Stellar Wars


Williams did not make many widebodies during the early solid state era. Stellar Wars in 1979 was one of them. This game came in March 2003 from Sweden with two Bally games.

Wide playfield is in reasonably good shape. The machine has been in storage for a long time The bumpers are spotted with mould! But luckily there is no rust on metal parts. There are also cobwebs in playfield, but after a good cleaning and waxing this will be a nice game. Someone has put mylar on playfield. It must have been really expensive, since it does not cover all of the playfield. But I think I will not try to remove the mylars, because you never know what else comes off with the mylar...

Backglass is flaking a little. It must be clearcoated soon, as long as most of the paint is still in place. The paint flakes start flying by just blowing on the glass, so the coating must be done very carefully.

Philips quality. OK, the batteries are stamped with "best before 1993" but when you use proper alkaline batteries, Duracell or Varta, you have no problems even after ten years. The circuit board looks it has no damage yet from the leaking battery. The uppermost game prom and the 5101 CMOS ram at right are first in danger.

Electronically the game is nearly OK. The power supply capacitors are probably dried out, the game started only after a few minutes trying and crashes after some time. New capacitors and maybe new IC sockets are needed. The coils do not work, and their fuse was found to be blown. When I have some time I must check why the fuse is blown. A quick look under playfield reveals no major problems - this will be a nice game.


Mouldy bumpers...

...and cobwebs.

After cleaning and waxing, with new rubbers it looks mighty good!

We intended to have a playing session after playfield cleaning. We did not. Outhole coil pulls in continuously, and coil fuse blows. Probably the driver transistor is shorted, and of course I did not have a spare with me. Also, there is something weird going on in the switch matrix. A 10 point standup switch gives 10 points, or 1000 points, or a credit, or something else. It looks like a 7406 in the switch matrix circuit is blown. I must find the faulty one and replace. During game, none of the sounds work. Sound board test button however does make sounds. Probably not the driverboard, but suspect the sound board 6821 PIA or 4050 buffer. But I still believe these will get fixed eventually.


Looks definitely better now! The switch matrix needed a new 7406, there was one column constantly on. Outhole driver transistor is now replaced, but unfortunately the coil is partly shorted and blows the fuse every time, yet it still pulls in. The coil must be replaced but no problem, I have those at hand. Missing sounds are probably due to dried out capacitors on sound board, it doesn't boot every time. When I got the sounds from test button, it had booted correctly and of course would have operated during game also if I had tried it. Should be easy to fix. The backglass need coating, I already masked the display windows with masking tape, so now it is just plug and play, or plug and spray.


The game works just fine now. Test games have been played, with no major problems. Of course the shorted outhole coil managed in one shot to blow both the fuse and the just replaced transistor. But after replacing it with yet another one, all OK. The sound board works fine, after removing and inserting all socketed IC's a few times. The sockets are of course SCANBE brand. From these old Williams games I have learned an alternate term for contact problem is SCANBE!


The game has worked, but not so reliably. It crashes often, after having been on for a while. So it was time for some repairs. SCANBE sockets from CPU board were replaced with better ones, and at the same time I got rid of the unreliable bipolar PROMs. A newer software version was downloaded and burned in one 2716 chip. Looks good, after two days playing no crashes have occurred.


Is this now some kind of epidemic or what? Just yesterday I fixed the burnt ball release coil in my Black Knight, and now the outhole coil in Stellar Wars is toasted. The same problem that it had when we got the game. A new coil and driver transistor, and it works again. But what makes it get stuck on?


Stellar Wars has found a new home.