I was weak last week…
While looking through the wanted adds on marktplaats.nl I saw a Time Machine for sale. When I looked up the sellers contacts, I noticed he lived about 3 km away. So I called him, just to go have a look and meet another enthusiast.
The Time Machine was set up and working. It needed a bit of cleaning, fixing the woodwork and replacing of a few lamps, but everything was working, playfield was ok, ramps and plastics were in order.
So we talked a bit and he mentioned that he had five Zaccaria’s in total. A Clown, which was set up next to the Time Machine, already sold and waiting for pickup; A Soccer Kings of which I could see the backbox, but the body was hidden behind other pinball machines and other stuff; An Earth Wind Fire, which he was going to get ready for sale next; And a Robot, which I wanted to see. I’ve only seen this machine once before and I would like to have one. After some digging and moving stuff around, the Robot was uncovered, set up and everything. He switched it on and it played, but without sound. Could be a minor issue, could be something bigger (see this post).
By seeing both the Time Machine and the Robot, I was already thinking where I could put them in my apartment, so I offered a price for both. Unfortunately he wasn’t sure about letting go of the Robot. You don’t see it very often and he likes the theme, just like I do. Too bad.
So I went home…
… with the Time Machine!
I can tell you it’s a very heavy machine if you have to carry it inside on your own (that’s why I took the backbox off before putting it in the car).
It’s a very nice machine with interesting game mechanics and it now has a proud place in my living room.
Now if I could only finish the work on the Pinball Champ displays and CPU board so I can start inviting friends for Zaccaria pinball parties.
Well, here we go. I bought an old, untested CPU board on ebay quite a while ago. It clearly had some battery leakage problems that had been cleaned up by the previous owner, so now I need to fix the rest and get it up and running again.
Step 1: asses the damage.
I noticed some of the copper was missing where the IC fittings used to be, so I first started with measuring the tracks that were still there. A lot of them are broken and not making the right connections. The breaks were too big to fix by covering them with a bit of solder on the component side of the PCB, so I will need to run wires on the solder side of the PCB. But first, I put in the missing IC fittings for the RAM chips.
Next I removed the 24-pin IC fittings for the three 2532 EPROMs. I replaced them with three 28-pin fittings so I can put in two 2764 EPROMs, which are needed to use David Gersic’s Freeplay ROMs and are much easier to come by. Using three fittings still gives me the option to put in the original 2532 EPROMs if needed. This also involves changing the jumpers just above the EPROM IC fittings.
As I am not going to reuse the IC fittings, I just cut them off.
The remaining “feet” were removed with a soldering iron. Once done, I just popped in the new 28-pin IC fittings and soldered them in place.
Now I started measuring the connections on the new fittings and found that more than half were bad. This is going to be a lot of work. I’ve started wiring on the back side of the PCB, but time ran out, so I’m not finished yet. I have to redo connections between both RAM fittings and between the left RAM and right EPROM fittings. There was clearly a lot of damage from the battery leakage.
I will keep you updated on my progress.
A new year, some new resolutions… Let’s get these machines finished.
The Pinball Champ’s displays are failing again, so I’m going to replace them with LEDs. The 7 segment displays are on order (estimated delivery 28 January), I have the PCB etching kit ready and I’m almost done with the PCB design (largely stolen from Leon).
One of my pinball friends Eric exchanged my Pinball Champ backglass with a less damaged one. He only used his to hang on a wall in his gameroom and didn’t mind exchanging it for mine. One of the projects will be to fix the paint on the glass with some clear varnish. He also exchanged his Zaccaria etched playfield glass for my blank one, so now my Devil Riders also has an original playfield glass. Thanks again Eric!
Then finally I have scored myself a new 2nd generation CPU board. I’ve given up on the one I had for now, I might revisit it in the future, but it’s not very likely. The new CPU board has a bit of battery leakage damage around and under the memory chips that I need to fix. Hopefully I can get it to work 100% so I can put it in the Pinball Champ and get the Devil Riders’ CPU board back. Then I need to recheck all the electronics in the Devil Riders as my last CPU board test caused sparks on both the Power Supply and Driver board.
If all goes well both machines should be up and running by April 5th.
I’ll keep you posted.
So now that I moved to my new place and I invited a bunch of friends over for a little house-warming, I found the need to get my pinball machines in my little game-room. The installation of the Pinball Champ was easy enough, but when I wanted to set up the Devil Riders I noticed that I hadn’t started on the legs yet.
So I quickly got out my metal sponge (the one you use after failed cooking experiments 😉 ) and got to work.
I got some new levelers and chrome leg bolts and now the Devil Riders is back on it’s feet again.
No, I’m not trying to sell you some guru meditation stuff. I just got my hands on a second hand coindoor for one of the machines and I’m happy with what I got at the price I got it!
The door was complete and in ok condition. Rather dirty, but then agian, why would that door be any different from the others.
As you can see, someone had used paper stickers and electricians tape to cover the original plastic coin fronts. But otherwise, in very good shape.
Except for the middle coin selector, everything is there. Dirty, but there.
First thing I did was take apart the front bezel and cleared away the paper stickers and electricians tape. Since there were three, I suspected they were the Deutsch Mark ones, like in the Pinball Champ. The Devil Riders has Belgian Frank ones and there are only two.
To my surprise, these are Belgian Frank ones. With hindsight I should have known. The door is from a Time Machine and they came out when the 10 Fr piece was still in circulation. When Devil Riders came out, it wasn’t.
The picture doesn’t do it justice. The chrome is damaged in two or three places, but it shines a lot. You can actually see my reflection in it.
At first my idea was to put this door in the Devil Riders, since some nitwit drilled a hole in the door to put a switch in to replace the outhole switch (I still get sick thinking of it). But then I decided to put it in the Pinball Champ. The frame looks a lot better and the door isn’t deformed, so it closes perfectly.
So after the usual dismantling, cleaning and reassembling, I installed it in the Pinball Champ and it looks great!
I added the reproduction sticker I got from David Gersic and now the Pinball Champ looks much better!
When the Devil Riders is finished, I’m going to set the coin selectors to 0.50 €, so if people really want to donate, they can.
In the mean time I also got that replacement coil for the popbumper in the Devil Riders and the part is back from the blacksmith waiting for reinstallation. That will be my next post.
I finally got around to continuing the work on the Devil Riders. I finished the playfield as much as possible and disassembled the neon tube so I could get to the lamps in the backboard and clean everything up.
I’ve reinstalled the old flipperbats as the new ones are on backorder. Once they arrive, they will be installed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find yellow flipper rubbers that are the right size, so I had to use black ones. If anyone knows where I can find yellow ones, please let me know.
Also, that metal part that was broken is still at the blacksmith, so the ball shooter lane hasn’t been put in yet.
After that was done I started on the head door. I needed to get to the lights behind the plastic cover. For that I needed to remove the neon tube, but the rubbers isolating the connections are fused in place from 28 years of heating up and cooling down. I talked about it with Leon (flipper-pinball-fan) and David Gersic (Zaccaria-pinball) and they advised me to leave the rubbers and just undo the springs and put the neon on the playfield glass as carefully as possible.
Then I cut a slit on both sides of the plastic cover and took it off from around the neon tube leads. Worked like a charm and it’s impossible to see the slits now that the plastic cover is reinstalled.
When I checked out the neon more closely, I noticed some white spots on it. After close examination these where spots where the dirt had come loose… So I started cleaning the neon VERY carefully. The dirt, nicotine and tar didn’t come off very easily until I used one of those steel wool spunges used to clean cooking pots. The dust particles that came free from cleaning that way made me sneeze more than once.
I removed all the lightbulbs from the head door, tested them, cleaned and reinstalled the ones that still worked and replaced the faulty ones. The cover was cleaned too and reinstalled. Then I carefully put the neon back. The difference is huge, well worth the (little) effort and (considerable) risk.
Next up is a trip to the blacksmith and the CPU board.
Well, after all the metal works, I’ve moved on to the posts and rubber rings. Very straight forward. Install the posts, put the rings around them, move to the next location.
On thing I noticed, this time, is that I didn’t take enough pictures… I should have been more thourough in documenting as I disassembled the playfield, like I was with the Pinball Champ.
I also cleaned the posts as I needed them and not all at once like the previous time. I don’t think I gained time or effort by doing it this way, but it did break the monotomy and made the whole thing much more pleasant.
Here’s how I’ve gotten on today:
It’s starting to look like a pinball machine again! The only thing that is really going to be missing is the diverter that has the two broken off screw holes. I’m taking it to the blacksmith tomorrow to see if he can do something about that.
This is where most of the documentation was lacking; the top half… I’ve been looking at how many screws of what type are left and the holes in the plastics to see what goes where. So far so good. Should be able to get everything back together again tomorrow, except for the diverter and the shooter lane thingy.
The bottom half of the playfield did have enough pictures, so that was a straightforward build. Just waiting for the plastics and the retouch around the reseated inserts.
This is going to be an even better machine when it’s done that the Pinball Champ! Can’t wait!
Well, everything started off promisingly enough. I had already cleaned the popbumpers, so all I had to do was reinstall them. Or so I thought.
I had bought new mylar trim platters to replace the dirty and desintegrated old ones, so I started with cutting to of them to size. They need to have a corner cut out to fit around some posts that are really close to the bumper. Then I started installing the first popbumper. The base plate first, then the switch and then the popbumper body with the new mylar trim. Not good…
You can clearly see that the trim is lifted up about half a centimeter. Now way that’s right… So I dismantled the body again and had a close look at it all.
So the holes in the trim are too small. I should have noticed that earlier. I checked on the website of the place where I had bought them but since they only had one-size-fits-all, there’s nothing much I can do. So happy I just bought a new multi=tool!
So with a bit of finesse I managed to widen the hole and now the trim fits perfectly.
Rince and repeate three times and finally the popbumpers are installed.
That took a lot longer than expected and since I only had about 20 minutes left before I had to go, I thought to quickly install the new outhole switch. I soldered a diode over the appropriate contacts and went to get the bracket to fix it to the bottom of the playfield.
The bracket was no where to be found! Where did I put it. Where could it be. Then I remembered that I checked the bracket on the playfield to see which were the correct holes last time I worked it and I might have left it there when I left. And today while turning the playfield over to get tot the popbumpers it might have fallen off. After 5 minutes of sitting on my knees, clearing out my toolbox bit by bit, I still hadn’t found it. Finally I noticed something weird with one of the flipper assemblies, there was a piece of metal sticking out that shouldn’t be there. Sure enough it was the bracket that got lodged between the playfield and the flipper assembly. I had found it!
So I started screwing it in place only to notice one of the screws and bolts for the microswitch itself was missing. Where was it? Still on the old switch! So into the trashcan I went. Luckily I hadn’t emptied the trash yet, so it was still in there and I could recuperate the screw and bolt. With the new switch finally installed I soldered the leads to it and now the bottom part of the playfield is done.
So with all that bad luck and stupid mistakes, an hours worth of work took me over three hours to do. Bad day at the office indeed!