Thursday, August 22, 2013

ordering parts

I placed my first big order for the new machines!   When it was just the Royal Flush, had everything I needed, but with these newer ones I went to Marco Specialties to get my parts.

I researched all of the issues with my machines, decided on what could be done, made a big list, added everything to my cart, got to the checkout, and....  lost my confidence.  The total was just too high, what with conversion, international shipping, and the taxes + duty prepaid.  (TIP:  If in Canada, be wary of how your stuff is shipped to you because the "convenience charge" of not having a customs broker is like $65 and is a scandalous USPS/UPS ripoff)

So tonight I broke it down: 
List 1 is of things that I need to fix and/or maintain.
List 2 is of things that will make the machines prettier.

So here's what I ended up going for:
For Break Shot:
Rollover switch & bracket assembly kit #A-12688-1 $8.95 
Spring - Capcom compression  $1.35   #SG-00126
5 x Rubber ring - Black 27/64" or 7/16" OD   $0.29    #38-2764B
4 x  Rubber sleeve - black 7/8" 545-5009-00  $0.59

that will hopefully allow me to replace the bad rubbers, tighten up the center post, and fix the dead right inline switch.

For Rocky & Bullwinkle
kicker level assembly  #515-5016-00  $9.95
spring extension $0.90  #265-5000-00  (to go with the above kicker, in case I muck up the replacement fix)
3 x  Foam pad .6 in x .4 in x .25 in    $0.23   #626-5069-00
Switch - subminiature with actuator    $6.00   #180-5064-01
ROCKY & BULLWINKLE (DE) EPROM ROM0 A1.30    $10.00   #EPROM2198
ROCKY & BULLWINKLE (DE) EPROM B5GameA1.3    $10.00   #EPROM2197
This will allow me to fix the ball drain kicker, replace the standup target pads (btw I have 3 non-standard targets...), fix the Hat Trick switch, and get the game up to the final version of code.

And general parts:
2x  Rubber protector 20" long standard   $3.95/ea    #23-6534
4 x  Nut 3/8-16 hex 5/8" flat to flat LLN    $0.18   #4422-01117-00

In total  $120.70 CAD after conversion, duty, taxes, and shipping.

When I have money enough, I will eventually do a cosmetic order with new decals, plastic guards, LEDs, the Boris button, and a score card.

Friday, August 2, 2013


Royal Flush is gone.  We hired a guy to help me get it up the stairs and out to it's new home.
Taking off the playfield glass and playfield made getting it up the stairs a SNAP!
So much easier.  We didn't even bother opening the package of moving straps I had purchased in anticipation.

The games now have a lot more space, which is useful since I now want to get deep in to them and starting work on fixing and cleaning.

looking more sparse, but I need the access.

I also decided to spray the backs of my video game marquees.  I saw a tip in an arcade restoration video where you can seal the current cdamage level by doing a few layers of "triple thick" on to the back.  I couldn't find it at Home Depot, but found it at Michael's.  So yay, hopefully they won't degrade any further.

note:  this bottle did 3 coats of the 3 marquees, and then was empty, that's it.

I will still stay on the lookout for games on my wantlist:  Gladiators, and Baywatch.   The way I'm feeling about things, if I found both of those right now I'd probably sacrifice R&B over Break Shot.  Break Shot is such a fun game in it's current state, and it will be even better once I fix the mini upper flipper.

I have also decided to let go of the dream of owning Future Spa.  Instead, I shall just hunt for the backglass art and hang that on my walls instead.
If I could find the Future Spa trans-lite, as well as a few others, I will put them up on the side walls.  There are so many from the 50s to late 70s that I'd like to get. (Buccaneer, 2001, Coquette, Gay 90s, etc)

I am also looking for some more video marquees:  Altered Beast, Rampage, Marble Madness, Willow, Cameltry, Crystal Castles, Smash TV, Joust, Karnov, etc.

I would like to end with a shot of misc things I discovered to be incredibly useful in this journey:

from left to right: 
a beverage holder that can be attached to a pinball leg
LED lamp for getting inside
moving straps
a magnet tool, for pulling balls out of the trough
digital level
a roll of velcro straps
mother's carnauba wax (BECAUSE IT SMELLS SOOOO GOOOD)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rocky & Bullwinkle power issue

OK so there was an issue coming from undoing the backbox wiring to get it downstairs.  Some times while playing the game will just reboot.  Or sometimes the audio will reboot.  Once the DMD just displayed an error at bootup.
These issues I have mostly traced down to a single connector that feels a bit loose.  It is a touch flimsy and I am not sure if it was this bad before disconnection, but it is the first thing I attend to if/when something does go wrong.
I had a guy over to help move the Royal Flush and he mentioned the connector, described it perfectly, and apparently they are notoriously bad.  So add to the todo list:
13) have that power/ground connector rebuilt!

I am hoping that will solve the issue.  It's very rare and erratic (oh, THOSE kinds of issues...) but at least I have a good starting point.

bar seals / beer seal

Just a note to myself that I need to buy some bar seal and replace it on my games...

lockdown bar for Break Shot

lockdown bar for Rocky & Bullwinkle

additional Break Shot issues

To add to the list:  sometimes the kickback isn't so hot.  Oh it always kicks, but sometimes the ball is going slow and it kicks too early.
Sometimes, the ball even sits on the outlane switch!   I think I might need to clean the switch to have less resistance on it.  Hopefully then the ball will sail over it effortlessly and the kickback will miss less times.
The kickback in Break Shot is pretty great:  To re-light, you knock down 6 drop targets.  There is a setting internal the game allowing you to stack kickbacks as well.  It's currently not set on, but a neat feature to include that so you can rack up a store of them, if you wanted.
5) clean outlane switch to better time with kickback

Sometimes the center post drops when it is not supposed to.  This will be when the post is up, thus a ball is inside the lock mech, waiting to get ricocheted in to a hole.
The ball stored there enters play, but the game isn't smart enough to realize the center pole has inadvertently dropped.  Modern Stern games have software compensation for when they release an extra ball inadvertently, and that's super cool, because when the extra ball comes out you have 2 balls in play, and either dropping will end your ball.  Worse yet, the 2nd ball in play might confuse the machine and end your next ball as well, despite not plunging it yet.  Or just as annoying, it will end up with 2 balls in the shooter lane.
Looking at the schematics in the manual, the center post mech works similar to an AX Relay in an old Gottlieb.  There is a a vertical coil that pushes the post up and over a ledge, holding it in the UP position.
To bring it down, there is a horizontal coil that moves the ledge away and the vertical spring pulls it back downwards.

center post diagram

So when the post is up and I bang it the right way, the post descends when it is not supposed to.  That is, it has fallen off the ledge prematurely.
If the spring that holds that ledge in place is weak, the bangs might be enough to let the post slip past it.
This is all guesswork on my part form just looking at the mechanism diagram, but I bet this is what is going on.
6) investigate center post spring + ledge for consistent gameplay

the coil that raises the center post

the backside of the center post mech, post is down.

center post is up, note how it is latched on the ledge.  If the ledge is pulled by the rear coil, it will descend.  If that bottom right spring isn't strong enough, I imagine the platform could slide out of place and let the center post descend at the wrong time.

In the prior list of issues I identified that the game was tilting, and then freezing on that tilt screen.
Additional insight in to that:  I opened the coindoor while it was tilting and noticed the tilt rod + bob were at an angle.  Stuck to the tilt ring.
So no wonder it wasn't ending the tilt mode, the rod was STUCK to the outer tilt ring, providing a continuous tilt.  It seems that there was some kind of electro-magnetic charge causing it to stay there.
Something to investigate further for sure.  I am unsure if that could be a sign of something else wrong.  Tilt rings aren't supposed to be electromagnets.

I was also worried there was a more serious issue...  I would be playing and the game would call out pool balls that I collected, except the ball in play was NO WHERE NEAR where that ball was collected.   OMG NO, were sensors going off randomly?
The worry set in, but I figured it out:  1) the game is programmed terribly.  If a few events happen in rapid succession, each animation and audio cue has to play before the next one does, sometimes creating a delayed stack of them.
2) I actually RTFM and there are many ways to get the next ball, beyond directly hitting it's switch. 
Put those 2 factors together, and I was confused for one hot minute.  But I am happy to report that everything is A-OK.  (except for an itching desire to rework their code...)