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(Topic ID: 225580)

1976 Bally Night Rider (EM) bonus unit steps beyond 15K

By vandergugten

2 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 15 posts
  • 4 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by vandergugten
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There have been 12 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

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vander_gear (resized).jpg
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Night Rider bonus unit wipers (resized).jpg
15k-side2 (resized).jpg
15k-side1 (resized).jpg

#1 2 years ago

The bonus unit on this machine was not correctly stepping up and down. I serviced it as per the excellent Clay guides and replaced some worn parts (step up plunger and coil stop, reset pawl). The unit now steps perfectly, both in game and when operated by hand.

Problem is, the bonus is incremented one more step after it reaches 15,000. What's wrong here? Any part(s) missing? I looked at this issue for quite some time, searched the Internet for pictures/videos of similar units, tried adjusting the bakelite plate one rivet. Must be something obvious that I simply cannot see with my limited EM experience.

Attached pictures show the unit at the 15K position.

Is the limit on this stepper enforced solely by the missing tooth? If you look at one of the pictures, a pin in the "8 o'clock" ratchet hole (protruding through) would limit the unit to travel too far. So that might be missing. The credit unit on this machine has one of these installed.

Previous owner played the machine at home and probably had little experience with pinball machines. The bonus unit never worked as it should. The machine is located in The Netherlands. I can solder, have little experience with EMs, but learning every day. Hopefully someone can provide some insight or photos of a working Bally bonus unit of the same era. Thanks in advance.

15k-side1 (resized).jpg15k-side2 (resized).jpg
#2 2 years ago
Quoted from vandergugten:

Problem is, the bonus is incremented one more step after it reaches 15,000. What's wrong here? Any part(s) missing?

Is the limit on this stepper enforced solely by the missing tooth? If you look at one of the pictures, a pin in the "8 o'clock" ratchet hole (protruding through) would limit the unit to travel too far. So that might be missing.

Thanks for the clear photos. It looks like there are just two limit switches (normally closed and make/break) on the stepper and that both are meant to be activated in the zero position. That matches the schematic which shows that both switches are involved in the Bonus Score relay circuit. I found no upper limit switch on the Bonus Unit step up circuit.

That would indicate that the missing tooth is the mechanical upper limit for the stepper. But if your photo shows the stepper in the maximum bonus position something may be off because it can clearly take one more step before reaching the missing tooth. Does the stepper show the correct bonus at each step? Or is everything off by one step?


#3 2 years ago

The lit playfield insert corresponds with the active rivet in every step. Nothing weird there.

#4 2 years ago

Curious. When it steps from the 15th to the 16th position, do any of the bonus lights change? Then, if you're in the 16th position and you collect the bonus, do you get 15 or 16 thousand points?

#5 2 years ago

When the bonus steps one step beyond 15K, the bonus lights turn off (since there is no wire attached to the next rivet on the bonus unit). As expected, bonus adds 16K to your score in that case

#6 2 years ago

What does the small screw on the wiper disk housing do?
Night Rider bonus unit wipers (resized).jpg
Does it loosen the copper colored wipers sandwiched between the two steel keyed washers that hold it onto the stepper shaft? If so, it could be that the wipers were assembled incorrectly. If you're careful and take lots of photos along the way, you might be able to rotate both wipers over one contact or gear tooth.

It may be possible, although unlikely, that the wrong tooth was ground out from the stepper gear. Perhaps you could reach out to other Night Rider owners for a good photo of the gear and ground out tooth before ruling that out.

#7 2 years ago

Thanks for your help, Mark. Good tip on the small screw! I haven't looked at that yet or taken it apart. Will do that later today.

And yes, photos of a working Night Rider bonus unit are very much appreciated.

#8 2 years ago

Here are pics of the bonus unit in three states...

This is start of any ball, unit should be stepped to 1000...

IMG_4576 (resized).JPGIMG_4577 (resized).JPG
#9 2 years ago

This is at 15,000...

IMG_4579 (resized).JPGIMG_4580 (resized).JPG
#10 2 years ago

This is after bonus collected just before next ball, or at end of game...

IMG_4583 (resized).JPGIMG_4585 (resized).JPG
#11 2 years ago

Your pics look to be at 15,000 position by looking at wiper contacts...yet the gear is one step away from the missing tooth. Seems you need to step the wiper contacts backward(clockwise) one rivet to put them in sync with the gear.

Hope this helps.

#12 2 years ago

Thanks swillie, these pictures clarify a lot!

Turning the wiper blades is not going to work, if I see correctly. From the zero position, it takes 16 steps on my ratchet to reach the limit position, instead of the 15 as on yours. The ratchet must have been replaced by the wrong one on my machine at some point in time.

Guess I have to cut out the tooth at the 16th position. Or live with the fact that "this one goes up to eleven"

Will let you know when this is fixed.

#13 2 years ago

for what it's worth, I see a difference in the number of teeth from the "missing tooth" to the switch peg. I count 12 teeth on swillie gear and only 11 teeth on vandergugten. I marked the photos in red

swillie_gear (resized).jpgvander_gear (resized).jpg
#14 2 years ago

Hey, looking at that gear now you're 100% right! You have to cut that last tooth off and it should be correct. I would think a dremel tool or small file could work without having to take it apart. Good luck!

1 month later
#15 1 year ago

Today I cut out the last tooth on the bonus ratchet. Unit is working perfectly now. Steps up and down correctly and most of all, its limit is now 15K! Thanks for the help, guys.

bonus-stepper-dental (resized).jpg
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