Thursday, August 1, 2013

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...)

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