(Topic ID: 296237)

Backbox Fan Mystery

By TopMoose

3 months ago


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  • 47 posts
  • 12 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 months ago by TopMoose
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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#1 3 months ago

Tech folks and Baywatch owners, I could use some help. Here's the journey so far:

I've noticed that my Baywatch gets a little sluggish after about 30 minutes of play. By the end of a game, pops have less pop, the side kicker sometimes doesn't launch the ball all the way around the orbit and the flippers have a hard time getting the ball up the ramps. I opened the backbox to investigate and noticed the two fans mounted at the vent holes the backbox. If they're not working, the issue might be overheating components!

20210704_154236_resized (resized).jpg

I did a test game with the backbox door open and during play and they only spun when the pops were active. The smaller fan would give a few spins but the larger one would only just nudge a little bit with each pop. Next, I did a coil test and discovered that the fans are attached to Coil 15 - a port that's listed as "Unused" but also activates the after-market shaker motor, which is attached to the pop switches. There's no mention of fans or their wiring anywhere in the manual or schematics.

So my questions are:

1. Did Baywatch initially come with two fans or were they added in later? Maybe they were part of the shaker motor kit for some reason?

2. If you have a Baywatch with a fan (or two) when are they supposed to spin?

3. If the fans are, in fact, factory standard, how should they be wired to the CPU or the PPB?

Thanks in advance!

#2 3 months ago

The fans are not factory and are considered a hack.
-Mike

#3 3 months ago

Interesting. Do you think taking them out would improve my overheating issues? Or is there a way to get them to spin more frequently?

#4 3 months ago

Are you sure you have an overheating issue? How did you come to this conclusion?
These machines are designed to run for long periods of time in arcades.
-Mike

#5 3 months ago

The little one looks like it came out of a toy robot with a propeller atop its head and couldn't keep an overheated gnat cool in springtime.

#6 3 months ago

I know, right?

All I know is that the game (specifically the coils) gets sluggish after about 30 minutes of play. If I leave it off for a day or more, it plays great when I turn it back on.

I thought that if the fans weren’t working right, the PPB might be getting overheated, but they’re not supposed to be there. Could they be draining power? Or blocking the vents?

#7 3 months ago

Game didn't come with the fans and unless you live near the equator with no A/C, doesn't need them. Definitely disconnect.

Check Coil Pulse Power in standard settings. Should be at least normal. Setting to hard may help. If power is still fading, you need to check voltages on the affected coils when they go weak. Look for burnt/ loose/ rough looking connectors on power supply and PPB boards.

#8 3 months ago

Maybe somebody put them in to try to fix the 'weak coils' problem but then somebody else goofed with their power connection? Can't see where they would be significantly blocking the vents to any effect. What happens if you just let the game sit powered up for 1/2 hour without playing, does it then also play weakly? Or same but with the backbox opened up for the 1/2 hour? And maybe disconnect those fans first in case how they were wired is honking things up.

#9 3 months ago

Is it just me or does the one on the right look an awful lot like the prop on the plane in Tommy?

#10 3 months ago
Quoted from ArcadeUpkeep:

Is it just me or does the one on the right look an awful lot like the prop on the plane in Tommy?

Now that you mention it.
-Mike

#11 3 months ago

I went ahead and disconnected both fans. I removed the smaller one but the wiring on the big one is a bit more complicated. I’ll give it a day to rest and try it out to see if there’s any change.

Quoted from ArcadeUpkeep:

Is it just me or does the one on the right look an awful lot like the prop on the plane in Tommy?

Y’know what? Now that I’ve taken it out and had a close look, that’s exactly what it is.

#12 3 months ago

Was the game made for the USA or another country (like Japan ??)

#13 3 months ago

I can't look at that 'Tommy' fan without laughing now. I mean look at it, it's like it was intentionally done as a comedy bit. And the other one looks like something out of an old slide projector or a portable vacuum tube reel-to-reel tape recorder or something. The guy couldn't dig up one or two salvage computer case cooling fans that he could just bolt right over the vent holes instead of these goofy contraptions and that mounting hardware?

#14 3 months ago

Maybe they were put there to simulate a pleasant ocean breeze in the area as you play? I would replace one with a water pistol rigged to spray a nice ocean mist out of the back of the machine as well. The machine may still run hot, but you'll never have a better day than a day at the beach

#15 3 months ago
Quoted from Grizlyrig:

The fans are not factory and are considered a hack.
-Mike

I think Star Trek did come with a fan but was removed on mine.

#16 3 months ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

I think Star Trek did come with a fan but was removed on mine.

I can't find anything in the schematics. I would think it would be shown if it were factory.
I have purchased used machines that have had a 12v computer fan retrofitted inside the bottom of cab.
Pulling air from under cab and blowing it up through head out to the top back vents.
-Mike

#17 3 months ago

Here's all the stuff I removed from the backbox:

20210705_150347_resized (resized).jpg

I presume that that the relay board is also pulled from a Tommy. After taking this out, I unplugged the shaker motor and played a test game. It did seem like the coils had a little bit more energy and kept it for a longer duration, but the game is still feeling a little bit sluggish after the first Earthquake. I'll give it a longer break and try again on Wednesday.

Quoted from aeneas:

Was the game made for the USA or another country (like Japan ??)

I'm not sure of this machine's full history, but it does have this label on the backbox light panel. I don't know if this is standard or if it's evidence of a re-import.

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#18 3 months ago

Check the transformer's wiring and compare with the manual on page 81.

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#19 3 months ago
Quoted from TopMoose:

Here's all the stuff I removed from the backbox:
[quoted image]
I presume that that the relay board is also pulled from a Tommy. After taking this out, I unplugged the shaker motor and played a test game. It did seem like the coils had a little bit more energy and kept it for a longer duration, but the game is still feeling a little bit sluggish after the first Earthquake. I'll give it a longer break and try again on Wednesday.

I'm not sure of this machine's full history, but it does have this label on the backbox light panel. I don't know if this is standard or if it's evidence of a re-import.
[quoted image]

Honestly, it may be factory installed then.
I remember reading somewhere that the first game exported to Japan was Data Easts Tommy. As that had 3 motors, it got electronics certification for pinball machine containing 3 motors.
For games exported after that, it was cheaper to add extra motors than get a new certification.

#20 3 months ago
Quoted from aeneas:

Honestly, it may be factory installed then.
I remember reading somewhere that the first game exported to Japan was Data Easts Tommy. As that had 3 motors, it got electronics certification for pinball machine containing 3 motors.
For games exported after that, it was cheaper to add extra motors than get a new certification.

That's very interesting and I'm glad to hear that the fans might not be some crazy hack after all. I ended up clipping the wires on the big fan because it was tethered to an elaborate series of diodes that connect back to the more vital parts of the game. Maybe a bit more evidence that it was engineered by Sega, rather than added later by an owner?

#21 3 months ago

Do check the jumper wiring as mentioned by Roamin. It is possible that the transformer could still be jumpered for Japanese voltages which could account for weak flippers, kickers, etc.

#22 3 months ago
Quoted from TopMoose:

That's very interesting and I'm glad to hear that the fans might not be some crazy hack after all. I ended up clipping the wires on the big fan because it was tethered to an elaborate series of diodes that connect back to the more vital parts of the game. Maybe a bit more evidence that it was engineered by Sega, rather than added later by an owner?

Here's a post from 2002 explaining the motors for Japan:
https://groups.google.com/g/rec.games.pinball/c/IZLLYlpR3Ts/m/DRuoWrELyWIJ

(and after reading this - does your game has a shaker motor too ?

As your game has a label with Japanese markings on it and original Data East motors, that seems enough proof ?
Check the label with serial number too if it has an indication of country (inside cabinet, right side, or outer backside of cabinet).

Just look at it, all the wiring looks original too.
If an operator were to add this as a hack, they would use cheaper motors (cpu fans that cost $10; not a complete Tommy motor that costs like $100), and would just hack it together with speaker wire or other electrical wiring laying around and solder it on somewhere, he would definitely not do all the trouble of finding and continuing the original colored wiring and use the correct type of molex connectors. (Unless you're someone like HEP who has all the correct colored wiring laying around, but there are not many people in the world who have.)

I think you can be 99 percent sure the machine left the factory like this with additional motors installed.

#23 3 months ago
Quoted from aeneas:

Here's a post from 2002 explaining the motors for Japan:
https://groups.google.com/g/rec.games.pinball/c/IZLLYlpR3Ts/m/DRuoWrELyWIJ
(and after reading this - does your game has a shaker motor too ?
As your game has a label with Japanese markings on it and original Data East motors, that seems enough proof ?
Check the label with serial number too if it has an indication of country (inside cabinet, right side, or outer backside of cabinet).
Just look at it, all the wiring looks original too.
If an operator were to add this as a hack, they would use cheaper motors (cpu fans that cost $10; not a complete Tommy motor that costs like $100), and would just hack it together with speaker wire or other electrical wiring laying around and solder it on somewhere, he would definitely not do all the trouble of finding and continuing the original colored wiring and use the correct type of molex connectors. (Unless you're someone like HEP who has all the correct colored wiring laying around, but there are not many people in the world who have.)
I think you can be 99 percent sure the machine left the factory like this with additional motors installed.

I do have a shaker motor! And it appears to be factory installed, with correct color wiring, like you say. The mystery has taken me deeper than I thought.

Quoted from G-P-E:

Do check the jumper wiring as mentioned by Roamin. It is possible that the transformer could still be jumpered for Japanese voltages which could account for weak flippers, kickers, etc.

I’ll check this today, but I’m not sure what to look for. Is there a dipswitch or alternate plug in the cabinet?

#24 3 months ago

A little bit of online research shows that the motor on the big fan was also used on Tommy and later on Tales From the Crypt and Austin Powers.

#25 3 months ago

Here's what I'm looking at in the lower cabinet. Does the transformer look correct? It reads:

"115/230 50/60 Hz"

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#26 3 months ago
Quoted from TopMoose:

Here's what I'm looking at in the lower cabinet. Does the transformer look correct? It reads:
"115/230 50/60 Hz"
[quoted image]

You need to get a meter out and check the voltage.

#27 3 months ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

You need to get a meter out and check the voltage.

Where do you recommend I attach the multimeter nodes?

#28 3 months ago

You're actually interested in looking at those 2 black wires at the end of the connector.

The 1st (black, wire #1) wire from the transformer should be connected to the LIVE wire of the 110v line.

The 2nd (black , wire #2) wire from the transformer should be jumped to the 5th wire (wire #3) by one of the black wires.

The 4th (orange, wire #9) wire from the transformer should be jumped to the 8th (white orange, wire #8) wire.

The 9th (wire #7) wire from the transformer should be connected to NEUTRAL of the 110v line.

Post a few pictures of the connector up close if you need help to figure it out.

pin7.png

#29 3 months ago
Quoted from Roamin:

You're actually interested in looking at those 2 black wires at the end of the connector.
The 1st (black, wire #1) wire from the transformer should be connected to the LIVE wire of the 110v line.
The 2nd (black , wire #2) wire from the transformer should be jumped to the 5th wire (wire #3) by one of the black wires.
The 4th (orange, wire #9) wire from the transformer should be jumped to the 8th (white orange, wire #8) wire.
The 9th (wire #7) wire from the transformer should be connected to NEUTRAL of the 110v line.
Post a few pictures of the connector up close if you need help to figure it out.
[quoted image]

What you've described is exactly how my wiring looks. Is that the set up for 110v?

#30 3 months ago
Quoted from TopMoose:

What you've described is exactly how my wiring looks. Is that the set up for 110v?

Yes, that's the correct wiring for 110v. If you place you meter on AC Volts (wavy line) and measure the white and black (wire #1 and wire #7), is it around 110v?

#31 3 months ago

Well that's... ominous.

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#32 3 months ago

But seriously, I’m 50v too low. I’ve checked it several times in two different outlets. Any ideas for the next thing to check?

#33 3 months ago

I would guess the measurement is across pins that don't match the pinouts in pictures in posts 18 & 28.
Can you provide a photo of the jumper locations in the connector at the bottom of picture in post 25 -- the connector with the two black wires?
A photo to show which positions the wires are inserted into.

#34 3 months ago

If you measure the voltage from the wall where you plug the machine, you do have 110 at the wall? If so, you need to follow the wires from the plug itself, to the inside of the machine and see if there is anything in between the 110v coming in and your transformer.. 66.6 volts seems like exactly half what you should be measuring, making me think there is a second transformer in the machine, that what meant to power 220 to 110 first before entering the transformer you've checked. If such a transformer is installed, a 120v line would drop to 60 volts.

So you need to figure out what is connected between the wall and that transformer. If you don't measure 110v at the transformer the problem starts there.

#35 3 months ago

From the outlet, the power cord goes into the cabinet and straight to the power box at the front of the game, under the launch button. Here's what it looks like when I open it up:

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Power goes to a fuse, the service outlet and a line filter(?), which leads to the cabinet switch. Here's a closer shot of the filter.

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The power switch has wires that go back out into the cabinet and are spliced directly to the transformer leads (gray and yellow). Here's what that looks like:

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Unfortunately, I'm not able to get a multimeter reading on anything before the transformer lead wires - my device goes all screwey and gives weird non-numerical readouts.

Does any of this help answer questions?

#36 3 months ago

Looking at your 3rd photo - the two black jumper wires in connector are in the correct positions for 115VAC.
Your hot wire is gray and neutral is yellow. Strange choice of colors.
Difficult to tell if other wires are in right positions but if they're original than they should be OK.

You can get readings for your incoming power at the service outlet mounted on the metal panel.
You can get readings for your power into transformer at the gray and yellow wires at the plug with the two black jumper wires.
Careful with meters in these areas - 120VAC can knock you on your ass... or worse.

#37 3 months ago

Here's what I'm looking at when I test the wall outlet and the service plug inside the machine.
The red plug is in the "V(Omega)" port and goes to the short slot. The black plug is in the "COM" port and goes to the long slot. The multimeter is set to 200V AC and this is the readout I get:

20210709_200300_resized (resized).jpg

Clearly, I'm doing something wrong.

#38 3 months ago

Appears to be a problem with the meter.
Once in awhile, you can pick off a perfectly good Fluke 77 on ebay for about $20.

#39 3 months ago

You can switch the meter to 600v ac to test as well.

Or place the meter on continuity ( the speaker icon at the bottom between 200 ohms and HFE and touch the probes together, you should hear a beep and read something really close to 0. If it's far off 0 your probes might be damaged. If it's close, it means your probes are good.

Set it back to 200 VAC and try and measure a known working outlet in your house. Make sure you read around 120v. This would indicate that the probes and meter are working properly.

Next go back to your pinball, and measure the outlet where it is connected. If its 120, follow the cable inside until it gets to the power switch. Check that 120v is present on both sides of the switch.

Then go on to the line filter. It should be 120v on both sides, the input and output.

And so on. This should show you where the voltage is dropping to 66v (assuming your meter was correctly reading that 66v and the meter isn't acting up)

#40 3 months ago

I got a new multimeter tonight. The wall outlet, service outlet and jumper input all read between 150 and 151 on the new device.

I’ll be contacting my power company first thing on Monday to get a technician out. And about how they’ve apparently been cheating me for years.

#41 3 months ago
Quoted from TopMoose:

I got a new multimeter tonight. The wall outlet, service outlet and jumper input all read between 150 and 151 on the new device.

The outlet in the wall reads 150v?

#42 3 months ago
Quoted from JayDee:

The outlet in the wall reads 150v?

Yes, throughout the house. I think the power company has been gouging me.

#43 3 months ago
Quoted from TopMoose:

Yes, throughout the house. I think the power company has been gouging me.

Or your meter is sub-par.

What are the cycles reading? Should be 60 on the dot which is more important than the volts being off a bit if true.

#44 3 months ago
Quoted from TopMoose:

I got a new multimeter tonight. The wall outlet, service outlet and jumper input all read between 150 and 151 on the new device.
I’ll be contacting my power company first thing on Monday to get a technician out. And about how they’ve apparently been cheating me for years.

I am 99.99999% confident your meter is set or calibrated wrong. It is NOT possible that you are receiving 150VAC MAINS in Cincinnati, Ohio.

#45 3 months ago
Quoted from Markharris2000:

I am 99.99999% confident your meter is set or calibrated wrong. It is NOT possible that you are receiving 150VAC MAINS in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Yeah, I’m a big dum dum and this new multimeter is a little different from my old one. I had it set to amps, rather than volts. It’s measuring 120 volts from the wall outlet, service outlet and transformer leads.

#46 3 months ago
Quoted from TopMoose:

Yeah, I’m a big dum dum and this new multimeter is a little different from my old one. I had it set to amps, rather than volts. It’s measuring 120 volts from the wall outlet, service outlet and transformer leads.

That’s more like it! I’ll take user error over actual home electrical problem any day of the week. Glad you figured it out.

#47 3 months ago

Anyhoo, what’s the next place to check? Probably a capacitor on the Power board or the PPB?

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