(Topic ID: 183206)

American Pinball Houdini thread


By lllvjr

2 years ago



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#4601 9 months ago
Quoted from Kerry_Richard:

MightyGrave... BTW: My opinion between the 2; I personally like the bronze one. I think it's more fitting for the game.

Thanks Kerry - i think you are right. Will take the Bronze one

#4602 9 months ago
Quoted from hawkmoon:

Reading about the light show on the escape mode,when I did one,practically the whole playfield went dark,with the exception of the targets to hit???

I don't think that was an Escape mode, those are all hurry-ups and it's these shots (will be lit green as long as the Escape timer is still running):

New York - Ramp for 20,000
London - Key Lane for 30,000
Paris - Inner Loop for 40,000
Sydney - Spinner for 50,000
Chicago - Milkcan Loop for 75,000

The only mode I've seen (have not been to the mini-wizards yet) that does anything like you describe is Man From Beyond after you free Houdini from the Ice and the Asylum. At that Point you have to hit the shot that will "find" Houdini, it's the two orbits and the stage but the only way to know which one is to look at the display to see where he's at on the screen (left, right or middle). Very cool mode.

#4603 9 months ago
Quoted from bobukcat:

I don't think that was an Escape mode, those are all hurry-ups and it's these shots (will be lit green as long as the Escape timer is still running):
New York - Ramp for 20,000
London - Key Lane for 30,000
Paris - Inner Loop for 40,000
Sydney - Spinner for 50,000
Chicago - Milkcan Loop for 75,000
The only mode I've seen (have not been to the mini-wizards yet) that does anything like you describe is Man From Beyond after you free Houdini from the Ice and the Asylum. At that Point you have to hit the shot that will "find" Houdini, it's the two orbits and the stage but the only way to know which one is to look at the display to see where he's at on the screen (left, right or middle). Very cool mode.

I got to this mode for the first time yesterday during a multiball. Very cool but would suck if this mode came on in a dim or dark room.
It was dusk here and even that made it hard to play the mode. I looked up to see the screen to find Houdini and then drained...oh well. next time.
Still got a decent score of 790K.

10
#4604 9 months ago

Just got my Houdini unboxed yesterday. Three observations:

1. The game is remarkably beautiful
2. The difficulty of the machine seems to be very much overstated. The shots are tighter than some other machines, but im not a great player, and got dialed in pretty quickly. When you start making shots regularly, it is very satisfying.
3. I lifted the playfield to put in stadium lights, and a connection came loose and I lost coil power (I didnt know this was the issue at the time) At 4:45 central on a Friday, I got an answer at their help line, and had the game up and running in 5 minutes.

#4605 9 months ago

I have owned my game since 4/10/2018. Here are some observations. Basically, I have not been enjoying the game as I should. Now that I spent the last two hours adjusting, testing, writing this post (as shown below), maybe I have tweaked it to the point where I will enjoy the game and play as I know it should.

I just tried a few games with the tweaks below and I see a difference. Next time I will not wait 2.5 months to tweak (although due to house renovations and family visits, I have been in a hotel for 28 days of the last 2 months).

1. I try to time the skill shot to the "C" switch. When it is lit and it looks like I hit it, it does not register as a skill shot. Sometimes it does. Most times it does not. I took off the glass and tested the switch both by pressing it and shooting the ball from the plunger (so it has the correct angle and speed as in a game), it registers as a switch hit every time. Maybe when I think it is lit, is has moved back to "E."

I just hit the "E" when it was clearly not lit and it said "Ball 2 locked." So maybe the lights are not synchronized to the switches?

2. I adjusted the lower catapult when I first got the game. It worked great. Left the house for 12 days. Came back and it started skimming off the front of the trunk and missing. I increased the coil by 1 (26) and it still hit the lip. I adjusted it by 2 (27) and it beautifully went into the trunk. Put the glass on and played games. It was shooting off to the right and/or hitting the glass. I moved back to 26 and it was hitting the lip. I physically pivoted the the game to the left (probably should ensure it is level) and now 26 works great. As noted below I increased the pitch and the lower catapult still works nicely at the moment.

3. The stage alley shot does not go to the stage. Maybe once or twice in this whole time. I think there are some bending adjustments discussed here that I would have to find and try. I just don't want to be bending the game such that I make it worse. I raised the back to see if this makes a difference. I don't have a level at the moment that provides accuracy to a tenth of a degree. It still doesn't work great but it is getting there a few times.

4. The lock bar pivot thing on the right is almost impossible to open and then close. When I finally get enough power to push it to the left, the lock bar kind of jumps up on the right side. When I take out the lock bar, I hear a twang, like the spring is releasing from something.

When I go to lock it, I do not know what I do to finally get it to move to the right and out of the way of the door, but it is not as smooth as I would expect. I will call support this week to ask. I just did it and filmed both taking off and putting on. Pushing it back to some unspecified amount seems to do the trick to move to the right and lock.

5. When the ball rolls down from the Key Lane, it will usually go right down the middle. This is true before I adjusted the pitch and is still true. This is probably most annoying at the moment. I wish there was an option to engage the magnet when it comes down...

6. The scoop mostly shoots the ball right down the center drain. Thank goodness for the ball save. I would almost like the ability (menu selection) to have the right magnet turn on to redirect the ball. Although statistically, it may drain, it would have to drain less than it does now.

I just changed the coil strength to 6. It bounces off the top of the right sling to the left flipper. Sometimes it nicely goes to the right flipper. The coil is shooting out erratically. I can never get consistency on how the scoop will shoot out. I changed it to 7. It would mostly drain. I changed it back to 6.

Where is the ball supposed to go from the scoop?

While in Scoop coil test, I hit the ball with the flipper and it went into the open stage. I thought it would shoot out. It didn't. I have a telescoping magnet and just took it out. Just thought all coils would pop out the ball in test.

7. When I go to the menu, it says "Switch Error - Go to Test > Switches". When I go to the switch test, none are red. Some are light green. Some are dark green. All of them test well.

Thanks
Michael

#4606 9 months ago
Quoted from mbelofsky:

I have owned my game since 4/10/2018. Here are some observations. Basically, I have not been enjoying the game as I should. Now that I spent the last two hours adjusting, testing, writing this post (as shown below), maybe I have tweaked it to the point where I will enjoy the game and play as I know it should.
I just tried a few games with the tweaks below and I see a difference. Next time I will not wait 2.5 months to tweak (although due to house renovations and family visits, I have been in a hotel for 28 days of the last 2 months).
1. I try to time the skill shot to the "C" switch. When it is lit and it looks like I hit it, it does not register as a skill shot. Sometimes it does. Most times it does not. I took off the glass and tested the switch both by pressing it and shooting the ball from the plunger (so it has the correct angle and speed as in a game), it registers as a switch hit every time. Maybe when I think it is lit, is has moved back to "E."
I just hit the "E" when it was clearly not lit and it said "Ball 2 locked." So maybe the lights are not synchronized to the switches?
2. I adjusted the lower catapult when I first got the game. It worked great. Left the house for 12 days. Came back and it started skimming off the front of the trunk and missing. I increased the coil by 1 (26) and it still hit the lip. I adjusted it by 2 (27) and it beautifully went into the trunk. Put the glass on and played games. It was shooting off to the right and/or hitting the glass. I moved back to 26 and it was hitting the lip. I physically pivoted the the game to the left (probably should ensure it is level) and now 26 works great. As noted below I increased the pitch and the lower catapult still works nicely at the moment.
3. The stage alley shot does not go to the stage. Maybe once or twice in this whole time. I think there are some bending adjustments discussed here that I would have to find and try. I just don't want to be bending the game such that I make it worse. I raised the back to see if this makes a difference. I don't have a level at the moment that provides accuracy to a tenth of a degree. It still doesn't work great but it is getting there a few times.
4. The lock bar pivot thing on the right is almost impossible to open and then close. When I finally get enough power to push it to the left, the lock bar kind of jumps up on the right side. When I take out the lock bar, I hear a twang, like the spring is releasing from something.
When I go to lock it, I do not know what I do to finally get it to move to the right and out of the way of the door, but it is not as smooth as I would expect. I will call support this week to ask. I just did it and filmed both taking off and putting on. Pushing it back to some unspecified amount seems to do the trick to move to the right and lock.
5. When the ball rolls down from the Key Lane, it will usually go right down the middle. This is true before I adjusted the pitch and is still true. This is probably most annoying at the moment. I wish there was an option to engage the magnet when it comes down...
6. The scoop mostly shoots the ball right down the center drain. Thank goodness for the ball save. I would almost like the ability (menu selection) to have the right magnet turn on to redirect the ball. Although statistically, it may drain, it would have to drain less than it does now.
I just changed the coil strength to 6. It bounces off the top of the right sling to the left flipper. Sometimes it nicely goes to the right flipper. The coil is shooting out erratically. I can never get consistency on how the scoop will shoot out. I changed it to 7. It would mostly drain. I changed it back to 6.
Where is the ball supposed to go from the scoop?
While in Scoop coil test, I hit the ball with the flipper and it went into the open stage. I thought it would shoot out. It didn't. I have a telescoping magnet and just took it out. Just thought all coils would pop out the ball in test.
7. When I go to the menu, it says "Switch Error - Go to Test > Switches". When I go to the switch test, none are red. Some are light green. Some are dark green. All of them test well.
Thanks
Michael

Really good observations, Mike -

Some of us have experienced all of these things - I am not sure if anyone else has *every* symptom you listed here.

My experience:

1) I have definitely expected to get a skill shot and not received it; I always figured maybe I didn't hit the switch hard enough, but I think it is more likely what you are experiencing. Interesting! That's a code fix luckily

2) The catapult (and to a lesser extent, the scoop coil) is HIGHLY dependent on consistent power from the wall. I am not sure if this is a normal thing for games and it's just more pronounced because of how precise the catapult needs to be, but I can validate that I experience some weirdness with the catapult as well, although not as extreme as you've seen -

For me, I have several games all on one circuit. When I have only Houdini turned on, the catapult nails the trunk consistently. When one or two other games are on, the catapult will start missing. The scoop will also behave strangely, having to try 2 and 3 times to get the ball out. Then when Houdini is the only one on, the ball will come FLYING out of the scoop. More on that below.

3) I have not experienced this. My alley shot goes into the theater almost all the time, except for the occasional bounce-out if it is a really strong shot

4) Loosen the brass screws ? This does not happen to me either

5) Yes. almost 100% of the time the ball will drain SDTM from the key lane if it does not squarely hit the pops or bounce around the theater area. My #1 pet peeve about the game. Not sure what to do to fix it either. adjust the ball guide maybe?

6) The scoop has a physical alignment adjustment that is posted on the AP site - this is very helpful. It does not address the obvious power issues I mentioned above, but makes it less of a factor

7) Not sure on this, I would have to check.

Thanks for your observations!

#4607 9 months ago

Any plans to add ball save to the multiball catapult? I too struggle with the machine consistently making it, ranging from right on, too weak, or shooting left of the trunk once it seems the house circuit has gained back some amps. Hoping a more dedicated circuit in the house will improve it in the future, but ball save for now when it misses would make it less painful.

Thanks

#4608 9 months ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

Really good observations, Mike -

For me, I have several games all on one circuit. When I have only Houdini turned on, the catapult nails the trunk consistently. When one or two other games are on, the catapult will start missing. The scoop will also behave strangely, having to try 2 and 3 times to get the ball out. Then when Houdini is the only one on, the ball will come FLYING out of the scoop. More on that below.

As a note to my set up, I had an electrician come in and added three 20 AMP dedicated circuits for my pinballs back about 1999. So I have 10 machines that I split about evenly between these 3 20 AMP circuits.

When I play alone, I just turn on a game or two so I would have to believe that my power is okay. But I also realize it could be something else.

#4609 9 months ago
Quoted from mbelofsky:

As a note to my set up, I had an electrician come in and added three 20 AMP dedicated circuits for my pinballs back about 1999. So I have 10 machines that I split about evenly between these 3 20 AMP circuits.
When I play alone, I just turn on a game or two so I would have to believe that my power is okay. But I also realize it could be something else.

Not sure about the catapult, but on the scoop definitely look at the service bulletin which describes how to adjust it, that will take care of most of the issue

#4610 9 months ago

I just played a long game and got the high score 927,000 (for me). So I must have improved something.

Additional notes:

When the ball goes below the playfield, since I raised the pitch, I sometimes have to shake the game to register the switch.

My flippers would stop flipping. I realized it was probably being done programatically when we are pressing the flippers at the same time. I understand this. But what happens when you are in multiball and balls come to both flippers at the same time? I realized this was happening often in multiball and I was losing balls. When in ball save not so bad, but otherwise not so fair. Can this be a setting? For me, I notice this happening on the left flipper. I do not believe I have yet seen the right flipper turn off or go weak.

#4611 9 months ago
Quoted from mbelofsky:

I just played a long game and got the high score 927,000 (for me). So I must have improved something.
Additional notes:
When the ball goes below the playfield, since I raised the pitch, I sometimes have to shake the game to register the switch.

These are optos under there. Under the PF, check the assembly on the right with the three sets of optos that feed the subway to the scoop. On ours it was coming loose and hanging low, which caused weird behavior like what you're describing.

Quoted from mbelofsky:

My flippers would stop flipping. I realized it was probably being done programatically when we are pressing the flippers at the same time. I understand this. But what happens when you are in multiball and balls come to both flippers at the same time? I realized this was happening often in multiball and I was losing balls. When in ball save not so bad, but otherwise not so fair. Can this be a setting? For me, I notice this happening on the left flipper. I do not believe I have yet seen the right flipper turn off or go weak.

Flippers should not stop flipping. Are you sure you're not in straightjacket escape with inverted flippers selected?

Otherwise, check your EOS switch on each flipper, because that's not normal.

#4612 9 months ago
Quoted from vireland:

These are optos under there. Under the PF, check the assembly on the right with the three sets of optos that feed the subway to the scoop. On ours it was coming loose and hanging low, which caused weird behavior like what you're describing.

Flippers should not stop flipping. Are you sure you're not in straightjacket escape with inverted flippers selected?
Otherwise, check your EOS switch on each flipper, because that's not normal.

Does P3ROC / Houdini even have EOS switches??? I don't think they do but I could be wrong as I've never really looked. I do agree the flippers should never stop flipping, that is clearly an issue and I'd call A.P / Barry and have him help you with that one.

#4613 9 months ago
Quoted from bobukcat:

Does P3ROC / Houdini even have EOS switches??? I don't think they do but I could be wrong as I've never really looked. I do agree the flippers should never stop flipping, that is clearly an issue and I'd call A.P / Barry and have him help you with that one.

Hmm, I don't know offhand if there are EOS switches on there. I ASSUME there are, but you know what that means...

#4614 9 months ago
Quoted from vireland:

These are optos under there. Under the PF, check the assembly on the right with the three sets of optos that feed the subway to the scoop. On ours it was coming loose and hanging low, which caused weird behavior like what you're describing.

Flippers should not stop flipping. Are you sure you're not in straightjacket escape with inverted flippers selected?
Otherwise, check your EOS switch on each flipper, because that's not normal.

Thanks. I’ll check for loose stuff under the playfield. But the ball is acting more like it is not exactly in the same position with the back raised a bit.

Definitely not in inverted flipper mode. Just seance multiball. I’ll call Barry on this one.

#4615 9 months ago

1) I have definitely expected to get a skill shot and not received it; I always figured maybe I didn't hit the switch hard enough, but I think it is more likely what you are experiencing. Interesting! That's a code fix luckily..

I too am 100% sure I am hitting the skill shot targets but no reward. I think the timing of the lights is off as well.

2) The catapult (and to a lesser extent, the scoop coil) is HIGHLY dependent on consistent power from the wall. I am not sure if this is a normal thing for games and it's just more pronounced because of how precise the catapult needs to be, but I can validate that I experience some weirdness with the catapult as well, although not as extreme as you've seen -
For me, I have several games all on one circuit. When I have only Houdini turned on, the catapult nails the trunk consistently. When one or two other games are on, the catapult will start missing. The scoop will also behave strangely, having to try 2 and 3 times to get the ball out. Then when Houdini is the only one on, the ball will come FLYING out of the scoop.

I have the same power issues if another pin is on in the same room and on the same circuit breaker. Even if I tap the flippers when the ball launches with the other two pins off, the ball will drop short of the truck or hit the lip.

I emailed AP about that and they suggested a Variac unit:

ebay.com link » 1 3kw Ac Voltage Regulator Variac Variable Transformer Metered 10 20amp Sale New

I'm considering this but for now I just make sure no one has the other two pins on in the same room when playing Houdini.
Just make sure you order the 1000W unit.

#4616 9 months ago
Quoted from CUJO:

1) I have definitely expected to get a skill shot and not received it; I always figured maybe I didn't hit the switch hard enough, but I think it is more likely what you are experiencing. Interesting! That's a code fix luckily..
I too am 100% sure I am hitting the skill shot targets but no reward. I think the timing of the lights is off as well.
2) The catapult (and to a lesser extent, the scoop coil) is HIGHLY dependent on consistent power from the wall. I am not sure if this is a normal thing for games and it's just more pronounced because of how precise the catapult needs to be, but I can validate that I experience some weirdness with the catapult as well, although not as extreme as you've seen -
For me, I have several games all on one circuit. When I have only Houdini turned on, the catapult nails the trunk consistently. When one or two other games are on, the catapult will start missing. The scoop will also behave strangely, having to try 2 and 3 times to get the ball out. Then when Houdini is the only one on, the ball will come FLYING out of the scoop.
I have the same power issues if another pin is on in the same room and on the same circuit breaker. Even if I tap the flippers when the ball launches with the other two pins off, the ball will drop short of the truck or hit the lip.
I emailed AP about that and they suggested a Variac unit:
ebay.com link » 1 3kw Ac Voltage Regulator Variac Variable Transformer Metered 10 20amp Sale New
I'm considering this but for now I just make sure no one has the other two pins on in the same room when playing Houdini.
Just make sure you order the 1000W unit.

Thanks for the confirmation. This is definitely a potential issue directly affecting gameplay. This may also be related to the flippers losing power when coils fire (most often an issue during multiball)

#4617 9 months ago

If you have line voltage that is steady and out of spec, like always at 106V, a variac could help.

What you are describing sounds like line voltage that fluctuates spontaneously from other devices on the circuit. I would think a line conditioner would be more appropriate, no?

http://a.co/4q0BkyX

#4618 9 months ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

If you have line voltage that is steady and out of spec, like always at 106V, a variac could help.
What you are describing sounds like line voltage that fluctuates spontaneously from other devices on the circuit. I would think a line conditioner would be more appropriate, no?
http://a.co/4q0BkyX

Any thoughts on why we don’t see this issue with other games though? Could there be a supply issue inside the cabinet? I’d much rather buy a bigger/more stable PS than a Variac or Line conditioner

#4619 9 months ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

Any thoughts on why we don’t see this issue with other games though? Could there be a supply issue inside the cabinet? I’d much rather buy a bigger/more stable PS than a Variac or Line conditioner

I am not familiar with what is inside of a Houdini. What does the power supply look like?

#4620 9 months ago

Variac? I'm hearing things, right? What a dangerous kludge, has to be a better way

#4621 9 months ago
Quoted from CUJO:

I have the same power issues if another pin is on

I see weird weird issues sometimes too once in a while. Like weak flippers during multiball. I'm going to move the plug to a direct wall outlet and keep the other pins off and see if it's any better. Thx

#4622 9 months ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

Any thoughts on why we don’t see this issue with other games though? Could there be a supply issue inside the cabinet? I’d much rather buy a bigger/more stable PS than a Variac or Line conditioner

I have to agree. NOT a bitch on Houdini but in my collection of 20 other games I have never had issues requiring me to check my supply voltage, buy Variac, or have my home rewired to play pinball? Just seems odd that This game requires such specific and perfect facility requirements compared to Any other machine I have ever owned. Still say this game specific power issue is why there are so many differing experiences playing especially at location setups. Can't always be the tech just sayin.

#4623 9 months ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

I have to agree. NOT a bitch on Houdini but in my collection of 20 other games I have never had issues requiring me to check my supply voltage, buy Variac, or have my home rewired to play pinball? Just seems odd that This game requires such specific and perfect facility requirements compared to Any other machine I have ever owned. Still say this game specific power issue is why there are so many differing experiences playing especially at location setups. Can't always be the tech just sayin.

Goofy test (which I tried) as my wife was tired of playing solo on the game adjacent. Plug a hair dryer into the same outlet as Houdini. Turn it on mid game (foot warmer) and the catapult makes it half way to the chest without changing any settings. Bohemian test rig. lol

#4624 9 months ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

Goofy test (which I tried) as my wife was tired of playing solo on the game adjacent. Plug a hair dryer into the same outlet as Houdini. Turn it on mid game (foot warmer) and the catapult makes it half way to the chest without changing any settings. Bohemian test rig. lol

Power supply needs some more large caps to even out the power?

#4625 9 months ago
Quoted from vireland:

Power supply needs some more large caps to even out the power?

Theres a reason Bally/Williams/Others put all those big redundant parts into the pinball machines. Just an observation. Not all sites/locations are created equal.

#4626 9 months ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

Theres a reason Bally/Williams/Others put all those big redundant parts into the pinball machines. Just an observation. Not all sites/locations are created equal.

I believe daughter board is in the works.
Barry and I have talked about it.

#4627 9 months ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

Theres a reason Bally/Williams/Others put all those big redundant parts into the pinball machines. Just an observation. Not all sites/locations are created equal.

Yes, there's no Big A$$ heavy transformer in Houdini. It's a solid state power supply (correct me if I'm wrong)
and seems to be very susceptible to even the slightest A/C power line change.

I love Houdini and I hope they resolve this power issue in the next pin. I may even invest/try a CP1500AVRLCD UPS.

amazon.com link »

I have a room of 9 Sterns/Williams/Segas & never had to be concerned about loss of A/C line current while they are all on.
The old transformer "beasts" seem to be able to keep the power smooth and stable no matter what is going on in the game.

Not sure if the Stern Spike2 systems have run into this issue as I don't own a Spike pin.

#4628 9 months ago

Heard near a Houdini machine recently:

"I heard you got a variac for your new American Pinball box! Is it Dialed In?"

"No, it's Houdini."

#4629 9 months ago
Quoted from vireland:

Power supply needs some more large caps to even out the power?

Quoted from Yelobird:

Theres a reason Bally/Williams/Others put all those big redundant parts into the pinball machines. Just an observation. Not all sites/locations are created equal.

Quoted from Yelobird:

Goofy test (which I tried) as my wife was tired of playing solo on the game adjacent. Plug a hair dryer into the same outlet as Houdini. Turn it on mid game (foot warmer) and the catapult makes it half way to the chest without changing any settings. Bohemian test rig. lol

The Variac as stated above, I think is the correct solution. API will have to probably add a transformer/capacitor at some point.

Power is just to unreliable in all areas of the country and all countries in the world.

Its basically the big heavy transformer that Williams and others have used for years.
You can add it inline, just like Williams did, by just plugging into it.

Im thinking of getting a couple just because my games play slow on hot days with all the A/C running on my street.
I have seen my voltage drop to 97V and then back up to 106V a lot. But still once in awhile it's 115V for days on end. The games are amazing at the correct voltage/current.

https://tinyurl.com/yar35qzq

https://tinyurl.com/y9vjo5l6

ebay.com link » Blue Lcd Digital Voltage Volt Meter Ac 110 300v Us Style Plug 110v 220v

#4630 9 months ago
Quoted from pinballinreno:

The Variac as stated above, I think is the correct solution. API will have to probably add a transformer/capacitor at some point.
Power is just to unreliable in all areas of the country and all countries in the world.
Its basically the big heavy transformer that Williams and others have used for years.
You can add it inline, just like Williams did, by just plugging into it.
Im thinking of getting a couple just because my games play slow on hot days with all the A/C running on my street.
I have seen my voltage drop to 97V and then back up to 106V a lot. But still once in awhile it's 115V for days on end. The games are amazing at the correct voltage/current.
https://tinyurl.com/yar35qzq
https://tinyurl.com/y9vjo5l6

Hitting the trunk reliably is a recurring issue that was allowed to flare up and there is a simple solution presented. Sounds like something AP should be buying and adding until they can adjust their boards. Would this plug into an outlet (inside the game) or to game power cord (external)?

#4631 9 months ago
Quoted from vireland:

Hmm, I don't know offhand if there are EOS switches on there. I ASSUME there are, but you know what that means...

No EOS switches listed in the manual, haven't pulled the lid to verify with my own eyes yet but will next time the PF needs to come up for something.

#4632 9 months ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

Hitting the trunk reliably is a recurring issue that was allowed to flare up and there is a simple solution presented. Sounds like something AP should be buying and adding until they can adjust their boards. Would this plug into an outlet (inside the game) or to game power cord (external)?

A variac plugs in the wall and then you plug the pinball machine into it. I would recommend the little $5 plug-in voltmeter so that you can see the exact voltage coming out of the variac though I would not trust the dial.

One could certainly mount it inside the cabinet though for cosmetic reasons. I see no reason not to.

You would be basically recreating the standard pinball Transformer system, at least as far as the mains go.

#4633 9 months ago

Things to add to my game, a wish list:

Transformer (variac)
Headphone jack
Skill shot fix
Knocker
Subwoofer
Any more?

barryj

Oh and please finish the code before I get my game next week

Added 9 months ago:

And EOS switches?

#4634 9 months ago

Well im glad there is a solution here. Kinda sucks that the transformer is missing in the first, but I would be happy to pay for the "upgrade" so to Speak. Thanks for all the input, guys

#4635 9 months ago

A few comments on power

All machines, from all companies since pinball machines started using electricity are impacted to some degree by line voltage, thus the reason games had a 'low line voltage' feature to help address it. Typically line voltage fluctuations are not too noticeable, but the catapult is obviously far more sensitive to it than any coil in almost any machine ever made.

We are looking at offering an add-on board to improve performance of the catapult for those with fluctuating line voltages. I do not yet have a price now what this board will cost.

Quoted from CUJO:

there's no Big A$$ heavy transformer in Houdini. It's a solid state power supply (correct me if I'm wrong)

It is not a switching supply in Houdini, it is toroid transformer, which is similar in many ways to an older style transformer, both of which will have its output voltages impacted by the input voltages. You can see it in the photo below. There are two large caps, similar to what was on the driver boards in older games. High power switching supplies being used by some other companies will also not regulate high voltage.

IMG_3271 (resized).JPG

I've not experienced power issues during multiball, at least not that I have noticed, but when I am playing I am typically focused on other things, so I'll have to keep an eye out for that. I assume everyone is running the latest code. If you are experiencing this, try to note what might be happening at that instant, meaning was this after scoring a jackpot or when a ball was being put into play, etc. Also which multiballs, is this TrunkMB, SJ, seance, only when there are MB stacked?

Quoted from mbelofsky:

I just hit the "E" when it was clearly not lit and it said "Ball 2 locked." So maybe the lights are not synchronized to the switches?

I just tested it a two dozen times and triggered correctly every time. I tested when it was being lit, and immediately before and after it was lit and did not get any false results. Given how the code is written, it is hard to see them "out of sync", by more than 100ms (e.g. the code says to move to the next lamp, but there is some fractional delay in the inserts changing). It is certainly possible that on occasion the sequence on the LCD may be slightly out of sync, but not the inserts. I would tell you to send me a log, but I don't think there is anything currently in it the log that would be of value, I'll add something in this release so we can see if there is an issue.

#4636 9 months ago

Josh: thanks. In regards to the skill shot, I now time my release of the plunger to slightly after the previous light is lit and hit the skill shot for the next lighted letter more consistently.

#4637 9 months ago

I really liked the steampunk look of the variac.
Very cool.
I think I'll get one just for the way it looks!

I also like the look of the toroid Transformer it looks like a little Nuclear Power Plant also way cool.

#4638 9 months ago
Quoted from pinballinreno:

I think I'll get one just for the way it looks!

I consider them somewhat dangerous in that if they inadvertently get cranked up whatever is plugged into them usually gets fried.

In my humble opinion the AP design team should have caught this in their trunk testing and went with a separate high-quality supply that fed just the catapult. After all, aren't power supplies supposed to put out constant voltage independent of load or supply? Look at how few parts are in that one, not much regulating ability there - especially for a linear supply. Talk of fixing this with autotransformers (an old name for variac) is laughable.

Sorry AP, but I think this needed pointing out. I'd just let the thing miss.

#4639 9 months ago

My machine is super sensitive to power. My catapult and flippers certainly struggle when three games are turned on. I did add EOS switches to my flips. It really seemed to help quite a bit during multiball when the flippers would get pushed down on a hold.

I also replaced the washer on the pivot post for the lower catapult. I used a slightly thicker and larger washer. It takes some of the slop out of that arm. That washer seems to have helped straighten the shot out when the coil power gets turned up.

In conclusion... BRING ON THE DAUGHTER BOARD!!!

And with all that said, I really love my game. It will all get worked out and get even better. Especially with the great bunch of folks AP has on staff.

Brian

#4640 9 months ago
Quoted from pinghetto:

I did add EOS switches to my flips. It really seemed to help quite a bit during multiball when the flippers would get pushed down on a hold.

My catapult has yet to miss a shot (it's still new), but I've had my left flipper just die a couple of times in single ball play. I was going to adjust the EOS switch, and saw there wasn't one. I don't have the latest code, so maybe my issue has been resolved in updated software. I didn't have any other games turned on.

I didn't realize you could just "add" an EOS switch. It doesn't it need any a specific type of coil and/or wiring?

#4641 9 months ago

I personally think a line conditioner would set you guys straight. That will give Houdini the smooth, sweet power it wants.

#4642 9 months ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

I personally think a line conditioner would set you guys straight. That will give Houdini the smooth, sweet power it wants.

This one looks like it will work and seems to be a good price:

amazon.com link »

I have a couple 1500w tripp-lite UPS boxes already, but they cost more.

Does not have the cool steampunk look of the Variac though

#4643 9 months ago
Quoted from pinballinreno:

This one looks like it will work and seems to be a good price:

This is the right direction to solve this problem, good job. I'll be curious to see how many users it helps.

#4644 9 months ago
Quoted from pinballinreno:

This one looks like it will work and seems to be a good price:
amazon.com link »
I have a couple 1500w tripp-lite UPS boxes already, but they cost more.
Does not have the cool steampunk look of the Variac though

That's the one I linked above, I think it's a good model for the application.

You can hot glue some pipe cleaners, bendy straws, and a bbq thermometer to the outside if you really need that steampunk feeling.

#4645 9 months ago
Quoted from rosh:

I've not experienced power issues during multiball, at least not that I have noticed, but when I am playing I am typically focused on other things, so I'll have to keep an eye out for that. I assume everyone is running the latest code. If you are experiencing this, try to note what might be happening at that instant, meaning was this after scoring a jackpot or when a ball was being put into play, etc. Also which multiballs, is this TrunkMB, SJ, seance, only when there are MB stacked?

I'm pretty sure the only times I've seen the flipper get weak it is always the left and it is only when I have multiple MBs going that includes SEANCE. That is why I questioned if the magnets firing might be the culprit because it only seems to be during that MB and so far it has never done it twice in a row (the second flip is always strong). It has happened more than once in a stacked MB though.

To those of you having power fluctuations / sensitivity issues how old are your houses and what else is on the same circuit? Just curious if this is somehow tied to how the house is wired. I've never noticed any issue with having other games on, the A/C running, etc., the catapult it just damned consistent on mine.

#4646 9 months ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

That's the one I linked above, I think it's a good model for the application.
You can hot glue some pipe cleaners, bendy straws, and a bbq thermometer to the outside if you really need that steampunk feeling.

It was the giant knob from something like Forbidden Planet or some retro sci-fi thing that I really liked.

But I like where you're heading with those ideas!

#4647 9 months ago

Tilttopper Houdini Topper finally arrived! Very well built just like all his others

20180703_224152.jpg20180703_224233.jpg
#4648 9 months ago
Quoted from BladeFury:

Tilttopper Houdini Topper finally arrived! Very well built just like all his others

Looks great, love all your personal lighting effects. Very unique and a good look.

#4649 9 months ago

Looks freaking great BladeFury! Even the water bottle glows.

#4650 9 months ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

Looks great, love all your personal lighting effects. Very unique and a good look.

Thanks so much! My TNA is getting beatified (in my eyes lol) as we speak....pics soon!

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