(Topic ID: 302084)

Bally Drop Target Bricking *FIX*

By slochar

1 year ago


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  • 27 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 13 hours ago by Billc479
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    #1 1 year ago

    I've been tired of Bally drops bricking for years. Decided to tackle this after finishing my Mystic playfield swap, because the center bank especially and the side banks to a lesser extent just wouldn't drop. I figured I'd swap a classic stern drop in - nope, too many changes (unless I swapped the entire bank). Tried to shave the bally 'shelf' on the drop to more of a 'stem' like stern has.... nope.

    While mixing and matching stern parts, I noticed that there is a slight bend upward on the stern drop retainer, so that the drop has to go up a slight bit instead of going back directly. I wondered if this is why the stern drops are really smooth. Since I have extra bally banks, I put a small bend in the top plate to make it a hump shape (see pics and video). This works. (See middle of video with direct hits from flippers onto the drop bank).

    Maybe it works better because of the less surface area on the bent part, or maybe it's because of the slight upward bulge. The drops are not noticeably higher up (it's a very small bend). Is it a hack? Maybe. Is it better than hitting a bricked target and the ball draining? IMO, yep.

    It's still not going to drop a target on the sides when you hit the *side* of the drop, but I wouldn't call that bricking.

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    #2 1 year ago

    So the bends basically are just raising the 'up' position of the targets, right? The targets only have a small nub in the center that catches on those bent edges. If that's the case I can't figure out why this would have a noticeable effect on bricking(?)

    Maybe the bend actually really is reducing how much of the target's nub is grabbed, because of the way the edge is bent.

    #3 1 year ago

    The bend makes it more of a ramp. I think it's really just reducing the surface area that's contacted by the target.

    I'll take a picture of the side of the one I bent on the video tomorrow to see how much the angle is.

    I can't argue with the results though. All the drops were bricking terribly before I did this I didn't change anything else just the bend.

    #4 1 year ago

    Like this... but it's a tiny bit exaggerated.

    I really can't see the 'ramp' effect having an effect. The target's nub is flat on the bottom. When the target is hit it's still only going to travel horizontally along whatever edge it is resting on, bent or not.

    I worked on some Stern and Bally drop units but never noticed this kind of bending so my guess is it is not factory.

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    #5 1 year ago

    I just looked at the stern unit, the shelf definitely has a slope to it. The bend I added to the bally top plate was my attempt to duplicate the stern slope. I just looked at several other stern banks I have here, they all have the slope. (And the ballys are all flat).

    I think what's happening is that the bally's brick most people say because it's bouncing back too quickly, so it's going back like it's going to drop, but then springs back onto the shelf. The little bit of the angle lets the drop actually fall just a little bit, so there's no shelf for it to go back to.

    Of course, I just played a game and the center drop bricked on me, but it's still 95% better than the way it was. The bricking ruined the game completely as most of the time when the drops bricked, the carom sent the ball down the cavernous outlanes.

    It's still not up to Gottlieb standards, but I've swapped Gottlieb banks into other games before and it ruins the feel of the game. I spent 4 hours once swapping into a Flash, and I hated the way it played (absorbed too much of the ball speed maybe?) so I spent the rest of the 4 hours refurbishing the original banks and swapping them back.

    If the bend thing hadn't worked, I would have experimented with the bottom plate, and some kind of dual spring setup like gottliebs have.

    Pics of the stern original bend (which is smooth, since it's made that way).

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    #6 1 year ago

    The 'bump' means the target latches a tiny bit higher too, so they should spring downward a tad faster too. And being a little higher it could be slightly changing the leverage point on the target when it is bent back by a hard hit, how it is hitting the rubbers behind it etc. Could be a combination of effects I guess.

    #7 1 year ago

    Another factor.... the center bank center target must be made of different plastic (different era? - all the drops are vintage) as it is not translucent with a lamp behind it. It doesn't drop as well as the others, but still way better than stock.

    I probably really should have just put the stern drops in there. When I had a stern lightning though that had the center bank straight on similar to mystic, they bricked too. (Don't have that game anymore to fool around with though).

    I had horrible bricking on Stern's Freefall when I had that as well, which was completely because of the new repro drops. I no longer use new drops if I can avoid it.

    I know I've had it on inline drops and single drop (like flash gordon/rolling stones) as well, but no where near as prevalent. I might fast track my Mata Hari swap as that's the only other bally I have issues with (Eight Ball Deluxe doesn't have the bricking issue, and those are new drops, probably the angle you shoot the 7 bank at)

    #8 1 year ago

    I personally researched this when I was at Bally in the 70s. We invested in a Polaroid super-slow-mo instant 8mm camera projector, which was SOA at the time. This allowed Desi D' Percel and myself, actually Desi did the work and I watched, to examine the way targets reacted when hit by the ball and learn why they didn't always fall. When slowed down we learned that when a ball hits the target head on at fast speed the top of the target bends backward into the rubber behind it and bounces back forward before the spring can pull it down. There was no real fix for the problem without a redesign or finding an alternate material to make the targets out of. Any redesign could potentially infringe on Gottlieb's patents so the only fix implemented was adding a ledge to the top of the target.

    Best fix I know to this date is to replace the targets and springs with new parts as the legacy parts are probably worn and dried out.

    #9 1 year ago
    Quoted from BigAl56:

    When slowed down we learned that when a ball hits the target head on at fast speed the top of the target bends backward into the rubber behind it and bounces back forward before the spring can pull it down.

    I could be wrong but I seem to remember seeing pictures of someone here a few years ago who glued stiff steel wire in the back channel of his drop targets to minimise this issue of them flexing?

    #10 1 year ago
    Quoted from Quench:

    I could be wrong but I seem to remember seeing pictures of someone here a few years ago who glued stiff steel wire in the back channel of his drop targets to minimise this issue of them flexing?

    I tried that on one of my Lightning's center drop targets, couldn't really see any improvement. And other things like stronger springs. Never have been able to completely lick the problem.

    3 weeks later
    #11 1 year ago

    Can you check your Lightning's center bank shelf? I don't have any stern drop banks of that era to peak at but based on some of what cottonm4 was posting in the classic stern club implies there's definitely some revisions of stern drops out there. I'd think it wouldn't matter (bally or stern) if you get the target below the ledge it normally sits on, it's going down even if it's bouncing off the back.

    Maybe the stern shelf can be bent back a little more to enhance this effect?

    #12 1 year ago

    I tried this on the Mystic I just rebuilt.

    New Playfield, new “guaranteed to brick” drop targets …

    Works well! The drops do drop pretty consistently.

    Will continue to use going forward. Thanks for the tip!

    rd

    #13 1 year ago

    I have a Stern drop bank with repro drops. If making the bally bank mimic the stern one helps the bally, then what is it about stern repros that make them brick? They already have the "more ideal" shelf, so its something to do with the targets themselves, right?

    #14 1 year ago

    I think it's the plastic the targets are made out of. In my tests, there were 2 types of vintage targets, the 2 that have the translucent plastic drop without bricking 99% of the time. The center drop isn't translucent (even though it's the correct hot stamped design) and drops without bricking about 95% of the time. I don't know what the difference in the plastics is though. I have a couple boxes of about 100 drop targets I've collected over the years that I pull from for replacements.

    I should buy a couple of the new ones on my next PBR order and see how they work out.

    #15 1 year ago
    Quoted from slochar:

    I think it's the plastic the targets are made out of. In my tests, there were 2 types of vintage targets, the 2 that have the translucent plastic drop without bricking 99% of the time. The center drop isn't translucent (even though it's the correct hot stamped design) and drops without bricking about 95% of the time. I don't know what the difference in the plastics is though. I have a couple boxes of about 100 drop targets I've collected over the years that I pull from for replacements.
    I should buy a couple of the new ones on my next PBR order and see how they work out.

    I find the ones from PBR brick just fine if they take a hard direct shot. I strongly suspect the plastic used today is just to far flexible and the head of the target whips back and forth so fast the catch doesn't release.

    #16 1 year ago

    Are there any guesses what family any era of drops were made with? I had a drop break on my Ice Fever and when I got a rep!a cement set they felt like ABS, but the drops for my bally/stern games feel softer for sure.

    #17 1 year ago
    Quoted from desertT1:

    Are there any guesses what family any era of drops were made with? I had a drop break on my Ice Fever and when I got a replacement set they felt like ABS, but the drops for my bally/stern games feel softer for sure.

    Guess I hit quote instead of edit when I went to fix a typo...

    #18 1 year ago
    Quoted from BigAl56:

    I personally researched this when I was at Bally in the 70s. We invested in a Polaroid super-slow-mo instant 8mm camera projector, which was SOA at the time. This allowed Desi D' Percel and myself, actually Desi did the work and I watched, to examine the way targets reacted when hit by the ball and learn why they didn't always fall. When slowed down we learned that when a ball hits the target head on at fast speed the top of the target bends backward into the rubber behind it and bounces back forward before the spring can pull it down. There was no real fix for the problem without a redesign or finding an alternate material to make the targets out of. Any redesign could potentially infringe on Gottlieb's patents so the only fix implemented was adding a ledge to the top of the target.
    Best fix I know to this date is to replace the targets and springs with new parts as the legacy parts are probably worn and dried out.

    BigAl56 I want to say its awesome to hear from they guys who did the testing. Are there any other component tests or problems that you can remember or share?

    #19 1 year ago
    Quoted from Apex:

    BigAl56 I want to say its awesome to hear from they guys who did the testing. Are there any other component tests or problems that you can remember or share?

    Far too many to list here. As time goes by I chip in whenever someone revives a memory.

    1 year later
    #20 2 days ago

    Here is an update on this... The fix does not work long term, or there is some other factor involved. Turned mystic on last week and it's bricking again. Back to the drawing board. Going to try frenchmarky suggestion to smooth out the top of the bank next.

    I have a stern seawitch bank ready to swap in there as well just have to get connectors lined up to make experimentation easier.

    #21 1 day ago

    On Bally games, all D/T rubber rings are doubled.
    If the pictures here are of your game, then, one needs to add a second rubber ring
    to the back sides of each D/T assembly.
    Note:
    with repro playfields the posts are sometimes not positioned to exact placment
    as the OEMs are.

    #22 1 day ago

    On a side note:
    I was hopping to try and do a modified linkage to the plastic
    drop target. I was thinking of an extra spring from the linkage
    to the bottom base plate.. like what Gottlieb has done.

    #23 1 day ago
    Quoted from vec-tor:

    On a side note:
    I was hopping to try and do a modified linkage to the plastic
    drop target. I was thinking of an extra spring from the linkage
    to the bottom base plate.. like what Gottlieb has done.

    I've tried that prior to recent tries.... Doesn't work.

    Also I moved the posts when I did the mystic swap so no double ring needed. I would use a double ring if the ball were in danger of going underneath the plastic.... For the sake of being thorough I'll add one next time I have time and see if there's a difference but knee jerk reaction is that it will get worse since the added ring will stick out more but I'll try anything. A gottlieb four bank won't fit there or I'd already have one in it.

    #24 18 hours ago

    Unfortunately there is no tried and proven fix for Bally DT bricking. If the targets and springs are new just enjoy the game as it is what it is. If anyone comes up with a documented fix for Bally target bricking please post it in a new thread.

    #25 17 hours ago
    Quoted from BigAl56:

    If the targets and springs are new just enjoy the game as it is what it is.

    Is that what ended up happening at Bally? Not being a smartass here but I can see mgmt saying it's good enough stop working it.

    I myself will keep trying things.

    #26 16 hours ago
    Quoted from slochar:

    Is that what ended up happening at Bally? Not being a smartass here but I can see mgmt saying it's good enough stop working it.
    I myself will keep trying things.

    It would be interesting to produce some repro targets using different plastics to see how they compare. No, I don't have a clue how to proceed with that...

    #27 13 hours ago

    Have you tried these from Swinks - I think he's down under, and reading the thread below it sounds like these work.

    As soon as I figure out how to make a link to a topic, I will, but for now....

    Classic Stern Tombstone Drop Targets - now available

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