflection amps has completely failed.

    In my experience, usually when the monitor doesn't light up at all (no filament, no spot killer), that's due to one of the fuses F100 or F101, and they usually blow because something else is shorted.

  2. Otto says:

    Would it be possible to just replace the monitor with another one?

    • jwz says:

      Sure, they are occasionally available. My worry on that is that, as this machine was working fine before we put it on a truck, I have no reason to believe that once an eBayed 35-year-old monitor has found itself in the tender embrace of UPS, it will work any better by the time it gets here... so that's a pricey gamble in itself.

  3. Jizaboz says:

    Hmm.. completely replacing the wires from the monitor to the board with new ones is the only thing I can think of without testing it out on a different monitor.

    You said you re-soldered everything, so I assume you've tried pushing on all of the connections and chips on the board with the power on while looking at the screen to see if anything changes.

  4. fantasygoat says:

    You might get more responses by asking on some pinball and video forums, or even Usenet.

    There's also the Bay Area Pinball League mailing list, which will definitely have some video people on it. I'd try that before forums or Usenet.

    I know it's suboptimal to have to sign up to web forums and mailing lists, but it's generally the fastest and easiest way to get access to guys who can fix stuff.

  5. Chris at T-Minus One ( can fix it. 925-932-3333. They answer phone calls and make house calls. If the picture tube is good (as in, sealed and has lots of phosphor left), anything else can be fixed. Ken and TJ and Tilt send their stuff to T-Minus One when they need help.

    Or, I know Ken and TJ. I can call them and make fun of them if you like.

    If you just want it gone, I can make that happen, but that would be sad.