Devil Riders almost done

Well, it’s been a long time, but finally here’s a new post. I’ve moved house and my pinball projects have been on hold for months now. Anyway, here’s an update pre-move.

I got a replacement coil for the popbumper that had the wrong type installed, so I installed that first.

Correct bumper coil installed.

The I went to work on the ramp that I finally got back from the blacksmith. He charged me a lot of money for the repair, I guess he doesn’t want my “little” repairs anymore. To be fair, it was probably not difficult work, but it may have taken a while.

Back from the blacksmith. Not pretty, but functional.

So I cleaned it, installed it and finished the shooter lane and apron install.

Playfield done.

I’m waiting for new flipper bats and then the playfield will be done.

As I was in a cleaning mood, I disassembled the door and cleaned that too. Installed a new lock, etc.

The Devil Riders door before cleaning.

The Devil Riders door much shinyer, but still with an ugly hole in it...

It still has the ugly hole, but for now, I can live with that.

So next up are the legs and there is also a new shooter knob that needs to be ordered. After that, back to the bad CPU board. If any one has a spare, let me know!


Upper playfield reinstalled and head door done.

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.

Playfield close-up

The left ramp

The upper playfield

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.

Neon lamp disassembled, carefully...

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.

Very dirty indeed.

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.

Cleaned and reinstalled.

Next up is a trip to the blacksmith and the CPU board.

Posts and rubber rings

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:

Most posts and rubbers installed.

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.

A little ways to go and the top half is done.

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 waiting for plastics and touchup paint.

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!


Metal parts

Well, I’ve done most of the metal parts yesterday. I started off cleaning the two ramps and then polishing them using the chrome polish I use for my motor cycle. The result was two very shiny ramps!

The two ramps polished and reinstalled. Shiny!

Next up where the four metal guides that sit on the edge of the playfield. Bad news there, the chrome plating has started to peal off. I took away as much of it as I needed to so it won’t come loose while playing, but these parts will have to be stripped of all their chrome and rechromed at some point. I’ll wait until I have more so I can send off a whole batch of stuff at once and keep the cost down.

The chrome coating has come off of these guides.

Then I started the whole apron/outhole setup. Everything was in rather good shape, so it was just cleaning, polishing and reinstalling. I haven’t put the shooter lane back yet, since I still need to get a new diverter or fix the old one. So all in all I had a very fruitfull afternoon yesterday and this is the result:

Allmost all metal parts cleaned and reinstalled.

Bad day at the office

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…

The mylar trim plate doesn't sit right

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.

The holes for the baseplate rod guides are to small

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!

Leeloo Dallas multi-tool 😀

So with a bit of finesse I managed to widen the hole and now the trim fits perfectly.

Fits like a charm

Rince and repeate three times and finally the popbumpers are installed.

All popbumpers finally reseated.

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.

New outhole switch finally installed

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!

More cleaning

I’ve received the new fuse clamps and quickly installed them on the Devil Riders’ power board. No more fiddling with the fuse.

New fuse clips installed

Then I took out the sunken inserts.

All sunken inserts removed

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.

This one is in the worst shape

I’ve reseated the inserts with some superglue, they shouldn’t move anymore.

Inserts reseated, still need to fill the wood and touch up the paint

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.

Targets cleaned and adjusted

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.

Rebuilding the popbumper coil assembly

Rebuilding the popbumper

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.

Outhole kicker cleaned and reinstalled

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…

Dad came by for a game on the Pinball Champ '82

Playfield cleaning

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.

Broken, will need replacement.

So now I’m done removing everything from the playfield and boy, is it dirty!

Dirty playfield

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…

Wrong coil for the popbumper.

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…

Popbumpers removed

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.

Dirty and clean contrast

Now for the rest of the playfield, metal parts and plastics. Then I can start fixing the sunken inserts. That will be fun…

Humpty Dumpty back together again

It’s starting to look like a pinball machine agian!

I’ve put the playfield back together and noticed that the left top flipper didn’t work and the right top flipper was weak. A quick pass with some sanding paper between the leaf contacts and they’re both tiptop again.

Playfield completed

Here are some detail shots. Remember, I’m making this pinball playable, not perfect.

Playfield detail

Playfield detail

Playfield detail

Then I turned my attention to the neck. In my previous post I mentioned I was going to use a toothbrush to get the white spots in the black paint, but when I was at the store to get some more ground paint for the legs, I saw a black paint spray can that already had the white spots in it. It’s called “Granit” effect. So I bought a can and here is the result. I used one coat of black and one coat of the “Granit” black.


Neck detail

Neck detail

I like it!

Next where the legs. I got the two back legs back from the blacksmith and they were perfect (at a cost of an amazing 5€!). So I sanded them down, gave them a base coat, two coats of glossy black and new levelers (with rubber protectors).

Legs sanded

Legs primed

I also had a look at all the ground wires. NONE of them were connected in the transformer casing. That’s fixed now, my hair no longer reaches for the sky when I press the flipper buttons 😀

So I’m almost there, but not quite. The CPU board still needs work and the driver board still needs a thorough overhaul. In the mean time here’s a picture of where I am now.

The result so far.


Progress report

Well, the playfield is almost done!

I’ve cleaned out the cabinet and head.
I’ve installed the new microswitch (#52) that let’s the machine know the ball is on the 2nd level playfield.
I’m still missing a few rubbers, but they are in the mail.
The 20A fuse on the transformer box burned out while I was working on the playfield. I stuck a new one in and that burned out too. So I removed all the lights and measured the wiring to look for shorts. There were none. I stuck the lamps back in one by one and now everything works… Weird.

The guy I bought the ZM1550 display modules from mailed me to say he is abroad for work and will send them next week.

I still have the CPU board problem though… I’m going to swap out IC’s 8, 19, 31 and 37 for good measure. The way the CPU reacts to the DIP switch 4 position looks like it’s unable to read the settings once PROGR is off. When I put the switch back in PROGR mode, I can read all the settings, which to me means the RAM is good.
I’m also writing a extensive memory test program that will write alternative 0x55 and 0xAA’s to every memory position between 0x1800 and 0x1BFF. When a test fails it will show which test failed in which nibble at which location on the Player 1 display. This way I should be sure if the memory is good and I can test with both positions of DIP switch 4.

I’ll keep you updated.


Lamp socket field repair

This is a little how to on how to “field”-repair a pinball lamp socket. With field repair I mean, you don’t have a new lamp socket handy and you want the thing working NOW. You don’t even have to disassemble the socket to do this, but for this tutorial I’m using pictures from a mounted and unmounted socket repair. This is a trick I learned when I was working as a technician in an arcade hall way back when…

So, your light doesn’t work, but there is power going to the socket. You test the socket and notice that there’s no connection between the “live” lip and the spring inside the socket. This is what you do:

With a piece of sanding paper, sand the top of the spring. Use your soldering iron to put a little dab of tin on the spring.

Take an end of shielded wire and strip one end about half a centimeter. Bend the exposed wire in a little hook and put a bit of tin on it with you soldering iron.

A piece of insulated wire with a little hook bent on the stripped part.

Thread the shielded part through the spring and make sure the hook catches on the spring.

Thread the wire through the socket.

Solder it thight, easy job since the tin is already on the metal. Just heat it up.

Solder the wire on the spring inside the socket.

Then cut the wire to length, strip the end and solder it to the “live”-lip.

Solder the other side to the lip.

If you’re working on a mounted socket, be sure that you don’t unsolder the other wires.

Solder to the lip making sure you don't desolder any other wires.

Now pop in the lamp and if you followed this guide correctly…

Job well done.

Now get to work!