Friday, August 21, 2015

Introducing... Apollo 13

Yep, 2 swaps in one week.  First up Eight Ball Deluxe was swapped by it's owner for Alien Poker, and now someone else took their Raven out and dropped in a little APOLLO 13!
Definitely a welcome upgrade!

After playing a few games the day after we got it down, suddenly the ball drained and the game started to act confused.
Turned it off then back on, game said 4 balls were missing?  hmmm?
Slide the playfield glass off and then *SNIFF* a huge whiff of the far too familiar burning smell.  Something's smouldering.  Slide to the back, unplug it right away.

OK OK OK OK, what's burning?  I immediately feel the heat radiating from the MOON.  Darn this is HOT.
I accidentally touch the magnet and OMFG the thing is intense.  The magnet is as hot as a soldering iron.

I tend to my finger burn and come back with some ice, press a piece against the magnet and it SIZZLED.
Yes, after a few minutes of being unplugged the magnet was still hot enough to turn ice in to steam instantly.  I went through a few ice cubes and the hot magnet just ate right through them.  Ridiculous.

Remarkable that the moon itself didn't liquify.  Some damage, but hardly visible from the front.

So what happened?

First thing I checked was the fuse under the playfield at the back, it's supposed to be a 4A slow blow, but in there was a 6.3 (?) fast blow.  Ooops.
There is a small board that helps control the moon under the playfield on the right hand side and the transistor on that had an issue.

The moon got hot, the fuse failed to blow, then F21 blew on the driver board.
The game failed to properly advance the balls in the trough, so they were between the trough switches, and that gave us the 4 balls missing error message when the game was turned back on.

(For all of you on Clay's Pinball Ninja site, you can get a great video of the Apollo 13 trough.  And really you should donate the $20 on be on his site.)

I am leaving the moon fuse disconnected, disabling it in the adjustments menu, ordering a replacement transistor for the small moon control board, and replaced fuse F21.  Back in business!

Next up, the right flipper was not returning to it's proper position so we went in to change the coil sleeve.  In doing so we found that one of the screws holding the flipper assembly to the playfield was clean snapped off.  The coil stops were also heavily mushroomed.
So with the playfield up, coil sleeves on both sides were replaced and the coil stops were sanded.  A proper screw will be secured next week.

One thing that bugged me about the game was when a ball was shot in to the shooter lane, it made SUCH A BIG BANG.  Very unpleasant, so I used my adhesive padding and now it's not like a knocker hitting every time a ball is loaded.

Without that padding, it sounds like a replay knocker each time a ball is loaded.

In the solenoid tests I noticed not much happening on the ramp up/down, which is the ramp at the back of the playfield.  Shoot the left orbit, and if the ramp is down, it loads to the ramp, and if up, a full orbit.
The solenoid plunger was very very dirty and binding, so it got cleaned with a magic eraser and alcohol, and I put a new sleeve in there as well.

Now the ramp is lowering and raising just fine.


The game was in pretty good shape overall, but intensely dirty.  Exhibit A:  the wireforms.
The bottom wire I had cleaned and is what they are supposed to look like.  The other black wireforms?  Those are the same but covered in crud.

With rubber kit in hand, I started with the easy stuff:  All the rubbers from the outlanes and down, cleaning as I went.
I also started switching to LED GI.  You can see the difference with the coverage, as the 8 LEDs are in the lower portion:
This game needs lots of lighting, stat!
Most of the bulbs in the game are black with soot.  I think it will really be suited to a full LED conversion, especially the dim inserts.

And one last point of note:  The right inlane plastics were swapped by a prior owner to hide the fact the clear plastic, which is supposed to be on top, was damaged.  I put it back where it belonged.
No shame, little plastic, no shame.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Introducing.... Alien Poker

Look what just arrived!

Eight Ball Deluxe and I had some great times together, but EBD's owner came and swept it away, and when the dust settled, Alien Poker was there!
And oh so dusty.  This machine is in rough shape but plays pretty well.
The backglass looks roached but passable with the game off, but with any rear illumination the image is nigh impossible to see.

this is all impossible to see with any illumination up behind it.

The big thing wrong with the gameplay is that the top hole does not kick the ball out.  Did a quick test grounding it at the lug and it kicks just fine, but did not get any action on grounding the related transistor (Q43), so will probably have to check out the connector and wire.  Will test it properly later.

since that hole's kicker doesn't work, I've been playing with the glass off to pop it out manually.

Every time you hit your flippers the game would score.  I traced this back to the spinner staying in the halfway position.  Someone painted it at some point, and I think it's lost it's will to live --- I mean, ability to come back to rest properly.

(also notice how horrible the rubbers look)

Drop Targets are bare, but decals are readily available.

The plastics are only broke in one spot, but are all rather warped.  I will look to flatten them.

In the backbox, first thing I noticed was that most of the boards were not securely attached, a few just by a single screw!  So off to get more screws... 
But how does a game get to be like that?  Did someone slowly harvest the other screws?

On the driver board the stack of resistors looks nice and crispy, with one resistor not even attached at one leg.

the 2nd one from the bottom is the busted one.  With the game in attract mode, touching it turns on a whole set of lights, including the P-O-K-E-R lights and the outlane specials.

Top rollover lanes have faded from red to light orange.  One pop bumper skirt is chipped.
And yup, rubbers are all gone hard.
This is a fun game, and I am looking forward to getting it playing 100%!  The owner has said I can keep it here until the winter, so I'll have plenty of time with it.

First thing I look at in a game?  FUSES.
top row, 4th from the left?   That was a 15A slow blow

should have been:  0.25 A slow blow.  HOLYCARP, thank goodness the displays didn't fry.

filth and fun!

fun and filth!

totally need a realignment...

skirt chip...