(Topic ID: 160969)

Early Bally SS bumper light sockets driving me crazy


By BJM-Maxx

2 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 18 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by BJM-Maxx
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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There have been 6 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

06_lean_the_socket_over_(resized).JPG
05_mount_socket_aside_(resized).JPG
04_snip_the_leads_(resized).JPG
03_bend...no,_clean_the_spoon_(resized).JPG
02_pops_clean,_polished_(resized).JPG
01_exploded_pop_bumpers_(resized).JPG

#1 2 years ago

Just finished two restorations, Eight Ball, and Xenon. In both cases I replaced the corroded bumper light sockets with new ones from Marco. They are driving me crazy. Brand new installed, they flickered, so I tweaked them with pliers to tighten them up. The problem is the tang underneath gives way no matter how carefully I insert the bulb.

On Eight Ball vibration from the bumpers blew #49s after 30 minutes of play, I gave up and put in LEDs, not sure if I did something wrong with respect to vibration.

On Xenon, the LEDs turn on an off with the vibrations. If you didn't know the machines you might think they were controlled lighting.

Any suggestions? I tried a 55 style socket in Eight Ball but there is no room under the caps. Xenon is really the problem, I just cannot keep the lights on stably.

#2 2 years ago

You've got to be careful with the tang, if you bend it too far, it loses it's tension for good.

Try roughing up the bulb nipple by dragging it on the concrete.

#3 2 years ago

Those machines need #47 bulbs with new sockets. I get mine from PBR. Don't give up as you will get it working right. They are frustrating but worth the effort.

#4 2 years ago

That is why I always replace them with wedges/555s.

You can try this: Instead of inserting the lamp and rotating 90 degrees so the peg rests in the divot (as designed); rotate the lamp only 45 degrees so the peg is still contacting the rim. It will still vibrate loose eventually but is more dependable that way.

If it were me, I'd replace those sockets with new wedge base sockets. If you press the socket against the bumper body wall before you staple/solder, then you can lean it over to provide plenty of clearance to the cap.

I'll do it to this Baseball I'm Rejuvenating right now and shoot some pics.

#5 2 years ago

This style of bumper body does not leave a lot of room above the bulb to do anything new. I could not fit a 555 socket into it. I have tried the 45 degree trick as well which does help. I guess I will try roughing the center contact on the LEDs.

#6 2 years ago
Quoted from BJM-Maxx:

Brand new installed, they flickered, so I tweaked them with pliers to tighten them up. The problem is the tang underneath gives way no matter how carefully I insert the bulb.

I assume this means you squeezed the socket so it took effort to even push the bulb into the socket? It's not just the tang that's the problem with the sockets. Besides bending the tang up a little bit, I squeeze the top with needle nose pliers, doesn't take much. The connection is solid after that.

#7 2 years ago

Yes, I always squeeze the sockets, new or old. I also keep a small nail with a 90 degree bend in it to pull the tang upward if it gets pushed down.

#8 2 years ago

If you're using LED's in the bumpers remove the sockets completely, tack solder wires to a 44/47 or 555 LED and run the wires through the bumper body & playfield and solder them to the PF wiring. Leave some slack but remember that since they are LED's, they shouldn't burn out in theory for many, many years.
Maybe place a glob of Silastic etc. in the bumper cavity to hold the LED in place.

Then, when you sell the machine, look here for a whiny "Hack of the week" crybaby thread about this dependable way to solve your bumper socket issue.

#9 2 years ago

I have considered such a thing, soldering the LEDs and almost suggested it as a last resort in my first post. I am not positive I understand the root cause of the issue. Despite squeezing the socket and making it tough to insert, I am not sure the socket is round enough that if it rotates that it won't cause the intermittent connection. Under the tang area I pull it up with my custom nail, then carefully insert the bulb pushing down only as much as I have to. I find it hard to believe that the tang is loose underneath. That leaves me with corrosion (although the socket is new) and the tip of the bulb not maintaining continuity. I would really prefer not to have a hardwired light if I can avoid it.

Thanks for all the ideas.

#10 2 years ago

Make the solder ball on the end of the bulb taller. Be sure to swab the new solder ball with alcohol to clean off the invisible solder flux before putting the bulb into the socket.

#11 2 years ago

OK, I may have to recant a bit. The wedge base sockets that I used to get from pinball resource used to have a black plastic housing. Those were much more rugged than these gray ones I got in my last order. So this procedure still works, but it's a bit more difficult because you have to bend the leads in the right spots to get them to feed through...the black ones you could push in and just press them against the side of the bumper body and the leads would form themselves to the pressure. These gray ones just break.

So not so much of an upgrade anymore due to poor quality wedge sockets.

Same as any other pop bumper rebuild.
01_exploded_pop_bumpers_(resized).JPG

I love putting that mirror finish on the rings.
02_pops_clean,_polished_(resized).JPG

Don't forget to clean the spoon.
03_bend...no,_clean_the_spoon_(resized).JPG

Snip the leads into points so they don't catch on every obstruction.
04_snip_the_leads_(resized).JPG

Here it gets a little complicated. You have to put a 'flip bend' in the leads on both sides of the socket to get them going in the right direction. Then you have to bend-n-fit to get the leads to go all the way down with the socket against the body wall. The black sockets you could install normally, then just press it to the side. The gray ones don't like that at all.
05_mount_socket_aside_(resized).JPG

Then just lean the socket over. This gives PLENTY of room between the lamp and cap to prevent the scorching that always happens with vertically mounted sockets.
06_lean_the_socket_over_(resized).JPG

#12 2 years ago

I have some of those grey ones as I thought I might use them. I guess I just did not consider bending them so much. How did things work when these machines were new?

#13 2 years ago
Quoted from BJM-Maxx:

I have some of those grey ones as I thought I might use them. I guess I just did not consider bending them so much. How did things work when these machines were new?

They had those bayonet sockets and #44s in 'em. I suppose they worked about as well as the ones today, which is pretty poorly.

#14 2 years ago

I had your problem with pops on one pin. So I put a small dab of elmer's glue along the side of the sockets and that stopped the problem. The new problem created is how will I get it unglued when the bulb burns out. ???

For my other machine I'm working on I went with the 555 wedge that is mentioned here. To feed the wedge leads into the pop body, I had to drill the holes in the pop body and that other piece out to a larger size hole. That let the wedge leads slide in fine, but then I ran into the clearance problem you mentioned. I got some longer pop cap screws and some 1/4" nylon spacers to raise the pop caps up higher. It looks different but it looks OK. I may try that pretzel bend stuff the other poster demonstrated.

#15 2 years ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

I had your problem with pops on one pin. So I put a small dab of elmer's glue along the side of the sockets and that stopped the problem. The new problem created is how will I get it unglued when the bulb burns out. ???

Stern uses glue from a Hot Glue gun

#16 2 years ago

The problem here is poor quality aftermarket sockets.
I have the same problem on my Mata Hari.

The solution is to let your parts retailer know your frustration. Then perhaps they will push their source for improvements.

#17 2 years ago
Quoted from MrBally:

If you're using LED's in the bumpers remove the sockets completely, tack solder wires to a 44/47 or 555 LED and run the wires through the bumper body & playfield and solder them to the PF wiring. Leave some slack but remember that since they are LED's, they shouldn't burn out in theory for many, many years.
Maybe place a glob of Silastic etc. in the bumper cavity to hold the LED in place.

If you use the direct solder method. make sure to use flexible stranded wire... it holds up better to the vibration. If their ever is a break, it will be where the solder has stiffened the wire at the solder joint. Leave enough slack to pull the bulb up for a repair in the future just in case that happens.

#18 2 years ago
Quoted from Pintopia:

The problem here is poor quality aftermarket sockets.
I have the same problem on my Mata Hari.
The solution is to let your parts retailer know your frustration. Then perhaps they will push their source for improvements.

I think you are right, these are so finicky there is no way they would work in real arcade service. I think next time I will scrape the old one clean and use some dielectric grease to keep them from oxidizing.

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