It's been a long hot summer and it's not over yet. I need to update you on what has been going on over here at Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour and Pecos Pinball.
Three months ago:
Quoted from Pecos:
I picked up a Bally Wizard! yesterday that I want to route. It will be a while before it gets restored but it will be nice to have a working Wizard! on route for play in Tucson!
I am now classifying the pinballs in my collection as 'Routeable' and 'Special.' Routeable games can go out on location. 'Special' pins will be reserved for special events where I can be there to keep an eye on them. I don't want my Special Pins walking off. Wizard! is very special. Consequently, I am giving this copy of this iconic mid-70s classic extra special attention during the restoration. I have spent more than two weeks getting the touch-ups right - and I'm not done yet. I still have some work to do around the letters and numbers.
Touch-Ups Nearly Finished (resized).png
Wizard! is a complex game with a LOT of relays. I can usually go through the restoration of a pin and end up with fewer problems than I started with. Not this time. I ended up with about 20 mech issues that had to be diagnosed and resolved, one at a time. Five or six were score reel problems, almost always easily fixed. Three problems were real bears to fix. I will pass on the details. Maybe you can learn something that will save you some time in the future.
The Symptoms: The first rollover in the right lane was working only when the game was cold and first turned on. As the machine warmed up, this rollover would no longer work.
I looked at the schematic. You can't find a simpler circuit than the Right Lane Rollower switch to the Right Lane Relay coil lug. It is one wire!! No switches in the circuit, just one wire! Easy fix right? There is a break somewhere in that wire or the Jones plug is dirty. I ran a wire with alligator clips from switch to the correct lug on the relay. No change! Huh? What made the problem even weirder was that it was intermittent. Intermittent problems are typically the hardest to find and correct.
This switch and relay are important, really important. After flipping any or all of the four flip-flags, the Right Lane Rollover switch, when closed, activates the Right Lane relay. This relay collects one, two, three or four of the Flip-Flag features.
I finally decided to take the Right Lane Relay off the mech board and examine it further. One of the tiny coil wires had broken loose at the coil lug, probably when I was cleaning the mech board. These wires never come loose or break! Well, this one did and almost certainly broken during my thorough cleaning. The wire was touching the lug, working when the game was first started and then not working as the game warmed up. A nice new bit of solder and the problem was solved! It's such a great feeling when you have fixed one of these problems and knowing it won't be coming back because you have fixed the root problem and not the symptoms.
The next problem is, again, entirely my fault. I clean every single contact during the restoration process. That includes the contacts on the relay leaf switches. 'Double decker' switch stacks are removed to get to the bottom switches. During this process, it is easy to dislodge the metal piece on the relay that holds one end of the spring. Of course, this was the Eject Hole Relay and it was at the very rear of the mech board. No way I was getting to that. I had already tried that and made a bad situation worse. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and take the time to do it right. The mech board had to come out, again!
The Symptoms: The Eject Hole Solenoid was weak, not always kicking the ball out of the hole. The relay was buzzing up a storm - a really ugly sound! Some of the switches were arcing. Not good. This causes pitting on the contacts. The Relay hold switch and the Eject Hole Solenoid switch were the worst - they were chittering and chattering and constantly arcing, first blue and then yellow.
This is what I was seeing after I got some light on the situation:
Can you see what is wrong???
You can see the extra large gap from the coil core to the armature plate. No wonder the relay wasn't working. A plate this far from the core will never work properly.
Then I found that the metal armature wasn't properly seated into the metal coil frame. After fixing this issue, cleaning the contacts and readjusting the switches that I had mangled, the relay works like a charm! Nice and smoooooooth!
The final 'What the Hay' problem was particualarly strange.
The Symptoms: I would be playing the game and, seemingly randomly, the 'Same Player Shoots Again' lamps in the backbox would light. It would happen on the first ball. It would happen on the second ball. You get the idea, it was happening a LOT!
The only way to get an extra ball, or so I thought, was to rack the bonus up to 19000, lighting the Left Lane Extra Ball When Lit rollover. Shoot the ball up the left lane when this lamp was lit and the 'Same Player Shoots Again' lamps would light. Okay you EM experts. Are you done detectivating and have you figured out what the problem was?
The first clue came when I was testing the Stand Up Target Special. I wasn't getting an extra game. The Extra Ball/Special Jones Plug feature was set to extra ball. None of the Jones Plugs on the Mech Board were marked so I had to track down the right Jones Plugs by looking up the wire colors on the schematic. Then I found that every single stinkin' Male Jones Plug had put been put into the ten positions of the Score Adjustment Jones plug in the backbox. When the the score got to 3X,000, an extra ball was awarded. When the score got to 5X,000 an extra ball was awarded. Here, a picture is worth a hundred words:
number 1027 Score Adjustment (resized).jpg
Sorry, it's a tad bit crooked.
I changed the Extra Ball/Special Jones Plug feature to 'Special' and I removed all ten of the Score Adjustment Male Jones Plugs. No more extra balls except for when the Extra Ball When Lit rollover was collected. Perfection is perfectly awesome! This is not something you would ever expect to see. No one puts all ten male Jones Plugs in the Female Score Adjustment Jones Plugs, do they?! The previous owner did. It just goes to show you; You never know what someone has done, as crazy as it might seem, to the Project Pin you are trying to restore. Surprise is often the order of the day.
I'm sure that I will find another problem or two. I still have to work on the coin mechs but this game is now 99% and mechanically ready to go to it's first special event. And what a wonderful feeling that is.
Good things are happening at Pecos Pinball.