Monday, April 21, 2014

Out Of Sight: I tried to stay away...

this project was supposed to last me...
I was going to wait until my friend got back from Allentown with a freshly purchased schematic for Out Of Sight, but alas, we got back from a long weekend in Toronto and I decided to have a peak at the covet kickback mechanism.

I mean, how could I not?  It's so cool.  This is a 1974 machine with a gate that opens, traps the ball, and kicks it back out.  It's one of only a handful that had a left kickback at that point.

There were 2 serious problems:
1) the gate wasn't opening when the left rollover was hit
2) the ball wasn't firing back.

Problem #2 was solved first:  The switch gap was just too large.  Lots of parts seem to have been replaced here, the switch for this, and the kicker solenoid and brackets, all seemed brand new.

Problem #1 was pretty easy to spot:  the solenoid for the gate had wire #1 leaning over and touching terminal #2.  Shorted.  Fried.
I am putting in an order for an A-489 #29 coil ASAP.  I can't wait to get this game playing perfectly.
And I might have it running fully before June.  :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Out Of Sight: score reels issue

2 birds, 1 stone!  That's the way I like to deal with my problems.

Player 1 tens unit was not reseting properly to zero.
Also during game play, the player unit would suddenly advance from player 1 to player 2.

With the glass off I quickly isolated the problem by hitting things that would rewards thousands, hundreds, and then tens.  On hitting a 10 point item, that is when the players would shift from 1 to 2.  The player unit was advancing errantly, but only from player 1 to 2.

I checked the player 2 10s score reel to see how things should be:

zero position


There are 3 main switch stacks up in each reel, and they are charted as:
0    C OO
1-8 O C O
9    O C C

So the leftmost stack is only closed on zero.  This stack toggles with the middle stack (meaning when one is closed, the other should be open)
The right-most stack is the carry bit.  when the 9 advances, it scores one on the subsequent reel.

It is hard to see from the crappy photo, but the problem on the player 1 10s was quickly obvious:  The metal bar coming from the upper left was to the right of the toggle switch.
Check the pics above, it is supposed to sit between the two switches.
I was able to correct this, but then there was still some reset problems stemming from the left most stacks not making great contact.  Cleaning and adjusting them, the game now scores properly!

ugggh sorry for the crappy pic.  But trust me, the bar is in the wrong spot.
I think the reels could be due for a cleaning since some manual stepping was a touch sticky, but I don't know if I want the massive task of taking each apart and cleaning it at this point.  They work, and that's good enough for now.

Correct scoring reel
Deep clean + wax
Add LEDs to backglass + top of playfield
Seal backglass
Flatten plastics
Clean cabinet + legs + hardware

Get kickback gate working
Get kickback solenoid working
level it on the damn concrete floor...
Add LEDs beneath playfield
check for a few dead light sockets (double bonus light)
mod the game to include a way to reset drops?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Out Of Sight: cleaning and rebuilding the playfield

I took some time and took all of the rubbers, posts and plastics from the playfield.
I want to clean and fix them, but also do a deep-enough clean of the playfield with minimal obstructions.

As we can see, the playfield has a bit of planking.  Not being the artsy type, the best defense is to be gentle and loving, clean it as best possible, then wax the hell out of it.

 I flattened the plastics tonight with great success, and here is my recipe:
Oven to 185 degrees.
Flat cookie sheets, with parchment paper on it.
Placed plastics on paper, in to oven.
Left them in until they started noticeably bending.  For the bottom rack this was ~4 minutes, top rack plastics were ~6 minutes. (they are further from the element)

Took them out, lifted the parchment paper on to flat counter.  Put another sheet of paper on top.  Piled on heavy artbooks, let cool for 10 minutes.

Worked great!  Not perfect, but much much better, and no damage.

all of the rubbers removed

verdict:  toss the rubbers, clean the star posts!
starting to take apart the playfield

everything removed!

ooo dirty

I wish I knew how to remove the rubber from this guy...

cleaned + waxed!  Planking still there, but the wax will help with further wear.  I hope.

flattened + cleaned plastics, new rubbers, clean + waxed, and LEDs!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Introducing... Out Of Sight!

Welcome welcome to my spring/summer project.

Max capacity here is 4 pins.  2 went, Monopoly came, leaving room for THIS, a dirty and not-quite-working machine to be gone over.

The cab isn't perfect, but really who really needs a mint EM cab?

Coin door is great.

A bit of dirty, and a some unfortunate planking

I love the art on this game.  I got it dirty and not-quite-working and am excited to see what I can do and where I can take it to.
Can't get too attached, as obviously something will have to go eventually, and it will probably be this one, but hey games don't generally last too long here anyways since this is my eight in over a year.

I started with the cabinet, and here is the top of the head.
Decades old ducktape is on there for some reason, as well as layer of what I assume is dust + nicotine tar.

I used a razor to start peeling the tape

I very gently cleaned with mean green and windex, being careful to ensure I wasn't soaking it, nor stripping any paint.

Compared to the starting point, this is actually pretty good!

The back glass is pretty great:

This is after I sealed it with acrylic triple-thick paint, which unfortunately reacted with the oranges and pinks.  Salvageable.

I took all of the metal bits and soaked them in a bath of Evapo-Rust

be sure to clean them well before doing this though.  You can re-use Evapo-Rust, but not if it's a dark cloud of dirt crud....

After the Evapo-Rust, I rinsed them, then give them another quick Evapo-Rust did and sit to dry.
The metal bits all came out nicely.  On to the legs!

Before  UGGH.

I only havd a 22" wallpaper tray trough to soak them in, so could only do one end at a time, and at an awkward angle.  Even with 2 bottles of Evapo-rust in the tray, coverage was limted.  If I could have found a trough the could contain the 32" legs, this would have been even better.

Next was the back box.  I took out all of the incadescent bulbs and replace them with LEDs.  It's a rea shame this doesn't have more lights, considering how vibrant the art is.
Warm white bulbs for the scores.  White and coloured LEDs for the characters, and colour-changing LEDs for the "Out Of Sight" logo to compliment the psychedelic feel.
I wiped away a bit of the black crud that incandescent bulbs leave over the years, but there wasn't that much.  Cleaning the score reels will help eventually though.

I didn't take photos of it, but I also spent time cleaning all of the stepper units in the game.  This is something I know how to do fairly well from past EM practice.  I learned everything from Clay's great guide.
This game has a crap load of steppers.  Player Unit, credit unit, a big one under the playfield, and 2 relays each with 2 smaller ones.  7 total.

I also started tightening switch stacks and ensuring the major assemblies are properly secured under the playfield

I played a test game and two things are obvious:
1) Something is causing an erratic step in the player's unit while the ball is in play, switching it from player 1 to 2.
2) the tens unit for player one has a switch stack error where the zero position switch is always closed, so it never resets to zero properly.  (although it doesn't hit zero, since the switch is always closed this does not interfere with the reset sequence)

In addition to that, a few obvious things:
- a few light sockets are out
- the left kickback gate doesn't open
- there is no back door to the back box

Marco Specialties has the schematics available and I have ordered them to Allentown.  I am not going, but someone from Ottawa is and has offered to bring back my order.
(Also coming is a small pile of stuff for Monopoly!)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Monopoly: lots to do!

Monopoly is a player's game, and with them you have to be a bit careful:  you can dump a lot of money in to a machine and never quite get it back.
A player's copy is differentiated with a "very good" or Collector's Quality due to wear, and the main goal is to always just have it play great.
My Monopoly does play great, but I want to at least get it closer to very good.  The playfield has some wear, and new playfields are still available for like $600, but I'm not the person to make that big move.  the cab also has some wear, but Monpoly's cab graphics are kinda meh anyways, and who cares?
Instead, I want to eventually fix all the little things on it, install all LEDs, and replace both ramps.
Right now I want to just document a bunch of little

Electric Company ramp + holy
Stern recommends like 6.5 degrees or something, but I have my machine at 8 degrees.  I was warned by the seller that the ball sometimes gets stuck just to the right of the hole, resting against the post.

yeah, right there near the bottom.
I used some leftover adhesive felt, cut in to tiny strips, and built up padding against the lower wall.
I used my dental tools to apply them with some precision, and now the ball does not get stuck there.

The drop target had been freshly replaced, so I ordered a cop target and slapped it no.  Almost perfect... no wait, no really...

I also got stickers for the spinner, but I am opting to replace the spinner entirely.   I will have a spare arriving at Allentown from Marco Specialties.  A friend will pick it up down there and bring the whole order back.

The other side has the decal in tact.  This side is just ugly.  REPLACING!

hello there, shitty hot glue gun job
Here is an example of a terribly salved platsic.  In order to eventually replace that lower left bulb I have to go in with an exacto blade to extra it from the glue tomb.
I have a spare of these plastics!  I am even ordering a new plastics set for the ones that I wasn't given as extras.
But you know what?  I have NO IDEA how to remove those bloody rivets, nor find the mounting brackets for this, so it might have to wait.  I want it out soon though, as I have a brand new one waiting, and this is an eyesore.

Likewise I have a brand new right ramp, as the old one is a glue monster as well, but I want to wait until I get a spare left ramp as well before I do a big swap.

left ramp entrance.  The upper guard does a good job of hiding the immense breakage.

A friend of mine also was able to produce these Monopoly ramp flaps out of lexan!  I only got the Free Parking one installed though.  I really want to install the Chance one, but I couldn't quite get the left ramp off to gain access to the screw to attach it with.
And the upper protector will have to wait until I replace both ramps.
I did get the one above Park Place installed.

Here is some of the playfield wear.  I am probably going to be covering it with some Stealth Protectors, as they are removable and easier to work with than mylar.

I have replaced most of the bulbs with LEDs and the game is looking really sharp.
I am not sure the yellow and orange LEDs really pop though.  I will have to try replacing them back with whites.  Is there any consensus on using coloured LEDs when the inserts are already coloured?

This is a great game.  Buckets of fun.
I adjust the skill settings a bit to make it even better:  The default of "Moderate" difficulty is OK, but make the bank HARD, that way it takes a left ramp shot to close the door.  Also don't award a bank letter each ball.  That means you need to use strategy to earn the Cash Grab mode each game, instead of it just handing it to you automatically.
(similar to the way Data East games give an opportunity for multiball on ball 3 if you haven't gotten there yet)

I hope I can eventually find a spare left ramp and do the big playfield fix of my dreams.
I have ordered a spare plastics set, an outhole metal guard, a new upper right target (the current one doesn't seem to register on super hard direct shots,) a new spinner, some new plastics, etc.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

LEDs and instruction cards

I mentioned it in the last post, but it bears repeating:
Comet Pinball is my favourite place for LEDs.  
Excellent customer service, and they ship via USPS (United States Parcel Service).  This is huge for people in Canada, since we all know UPS is a spawn of satan company that survives by fucking over customers in every way they can.  ESPECIALLY on customs.
Oh, and fabulous prices, bulk deals, and wide selection!

Also, props to for their great selection of pinball instruction cards. 
Swapped newly printed ones in to Monopoly and Flintstones.

guess which ones are the old ones?

Top Score fixin'!

Fixed a few things:
Right slingshot wasn't sensitive enough so I adjusted the upper contact.  Found it was ever so slightly bent to the side one way, so I bent it back and cleaned it and now it's snappy as it should be.

Some of the bowling lanes lights weren't coming on, so I looked to the KS relay under the playfield.  This has a cycle of 10, and cycles through which of the 5 bowling lane lights are lit.
KS Unit.  Note the stepper unit on top of the switch banks, and the cables going to the plug
I had previously cleaned ol' KS back when it stopped advancing, cleaning the stepper plates and the stepper gears.  This time I cleaned the switch contacts, which I don't think did anything since I then touched the plug and was able to secure it in further.  The KS has a plug so it can be removed for easy maintenance, but that also means that the plug can come loose.
The vibration on the table seems to be moving it ever-so-slightly.  If this keeps up, eventually I will try and secure it further, either by bending the pins or using duct tape.

I cleaned the left flipper to help alleviate the occasional minor stickage, but whatever I did made things THAT MUCH MORE AWESOME, as the left flippper had a spurt of power and was playing better than ever.
I think I filed the stopping-bit at the end...

The last ball relay has not been coming on, and that's a BIG DEAL, since last ball means double bonus.  Also the left gate-opener lane is lit for bonus, but come on, DOUBLE BONUS TIME.  That's the key for rolling it past 100,00 (which I have done twice, thank you very much.)

DX (3rd ball), EX (4th), and FX (5th/final) are on the right
Schematics always seem intimidating when you are new to them, but take it one step at a time.  See that "Ball #5" light?  Is it on?  Yes?  OK good then you can ignore everything to the left of the junction point preceding it.  That Q relay, AX relay, P relay, all fine.  The FX is triggered in parallel with light #5.  And since light 5 is always on, we know that FX is not just triggered via a motor pulse or an event like that which is harder to diagnose.

up close and personal
 It's a bit blurry, but you can see the red + black wire coming in.  That goes to the upper-left switch (normally closed) and triggers the relay to latch.
A latch relay means there are 2 solenoids:  1 pulls and latches the plate on, the other pulls to unlatch it and open it.  (turning on opens that NC switch, since the power isn't needed any more.)  Doing it this way means a solenoid doesn't have to be constantly activated (remember that solenoid buzz continuously going when the gate is held open, or you hold the flipper up?) and saves on wear.

I cleaned and adjusted the NC switch the red+black wire is attached to, and that didn't really help things.  With the playfield up and me testing the bonus light seemed to come on when the game was advanced to ball 5, but back down in normal gameplay it didn't come on.
I went back in and actually tried to clean the tip of the solenoid that pulls the latch closed.  In play testing, it didn't come on right away but came on just after I plunged the ball.  So, some intermittency here.
I might have to pull this whole relay out and try to clean it, and/or change the solenoid.  More testing on this one later in the week.

A handful of the incandescent bulbs on Top Score were dim.  There was some noticeable corrosion on the bottom of some light sockets, leading me to believe there was corrosion on the inside as well.
The ones on the playfield were easy to clean:  take the plastics off, go in with a clothe and screwdriver.

The green/yellow colour on the sockets's... bum? Yeah that's not typical.
Under the playfield, I would bend back to the metal brace, take out the bulb, and clean using a clothe and my switch adjuster tool since it could get around the bend.

I will soon be getting a tool from a friend to help clean the inside of the sockets.  Until then, this makeshift solution will work.
I am also picking up some discarded playfields soon and so if any are persistently bad I will replace them with salvaged sockets.

I also have a stack of LEDs on order, and will be sure to address the few remaining lighting issues as I convert this machine totally to LED.
Heresy!  I know I know, but incandescent bulbs are 90% heat (yes, just 10% light) and I don't want to bake any of the vintage plastics on this any more than they have in their 40 year life.
That should be enough for anyone to switch.

I cannot recommend Comet Pinball enough for all of your LED needs.

And everyone should decorate their walls with discarded playfields.