Thursday, April 21, 2011

Funhouse repair

Fixed my Funhouse a few weeks ago already, only now have time to move pictures from the camera I keep in the gameroom and blog about this repair.

When I bought this Funhouse pinball machine it didn't work completely, Rudys mouth didn't stay open.
The mouth would open and close correctly during gameplay, as Rudy speaks to you when playing a game. But when you're in multiball then the mouth would not stay open. You couldn't lock your 3rd ball to start multiball. And there's no fun in the Funhouse if you can't start multiball !

I noticed a few teeth of the gear were stripped. When I bought the machine I thought this was the cause of the problem - the stripped teeth made the mouth close again. Replaced it with a new gear I had around.
To my amazement this did not solve the problem. When you lock 3 pinballs, Rudys mouth still closes again.
Did the selftests but didn't immediately notice anything wrong. During selftest the mouth opens and closes correct ?

Started to think about it (and thanks to a reply on RGP) it finally hit me - there's also a small pcb underneath the playfield which is involved in controlling the motor and its direction. That had to be the culprit.

Took out the pcb, measured every component, transistor, and all looked ok.
There was however a jumper wire connected on the input pins which shouldn't be there.
2 pins were jumpered together ? According to the schematics these were individual input pins.
Removed this extra wire. This was probably the source of my problem and why the gear had stripped - because of it the motor always ran in one direction ?

Put the pcb back in, suddenly it didn't work at all anymore. The mouth stayed closed.
What could it be ? I knew it was working before so the pcb should be ok.

Looked again at the pcb. Tested parts.. spent too much time measuring every transistor and resistor on it again. Looking to the solder side of the pcb it was obvious repairs had been done to it and a few components had been changed - but as far as I could measure these were now working well.

Checked the schematics, thought about this extra wire.. suddenly I noticed on the connector that went to the pcb, there was a wire missing !

You can see it in the below picture: at the very left side, one blue wire is bent backwards and it's end is nicely tucked away with some electric tape:

I attached the wire again to the connector and now Rudy works completely like he has to !

In the photo it's easy to spot, but that's because the pcb is hanging loose.
Normally it's attached in the very back at the bottom of the playfield. Because the playfield only rotates up (and doesn't slide forward like on more recent WPC machines) you really have to bend inside the cabinet to see it, and this wires are half hidden by other wires and parts at the bottom of the playfield..

The weird thing is I don't understand the history of this repair.

I can only think that several repair persons worked on this, one more skilled than the other.
Maybe first the transistor or something else failed on the pcb which made the mouth run all the time or only in 1 direction.
To solve this (maybe a quick fix on location ?) the blue wire controlling this was removed from the connector.

Later another tech who's more skilled worked on this game ? (or the same one, but he had forgotten what he had done before ?) He takes out the pcb, repairs the broken components, installs it and it doesn't work. He misses the removed wire because it's well hidden underneath the playfield, but does notice he needs some input to the board on that pin. So he attaches a jumper wire from one pin to the other.
Does selftests, mouth opens and closes correctly, problem solved.
(Except for when you want to start multiball, the mouth doesn't stay open, which is something you don't immediately notice)

The weird thing is the person I bought this game from had it over a year. As far as I know no tech worked on it in his house. This means all this time he never had a completely working game and could never start multiball ?? Unless by accident - if are lucky you can shoot a ball in Rudys mouth just when he is talking.

Never had such a weird fix. The board was already repaired, just 1 wire needed to be connected again. Easy for me (although I wasted too much time until I noticed it).
but at least I can enjoy Funhouse like it is meant !

(fixing the plungers for the eyes is something I'll to later when I have time to shop the game completely).

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