I did a more thorough investigation to how some of the switches were causing the pops to fire.
I went through more methodically, with the glass off, trying each switch multiple times. I found that there is a major problem with the switches getting triggered. I noted all of the misfires, and went to the switch matrix in the manual. We can see an obvious pattern:
|The switch matrix, and I circled switches that when closed would sometimes close another switch.|
First though: this wasn't perfect. Not every single time did I press the "S" target did the right bumper activate, but often.
And Second: I am not 100% if the inverses are true, it is just most apparent when a solenoid goes off, or the ball randomly ends. (see bottom row: so many things can trigger the outhole switch by accident)
I am guessing this switch corruption is also responsible for how when the ball goes in to the shooter lane, some points can be scored immediately, thus starting the clock prematurely.
Stuffed in with the manual I found a colour printout of a picture of someone else's Beat The Clock. This confirmed what I had suspected: That the guides to the left and right of the flippers were non-original. The right one works great, but the left flipper's plastic is shaped odd, allowing the ball to rest within it's nook/cranny:
|yeah that's a great place for a ball to nuzzle in.|
Here is a rough zoom-in on the pic:
|the original metal guide contours to the flippers' umm.. roundness?|
So if a Beat The clock ever gets parted out in the future? Those lane guides would be a great piece to snag and improve the game play with.
Other things being done?
As said before I am ordering drops from Pinball Resource. The "Star+Lines" drops. And new springs.
A line cord with a ground needs to be installed to avoid shocks.
Replace/fix the 3 lights sockets that are still not working (50k drops bonus, 5k bonus count on bottom, B top rollover)
Also getting a new battery to replace the old old old one, and hopefully it will retain settings again.
On that note, here is a quick reference in how to get the machine back to working when in the test menu:
Option 27: set to 3 (turn on full sound)
Option 32: set to 65 (free play)
and then if the gain still doesn't start, check:
Option 10: set to 5 (if there is a corrupted value ended in 00, game will not start)