(Topic ID: 165091)

Black Hole Dead flippers

By StratDoc

3 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 45 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by eyeamred2u
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders


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#1 3 years ago

First, thank you to the Pinsiders that helped me trouble shoot the GI light issue. I have that fixed and now am encountering another issue.

The flippers will randomly go completely dead in the game. The pop bumpers work, the rubbers work, knock down targets work, but the flippers will occasionally go dead for a few seconds and then reactivate. it does not happen every game, but enough to be annoying. Sometimes the scoring will also freeze even though the drop targets, bumpers, etc. are working. The two seem to be related. I played yesterday evening and neither issue occured. This evening it is happening about every third game.

Any thoughts? The game is great but I seem to solve one problem only to encounter another one.


#2 3 years ago

I don't have a manual to check, but see if flipper power runs through a relay underfield front right corner. If so, it may need some attention.

#3 3 years ago

The flippers run through the U-relay. Visually the relay looks fine. Switches are clean and there is good contact. Checked continuity on diode and it is okay.


#4 3 years ago

Quick update. I am working on it this morning before I head into work. I originally thought it was just the flippers randomly going dead for a few seconds. Actually it is the pop bumpers and maybe other parts of the playfield as well. Flippers went dead right out of the top rollovers and the pop bumpers did not fire. Ball just rolled to bottom of the playfield. Again it appears random and last a few seconds before everything reactivates.

#5 3 years ago

I raised the playfield during a game that was causing the dead flippers and pop bumpers. The Q-relay was firing on and off. The schematics shows that the Q relay should be open. When it is open the flippers and pop bumpers on top and bottom playfield are dead. When closed the flippers and pop bumpers are engaged. It just cycles back and forth between open and closed.


#6 3 years ago

I pulled the q relay and cleaned the connections. I also pulled the switch to the lower playfield since it activates the relay to turn off the upper playfield. Now the lower playfield flippers are constantly dead when a ball is on the lower Playfield. The q relay is still firing on and off.

Stumped again?

#7 3 years ago

So I worked on it a little this morning. The lower playfield relay is engaging when the ball drops to the lower playfield, lower playfield lights come on but the flippers do not work. The return to upper playfield switch is now firing multiple,times before disengaging and the top right flipper switch when engaged caused the game score to increase. The intermittent dead flippers and pop bumpers is still occurring as the q relay on the upper playfield cycles open and closed for some unknown reason. I am guessing I have a short somewhere but I have one idea where to begin to diagnose the problem.

Th GI playfield problem Pinsiders helped me solve now appears easy compared to this.

Thanks for your help.


#8 3 years ago

What fires the Q relay? Whatever normally fires it (tilts along with normal end of game) might have an issue or you have a bad Q relay coil, perhaps.

Ground mods complete?

Oh, and did you check the diode for the Q relay coil?

Just some general stuff to think about - I don't have a copy of the schems either. Sorry if that doesn't help!

#9 3 years ago

I have thoroughly gone over the playfield connections, diodes on solenoids , coils, switches, etc. Something keeps randomly causing the q relay - which closes when the game starts - to intermittently open. It does not happen every game, but when it starts happening it is persistent until I shut the game off and restart. I cannot think of anything that would be causing this other than the driver board or MPU. Both are Ni-wumpf boards. The connections between the boards are good - a new 40 pin harness connects them. The transistors on the driver board appear to be okay when tested, although I am getting some variation in the continuity readings. One transistor is cracked and I believe it controls the knocker which is fried - I have disconnected the knocker. I thought it could be a bad wiring connection,but I cannot trigger the problem by pulling or jiggling word and connections. One more thing, when the q relay starts intermittently opening the coil in the coin door also fires.

any thoughts?

#10 3 years ago

I would contact Ace at NiWumph, I have found him to be very helpful and could quickly tell you if it could be anything on the board. Also is it the Q that switches when the ball goes to the lower? Could that switch be messing up?

#11 3 years ago

Ace is incredibly helpful. I would second that.

I have a couple of theories, but they're probably wrong.

If Q does turn off when the ball goes to the lower playfield - yeah, that's a thing to check really carefully.

#12 3 years ago

I emailed Ace yesterday and he suggested the same thing - check switch controlling lower playfield. The lower playfield does not engage when the relay opens. The lower playfield does engage and work properly when the ball drops and then returns to the upper playfield. I believe
this is the relay that determines game over.

#13 3 years ago

Right 'Q' for 'Quit'. That's what I was thinking with my first post.

Alright, moving to the next silly idea - does it only do this on a specific ball?

And next: is there a resistor in-line with the Q coil?

Did you check resistance of Q compared with one of the other relays?

#14 3 years ago

It doesn't seem to be associated with a particular ball. the q relay does have a resistor and the continuity is good. I also checked to see if it was installed in the right direction and it is.

#15 3 years ago

Resistor or diode? If it has a resistor, you need to test for resistance and ensure that it has the proper resistance.

If a diode, you need to ensure that it only has continuity one way.

It definitely has a diode, but I'm not sure about a resistor.

#16 3 years ago

Okay. I got those confused. I do not think it has a resistor. What would I be looking for?

#17 3 years ago

The resistor would be on the driver board?

#18 3 years ago

Not necessarily. I'm sorry, I don't have the schematics in front of me.

Have you tested the coil resistance on 'Q' against its neighbor? Just set your meter on ohms and see if the result is the same.

#19 3 years ago

Okay. Will check it this evening and post back.


#20 3 years ago

Oh, this is silly, but have you thoroughly checked all of your slam and regular tilts to ensure that they are correct and very clean? I think I mentioned that above.

#21 3 years ago

I have checked the tilts and they are in good shape. The slam is in the door mechanism? Yes on it as well.

#22 3 years ago

Slam is on the door, under the playfield and perhaps on the bottom board. I haven't worked on a Black Hole in a long time.

Normally, you'd have other issues if a slam was messed up, but it can cause some funky stuff.

You've cleaned all the tilts?

#23 3 years ago

Yes, cleaned and adjusted all of the tilts.

#24 3 years ago

I tested the coil resistance and it appears to be fine. I played this evening six or seven games before it started happening.

#25 3 years ago

I decided to purchase a new semmer driver board since I have not been able to fix the problem. I installed the board, game booted fine and played fine for several minutes. Then I smelled a coil burning. The ball kicker from lower playfield to upper playfield fried and blew the associated fuse. It somehow locked on. Upon removal of the cool I saw it
did not have a diode - strange that the ni-wumpf driver board never caused this problem. I also noticed that the four top right drop targets would not reset after being hit.

I pulled the swemmer board and reinstalled the ni-wumpf board and the drop targets work properly. I have ordered a new coil and lower playfield transistor for the ball kicker.

Thoughts? Help would be greatly appreciated.

#26 3 years ago

if you didn't make sure you install a diode on the coil that was missing it. Is it possible that as the coil heats up, it gets more resistance from the coil sleeves? Just a thought.

#27 3 years ago

I believe the back emf diodes are all mounted on diode boards not directly on the coil. Test all those diodes. There are a couple resistors on the boards as well need to be 4.7k instead of 10k.

The nice thing about the diode boards are swapping in a new coil without having to worry about which lug do I put which wire on.

#28 3 years ago
Quoted from CNKay:

I believe the back emf diodes are all mounted on diode boards not directly on the coil. Test all those diodes. There are a couple resistors on the boards as well need to be 4.7k instead of 10k.
The nice thing about the diode boards are swapping in a new coil without having to worry about which lug do I put which wire on.

you're right, sorry for my misinformation. I haven't messed with my BH in a while.

#29 3 years ago

I finally decided to put the ni-wumpf hoard back in. The game plays fine except for the intermittent dead flipper and pop-bumper issue that is caused by the quit relay temporarily disengaging. I spend some time the other night jiggling the wires on the 40 pin connector that connects the driver board to the playfield specifically the wires that connect to,the quit relay. I also cleaned the driver board edge connector with an eraser. Things have now gotten a little better. The intermittent dead flippers are happening less frequently. I can sometimes get through several games before having a problem. I was thinking about pulling the wires that connect to the quit relay and installing new crimp pins. I have never worked on the connectors before. Is this a difficult task and how best do I go about doing it?

I will likely send the swemmer board back to be checked out. I can only hypothesize that something on the board corrupted or fried when the up kicker from the lower playfield burned out along with the playfield mounted transistor.

Thanks for everyone's help.

1 week later
#30 3 years ago

I though I would send an update.

I am continuing to trouble shoot the dead flipper and pop bumper issue that is caused by the quit relay randomly engaging and then disengaging in game. It appears it might be related to a short in the A3J2 edge connector. I can cause the quit relay to engage and then disengage in game by pressing on the edge of the connector. Last night I cleaned the connections on the driver board and worked on adjusting the connector pins and was able to play with no issues. I could still cause the quit relay to engage by pushing in the connector but really had to apply quite a bit of pressure where previously all I had to do was gently push on the connector. I have ordered a new edged connector and pins.

Any thoughts on why this connection would be causing the problem? Looking at the schematics I cannot find any path from the A3J2 edge connector and the quit relay.



#31 3 years ago

I am posting to say the issue is resolved. I replaced the A3J2 edge connector and have not had any issues with the the quit relay randomly disengaging in game causing flipper and pop bumpers to stop working.

As posted above, I would be interested in people's thoughts on why this edge connector was causing the problem. When looking at the schematics I do not see any connection from A3J2 edge connector and the quit relay.

Thanks for everyone's help.

#32 3 years ago

Nice find!

#33 3 years ago

It is back.... The man quit relay started disengaging during game yesterday. Let me give a recap so you do not have to read through this entire post. So damn frustrating!

1) the quit relay will randomly disengage for a few seconds during game. This turns off all game functionality for just a few seconds, flippers, pop bumpers, etc. it will then re-engage and everything works properly. It does not happen every game but sometimes happens multiple times during a single game.

2). Everything related to the relay has been checked over and adjusted so it is not being caused by the switch, coil, diode, Etc.

3) thinking it might be the driver board I started looking more closely at connections on the board. It is a NiWumpf driver board. Game also has a swemmer power supply, original sound board, and NiWumpf MPU.

4) I discovered that I can cause the problem to occur by pushing on the A2J3 edge connection. If the edge connector is not connected to the driver board pushing on the driver board does not cause it to happen. I will post a video later this evening when I get some time show exactly what happens.

5). I replaced and repinned the edge connector for A3J2 and the game played beautifully for a couple of days. I though I had resolved the issue. Last night the problem started again. I can push on the new repinned edge connection at A2J3 and cause the quit relay to disengage during game.

I am at my wits end with this problem. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.



#34 3 years ago

Hope you get this fixed! I have a HH and the best thing I did was rebuild every single edge connector. I bought all the molex connectors and pins from GPE and just did a few at a time when I felt like it.

If you haven't already, make sure all the well-known sys80 gremlins are worked out and do the bulletproofing. If you can find it, I find clays sys80 guide easiest to work through. Like all pins, the power/ground should be reliable before you troubleshoot further.

#35 3 years ago

Well that sucks. It really sounds like you may have a wire with an internal break. You may wish to run a couple new wires that are applying the power to the coil. If the temporary wires work then it is up to you about matching colors, un wrapping harness etc. But if done neatly I see no problem with using what you have handy. Just be sure to copy schematic and update with colors etc so at some point down the road the next guy isn't scratching his head to much.

#36 3 years ago

Have you done the ground mods? Yes replacing pins on the connectors can be difficult if you don't have the correct tools and experience. There are some good illustration and learning sites such as you tube, pinwiki etc. I would check A3J3 connection from pin A to the relay and see if continuity breaks while playing with the wires.

#37 3 years ago

thanks. I cannot load a video, but if I could you would see me push the A3J2 edge connection and hear click which is the quit relay disengaging. As soon as I release,the edge connector another click and the quit relay has re-engaged.

Damn frustrating.

All mods have been done, but I will go back over them. Jiggling the quit relay wire at pin A on A3J3 wire color red/slate/slate does not break continuity.

#38 3 years ago

I am going to order another 10 pin connector and repin the A3J2 connection to the driver board. My thought is that after adding each wire I connect to A3J2 and push on the connector to see if I can find out which wire is causing the problem.

Will keep you posted.

#39 3 years ago

Another update.

It was suggests that I clean and retin the edge connection on the board. I cleaned the edge connection on the board with an eraser and then retinned the board using solder - basically but a small amount of solder on each connection and wiped it away before it hardened so there would be no solder mounds, etc. I reinstalled the board, starts a game and pushed on the edge connector with my thumb. The quit relay did not disengage from pushing on the on the connector so I though the problem was solved. I played several games with no issue, and then during a game the quit relay randomly disengaged as before. I opened the back box and sure enough I could again push on the edged connector at A3J2 and manually cause the quit relay to disengage.

BTW Ace at NiWumpf said he has encountered this type of problem before. His suggestion was to clean the connctor on the board - done - and replace the entire wire harness.

The problem is driving me nuts trying to resolve. I plan on repinning the connector one more time installing each wire and then connecting to see if I can isolate which wire(s) is causing the problem. I am also tying to find a full wire harness for the connection. Last option I guess will be to replace the driver board - ugh.

Any advice is still apprciated.

#40 3 years ago


I repinned the connector for the second time. It is the green ground wire that is causing the problem. I know it is not shorted at the connector since it has been repinned twice.

#41 3 years ago

As I continue to trouble shoot this problem I noticed the A3J4 connector had two wires in the wrong place. The A pin had green/slate/slate - this wire cpgoes to the controlled extra ball lamp- and the C pin had red/slate/slate - this wire goes to the quit relay. It should be the opposite according to the schematic. I changed the wires so they were in the right place according to the schematic. This fixed the issue with the quit relay but caused a different problem. The "extra ball" lamp now comes on when I hit the flippers. If I push on the A3J3 edge connector instead of the quit relay disengaging the coin door selonoid fires.

Thoughts anyone? The upside to all of this is I am learning a lot.

#42 3 years ago

You need to rebuild the connectors. Sounds like a broken wire in one of your connectors. Had this problem and once I rebuilt my harness, problem solved. I had a Black Hole and I chased problems for a long time. Have to bulletproof it. Are you sure you have a good board? If you flex the male end and the "Q" relay drops, may be a problem in the board. I have seen people solder wires to the board to avoid the connection. Also, if you can use the google groups forum, Steve Charland is a wiz. I think John Robertson is on this website as well. Hot them up for answers.

1 week later
#43 3 years ago

I am closing this post as problem solved. Let me recap the issue so folks do not have to read this long thread, my attempts to fix the problem, and the workaround/solution.

1) q relay was disengaging randomly during games. Sometimes I could play with no problems, other times it would disengage several times during a game. This would cause the upper playfield to go dead for a few seconds and then reactivate when the q relay re-engaged.

2) checked all switches, made necessary adjustments on switches that would activate the q relay. Checked switch to lower playfield as well. Also checked connections at the switch and the diode.

3) I next checked to make sure all ground mods had been properly done. Everything checked out okay.

4) I next looked at the driver board connections and harnesses. I discovered that by pressing on the A3J2 connector with my thumb I could cause the q relay to disengage by slightly flexing the driver board. I rewired A3J2 twice and the adjacent double sided connector A3J3. I also checked all wiring at each connection against the schematics to make sure everything was wired correctly - very tedious took most of an afternoon. Everything was wired correctly. I also added a thin layer of solder to the edge connectors to build them up a little. None of these efforts solved the problem.

5) I went back to the schematics and looked for pathways on the driver board that affected the q relay. I started bypassing parts of the driver board by wiring directly from the top of an edge connection to its associated transistor. This was trial and error, but finally found the path that was causing the problem. It was A3J2 connecting up to A3J3 transistor Q2. See attached picture. Q2 transistor controls the tilt relay but then connects to the q relay controlled by Q1. So bottom line there is a connection problem on the board - maybe a hairline crack or poor solder track.

Thanks to everyone's help with this problem. Moral of the story, persistence, patience, and systematically going through the steps to fix the problem payoff. It also helps to have knowledgeable people from pinside guide you along the way.

P.S. I have corresponded with Ace - David Hunphrey - at NiWumpf several times along the way. It is a Nisumpf driver board. I cannot say enough positive things about his help. He has offered to fix the board at no cost, and at some point I will send it to him. Right now I am going to enjoy playing a fully functional Black Hole!

Thanks again for everyone's help.

image (resized).jpeg

#44 3 years ago

Nice find. Pain in the ass to troubleshoot those little fractures.

#45 3 years ago

Glad the problem was solved and we could point you in the right direction.


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