I’m long overdue for an update on my PINBOT 2.0 project. It’s been moving slower than I had hoped, but there’s no real rush here. Also, for a 2.0 project like this, a lot of time gets spent on code and it’s not easy to translate that into interesting posts for people to read. But there are some interesting things to cover 🙂 Thanks to a mate of mine, I’ve been able to source a P-ROC board on loan which will allow me to move the project from my desktop PC into the physical machine to actually test! This is very exciting to say the least! I’m on the look out to buy my own though as I’ll eventually need one – but for now this will do.
With Funhouse completed and back to the owner, I was able to enjoy the vacant space it left for a matter of minutes before it was filled with the next machine on the list. The next game to receive a rebuild is a Dr Who. Released by Bally in 1992, with over 7700 machines built – it’s a great theme and a really fun game to play. In its current state, the game is basically unplayable due to a few issues which I’d like to get sorted first. Overall condition (once you see past the dust) is actually really nice. Cabinet is solid (some fade, but minimal damage) and the playfield is really decent. It’s going to clean up nicely and I’m excited to test it once complete!
Welcome to a new Repair & Service log series. I’m still working away on machines for other people, but it feels good to also be making time to work on a game of my own again. This time I’ll be going through a Bride of Pinbot, which has the 2.0 upgrade kit from Dutch Pinball installed. Originally released by Williams in early 1991 and over 8000 machines made, it’s a game I’ve been wanting to own for awhile. The kit from Dutch Pinball was released in late 2014 and updates the machine to a colour display with an entirely new rule set. It also allows you to switch to the original game rule set too – which basically means it’s two games in one. It runs the original game under emulation though and as a result there is some sound quality issues on a couple of the original speech sounds. I’m told this is due to the quality of the original speech clips being played out of the updated sound system. All up though both games are a hell of a lot of fun to play. I plan to do my usual clean and rebuild of the game, with additional plans in the future for a playfield swap (game came with a clear coated playfield) and new cabinet decals (to be purchased later). For now I’m keen to tackle it in small doses to keep the game in a playable state as much as possible.
After finishing work on Baywatch recently and sending the machine on its way back home to the owner, it was time to advance to the next game in the queue. Only this time it’s not one, but two machines, making this a double repair & service log for The Sopranos. I have to admit – I’ve never watched the show and haven’t really been interested in it. But the game looks like it’s got some fun shots and lots of things to do during play. The owner of these machines will be keeping one (the machine on the right) and the other will be sold once my work on it is complete. Working on two of the same game at the same time makes sense as it saves the owner money in parts postage and also some time as I can do the same task on both machines together. Similar to my other threads, this isn’t a restore, but the game will be pulled apart, cleaned, serviced and rebuilt. Broken and worn parts will be replaced. Missing parts will be sourced where possible and anything interesting will be pointed out. The games arrived to me mostly working, with only a few minor faults to address before I get stuck in to them. They are in reasonably good condition (mainly dirty) – so should come up looking great for the owner once done.
Before I stripped and cleaned the playfield on my last action hero, I had a phantom ball drain occur a few of times. When I say phantom drain I mean the flippers go dead, end of ball music plays, you are awarded a bonus and then the next ball is served up. I suspected at the time it could be a trough switch needing adjustment and since I was going to look at the ball trough as part of the playfield cleaning, I didn’t bother looking closer at it. Fast forward to post cleaning. I had the playfield back together and began to test. After a couple of games I noticed that the phantom ball drain was now far more common – in almost every game it would occur. I also began to notice other side effects where some playfield features would be activated without hitting the corresponding switch.
After some additional testing during a game, I found a direct relation between the phantom drain and the “R” drop target. When this target was hit, it would instantly believe the ball had drained, award a bonus and continue to the next ball.
Now that I had a suspect switch, I went into switch test mode and explored the switches to see what I could find. This is the switch matrix from the LAH manual: