This topic contains 77 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Scottacus 7 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #95584
     Scottacus 
    Participant
    Member

    I’ve been fascinated with EM machines and how they work.  There’s something almost magical about having a machine that can play a fun game of pinball with nothing more than switches, relays, a score motor and imagination!  I knew how to figure out scoring rules from a schematic but for the last week and a half I’ve been working on figuring out how all of the rest of the schematic works in terms of low level functions like ball, coin and player management.  The information that I used was this:   https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/em-schematic-fully-described-from-beginning-to-end-bally-bon-voyage.

    I’ve authored a few EM tables and I figured that if I had a real EM machine and I could study its inner workings in detail.  This would help add realism to the tables that I make.  I’ve been watching Craig’s List for a beater game at a low price because fixing it up would be at least half of the fun.  I was a little too late to pick up a Gottlieb Spin Wheel for $350 that according to the ad did nothing more than spin the score motor when it started up (score reel zero switch issue?).  A week or so later a Williams “Tropic Fun” came up for $600.  “Tropic Fun” is the add-a-ball version of “Gulfstream” which is a table that I authored earlier this year so I was very familiar with the rule set and graphics for the table.

    Earlier this week I went to see the table and it has a very nice playfield with no planking but the backglass is in poor condition.  The front of the cab was beat up but the rest of the cab was very clean.  The machine powered up but the balls to play didn’t advance correctly and the “L” in SPECIAL didn’t light so the special lights never came on.  I talked the seller down to $400 based upon these issues and brought the machine home.

    The “L” issue was nothing more than a leaf switch adjustment and presto-magic the glorious “Special When Lit” lights came on.  The Balls to Play stepper unit was the cause of the incorrect Balls to Play advancement.  I stripped, cleaned, and lubed the unit and it now increments and decrements properly.  I found that the game has 100,000 – 1,000,000 lights (because it is an add a ball) and those didn’t light because its stepper unit was also gunked up so I stripped, cleaned and lubed that so now all of those lights now function.

    The 100 score reel didn’t advance the 1000 unit when the 9th position was reached and all of the score reels were really dirty so I started pulling those out and cleaning them.  There is a fractured wire for the 9th position switch on the 100 reel unit so tomorrow I’ll solder that and continue on down the line with the rest of the score reels.

    My goal is to get the machine completely functional and then clean it inside and out, fix the damage to the front, strip the playfield, touch the playfield up and clear coat it, make a new backglass and enjoy it for a while before selling it and buying another EM fixer-upper.  This has been a blast!

    #95590
     randr 
    Keymaster
    ModeratorMember

    Congrats but worthless without pictures :)

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    #95591
     randr 
    Keymaster
    ModeratorMember

    Oh and nobody ever just owns 1 pinball. It’s a sickness you will have multiple pins now. Just a warning

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    #95594
     Jesperpark 
    Participant
    Member

    Congratulations on your first pin.  Randr is not wrong, pins do multiply. It’s a sickness B-)

    #95610
     bord 
    Participant
    Member

    Awesome news, Scott. Seems clear to me that in the battle of not working EM vs. Scott, Scott will be the winner by a landslide. Post pics when you can.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #95615
     Thalamus 
    Moderator
    ContributorMemberModerator

    Yes. Now I’m very curious to see the machine as well. :-)

    #95620
     Scottacus 
    Participant
    Member

    Here are photos of the machine, it’s pretty beat up in some places…

    20180816_095450

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    Cleaning a score reel unit

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    Not low milage

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    Degunked  “100,000 to 1,000,000 light” and “Balls to Play” step up units, both now work!

     

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    Gunked up chime unit, score motor, transformer and tilt units (missing its ball)

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    #95623
     bord 
    Participant
    Member

    Cool. Will there be a Tropic Fun iteration of Gulfstream VPX? Add-a-Balls are awesome… just saying.

    #95626
     tthurman 
    Participant

    That has to be the cleanest shop I’ve ever scene. :good:

    When you look at all the innards of the real deal, it sort of makes the decked out vpins not all so daunting.

     

    #95639
     Scottacus 
    Participant
    Member

    I will definitely be releasing a Tropic Fun in the future and I’ll be updating Gulfstream as well.  I’m planning on recording the actual game sounds and using them in the table and I also will scan the plastics and backglass.

    The fix I just completed was touching up some funky looking solder joints and fixing the 9th position switches on the 10’s and 100’s reels.  The way these work is that if a reel hits 9, a mechanism shuts a switch (9th position) that makes a pathway that will pulse the next higher reel when another score gets sent to the reel.  Unlike an old odometer that has pins that turn the next reel at the 9th position, pins use this switching mechanism.  These were not seeing the 29vAC because the jumper wires were missing so I made new ones.

    #95731
     Scottacus 
    Participant
    Member

    Unfortunately I don’t have a schematic for this machine but I do have a Gulfstream schematic so I can figure out quite a bit of the table.  Tropic Fun is an add-a-ball table and it has a 100,000-1,000,000 unit that is not in Gulfstream.  I spent several hours trying to figure out why the 10,000 point 9th position switch didn’t advance the 100,000-1,000,00 unit.  I eventually found that there is a 100,000 relay so I tried injecting voltage into it but no joy so I checked the resistance of the coil and it was infinite.  I pulled the coil and found that there was a fracture of one of the wire ends so I pulled back a wrap, scraped back the enamel and was able to get the coil to show the expected 17 ohms of resistance.  Now all of the items in the backbox work!

    #95732
     HauntFreaks 
    Moderator
    vipContributorMember

    very cool… i’ve played this when the silverball museum had it…

    now if you lived near me, maybe you could figure out what wrong with my Roller Coaster :(

    #95791
     Scottacus 
    Participant
    Member

    My brother came by today and we tackled the electronics in the cab.  The playfield has a stepper unit on its back side that controls the tic-tac-toe grid arrows and that was messed up so we disassembled and cleaned the unit and now is steps appropriately.  The outhole switch needed some adjustment and once that was done the game now runs flawlessly!

    I ordered a new ball, new lane guides, new flipper bats, new pop bumper skirts and 100 frosted LEDs for the game.  I also picked up a special 15/16″ ball for the tilt mechanism.

    20180817_210553

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    #95912
     hlr53 
    Participant

    Oh and nobody ever just owns 1 pinball. It’s a sickness you will have multiple pins now. Just a warning

    It’s like that with guitars. GAS = Guitar Acquisition Syndrome or PAS in this case.

    #96022
     Scottacus 
    Participant
    Member

    The entire backbox is now cleaned up and it was missing its door so I made a plexiglas door for it.  It looks pretty cool seeing the inner workings under glass!

    UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_b67a

    The inside of the machine was incredibly gross looking.  There was black dust all over everything and general grime as well.  It was so dirty that you couldn’t tell what colors the wires were…

    The bottom of the cab could not be cleaned so I painted the bottom of the entire cab.   I removed the plywood relay board and removed and cleaned everything on in as well as scrubbed the plywood board.

    You can see the new tilt ball in the track at the bottom of the photo.  The chime unit was rebuilt with new rubber grommets under the chime bars.  The old rubbers were caked up and laying in pieces in the bottom of the resonator box.  The aluminum bars were hitting on the sharp steel edge of the chime housing and there are score marks in a couple of the bars.  The entire inside of the cab is now clean and functional, I was even able to reattach some of the paper names for the relays that were laying unattached in the bottom of the cab

    UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_b67dUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_b67c

    The schematic and manual for the game came in the mail today as well.  I fixed the game using the online Gulfstream schematic but it is really nice having the actual documentation for the machine.

    UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_b67f

    I built a steel rotisserie for the playfield today and my paints came in the mail today so I hope to pull and strip the playfield for finishing tomorrow.

    #96029
     Thalamus 
    Moderator
    ContributorMemberModerator

    That machine is lucky to find such a caring owner. B-)   Great job ! :good:

    #96034
     STAT 
    Participant
    MemberContributor

    What a nice machine – Gratulation !

    #96036
     randr 
    Keymaster
    ModeratorMember

    Man you are making me feel like I neglect my pins!

    What a great project that’s for sure. Looking good

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    #96068
     Scottacus 
    Participant
    Member

    Thanks guys but this machine is an only child and it’s pretty beat up so it needs some TLC!

    I used my DecalPro system to make a replacement coin slot insert for the coin door rehab.

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    I then pulled the playfield from the cab and mounted it on the rotisserie so I could pull off the parts that were blocking full access to the ends of the playfield for more firm clamping to the end angle irons.

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    Now mostly stripped down and fully clamped.  I need to figure out how to pull the pop bumpers and flippers, time to use the Google…

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    Here are a couple of shots of the playfield to show the dirt and grime that I’m trying to clean as well as a divot made from the saucer kicker.

    20180821_11422520180821_114244

    #96072
     randr 
    Keymaster
    ModeratorMember

    Nice rotisserie  :good:

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