Friday, November 29, 2013

the OTHER game room

...AKA my office/studio space.

I got an X-Arcade Tankstick last year and have finally set things up to be perfect for it, prompted by the release of The Pinball Arcade for PC (via Steam).
I moved my 24" wide screen to a vertical position to best hold Pinball Arcade.  I had a 19" monitor as my secondary, and just today bought a 22" widescreen for $50.

Pinball Arcade:  THE THEATRE

The dual setup is great for MAME as well.  I have my horizontal games configed for the left monitor, and the vertical games configed for the right.


I had a bunch of issue with the mouse aspects of the Tankstick, but the tech people were super helpful and the issue was the plastic sleeves of the spare cables inside the stick had slipped, closing connections.
I retaped the ends on and it worked perfectly.
Pinball Arcade still needs to implement mouse options properly so I can assign the left and right mouse buttons to nudges.  THEN, the setup will be pretty much perfect.

this is what the tankstick looks like on the inside

It is cool to see how plug-and-play the setup is.  Inspiring!

These are the spare cables.  Some of the sleeves had slipped, so I just taped the loose end.s

Saturday, November 23, 2013

SF2: my second soldering success!

While to most people in this hobby, soldering is old hat.  But for me, getting back in to it means I can celebrate every tiny soldering victory (I almost typed 'victim'), no matter how banal.

Case and point, I got my backbox fully lit again.  Thank you soldering iron!

From the back, the upper left and lower right lights weren't working.
I got a new DMM recently with little hooked leads to allow for easy clipping on to wires.  I set the DMM to continuity test, and with my ground hook on one of the wires I should be able to touch the other part anywhere and get a beep, meaning they are connected.
Touching the lower screws on those two light assemblies resulted in no beep, meaning the solder connecting the wire to the metal plate had either gotten cold and separated, or was never properly attached.

While much of that scorching was already there in the lower right, I do fully expect the Soldering Gods to turn away in shame as I do my thing.

Instead of reposting the TODO list, I will just go update last post's list with this achievement.

Friday, November 22, 2013

introducing... The Flintstones!


The opportunity came up to get a beautiful copy of The Flintstones and I had to go for it.
Breakshot is still here, off camera, and sold already.  (So don't ask, sorry)

I came to the idea I really wanted to push towards kids-friendly pins to make things as fun as possible for my daughter and friends for the next few years.  Eventually she will have niche tastes, and HEY if she loves dinosaurs, I can get a Jurassic Park or something like that.
My next focus?  MOUSIN' AROUND.
Others on the wish-list?  No Good Gophers and World Cup Soccer.


My first Bally!  After a Gottlieb EM, a Data East, a Capcom, and a Gottlieb DMD, I finally see the light:  it feels damn nice to own a Bally.

Of course I had to do the usual thing:  photograph the boards,  label all connectors, unplug them all, remove the head, take all pieces down the stairs separately, and the reassemble.
The guy I bought it from was scheduled to help me get it down, but was in a rush and so had to cancel that part.  While I was disconnecting things in the garage, I had the garage door open and some construction (sewer replacement) was taking place on my street.  The foreman came over to take a look at what I was doing.
After talking for a while, he offered to help get it down!  After they were done their work, and I was done mine, he grabbed a worker and those two guys brought the body down my difficult stairs!!!
What a blessing those men were.

I got it all reconnected, flipped the switch and...  POP.  After my SF2 incident, I powered it up with the backbox open, and so saw the F112 fuse go out like a camera flash.  Turned the power off right away.
I soon discovered I had mis-attached a connector.  Don't ever do this.
awwww damn.  Always spend the extra time to get up on a chair and inspect from all angles.  Slacker.

 Here's a clip from the manual of that area:
F112 is common to the bridge rectifier, feeding to more than just F104.
I went through and checked fuses at this point and found F104 was WAAAAY overfused.  15A in there when it should be 3A.  holy crap.
I decided to check all of them.  The Flippertronics II board should be 4 x 3A.  It was 10, 10, 10 and 7.  W. T. F.
A disaster waiting to happen.

After properly setting the connector, getting proper fuses and replacing the blown one, I turned it on again:  F112 popped again, right away.

I read that F112 shouldn't really be popping here unless BR3 is bad (most common scenario,) so I got Geoff my repair tech in since he's a whiz at board work.

He checked BR3 and it wasn't shorted!  Before turning anything on he did a major inspection under the playfield and found that one of the flippers did not have a diode across the coil.
It makes sense that at initial power-on my misplaced connector could have put the flipper "hold" (EOS) power to ground and caused F112 to pop, especially since F104 was over-fused to 15A.
But it is a headscratcher that with a proper 3A in F104, with the connector in proper position, and with BR3 NOT shorting, that F112 would be the one to pop and not another fuse.

I had a hard time accepting that THIS was the cause of my woes, but well....  I am playing the game now.

But, that seems to be the case.  After attaching the diode, the game works fine.
He also noticed the knocker was totally fried and stuck, so we disconnected that.  The traces for the knocker on the board are even fried, but oddly enough, the transistor that controlled it was totaly fine.  What is up with that?
Quick and dirty, unplugged the knocker.  They aren't even relevant in home games anyway.

He did notice a pop bumper solenoid missing a metal plate against the bakelite:

QUICK NOTE:  WILLIAMS MANUALS SUCK COMPARED TO GOTTLIEB!  They do not have the full board schematics like a Gottlieb or Data East manual.
The WPC schematics come in OTHER special books, because, I am told, the field instructions for board issues was to swap in a new board.

special + bowling lights out
Get metal plate for underneath pop bumper bakelight
File down upper flipper (bottom two were done)
extra GI mods:  lights in the city plastics, dinosaur plastic
something scores for 800,000 points when the right flippers flip

Flintstones is super fun.  Enough of this blogging, back to playing it.

SF2: pretty darn close to playing 100%!

A small flurry of progress with SF2:

I had my local tech in to attach a new 12N10L transistor in the Q3 spot on the driver board.   You might remember that the right slingshot coil had no diode across it, so was frying the Q3 transistor, resulting in the coil staying on.  Luckily I caught it before it burnt.  Popped out the F17 fuse and was still enjoying my game enough.
Now with diode on coil and the transistors arriving from marcospec, he swapped in the board component and voila, that's done.

Geoff, my lovely repair tech, has a great web site up at
I highly recommend him.
Oh hey and he brought old door parts and was able to secure the coin door!  Hurray for it not popping outward from the pressure of the interlock swithc and threatening to totally fall off without the lockdown bar in place.

I also have totally fixed the left VUK.  Previously I had a proper coil put in there so at least it could limp the balls out of the hole.  I also needed to re-affix the mount under the playfield as it was missing many screws.
The final steps was replacing the plunger and spring.  Here is what the old one looked like after I removed it:

so. sad.
Swapping it in was pretty easy.  It involved loosening the hole's switch to get access to the nuts for a plate that held the coil in position, then everything slides out cleanly.
The hardest part was finding the courage to trust the playfield in the upright position.  I didn't find it.  I did the whole repair with one firm hand keeping it vertical.

I also swapped in proper fuses for the few remaining ill-fused stragglers.  Right now the only incorrect fuse is F4, which has a 1/2 instead of 3/8.  Not sweating that one too much, but do still have some 3/8 ones on the way!

I reattached the subwoofer in a test, but it is so BUZZY.  I play my games with the volume somewhat low, so screw it, no sub.

So a few small things remain, but when the biggest issue is that you maybe want to replace the flippers?  NONE TOO SHABBY.

get flipper replacement kit
adjust left extra ball center target
deep clean of playfield, removing all plastics and cleaning the screws + replace upper-playfield rubbers
cleaning the under-playfield troughs
replace playfield glass
get cliffy protectors
Replace car crash flipper rubber + glue car to crash mechanism
replace stargate ramp coils (but not reason to do it yet though)replace upper left flipper solenoid with correct one  (should be A-25959) (have it, no reason to do it yet though)

fix 2 out lights in backbox
secure coin door
solder diode across the right slingshot coil.  Replace Q3 transistor on driver board.
left VUK: new spring, new plunger
get replacement fuses for under the PF
 re-secured VUK mounts to provide extra-strong kicks + added extra screws
installed lower playfield rubbers
installed new power module
replaced Q3 transistor to solve right slingshot issue
reattached ground wires
replaced VUK solenoid to correct one
replaced fuse for stargate ramps
reattach tilt mechanism
bend left playfield bracket back in to proper place
new beer seal
Flipper rubber for Chun Li
Replaced flipper rubbers (except car crash flipper)
Cleaned backbox charring + replaced dead + charred lightbulbs
initial basic playfield cleaning