(Topic ID: 183206)

American Pinball Houdini thread

By lllvjr

2 years ago

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  • 569 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 17 hours ago by Tuna_Delight
  • Topic is favorited by 148 Pinsiders


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Topic index (key posts)

33 key posts have been marked in this topic, showing the first 20

Post #145 Houdini Pinball initial flyer Posted by HighProtein (2 years ago)

Post #184 Initial reveal at TPF Posted by SilverballNut (2 years ago)

Post #190 Introductory Price of Houdini Posted by 1iblind (2 years ago)

Post #198 Initial Pictures of Machine Posted by lllvjr (2 years ago)

Post #229 Playfield Close-Up Pics Posted by bigd1979 (2 years ago)

Post #284 Machine feature details Posted by rosh (2 years ago)

Post #312 More feature details Posted by rosh (2 years ago)

Post #385 Double switch lane picture Posted by pinballrockstar (2 years ago)

Post #420 Pinball show appearance schedule for Houdini Posted by rosh (2 years ago)

Post #434 Houdini pics from Allentown show Posted by PinballSTAR (2 years ago)

Post #533 Official Houdini Flyer with features listed Posted by Join_The_Cirqus (2 years ago)

Post #535 Ball Counter graphic for game Posted by rosh (2 years ago)

Post #609 More mode and feature details from programmer Posted by rosh (2 years ago)

Post #639 More game system details from programmer Posted by rosh (2 years ago)

Post #978 Photos of the updated game for expo Posted by rosh (2 years ago)

Post #1000 Photos of the cabinet interior side art Posted by rosh (2 years ago)

Post #1287 Josh Kugler Interview Posted by konjurer (2 years ago)

Post #1357 Houdini Gameplay video Posted by rosh (2 years ago)

Post #2290 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by BarryJ (1 year ago)

Topic indices are generated from key posts and maintained by Pinside Editors. For more information, or to become an editor yourself read this post!

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#2848 1 year ago

Thanks for the good high-res playfield pics. My wife and I really want to pick up one of these and the pictures aren't doing anything to help with my problem ha ha.

1 week later
#3008 1 year ago

Just put my deposit down a few hours ago. Can't wait to become a member of the club! Apparently the shaker motor is now available so I included that along with the picture blades with my order.

1 month later
#3976 1 year ago

I got my shaker motor installed this weekend and I really like the way it is incorporated into the game. The pop bumpers were already dramatic looking but this now puts them over the top. When installing the Shaker Motor, I found it a bit tough to mount the two screws that are located right against the left side of the cabinet until I remembered an old trick, put a tiny drop of super glue on the socket and lightly glue the fastener to it. This will keep the screw attached to the socket while you get it threaded. Afterwards, you just break it free (hence the TINY drop of super glue). Worked great for getting the two inside screws installed.

A suggestion for American Pinball would be to add a more detailed view in the installation instructions of the exact connection on the board where the Shaker Motor wiring harness plugs into. The view in the instructions was a photo taken from several feet away and wasn’t too clear. I was able to figure it out but it could have been a bit more detailed.

One additional idea for integrating the Shaker Motor into the game would be to tie it to the spinner shots (similar to how it is done with AC/DC). Maybe just during the waterwheel film mode if shaking for every spinner shot is too much.

These are just minor, nit-picky details and I really appreciate how hard the folks at American Pinball are working to sort out any small manufacturing and code adjustments. Keep up the great work.

#3980 1 year ago

I just got mine last week and I'm serial number 1245 (game #245).

#3983 1 year ago
Quoted from BarryJ:

I thought this was a couple good shots of the board and connections. Am I wrong? Let me know and I will get some better pictures.

My instructions that came with the motor were in black and white but the color pictures in your post are definitely easier to make out the details. I was thinking a straight shot directly looking at the board or a line drawing (similar to what Rdoyle1978 was talking about) would have been handy to have. Between my old eyes, bad lighting and getting access to the inside of the cabinet, I was fighting an uphill battle

1 week later
#4174 1 year ago

Well it finally happened... I broke a million in points. I was so excited that I had to drag my wife over to witness the spectacular event. Unfortunately a few games later my right flipper return spring also broke... After a bit of investigating, it appears that the flipper had too much up and down motion and was causing the plunger in the coil to bind a bit and the spring became over-stressed. Has anybody else had any issues like this?

#4177 1 year ago
Quoted from LTG:

Shouldn't have mattered. If it broke on the end loop, these pictures will help you get going. You can get new springs if you don't have any as spares.
Here is a video using a flipper spacer gauge if you want to set how high or low the flipper bat rides. Not on a Houdini, but same principle :

If you don't have the official flipper spacer gauge, a business card works too, cut a notch in it.
LTG : )

The loop on one end the spring broke off. I dug around in my spare parts and found one that was close enough to get by for a bit but I want to change it out for the proper one. Thanks for the emergency work-around LTG in case I need to use it in the future. When I reset the flipper bat I used an official flipper spacer gauge (from Marco) to re-gap it. So far everything is working fine.

I'm really enjoying the game and have been playing the heck out of it for the past 2 weeks. Digging deeper and deeper into the rules and seeing new modes and animations that I haven't come across before has been a blast.

#4244 1 year ago

My favorite call-out (so far) is during the jail break where he threatens to beat you with his shillelagh. My wife and I have now adopted this phrase especially when the game is extra brutal.

1 month later
#5172 1 year ago

Updated the code and now for two player and beyond, the game resets at the end of ball three. This has never happened before with the previous code. Has anyone else had this happen?

#5178 1 year ago
Quoted from vireland:

So Ball 3 Player 2 ends and it resets?

Yes. Single player works fine but 2 or more player games reset as it's going to the screen that shows the scores and times played.

#5193 1 year ago
Quoted from rosh:

if it gets fully released 18.5.5, but it won't yet have that on the end of the file name, too many people would not have upgraded yet. That link is direct to the code package.
Once I get confirmation from someone who has seen the issue that it stops it from crashing, I'll release it.

I'll give the new code update a try a bit later today. Thanks for the quick response!

#5194 1 year ago
Quoted from rosh:

if it gets fully released 18.5.5, but it won't yet have that on the end of the file name, too many people would not have upgraded yet. That link is direct to the code package.
Once I get confirmation from someone who has seen the issue that it stops it from crashing, I'll release it.

I updated the code with this new one and it is working as it should. I tried 1,2,3 & 4 player games and the rebooting after the last ball didn't occur at all. I played each game normally (eg I didn't just drain the ball as quickly as possible) to simulate actual gameplay as closely as possible. I also did not make any setting changes or mods before installing this new code.

Hats off to Josh for taking care of this so quickly on a Sunday morning. This rapid, personal Pinside attention that API demonstrates was one of the deciding factors that made me feel confident about buying a game from a new company.

1 week later
#5377 1 year ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

Trunk catapult shot varies greatly. The amount of tolerance is too great and I don't think power supply stabilization will fix it fully.
Sometimes the ball banks off back wall inside trunk. This is sweet spot and might work 5 x in row. Then it starts hitting back panel of game 3 inches to left for maybe x 10 times. Then it switches an inch to right but falling short of front trunk wall and hits the corner.
So throwing arm needs less movement and spoon should rotate slightly to be adjustable. Another option is mount a magnet behind trunk and tie into mode.

I think part of the problem is that the plastic spoon is too flexible.

My understanding is that it is the same part that was used for Williams catapults but these were for shorter or less demanding shots. Perhaps the spoon could be redesigned to have a thicker or reinforced arm and thus be more rigid (side-to-side) to assist with left or right misses. Additionally, rather than relying on the loose plastic pivot, a tighter toleranced bronze bushing could be installed that would fit the pivot shaft more closely and thus also assist the left-right misses.

There are many 3D printer materials that are now readily available (metalic as well as plastics) that the spoon could be made from and this manufacturing process wouldn't require new, expensive injection molds.

Perhaps this would be a good area for a creative third party modder to investigate.

3 weeks later
#5732 1 year ago
Quoted from PhantomO:

My trunk catapult shot was pretty consistently veering to the left, deflecting off the clear plastic ramp. I had a 72% success ratio. So I decided to move the ramp to the right, out of the way. The alternative was to shift the catapult, but that seemed risky because the playfield cutout for the catapult arm is so precise. I unscrewed the ramp at the two posts closest to its exit, and the ramp naturally shifted to the right without me pushing on it. I tested this location and the trunk shot immediately worked 100% fine. So I carefully drilled two new screw holes to the left of the originals and reinstalled the ramp. The trunk shots are now 90% accurate. A power modulation solution may make this drastic mod unnecessary, but I went ahead and am comfortable with it, though I dislike defacing playfield plastics. I will order a mint ramp to save for future use if needed.
[quoted image]

I've been considering this modification as well. My catapult has been missing to the left and I believe part of the problem is the ball hitting the edge of the ramp when launched. There was also a post a while back about the catapult scoop hitting the edge of the playfield cutout (on the upper left edge of the scoop). The poster trimmed of a little bit of the scoop to allow more clearance between it and the cutout. I don't recall if this totally fixed his problem but this may also be a contributing factor.

4 weeks later
#6332 1 year ago
Quoted from tatapolus:

My catapult went from 100 % success rate during the first couple days to a "not making the shot at all" fail rate. I am trying everything. Cleaning, bending, adjusting… it's weird. I don't see any pattern so far.

Check out post #5727. At first my catapult shot was making the trunk shot 95% of the time. Then, seemingly for no reason, it started becoming more inconsistent and shooting to the left. I tried moving the catapult assembly around, cleaning etc but it didn't help for more than a game or two. I downloaded a "slow motion" app for my phone and noticed that the ball seemed to be deflecting off the side of the ramp. I drilled new holes in the ramp (per post #5727) and the ramp easily moved 1/8" - 3/16" to the right. As a matter of fact, when the ramp was in its original location it was under load and when unscrewed it sprung over to its new location.

It took 10-15 minutes to correct after I diagnosed the problem and since moving the ramp (aprox 150 games ago) I don't think it has missed more than once or twice.

3 weeks later
#6701 1 year ago
Quoted from BarryJ:

Houdini is now in it's final phase of production, 45 more games until we switch the line over to Oktoberfest...
If you have been waiting to get your Houdini, the time is now. Contact an authorized distributor and buy it now!

Just curious but what will the total production number be for Houdini?

#6754 1 year ago

I checked my Houdini stats yesterday and since mid-May I've got 1480 games on my home-use Houdini. I got to wondering if this was more, less or about average with everyone else.

Looking ahead, when will API (or someone else) start offering a rubber kit for Houdini. I probably have enough extras laying around but I like the convenience of having everything in one package.

#6890 1 year ago
Quoted from MMP:

Did anyone ever figure out how to use the $150 rebate code?

I just typed the handwritten code that was included with the power supply into the "code" area of the API website (when checking out) and it deducted the price of the knocker. I still had to kick in a few bucks for shipping to complete the transaction.

#6895 1 year ago
Quoted from wesman:

Thanks for the input everyone! I'm definitely grabbing the power supply as soon as I register my game tomorrow or the next day!
Curious, what's the EOS kit do?
And I've got two cats, albeit older, and wanted to cover the playfield with a material when I'm not using it, just in case one of them hops onto the glass. Are there any recommendations for non scratch material or while I'm at UV proof? Would fleece work okay?

My cat always liked to lay on the glass. Bally's were his favorite since there wasn't too much slope but I think Houdini would be a bit too steep for proper cat sleeping. Unfortunately, he's not around anymore for me to ask.

Ike_on_pinball (resized).jpg
3 weeks later
#7414 1 year ago
Quoted from rosh:

The Houdini chant is being added in this new release that some of you are testing. When you hear it, it means you have performed all 10 stage acts, and a shot back into the stage will award you the 'encore bonus'. The bonus was introduced in the last main release, this just gives it the pomp and circumstance it deserves.

I get excited when I make 3 stage acts so I guess It'll be a long time before I hear any chanting. That's one of the reasons I like Houdini for the home - I won't run out of new stuff to complete for ages and ages.

1 month later
#7737 1 year ago
Quoted from Platypus:

My trunk shot worked well before the upgrade. Although when I was in a multiball things would bog down. I once had 4 balls in the scoop trying to get out and they just couldn't make it.. I thought OMG I'll have to open up and retrieve them, but as things settled down they finally made it out. I feel the upgrade has helped this problem.
When I put the new power supply in my trunk shot didn't work. At 26 power it hit the front of the trunk and some times made it in.At 27 it was wild over the top. So I adjusted the pot on the power supply to 49.1 volts and at the 26 coil power rating I hit every time.

I didn't know there was an adjustment on the new power supply. This is good to know in case I start having issues like you describe (so far my trunk shot has been 100% reliable since the upgrade).

#7739 1 year ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

I wonder if Josh could implement half steps on the coil strength for the catapult so you wouldn't have to adjust the power supply like that.

That would be nice. I've found that some of the coil strength adjustments could use a bit more incremental fine-tuning (especially on the trunk catapult, up-kickers etc.)

#7746 1 year ago
Quoted from rosh:

It is indexed with smaller incremental changes in the middle then at the low and high end, but I'll take a look at adding half steps.

Unfortunately this is not an easy thing to do, since it would require changing how the coils are operated. I am looking at experimenting with this on one coil, and if it works, it is possible I will make this available on a handful of coils. Again, since it changes the behavior of how the coil operates there could be side effects that make this less desirable. One change we made on Oktoberfest was to move most of the coils to a lower power coil which gives a little more control over the coil power settings.

Downside to high is that it does slow game play a touch more, as the ball gets 'grabbed' more/longer, but can be a cooler effect. Under heavy game play (e.g. long and frequency seances) it will heat the magnets and playfield more, and hard to know if there are a long term implications to that. Not something I would worry about at home, but at a busy location, I would stay away from 'high'.

Thanks for the info Josh. This was definitely something that I hadn't considered. Yet again another example of why I purchased Houdini, the excellent and fast customer service.

2 weeks later
#7874 12 months ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

I think I found the culprit...this sucker is suck in there and doesn't want to come out. Wonder if the servo is not working?
[quoted image]

I'm not 100% sure but I think that ball is permanently mounted there. If my memory serves, it was supposed to be part of an illusion where the ball would appear at the stage and then disappear. The illusion was changed but the ball is still part of the stage assembly.

#7927 11 months ago

The power supply upgrade wasn't too hard to do except that the API supplied connector (wall nut) was crap.

I stripped the wire insulation back just as instructed but the stranded wire kept bunching up and not going properly into the connector (the wire gauge is too small - the wall nut would have worked great for heavier gauge wire). When I did get the wires into the wall nut, they didn't grip well and would easily come out with just a little bit of pulling. Not great for the main power supply for the game. I wound up soldering the leads together and then shrink-wrapping the bundle.

BTW, if you are going to install the knocker do it at the same time as the power supply upgrade as this is where the knocker gets its power. I didn't realize this until after I got the power supply wiring all buttoned up. I then had to remove the shrink-wrap and solder the knocker lead to the bundle. If the wall nut had worked out this would have been easy but such is pinball...

For what it's worth, the knocker has proven to be a great addition so it was ultimately worth the effort.

#7935 11 months ago

Here's a bad pic but I moved the new power supply a little forward and rotated it slightly. This allowed me to get three brackets screwed to the bottom of the cabinet (circled in red in the pic). Not the prettiest install but it's solid.

To get access to the back of the cabinet I stacked boxes in front of the coin door and pulled the playfield as far as it would go to rest the yellow stands on the boxes. This gave me just enough room to work.

IMG_20190204_182706 (resized).jpg
3 weeks later
#8246 11 months ago

Yet again another reason I’m so happy with API and Houdini.

Last night I was playing Houdini and one of the pop bumpers fell over. Turned off the game and popped the hood to investigate. Turned out that the 2 screws that attach the pop bumper top to the mechanism had broken. Not a big deal, stuff happens.

Contacted Barry at API this morning and within minutes he responded back and the parts are on their way to me. Outstanding service yet again from API and Barry! This is one of the reasons my wife and I are really looking forward to checking out Oktoberfest at TPF and perhaps picking up one.

Houdini broken pop bumper rods (resized).jpg
#8262 11 months ago
Quoted from rosh:

Back in college was at opening night for a new bar, it was 6 for 1, did 6 shots of Tequila in less than a half hour, and this was back before I knew to drink quality stuff, only time I have ever gotten sick from booze.

The ones on Oktoberfest are better quality, and they are also included, so not like you need to worry about buying and installing them.

You might have you coil strength on the pops a touch too high or did you put real chains on the locks mounted on top?

Haven't changed the pop coil strength from factory (can't recall the setting off hand). Everything was working fine until the top of the pop went plop (good rhyming skills here). Probably have about 2000 games on it at this point. No complaints here. It'll be an easy fix once the new parts show up. BTW, these were the chains I was considering replacing the plastic ones with. Do you see any problem with them?

chains (resized).jpg
#8317 11 months ago
Quoted from rosh:

The bios is not right, you will need to hook up a keyboard, you can use the USB extension cable to plug one in. I don't recall the exact sequence, so, get set up and I'll PM you shortly with the instructions. I need to find a keyboard to plug into mine.
I've sent the message, let me know if you need further assistance

Yet another example of API's commitment to their games and the community. Way to go Josh!

#8409 10 months ago
Quoted from John_I:

I suggest that everyone with a Houdini check their pop bumper plunger rings to make sure they are tight. After looking at the above post, I checked and found one to be very loose, a second to be a little loose and the third was tight. If they are loose you need to tighten them back up from above by simply tightening the screws on the top of the "caps". This will tighten the whole stack assembly. Fortunately this can be done from above without removing any components and only takes a minute. Hopefully with them tight, they won't break... Not sure it would be a great idea to put Loctite in here in case it ever needs to be taken apart, but a tiny dab might be just what is needed to prevent this from happening.

Good advice to check the other pop bumper plunger rings. After fixing my broken one, I checked the other two and 3 of the 4 screws were loose. I pulled each one apart, polished the underside of the ring and put a small dab of blue Loctite (#242) where the hex shaft meets the pop bumper "nail". Be careful not to over tighten them as the threaded end is a little delicate. Thanks again to Barry and API for getting my replacement parts sent out so quickly.

Houdini_Pop_Bumper_Ring (resized).jpg
1 month later
#8926 9 months ago
Quoted from meSz:

Appreciate the info .... now all I need is a 3D Printer
and yeah agree...where the mod sets you have to be very careful when raising the playfield for which I am.
Thanks again for the info!

You don't need to own a 3D printer. You can use a company like shapeways (https://www.shapeways.com/) to print it for you. The cost is pretty reasonable for a one-off item when you provide the 3D model.

1 month later
#9054 7 months ago
Quoted from Platypus:

I hate those wall nuts. I used a molex connector with jumpers where I can add future loads[quoted image]

I agree, the wall nuts were crap. I wound up soldering the wires together and shrink wrapping them. Didn't want any issues with the main power to the game.

2 weeks later
#9131 7 months ago
Quoted from lschmidlin:

This promoted ad popped up so I decided to order a set. I think it looks pretty cool and fixes the light bleed. Fingers crossed it is as pictured.
Probably could've done it myself with a little painters tape, ha ha, but for $9 and somebody else's engineering – I'll give it a try!
Anybody else order these or do a home fix? Love the color changing eyes, but the bleed is fairly significant.
[quoted image]

I installed these a while back and they worked great. One of the easiest mod's you'll ever install. Find a cylindrical item that's about the same diameter as the hole to set them firmly up against the insert (I used a 1/4" drive socket that was pretty close in diameter).

1 month later
#9289 6 months ago
Quoted from sebseb12:

Hello, I installed the new power supply.
Everything works well but I find that the black cables connected to the wall nuts are not very strong.
Is it possible to do without the wall and solder all black cables together?

That's what I did. The wall nuts were crap.

BTW, if you are going to add the knocker, do it before soldering the wires together as this is where it gets it's power from.

#9294 6 months ago
Quoted from sebseb12:

you also soldered the brown cables between them?

I can't recall offhand and I don't have any pics handy but essentially I eliminated the wall nuts and soldered any of the wires together that would have been connected at the wall nuts. I shrink wrapped each group of wires after soldering them.

:-)I didn't realize I was so fluent in French! (I didn't know that Pinside would translate posts)

2 weeks later
#9416 5 months ago
Quoted from Rascal_H:

Had some people over yesterday and noticed the game resets if left on for awhile. Also did a reset during the first ball of a friend’s game. This the power issue I’m hearing about?

I've never had this problem even after leaving the game on for hours. Usually it's just me and the wife so the game doesn't get constant play the whole time though.

3 weeks later
#9534 4 months ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

how did you connect the new PS? The wall nuts they send are not the greatest for the gauge of wire that has to be connected. You may be better off using a twist connector for the appropriate gauge (usually the small blue ones)

This has been addressed in previous posts. I found the wall nuts to be worthless so see my post #9289 for my solution. Others have done it differently.

2 months later
#9658 82 days ago
Quoted from bobukcat:

Mine looks fine with about 1450 plays on it, I have the spare they included in the goody bad but at this rate it's going to be a long time before I need it, or so it appears anyway. I took this pic with the glass on and a 2X zoom, it looks even better to the naked eye.[quoted image]

That's what mine looks like after almost 2000 plays. I really didn't think it would last as long as it has given its location on the playfield.

2 weeks later
#9722 68 days ago

Finally after almost 2000 games, I'm getting off my ass to tear her down, clean her up shop her out. Amazing how much dirt and grime can collect in the cracks and crevices. I find the whole process kind of relaxing - my pinball therapy. So far Houdini has been a lot easier to tear down than some I've done.

3 weeks later
#9788 47 days ago
Quoted from VALIS666:

I assume the power supply was a relatively easy (1 hr or less, just plugs and screws) project? I want to get one myself, but my pinball list of to-dos (along with normal life shit) is rather long right now.

My recommendation is not to use the provided wall nuts to attach the power supply wires. The wires wouldn't stay attached so I wound up soldering everything together. If you're going to do the knocker, do it at this time since one of the knocker wires runs to the power supply.

3 weeks later
#9814 22 days ago
Quoted from pinballinreno:

Um using purple titan flipper rubber.
Is seems fine, but i wipe them down pretty often with sparkle and rotate the bands so they last longer.

I wipe them down with naptha when they start looking dirty. If they start looking a bit beat up, I'll pull them and rotate to get to a new(er) area.

Looking forward to the new code coming out. Keep up the great work Josh.

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