(Topic ID: 307867)

Fish Tales ball stuck at top of right loop

By dvschaller

2 years ago


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  • 15 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 months ago by Sonic
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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#1 2 years ago

I have read other posts with the same issue where the ball gets stuck on Fish Tales at the top of the upper right loop, but have not found a good solution. I spent hours tweaking and adjusting the switch and have designed a fix that I wanted to share with everyone.

I concluded that the design of this switch and its placement under the playfield was the problem. I had no luck finding a replacement. Also the switch that was there was in bad shape (see photo link).

After a bunch of research and prototyping, I landed on a solution to install an infrared sensor (IR sensor) and a relay.

I am attaching some instructions and a google link with a number of photos to help you understand what I built. If you decide to do this I would love to hear your feedback and if you have ideas for improvement please share.

The details …
* I designed a 3D printed part to hold the LEDs (some local libraries have 3D printing). Drilled LED holes separately to ensure that LEDs would line up properly under the switch slot. The screw holes in the part are slightly larger to allow fine adjustments. Mount this correctly. See picture. If you want the 3D file PM me.

* Purchased an IR opto sensor (see part link below). I removed the Emitter and Receiver LED and soldered wires in between the LEDs and the board. The LEDs each share a ground and can share a common wire if you choose. I used separate wires for each lead. The specs state this sensor can handle 3 to 5 volts. But at 5 volts this part fails. This is due to a resistor on the board that is too small (mine had 51 Ohms) which causes the emitter to fail. I put an additional 70 ohm resistor in between the sensor board and the emitter (see picture). Not knowing what the LEDs can handle and a bit of testing this is where I ended up.

* Purchased a relay that is engaged by a signal from the opto sensor. This relay essentially replaces the switch. The connectors should be wired as follows:

High voltage side:
NO: Normally Open: Connect to green from switch
COM - Common: Diode banded side
NC - Normally Closed: Connect to white from switch and other side of Diode

Jumper:
set to Low

5V side:
DC + : 5 Volts
DC - : Ground
In : connect to OUT on opto sensor.

* I mounted the parts near my coin door to allow adjustment while the playfield was down. This allowed me to do a number of ball tests on the sensors through the playfield. Eventually I will mount these under the playfield.

* Connect both board’s ground connections to a 5 volts voltage source. You can get this from the power driver board J117-4 +5V. OR since I had a Color DMD there is 5 volts you can get from the old DMD voltage supply off the board - J604-6.

* Connect both board’s DC+ and Vcc to +5V

* Connect the Opto IR sensor-Out to the Relay-In

* Adjusting the opto IR Sensor. On the opto IR sensor there is a variable resistor. Once hooked up you should adjust this just before it triggers the relay.

PICTURES: https://photos.app.goo.gl/JUGbjtsQnyA9vaXA6

PARTS: I am considering building this all onto a single IC Board. I may need to update to more reliable parts - but let's see how this goes. So far I have 6 hours of play on this and it is working great!

OPTO IR Sensor: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I57HIJ0

Relay: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LW15A4W

#2 2 years ago

Very cool, love the ingenuity. I also spent a lot of time on that switch. I found a replacement at Marco that I was able to get going reliably, but it was way too much work.

Did you consider MRS? Magnetic Reed Switch? Might be more practical. I sold my Fish Tales and forget what's around the switch: maybe there's a metal ball guide you could cut an opening for the MRS. For your reference, someone is making them for some games (https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/mampm-creations-mrs-catalog), but pretty pricey.

#3 2 years ago
Quoted from HighVoltage:

Did you consider MRS? Magnetic Reed Switch? Might be more practical. I sold my Fish Tales and forget what's around the switch: maybe there's a metal ball guide you could cut an opening for the MRS.

I did look a bit into magnet switches but opted for the IR approach. I may still experiment with this idea.

The area under the playfield is tight so getting anything into this area can be challenging if not made to fit in this space.

I was not aware of M&M and the inserts they are making. These look pretty interesting but agree pricy. I spent about $7 in parts.

#4 2 years ago
Quoted from dvschaller:

I have read other posts with the same issue where the ball gets stuck on Fish Tales at the top of the upper right loop, but have not found a good solution. I spent hours tweaking and adjusting the switch and have designed a fix that I wanted to share with everyone.
I concluded that the design of this switch and its placement under the playfield was the problem. I had no luck finding a replacement. Also the switch that was there was in bad shape (see photo link).
After a bunch of research and prototyping, I landed on a solution to install an infrared sensor (IR sensor) and a relay.
I am attaching some instructions and a google link with a number of photos to help you understand what I built. If you decide to do this I would love to hear your feedback and if you have ideas for improvement please share.
The details …
* I designed a 3D printed part to hold the LEDs (some local libraries have 3D printing). Drilled LED holes separately to ensure that LEDs would line up properly under the switch slot. The screw holes in the part are slightly larger to allow fine adjustments. Mount this correctly. See picture. If you want the 3D file PM me.
* Purchased an IR opto sensor (see part link below). I removed the Emitter and Receiver LED and soldered wires in between the LEDs and the board. The LEDs each share a ground and can share a common wire if you choose. I used separate wires for each lead. The specs state this sensor can handle 3 to 5 volts. But at 5 volts this part fails. This is due to a resistor on the board that is too small (mine had 51 Ohms) which causes the emitter to fail. I put an additional 70 ohm resistor in between the sensor board and the emitter (see picture). Not knowing what the LEDs can handle and a bit of testing this is where I ended up.
* Purchased a relay that is engaged by a signal from the opto sensor. This relay essentially replaces the switch. The connectors should be wired as follows:
High voltage side:
NO: Normally Open: Connect to green from switch
COM - Common: Diode banded side
NC - Normally Closed: Connect to white from switch and other side of Diode
Jumper:
set to Low
5V side:
DC + : 5 Volts
DC - : Ground
In : connect to OUT on opto sensor.
* I mounted the parts near my coin door to allow adjustment while the playfield was down. This allowed me to do a number of ball tests on the sensors through the playfield. Eventually I will mount these under the playfield.
* Connect both board’s ground connections to a 5 volts voltage source. You can get this from the power driver board J117-4 +5V. OR since I had a Color DMD there is 5 volts you can get from the old DMD voltage supply off the board - J604-6.
* Connect both board’s DC+ and Vcc to +5V
* Connect the Opto IR sensor-Out to the Relay-In
* Adjusting the opto IR Sensor. On the opto IR sensor there is a variable resistor. Once hooked up you should adjust this just before it triggers the relay.
PICTURES: https://photos.app.goo.gl/JUGbjtsQnyA9vaXA6
PARTS: I am considering building this all onto a single IC Board. I may need to update to more reliable parts - but let's see how this goes. So far I have 6 hours of play on this and it is working great!
OPTO IR Sensor: amazon.com link »
Relay: amazon.com link »

WOW! Is all I can say....that's innovation and determination!

HighVoltage is correct...these types of switch issues is exactly why we started M&M Creations 2 years ago - to resolve these issues with a simple and elegant solution - the MRS. In this case, we do have an MRS that would fit - it simply is 1 screw to hold the MRS in place - and you would solder-splice the green to green and white to white...and that's it - completely compatible with the switch matrix and self-contained....and of course contactless. Our MRS' are pricey in a sense - $35/ea - this is because they are labor intensive to build and tune...but like the MRS' found in 90's era WPC pins - last - well at least 25 years now - and don't require maintenance.... dvschaller please PM me if interested - I'd like the opportunity for us to impress you!

Matt
M&M Creations

2 weeks later
#5 2 years ago

dvschaller : Thanks for posting this solution! I too suffered from the ball getting jammed in the top right loop at times. I tried moving the wire to another switch and re-shaping the original wire until it finally broke.. Tried a new switch & wire but it seemed the switches are really sub-par (bought from marco) and it takes next to nothing to damage the internals of the switch which then becomes loose , the wire can easily move from side to side and becomes unreliable fast. I tried for hours on end fixing this damn switch. I got it to a point where it didn't hold the ball but sometimes if the ball went by the top right loop too fast the switch wouldn't even pick up.. Kinda sucked at times but I lived with it.

Sonic : I had considered a MRS from you guys, I am in Canada so I have to convert currency , increase shipping so it's probably closer to at least 45$ USD or 58$ CAD. When a single microswitch can be bought for like 3-4$ CAD , 58$ kinda becomes steep.. I totally understand the costs and I'm not complaining about it, there's labor, materials , shipping and handling. Obviously this niche market isn't making you guys rich and it's more like a service. Also , even looking up your game catalog page, Fish Tales isn't listed. You chiming in saying you have a compatible switch for this precise problem comes as news to me.. The information on what's available from M&M Creations is scarce.. I understand you also don't have a website (extra costs) but when I click on your business page here on pinside. I don't know what the site allows you to add to your business page , but at the very least a link to your catalog and to some examples would help to know more about what's available. I did read a lot of posts concerning MRS and how it's installed in a few games and how some of these games require some more precise adjustment to the installing of the MRS. I'm also concerned about the magnetism and it affecting the ball as it comes close. Now with all this being said, I know you guys put time into this and have read nothing but good comments on your behalf. I'm just saying all these constraints put me off at buying a MRS for this particular switch.

HighVoltage

Quoted from HighVoltage:

maybe there's a metal ball guide you could cut an opening for the MRS.

That would be a terrible solution to me.. Cutting part of the metal guide to add the MRS , adding that switch in the visual , while damaging the original design.. Fish tales is my only pinball, I cherish it more than any other object I've ever had , including cars. No way I would want to modify to that extent.

I have built dvschaller 's solution with the proximity sensor but used a relay I had stock.I put everything on a little vero board with screw in terminals. The circuit is obviously super simple, using a 1k resistor, a PNP 2n3906 transistor, 2 x 1n4001 diodes, a 5v relay and the proximity sensor. I tapped J118 do bring the 5v along the harness up to the switch. I removed the old switch, using its bracket to mount my vero board in it's place, and also extended the sensor's diodes to a simple piece of flat plastic that's thick enough to be screwed and so that the diodes can lean on once you've drilled holes. I added a drop of crazy glue to make sure they wouldn't move out. There was no real adjustment to be done. The diodes are centered in the slot, the proximity sensor was adjusted with its variable resistor and works flawless right away. The only real drawback here is you need to bring 5v to use this method. You could use the opto board's 12v nearby, but you'd need a regulator to bring it down to 5v for the proximity sensor, so bringing 5v from the power driver board was easier and cheaper.

Overall this solution cost me next to nothing because I had everything but the proximity sensor (I bought 5 for 12$ CAD from amazon, so they cost me a bit over 2$ each). I think in this case its more reliable than a MRS because the sensor is super sensitive and there is no chance of the magnet to interfere with the balls at all.

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#6 2 years ago
Quoted from Roamin:

Sonic : I had considered a MRS from you guys, I am in Canada so I have to convert currency , increase shipping so it's probably closer to at least 45$ USD or 58$ CAD. When a single microswitch can be bought for like 3-4$ CAD , 58$ kinda becomes steep.. I totally understand the costs and I'm not complaining about it, there's labor, materials , shipping and handling. Obviously this niche market isn't making you guys rich and it's more like a service. Also , even looking up your game catalog page, Fish Tales isn't listed. You chiming in saying you have a compatible switch for this precise problem comes as news to me.. The information on what's available from M&M Creations is scarce.. I understand you also don't have a website (extra costs) but when I click on your business page here on pinside. I don't know what the site allows you to add to your business page , but at the very least a link to your catalog and to some examples would help to know more about what's available. I did read a lot of posts concerning MRS and how it's installed in a few games and how some of these games require some more precise adjustment to the installing of the MRS. I'm also concerned about the magnetism and it affecting the ball as it comes close. Now with all this being said, I know you guys put time into this and have read nothing but good comments on your behalf. I'm just saying all these constraints put me off at buying a MRS for this particular switch.
HighVoltage

That would be a terrible solution to me.. Cutting part of the metal guide to add the MRS , adding that switch in the visual , while damaging the original design. I think in this case its more reliable than a MRS because the sensor is super sensitive and there is no chance of the magnet to interfere with the balls at all.
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Roamin Excellent write up! Allow me to address some of your concerns...you are correct on the price (and thank you for mentioning what we do as more of a service, that really is how we do look at it)...our rollovers are $35 USD and shipping to Canada is another $15 USD - it is steep....but time is money - the parts involved in your circuit may not add up to much - but your time certainly was extensive in your solution - it really is impressive (to me!)

You are correct about our lack of website as we sell strictly via word-of-mouth/testimonial on Pinside- this is largely due to the fact that we are asked to do a lot of customization (for example we just completed a solution for Alien and a couple homebrew's). As you will find at Pinside - we hold a worthy reputation for product quality & customer service - and LOT's of write-ups on the various club forums.

That all said, our pricing is due to the customization, complexity of build; yet simplicity to integrate (about 10 minutes to solder 2 wires and put 1 screw in to hold the MRS) - no need for cutting metal guides, external power tap, additional PCB's, or any of that. It's a simple passive rollover MRS that fits into the slot - it's in our catalog - just not specifically noted for FT as no one has applied it to FT thus far. The rollovers are quasi-universal - the only differences are the mounting tab locations - in this case a side tab. We have rollovers in all kinds of pins from R&M to JJP_GNR to TOTAN to BK2K....magnetism does not affect the ball in anyway due to the mass of the magnets involved...MRS' have been native to pins starting in 1996 with Safe Cracker (invariably in 6 more WMS pins: NGG, CC, CV, NBAFB, RFM & SWEP1) and 2 Sega pins (SJ & SWT) as well as the dozens of pins our MRS' have been installed, further the magnets PALE in comparison to electro-magnets found in many pins. Reliability exceeds opto's (the MRS were introduced for that very reason to improve upon opto's and eddy sensors) - nothing to clean - no active circuit to fail - but more telling it's been 26 years since MRS introduction in Safe Cracker (3 in that pin) - and still going strong.

So here's the deal - if you (or anyone else with the same problem here) were to purchase our Fish Tales rollover MRS solution - and you don't like it - it doesn't work the way you want, or whatever - I'll refund your money (MRS and shipping) and you don't have to send anything back.

We really believe it's the best solution for this problem.

Matt
M&M Creations

#7 2 years ago

For visualization, I found a photo of the rollover MRS that would apply to this application - as photographed in a TOTAN....no external boards - just 2 wires to the switch matrix....

Matt
M&M Creations
received_2992792314382588 (resized).jpgreceived_2992792314382588 (resized).jpg

#8 2 years ago
Quoted from Roamin:

Thanks for posting this solution! I too suffered from the ball getting jammed in the top right loop at times. I tried moving the wire to another switch and re-shaping the original wire until it finally broke.. Tried a new switch & wire but it seemed the switches are really sub-par (bought from marco) and it takes next to nothing to damage the internals of the switch which then becomes loose , the wire can easily move from side to side and becomes unreliable fast. I tried for hours on end fixing this damn switch. I got it to a point where it didn't hold the ball but sometimes if the ball went by the top right loop too fast the switch wouldn't even pick up.. Kinda sucked at times but I lived with it.

Hi Roamin - Very nice job!! So reading your post gave me flashbacks to all the tweaking and screwing around I also tried. I am one to fix things on my own and I love working on my machine as much as I do playing it. My prototype solution is still working at 100%. As I mentioned in my post, my initial build was to prototype and see if this was going to work. With this success my next step was to build something more compact and site local as you did. My solution is very close to your's ... just need to build it, but my day job keeps getting in the way . I am interested in what proximity sensor you used? Also, did you have any issues with if failing? I put a resistor on the emitter to protect it when running at 5 volts.

I had a PM exchange with Sonic , He was very helpful and willing to go out of his way to support me. I would recommend this solution for those that want a quick working solution. Before he contacted me I had also considered prototyping an MSR type solution - I didn't even know they existed. I love how their solution is powered from the existing wiring.

1 month later
#9 2 years ago

Hey guys,
I also have a fish tales and have had intermittent issues with the ball getting hung up on the upper right loop switch. I had adjusted the wire multiple times but a slow roller still got caught up on the wire every now and then, and nothing but a tilt worthy shake or pulling the glass would set the ball free.
I ran across this thread. I reached out to sonic and bought one of his roll over MSR switch.

Install was straight forward and took me all of 10 minutes, granted I just nutted the wires for now, when I do my playfield swap I’ll make it look pretty, heat-shrink etc.
Works like a champ!

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#10 2 years ago
Quoted from gatordad:

Hey guys,
I also have a fish tales and have had intermittent issues with the ball getting hung up on the upper right loop switch. I had adjusted the wire multiple times but a slow roller still got caught up on the wire every now and then, and nothing but a tilt worthy shake or pulling the glass would set the ball free.
I ran across this thread. I reached out to sonic and bought one of his roll over MSR switch.
Install was straight forward and took me all of 10 minutes, granted I just nutted the wires for now, when I do my playfield swap I’ll make it look pretty, heat-shrink etc.
Works like a champ!
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Great write up - looks perfect....glad to help!

Matt
M&M Creations

1 year later
#11 10 months ago

Hi i had also ball stuck on right loop switch problem on my Fish Tales ,after i have install a MRS from M&M Creations it's work like a glove no ball stuck problems !

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#12 10 months ago
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#13 10 months ago

Just want to also recommend the M&M creations products.

They have worked flawlessly in many of my games, and while I haven't put them in a Fish Tales yet, if I had any reason to at all, I wouldn't hesitate.

Great company, great products.

5 months later
#14 5 months ago

Add me to the list of satisfied M&M Creations customers. I just got around to installing an MRS from them for the right loop switch on my Fish Tales. Easy install and functioning flawlessly. Two thumbs up!

#15 5 months ago
Quoted from SomeGuy:

Add me to the list of satisfied M&M Creations customers. I just got around to installing an MRS from them for the right loop switch on my Fish Tales. Easy install and functioning flawlessly. Two thumbs up!

Glad to be of help!!

Matt

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