Earthshaker – Changing Header Pin and IDC Plug

Burt IDC

The old toasty IDC for the backbox lights had also managed to pull a pin from the board, which is of course less than ideal, this meant that the IDC plug would need replacing as well as the header pins on the board itself. You can buy the IDC plugs still, but they aren’t rated to cope with some of the draw from the games, especially on GI strings (as you can see) – they were easy to mass produce for manufacturing, but the go to replacement is Trifurcon pins which handle the draw much better – adding to the longevity of the repair, plus if you have a crimp for other jobs, you won’t need to buy the IDC tool.

Trifurcon crimp

The Trifurcon crimp crimps to the wire in two segments, both around the wire (18AWG is used on system 11 games for the GI) and also around the stripped wire. The key to a good crimp is to ensure that the stripped wire and the sleeved section both have a nice, tight solid crimp as above – then inserting into the plug.

New connector for board with trifurcon pins inserted.

I cut down larger connectors as then they will be on hand, should any be needed in the future, I also cut the old cable tie off and reattach a new one, as when trimming down the wires, there may be some discrepancy in the wire length, this just neatens it up.

It looks like the previous owner had had a go at reflowing some of the solder joints with flux made of treacle, this all needed cleaning up before the new pins could go in. It was disgusting stuff.


With the pins out the board was cleaned up – but it was left a little toasty in places, also one of the pads was completely lost from the board.

After cleaning up the board, the toasty areas were all cleaned up nicely and the new header pins inserted. Where the pads had some damage, the solder didn’t take as well as can be seen on pad 2 – however – the key is to ensure that continuity on both the top side and bottom side traces are all intact. This was all good.

Just some of the toasted components left over – but another job down in this Earthshaker Pinball Repair Project. Until next time, happy flipping!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *