(Topic ID: 96539)

EM guys: what are your thoughts on high-tap?


By swampfire

5 years ago



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  • Latest reply 4 years ago by Gerry
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    #1 5 years ago

    There are only 4 posts on Pinside with the text "high tap", so I think it's time for an adult discussion about this. Can we mess up our EMs with high tap? If you get a high score with high tap, does it count? What does high tap have to do with high-gravity beer?

    #2 5 years ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    What does high tap have to do with high-gravity beer?

    Actually, I can answer this one. My friend left me a high-gravity (13%) beer last night, and as I poured it into my glass tonight it reminded me that I wanted to high-tap my new Abra Ca Dabra.

    #3 5 years ago

    Just my opinion... Just say no to high tap. I think it makes the game easier, and I don't like my games easy. The shots don't need to be as precise. You can hit targets near the top easily. So does a score on high tap count? Only against another high tap score. As for messing up the game, you do risk breaking plastics more, and parts will wear more over time, but other than breakage and wear, not much damage.

    So unless you have low voltage at your location set them up normal. EM games are supposed to be a bitch. It is part of their charm.

    #4 5 years ago

    I agree...just say no to high tap! : ) if game is dialed in I have never found the need to do so...nor would I. Same goes for yellow-dot flipper coils for EM's. DaveH said it all IMHO. Just to see what is is like you can always try it...easy to reverse.

    #5 5 years ago

    Shop the game properly and wax the playfield. If your line voltage is 110-120VAC, there is no need to high tap. Show situations sometimes call for high tapping, as the voltage can sink low when all those games are running simultaneously. I've had games that play snappy at home, play a little mushy at shows. I'm going to look into getting a buck/boost transformer to bring to shows for this reason.

    #6 5 years ago

    I think high tap solves one problem and creates three new ones in the process. You wind up putting more stress than you need to on the steppers, the reels, the kickers, and all the other parts that don't need extra power, and pretty soon things start breaking.

    When the machines were new they could probably handle the additional stress since they were over-engineered to begin with. The trouble is, we're dealing with 50 and 60 year old machines with thousands and thousands of plays--it's like taking an old New York City Checker Cab and putting a new 454 V-8 engine in it. Sure, it goes faster, until the wheels fall off.

    I've got one machine that came to me on high tap. Two pop bumper frames were cracked, both the 10,000 and 100,000 steppers had switches with blades snapped off, one had a broken bakelite linkage, and the machine had the worst coils I've ever seen with disintegrated coil stops, mushroomed plungers, you name it. I can't prove it was the high tapping that did it, but it sure looks like it to me.

    At least with the high power flipper coils you're limiting the extra power to one assembly, but I don't want anything to do with high tapping an entire machine.

    #7 5 years ago

    This is great feedback, thanks everyone. I've changed the title to be less silly.

    #8 5 years ago

    Unless you have low power issues at the wall socket (<110V), then it isn't necessary if the flippers are rebuilt.

    #9 5 years ago

    I didn't know this stuff, but it's all good info. Thanks, folks!

    #10 5 years ago
    Quoted from schudel5:

    it isn't necessary if the flippers are rebuilt

    Friends don't let friends high-tap

    #11 5 years ago
    Quoted from wizzardz:

    Friends don't let friends high-tap

    Or install LEDs.

    #12 5 years ago

    Or action figures.

    #13 5 years ago

    I've got a couple games that are high tapped, and I've never broken a plastic on them yet.

    How do you guys who are so anti high tap square this idea with Williams games that use DC power to the bumpers, slings etc? Those games are way faster than regular tap AC games, but again, I don't see any increase in breakage of plastics etc.

    I think a lot of plastics get broken because people crank them down too hard to the posts and leave no give to them. I've seen just as many broken plastics on regular tap AC games as I have on DC games or high tap AC games.

    It's your game. Do what you want with it. Groupthink is often not very pretty.

    #14 5 years ago

    I think Clay's guide mentioned using high-tap, so I'd love to hear his thoughts on this. I would guess high-tap makes a lot more sense for a setup like the PHOF, with lots of games on the same circuit.

    #15 5 years ago

    I do not High tap any of my machines. My Gottliebs get Orange Dot Coils for the extra zip to the top of the Playfields from the Flippers as I have them at a 5 - 5-1/2 degree pitch. Between these 2 the games are fast enough and to date I have never broken a Drop Target or Plastic doing this.

    Ken

    #16 5 years ago

    2 things that might be interesting (albeit possibly only to me)...

    it would be interesting to see a measured wall voltage and a measured secondary voltage...

    it would also be interesting to see wall voltage measurements at different times of the day, especially now that summer is here...

    #17 5 years ago
    Quoted from ccotenj:

    2 things that might be interesting (albeit possibly only to me)...
    it would be interesting to see a measured wall voltage and a measured secondary voltage...
    it would also be interesting to see wall voltage measurements at different times of the day, especially now that summer is here...

    Your local house voltage can also vary depending on where you are on the local transmission lines. I live on a major trunk line. My wall voltage is always between 122-125 !

    #18 5 years ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    I think Clay's guide mentioned using high-tap, so I'd love to hear his thoughts on this. I would guess high-tap makes a lot more sense for a setup like the PHOF, with lots of games on the same circuit.

    He specifically says in the guides that he likes high tapping games. But do what you want.

    #19 5 years ago

    I have only high Tapped one Gottlieb in my collection so far. That was King Pin. Not so much for me but rather for the public when it was out on route. The average player likes the extra power when it comes to hitting drop targets. It made the game too easy for me to play. But in this case, I did a special Hi Tapping. In this era Gottlieb, they ran a separate solenoid wire to the playfield (from the transformer). I located only that wire and moved it to hi tap while leaving the back box and bottom board wires in place. Therefore, the only things that got higher power were Flippers, Pops and the on-playfield relays (which go dead on game over). So, no chance of burning up Hold Relays etc.

    The other game I recently did was a Doodle Bug I was selling. Those pre-DC WMS games are just dead - even after putting all new plungers, links and sleeves in the flips, slings, and Jet Bumpers. Even after hi-tapping and the rebuilds, there still was not much power out of the Bumpers but the slings and flippers surely benefited from the extra power. I almost DCed the whole game but decided against it in the end.

    As one person said, Hi Tapping probably makes the game too easy for the accomplished player. A properly shopped game usually plays "just right" for me. But I will admit, the general public and even the novice collector will appreciate the extra advantage they get with more power.

    #20 5 years ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    I have only high Tapped one Gottlieb in my collection so far. That was King Pin. Not so much for me but rather for the public when it was out on route. The average player likes the extra power when it comes to hitting drop targets. It made the game too easy for me to play. But in this case, I did a special Hi Tapping. In this era Gottlieb, they ran a separate solenoid wire to the playfield (from the transformer). I located only that wire and moved it to hi tap while leaving the back box and bottom board wires in place. Therefore, the only things that got higher power were Flippers, Pops and the on-playfield relays (which go dead on game over). So, no chance of burning up Hold Relays etc.
    The other game I recently did was a Doodle Bug I was selling. Those pre-DC WMS games are just dead - even after putting all new plungers, links and sleeves in the flips, slings, and Jet Bumpers. Even after hi-tapping and the rebuilds, there still was not much power out of the Bumpers but the slings and flippers surely benefited from the extra power. I almost DCed the whole game but decided against it in the end.
    As one person said, Hi Tapping probably makes the game too easy for the accomplished player. A properly shopped game usually plays "just right" for me. But I will admit, the general public and even the novice collector will appreciate the extra advantage they get with more power.

    I wouldn't say I'm a novice, but I also wouldn't say I'm the most accomplished player ever either. I've only done it when I thought it would make a game more fair.

    Example-Top Card. Now, almost every shot on that game is available via a flipper shot. Except, the Ace. There is no way to get a direct shot at it. You either need a bumper hit or a lucky bounce off a side target shot. The bumpers just aren't strong enough to give you a fair shot at the Ace. So I high tapped it. I thought that made the game more fair as there simply isn't any way you can get that target via skill.

    I'd rather leave it on regular and shop the game properly and that's basically what I've done on most games. But guys use orange/yellow dot flipper coils all the time, and I don't see a whole lot of difference between doing that and using high tap.

    #21 5 years ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    But guys use orange/yellow dot flipper coils all the time, and I don't see a whole lot of difference between doing that and using high tap.

    Big difference

    By using more powerful Flipper coils you are only getting the advantage of a stronger Flipper, not the Slingshots and Pop Bumpers, thus you are not making the game easier to play per say, just making sure that you can reach the top of the Playfield with the Flippers the way the game was intended, but with a bit more zing.

    I believe Orange Dot Coils for Gottliebs can accomplish this task quite well, however Yellow Dot Coils IMO is just too over the top and has been proven in some cases to cause damage to Playfield parts prematurely.

    Ken

    #22 5 years ago

    I have low line voltage in my garage. Most of my EMs play just fine without "high tap". But when we do want high tap, I just run an extension cord up to the house.

    #23 5 years ago

    Another option is to take some windings off the Bumper Coils (or use a different P/N). But obviously, this is not a reversible mod like moving a wire for Hi Tap.

    #24 5 years ago

    High Tap them ALL!!!

    After 50 years or dust and debris and spring stretching all of the coils and relays can use some extra juice. I have not seen any broken plastics or any other detrimental effects.

    High Tapping (along with properly rebuilding, shopping and waxing) allows me to put the playfield pitch as steep as possible and really speed up these old games.

    #25 5 years ago
    Quoted from stashyboy:

    Your local house voltage can also vary depending on where you are on the local transmission lines. I live on a major trunk line. My wall voltage is always between 122-125 !

    yup, that's why i'd be interested in actual measurements... mine generally is a bit "hot" too, although in the summer months, voltage drops are not totally uncommon...

    #26 5 years ago
    Quoted from kbliznick:

    After 50 years or dust and debris and spring stretching all of the coils and relays can use some extra juice.

    ummmm.....

    Quoted from kbliznick:

    High Tapping (along with properly rebuilding, shopping and waxing) allows me to put the playfield pitch as steep as possible and really speed up these old games.

    as with ken, i run about a 5.5% pitch, no high tap...

    there's a reason why i feel it would be interesting to see some "hard data" on actual voltages....

    #27 5 years ago
    Quoted from kbliznick:

    High Tap them ALL!!!

    I'm curious, do you even own an EM?

    Quoted from kbliznick:

    After 50 years or dust and debris and spring stretching all of the coils and relays can use some extra juice.

    If you plan to either High Tap or install more powerful Flipper coils I would clean and fully rebuild all Flippers, Pop Bumpers, and Slingshots before doing either, at least that is what I do so you know what the machine is capable of rebuilt to its factory specifications, then you can decide whether it needs more zip or not.

    Ken

    #28 5 years ago
    Quoted from ccotenj:

    as with ken, i run about a 5.5% pitch, no high tap...

    5.5%! That's it!??!! what were they made to run at. Modern pins are supposed to be 6.5 to 7

    #29 5 years ago
    Quoted from kbliznick:

    5.5%! That's it!??!! what were they made to run at. Modern pins are supposed to be 6.5 to 7

    3 - 3.5 generally.

    Ken

    #30 5 years ago
    Quoted from EM-PINMAN:

    I'm curious, do you even own an EM?

    I've owned dozens. Only one currently is a Twin Win that I am almost finished with a full restoration. I service machines as my full time job. EM's make up about 15% of that .

    #31 5 years ago

    I have to admit that I've modded many older games to make them more playable. I upgraded the flipper mechs on my Black Knight, and I used a bigger coil for the upper flipper on Whirlwind. Whenever there's a "money shot" that's too hard to make with the stock coil, I upgrade it. I should probably keep those games away from PAPA tournaments though.

    Having said this, all of the shots on my Abra Ca Dabra and Jumping Jack can be easily made. In fact I can see stronger flippers being a problem for JJ - if the ball goes screaming into the top, it could easily jump over into the wrong hole. I really just want the pop bumpers to be stronger.

    #32 5 years ago
    Quoted from kbliznick:

    5.5%! That's it!??!! what were they made to run at. Modern pins are supposed to be 6.5 to 7

    that would be approximately 50% over original design... em's were designed to have the levelers screwed all the way in, and only be used to "level"... of course, i would be willing to bet that the great majority of them on location were not set up that way...

    what pitch modern pins have is completely irrelevant...

    #33 5 years ago

    I have never high tapped a game. I've been considering running hotter flipper coils in my '51 Globe Trotter but it feels so naughty.

    #34 5 years ago
    Quoted from AlexF:

    I have never high tapped a game. I've been considering running hotter flipper coils in my '51 Globe Trotter but it feels so naughty.

    Sometimes, Naughty is Nice!

    #35 5 years ago
    Quoted from ccotenj:

    .
    what pitch modern pins have is completely irrelevant...

    not to me.

    I like to play fast games. Most of my friends like to play fast games. Most of them don't like EM's because they are too slow (which is apparently due to the 3.5 degree pitch). I have told them that there is no game out there that you can't make faster and you can make an EM play just as fast as a modern game by properly shopping it, waxing it and high tapping it so that you can put the playfield pitch more like the modern games.

    You guys are already talking about increasing the pitch from 3 to 5.5 (which is 60-80% over the original). High tapping a game really only changes the coil voltage around 5-10%.

    For example on a Bally Captain Fantastic schematic it lists the difference as 53.6 volts to 57.5 volts. That's only a 7% increase.

    #36 5 years ago

    ^^^

    good for you...

    #37 5 years ago

    One thing, about the only thing, I like about the modern games is the speed of the game. Once you play those much, or a DC powered Williams, you want games to play like that all the time. When you go back to a regular EM, it seems so slow. I like that ball moving a bit faster, I guess.

    I don't see it making the game easier. I think in some cases, it makes it harder. You have to be more on your toes than you do on a game where the ball moves much more slowly. Maybe it makes getting some tasks done easier, but the tradeoff is the increased speed you deal with.

    #39 5 years ago

    Lots of things change with increased pitch, not just the downward speed of the ball. And each game is different.

    Pitch can drastically effect the "bounce" or nudge factor on upper lanes where you have to get into the proper lane (long before lane change!). The same is true of side drain lanes. As well as bumper action. Bumper Corrals and spacing had a lot more distance around them to give the bumper time to relax and be ready for another hit.

    Pitch can even effect the ability to get distant shots as the downward pull on the ball changes trajectory. But this effect goes away with super strong flippers.

    If you change one thing, you often have to change another to compensate.

    I will be the first to admit, I like my EM games Fast and Strong but not too strong (or too fast). Each game can have a different sweet spot for the pitch. A little too shallow and its bores-ville. Too much pitch and you won't get to enjoy much ball time on the playfield. I can't imagine having any EM game as floaty as 3.5 degrees would net but certainly, 6.5 degrees is way too steep for an unmodified EM.

    #40 5 years ago

    Grrr!!! Hot rodders!

    #41 5 years ago

    I'm pro hi-tap.

    Makes the games a tiny bit (but noticeably) livelier. I've never seen any issues arise from hi-tap. Tales of busted drop targets and other nonsense are old wives tales.

    #42 5 years ago

    I don't think an EM should play like a DMD. I have mine at 5.5%, and I may drop back to 4.5% after reading this thread. The "floaty-ness" of EMs is indeed part of their charm. One thing I noticed on Abra is that at 4.5%, it's hard to get the ball to go to one of the numbered inlanes. The ball wants to bounce off the lane guide and over to the outlane. Making the game steeper makes it easier to make the inlanes, but it's cheating. Instead you're supposed to nudge the inlane UNDER the ball...and you have plenty of time to do it.

    #43 5 years ago

    I'm with the yellow cat guys. In fact I'm going to change my avatar to my yellow cat tonight.

    #44 5 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    I'm pro hi-tap.

    Quoted from jrpinball:

    Grrr!!! Hot rodders!

    I'm pro Alcohol, for myself that is, to each their own.

    Ken

    #45 5 years ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    I don't think an EM should play like a DMD. I have mine at 5.5%, and I may drop back to 4.5% after reading this thread. The "floaty-ness" of EMs is indeed part of their charm. One thing I noticed on Abra is that at 4.5%, it's hard to get the ball to go to one of the numbered inlanes. The ball wants to bounce off the lane guide and over to the outlane. Making the game steeper makes it easier to make the inlanes, but it's cheating. Instead you're supposed to nudge the inlane UNDER the ball...and you have plenty of time to do it.

    Nobody is saying they should. But they shouldn't play like a 40s flipperless game either. There is a happy medium there.

    My objections to DMDs are the ridiculous rule sets and all the ramps and toys. I understand that's where they are, but that also is why I don't own one and don't want to own one (beside the fact that I can't fix the damned things). But I do appreciate a little more speed and action than the ball just slowly rolling around on the playfield.

    Where I grew up, the operators evidently though nudging was cheating too, because they set the tilts tight, and if you starting pushing the game around, you were fishing out more money because tilt ends the game.

    #46 5 years ago
    Quoted from ccotenj:

    there's a reason why i feel it would be interesting to see some "hard data" on actual voltages....

    quoting myself...

    lots of anecdotal data... no "hard science" data...

    it is easily conceivable that a "normal tap" machine in one location would be "as powerful/more powerful" than a "hi-tap" machine in another (let's not forget why that hi-tap is there in the first place)...

    #47 5 years ago

    #48 5 years ago
    Quoted from kbliznick:

    High Tap them ALL!!!
    After 50 years or dust and debris and spring stretching all of the coils and relays can use some extra juice. I have not seen any broken plastics or any other detrimental effects.
    High Tapping (along with properly rebuilding, shopping and waxing) allows me to put the playfield pitch as steep as possible and really speed up these old games.

    Huh? Sounds like your contradicting yourself. You say "after 50 years of dust and debris", then in the next sentence you say "along with proper rebuilding, shopping and waxing". If you properly rebuild, shop and wax a game, the fifty years of dust and debris should be gone and you shouldn't need to high tap it. Do what you want, they're your games. Not for me though.

    #49 5 years ago

    Good debate!

    What I have noticed is that Hit the Deck, 1978 is way faster than most other em's because it is DC. It is also a blast to play.

    I have experimented hi-tapping other 70's games and none is as fast as Hit the Deck.

    Some games seem to benefit from extra power, others seem to play worse. I now try everything on each game so in the end I have a game that plays fast enough and is not too easy or too hard - takes a lot of experimentation!

    #50 5 years ago

    I high tapped my game that has 2inch flipper as they just aren't powerful enough but left my 3inch flipper game as that's fine as is.

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