A new, refreshed Stern Frenzy

In June of 2007 I picked up a Frenzy at a local auction for a song, something like less than $30. I knew nothing of the game at the time, but playing it in Mame I could tell it wasn’t one I wanted so I traded it away. Since then it’s been traded to another collector and this time I think it’s finally getting the appreciate it deserves. (more…)

Frenzy – Going to trade it this weekend

The plan is right now that I am going to trade the Frenzy this weekend to another good friend collector for a handful of other cabs and projects.

I knew Tim really wanted a Frenzy, and this one was in good condition minus the ZPU-1001 board. He was close enough and he has been so helpful in the past that although I could have tested the market to see what it would have sold not working, I decided this was the better route to take. I don’t like the game enough to go out and buy a Berzerk Frenzy combo board, so I wasn’t going to keep it.

Should I replace the Stern Frenzy Ribbon Cables?

I started to think that maybe the ribbon cables were bad, I read that these were also a source of problems with the game. I read in posts that people have replaced Stern’s ribbon cables in a number of ways. Either they find a known working set on ebay, they find exact cable replacements for the pin configurations, or in some cases they make their own.

I read somewhere that people used scsi cables as replacements, but I didn’t find that to be true. Scsi cables are pretty huge, and regular ATA cables where usually in configurations of 20×2 = 40 pins, or 22×2 = 44 pins. The two cables I took from the Stern Frenzy game where in configurations of 23×1 or 18×1. So, without knowing for sure if they were bad and pumping more money into a game I wasn’t going to keep, I decided to wait and see if another solution presented itself.

Frenzy Arcade Game - Ribbon Cable 1 AngledFrenzy Arcade Game - Ribbon Cable 1 StraightFrenzy Arcade Game - Ribbon Cable 2 AngledFrenzy Arcade Game - Ribbon Cable 2 Straight

Replacement cap for Frenzy ZPU1001 board

Tonight I stopped after the gym at Radio Shack to get a replacement capacitor for the ZPU1001 board. I didn’t want to travel all the way to Meunier for one cap. I soldered it in and put the board back into the cabinet and got….nothing.

I got a white screen again, which was quite disappointing. The board was dry from the scrubbing, there was no reason it shouldn’t work. But, I did also have some problems soldering, the iron I have is about shot (which is fine because it was free). I don’t know what a cold solder joint is, but maybe that is what happened. Is a cold solder joint when you have old solder with new solder on top and the electricity doesn’t flow between them? All I do know is until I took that board out and scrubbed it and replaced that cap, I at least had garbage on the screen.

Here is what I expected to see like the first time, the Frenzy garbage on screen.

Frenzy Arcade Game - Monitor Garbage

Working on the Frenzy game.

I got out into the garage and started drinking around with the Stern Frenzy game. I did some testing on the fuses and determined that at the very least I needed to replace a couple of those. So, I took a short bike ride up to Radio Shack and got some. I couldn’t nail down which ones were bad, so I just covered all of my bases and got replacements for the ones in the power supply and on the Frenzy logic boards.

I switched out the fuses and lo and behold now instead of a white screen on the Frenzy monitor I am getting a bunch of square pixels on the screen. That is encouraging. I did some more research on the Frenzy ZPU1001 board inside for what to do next. Most of the posts asked about what to do about acid damage on the Frenzy board. Always acid damage, it was so common. I didn’t initially notice much battery acid damage, I noticed some discoloration and dripping where some of the connections were green, but I thought battery acid damage would be more like a fire or something, very obvious.

I already had taken off the battery used on the ZPU1001 yesterday and thrown it away, so I figured it had to be a different problem. I tried readjusting some of the connections to see if that helped at all. It didn’t, so I went back to the posts. Some of them suggested neutralizing the acid damage with another agent and scrubbing the back of the board. I knew I didn’t pay much for the Frenzy game, so in the end I decided to be brave.

I removed the main processor board that had the battery leakage on it and once I looked at the back of it I realized how bad the leakage was. You could see discoloration over almost a third of the board, and all over the traces, probably gunking up everything. In the photos below you will see the contrast, on the front it is hard to tell and then how obvious it is on back.

I scrubbed the back of the traces with a vinegar water mixture. There was one capacitor that should be easy to replace in the leak zone, so I took that off as well. It was all bubbled up, so I figured that couldn’t be good. I could tell now how bad the acid leakage was because the solder was really hard to get flowing and get the cap out.

Here are some photos of the Frenzy PCB board, battery and the leakage down onto the ribbon cable below;

Frenzy Arcade Game - Battery
Frenzy Arcade Game - Battery Leg Corrosion
Frenzy Arcade Game - Cable and Mount Corrosion
Frenzy Arcade Game - PCB Damage Back
Frenzy Arcade Game - PCB Damage Front

I have to let the ZPU1001 board dry for a day or so, so I just left things for now. I started to clean down the rest of the cabinet, mainly the top, and two of the buttons that wouldn’t even press anymore because of the crud in them. I put the buttons in a CLR mixture to loosen up the gunk. After cleaning the board the dirt was loose enough to scrub out with a toothbrush and put back in the panel.

I am going to go and get the replacement cap here in the next day or two, and cross your fingers, hopefully the game will work.

Got the Frenzy home today

I had some help in getting Frenzy today at lunch, and I got home from work at a decent time so I got to dink around with the game a little bit. I called Joe in Chicago to hear his thoughts and talk a little bit of gaming with him. I turned the machine on, and got a white screen which means there is power, but there are some other major issues. I should be able to check that out a little bit more tomorrow.

Here are some photos of the game;

Frenzy Arcade Game - Photo AngledFrenzy Arcade Game - Left SideFrenzy Arcade Game - Right Side

Where I got the Frenzy

Frenzy Marquee

I came across this cabinet for sale at a local auction house here in Indianapolis, much to my surprise. I got to the event late that morning, and it was one of the first things to be auctioned. Being a little flustered, I wasn’t as patient as I should have been, but I still knew my upper price limit. I ended up bidding $20 to buy the machine. I probably could have waited, there might have been one other interested guy, but the crowd was thin and no one was bidding. Oh well. Next time I’ll have some more patience to let it hit the floor in price, but it was still a really great value.