(Topic ID: 132185)

Bally Bon Voyage - Restoration "Lite"

By xsvtoys

6 years ago

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There are 132 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
#1 6 years ago

The Bally Bon Voyage EM is my first pinball machine. I think it is a very nice machine, and I got it so I could have fun playing and also to use it as a platform for learning all I can about pinball machines, in particular EM.

I call this a "Lite" restoration because the machine is in very good condition overall, as I will show. But there are some things that need to be done to make it a little better. So, hopefully I will get a good introduction to restoration as I take on a basic project, and learn some things and get experience that will help if I want to take on something more ambitious in the future.

The BV as I received it:

- Backglass almost perfect, it is almost flawless on the front and the back side looks solid. As per the advice I was given, I won't touch the back side at all. I just cleaned a few spots off the front and that was it.

- The playfield is very good overall. It was worked on somewhere in its previous life. It looks like whoever did it did a fairly decent job, at least to my eyes. Not perfect, but very nice to look at and you have to work to see some imperfections here and there.

- The mechanics are all good, as far as I can tell everything works as it is supposed to.

- The cabinet is pretty decent. There are some scratches here and there that need attention to make it look its best.

While everything is good to very good overall, there are some things that need some work, and these are what I will cover here. For some of them I have a pretty good idea of what to do after lots of research in all of the incredible threads here, and for others I will need some advice. Since I have never had a pinball machine before or worked on one, it is likely that I will do something bad or horrible, so please feel free to let me know if I do so!


My very first pinball mod ever was to replace the power cord. The one that was on it when I got it was a horrorshow. It had an old non-grounded plug and three, yes that's right, three different electrical-taped connections. At one point one of these was stepped on and sparks flew and the circuit breaker tripped. That's a good hint to do some work on the power cord. Here is a photo of one of the three tape connections, and another showing what it looked like inside. This is not a good way to splice 110 VAC.

power cord bad splice 2.jpg

power cord bad splice 1.jpg

Here was my approach to fix this. First I acquired 2 items from Home Depot:

1. Leviton 15A 125 Volt 3-Wire Plug Orange. About $3.
2. Husky 15 ft. 15/3 Extension Cord. About $14.00.

Next I removed the old cord all the way back to the original cord in the machine, losing all of the patched connections. Then the plug is disassembled and the wires are attached to the screw terminals. The black (hot) wire goes to the the brass screw and the white wire (neutral) goes to the silver screw, then the green wire (ground) goes to the green screw. It is probably typical that the cord installed in the machine does not have the black and white wires such as here. In that case, the neutral wire should have a rib or some other markings. Since I couldn't really tell which was which at the loose end, I checked it with a meter and confirmed which was is neutral, then I put a white wire tie wrap on it to help identify it as the "white" wire.

Once the wires are connected to the plug, it is just a matter of putting the cover back on, then plugging in the extension cord, and the job is done.

power plug wired.jpg

power plug assembled.jpg

power plug connected.jpg

EDIT TO POST! It turns out, I did fail my Electrical 101 on the first try. After doing some more reading, I determined that it is proper that the hot wire be the one that is switched. So, the neutral wire should go to the transformer, and the hot wire to the mounting post which then goes over to the power switch via the yellow wire. Here is a corrected picture.

power cord connections inside.jpg

Not only is that safer and neater than trying to twist together the wires and then cover them with electrical tape, it probably is easier to do.

#2 6 years ago

I find it interesting all the things you can learn while working on a pinball machine and all the other areas where the knowledge can be applied.
The first time I had to fix a power cord I spent twice as long researching as the actual work took since I was super paranoid about getting 110 volts wired right. I also never knew there is a ribbed side and a non ribbed side on old lamp cord since its not color coded.

#3 6 years ago

Yes I agree, that is one of the reasons I decided to get one, I like learning by doing and this is a good platform for that.

Sure enough, I kind of goofed on my first go-round of the power connections, forgetting that the hot side should be switched, not the neutral side.

#4 6 years ago


When the BV was moved to my garage, I found that there were only 3 of 4 screws for the back box, and they were mismatched, and there a washer for one but not the others. So I decided cleaning that up would probably be a safe thing to do. I figured out that these screws are of the type Hex Cap 3/8" Coarse Thread. The ones that were in there were a bit of an odd length; 3-3/4", not a length that is typically stocked at the local hardware store. I started out with a 4" version, but these turned out to be too long for two of the positions, and they wouldn't screw down all the way. So I went with the 3-12" version which fixed perfectly(85 cents each Ace Hardware). I added some Fender Washers 3/8" x 1-1/4" to go under the heads (10 cents each Ace Hardware). I am not sure how standard these are for attaching back boxes since this is my first machine, but these work great for the BV.


Here they are installed. The positioning of all 4 heads is in the same orientation after tightening them into place. This is critical for OCD.
Some might say that I have spent a bit of obsessive time just working on the 4 screws that attach the back box, which aren't even normally visible to anyone. But in my defense, I did not buff them to a mirror shine, chrome plate them, or powder coat them. Not yet, anyway.
I also was exposed to leg attachment bolts for the first time when this machine was moved in. The normal operation is for the screws to go into a plate on the inside of the corners of the bottom box. Each plate has a threaded opening for 2 screws for each leg. But these seem to be too thin for long-term repeated operation, and the threads strip out, meaning the screw can't be tightened, meaning that the leg could be loose, which is not desirable. To fix that, apparently it is common to put a nut on the other side (in the inside). This does allow the screw to be tightened up, if it is a bit of a pain because you need two wrenches to get it done or undone.

This picture shows one of the attachment places. I have seen some replacements that have a deeper screw thread part on them, but on this machine it looks like it is riveted in. I don't think I will be going anywhere with that one anytime soon (unless someone has a cool way to fix it), so I bought some extra 5/16"-20 coarse thread nuts (10 cents each Ace Hardware) to tighten up all of the legs, since some of them were stripped and missing the nuts.

#5 6 years ago


When I got the machine, it had this sticker on the apron. It would seem this machine was in Montana in a past life, although an internet search did not turn up a place called Fun & Games. When I inspected this, I knew that I wanted to get it off, but I wasn't too happy with what I was seeing. It looked like it was on there pretty good and I had visions of lifting it off and taking paint up with it, making even more of a mess. But I decided to jump in and see what happened.


I started with a sharp razor blade on one corner to get it started. I was happy to see that it started to come up with no damage to the paint underneath.


From there, it was a matter of very slowly lifting it off, with a little help from the razor when needed. Sometimes these things will tear apart during this operation, but this one held together and came off in one piece, all without damaging the paint underneath. Victory!

There was adhesive residue left behind which would be typical. I used Goo Gone for this and after some methodical application and wiping, the residue came up.


Here is the final result and I think it came out pretty good. The "cool Bally guy" looks awesome and I think it was a bit of a crime to cover him up with a sticker.


After this project was done, I inspected the rest of the bottom apron. The condition is very good overall. There are some small areas where the paint is chipped off as shown here. If I get ambitious at a later date I might give a try to fixing those. I haven't found any discussions yet that deal directly with touching up the metal aprons. I have read a lot about how playfields are touched up, and I am guessing the same ideas apply to the apron, although it is metal instead of wood.


#6 6 years ago


The first problem I had was a "dead" machine, which I eventually found out was a broken wire at one of the coin switches (thanks to the help of everyone in the EM Tech forum). Actually it wasn't just the wire, but the entire attachment tab on the switch was broken off. It was suggested that I could use an Exacto knife or a Dremel to shave away some of the body to get a good attachment point. I went with the knife, since I don't have a Dremel. It took a bit of work and patience, but it did work pretty well I think. I managed to get enough of the body off to get a good attachment point for the wire.

Here it is with some of the switch body scraped away.

That pesky yellow wire is soldered on there pretty good. Well, if it comes loose, this time I'll know what the situation is when things stop working.

I didn't have any of the clear sleeve like on the other 2 wires, so I used a piece of heat shrink tubing I had laying around.

Q: I think that clear tubing is not meant to be heat shrink, it is just there to cover the exposed solder joint, and can be pulled back if needed to work on it. Did I get that right? Where do you get that stuff at?

And here it is all installed. The machine is back in operation and everything works great.

After I did this fix, I did some cleaning up of the right coin machine. This picture shows the left one which I haven't touched compare to the right one which I redid. I removed that sort of elastic-y string that is used all over the place to tie the wires, and replaced them with tie wraps. Is this considered bad form as far as keeping originality, or is it an acceptable update? I have seen some of the wiring harnesses in some of the restorations and they use the tie wraps, so I am thinking it is OK.

Q: What is that old tie string called anyway?

There also seems to be a fair amount of electrical tape used to tie up the wires in this door. I took some off that right module. I am not sure why people would put that there, it is messy sticky stuff that tends to come unraveled anyway. I plan to get rid of it all unless it is emanating some sort of special pinball vibes.

I also removed the coin lockout relay. It looked pretty fried and I don't think it was even working. The wires are tied off.

#7 6 years ago

Hi xsvtoys
I learned about Your lovely pin in https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/bally-em-bon-voyage-wont-start .
You do a good restauration job. About Your (post-6, pic-5) "Old tie string" <-> "Nylon tie wraps": The first is original (and not to be touched) - the other one is "not of the time (but practical)". If You want to collect "shiny / original collector-items": do not touch ...

About Your (post-6, pic-6) "Coin Lockout Coil": In state "original" this coil moves a (horizontal) rod. The rod has some influence to the "Coin Chutes". I like to have Coin Lockout Coil and rod and "to have it working" (MANY other collectors also like this mechanism -> DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR COIL, at least keep it and store it away...)
It should be called "STOP Coin-Lockout COIL" - the coil "Not-pulling": A player throws-in a coin -> the coin will be refused / returned. The Coil "pulling": A player throws-in a coin -> the coin is accepted and will start a game / count-up Replays.
Depending on "Manufacturer" / "Year of Manufacturing": The "wiring" of this coil is simple or "more complex". Some Manufacturer did a wiring (beside the basic function: No lights - no money acceptet): IF THE REPLAY-COUNTER has reached MAXIMUM: (The pin is lighted, yes, BUT) NO MORE COINS ARE ACCEPTED FOR TO "STEP-UP THE REPLAY-COUNTER" (the Replay-Counter already is at maximum).
There is an argument on "A resistor is added to the wiring of the coil - what for ?????". Some people talk about "EMF / to supress sparks" --- some people (as me) believe in "some kind of pre-heating to have the coil act faster / quicker / more rapid". The idea behind: A player rapidly throws-in a coin AND IMMEDIATEDLY AFTERWARDS he throws-in a second coin -> The pin must REFUSE the second coin (because the pin has not done "all it has to do after accepting the first coin") ...

Look (ipdb-schema) http://mirror2.ipdb.org/files/343/Bally_1974_Bon_Voyage_Schematic_Diagram_paginated.pdf -> page-3 -> the wiring of the "Coin Lockout Coil" with the resistor 8200 Ohm and Switch-on-Score-Motor-1B --- WHAT IS THIS RESISTOR FOR ?

I do not have Bally pins / I could not talk a Bally-owner into testing - Do YOU want to do some research work and do a valuable restoration on YOUR Bally-Bon-Voyage ? Get some coil and a rod and a resistor and "put back into order" -> testing "rapidly throwing-in a second coin" ?

HERE is the post "about": https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/em-techs-%E2%80%93-question The start: post-1 to post-5, post-13, my post-21 to the end so far (post-29). I do not believe in the EMF-Theorie, I believe (see post-21) -> http://bingo.cdyn.com/techno/readschem/resistor.html -> Case-2: "speeding up" ... Greetings Rolf

#8 6 years ago

Rolf, I still have the solenoid, in general I would try not to throw anything away that I remove. I have tested the horizontal bar manually and it does work as expected, in one position it diverts the coins right back out, and in the other position it allows them to go through to the switch. I also know where the resistor is and I wondered the same thing about it as you.

I am willing to put the solenoid back in and do some testing. I just need some time to get to it, as this project is just in my spare time which I don't have a lot of. But I will get to it. Do you think I should put that solenoid back on, or buy a new one? It looks pretty burned out.

#9 6 years ago

Hi xsvtoys
Great, You had a closer look at line voltage (110 VAC) and the fuse and the wiring:
110-VAC-Plug-HOT-Wire -> On/Off-Toggle-Switch -> 8-Ampere-Fuse -> "Transformer-110-VAC-HOT".
110-VAC-Plug-Neutral-Wire -> "Transformer-110-VAC-Neutral"
110-VAC-Plug-Ground-Wire -> "Safety-Ground-in-the-pin": "mass of metal" as stepper-units.

I hope You know: The 8-Amp-110-VAC-Fuse and the 50-VAC-Fuse(s) and the 6-VAC-Fuses are to PROTECT the equipment in the pin.
They do (side effect) a "bit of protecting You" - NOT REALLY SAFE.
(In German I would know the words), here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Residual-current_device I read about "ground fault circuit interrupter" -> google -> google-pictures -> http://www.fordforumsonline.com/threads/electrical-safety-ground-fault-protection.388/ -> the second picture (yellow): http://www.fordforumsonline.com/attachments/portable_ground_fault_circuit_interrupter_574-jpg.289/
In K-Mart and such stores we can buy 8IN Switzerland) for (roughly) 20 dollars such a portable "Man-protecting-Fuse". Try to buy such a thing - Your still are not 100%-safe, but at least 99.95%.

Whenever You just work on a pin and You do not need electricity: Pull the Line-Cord.
Plug-in the Line-cord only when you are testing and need electricity "for testing".

Your "Coin Lockout Coil" (post-6, pic-6) - is it still good ?
Do I see a piece of Nylon near the lower (thin) copper wire ? The coil should be free of crap.
Do You have a couple of spare 10-Amp-(50VAC)-Fuses ?

FIRST - Have a look at Your 10-Amp-(50VAC)-Fuse: Is there a 10-Amp-Fuse inside ? Or has a pre-owner "Over-Fused" and has put-in a 15-Amp-Fuse or a 20-Amp-Fuse ? (I have seen: A piece of a screw in the Fuse-Holder ...)

OK, You have a 10-Amp-fuse in the fuse-holder, now You can hook-in Your Coin-Lockout-Coil and look what happens: (A): No magnetism at the coil / Fuse has not blown (still alive). (B): Fuse immediately blows. (C): Fuse does not blow, well - within seconds: the coil gets HOT. (D): Fuse does not blow, well - within minutes: the coil gets warm and within one to two hours the coil gets "quite-warm-to-hot".
If You have (A) or (B): You must buy a new "Coin Lockout Coil".
If you have (C): I advice to buy a new coil (the old one is on its way to overheat -> insulating paint around the windings of the wire does melt (more and more) -> more and more "shorts" are established -> soon there is a big short - and You have "State-(B)" ...
If You have (D): You want to play the pin -> You turn-on the pin -> You play the pin -> You stop playing and turn-off the pin - Question: Is that coil "warm" or "hot" or "very hot" -> For me it is OK, if the coil gets warm / warm-to-hot.

How to hook-in Your Coin-Lockout-Coil (into the pin) ? I like Jumper-Cables with "Gator-Clips" at the ends. Look in the (ipdb-schema) http://mirror2.ipdb.org/files/343/Bally_1974_Bon_Voyage_Schematic_Diagram_paginated.pdf -> page-1 -> Do you see: Transformer-Point-4 -> wire R-W -> to socket of 10-amp-Fuse -> the 10-Amp-Fuse -> the other socket (of fuse): THIS I CALL POINT-99. (I usually make a mark (typewriter correcting fluid) on the wood of the Mech. Panel in the Cabinet: HERE I might want to clip-on a jumper-Cable).
From Point-99 -> wire "B" -> through the Normally-closed-Switch-on-Delay-Relay -> wire "B-R" -> -> schema-page-2 -> One solder-lug-on-Coin-Lockout-Coil.
A Jumper-Cable "POINT-99 TO THIS LUG-ON-COIN-LOCKOUT-COIL": Pull the Line-cord and clip-on one side of a Jumper-Cable onto the Lug-on-the-Coil. The other end of the Jumper-Cable clip-on onto POINT-99 (NOT !!!: POINT-4 AT THE TRANSFORMER). (Reason for Point-99: We want to USE the fuse in Our circuitry).

A second (another) Jumper-Cable You clip-on at the OTHER lug-of-Coin-Lockout-Coil. And the open end of second Jumper-cable You clip-on at "Transformer-Point-8-Lug-YELLOW".
Plug-in the 110VAC Line-Cord and turn-on the pin -> What happens ? (A) / (B) / (C) / (D) ?
Maybe You have to start a game (to get results A,B,C,D). Greetings Rolf

P.S.: Do You know http://www.pinrepair.com/ ? -> http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index.htm -> http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index3.htm#free ... and You always start a game using the Replay-Button (even when counter is on ZERO). So You never throw-in coins and therefore You can disconnect the wiring to Your Coin-Lockout-Coil ...

#10 6 years ago

Rolf, I have been doing some work on the exact power supply side you discussed. I also have read everything at pinrepair several times, it is great stuff. I also have the credits at zero and the zero swith is jumpered, so everyone is getting free play via the credit button. But I have tested both coin chutes and they do work. I will have some morr pictures and other good stuff in a few days.

#11 6 years ago

I own a Bally Bon Voyage it has been in the family since 1980. Great machine never breaks down. Just reliable. The last ten years in my house after storage at my Brothers house I have not had to do a thing to it. Fires up everytime. Would love to continue to see more pics of your machine playfield and back glass!

#12 6 years ago

Jester you will get that, and I might have some questions for you. In fact I have one right now, mine has green bumper on the left and yellow in the right, I am pretty sure that is backwards. Is the green one on the right on yours?

#13 6 years ago


Here are some photos of the backglass. As I said I think it looks close to perfect, and these pictures might not do it justice. I am still trying to figure out how to get the best shots with a digital camera.

The Bon Voyage backglass in its full glory. I think the artist Dave Christensen does awesome work:

Bon Voyage backglass.jpg

You can't miss the girl in front with her pink outfit. After extensive discussion, we have decided that her name is "Bambi". Here is Bambi's infamous "Insert Coin Here" belt buckle:

Bon Voyage buckle.jpg

And here is a close-up of the jet way in the background with 2 people falling out of it:

Bon Voyage fall out.jpg

Here is a shot of it lit, but I will get some better ones. A few of the flasher lamps are out and I need to change those out.

Bon Voyage backglass lit 1.jpg

#14 6 years ago


One of the first things I did since I had never seen the inside of a pinball machine before was to check out all of the different adjustment plugs to see if I could figure out how they worked.

This one is simple, it either sets the Match function ON or OFF.

This one determines whether a Tilt causes the ball to be lost or the entire game to be lost.


This one determines what the Hi Score should be to win an award. It is a bit confusing to look at, at first, but it does make sense once you study it. Here it is set for 95,000 points, using the "red" wire although the wire doesn't really look too red anymore.


This one determines what happens if you get the Hi Score OR the Special. You get the Special by spelling out all the letters in BON VOYAGE, then hitting the captive ball into the Special target. You can set it to add a ball, get a credit, or get 5000 points. I tested this and whatever setting you have it on will happen if you hit the Special OR if you hit the Hi Score, and you can do both in one game.


Somewhat confusingly, there are 2 different plugs for 3 balls versus 5 balls. This one is simple: It determines whether you get 3 balls in each game, or 5 balls:


There is another one that is set on "3 ball" or "5 ball". This one determines how the BON VOYAGE lights are lit when the letter targets are hit. In the 5 ball mode, you have to spell out all of the letters in BON VOYAGE to light the Special. In 3 Ball mode, if you hit a V you get the Y also (and vice versa) and if you hit the A you get the G also (and vice versa). I guess this setting was put in to make the 3 balls game a bit easier to make up for the sting of only getting 3 balls.

After going through and testing all of the different settings on the adjustment plugs, I thought some of the wording in the instruction manual was a bit off. Also I had read one reviewer's comment on IPDB that an entire page of the manual was actually referring to another game. I have to agree with that, as what is written does not match up with what the Bon Voyage does. So, here I have digitized the entire operating instructions manual so I could edit the text, and I have made some corrections. All of my corrections are in red text and I am pretty sure they are right, but if there are any mistakes or things I should add let me know.


#15 6 years ago
Quoted from xsvtoys:

Jester you will get that, and I might have some questions for you. In fact I have one right now, mine has green bumper on the left and yellow in the right, I am pretty sure that is backwards. Is the green one on the right on yours?

I have yellow left and green on the right which is what the flier shows also...Also I put yellow rubber flippers as that is what I saw on the flier also...not that it matters too much but...you know...

#16 6 years ago

Thanks Jester that all makes sense. I have another question for you. Is your coin lockout all in working order? As I discussed above, I took off the lockout coil when I was doing some troubleshooting. I was going to put it back on to do some testing, but now I realize I am missing some critical parts to make this work. The drawing below from a Bally parts catalog shows the basic idea. I have the Lock Out Strip and that works as expected if I pull it back and forth manually. I have the Coil. What I don't have is the Spring and the metal plate which attaches both to the coil and the lock out strip. It is not called out here with a separate part number, I marked it with a red arrow.


This picture is from another Bon Voyage machine I found on the internet and it shows the assembly, but the photo does not have enough detail to see it well. If you have that same setup, could you post a close-up photo of that connecting plate? I can send that to PBR to see if they have that spring and that connector plate. If I can't find those I won't be able to get the coin lock out function working.


#17 6 years ago

No problem "XVSToy" man! I love helping people out with this kinda stuff. Here are the detailed pictures from all different angles. Let me know if I can be of further assistance!


#18 6 years ago

Thanks! Those are great, and the second one should be perfect to show exactly what I need.

#20 6 years ago

Here is another little bit of documentation for the Bon Voyage. It is a re-do of the blurry playfield chart. The drawing is completely vector (Adobe Flash) and so it can be made at any size with perfect resolution.
BON VOYAGE Playfield Chart redone.pdf

Bon Voyage Playfield.jpg

#21 6 years ago


Setting up free play on Bon Voyage is pretty easy, it is basically just like it is described at pinrepair.com. For posterity this is exactly the credit wheel free play setup works on the BV.

Here is what the credit unit looks like. If you press the plunger of the step-up solenoid, it will add a credit. If you press the plunger of the reset solenoid, it will take a credit away.


Here is what it looks like with 5 credits on the counter. The green arrow is pointing to the zero switch, which is closed. The red arrow is pointing to a small metal post that is mounted on the toothed wheel.


As the credits count down, that post gets closer and closer to the zerp switch. When it gets to 0 credits, the post bumps into the zero switch and opens it. Here is what it looks like with the counter at 0. The post (red arrow) is pushed against the zero switch, opening it, which in turn prevents the credit button from starting a new game.


The free play mod is pretty simple. Advance the counter to 0, then cause the zero switch to be closed instead of open. This could be done by manually adjusting the switch until it is closed, or jumpering it. For now I just hung an alligator clip wire on it, one on each contact, which is easily reversed.

I also noticed that if the credit wheel is advanced, for example if someone puts a coin in and credits are added, everything works as it normally would. The credits count down as games are played, but when it gets to 0 you can still press the credit button for all the free games you want.

#22 6 years ago


I got a decent scan of the original Bon Voyage flyer and printed it on a color printer, then laminated it. If you have a teacher in the family, then you probably have one of those laminator machines It adds a nice little touch for when people come over to look at the machine.



I also got the original score cards and an acetate cover, which were in pretty good condition. But what I got didn't match up with the settings for the machine I ended up going with. To keep it from being to easy, I set it for 3 balls with 5-ball difficulty, 95,000 hi score, and tilting to lose the ball in play. It is easy enough to make one of those as a Word document then print it. I went to the laminator again rather than using the acetate cover, it seems a bit sturdier and looks nice.


The right side score card that came with the machine was from one of the previous shops that owned it. After seeing that and doing a bit of research, I saw that customized free play cards are somewhat common. So I decided to make my own. With a little Photoshop magic, Bambi from the backglass makes an appearance to announce FREE PLAY.


#23 6 years ago

Nice job thus far, and love your pace on learning the machine.
One suggestion: consider attaching your alligator clips to the solder tabs of the zero credit switch. Same effect, but less chance of the wire getting caught in the mechanism (or elsewhere).

Another thought that sometimes works for me: cut off one of the clips and clip across both tabs of that switch - no wire, same ease of undoing.

If you're missing the plate on your coin lockout coil, that's an operator trick. Some would lock the machine into a taking money mode, then disable the coil so that it didn't buzz and (side effect) would always take money even if not needed! Didn't see anyone else mention that, so just in case you were not aware.

#24 6 years ago

I am loving all of the documentation that is being made on this particular machine.

This is the machine that developed my love for Pinball and got me back into the Hobby including restoration of machines. The brief history is when I was a kid, my Father worked with a small movie studio in Kensington, MD. The owner of the Movie company had a brother who leased the adjoining space and was an arcade/pinball machine operator. On Christmas Morning, I believe 1980, they rolled up in front of my house in a white panel van and unloaded the "Bon Voyage" Pinball machine as a gift to my Dad and our family. We grew up in the 80's being the envy of the neighborhood for having a pinball machine in our home. Later on as we grew older it mostly sat disassembled and unused in my parents house and later my Brothers house until 2005 (Close to 20 years). When my wife and I had our house built and had the space in the basement my brother asked me if I wanted the machine so I took it in. That first summer I found a new love of Pinball as I learned how to clean the playfield and found out that companies Like Marco had rubber ring kits and fuses ready for the machine. After swapping out the fuses and a complete tear down and rebuild of the playfield with new lights, rings and cleaned/waxed played field, it fired right up and worked after almost 20 years of sitting in pieces idle. The only work I had done was replacing the power cord as mine also looked like some one had taken three different lamp cords and sliced them together in unique ways with electrical tape to create the "Power cord" it had on it. After 10 years of being enjoyed in my basement it still has yet to break down in anyway except a burned out bulb here and their. It is a family heirloom I hope to pass down to my children.

#25 6 years ago

Funny how my BV had the exact same power cord with 3 "spliced electrical tape" connections. So far everyone here is enjoying playing the BV, and I am having fun working on it.

As far as documentation, I am just getting started...just wait... going through an EM pinball is a fun pastime for OCD types

#26 6 years ago
Quoted from bingopodcast:

Nice job thus far, and love your pace on learning the machine.
One suggestion: consider attaching your alligator clips to the solder tabs of the zero credit switch. Same effect, but less chance of the wire getting caught in the mechanism (or elsewhere).
Another thought that sometimes works for me: cut off one of the clips and clip across both tabs of that switch - no wire, same ease of undoing.
If you're missing the plate on your coin lockout coil, that's an operator trick. Some would lock the machine into a taking money mode, then disable the coil so that it didn't buzz and (side effect) would always take money even if not needed! Didn't see anyone else mention that, so just in case you were not aware.

I will look at the free play jumper and see if I can make it neater.

I can position the lock out rod manually to kick out or accept quarters. Right now the lockout coil is off the machine, but like rolf_martin I like to look at how all of the circuits operate so that is why I was hoping to put it all back together. Unfortunately though I am missing a few critical pieces and it doesn't look like they are available anywhere. I checked with PBR and they don't have any of the parts to complete the coin lockout setup. I will keep looking.

#27 6 years ago


I started to look at the "Coil Locations" table at the far right of the schematic along with the parts list on page 7 of the operating instructions as I was familiarizing myself with the machine, and found a number of errors and omissions in there. Some are missing, some have the incorrect schematic location, some have incorrect information, etc. I suppose it is inevitable, after all back when they made this they probably had to type it all up on a typewriter as there were no computers and software like we have today.

So I went through all of the relays and made an updated table in a spreadsheet. I confirmed all of the coil schematic locations and the part numbers. I made up the numbering system for the relay coils and the solenoid coils. Bon Voyage as 45 relay coils and 22 solenoid coils. Enjoy.

Bon Voyage Parts - Coils.pdf

I also made a reference key using some photos of the machine to allow quick location of any coil.





#28 6 years ago
Quoted from xsvtoys:

Funny how my BV had the exact same power cord with 3 "spliced electrical tape" connections. So far everyone here is enjoying playing the BV, and I am having fun working on it.
As far as documentation, I am just getting started...just wait... going through an EM pinball is a fun pastime for OCD types

This is very fun for me and my family also because it is such a big part of our family history.

#29 6 years ago


I noticed the flipper buttons were grimy and dirty. This is no good.


First I cleaned them as best as I could as they were. That worked OK, but there was some black grime toward the inside that I couldn't get at. I figure I might as well do the job right and figure out how the flipper buttons work.

It is fairly easy to get it all apart, although you do have to deal with the dreaded e ring. I have worked with those before so that was not too bad.

Here is the right one before cleaning.


And after cleaning (this picture shows the pieces in correct order of assembly).


And now, clean and shiny flipper buttons.


#30 6 years ago

This particular Bon Voyage wouldn't happen to have some ridiculous high scores scratched on the front of the back box now would it?

#31 6 years ago

Yes that is the one.do you know some history on it? I would be interested to hear. I know it was at a shop in AZ, then given away in a contest. Somehow from there it got to SoCal.

I also would like to eventually repair those scratchings...

#32 6 years ago

It was in my collection for a couple of years and was a great machine. I don't know any more history than that. It would probably still be here if I hadn't started going with the older machines with two inch flippers. But I always loved the art and it had a very unique layout for it's time.

#33 6 years ago

Cool, thanks. I am really enjoying it, I think it was a good choice for me for my first one. It looks awesome and I am having fun going into it, although overall everything is in really good condition. Everyone loves playing it too. Hopefully I won't hurt anyone's feelings if I cover up that 654,910. What did they do, play it for 8 hours??

#34 6 years ago

We may never know...

#35 6 years ago

Hi xsvtoys
If (if) You want to do some "research work on Coin-Lockout mistery", look here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/bow-and-arrow-startup-issues-powerfusewires -> post-1, picture-2 -> sitting on the Jones-Plug is a resistor. The one for the Coin-Lockout Coil. Yous Bon Voyage might have such an resistor - or, maybe there is a huge ("block") resistor near the Coin-Lockout Coil (?).
It would be nice, if You do this work and (see my post-7) solve the problem "what does this resistor do ?" (as I do not have Bally-Pins, I do not believe the EMF-Theorie). Well, I also can live: "Not knowing about the function of this resistor ...

Maybe You want to fine-tune your pin ? Try different angles of the playfield ? "The steeper the playfield - the faster the game - the harder to make replays (as you loose balls earlier). The manufacturer adviced: Start with "the underneath (side) of the cabinet shall be perfectly horizontal".

Most pins can be changed a bit "easy playing" <-> "hard to play" - the manufaturer has drilled several holes in the playfield for "liberal" / ("medium") / "conservative" setting -> You can unscrew posts and screw-on "moved a bit to the side". -> ipdb -> http://mirror2.ipdb.org/files/343/Bon_Voyage.pdf -> at the bottom: "point" indicates movable post for scoring adjustment. (Not much to adjust on "Bon Voyage").
A "better example, Space Mission": http://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=2253 -> Manual: http://mirror2.ipdb.org/files/2253/Williams_1976_Space_Mission_Instruction_Manual_Jan_1976_no_schematics.pdf -> page-14 -> "cons." and "lib." ("med." not mentioned). Greetings Rolf

#36 6 years ago

Rolf, here are some updates.

First I will talk about the game play. There is one playfield post adjustment for the Bon Voyage, so far I haven't changed it. With the current leveling of the machine (pretty steep) and the options I have set (3 ball, etc) the overall game play and difficulty is pretty good right now. Note that the game is getting a decent amount of play, as I always put everything back in working order after I work on it (except when I break a wire....). With a single 100,000 light, the high score is only 199,990. Our "high score ranking system" is inspired by the Top Gear (R.I.P) laptime board as you can see here (names blurred to protect the innocent). So far no one has broken 100,000, although I probably will before long.


OK now on to the coin lockout mystery. First, a picture showing my final cleanup of the coin door inside. I cleaned everything as best as I could, got rid of messy electrical tape, and made nice wire ties and routing. After working on this, I can definitely see that in order to make a "super nice" coin door, everything needs to be taken apart and all of the pieces cleaned individually. I might tackle that sometime down the line just for the experience of doing it.


Right now, everything works as far as the two coin machines. When quarters are inserted, credits are loaded as expected. There is one exception, which is the lockout coil. In the above picture, the 2 wires for the lockout coil are tied off at the top with some orange electrical wire nuts. Unfortunately someone cut those wires pretty short (not me) so they will need to be extended if the lockout coil is to be connected someday. For now, I used some jumpers for some testing.

Here you can see the lockout coil mounted back on the machine. Even though it is disconnected, this is a good place to park it so it won't get lost. As you can see and as I have posted earlier, it is missing the spring and connecting plate to connect to the lockout bar. So unless I can find those parts, it will not be able to work. That is OK for now, as it isn't really necessary for a home machine.


But what about the mystery of the coin lockout circuit and the "infamous resistor"? I have read all of the links about this that you put up. I will give you my ideas about it.

Before I do this, here is something to consider. Right now, there are 3 things going on with the BV at the same time.

1. People are playing it and having fun.
2. I am going through it with a "lite restoration" as I have been describing here.
3. I am going through the schematic and everything in the machine to try to understand how everything works.

For #3, I think I have the same interest as you, and maybe a lot of others. I enjoy trying to figure out exactly how every bit works, and how the logic is accomplished through all of the EM, with no solid state circuitry at all. In order to do this, I have spent quite a bit of time looking at the schematic and looking at how the game operates, and now I have started a project to break down various actions (start the game, ending the game, scoring points, etc) and figure out how everything relates. In addition, I have started working on a new version of the schematic in Visio, since the paper one can be difficult to read in places. This is going to be a pretty big project and it is going to take me some time, but hopefully you will find it interesting and help out. I am not sure if I should post all that information in this thread, or start another thread about the schematic in the EM Tech forum.

BUT, for now, let's look at the coin lockout circuit. For the BV, the entire circuit is pretty simple. Here it is:

Bon Voyage Schematic lockout coil.jpg

Obviously we know that the coil is not activated when the power is off. When the power switch is turned on, the coil is activated. Even though it is not connected mechanically, it is easy enough for me to tell this by holding a piece of metal near it, as when it is activated it puts out a strong magnetic field (which normally would be used to overcome the spring holding the connecting plate which is then connected to the lockout bar).

We also know that the power to the coil is kept supplied through a normally closed switch 1B on the score motor as shown. It is my belief that the score motor switch is there to take care of the "throw in a second coin really fast" situation. When the first coin is put in, the score motor makes a rotation. During the time of that rotation, the switch 1B opens, and then the coil gets no power and it goes off. I confirmed that this is what happens. If I put in a coin, the magnet from the coil immediately goes off, and it doesn't come back on until the score motor gets back to index position and therefore switch 1B is closed again. So, just after putting in a coin, the lockout bar will spring back into place for a few seconds and therefore a second coin that gets shoved in too fast would be rejected and come back out. This is pretty simple and effective.

BUT, what about that 8200 ohm resistor? Just as you said, here it is on the connector plug. Even though it is hard to tell from the picture, I can confirm that one end is connected to the yellow wire (one main 60VAC line) and the other is connected to the gray/red wire which then goes to the coil as shown in the schematic. Nowadays it is easy to confirm the resistor value by just entering the band colors in an online chart, and that confirms that this is an 8200 ohm resistor.


So why is it there and what is it supposed to be doing? This web page seems to explain it http://bingo.cdyn.com/techno/readschem/resistor.html

Case 2 - using resistors to prebuild a small magnetic field

The coin lockout magnet is the coil behind the coin mech that causes the coin reject plate to insert itself in the mech. The idea is that if someone is dropping in coins quickly, you only want the first one to register and the rest to dump out the coin return until the game is ready to start another cycle.
Without the precharge resistor, the response of the coil lockout mechanism is too slow. The game would tend to accept two coins before rejecting further ones.

It does take time to create the magnetic field in the coil. What happens if it takes too long? One solution is to maintain a constant low current in the coil. Not enough to make a field that can pull down the metal plate, though. A small magnetic field is established, and when you switch in more current it takes less time to make the field strong enough to activate the plate.
This is the case where the inductance property is irritating, so the resistor is added to precharge the coil. You usually see this in the "coin lockout magnet" circuit.

But this doesn't make sense to me. In this circuit, the coil is already on as soon as power is applied, and the magnetic field is at full strength, holding the lockout bar in "accept" position. This seems to be backwards from what is described here.

There are several different theories on this web page: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.games.pinball/P6XIk-hG-Tw
One theory is that it is there to prevent arcing. Another theory is that it helps keep the magnetic field from getting low as the coil stays on for extended periods of time. Both of these sound reasonable to me and I don't have enough knowledge to know which is better. It is left unresolved in that thread.

There is one more test to try, which I did. I disconnected one end of the resistor, and then compared the behavior with the resistor and without the resistor. As far as I can see, everything acts the same.

- The coil is on, then when the coin is inserted, the coil immediately goes off when the score motor starts, then it immediately comes on when the score motor stops. It all seems exactly the same, with or without the resistor.

- I turned out the lights and watched the score motor #1 switch. There is definitely a spark that comes at about the time the score motor stops, which would be when the coil is coming back on. But, it seems to be about the same either with or without the resistor. Maybe it was a little but smaller with the resistor in place, but it is not the same every time and it could be my imagination, so this must remain undetermined.

So, the mystery remains.....

#37 6 years ago


Disassembled and cleaned the upper apron parts.

Before pics of somewhat grimy and rusty parts.




Pics after cleaning. The steel parts are not perfect mirrors , but they are much cleaner.



#38 6 years ago


The side rails cleaned up pretty nice without too much work. They look excellent overall, EXCEPT for this gouge right in the middle of the left one. I supposed the only way it to attack with the drill-mounted brush and see if I can grind/buff it away. This might be a project to tackle later on.


#39 6 years ago


The score wheels were somewhat grimy.


I just cleaned them with warm water and a fiber cloth. I didn't remove them, just cleaned them from the front of the backbox, advancing them as I went along to get all the way around.


1 week later
#40 6 years ago


The shooter gauge was loose, found out it had a missing screw.


Cleaned it, reinstalled it, added missing screw. It is almost perfect, just a few small spots that maybe I will take a shot at fixing someday.


The ball shooter seemed a bit grimy and rusty and in need of attention.


Disassembled everything, cleaned it, used a bit of Evapo-Rust, installed new springs and plunger tip from PBR.




Unfortunately the new shooter spring was pretty weak compared to the one that was in there, so I swapped the original one in. I am now on the hunt for a stronger shooter spring.

#41 6 years ago


Well I guess I got some nice-looking cleanup on the ball shooter, but once again I have made a rookie mistake, which probably explains why the shooter is weak. With help from PBR, I now realize that I am missing several pieces, specifically 2 spring cups, one for each end of the spring, and a Nyliner which goes inside the guide to smooth the action. When I make my next PBR order I will get these and post updated pics.

#42 6 years ago


When I received this Bon Voyage, it had the green pop bumper on the left and the yellow one on the right.

As far as I can tell, it should be the other way round. For example, the original flyer shows the green one on the right.

Somewhat oddly when I have looked at pictures of different machines, I see a number of them where the green is on the left and the yellow is on the right. I am not sure why this would be so. I also know from reading the IPDB reviews that some people don't like the green one at all and replace it with a red one. To me it makes sense to have the green one next to the green rollover buttons. So, time to swap them. Which might be an easy job of just changing the caps, but someone decided to install color-coded skirts as well.

This meant I had to pretty much completely disassemble both of them. I went ahead and put in new white skirts since that is also what is shown on the flyer. The bumpers seemed to be working pretty well so I didn't rebuild anything else, just cleaned everything up. Miraculously they worked just as well when I got them back together. Well, I probably spent about 45 minutes on the first one since I had never taken one apart before, and 15 minutes on the second one once I got it all figured out. The hardest part is unsoldering and resoldering the lamp.

Now, color-correct pop bumpers with new white skirts and also shiny new caps from PBR (Those things are pricey!).


#43 6 years ago
Quoted from xsvtoys:

When I received this Bon Voyage, it had the green pop bumper on the left and the yellow one on the right.
As far as I can tell, it should be the other way round. For example, the original flyer shows the green one on the right.

Love it back to the original! Awesome work you are providing fantastic documentation. Us long time Bon Voyage/EM owners really appreciate all you are doing!

#44 6 years ago
Quoted from Jesterfunhouse:

Love it back to the original! Awesome work you are providing fantastic documentation. Us long time Bon Voyage/EM owners really appreciate all you are doing!

I appreciate the support. Concerning documentation, I promised a lot, and it will come. I have a lot that is in process, but I don't want to put it out until everything is done. Here is one update, and one new piece.

Here is my redone playfield chart. I posted it earlier, but this has some minor corrections.
BON VOYAGE Playfield Chart redone.pdf

Here is a version that just calls out the rubbers.
BON VOYAGE Playfield Chart rubbers.pdf

All of the documentation will be sorted out and put on a dedicated web page for the Bon Voyage, coming soon. Teaser page:


#45 6 years ago


All along I was going to replace the flippers, because somewhere along the way someone but yellow flippers with black rubber. Looking at the original machine, such as in the flyer, shows that it had white flippers with yellow rubber, which I like better anyway.


This project became bigger though when someone was in the middle of a game, and the left flipper stopped working. I had a look underneath and found things hanging loose because 2 screws had come undone. I got it back together and working, but then I had a closer look, and realized the left flipper had been fairly well hacked.


So I decided to do a complete rebuild of both flippers, which took me a while since I have never done it before. Actually, the left one took a while, even following Vid's guide, and the right one went much quicker once I figured out what I was doing. The procedure I used is pretty much according to Vid's guide, with a minor diversion or two. Since the pieces look different than the photos in the guide, I'll most a quick pictorial here for historical reference to Bon Voyage flipper assemblies and others of that Bally era.

Here is the diagram of of the flipper assembly from page 175 of the Bally 1976 parts catalog.


This is the kit I used from PBReseource.


Here are the pieces in the kit - everything you need for 2 flipper rebuilds.


Next, here are some pics from the right flipper job. First, might as well assemble the new parts, it needs to be done sooner or later. The coil plunger is attached to the lever arm with a roll pin. This can be a pain if you haven't dealt with roll pins before, but its not bad once you know how to do it. I use the same technique as Vid recommended - grab the roll pin at the bottom with some needle-nose pliers, squeeze it a bit, and tap it to get it started in the hole. Then just hammer it home. When that is done, the spring and the small Teflon ring can be
installed also.


Also, the longer blade of the new switch is too long for this assembly. Based on my experience with the left flipper, it bumps into the cam. I cut it as shown with the small black mark and it worked fine. Anyone else doing this should confirm the length before cutting. The easiest way is to put it side by side with the old switch.


The next step is to loosen the two set screws that hold the flipper shaft and then remove the flipper. I also did the extra step of changing out the flipper bat and the rubber. That is a matter of undoing one screw on the bottom and then pulling off the old bat and pushing the new on on.


To be continued somehow I guess. It won't let me upload any more pics.

#46 6 years ago


The new white flipper and yellow rubber.

After working with the left assembly, I couldn't think of any reason that I needed to unsolder the wires on the coil. If you leave them there and remove the coil stop bracket, the coil can hang there just fine. The only reason I can think of to entirely undo it is to clean it, but it is easily enough cleaned in that position. So I only unsoldered the 2 switch wires. All you have to do is remember which goes where, or compare them to the other flipper when it comes time to put them back.


Once the coil stop is removed and the coil is dangled out, all these old parts come off. These all will be replaced.


Now just removing some screws gets the rest of the brackets off. The bushing is removed and also replaced, and then all the other parts are cleaned. I just gave them a nice scrubbing to clean them up. Others may machine-polish them, tumble them, chrome-plate them, powdercoat them etc.


So these are all the hold parts that will be replaced, or if you are a hoarder, save them away.


The bottom of the playfield where the bracket was installed also was grimy, and cleaned.


Once the brackets are cleaned, everything gets mounted back onto the playfield.


To be cont.

#47 6 years ago


Then the plunger can be put in the coil and the coil stop screwed on to put the coil in place. Note that the coil is "reversed" as per Vid's recommendation (the wire lugs are facing away from the coil stop). Remember that the coil stop bracket and the bracket on the other side should be squeezed together as much as possible before tightening the screws, so there is as little play as possible for the coil. The first picture shows the assembly that I used as per Vid's recommendation (for the left flipper), and the second picture shows everything in place.

// Error: Image 440184 not found //


The next step is to tighten the new set screws onto the flipper shaft, while keeping the flipper in alignment. For me, this was the hardest part. It likes to move as you tighten it if you are not careful. It took a while, but I got it perfectly into place. As far as I can figure out, the "credit card spacer tool" is not needed for this assembly. The flipper seems to automatically go to a perfect height so that is is slightly above the playfield and won't rub.

The final step is to set the EOS switch. This wasn't too bad, it is just a matter of coaxing the switch into position so that it is firmly closed at rest, and then open 1/8" at full extension. Once this was set, the flippers worked just as expected - strong and snappy.

So now there is a solid mechanical structure behind the shiny new flippers that are color-correct for Bon Voyage.


#48 6 years ago


After going through all of the lamps, I finally determined there are a total of 119.

Here is a playfield layout showing all of the lamps there:


And the ones in the back box (blues are flashers):


Plus a few others, such as in the coin door, and the flasher on the delay relay.

Next up was an LED conversion. This may not be ideal for an EM machine for a lot of people, which is understandable. But I decided to do it. I like the look, plus it does have the advantages of lower power consumption (saves $$) and lower heat output (saves backglass, plastics, etc). Plus, this is a totally reversible mod, so it can be put back to the traditional lamps with just a few hours of work.

Big sack of original lamps:


Since I am new to all this, I have to learn every step the hard way. My first attempt was to review the information at Comet, and order a big pile of LEDs that I thought would be the closest match, which were the "LED Retro Warm White Clear". While these do work pretty well for most of the positions, I found out that it is best to have a variety of different LEDs to start with, so you can experiment with them to see what works the best.

Thank you again to Art at Comet who gave me lots of support and advice as I worked through this. Here are the highlights. Of course these are all my opinions only on what works the best. After looking through some of the LED threads, it is obvious that there will be a wide range of perception about installing LEDs. Some people will like one setup a lot, while others might not like the same setup at all.

Also, each machine will be unique, so it will require some work to sort out the best overall setup. For some of the newer more popular machine there are already complete LED kits available that are all optimized. But for an old EM like this one, you probably have to sort everything out yourself.

The retro bulbs worked great under the playfield, providing a nice illumination to the various inserts. I don't think there is any significant difference at all between LED and incandescent for this purpose. There was one minor issue with the rotating number inserts (Collect Lit Value) that change with each rotation of the spinner target. All except 2 of them use the standard type of lamp socket where the bulb is pointing straight up. But 2 of them use the "laydown bracket" version where the lamp is laying flat, presumably for space reasons. Because most of the LED output is directed upward, these 2 were not as bright as the rest. It is hardly noticable since only one of these inserts is actually lit at any given time, but I noticed it so I had to fix it. This was done by using a brighter "2-LED" version for those 2 positions (circled in red).


As far as visible lamps on the playfield, such as under the plastics, I tried a variety of different LEDs. The clear retro LEDs give the best look to me. But the fact is, none of the LEDs looks exactly like the incandescent. They probably never will, because the LED just doesn't have that certain look with the filament inside the bulb. I haven't found a good way to photograph how the different lamps look, so I think everyone will need to try some on their own to see what works best. I am happy with the way the playfield looks.

The LEDs are good for the backbox in my opinion. Not only do they put out much less heat and therefore help to protect the backglass, the frosted versions also give a nice diffuse effect behind the glass. Plus, with judicious selection you can use colored LEDs to get a nice effect. This is going to be different for every backglass, depending on how the artwork is set up and the colors involved. After some experimentation I settled on some pink ones behind Bambi's outfit and some blue ones behind the blue suit of Big John the pilot.


Also, although it is hard to see in the picture, what came in very handy was a yellow "Super Flex" LED. One thing that always bothered me was that one lamp that was obviously meant to light up the belt buckle was over to the right a little bit. I don't know if this was intentional when they originally made the game, or if they just got sloppy in the execution. I was seriously thinking of drilling a new hole and moving the socket over, because it really seems like it should light up directly behind the belt buckle. But this problem was easily solved with the Flex LED, which let me extend it over to the left and get the perfect effect. Here is the LED-lit backglass in all its glory. (Bon Voyage logo is lit by flashers).


Before I started I used my Kill-A-Watt to measure the power consumption with just the GI turned on, and it was right around 100W. With the LEDs in, it is about 27W. So there is almost 75% reduction in energy use, and more importantly, less heat to damage the components. And the overall look is great, at least to my eye.

Finally, if you like your Bon Voyage documentation, this PDF lists every lamp, including its location in the machine, location in the schematic, function, wires running to it, and the type of LED that was installed (all LEDs from Comet Pinball). This is a tribute to OCD.
Bon Voyage Parts - Lamps.pdf

#49 6 years ago

More great documentation I love it! Keep it coming!

#50 6 years ago

Thanks Jester, there is plenty more coming...

Also, the last picture in the flipper posts that shows the playfield does show how it looks with all of the LEDs installed.

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