Connecting the Stern TOPS kit in Europe

On Stern games up to World Poker Tour (not included), it is possible to add an extra TOPS kit. This allows the owner of the game to run tournaments on their pinball machine.

TOPS box

Installing such a kit is pretty easy, it is very well documented in the supplied paperwork.
However in Europe there is one thing you have to watch out for: how to power it.

The TOPS system comes with a transformer that requires 110 volts, while machines in Europe work on 220 volts. So care has to be taken how to connect everything.

There is however 110 volts present inside the cabinet, as the fluorescent light in the backbox runs on it.

Stern sells a Y-plug to connect onto this wire, however you can connect it yourself using your own connectors. Locate the 2 blue wires coming off the back of the transformer that connect to black and white wires. It's on these you have to connect the transformer for the TOPS system.

TOPS wiring
Transformer connected using red connectors.

TOPS pcb
The rest of the installation is well documented.

TOPS beta brite
The Beta Brite sign.

Stern Games using the new board system (World Poker Tour and up) do not need this extra kit anymore.

So what can you do with it ? Organise tournaments !

There are two types of tournaments: cash or prize tournaments.
With cash tournaments the operator can set up how much of the money paid for a game (ie $1 instead $0.50) goes into the pot. The game will keep track and display how much there is in pot for players to win.
With prize tournaments the operator can set how many prices will be awarded (1 to 5).

The pinball machines keeps track of everything. A player starts a tournament game using the extra start button on the lockdown bar. When one gets a high score he can enter his name an a secret number (which is used to claim his price).
At the end of a cash tournament the system will even calculate the payout for each player.

There is also a feature called Bump N' Win, where to be in first place you have to beat the first place high score, but to place in any of the other spots you only need to beat a lower score.

The number of balls in the tournament can be set between 1 and 10.
So on a one-day event you can run a one day tournament with 1 ball.. this makes gameplay very hectic and exciting. On the large display everyone can see the name of who's leading and can try to beat their scores..

Thanks to Guido van Meeteren and Lloyd Olson for their help.