EM High-Tap Poll


By spinal

1 month ago


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  • 48 posts
  • 28 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 weeks ago by jrpinball
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    #1 30 days ago

    Whether or not to high-tap your EM has been discussed before:

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/gottlieb-transformer-high-and-normal-tap

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/em-guys-have-you-talked-to-your-kids-about-high-tap

    But there has never been a poll and I'm curious what the percentage is!

    So how many of you high-tap your EMs? Feel free to leave your comments below.

    #2 30 days ago

    I remember years back hearing that you'd be asking for trouble with
    things bringing as plastics, but realistically, it' not as if it's a radical
    change. I've had machines set up on High Tap for many years, and
    never a problem, and somehow (?) if so, no problem to change back..
    I might say, I clean everything well, and never use hot coils..

    #3 30 days ago

    Sometimes. Depends on the game. I always high tapped the Williams horse race games. Derby Day, Hayburners 2, Winner etc. They always played weak for some reason.

    #4 30 days ago

    I voted yes because that's my default during a restoration. However I have reverted a game because it was too fast/powerful. So whatever works..

    #5 30 days ago

    I would vote yes, but then that asshat JRPINBALL would downvote me just for having a differing opinion. On second thought, I really don't care.

    #6 30 days ago

    gratuitous down vote included- you have violated precepts enforced by the religiou...errr.... purist police.

    #7 30 days ago

    Hi
    I voted "No" because most of my pins are set to "Normal". Only when the Pop-Bumpers are lame I then change to High-Tap. Greetings Rolf

    #8 30 days ago

    I generally would only put an EM machine on high-tap when I was bringing it to the free-play area at the Allentown or York shows. The line voltage in those halls typically gets dragged down under 110V and if you don't high-tap, an EM will play sluggish and slow.

    Caveat, I did notice the new building at the York show this fall seemed better for line voltage.

    #9 29 days ago

    I'm in the 'sometimes' group. Don't know that I've noticed a big difference when I've done it (unlike with hot coils or DC rectifiers where there is an immediate difference). I've also never had a problem with broken drop targets, etc. when I have done it.

    #10 29 days ago

    Couple of years ago I bought a Sky Jump it was set to High Tap. Played for a few weeks like that, then re set to Normal. The difference was not that much. Set to normal the ball will still get above the top roll overs, from the flippers.

    #11 29 days ago

    The operators back in the day never had them on high tap as they wanted every dime out of you.

    As far as owning them it’s personal preference. Some play better but some play like bionic EMs on high tap.

    #12 29 days ago

    An EM is not a modern machine. I don't expect it to play like a modern game. The being said, I've high tapped a couple. Some games need the boost. But mostly I like them as they are. There is a certain feel that just feels good.

    #13 29 days ago

    My 1969 Williams Expo came high-tapped and I left it that way. The pop bumpers on Expo are awesome for a non DC powered pin.

    » YouTube video

    I find that a thorough cleaning, buffing and adjusting of the switches/contacts is enough to bring an old EM back to life. That said, I'm about to do my first high tap on a 1971 Williams Klondike. After restoration, the pops just aren't popping like I expect. I had the same problem with a 1972 Williams Honey - wish I knew why. Klondike is pre-DC power, but should play better than it is. It could be the Jones Plugs. I have yet to find a good way to clean the female connectors on the Jones Plugs.

    #14 29 days ago

    A clean/waxed pinball machine with rebuilt flippers, properly adjusted EoS switches, and factory incline level is more effective than high tapping the transformer. Setting playfield angle above 6.5 degrees is not recommended.

    Jones plug cleaning improves switch and feature activation not dramatic changes on flipper function, if working.

    Some consider high tapping a measure of "last resort" on functional games, and I agree.

    #15 29 days ago
    Quoted from newmantjn:

    I would vote yes, but then that asshat JRPINBALL would downvote me just for having a differing opinion. On second thought, I really don't care.

    You're right!

    #16 24 days ago

    If high-tapped, I'll revert it to normal. Then go through the complete rebuild. I don't want all the steppers and relays and reels clacking themselves harder than necessary.

    If it still isn't playing perfectly (some didn't from the factory), then I'll custom tune the coils... which isn't often necessary.

    This way, if it goes to a show with low power at the outlet, I can temporarily high-tap to bring it back to the baseline when needed.

    Might install a switch for this option in the future...

    #17 24 days ago
    Quoted from heatwave:

    I'm in the 'sometimes' group. Don't know that I've noticed a big difference when I've done it (unlike with hot coils or DC rectifiers where there is an immediate difference). I've also never had a problem with broken drop targets, etc. when I have done it.

    On some games I have done it. In some cases it made a difference, in others it was not noticeable.

    Wiring does increase resistance with age so upping the voltage helps.

    What operators did back in the day.. is no concern of mine. I want to play a fun game.

    #18 24 days ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    If high-tapped, I'll revert it to normal. Then go through the complete rebuild. I don't want all the steppers and relays and reels clacking themselves harder than necessary.
    If it still isn't playing perfectly (some didn't from the factory), then I'll custom tune the coils... which isn't often necessary.
    This way, if it goes to a show with low power at the outlet, I can temporarily high-tap to bring it back to the baseline when needed.
    Might install a switch for this option in the future...

    I had considered the switch option as well just to try it out. Normally, I will put in PBR's orange dot flipper coils in my Gottlieb EM pins. I like a little more zip in the flipper action than stock. All my pin restores get complete mechanical rebuilds on all mechanisms- thorough cleaning, New coil stops, sleeves, any worn items replaced. Makes a HUGE difference in the game play.

    #19 24 days ago

    it just depends. that's the best way to put it. i've rebuild the same title twice, in the same way, and sometimes the "ball kinetics" of one of the games is helped by high tap (where the other game doesn't need it.) It's a weird thing how games age. Or maybe how the transformer was wound when new. It just all depends.

    #20 24 days ago

    Most of my EMs came high taped. Not sure if it was for low voltage locations, or operators trying to keep older equipment earning when players were getting used to faster playing digitals. I've left them there and have never had any problems. Voltage generally wasn't a problem. One time an ice storm took out power for the entire area. Power was slowly restored, mine not for eleven days. I invited friends to a return of power pinball party. When everything went dark, we all thought the area power was out again. We started to light candles when some one looked out a window and noticed my neighbors still had power. It turned out someone had put something in the oven for reheating. That with all my machines on, tripped the house main breaker. I'm pretty sure pins were operating on low voltage before the oven put us over the top, with no noticeable slow downs or other issues.

    #21 24 days ago

    I've only ever high tapped one game: My '71 Straight Flush. The game was beaten, and I'm sure I could've livened it up by rebuilding everything, but I was lazy, and just high tapped it instead.

    That said, every EM game I've owned since, I've been far more methodical with the repair process, and I haven't had the need to high tap.

    #22 24 days ago

    It depends what one likes. Me myself, I really like the play of a well shopped out DC machine,
    so I High Tap. Of course it far from compares, but I do give it an effort..

    #23 23 days ago

    Hi @NicoVolta
    in post-16 You write "Might install a switch for this option in the future ..." --- see the top of the JPG - Recel*** Bang-Bang solution (encircled green): TWO fuseholders.

    (At least) Strange looking is the rest of the JPG - Recel*** Space Race --- "encircled red": Are the fuses on the "return side / common line" ? The schematics is drawn using mostly 28VAC - but (my blue wiring): Two "Bank-Coils" are wired to 30VAC. In the pin the Kickers, Bumpers and Flippers use DC-Current --- an Adj.Plug (encircled orange) to change the Normal- / High-Tap just for these coils.
    This means to me: In Space Race they may use at the same time: 28VAC (most of the coils) and 30VAC (Bank-Coils) and 32VAC to be converted to DC, hmm - I wonder that this works (((I am not an electricien - maybe thats why they have the (encircled red) solution on the fuses ?)))

    Recel*** and other spanish pinballs - a good site: http://www.tecnopinball.org/ - choose documentos - http://www.tecnopinball.org/doc_biblioteca.php . The snippet of schematics "Bang-Bang" I show on top of my JPG I made from the "tecnopinball schematics". Greetings Rolf

    0Bang-Bang-Work-01 (resized).jpg

    #24 23 days ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    I don't want all the steppers and relays and reels clacking themselves harder than necessary.

    Exactimundo!

    #25 23 days ago

    "I don't want all the steppers and relays and reels clacking themselves harder than necessary."

    Well if that thinking was true, put your game on low-tap.
    Yea sure, that will make it live longer (no it won't duh.)

    high tap doesn't beat steppers or score reels more. trust me, nothing you're going to do to your games is going to compare to what they've been thru in the first 5 years of their lives. they are living in retirement in your basement right now. Even on the highest of high tap, it's like they're on social security and getting up at 9am in the florida sunshine compared to what they got when new.

    We have over 100 EM games at the Ann Arbor pinball museum. I would say easily 75 percent are on high tap. And have been for the time i've owned them (so 20+ years for some games.) And they get played A LOT. out of this time, NOT ONCE, not a single time, have we had to replace a coil stop or a plunger or anything. So they're not "kicking themselves to death", trust me. Now when they came in, coil stops and plungers were replaced. But in the 20 years since, nothing.

    So PLEASE just stop this bullcrap that high tap is going to punish your game. We have actual live evidence that this is crap, opposed to dumb conjecture.

    #26 23 days ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    it just depends. that's the best way to put it. i've rebuild the same title twice, in the same way, and sometimes the "ball kinetics" of one of the games is helped by high tap (where the other game doesn't need it.) It's a weird thing how games age. Or maybe how the transformer was wound when new. It just all depends.

    Check voltage with a meter at the transformer input, output, and at each coil. Often overlooked are the fuse connections, and the switches on the tilt, and game over relays which carry power to the playfield components. But God knows, I shouldn't have to tell you this, Clay!

    #27 23 days ago

    I will say this about high tap though... it can kick the crap out of the ball! though personally i have not experienced ripped posts and broken plastics, that no doubt could be an issue. Increased ball speeds will do that. Personally i haven't seen it (heck most broken plastics come from people lifting the playfield with the ball installed!) But score reels and steppers taking more abuse, no way. The ball abusing the playfield paint, well, that's another issue...

    #28 23 days ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    "I don't want all the steppers and relays and reels clacking themselves harder than necessary."
    Well if that thinking was true, put your game on low-tap.
    Yea sure, that will make it live longer (no it won't duh.)
    high tap doesn't beat steppers or score reels more. trust me, nothing you're going to do to your games is going to compare to what they've been thru in the first 5 years of their lives. they are living in retirement in your basement right now. Even on the highest of high tap, it's like their on social security and getting up at 9am in the florida sunshine compared to what they got when new.

    I don't know about that. While you're probably right that the bulk of the wear on components happens during the first fIve years of a game's life on location, setting an older game on high tap when you have adequate line voltage can cause steppers to malfunction, and it's partly due to the wear that these parts have already received. I've seen it happen.
    Add to this, that unless the units have been cleaned after years of old, gunked up lubricant has stiffened them, you're definitely adding stress to the working components by needlessly high tapping. Most homes have more than adequate line voltage.

    #29 23 days ago

    Most of my experience is with Gottliebs. To me I have never seen the need to high tap a game, but then again I always completely shop and wax including flipper rebuilds, cleaning contacts and 100% new coil sleeves. In rare cases I might pull some wire off of pop bumper coils, but that is an exception and not a rule. My games all play snappy as hell and can be enjoyed by a purist or a speed nut.

    #30 23 days ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    I will say this about high tap though... it can kick the crap out of the ball! though personally i have not experienced ripped posts and broken plastics, that no doubt could be an issue. Increased ball speeds will do that.

    Then this would be a problem with mid-70's game with DC power and solid state games as well would it not? There is no difference in the posts, plastics and most elastics from the 60's to the 80's. If the plastics and posts can survive DC powered poppers and flippers than a little high tap on an older unit is a gentle kiss in comparison.

    The most wear I see are on playfields from dragging flippers, rusty balls, saucer eject points, outholes, etc.

    Abuse and neglect.

    #31 23 days ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    "I don't want all the steppers and relays and reels clacking themselves harder than necessary."
    Well if that thinking was true, put your game on low-tap.
    Yea sure, that will make it live longer (no it won't duh.)
    high tap doesn't beat steppers or score reels more. trust me, nothing you're going to do to your games is going to compare to what they've been thru in the first 5 years of their lives. they are living in retirement in your basement right now. Even on the highest of high tap, it's like they're on social security and getting up at 9am in the florida sunshine compared to what they got when new.
    We have over 100 EM games at the Ann Arbor pinball museum. I would say easily 75 percent are on high tap. And have been for the time i've owned them (so 20+ years for some games.) And they get played A LOT. out of this time, NOT ONCE, not a single time, have we had to replace a coil stop or a plunger or anything. So they're not "kicking themselves to death", trust me. Now when they came in, coil stops and plungers were replaced. But in the 20 years since, nothing.
    So PLEASE just stop this bullcrap that high tap is going to punish your game. We have actual live evidence that this is crap, opposed to dumb conjecture.

    But sometimes the games *are* going on location. Or kept for future generations. More force than necessary is still more than necessary, pinball or not.

    Different people have different approaches. C'est la vie.

    #32 23 days ago

    I think that largely sums it up. A lot of this is just personal Opinion and preference and what you like or what you don’t like. Theres probably No right or wrong. Just what’s right or wrong for you

    I will say this though. If people want to help gather data, that is real live data, here is a simple test....

    Everyone replace their EM coil fuse with a 5 amp slow blow fuse. Most games, if you look at the schematics, want 10 amp fast fuse for coil power. Replace this with a five amp slow blow and report back with how many fuse blows you get. This should tell you a lot about what’s going on inside your game.

    We have been doing this at the museum for sometime. We find that having a five amp slow blow is much better for when something locks on or there is excessive use on a game. It is our opinion that it’s better to blow an inexpensive fuse then it is to burn a coil. And the five amp slow blow test has worked out really well for us.

    If you find that you were blowing a five amp slow blow more than say once or twice a year, then there may be some data that your particular game is kicking itself to death. But in our experience we just have not found this to be the case

    #33 23 days ago

    Actually to this point you could actually even go a step further and use a three amp slow blow fuse instead of a five amp. But I think in this case you’re narrowing it too close and you may get erratic data with a 3 amp slow blow

    #34 23 days ago

    Also I am not buying the, “some em games are still on location”, theory. You’re comparing apples and oranges. These games are 40 years old. Not like when they came out when they were brand new and everybody wanted to play the newest latest game. Most people have played nearly every EM title every made, and having EMs on location today is not the same as having them on location back when they were new 40 years ago. So again this, hightap is going to kick the crap out of your game theory, it’s just bull crap. EM games today are on serious vacation compared to 40 years ago when they were new. Add to that, some people just refuse to play EMs today. They just don’t understand them, they don’t like them, they don’t want anything to do with them. 40 years ago and they were new and that’s all there was. It was a whole different time and a different animal and these games got used in a whole different way back when new

    #35 23 days ago

    My Top Score was on hi when I got it. I switched it to normal and it works fine. I will point out that it also came with yellow dot flipper coils. Pretty zippy. I feel an EM should be be maintained to the condition of satisfactory play action at normal tap settings and if it is slow, then repair the problem.

    #36 23 days ago
    Quoted from D-Gottlieb:

    My Top Score was on hi when I got it. I switched it to normal and it works fine. I will point out that it also came with yellow dot flipper coils. Pretty zippy. I feel an EM should be be maintained to the condition of satisfactory play action at normal tap settings and if it is slow, then repair the problem.

    High tapping and yellow dot coils are just total overkill.
    My brother once got a "Pro Pool" which had yellow dot coils, a bridge rectifier, and was high tapped by the previous owner.
    This combination totally ruined the game play, and the inside edge of the upper arch was actually peened from being relentlessly hammered by the ball. The drop targets were in no danger though. It was actually difficult to hit them, because the ball just wanted to rocket northward when crushed by the ultra-overpowered flippers!
    Needless to say, he undid all but the bridge, and it played normally again.

    #37 23 days ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    "I don't want all the steppers and relays and reels clacking themselves harder than necessary."
    Well if that thinking was true, put your game on low-tap.
    Yea sure, that will make it live longer (no it won't duh.)
    high tap doesn't beat steppers or score reels more. trust me, nothing you're going to do to your games is going to compare to what they've been thru in the first 5 years of their lives. they are living in retirement in your basement right now. Even on the highest of high tap, it's like they're on social security and getting up at 9am in the florida sunshine compared to what they got when new.
    We have over 100 EM games at the Ann Arbor pinball museum. I would say easily 75 percent are on high tap. And have been for the time i've owned them (so 20+ years for some games.) And they get played A LOT. out of this time, NOT ONCE, not a single time, have we had to replace a coil stop or a plunger or anything. So they're not "kicking themselves to death", trust me. Now when they came in, coil stops and plungers were replaced. But in the 20 years since, nothing.
    So PLEASE just stop this bullcrap that high tap is going to punish your game. We have actual live evidence that this is crap, opposed to dumb conjecture.

    Tough but fair.

    I almost always hi tap my EMs to zero negative consequences. And it just makes them punchier.

    Can’t say I’m a fan of yellow dot coils. I’ve taken them out before.

    #38 23 days ago
    Quoted from jrpinball:

    High tapping and yellow dot coils are just total overkill.

    It is all a case by case basis, I have a different experience.

    I have a Gottlieb with 2" flippers which was a snooze-fest so I high tapped it, which only made it marginally better.

    So I ordered up a set of yellow dot coils planning on "low tapping" when they arrived.

    Once the coils were installed I found the game was "just right" and left it that way. It gets played almost daily and just inspected the playfield last week when I swapped out the new and somewhat unreliable incandescent 47 bulbs they sell now with Comet sunlight LED for the GI lighting.

    Everything looked perfect, nothing abnormal of note. Star Action and Night Rider moves the ball far harder about the table than my high tapped and yellow dotted Domino. Night Rider in particular has some brutal ball action up in the poppers.

    #39 22 days ago

    I have 3 high-tapped, they work great. I like the yellow-dot coils, I see no reason for their bad reputation. Probably another legend without real documented evidence.

    #40 22 days ago
    Quoted from phil-lee:

    I have 3 high-tapped, they work great. I like the yellow-dot coils, I see no reason for their bad reputation. Probably another legend without real documented evidence.

    I found at least one 60's wedgehead with that configuration. The ball was getting blasted around the playfield really hard. It played quite differently that way. I did see some broken plastic and some posts were starting to tilt from the impact force. But hey, would 50's hot rod culture even exist by playing it safe? Some people are just born for speed.

    We seem to live at a time when people feel unsatisfied with anything less than total destruction of all differing opinions. So many news articles... "Click here to see so-and-so DESTROY @phil-lee on CNN about their yellow-dot preferences!"

    Haha... no need to go there. If you like 'em fast, then fast they shall be.

    vroom2 (resized).jpg

    vroom (resized).jpg

    #41 21 days ago

    No doubt the poll was Missing a third option.

    #42 20 days ago

    I've never had any issues of any kind from high tapping a game. But I don't care too much for the yellow dots. Just too powerful. I put them on a Big Indian one time, those drops up at the very top seemed to be asking for them. I was getting glass at the top of the playfield, they were just too powerful. The orange dots are better but it will be a game by game decision on those.

    #43 20 days ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    I've never had any issues of any kind from high tapping a game. But I don't care too much for the yellow dots. Just too powerful. I put them on a Big Indian one time, those drops up at the very top seemed to be asking for them. I was getting glass at the top of the playfield, they were just too powerful. The orange dots are better but it will be a game by game decision on those.

    3" vs 2" flippers.

    Longer flipper is going to have a bunch more leverage behind it. Think adding a cheater bar to a tire wrench.

    Come to think of it, I don't think any of my 3" games are high tapped, just a few of the 2" ones.

    #44 19 days ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    3" vs 2" flippers.
    Longer flipper is going to have a bunch more leverage behind it. Think adding a cheater bar to a tire wrench.
    Come to think of it, I don't think any of my 3" games are high tapped, just a few of the 2" ones.

    Actually the 3" have less leverage, but more velocity if you hit the ball within that extra inch.

    #45 19 days ago

    All mine are set to normal tap.

    I still think the best way for a machine is to properly shop it, make sure your coils are in range,new sleeves, plungers etc.

    A few of mine use higher power flipper coils, only where some of the upper targets on the playfield aren't that easy to hit. And I'm guilty of boosting some pop bumper coils on some games by removing some coil winding.

    But other than that, all stock, as nature intended

    #46 19 days ago

    All mine are set to normal tap too, but maybe line voltage is a bit high (240v)? They read about 30v on normal tap, 34v on the high.

    #47 19 days ago
    Quoted from John_I:

    Actually the 3" have less leverage, but more velocity if you hit the ball within that extra inch.

    I was thinking of an analogy like when you are using a pipe wrench and you add a bar to get more leverage.

    3" flipper = longer pipe wrench

    #48 19 days ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    I was thinking of an analogy like when you are using a pipe wrench and you add a bar to get more leverage.
    3" flipper = longer pipe wrench

    Yes, but it's the ball that has the greater leverage against the flipper because of the extra length, not the flipper against the ball.
    Visualize pushing a bowling ball flipper-like, holding an eight foot pole in one hand. Then, the same with a four foot pole. It's harder to move the ball with the longer pole, because it's the ball that has leverage against your hand.

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