(Topic ID: 219468)

EM Puzzle: Williams 4-player tilt switch. Let's fix it.


By NicoVolta

11 months ago



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  • 139 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 11 months ago by CactusJack
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There are 139 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
#1 11 months ago

4-player Williams EM owners... I may have found a disturbance in the Pinball Force.

Maybe. Let me explain. This one comes from a '72 Fan-Tas-Tic.

fanfail (resized).png

The section at the upper left is a switch in the tilt relay. The score reels (and free credit for high score) get their power through this switch. It is normally closed (i.e. when game is not tilted).

IMG_5971 (resized).JPG

Our culprit, pictured up close. Yellow common on one side, white-orange on the other.

The question to ponder: Why cut power to the score reels when the game is tilted? Tilting the game already cuts power to the score relays, so why worry about the reels?

The action to ponder: If this switch for whatever reason fails to stay closed (game not tilted), the reels won't move. However, the score relays can still be energized! And thus, the nightmare situation... cooked chimes, match coils, and relay coils. Possibly several all at once.

For safety's sake, why not eliminate this switch altogether? This will guarantee power to the reels at all times.

I don't know why Williams did this. Correct me if I'm missing something, but I don't see any benefit to cutting power to the reels during a tilt. The score relays get cut anyway, so what is the point? Seems better to eliminate this potential source of failure (and fire) and permanently jump it closed... just in case.

Right?

I looked at Space Mission/Odyssey and it has the same circuit design. Looks like many other Williams'ses share it as well.

Anyone see any reason why this switch should be preserved?

#2 11 months ago

What else does it go to up above?

#3 11 months ago

Nothin'. The top segment is the free credit after reaching a high score portion. Again, seems irrelevant to disable it if you can't score while in tilt.

#4 11 months ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

Why cut power to the score reels when the game is tilted? Tilting the game already cuts power to the score relays, so why worry about the reels?

Are you sure? Seems play field is still alive in case a ball is in a kickout hole.

I'm not going to strain my eyes with you schematic, but beside that switch on the tilt relay, how is power cut to the score reels or relays?

#5 11 months ago
Quoted from o-din:

how is power cut to the score reels or relays?

See this schematic fragment

Quoted from NicoVolta:

Anyone see any reason why this switch should be preserved?

Changes from the schematic could confuse maintainers going forward and I haven't heard of that being a problem. Has anyone?

Pinball (resized).png
#6 11 months ago
Quoted from HowardR:

See this schematic fragment

I see said the blind man.

If so it wouldn't be the first time they have used redundancy or switches that are pretty useless like that left lane rollover on Grand Prix.

#7 11 months ago

It did cause a problem in my case. The switch wasn't making good contact, causing infinite relay holds. Luckily only the match coil smoked, but it could have been a lot worse!

I tested my theory with a jumper. Works fine when tilted. Or not... obviously.

I'm going to do this to Space Mission as well. It has the same layout. In fact, EVERY 4-player Williams I checked has the same configuration from Hot Tip (1977) all the way back to A-Go-Go (1966). No 2-player or 1-players use it. Interesting, eh?

I have an emerging theory: Laziness.

Big Chief (1965) was the last 4p released without a separate tilt relay portion. All games before it have BOTH the score reels and relays controlled by the same tilt switch. With A-Go-Go, a second tilt switch was inserted up the line... without going back to remove the first one.

Perhaps the engineers were cruising on autopilot and simply copied the 4p layouts year-to-year?

I say solder it shut. Doesn't seem to do anything except potentially cause a big problem.

Time to issue a sweeping technical service bulletin for 4p Williams owners?

#8 11 months ago

Maybe I am dense this morning.

Without studying the schematic, the text of the OP states in multiple places that power is cut to the score relays. It also states that the score relays can still be energized.

Just as a cold reader, the language does not make sense to me. To say that there is no power to the score relays and then that the score relays can still be energized isn't clear. Maybe I missed the point???

#9 11 months ago

Switch guarantees that no extra points are awarded. In 4p games, score is everything. Tilt disqualifies ball.

All depends on what state the machine is in when the game tilts. Most of the time it'll be fine. Sometimes, there's a chance that the relay losing power will be in the process of moving the reel.

#10 11 months ago

Maybe to keep bonus points from registering after a tilt? This is basically what "bingopodcast" said above.

#11 11 months ago
Quoted from bingopodcast:

Switch guarantees that no extra points are awarded. In 4p games, score is everything. Tilt disqualifies ball.
All depends on what state the machine is in when the game tilts. Most of the time it'll be fine. Sometimes, there's a chance that the relay losing power will be in the process of moving the reel.

Hi Nick. I see that, but the speed of a reel-click must be in the hundredths of a second. Furthermore, if a tilt occurs *after* a relay was struck, it makes more sense that the point should be scored versus not.

It is hard to believe Williams would have installed this vulnerability just to interrupt wildly improbable reel clicks (which should be awarded anyway). To me, the evidence looks like a design oversight that was copied year after year.

I could be wrong, but at this point I don't see how. If the relays control the reels and depend upon them to unlock, the power should only be switchable at the relays for safety's sake.

Quoted from jrpinball:

Maybe to keep bonus points from registering after a tilt? This is basically what "bingopodcast" said above.

They can't. If the score relay power is also cut, the reels won't turn.

Quoted from Runbikeskilee:

Maybe I am dense this morning.
Without studying the schematic, the text of the OP states in multiple places that power is cut to the score relays. It also states that the score relays can still be energized.
Just as a cold reader, the language does not make sense to me. To say that there is no power to the score relays and then that the score relays can still be energized isn't clear. Maybe I missed the point???

It is confusing, but essentially there are two locations in which the tilt relay cuts power. One to the reels, the other to the relays. If the reel-portion is faulty (i.e. switch is physically closed but isn't passing current effectively)... the relay portion will still remain active and burn up.

It's more of a safety/bulletproofing thing. Seems better to let one switch do the job versus risk the redundant one failing and taking out multiple coils.

#12 11 months ago

You're saying that coils could potentially burn up because they wouldn't be de-energized by the EOS switch on the reel unit?

#13 11 months ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

You're saying that coils could potentially burn up because they wouldn't be de-energized by the EOS switch on the reel unit?

Right. If that always-on tilt switch is faulty for any reason, it'll cause big problems.

Imagine this... switch becomes faulty during a game (bad gap? dirt? something falling in there?). P1 10 reel locks, then 100, then 1000. 10, 100, 1000 chimes also locked on. Match locked on. Game is still on and flips, but not scoring. Player walks away. Game cooks itself to death.

#14 11 months ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

Right. If that always-on tilt switch is faulty for any reason, it'll cause big problems.
Imagine this... switch becomes faulty during a game (bad gap? dirt? something falling in there?). P1 10 reel locks, then 100, then 1000. 10, 100, 1000 chimes also locked on. Match locked on. Game is still on and flips, but not scoring. Player walks away. Game cooks itself to death.

Sounds like the pinball equivalent of Chernobyl! Why don't you run a non-destructive test, simulating that scenario. Of course, intervene before smoke and flames occur!

#15 11 months ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

Sounds like the pinball equivalent of Chernobyl! Why don't you run a non-destructive test, simulating that scenario. Of course, intervene before smoke and flames occur!

Already did, and it does. Now commencing with "the tilt safety fix" on all of my 1966-onward 4p Williams'es. Haven't checked every single 4p schematic since A-Go-Go, but it's a good educated guess considering the consistency through the end of EM-production.

Anyone who trolls with "Well, the game works fine if adjusted properly..." is getting a boot to the head, Ti Kwan Leep style!

#16 11 months ago

So it's just a matter of tying together the two leads on that one switch, correct?
I don't have any of these games, so it's a non-issue for me. My friend has a "Space Mission", but it's currently not operational anyway.

#17 11 months ago

Yes. Join yellow to white-orange.

-3
#18 11 months ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

Anyone who trolls with "Well, the game works fine if adjusted properly..." is getting a boot to the head, Ti Kwan Leep style!

If you're not interested in others' opinions don't ask questions!

#19 11 months ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

However, the score relays can still be energized!

Wait, just looked up the schematic... how? You have multiple switches in the tilt relay misadjusted for this to happen.

P.S. Have you tried adjusting it properly?

#20 11 months ago

I am dense. I still cannot see the potential issue. Please correct me if my thinking is faulty.

If the NC blades of the M/B switch on the tilt relay (shown within the red circle) were to "malfunction" and cease to conduct, while the NC switch that Howard points out was still active, the schematic appears to show that malfunctioning (non-conducting) leg of the M/B switch also prevents all of the NO score relay switches from having a path to ground.

Thus, even if any of the various score relays happened to get energized, the NO score relay switch does not have a complete circuit and should not have any way to send a pulse to any of the (unpowered) drum units.

I have to agree with Howard that I've never heard of such a problem occurring with multi-player Williams EMs.

Maybe I just need a Red Bull in place or more coffee?

#21 11 months ago

fanfail (resized).png

This is one switch in the tilt relay. It feeds power to the reels.

fanfail2 (resized).png

This is another. It feeds power to the relays.

If the tilt relay closes... both switches get cut. This is fine and normal.

If, however, the "reel portion" switch is faulty, WITHOUT the tilt relay closing = problems.

What am I missing?

#22 11 months ago

Why would that cause a problem? The game doesn't care about the position of the reels... (mostly).

#23 11 months ago

If the reel EOS doesn't release the relay because the reel cannot move, what usually occurs next?

#24 11 months ago

Oh, yeah! (burn) Well, here's a question for you: where does that other switch pair sink to, and what happens when you have power jumped to it?

#25 11 months ago

A different switch in the tilt relay (red -> red/yel/wht) then a switch to reset relay (red/yel/wht -> blu/yel/wht) then a switch to game over relay (blu/yel/wht -> black).

#26 11 months ago

Hi NicoVolta +
I opt for the "boot to the head" --- a statement of deeeep insight: "In a fully running pin: Everything works fine" --- end of joking.

Thanks for looking up in earlier schematics. I also say "laziness (or: NOT realizing)" - stuff working good in earlier pins is kept in newer pins - even when no longer needed - actually when may causing problems. I see bingopodcast 's point --- "wired as is - as shown in the schematics": A Score-Drum is busy pulling-in the plunger to then give point(s): "Wired as is cuts power to the Score-Drum-Coil a bit earlyer compared with: Frst the points-RELAY must be made non-operable - this then cuts power to the coil on the Score-Drum" - bingopodcast 's point is true - I assume we talk about 0.01 to 0.02 seconds time-difference.

I also say: Connecting "yellow to white-orange on the M&B-Switch" --- please: Solder-on a short wire and put a tag on this wire to tell about --- do not: Heavy*** bending*** the switch-blade-white-orange so it always has connection to the middle blade.

Heavy*** bending***: I learned that some people do heavy*** bending*** a switchblade when they change a pin to "Free-Play" - I think: Also (there) a wire should be used. Greetings Rolf

#27 11 months ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

A different switch in the tilt relay (red -> red/yel/wht) then a switch to reset relay (red/yel/wht -> blu/yel/wht) then a switch to game over relay (blu/yel/wht -> black).

I don't think so...
I'm talking about Grey-Blue 3. This is the opposite side of the SPDT of the tilt switch in question. This is the third use of that wire in the schematic - they are not connected to the other two uses.

Where does that wire go? You're switching the common under that section. Has to go somewhere. The answer likely lies in that switch.

Quoted from rolf_martin_062:

heavy*** bending***

I agree with not heavily bending and tagging the wire as a mod. Makes it easier to adjust properly later.

#28 11 months ago
Quoted from bingopodcast:

I don't think so...
I'm talking about Grey-Blue 3. This is the opposite side of the SPDT of the tilt switch in question. This is the third use of that wire in the schematic - they are not connected to the other two uses.
Where does that wire go?

I confess... the answer eludes me. Find it?

#29 11 months ago

Nope, I'm workin'. But you have the game and a meter. I will suggest that it runs through a JP since it has to reach back up to that panel - look near the other switch on the female side of the plugs. It might change color through the plug.

Regardless, they wouldn't have put in a SPDT switch (and wired it) unless that other side was doing something. As with most SPDT switches, they don't expect BOTH sides to make contact at once with the traveling leaf. Not pushing to /dev/null. It's going somewhere.

#30 11 months ago

Whatever it does, I doubt it is a backdoor to the EOS switches... so the vulnerability is still likely to exist. Just an educated guess.

I'll see if I can find the other end of that wire today. Elusive little sucker on the schematic!

#31 11 months ago

Hi NicoVolta
You say "the answer eludes me - find it ?" - I am german speaking - I look up in the dictionnary - do You want(ed) to say: " I do not give the answer - look up Yourself in the schematics or here https://www.ipdb.org/files/820/Williams_1972_Fan_Tas_Tic_Operator_Manual.pdf on page-21 (ori-20): " ... and closes to Ball-Index-Relay" (((so we cannot "Tilt" and get the same ball given))). Greetings Rolf

#32 11 months ago

Thanks Rolf - in this case it wouldn't matter if both sides were energized (except for the additional power drag).

#33 11 months ago

Aha! Bonus points to Rolf! Thanks everyone for your insights. That switch ensures the ball index relay closes (ball saver ends) before a 10/100/1000 point target was hit. It prevents someone from tilting their way out of a bad plunge and getting an extra ball.

At this point I'm pretty confident to call this an action item. All Williams 4p EM's starting with A-Go-Go should have the tilt relay yel/white-orange connection soldered shut for safety's sake... ASSUMING all of the schematics follow suit.

(which they certainly appear to do)

#34 11 months ago

I am gonna let the more experienced of you figure this out to it's entirety and revisit later hoping I will have a much better understanding while actually looking at my grand prix after work.
nicovolta very interesting that you have come up with all of this.
-Mike

#35 11 months ago

I recommend the safety fix for Grand Prix as well. Circuit topology is the same.

Tilt relay - yellow to white/orange. Solder it closed.

If you'd like to test it yourself... start a game and block that switch with a piece of paper or qtip or whatever is your non-conductive material of choice. Then activate some 10/100/1000 point targets and see what happens. But don't wait very long before unplugging it.

Engineers sometimes build upon what previously existed, right or wrong. Seems like the case here.

#36 11 months ago

Hi NicoVolta
I take Your (post-1, almost at end) "I don't know why Williams did this" and (post-7) "... cruising on autopilot" --- I come up with a similar question: Here https://www.ipdb.org/search.pl?mfgid=351&yr=1972&sortby=date&searchtype=advanced#1063 the Williams pins of 1972 --- Olympic Hockey, Jan 1972 has the bumpers operated by AC-Current, Spanish Eyes, March 1972 has the bumpers run on DC-Current - THE FUSE IS ON THE MINUS-SIDE of the Rectifier, Honey, May 1972 same as Spanish Eyes --- AND NOW - Super Star, August 1972 has the bumpers run on DC-Current - THE FUSE IS ON THE PLUS-SIDE of the Rectifier, the following pins (example Fan-Tas-Tic) ... much later Space Mission: ... THE FUSE IS ON THE PLUS-SIDE of the Rectifier.

I come up with a similar question - Spanish Eyes and Honey: Shall we move the fuse on the rectifier (from minus-side) to plus-side on the rectifier ? Greetings Rolf

#37 11 months ago
Quoted from rolf_martin_062:

I come up with a similar question - Spanish Eyes and Honey: Shall we move the fuse on the rectifier (from minus-side) to plus-side on the rectifier ? Greetings Rolf

Electrically, shouldn't it be the same either way? The same amount of current would need to flow out as flows in? Unless there's some failure condition I'm not thinking of

#38 11 months ago

This is an answer in search of a problem.

#39 11 months ago

Hi NicoVolta
a similar question - here: http://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=EM_Repair#Game_Specific_Problems_and_Fixes - fixes - shall we do these fixes on every such pin ?

Hi zacaj
I guess that a lot of people do like I do - thinking of DC-Current flowing like water - a reservoir high on the mountain - a tube - under PRESSURE the water comes down - into the village - into the houses - then the water does some work (whatever we want it to do) - then "some kind of exhausted" the water runs out - through a sink-tube, waste-water-tube - finally to the sea So Reservoir on the mointain and the sea are the "Poles of a Water-DC-Circuitry". For Safety Reasons - where do we mount an fuse ? --- we mount the fuse just after the reservoir - before the water (under pressure) comes down to the village.

I know AC-Current is not DC-Current - but when I look at an schematics: I see Transformer - wire to a fuse - then a wire into the pin --- I call this the Power-Side - secured by a fuse. Because of the problem "in the old days the plugs to plug-in into the wall-outlets were only two prongs and so can be plugged-in two ways": For Safety-Reasons I actually would mount two fuses - one on each side of the circuitry --- maybe one is never used - but well - a fuse costs a couple of cents / dollars - so lets mount the two fuses ... Greetings Rolf

#40 11 months ago
Quoted from rolf_martin_062:

I guess that a lot of people do like I do - thinking of DC-Current flowing like water - a reservoir high on the mountain - a tube - under PRESSURE the water comes down - into the village - into the houses - then the water does some work (whatever we want it to do) - then "some kind of exhausted" the water runs out

I'm not a trained electrician, but I feel like the water leaving the homes is just as much water as what comes out of the reservoirs, and it all comes together into as single river before reaching the 'sea' again. I've never been a fan of the water analogy.

Quoted from rolf_martin_062:

I call this the Power-Side

Technically, since it's AC, they're both the power side half the time. A useful way of thinking when reasoning about digital circuits but not actually how it works?

-1
#41 11 months ago

Just between GP and Space Mission alone, Williams made over 20,000 of these games. Just those two alone.

If this was an issue, I would believe that the operators would have alerted Williams. If this was an issue, it would have surfaced long, long before this time. It would have been a discussion at a minimum on RGP, or some other forum.

As I said, an answer in search of a problem.

#42 11 months ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

Just between GP and Space Mission alone, Williams made over 20,000 of these games. Just those two alone.
If this was an issue, I would believe that the operators would have alerted Williams. If this was an issue, it would have surfaced long, long before this time. It would have been a discussion at a minimum on RGP, or some other forum.
As I said, an answer in search of a problem.

Williams also produced solid state machines for a decade across multiple systems with a major design flaw in the power supply that could set your transformer on fire, and so many other things. The problem is pretty obvious, as is the answer.

#43 11 months ago

Hi zacaj
Yes just as much water coming down from the reservoir as much then is flowing away through the waste-water-tube(s) - (gallons are gallons) the key-word is pressure --- pressure on the way down.

I didn't want to write so I only said "I know AC-Current is not DC-Current". Here my imagination "AC-Current as water flowing": I have a strictly horizontal tube, diameter one to two inches - I can put the end of the tube into my mouth. I put my thumb on the end of the tube (the end "near me") - I then fill the tube with water - on the other end of the tube is a little compartment - also filled with water. In the middle between me and the little compartment is mounted in the tube an propeller / impeller / turbine. I fill my mouth with water - I take the end of the tube into my mouth and
I PRESS water from my mouth into the tube --- I stop pressing - I then SUCK water from the tube into my mouth - I stop sucking - and again and again --- and I do this pressing / sucking rhythmically - endlessly - I do it 60 times per second --- my pressing / sucking are the HERTZ on the AC-Current - the propeller / impeller / turbine runs - I DO APPLY POWER - I either PRESS or I SUCK --- so the "fuse" should be mounted in the tube NEAR ME. Greetings Rolf

#44 11 months ago
Quoted from rolf_martin_062:

I DO APPLY POWER - I either PRESS or I SUCK --- so the "fuse" should be mounted in the tube NEAR ME.

Current is amount of electrons going through the wire. The same amount of water is going through the tube no matter which end you measure at.

#45 11 months ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

This is an answer in search of a problem.

...except it actually began as a problem. Perhaps as the machines age, more will pop up.

Typical answer: "Grind away them contacts and hope it doesn't happen again".

Not good enough. The circuit design seemed fundamentally pointless and needlessly vulnerable.

And, as it turns out, it is. Unless someone can explain otherwise?

So...

burns (resized).jpg

#46 11 months ago

Oh, was your switch dirty? Why grind the contacts or sand them with your metal wheel (did anyone mention doing that)? Why not just adjust the switch?

Just curious...

Assuming you discount the little physics note I put up there about preventing score from incrementing immediately, the other purpose may have been to spread the load of the tilt relay. Otherwise the enabling would have happened through a single switch pair.

Question for you - what happens with and without your mod when a score reel coil is detached on one side (and cannot move)?

The answer is you are still vulnerable.

#47 11 months ago

Hi NicoVolta
I agree with You "switch is not needed - maybe it cuts 0.01 to 0.02 seconds earlyer the current flowing to the Score-Drums (a theoretical little 'pro')" --- the switch mounted as is can be part of "causing a blocked situation - a big 'cons' " - Lets say: The Switch on Tilt-Relay that handles Power-Side connection is faulty - faulty stays closed when the Tilt-Relay pulls-in. This fault lets the Points-RELAY stay pulling. The Brake-Part of the Make-and-Brake-Switch on the Tilt-Relay opens --- The Score-Drum cannot pull - its plunger cannot travel and so the plunger cannot open its EOS-Switch - therefore the Points-RELAY stays pulling forever - heats up and gets damaged / destroyed.

Looking-up in the schematics - You were close (A-Go-Go) --- want to look-up "Big Chief": https://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=240 --- NO SWITCH in the Power-Side-Connection -
Score-Drums and Points-Relays quit pulling because the one-and-only-Switch on Tilt-Relay opens. Greetings Rolf

#48 11 months ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

...except it actually began as a problem. Perhaps as the machines age, more will pop up.
Typical answer: "Grind away them contacts and hope it doesn't happen again".
Not good enough. The circuit design seemed fundamentally pointless and needlessly vulnerable.
And, as it turns out, it is. Unless someone can explain otherwise?
So...

Age? How old do you want them to get?

#49 11 months ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

...except it actually began as a problem. Perhaps as the machines age, more will pop up.
Typical answer: "Grind away them contacts and hope it doesn't happen again".
Not good enough. The circuit design seemed fundamentally pointless and needlessly vulnerable.
And, as it turns out, it is. Unless someone can explain otherwise?
So...

For what? A problem that basically isnt a problem?

#50 11 months ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

For what? A problem that basically isnt a problem?

Nothing is a problem until it is, like this one is.

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