Thursday, July 31, 2008

Empty gameroom..

..well she's half empty that is.

Just re-read some of my posts here. In januari I posted we were going to sell some pinball machines but I never followed up.
Anyway for those interested, our gameroom is about half empty now. It really was too full, 2 rows of pinball machines with only some space to walk in the middle. Nice to play pins but not a nice room to sit in and relax.

So we sold some games, put the repainted fridge in there, a small coffee table and two comfortable sofas..
When you now enter our gameroom, the left side was like before: a whole row of pinball games. On the right side the only pinball machines are Black Hole and Orbitor One).
The rest of the right side is a family part now - fridge, seats, toys for our daughter she can play with in the garden, .. so the gameroom isn't for daddy alone anymore but to be enjoyed by the whole family.

At the moment I only have 8 working pinball machines in my gameroom.. quite a difference as we always had 14 in our gameroom, and about 5 years ago when I still had an external storage place we once even owned more than 20 pinball machines at the same time..

More updates on old posts: those dvd's I made in 2007 ? Well they're since a long time not for sale anymore.. there just wasn't any interest in them and for a few euros I made on them I didn't want to bother sitting at my computer for half an hour waiting until it was burned, going to the post office, ..
Well if anyone is really interested then you can always mail me about them, but I took down the pages on my website.
First 2 dvds I made are still available in the USA, see the trailers at:

Third dvd is only available from me as I even didn't bother to make an NTSC version and send it to the USA for distribution..

And that Whitewater switch problem I had since last year - I posted about it in december 07: it suddenly disappeared.
I have no idea what caused it and what made it go away ?!?!?!
I still played Whitewater but not very often as I had to wait for the ballsearch to get the pinball out of the lostmine. My daughter wanted to play the machine too last week, and suddenly the game worked fine ! It must be my daughter is some kind of magic-pinball-repairlady as I have no other explenation for it. But I'm happy, another game without any problems :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WPC sound upgrade parts

Went to an electronic parts shop this afternoon..
(another shop I went to earlier this week was closed because of summer holidays.. how am I supposed to get any work done when I can't get the parts I need ?)
Bought new capacitors to try on the MM tweeter, will check if a 4.7 or 6.8 mfd one will block enough low sounds so the tweeter doesn't distort anymore.

Didn't buy l-pads but did get pots to check if I could plug it on R17/R39 like the ones pinball pro sells. Check the CV sound page at btw for more information about this.

I hope to test everything it this weekend, before I leave on holiday.. Italy here we come !

Didn't have time this evening to already test the capacitors as I was home quite late.. went with a friend to an operator. I didn't buy anything (I don't buy or sell games, don't have the room to store them, and even if I wanted to buy a game I couldn't as I crashed my car earlier this week so couldn't transport it back home.. but I went along as I was curious to see what games were left.. I never say no to a warehouse visit). My friend also didn't buy any pinball machines as most of what available was only good for parts (and even then) and he didn't want to fill up his truck with 12 games to part them all out..

He did buy a NOS Bally Monte Carlo backglass for 50 euros. Not a bad score !
Not that he really needed it, but Monte Carlo has nice artwork so it's nice to hang in a gameroom against the wall as decoration.. and a NOS pinball backglass is a rare find..

Don't remember exactly what other backglasses were available;. about 5 other pinball backlasses, mostly of electro-mechanical games (stuff like Capersville, Super Circus,.. ), and a lot (50 or so) bingo backglasses (mostly Bally) and backglasses from other vintage amusement games like bowlers..

Bingo machine backglasses are something I'm really not interested in myself so we left them there in the basement.. there was also another room with a lot of bingo backglasses from parted games.

Just checked and the super circus backglass is already 50 years old.. and has quite nice artwork too.. maybe I should've bought it ? maybe next time..

There were a lot of neogeos (with 4 games) and some mortal combats (ultimate mk and mk2/3 if I'm not mistaken) also available.. not in mint condition, all faded, came off location.. but still interesting for some people as it's a popular game.

Today I also searched a bit on rgp and other sites about the door flasher mod on Twilight Zone that's also I intended to do for a looooong time now.
Last year I parted out a Funhouse, and kept the flashers that are underneath the clock so I could them for this mod.. only have to test on how to connect them exactly..
Did anyone buy the pingizmos door flasher mod (they don't exist anymore ?) and want to tell me how the wiring is exactly ?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

WPC speaker upgrade

Started this week on another project that I planned to do for many years now but just never did: upgrading speakers in all of my pinball machines.

I've read Tony's guide a lot and will follow it.. especially the schematics at the end of his instructions are interesting.

I don't have everything I need yet - I do have one pyramid crossover, and last week I went crazy and bought about a dozen speakers in all sizes.
I don't have l-pads or rheostats yet so I'm waiting for them to complete the upgrade and do all rewiring necessary.

What I already did was replacing the original speakers in my Medieval Madness pinball machine with better ones. According to some posts on rgp, just installing new speakers without rewiring anything may also make a big difference on some games, but the final result depends on the game and speakers used.. one just has to experiment, you don't know in advance how successful you'll be..

In the backbox I replaced the left speaker with a much better quality car speaker of the same size, and the tweeter on the right with an improved one.
Best results you get if you put 2 of the same type of speakers in the backbox, but I just did not want to drill/cut the plastic speakerpanel of my MM.
I did buy speakers with built-in tweeters too that can fit in the backbox, but will use those for another game with wooden speaker panel.

I put a large subwoofer in the cabinet (the biggest size that I could fit in there, the troll assemblies just don't touch it).

Results (without installing an lpad to change the balance):

The cabinet speaker can't be heard at all.. the volume of the backbox speakers is too high in contrast.. so an lpad is really necessary for a new subwoofer to make any noticeable difference.

The tweeter on the right distorts sometimes. It's annoying. Don't know how it comes as it doesn't do it all the time.. I'll have to experiment to lower its output.
It shouldn't do it in theory as it has more than double the watts of the original.
I'll install the tweeter into another pinball machine too and see what it does..
Maybe they're of less quality than I think they are, or maybe it just doesn't go well into the default configuration on Medieval Madness.
I hope it's the second as I intended to buy more of these tweeters as they have a good size.. I want to install them in my Attack from Mars, Cirqus Voltaire and Safecracker pinball machines.

I first replaced the left backbox speaker and tested this setup.
That actually sounded the best ! The speaker was clear enough to let me hears sounds I never heard before (what - there's actually water flowing ?! glass breaking ?!) The result really has to be heard to believe, only now you realize how crappy the default pinball machine speakers sound !
It also had enough power to give out a good bass you could feel and hear, but would not overpower the other sounds.

So I'll install an l-pad and see if I can fine-tune it so the pinball machine will really sound very good. If I can't get it right then maybe I'll just return to the default wiring and only keep the left backbox speaker.
But I'm pretty sure I'll get it working with an l-pad. Last year I heard a friends Medieval Madness with only a new subwoofer in the cabinet and a pinballpro l-pad alligator clip thingy in the backbox and the improved bass also made a huge difference to the feel of the game..

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Twilight Zone clock repaired

Last week I finally repaired the clock of my Twilight Zone pinball machine.
Nothing special you say ? Well it is for me !

Believe it or not but I have this game for 7 years now.
Bought it with a broken clock.. shopped it many years ago, even took pictures on how to disassemble the clock.. but at that time I didn't have the correct optos.

Later I ordered the correct optocouplers, but didn't install them as I had work on other games.. just threw the optos in the coin box of TZ and forget about them.
I even found the invoice - paid 600bfr (= 15 euro, 20 us$) for 2 optos at the distributor in Brussels).

Now finally I decided to work on that game. Installed the optos I had, they didn't work - turns out these were for the minute hands of the clock, and the optos for the hours are of a different type.

Desoldered the optos again (woosh, there's $20 down the drain as I had cut the legs already short so those desoldered optos can't be reused for the minutes-board)

I remembered reading on rgp somthing about installing optos backwards to have it work. So I tried another type of opto, didn't solder it yet, just held it in place and connected the board and went into the clock test mode.
Tried it, and yes, when I inserted the opto backwards in the pcb it worked. Nice !

Soldered the optos back in.. assembled the clock, but didn't notice the orientation and put in the board upside down in the clock housing, so the connectors didn't match. Aargh. It really was time to go to bed.. but I wanted to finish it.
Disassembled the clock again.. oops.. the small c-clip that holds the minute hand of the clock fell onto the ground. Aaaaargh.. I really should be sleeping already..

As we have a stonecarpet floor, you can imagine retrieving a small metal c-clip is an impossible task.
It's not the first time I drop a screw or other metal piece, I have a big magnet to sweep over the floor.. a few minutes later I had found it.

Assembled the clock again, and tested it.
The good news was that the repaired optos worked, bad news was that another one was registering all the time because of the vibration of the motor.

Time to go to bed.

Next day I disassembled the clock again (and didn't lose any c-clips this time :)
re-soldered pins that make the connection between the two boards, assembled the clock again for the dozenth time, and finally, my Twilight Zone pinball machine works like it should ! No more credit dot !

Monday, July 14, 2008

Black Hole

Haven't posted a lot the last weeks.

We've been busy redecorating the gameroom.
The walls and ceiling got a new color, even some flashy 70ies wavy wallpaper.

This weekend I finally started on my Black Hole.
About 1,5 year ago I had taken all parts off the playfield, but then put everything in a box.. Other games also had small problems so I worked first on those, and just didn't want to start on the Black Hole.. because this is a large project.
Even shopping the pin, cleaning all parts, assembling everything back together is not something you do very quickly. It takes a lot of time..
I always waited to start this until I would have a few days off so I could work on it without many interruptions, but this just doesn't happen.
So I'll work now every evening a bit on it.. After 3 hours of work the small playfield is about 80% assembled again.
Still need to put on some plastics, new lightbulbs, and check the bottom side.
Then I can reassemble all parts on the main playfield.

Biggest issue then will be the electronics.. but I now have spare boards out of a Gottlieb Spring Break pinball machine I parted out so I should be covered..
(does anyone need plastics or playfield parts from a Spring Break ?)