(Topic ID: 183206)

American Pinball Houdini thread

By lllvjr

2 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 8,890 posts
  • 534 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 hours ago by zahner
  • Topic is favorited by 147 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 (1 year ago)

Post #434 Houdini pics from Allentown show Posted by PinballSTAR (1 year ago)

Post #533 Official Houdini Flyer with features listed Posted by Join_The_Cirqus (1 year ago)

Post #535 Ball Counter graphic for game Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #609 More mode and feature details from programmer Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #639 More game system details from programmer Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #978 Photos of the updated game for expo Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #1000 Photos of the cabinet interior side art Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #1287 Josh Kugler Interview Posted by konjurer (1 year ago)

Post #1357 Houdini Gameplay video Posted by rosh (1 year 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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#7072 5 months ago

OK, so I am trying to fix a Houdini for a friend. It was being used at the Free Play Florida show and not sure what happened, but now it will not power up properly. The screen comes on and says "No Input" and the flayfield lights up solid but nothing else, then the screen goes black after no input for a while.

Any place to start looking? I don't have a manual either. I've gotten to like playing this game and really want to fix it.

#7077 5 months ago

Thanks Barry! It might be a couple of days before I get a chance to mess with this. I'll let you know if I need help.

#7178 5 months ago

Just getting back to working on the non-booting Houdini. I've checked all of the connections in the backbox and basically everything in the cabinet and bottom of the playfield. The game simply stopped working and won't boot. Here is a video that shows all of the boards and LED colors and symptoms:

#7181 5 months ago
Quoted from vireland:

Did you check the VGA connector that comes out of the computer and connects to the stage screen?

That is all zip tied tight under the playfield. I took the cover off the back of the stage and didn't see anything loose.

Quoted from rosh:

you cut away from the screen too fast. I want to see what it does after it turns black. Also, check the power button on the computer. It is on the right side, just below the monitor, a blue light, make sure that turns on when the game turns on. If not, hit that button and lets see if it boots.

If the light is coming on, then stick a blank USB in the USB cable in the coin door and see if it pulls logs, if it does, send them to me.

The screens stay black. The blue light is on the CPU. I will go try to to the USB trick.

#7185 5 months ago
Quoted from rosh:

it pulls logs those might shed light on what is going on, depends on what is causing the issue.

OK. It didn't save a log or even blink the LED on the stick. After the screen was black for a minute or so, I cycled the CPU off by holding the power button until it shut off. I turned it back on and again no file on the stick. Re-powering the CPU also didn't wake either monitor.

#7276 4 months ago

I was skeptical at first on AP, but I must say that I'm impressed with Houdini. I've come to like the game play and I think the LCD is just the right size and integrated amazingly well. After going through the game inside and out here in my game room I'm also impressed with the build quality. They also have excellent tech support which as we know is a must on all brands.

1 week later
#7449 4 months ago

Thanks again for the great technical support. The Houdini is back up and running. Just downloading the new software and looking forward to spending some time on it.

#7454 4 months ago

Just a note on the update. It looks like it worked but it fooled me at first. This is the first time I have done an update. I put in the beta code on a USB stick and it started the update automatically. I left the room and came back in 15 minutes later and the screen was just black. There was no indication if the update had taken. I shut the game off and pulled the USB stick and powered back up. The game came up and the new software was loaded fine. That was a relief. It was also a relief to see that all of the setting for coil strength, etc were still there.

As a side note, the game hits the trunk literally every time now with the new power supply and the proper power setting. It has hit at least 40 times in a row since the last miss.

After a few games, I haven't seen any bugs although it did appear that the game thought trunk multiball was over when there were still 2 balls in play. I don't know for sure because I ended up losing both balls at exactly the same time.

#7464 4 months ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

Is the topper switched on when the pin is turned on?

Quoted from BarryJ:

No the Houdini topper uses a separate 12 volt supply.
Oktoberfest will have an integrated Topper that will switch on and off with the game and maybe turn on and off in game play (we have that ability).

OK, so there is an easy way to power the topper and have it switch on when the game is switched on. Rather than tap into the 12v power in the game and possibly overload the power supply, I decided to look for a way to tap into 110 volt AC power. Inside the cabinet where the power feeds into the power supply; notice the splitter cable that came with the new 48v power supply. This splits the AC power to both the new power supply and the old one. One of the three connectors on this splitter has two unused sockets that has black and white AC power wire connected on the other side. So the solution was simple as described below. As with all electrical mods, do this at your own risk based on your level of experience. I do not pretend to represent AP either. This obviously won't work if you haven't installed the 48v power supply yet!

1) Find an extension cord and cut off the female end leaving a couple of feet of wire.

2) Strip the wires and install 0.093 molex sockets on the cut extension cord.

3) Insert the contacts into the unused spots on the molex connector. You will see black and white wires looped to the other side of the connector.

4) At this point you have an outlet inside the machine that provides fused AC power for low power mods like the topper when the game is switched on. Position it somewhere out of the way and put a tie down on it.

Now all that is left is to route the power cord from the topper down to the new outlet inside the cabinet. Rather than drilling holes or modifying the game in a way that could not be reversed, I removed the screen from the vent holes on the head to allow me to passed the power brick from the topper into the game and then reinstalled the screen and routed the power cord down to the outlet. You will want to put something over the edge of the screen so it doesn't dig into the wires when you screw it back down. I used a little Gorilla tape over the edge.

That's it. The topper now comes on and off with the game!
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#7466 4 months ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

Nice write up and install.
For those not as mechanically/electrically inclined, they should be able to use a smart outlet strip which turns on other outlets when the pin is turned on. Haven't tried the one posted in the pic. Plug Houdini in the control outlet, then plug the topper into a switched outlet. [quoted image]

Cool! I've never seen one of those before. I'll have to keep them in mind for the future. As well as being simpler, this would be a better solution for mods that pull lots of power which you would not want to be running through the main fuse in the machine.

#7510 4 months ago

New software is installed and seems to run great. Once again, I like that the old settings including the coil strengths are saved and still there.

This game is a lot of fun and keeps getting better. Thanks.

1 month later
#7995 71 days ago

Funny I don't ever remember a Stage reject. Maybe my flippers are set a little weaker than some people's?

2 weeks later
#8300 48 days ago

Put in the full set of Cliffy protectors and LSOG plastic protectors. A lot of stuff needs to be removed to get to install these, but I found the game surprisingly easy to work on and the install went smoothly. Everything fit snug. The LSOG plastic protectors are really nice too. Its not often I install a set of plastic protectors and don't have to modify something on them or enlarge a hole or two. These went in trouble free. Not to mention they are clear. I really don't like the fluorescent colored protectors that seem to be popping up on some machines.
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#8302 48 days ago
Quoted from GSones:

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.[quoted image]

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.

#8313 48 days ago
Quoted from wesman:

Nice work on these! I was just about to finally install my side rail protector. Did you pre-drill holes in, drill them in while placed in the protector or just screw them in?

I just screwed them in carefully. The wood is fairly soft so just make sure you hold the protector tightly in place and try to get the screw right in the center and straight up and down. If you are not sure, you can always use a really small drill bit to start the holes one at a time.

Edit: To do the catapult protectors is a little tricky at first but just follow these basic steps and when in doubt keep removing parts until you can wiggle the protector in place and have it sit flat without bending or stressing it. You need to remove parts until you can lay the protector in place without much trouble and have it lay flat and line up with any holes and rail notches that are cut in the protector. Once you have the way cleared to easily get the catapult protector in place and out again, its time to make the final install. To do this, I like to peal back a little bit of the backing paper exposing a small area of the glue at one end of the protector or the other. Make sure you fold the paper under to leave small tabs that you can grab a hold of. At that point you can put the protector carefully in place and get it lined up just right, then push down so the exposed glue area can grab a little bit to hold it in place. Then carefully pull/slide out the rest of the backing material to completely expose the glue area and press the protector in place. Then rub the protector all the way around with your finger to push it permanently in place.

For the scoop protector, shooter lane and the left catapult I had to remove or lift the wood rails by loosening the rails from below. Only go as far as you need. For instance on the left side I loosened all of the wood screws from under the playfield to let me flex the rail upward about a quarter inch so I could slip the catapult protector in place, then tightened it back down. For the shooter lane ejector plate, I had to completely remove the small wood rail on the left side of the shooter lanes so I could easily line up the hole in the protector with the hole in the playfield for the wood rail mounting.

#8343 47 days ago
Quoted from GCS2000:

I am just going to solder them together and shrink tube them together unless someone says I really shouldn't do that.

That's how I did it. Maybe its just me, but I don't like to ever see wire nuts in a pinball machine.

4 weeks later
#8593 20 days ago
Quoted from PhantomO:

All Fear the Key Lane!

A quick nudge from the left hand as the ball is coming down the Key Lane helps prevent STDM almost every time.

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