(Topic ID: 293411)

Doodle Bug is slow

By zacaj

3 years ago


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  • 30 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by zacaj
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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#1 3 years ago

I've got a Dipsy Doodle and a Love Bug. A friend has a Doodle Bug. Their Doodle Bug's doodle bug doodles super fast. Like, almost as fast as you could rip a spinner. Really fun. My Love Bug doodles at an alright speed. Not as fast as their Doodle Bug, but. My Dipsy Doodle doodles super slow. Not exciting to play at all. So I've been trying to narrow down what could be causing it. So far I've:
- cleaned all contacts in the path of the power to the magnet and gapped them as close as possible
- cleaned and waxed the channel where the ball rolls back and forth
- put in a new 7/8" ball per the parts manual
- played with the gap on the switch below the magnet. I've tried gapping it as close as possible or as far as possible, as well as moving the upper blade (which the switch rests on) to place as much or as little tension on the switch as possible
- replaced doodle bug fuse holder+fuse
- cleaned the appropriate plugs on the jones plug going from the board to the playfield and tightened the fingers that grip the plugs
- checked magnet resistance to make sure magnet is correct and within spec
- checked resistance from the line cord to the magnet and back to make sure there isn't some bad connection somewhere (both sides measured under 1 ohm)
- tried playing with the values of the resistor that's in parallel with the magnet (to no discernable effect)
- checked line voltage (120-122 in both locations)

Is there anything I'm missing here? I can't really figure out what's causing it to have such a difference in speed. Next thing I'll be doing is buying a new power cord to install just in case, but the existing one doesn't look bad or anything....

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#2 3 years ago

New rubber on the posts in there? I used to have a Doodle Bug but never looked at or needed to work on that unit, always 'doodled' nice and fast.

So is the magnet in the center? And the button fires the 'pulse relay' and that relay is what is actually completing the circuit to the magnet? If so perhaps you want to try more gap on those relay switches to slightly shorten the pulse to the magnet (since you say you gapped them as close as possible which is not typically 'normal'.) The ball is flinging back and forth in there pretty darn fast and a small difference in timing might make a difference.

#3 3 years ago

I replaced the rubbers when I shipped the game a while ago. They seem clean, but I guess it can't hurt to replace them.

The magnet is "around" the center. The center has the switch, which sticks down through the magnet to the blades underneath. When the switch is closed (ball is in the center), the pulse relay energizes, which kills power to the magnet until the ball leaves the center (via momentum) and the switch opens again.

I'll try gapping the relay contacts wider, hadn't considered that. I'm used to things like pop bumper relays where you want the fastest reaction time possible, so I gapped them close, but I guess there could be some weird timing thing going on since this is a repeated action that changes things...

#5 3 years ago

Both of those pulse switches are on the same relay, right? Wonder why they thought it needed two in series like that. Maybe in case one got stuck closed, the coil couldn't fry itself?

#6 3 years ago

Maybe to also provide two sets of heavy duty contacts to distribute the pitting caused by arcing.

#7 3 years ago
Quoted from frenchmarky:

Both of those pulse switches are on the same relay, right? Wonder why they thought it needed two in series like that. Maybe in case one got stuck closed, the coil couldn't fry itself?

Yeah, that is weird. Safety if one stuck is the only thing I can think of too. I tried connecting them in parallel instead but it didn't make much difference.

Quoted from MarkG:

Maybe to also provide two sets of heavy duty contacts to distribute the pitting caused by arcing.

Wouldn't they need to be in parallel to distribute the current? I'd think both of these have the same stress on them as just having a single contact

#8 3 years ago
Quoted from zacaj:

Wouldn't they need to be in parallel to distribute the current? I'd think both of these have the same stress on them as just having a single contact

Black Knight does that with the magnets, two switches in the relay wired in parallel. One switch would still get burnt a little more than the other since they aren't going to close at *exactly* the same time, but at least the power is distributed thru both switches once the magnet is on.

#9 3 years ago
Quoted from zacaj:

Wouldn't they need to be in parallel to distribute the current? I'd think both of these have the same stress on them as just having a single contact

The one that opened and broke the circuit first would get the arc. The other would open when there's no current. If they open at about the same time either one could open first. If they're not adjusted the same one would always win and take the hit.

Same thing if they're wired in parallel except that the one that opened last would take the hit.

#10 3 years ago

Looking at how the thing works it's probably a really tight timing thing, where there is a very small sweet spot of how far the ball is from the center of the magnet when it cuts it off. Via the button switch gap and the relay switches' gaps. Maybe it is at the max distance, where the button switch *closes* as early as possible to fire the pulse relay, and the pulse relay switch(es) *open* as early as possible to actually cut the magnet. Or the sweet spot is somewhere close to that.

#11 3 years ago

ball composition? Can you put your Love Bug ball in and see if it makes a difference?

#12 3 years ago
Quoted from baldtwit:

ball composition? Can you put your Love Bug ball in and see if it makes a difference?

Ooh good point! They're both new balls but I'm not sure if I got them from the same place or anything. I'll give it a shot!

#13 3 years ago

I think Baldtwit was implying that different compositions of steel pinballs might have different magnetic properties.
The two most common pinball makeups tend to be chrome steel or carbon steel. I am not sure myself as to how differently each type might behave in a machine with magnets, but it's worth a try.

#14 3 years ago

Tried swapping the balls, no change.

Tried gapping the pulse relay switches wide, no change

#15 3 years ago

Are your two games with the Doodle unit both set to the same angle with the levelers, and how high? You could try angling the game higher or lower temporarily by putting something under the front or rear levelers just to see if that makes any noticeable difference. Who knows how the guy with the Doodle Bug has that game set, everybody sets their games different.

I'd think the unit would operate at maximum speed/efficiency the lower the slant. Too high a slant and the magnet is fighting harder to pull the ball up vs. pulling it down.

#16 3 years ago
Quoted from frenchmarky:

Are your two games with the Doodle unit both set to the same angle with the levelers, and how high? You could try angling the game higher or lower temporarily by putting something under the front or rear levelers just to see if that makes any noticeable difference. Who knows how the guy with the Doodle Bug has that game set, everybody sets their games different.
I'd think the unit would operate at maximum speed/efficiency the lower the slant. Too high a slant and the magnet is fighting harder to pull the ball up vs. pulling it down.

Another good point. Both mine are the same, about 5.5 degrees. No idea what the other one is at

#17 3 years ago

EM games were originally built for and specified by the manufacturer to be around 3.5 degrees (Gottlieb definitely specified that) though many people like to slant them more than that. If changing the angle significantly improves the Doodle, I suppose the game could be cranked up as much as you want, but then adjust the Doodle unit angle back down with some selected spacers/washers under it where it mounts to the playfield.

#18 3 years ago

if you haver the right resistor back in there, I'd probably pull the main 10A fuse in the 110V circuit, jumper the yellow wire to the orange wire on the doodle bug fuse, then use a power strip to turn the power on/off and see what the ball does.

don't leave the power on long, but see how fast you can get the ball moving.

if that works a lot better, you can move the jumper around to see if a poor contact is limiting current which wouldn't show up in a resistance check.

you can also stick your voltmeter on the coil/resistor ends and power the coil long enough to see if you get 120V on the coil or something a lot less. If a lot less, leave a probe on the black wire and move the other along the circuit path to the yellow wire. The key thing is you need the circuit to be closed and the current flowing to see if you have voltage drops where you shouldn't.

#19 3 years ago

<<if that works a lot better, you can move the jumper around to see if a poor contact is limiting current which wouldn't show up in a resistance check. >>

Seems like he's virtually eliminated any problems with the contacts, cleaned them, even put the two pulse switches in parallel with zero improvement. The only things left are the switch in the Doodle Bug relay which would be a good thing to try jumping and then watch the Doodle Bug run and see if any change just in case it's got an issue with that switch point(s) connection to the switch leaves or something. And maybe change/clean the main line fuse holder and fuse since you did change the the Doodle Bug's fuse holder but not the main.

What other resistors did you try? How does the doodle perform with the resistor totally disconnected, the same?

What is that resistor for anyway, for 'dialing in' the resultant power of the magnet? Or another safety thing for the magnet in case it gets locked on?

#21 3 years ago
Quoted from frenchmarky:

What other resistors did you try? How does the doodle perform with the resistor totally disconnected, the same?

What is that resistor for anyway, for 'dialing in' the resultant power of the magnet? Or another safety thing for the magnet in case it gets locked on?

I've tried 450ohm and 550ohm to see if it made any difference. Also tried removing it. None had any noticeable effect. I don't know what the purpose of the resistor is

#22 3 years ago
Quoted from zacaj:

I've tried 450ohm and 550ohm to see if it made any difference. Also tried removing it. None had any noticeable effect. I don't know what the purpose of the resistor is

Probably ensuring a bit of a load so it's not like a dead short if the coil shorts, or bleeding off any inductive load stored in the coil?

#23 3 years ago

Just a shot in the dark here - is the Doodle Bug fired by the score motor’s turn? I remember a thread from a few years ago where the game was a reimport and the score motor was running slower than a US game. The motor was for the higher European voltage, so it ran slower on 110v. Obviously, scores would reset slower along with all game functions too.

#24 3 years ago

No, the bug runs on its own at 110v.

#25 3 years ago

Tried lowering the inline of the playfield. Surprisingly, it had no visible effect. I guess since the ball is 'powered' in both directions, gravity helps as much as it hurts?

Took out the round plastic switch actuator. It was really dirty. Cleaned it and the hole it goes in. No effect.

Replaced the rubber rings with new Titans. No effect. As far as I can tell, my magnet isn't even strong enough to reliably hit the top rubber, which seems wrong.

Replaced the power cord. Old one was a 20ga lamp cord. Very slight improvement.

Noticed that sometimes the score reels were buzzing when scoring during play like they were stuck on, which I tracked down to the Stop relay (triggered by some rollovers around the playfield) actually being physically stuck closed sometimes when activated. Sanded the plate and fixed that. I figured that if the Pulse Relay was also sticking occasionally, that'd explain a lot, so I sanded it too. No effect.

Replaced the fuse holder and fuse. No effect.

I double checked the resistance of the magnet. It's reading 55 ohms. I'm not sure exactly what it's supposed to be (people on the internet seem to think between 48 and 53) but it doesn't seem too out of line. Maybe I'll try to track down a replacement...

Still have to try jumpering some stuff to see if that changes things

#26 3 years ago

Does the AC line voltage at your house measure the same as your friends house? I've seen some EM's suffer if the line voltage is a little lower than expected.

#27 3 years ago
Quoted from tjw998:

Does the AC line voltage at your house measure the same as your friends house? I've seen some EM's suffer if the line voltage is a little lower than expected.

I haven't been able to measure theirs but I also played their game on a show floor and it was still great. Can't imagine my line voltage is worse than a show's

#28 3 years ago

At this point I'd be tempted to directly power it off a cord with a light switch or power bar to toggle it.

Bypass everything and see if the magnet works.

3 months later
#29 2 years ago

I was so excited to find this thread here! Sad to see that it ended three months ago with no solution. After reading this entire thread, and knowing that I have two Dipsy Doodles with the same lethargic Doodle Bug issue.... do we consider the possibility that this is a title specific problem; meaning that maybe this problem only occurs in Dipsy Doodle?

#30 2 years ago
Quoted from Bad-Sir-Ivan:

I was so excited to find this thread here! Sad to see that it ended three months ago with no solution. After reading this entire thread, and knowing that I have two Dipsy Doodles with the same lethargic Doodle Bug issue.... do we consider the possibility that this is a title specific problem; meaning that maybe this problem only occurs in Dipsy Doodle?

I was able to source a new magnet, but I haven't been able to install it yet since the game is on location now

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