Saturday, May 31, 2014

Introducing... Surf Champ!

It was the perfect scenario:  I was done working on Out Of Sight and itching for something new.  I got in touch with a man who had a Surf Champ that needed fixing, but he was a bit far out of town.  He proposed a trade:  His not-so-working Surf Champ for my massaged + shopped Out Of Sight.  He gets a fully working game, and I get a great project.

Looks like a pretty sweet game, and its definitely one of the more popular 70s Gottliebs.
That juicy center spinner looks wonderful, but all of the action is on the drops and rollovers.  At 10 points a spin, that spinner is just luring you to the pop which can send it SDTM.  Wait until it's lit...

I did a quick clean with Novus 2 and it's already looking better.  This game has great colours, but a bunch of dirt visible if you zoom above.
I will tabulate an order of LEDs of course.  All basic stuff.  What's wrong though?

The prior owner outlined 2 major sources of frustration:
1) the game was sometimes not resetting the drop targets
2) a score reel would advance to zero after 9990.

After playing a round of games, I came up with a more extensive list of issues:
- Left flipper is wonky and flutters
- Right flipper is weak
- top rollover lights never advance
- player 2 score reel does not increment the ten thousands when rolling over the thousands
- 4th rollover light switch is unresponsive
- game gets stuck at certain times, not resetting anything, and serving an additional ball.  Then later randomly advances
- slings need much alignment
- there is one cracked plastic

These are all things I can look in to!  I will have to take a break for about 2 weeks, but I am looking forward to getting in to these issues.
I will also do all of the regular maintenance:   cleaning the steppers, cleaning contacts, waxing, getting LEDs, etc.
I can't wait to play this game at full force!

Speaking of which, I did notice the manual suggesting a 3.5 degree incline.  Nuts to that, 6.5 all the way!!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Out Of Sight: all done, ready to go!

Let's take a moment to realize Caitlyn discovered how to use the panorama feature on her phone and take in the game room:

That's it, take it all in... because as we've learned around here, things change rapidly.

I am now done with Out Of Sight.  It plays 100% and looks great and I already have a perfect trade lined up:  I will be trading it for another non-working EM!  Perfect!  Project done, time for a new project.  This new project might be a bit tougher since one local tech was already stumped by it, but who knows.  I'm taking the gamble.

I am still waiting on an LED order from Comet to finish replacing all of the incandescents on this machine.  I am hoping the non-frosted yellows will be bright enough for inserts, but we shall see.  Worst case scenario, if they aren't, I'll put full intensity whites beneath them.
Also want the entire title in the backglass to have colour changing LEDs for the maximum psychedelic feel.

There was one minor issue with a single drop light not coming on to indicate its bonus status, but that turned out to be a musty socket that took well to a good cleaning.
Apparently there is a tool to help clean/file out those sockets, but I manged with an L shaped switched tool, some paper towels, and a cleaner solvent.

I have also been cleaning the score reels, which was an odd thing since I did it without taking them out.  Just got the game to varied scores, then went in to the back glass and started scrubbing at the reels.  They glow quite cleanly now.

The delightfully easily to work with lighting assembly

Good-bye Out Of Sight!  And heeeeellloooo new project, coming soon!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Out Of Sight: so much going on!

Let's talk power issues first!  I was under the PF swapping some lights out and poppin' in LEDs.  I almost have the whole thing done, just placed one more order to Comet Pinball to fill in the gaps.  (bright yellows for inserts, more colour changes for the backbox title)

First, let me tell you how much I enjoy the 3 lighting strips in this game:
They are each easily removed by 2 screws, allowing quick access to a row of bulbs.

But while under there, I got a nasty shock from touching a chasis on the drop target reset solenoid.  Dang, power is off!  What gives?

belly of the drop target beast

After one shortly lived false lead, I had some great assistance from my local board and found the main culprit:  The hot and neutral power lines coming in from the wall were soldered to the wrong points.
And yes, I got a receptacle tester to make sure it wasn't my home wiring that was deficient.

I got the schematics from Marco, but before I got them a friend pass this portion and highlighted the pre-transformer power setup on the machine.
As you can see from the schematic, one wire goes to a switch, the other to the reset banks.
First things first, let's get in there.

Yeah no, this is NOT going to work.  Thank god taking out a Gottlieb playfield is quite easy.

ooo just resting there..  Makes it so easy to solder on!

Off the lug going to the reset coils:  122.4 Vac

From the lug going to the switch?  0.69 Vac
Problem: Verified.  Time to put some flux on the connections, desolder the wires, then swap them!

The false lead I took?  Well the first thing I noticed under the playfield was this warning notice:

This game  had the red wire on the high-tap.   This wasn't the issue, but since there was no need for it, I soldered it to the NORMAL lug.  Might extend the life of some of the plastics .

right where it's supposed to be.

Next up, fixing the right outlane gate.  It was opening, but not staying open.

AX is the left gate relay, BX is the right gate relay.  Both are held ON by themselves, until a rollover breaks the circuit and closes them.

this is the switch for the right rollover.

 A visual inspection of that right rollover switch would imply that all systems are GO!  But I put my multimeter on continuity, started at the coil and worked my way back through the circuit to see if any solder was cracked, wires were busted... or if contacts were dirty.  The first time I didn't get a beep was across this gap.  Gave the contacts a quick clean, and it worked perfectly.

Time to work on the left gate.  Remember our burnt up AX coil?  This was due to a short, and I swear it wasn't on my watch.

note how much exposed wire is coming off the solenoid solder points...
Inverted view, brand new replacement coil in place!
You can see it better on the first AX pic, but on the circular gate piece there are two screws holding it in place.  On first test, the gate was not swinging open far enough.  All I had to do was loosen both of those screws, hold the mech in place while giving a small adjustment to the gate on the top of the playfield.  With a bit of trial and error I found the perfect alignment for it.

 And a few final touchups.  New rubber casters for the feet!  And I took a knife to the old rebound rubber and got it off.  Once off, the fresh rubber one was a cinch to work over the slight nub at the end.  And really, that bounce of the initial plunge is such a HUGE part of the aesthetic of an EM.  You have to get a fresh one on there.
Getting the metal bracket reattached to the playfield was an exercise in frustration, but if there is a hot tip for how to do it simply, I am not the lady that would know.

Everyone in rubber.

Monopoly progress

Got a few little goodies for Monopoly via my Marco order that came via Allentown pickup.  
It's a small thing, but what I was most excited about was just my new little spinner.  I ordered the decals from Action Pinball, where I also  got the spare cop targets.  The spinners come blank and decals were easy enough to get on.

check that warping in the old one on the bottom!
I also got 2 new standup targets, but I am keeping them as spares for the right and left (Free Parking) shots.

I wanted to finish up the under-playfield LEDs, and that meant taking off the Chance / Community Chest scoop.  Like the subway ramps on SF2, this was super dirty, and cleaned up really easy.  Swapped in LEDs for the now-exposed parts of the Monopoly board as well.

you can see some glow brighter, but that's because I ran out of the Warm Whites.  I am just using Natural Whites (the brighter ones) for the corner squares.

While I was under with the power on I noticed that an LED was out on the bank door's opto receiver board.  I am unsure as to what this signifies.  I assumed that opto was out, but I ran edge tests and each one closed separately as a ball went over it.

Mark that down for later investigation...

Right now the big challenge for Monopoly will be to find that LEFT RAMP! 
If you have a spare left ramp, please oh please let me buy it.  :)
I am not going to put much more money in to this machine, beyond standard maintenance, but the last thing to do is replace both ramps and all of the plastics.  I have a right ramp, a full plastics set, I've gotten everything working reliably, and now it's all LEDs. (except for a final few, and flashers)

And mylar, going to lay down some mylar on the damage to minimize any further wear.  Well, not mylar, but a lower tack clear covering.  I was originally going to go for mylar, but then was told about Pinball Pal's Stealth protectors.  Apparently wonderful, but the man running the site has had persistent health problems, and so it's been out of commisison.   We wish him well!
In the meantime I got a recommendation for a more basic product:  Avery Self-Laminating Sheets.
I ordered a pack, and will use that to reinforce parts of the playfield.  I will report back at how successful it is, and how well the ball handles around the edges.  Especially when going slowly.