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ROM Chip Installation
The following information applies in general to most makes and models of pinball machines and is intended as a guide, or "how-to", on how to remove and replace ROM chips, or otherwise update the software, in these games. The information given below may not be exactly specific to your make/model of pinball machine, so should be taken only as a general guide to ROM chip replacement or software updating, rather than specific instructions for your exact game.
NOTE and DISCLAIMER: Read the instructions below before attempting any of the work. If you are uncomfortable performing any of the steps below, contact us, or return chip(s) for a refund (less labor, shipping, and handling costs). Chip(s) must be removed/installed properly to ensure proper operation. We are not responsible for any damage to the chip, you, your game, your location, or any problems or inoperability of your game due to problems with you removing and/or installing chips in your game.
General ROM Chip Removal and Installation Instructions:
Before changing ROM chip(s) in your game, do the following steps:
- Depending on the age and manufacturer of your game, replacing a ROM chip may zero out all audit and adjustment information, and produce a resulting "error" message when you power up the game after replacing the chip (such as "Totals reset", "Factory Settings", or "Volatile RAM Error"). If you need to retain any of the audit or adjustment information, make a record of it before removing the old chip.
- Turn power off. Always remove and replace chips ONLY WITH POWER OFF!
(Click any image below for larger view.)
Sega/Stern Pinball Game ROM Location
Williams WPC Game ROM Location
Sega/Stern Pinball Display ROM Location
Locate the chip you will be changing. Location of chip will vary depending on the game, manufacturer, age, etc. A few common examples are shown to the left.
If you are unsure about the location of the chip you are replacing, check the information written on the label on the chip (if present), consult your game operation manual, or contact us.
Locate the indent on the chip that is in your game. The indent is a semi-circle, or "half-moon" mark, and is always on one end of the chip.
Depending on the location and orientation of the chip in your particular game, the indent will be facing in the direction of up, down, left, or right. Make note of this- the replacement chip will have to be installed in the SAME direction as the existing chip, otherwise it could be damaged or at least will not work. This step is most important.
Remove the existing chip. To do this, use a tool such as a small flat-blade screwdriver, knife, or an actual chip remover tool which is available at Radio Shack for only a dollar or two (called an "IC Extractor Tool").
Insert tool carefully under one end of the chip and gently start to pry upward to extract the chip from the chip legs from the chip socket.
NOTE: The tool must go between the chip and the chip socket. Be careful not to put the tool underneath the chip socket, otherwise you could damage the socket, the PC board, and the chip if the socket is pried off the board.
As you pry the chip legs out of the chip socket, continue to work the tool in underneath the chip. The idea is to try to pry the chip straight up and out of the socket, rather than bending it back as it comes out. Bending the chip back will bend and possibly break the chip legs, rendering it useless.
Once the chip is nearly free of the socket, grasp it with your fingers and gently work it the rest of the way out of the socket. Be sure not to bend the chip backwards and/or damage any chip legs. Patience and caution are required for this step.
Install the replacement chip. The easiest way to successfully install a chip into a chip socket is to first line up one side of the chip legs with one side of the chip socket. Don't press the chip legs down into the socket yet- just allow them to rest lined-up on the one side of the chip socket.
Next, gently "roll" the chip over to line up the legs with the other side of the chip socket. You may need to gently press the chip back toward the other side of the socket in order to get the legs on the second side to line up just right with the chip socket.
Use caution in this step in order to avoid bending or mashing any chip legs with your fingers. All chip legs should line up with their respective positions on the chip socket before you press down to seat the chip in the socket.
Gently press down on the chip to push and seat it into the socket. This may actually require a bit of force to ensure that the chip is fully seated.
Watch carefully before, and as you seat the chip into the socket. Make sure all chip legs are IN the socket and that none are hanging outside, or bent underneath the chip. If any legs do not go straight into the socket, then the game will not function and you could risk damage to the game, and the chip.
This step is most important, and requires patience and caution. Double check your work after seating the chip to make sure it is fully seated, and that no chip legs are bent, hanging out of the socket, or bent/rolled underneath the chip (stuck between chip and socket).
Once you have double-checked your work, power on the game, and verify that it boots up properly. If you have replaced a CPU (game) ROM chip, your game's audits and adjustments (settings) may have to be reset. Your game may give you an "error" message such as "Factory Settings Restored", "Totals Cleared", or even "Volatile RAM Error" on some Capcom games. To clear this error, simply turn your game off, then back on, or go into your game's menu system and reset the audits and adjustments.
If you encounter any problems, double-check your work and ensure that all cables/connectors on and around the area where you were working are still firmly connected to the board and that none have been bumped loose or left uninstalled (if any had to be removed to gain access to the ROM chip).
You can also see the section below on Related Articles for additional information.
Data East, Sega, and Stern Pinball Display ROM Replacement:
Some late-model Data East, all Sega, and all new Stern Pinball games have a separate ROM chip for the display unit. This display ROM chip is located on the back side of the display unit itself (which is mounted to the speaker/display panel).
To replace this chip, you will first need to remove the speaker/display panel.
(Click any image below for larger view.)
Remove backbox translite (backglass) assembly and set it aside to gain access to the speaker/display panel.
This panel may be secured in place by two screws at either top end- check for these before trying to remove the panel. This was usually done in Data East games- screws and gray plastic spacers were used. Remove these before attempting to remove the panel.
Grasp panel with one or both hands and lift straight upward. Panel should come up about an inch.
Pull top of panel outward from backbox.
Lay panel down on playfield glass surface. This will allow you access to the back of the display unit. You should then be able to locate the ROM chip.
- Click here to see the instructions above for removal and installation of the ROM chip.
- Click here for information on changing two display ROM chips for one ROM chip (and vice-versa). This is required on some Data East and early Sega games (not all).
Late-Model Stern "SAM" System USB Key Software Updating:
Instructions not available here, but step-by-step instructions are included with USB key updates that we supply. These can be ordered on our ROM Chips Page.
- For information on jumper settings/changes that may be required for specific ROM chips and PC boards, see related articles on our Technical Articles Page
- For more info on ROM chips, and ordering information/prices, see our Rom Chips Page
- For information on returns, refunds, and chip warranty, see our ROM Chips Page.
- If you have any questions that aren't answered here, or need any additional information, drop us an e-mail or call.
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