Thursday, April 3, 2014

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.

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