Time for a quick update on the Batman Forever progress. For this post, I’ll be focusing just on the assemblies and parts that form the playfield area. In general the area is in pretty good shape. There are a couple of small mylar patches below where the ball exits the return rails that have helped protect against playfield damage where the ball lands. The playfield condition in the area is really nice, with a only few marks around the insert edges – but nothing anyone should worry about. The playfield surface needs a clean though to remove a layer of filth that has formed over the years. It’s not immediately visible to the eye, but when you run your fingers over the surface, you can feel it. The right slingshot has a small chip broken off the lower corner of the plastic, and the colours have faded somewhat on the left piece – but they are otherwise fine. Alright, let’s get to it.
Something that has been on my to do list for the last 8 months is take a backup (drive mirror) of the hard drive in my Bride of Pinbot 2.0 machine. At the very heart of the 2.0 upgrade kit is a mini PC running Windows on a solid state drive (SSD). Solid state drives are very reliable, but like any computer – it’s at risk of failure over time. If your BoP 2.0 hard drive becomes corrupt or the drive dies – there’s no install CD to run and get it up again. The mini PC hardware can be replaced – but what’s on that drive can’t. Small SSD’s are cheap now (the one I purchased for this backup here was $35AU) and because it is just a Windows computer, you can mirror the drive with a full backup should some disaster occur. I thought I would put together this post for any other BoP 2.0 owners wanting to mirror their drive so it’s easy to restore if a new HDD / computer is needed. There’s a good video tutorial for backing up your BoP 2.0 on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOLaBT30dpM&t=849s), which uses a different method to what I cover here. Both methods work though, so go with what you’re more comfortable with 🙂
It has taken me longer than expected to advance to the next pinball machine in the queue. I did have plans for a short break after completing Harley (I still need to get around to doing the final write up), but a parts delay delay and sorting out a few mechanical issues at the end of that game ate up the gap I had planned. Sometimes, that’s how it plays out. The good news though, is this next game is one I’m really excited to be working on. It’s been raining SEGA’s here lately, with the next game up for a complete rebuild being a beautiful Batman Forever. It was released by SEGA in 1995 and roughly 2500 units were made. I don’t think SEGA games get enough credit and as a result, people miss out on some great fun. The game has plenty to offer players, serving up multiple ramps, rails, a diverter, 3 flippers, pop bumpers, targets, drop targets, a VUK, canon, Bat cave ball lock, large display (192×64), video modes and up to 6 players at once. The only thing it’s missing for me is a spinner. The game is also a widebody, but with plenty of things around the playfield, it feels filled to the brim. There’s even an easter egg hidden in the game – “After a certain number of slingshot hits, after a 3 second lag, a giant bat will appear on the screen and screech at you. If you hit the trigger then you will get 50M extra points”. I’ll have to keep an eye out for that one – easy points! There are a few issues that need to be sorted out along the way and I’ll go in to those as I work my way through the game. For the most part though it’s working well and just needs a good clean. Time to get started.
Since my SWEP1 arrived, the lightsaber Neon has been unreliable. Some days it works and others it won’t start up at all. In other cases it might finally kick in part way through a game or just stop working during a JEDI battle. It was a little random. The general work around for it was to adjust the two wires coming from the lightsaber, which would usually get it working again. At least for a day or so before it stopped again. This gave me hope it was a connection issue instead of a driver board issue. Last week the Neon completely stopped and no manner of wire adjusting would get it back on. Enough is enough – time to fix the damn thing properly. There are two probable causes – an issue on the driver board or the 12V transformer inside the lightsaber. I disconnected the power connector for the lightsaber and using my DMM, tested the voltage it was receiving. The driver board was doing it’s job properly and the correct voltage was coming in. I was fairly confident the issue was with the lightsaber, but this at least clarified it. So the lightsaber was removed for a closer inspection.
Having already made good progress on my SWEP1, I was keen to keep going and complete the remaining work. It’s no good having a half clean machine, so I made the decision to take SWEP1 offline for a couple of weeks to address the remaining playfield areas and assemblies. The lower playfield area around the apron and sling shots was covered in the last update and now I need to look at the middle and upper sections of the playfield. This means taking both ramps off to get access to everything on the playfield in these areas. The only assemblies I need to look at are the pop bumpers, so most of the work is cleaning at the playfield level and getting the parts back on.