Sunday, July 24, 2016

gameroom art update!

Newly up on the walls:
Atomic Punk marquee
A much nicer Future Spa backglass
Space Duel and Astron Belt marquees
A rough Peter Pan backglass  (rough shape, alas)

Friday, July 15, 2016

LOTR dmd update!

My friend lent me his NOS DMD and we swapped it in and the power went out again, so we know there was much more to investigate.
We finally traced down cracked solder on the power supply, reflowed that, and put the old DMD back in.


Stars lights!

Stars needs all of it's indicator lights!  Very important for decision making.
After replacing a few more sketchy light sockets, it was time to hunt down the bad transistors.

The manual for Stars is a bit of a mess.  Go download it at IMDB, page 5 is a long list of corrections for the lamp driver board.
On top of that?  We found that even the CORRECTIONS had a mistake!
J1-10 is listed as SPECIAL WITH WHITE STAR, but we confirmed it is actually just the WHITE STAR.

So we proceeded carefully with the transistors we had.  But J1-10 needed a MCR-106 transistor, and I only had bought 2N5060s.  So the game will be missing that single light.
BUT, the rest are now working!

With the light board removed, we also noticed Capacitor C1 was disconnected.  Looking at the schematics, I don't quite understand where J4-3 connects to, but it's back connected now.
Lamp driver A5-J4-3 connects to A3-J3-16, on the voltage regulator / solenoid driver board.
So looking at the schematics, I really think this capacitor is there to connect two voltage test points, so probably not critical to gameplay.

The wires connecting the left flipper are now sealed properly, with the flaking electrical tape removed.

At this point?  I think we might just be one transistor away from a fully working game!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

more public pinball at the Neighbourhood Pub!

Very excited that Ottawa has another wonderful place to play!  Check out Ottawa, Canada over at the pinball map!

We have 3 main spots:
House Of Targ, with 18 pinball machines and an equal amount of arcades
Lowertown Brewery, with 6 pinball machines and I have yet to visit yet...
and now.. Neighborhood Pub at 2257 Baseline Rd, with 9 machines plus a few arcades


Neighbourhood Pub, which I will forever refer to as Neigh-P, is also the first to dive back in to the EMs.
Yes, that is a 60s era shuffle bowler!
They are all wonderfully fine tuned, and a blast to play.

Neigh-P does 45 cent wings on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays, and they are delicious and probably the most affordable meal in the city.
MAACA people are going to be meting there on Wednesdays (with the wings special honoured,) I think.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Stars: lighting update

I got in a bag of light sockets, so it was time to start tackling the light bulb issues on Stars.

First up was the task of figuring out what sockets do not make a good connection, and therefore should be replaced.
Open the game door and press the test button and all of the controlled lights will start flashing.  With the playfield up, for each one that doesn't blink, I use an alligator clip to jump from the connection of a working light to a non-working one.

If the light does not light then, you know you have to replace it.  I replaced about 5 of them.  
There are also a handful of lights where the light is rather dim, due to dirty sockets, and I'll probably replace those as well.  
Stars uses a single lamp driver to drive both Stars on the playfield:  the one at the target, and the same colour at the spinner.  Problem is, if one lamp socket is dirty and intermittent and goes out temporarily, the other other will as well.  So doubly best be sure the lights are OK.

But now that the bad sockets are located, time to move up the chain to the connectors and the transistors on the light board.

Lord Of The Rings: oh to play it again one day...

My LOTR's DMD was crisp and clear, no lines missing. One day when playing, the DMD just went blank. No glow, no lines, no single pixels.
I turned the game off. Next day, it played fine and bright and clear.
Happened again a week later (I was playing sparingly,) was displaying fine, then the DMD turned off mid-game. Turned the game off, then tested it the next day, and the DMD turns on fine.
Then it happened a third time, and now the DMD won't come back on at all.
Does this sound familiar to anyone? Seems like odd behaviour.
5V LED light on the DMD back is on.
I tried reseating all of the cables, then tried jostling them a bit, didn't help.
I unplugged the cable from the power and tested the power supply outputs. Got all good readings, except the 12V was reading as 0, but I don't didn't see that the 12V did anything in the schematics. Then found an old RGP post saying that 12V wasn't used, so not that?

soooo that 12V goes nowhere?

Also there have been a few other stuck ball issues, like the ball getting stuck at the bottom of the Legolas ramp, or in the Gimli VUK, wedged between the post and the wire ramp, sometimes with the help of the Balrog toy.
These issues are addressed in this post, and I will look to follow their fixes.

I really wish I could be playing this classic game!  It's spent far too long out for service, considering how long I had to wait for that darn switch switch to arrive.
I guess I could play it without the DMD?  But mehhhhh

Jurassic Park: plastics + rubbers

Sometimes a few small changes can really be a sea change for a game.  Minor prior annoyances that perhaps dulled your enthusiasm are melted away with the blistering gameplay that feels so NEW and vital.  But what has happened?  Nothing but changing a few rubbers, and voila.

feels so good

I was weaning off of JP, there was just something missing, so I decided to try the Super Rubbers.  Ordered 3 orange ones, and oh my, this feel like the way JP was always meant to be played.
The bounces, the control, the colours, it all seems SO APPROPRIATE.
The game is just more fun now.

In fact, a new problem arose:  The shots up the ramp happened with such bliss and accuracy, that I might need to modify the rails to prevent the ball from sometimes hopping off.
We already had a similar issue near the VUK where sometimes the ball would hop off to the outlane, so perhaps we can research both and tackle that problem.

I'll call you Orange Upper Flippy

But another big improvement was getting lexan plastics cut in the shape of the chipped ones.  A friend with a JP wanted to trace mine, so I got copies at the same time.
The lexan was thin enough so that the cracked plastic can sit on top.
This is most noticeable of an improve in the upper right, as this is what it looked like before when the plastic was cracked and the portion where the rivets would be are not there.

Yeah, not pretty.  I had switched this to a ziptie, but still not optimal.

fresh cut lexan piece

old broken plastic sits on top of the lexan piece, allowing the lights to be attached properly.
And also above the center scoop:

old plastic was busted in upper right

At this point the main thing to do is work on the standup tarrgets, reinforce them with a stabilizer from Mezel Mods, and perhaps slice away part of the edging to prevent them from getting and no longer registering.