(Topic ID: 239836)

Another new guy, another Williams OXO that won't startup


By johnboy1313

6 months ago



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  • 41 posts
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  • Latest reply 6 months ago by johnboy1313
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  • OXO Williams, 1973

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#1 6 months ago

Hello everyone. Thanks for having me. Around last Father's Day, my wife texted me telling me that the local Salvation Army had a Star Battle cocktail pinball machine for $40, sold AS-IS. I let her know I was interested and met her there to help load it in her van. When we got it home, I looked on our local Craigslist and found a guy that services arcade machines and sells parts. He set me up with balls, lights, and rubber rings. Other than a little adjustment here and there, the machine works really well. My wife even suggested we put it in the living room where it gets played every day. We love it so much that I recently placed an ad back on Craigslist looking for non-working pinball machines and had one reply, which is where the OXO machine in the title comes into play.

The story as I was told goes like this. Someone found this machine in very poor shape in a barn. Someone (maybe the same someone that found it, maybe not) got it working and added wooden legs due to the condition of the cabinet. It was then sold to the guy that I got it from. It was supposedly working when my guy bought it but after taking the backbox off, moving it to his house, and putting the backbox back on, the unit is stuck in reset mode and doesn't appear to have any power to the backbox. This is where I come into the picture.

I have been a tinkerer all of my life. I learned to solder when I was five. I love working on electronics. I love repairing broken things. I love it even more when someone else has had a go and failed. I’ve been repairing LCD TVs for about seven years now and recently put a 6-speed manual transmission in a Honda Odyssey to avoid having to deal with the very fragile automatic that was originally installed. I am a quality engineer with a background in manufacturing. I feel like I am more than capable of repairing this machine if I can wrap my mind around what’s going on in there and what is supposed to happen at startup.

Admittedly, I haven’t tested much as I’ve kinda just been looking things over and trying to understand what I’m looking at. Also admittedly, I am just starting to learn about these machines so please forgive my lack of knowledge pertaining to the names of the parts. I will figure it out eventually. I’ve downloaded the schematic as well as the instruction manual and am trying to make myself familiar with them both. When the machine is powered on and the left flipper button is pressed, the lights along the edge of the playfield come on. After adding a credit, the machine goes into a repeated cycle of what I’m guessing is trying to reset as long as the ball is sitting in the hole behind the flippers as if the game was over (Is that the center hole?). If the ball is pulled out of that hole, the cycle stops. There are no lights at the backbox, nor is there any action of any kind in the backbox. The flippers don’t work. The bumpers don’t work. On each side of the playfield, there is a “Extra ball and 5000 when lit” hole. If the ball goes in either of those holes, it is kicked out like it supposed to be. I suspect something wasn’t put back together correctly at some point. It seems like the machine is looking for feedback that it isn't getting. It’s also possible that the guy that sold me the machine lied to me about the whole story. I’ve attached a couple videos of what I’m dealing with. The first video shows three wires that are soldered together and were just hanging in space in the backbox. The second video shows what happens when the machine is cycling. My name is John. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I appreciate the help.

#2 6 months ago

Welcome to the world of EM Pinball repair (and restoration - which will naturally follow). To make your journey easier -- start here -- http://www.pinrepair.com/
scroll down to this section:
1930s to 1978 EM (Electro-Mechanical) Pinball Repair Guide
Guide for fixing electro-mechanical coin operated games
of all types including repairing pinballs, bowlers, pitch & bats, etc.
made before 1978.

This will tell you everything you need to know about how they work and how to troubleshoot and how to repair. Take the time to read through it and being a fixit guy and an engineer you will pick up on it quickly. This info plus the vast knowledge of all the EM folks on Pinside will get you through anything

#3 6 months ago

Cables of wiring connect the bottom board, the playfield, and the back box through "Jones Plugs". The fact your backbox is dead may indicate a Jones Plug is not connected properly, or corroded. The machine is trying to reset and can't communicate with the score reels and relays. Switches on the score reels must Zero out, then the machine goes to the next stage.
Search here or read the manual, Williams details the start-up sequence of events, figure out how far your machine is getting. The manual also has detailed descriptions of what each relay should do, good reading.

#4 6 months ago

You have to first look closely at your credit unit and figure out where that pair of wires that broke off go. Stick your nose right in there ...

#5 6 months ago
Quoted from currieddog:

You have to first look closely at your credit unit and figure out where that pair of wires that broke off go. Stick your nose right in there ...

I've tried. There are only so many places the wires will reach. I looked at the connection with a 40x loupe. It does look like it's broken off of somewhere, but I can't find the matching break anywhere. The one place I originally thought it could have come from created an arc when I briefly touched it. Thanks to all of you for the suggestions.

#6 6 months ago

If you're not getting any connection to the backbox, I don't it's worth looking at the reset issues yet. Start by trying to figure out what's happening there.

Things to check:
1. Check Jones plugs in the backbox and on the mech panel under the playfield (the bottom of the cabinet). See if any are disconnected or damaged. (If the head was removed for transport, then these might not have been reconnected properly.)
2. Check the bundles of wires between the backbox and the mech panel. Do any of them look damaged?
3. Are there any fuses blown or not seated well?

#7 6 months ago
Quoted from PSchwisow:

If you're not getting any connection to the backbox, I don't it's worth looking at the reset issues yet. Start by trying to figure out what's happening there.
Things to check:
1. Check Jones plugs in the backbox and on the mech panel under the playfield (the bottom of the cabinet). See if any are disconnected or damaged. (If the head was removed for transport, then these might not have been reconnected properly.)

I checked continuity at both sides of all of the pins on the three plugs that were undone to get the head off of the machine. There were several pins on each plug that weren’t making contact. I cleaned both sides (male and female) of each plug until every pin had good contact. There was no change in the function of the machine.

Quoted from PSchwisow:

2. Check the bundles of wires between the backbox and the mech panel. Do any of them look damaged?

Not that I can see without pulling the loom apart.

Quoted from PSchwisow:

3. Are there any fuses blown or not seated well?

All of the fuses check for continuity at the solder joint on both sides of the fuse holders.

#8 6 months ago

I will be checking for proper voltages in the back box with my DMM once I determine where to clip the black probe.

Thanks again to all of you.

#9 6 months ago

If they are wired together... It looks like a redneck version of trying to get FreePlay... Look at the switch stacks under the playfield and see if any of the leafs of the switches have come out of the slots they belong in... the black wire off the credit relay does not look factory... check jones plugs to back box for power there too...

#10 6 months ago

So I'm reading this post here currently and it hit me, there's no DC voltages in this machine. It's all AC, right?

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/em-schematic-fully-described-from-beginning-to-end-bally-bon-voyage#post-3902553

#11 6 months ago

If you don't have a printed copy of the manual and the schematic, I'd recommend ordering one from http://www.pbresource.com/. For short-term reference while you're waiting for that, there are PDFs of those here: https://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=1733

The far right of the schematic (top if you're looking at the PDF and haven't rotated it) shows that you have 5 DC coils (3 pop bumpers and 2 kickers / slingshots). The majority of the coils and all of the lights are running on AC. This seems to be typical of mid-1970's Williams. I have a 1975 Triple Strike with the same arrangement (except it only has one pop bumper).

Even if the colors are faded, you might be able to figure out what is what with the help of the schematic and using process of elimination.

#12 6 months ago
Quoted from PSchwisow:

If you don't have a printed copy of the manual and the schematic, I'd recommend ordering one from http://www.pbresource.com/. For short-term reference while you're waiting for that, there are PDFs of those here: https://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=1733
The far right of the schematic (top if you're looking at the PDF and haven't rotated it) shows that you have 5 DC coils (3 pop bumpers and 2 kickers / slingshots). The majority of the coils and all of the lights are running on AC. This seems to be typical of mid-1970's Williams. I have a 1975 Triple Strike with the same arrangement (except it only has one pop bumper).
Even if the colors are faded, you might be able to figure out what is what with the help of the schematic and using process of elimination.

That explains the capacitor and bridge rectifier. I had seen those, but didn't notice the DC notes on those bumpers. Thanks for pointing that out.

#13 6 months ago

I think I'm making progress. I'm able to get some of the lights in the back box to work intermittently. When player one's score is manually advanced, it resets when the first credit is added after plugging the machine in and powering it on. I haven't tried it with any of the other score wheels. I've found that I can get some of the playfield lights to illuminate by manually triggering the relays under the playfield but I haven't been able to trigger any of those relays electronically yet. It looks like I need to go through everything and clean all contacts. I'll get it working eventually.

#14 6 months ago

In the service manual, in reference to the relay bank under the playing field, on the 1-0 relay, switch 1A says, "In series with switch 5A on "2-0" relay, and 13A on "4-0" relay. (1-2-3 and 1-4-7 combinations)."

What do they mean when they say things like "1-2-3 combination" or "1-4-7 combination"?

Thanks in advance

#15 6 months ago

WARNING: Don't use any kind of contact cleaner. They are highly flammable! (You didn't say how you would clean, so hopefully that's not what you meant.) Switch contacts should be cleaned with flexstone or a file (depending on switch type). As recommended by a previous post, pinrepair.com has some good info about how to do this.

WARNING 2: It sounds like you're talking about doing a "shotgun approach" to the problem. Trying to clean / adjust *everything* risks creating more new problems than you're solving. This is particularly likely if you're new to EM pinball maintenance. I'd recommend focusing only on things that are potentially related to the problem you're trying to fix.

If it was me, I'd focus on problems in this order:
1. Getting power / connectivity to the backbox working completely and reliably
2. Getting startup / reset issues resolved
3. Issues that affect a smaller number of things but prevent full testing of feature and / or gameplay (e.g. a switch is stuck so none of the 10 pt scores work)
4. Issues that are isolated and don't affect other things (e.g. a single switch that doesn't score points)

#16 6 months ago
Quoted from johnboy1313:

In the service manual, in reference to the relay bank under the playing field, on the 1-0 relay, switch 1A says, "In series with switch 5A on "2-0" relay, and 13A on "4-0" relay. (1-2-3 and 1-4-7 combinations)."
What do they mean when they say things like "1-2-3 combination" or "1-4-7 combination"?
Thanks in advance

I think they're talking about the tic-tac-toe squares. There's a path from "1-O" to "2-O" to "3-O" relays that will complete when all three relays are energized that will trigger an "O wins" condition in the "1-2-3 combination". (I don't know OXO well enough to know what a win means, but it's tic-tac-toe so I know it's trying to complete a line of 3 "O" or a line of 3 "X" in any direction.

#17 6 months ago
Quoted from PSchwisow:

I think they're talking about the tic-tac-toe squares. There's a path from "1-O" to "2-O" to "3-O" relays that will complete when all three relays are energized that will trigger an "O wins" condition in the "1-2-3 combination". (I don't know OXO well enough to know what a win means, but it's tic-tac-toe so I know it's trying to complete a line of 3 "O" or a line of 3 "X" in any direction.

That makes perfect sense. Thanks.

I've been using 400 grit sandpaper and a small wire brush to clean things by the way. I will hold off on the shotgun approach.

#18 6 months ago

"That's what I do on every EM I get. I never chase issues or problems right away. Pull the relay board out and go over every relay, stepper score motor switch, etc., adjust and clean. Do the same for the playfield, backbox and all the score reels. Typically 99% of your problems will go away. Then you can start looking at things that don't work." Quote from Schudel5

With your skills and intellect this would be the best way to go. Amazing how many obvious things you will discover, and once you go over everything it will be right, and dependable.

#19 6 months ago

I'm back at it today. I've located and labeled almost all of the relays in the machine. I'm starting to get familiar with the switches. I think I still have a connection issue to the backbox. I've also found another loose wire near the bonus unit that I'm trying to identify. This one has no evidence of having ever been soldered to anything. The end is stripped and oxidized but isn't twisted. It literally looks like it was left hanging from the factory but I doubt that.

I've been reading a lot, trying to wrap my mind around all of it. I've attached a screenshot of what is reported to be the startup sequence for all Williams EM machines. Is the "start" switch in the startup routine also called the "reset" switch on the schematic? What is the "2nd coin relay"? I dont see that on the schematic either. Is that the coin lockout relay? I think that's all for now. Thanks.

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#20 6 months ago

I found a burnt connection on the reset relay. After repairing it, we kinda have pinball.

#21 6 months ago

It needs to be cleaned for sure. It's not always advancing to the next player like it's supposed to.

#22 6 months ago

Well, she's dead again. First the score stopped responding, then it all went back to how it was. The wire I repaired is still attached.

#23 6 months ago
Quoted from johnboy1313:

the machine goes into a repeated cycle of what I’m guessing is trying to reset as long as the ball is sitting in the hole behind the flippers as if the game was over (Is that the center hole?). If the ball is pulled out of that hole, the cycle stops.

When the ball is in the outhole and the machine is in that repeating cycle, what are the Bonus relay and Outhole relay doing?

#24 6 months ago

I'm going to have to dig deeper. Right now it's not doing anything when the ball is in the outhole. When I first brought it home, triggering the relays in the relay bank would light the X and O lights in the tic tac toe insert, or light the bonus lights, even when the machine wasn't working. Now, they all light the ball 3 light or the ball 5 light on the back box depending on if it's set for 3 balls or 5 balls. It seems to be feeding back somewhere that it shouldn't.

#25 6 months ago

That loose wire looks like it may be the same color as one of the wires soldered to the A-22 550 coil nearby. Maybe it was soldered on the same lug and broke off?

#26 6 months ago

That B1-26 coil in the bottom of the picture looks like it’s missing a terminal and a wire, no??

#27 6 months ago
Quoted from steviechs:

That bottom coil looks like it’s missing a terminal and a wire, no??

The closeup shows two black wires on the far lug and what may be black with orange on the middle lug. The near side has no lug and no coil wire running to it.

#28 6 months ago
Quoted from PSchwisow:

That loose wire looks like it may be the same color as one of the wires soldered to the A-22 550 coil nearby. Maybe it was soldered on the same lug and broke off?

It doesn't have any evidence of having ever been soldered to anything and I dont see anywhere that it could have pulled from.

As for the bottom coil, all of the same coils look just like that one.

#29 6 months ago

The B-126 coil is missing a terminal, and it appears the second wire coming from the coil that would normally connect to it is tangled in the other terminal.

#30 6 months ago
Quoted from HowardR:

When the ball is in the outhole and the machine is in that repeating cycle, what are the Bonus relay and Outhole relay doing?

The outhole relay cycles but the bonus relay does nothing.

#31 6 months ago

If you have a multimeter, it wouldn't hurt to test resistance across the coils. This chart should tell you what values to expect: https://www.flippers.com/coil-resistance.html

Don't worry if you don't get the precise values, but if it's really low, the coil is shorted out. If it's really high, there is a break in the coil wire somewhere.

#32 6 months ago
Quoted from HowardR:

When the ball is in the outhole and the machine is in that repeating cycle, what are the Bonus relay and Outhole relay doing?

Quoted from johnboy1313:

The outhole relay cycles but the bonus relay does nothing.

If the Ball Release coil doesn't activate when the Outhole relay cycles, Inspect and diagnose this circuit with Alligator clip jumper wires
http://www.planetimming.com/Pinball/troubleshooting/EM%20Troubleshooting.pdf
http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index3.htm#features

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#33 6 months ago
Quoted from HowardR:

If the Ball Release coil doesn't activate when the Outhole relay cycles, Inspect and diagnose this circuit with Alligator clip jumper wires
http://www.planetimming.com/Pinball/troubleshooting/EM%20Troubleshooting.pdf
http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index3.htm#features
[quoted image]

HowardR, thank you for the tip. In the lower left corner of your picture is a motor driven switch with a C on the left side and 4-C on the right side. I understand that the 4-C on the right is switch C on wheel #4 of the score motor, but what is the C on the left?

#34 6 months ago

Also, what is the 5 to the left of the circled switch on the picture below.

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#35 6 months ago

UPDATE: I pulled the Jones plugs at the backbox and cleaned the connectors a little better along with crimping the female holes a little tighter to make better contact. The score reels are running now. I also cleaned all of the switches at the score motor and several of the relays in the cabinet. I also figured out that the hanging wire at the bonus unit is supposed to be soldered to the lug with the same color wire in the picture. The bonus unit is now working. The backbox lights all work like they should now. No more intermittent problems with those lights.

As far as I can tell, almost everything is working now except the ball release solenoid at the out hole. Also, when a playfield switch that scores points is triggered, the ball index relay fires and stays shut while buzzing louder than most of the other relays. I'm not sure if it is supposed to hold when it is triggered or if it is looking for feedback in order to return. Is the ball index relay supposed to stay in the triggered position or should it return immediately?

I'm definitely making progress.

#36 6 months ago

From what I see in the schematic, I think ball index relay will hold until the outhole relay is triggered (end of ball), but I don't have an OXO to check the behavior. I would check the resistance on that coil and see if it registers normal or if the coil is starting to fail. You can also try pushing on the relay arm (preferably with a non-conductive item (wood dowel works well) and see if it buzzes less when you're holding it closed.

#37 6 months ago

Thank you PSchwisow, I did notice that buzzing sound immediately upon scoring that would hold until the ball was in the out hole. I'm guessing it's supposed to hold but I won't know until everything else is working properly.

#38 6 months ago
Quoted from phil-lee:

The B-126 coil is missing a terminal, and it appears the second wire coming from the coil that would normally connect to it is tangled in the other terminal.

None of the B1-26-800 coils in this machine have three terminals. They all look like the one in my picture, two terminals offset to one side.

#39 6 months ago

Check Outhole relay sw. B and E, as well as score motor sw. 4C.

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#40 6 months ago

I think I've turned a corner. After I got the bonus unit working the other day, the out hole switch and eject flippers on the side quit working. I studied the schematic and realized that the out hole and both eject flippers were connected through the zero position switch on the bonus unit. I cleaned that switch last night and it's working again. There are a few intermittent issues, but I will track them down and fix them one by one. Thank you to all who have helped. I've already got a lead on a Bally Hokus Pokus machine. Maybe it will be the next one in line.

#41 6 months ago

It's working like a swiss watch. In the end, it was just a bunch of loose connections and misadjusted or dirty switches. Thanks to you all. I think I'm hooked.

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