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.
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!
I’ve received the new fuse clamps and quickly installed them on the Devil Riders’ power board. No more fiddling with the fuse.
Then I took out the sunken inserts.
After a close inspection I saw that the 3000 hole is in the worst shape. It will need some wood filler and paint touch up.
I’ve reseated the inserts with some superglue, they shouldn’t move anymore.
I also took apart all the targets at the end of the playfield, cleaned them and reinstalled them. Fortunately, the print on them is still in good condition, so I don’t have to replace any of them.
With that done, I started on the popbumpers. They were dirty and one is using a wrong coil that didn’t fit very well and was missing some screws.
All the popbumpers are now clean and ready to be reinstalled. I kept the one with the wrong coil as I’m still looking for a replacement coil.
I also took apart the outhole kicker, cleaned it and reinstalled it. I noticed that the wrong coil used in the popbumper is the same coil that is used for the outhole kicker. So if I ever find a new popbumper coil, I’ll have a spare outhole kicker coil.
Next up the metal parts and the plastics. Then we can start to reassemble!
Oh and my dad came by for a game on the Pinball Champ…
While dismantling the playfield I noticed that the top flipper bats didn’t have their caps anymore and that the left bottom flipperbat had the cap glued on. I had to break it to get it off. Replacement bats have been ordered.
Also, the metal ramp at the end of the shooter lane is broken. It has a dent there where the ball hits it every time and the front screw holes are broken. I’m still looking for a replacement, let’s hope I find one.
So now I’m done removing everything from the playfield and boy, is it dirty!
The above picture still shows three of the four popbumbers installed, but they have been removed in the mean time and what I found is that one of them had the wrong coil in it and it was missing two screws that actually fixes it to the popbumber bracket…
So now the popbumbers have been removed and I was surprised that the mylar sheets under them aren’t just dirty, but some of them are even torn to pieces…
So now I started cleaning and the difference is amazing! Look at the yellow banner in the picture below, the right side has been cleaned, the left side hasn’t.
Now for the rest of the playfield, metal parts and plastics. Then I can start fixing the sunken inserts. That will be fun…
So I put together the little address selector tool that Leon designed on his website (see my links) and used it to test both the Pinball Champ ’82 and Devil Riders driver boards.
I used a LED to test each input individually for the eight possible addresses.
I had to do it on the PC82 since I don’t have an independant 5V power supply anymore… really need to fix that!
The Devil Riders driver board was in perfect condition. This machine is turning out to be just a case of bad switches and dirt, lots of dirt… excellent!
The Pinball Champ driver board was another story. I had intermittend faults on connector CN21 while signal that came for the same SCR’s on CN18 where perfect. After a more thorough visual inspection of the board I noticed this:
As the solder didn’t appear broken and I had a very hard time desoldering this connector, I suspect it had been put together this way 29 years ago… So now it’s reseated properly and I replaced four SCR’s that were faulty, this board is now in tip-top shape as well.
I’ve also tested the Devil Riders CPU board with Leon’s test EPROM and it’s also in perfect condition. I’ve also found some discrepancies in the way the Pinball Champ CPU board functions compared to the Devil Riders board. I’ll get into that next as it’s the only thing that needs to be done before I can really get into the Devil Riders.
Wish me luck!