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, 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.
I can always tell the level of enjoyment I get working on a machine by how much it consumes my free time. Funhouse has been consuming a lot of my free time over the last few weeks which means progress has been good. So I’m back again with the third update. In this update, I’ll be focusing on the playfield area (and assemblies) in the middle stretch of the playfield. This includes the right scoop, pop bumpers and left upper flipper. There are various plastics and metal posts that will need to be removed and cleaned. There is also a ramp that runs below the playfield connecting other assemblies to the scoop which I’ll remove and clean too.
There is rarely a dull moment in owning pinball machines as there’s always something that needs fixing or adjusting. A small fault was recently noticed in my Pinbot machine, where the left out lane switch would not register when the ball rolled over it. It was a quick and easy fix, but wanted to cover it for future readers anyway. First up, I put the game into test mode and activated the switch with my finger – as expected, the switch did not register. I then manually tested other switches around the playfield. Interestingly, the left in lane switch also did not register. Other switches were fine though. So two were switches (right beside each other) were misbehaving.
At the end of my previous update, I was really close to having the repair work on Playball complete. I haven’t had as much time as I would like lately to look at the machine, so it dragged on a little longer than I had hoped. The time has come though to get the machine running 100% and returned to its owner. I had two issues on my plate to deal with. The first was the third base lamp occasionally not lighting up when it should and the second was the score motor continuing to run intermittently during play. The third base issue turned out to be a dirty shoe on the hit unit. I had somehow missed cleaning it along with the others in my last update. Nice and simple. That just leaves the dreaded score motor.