Quoted from goingincirclez:
Anyway, that piece was only just barely not sliding into play on the first pulse of the step-up solenoid. A second pulse would get it. And of course once it was in place it would stay there for all subsequent players. Bingo: that's why it would only show up between players 1 and 2, and only just that once.
It probably took me 50 tries to get the player unit adjusted correctly on my Super Straight. Too stiff and it won't styep up. Too loose and it won't come back down to player 1. Since the I have put over 1200 games at 3 shows with nary a problem. Glad you're getting it there!
I finally have some time to better illustrate my issue with the Player Unit, which thankfully sounds like a fairly common headbanger rite of passage I believe Zacaj was right all along when he initially described his own issues. Which is not to say I discounted them in the least! But messing with it myself helped me understand what he was saying. So anyway:
In the above image, you can see three vertical springs. In between the left two, there are three pawls. The pawl that is layered in the middle, I am going to call the "lock-out latch" for the Step-down unit. The photo shows the standard configuration of these pawls... during a one-player game, they essentially don't change.
Watch that latch move in the next photo:
When the Step-Up coil pulls in to advance Player One to Player Two, that "lockout latch" is supposed to just fall into place and stay there to keep the Step-Down pawl engaged, which keeps the unit from rewinding until the Step-Down coil pulses and releases it. The funny thing is, that lockout latch is completely loose and should easily fall into place by gravity alone...
...but it's a deceptively precise fit. If the pulse from the Step-Up coil does not move the Step-Up pawl out of the way, the lockout latch will not fall into place.
But these are all solid metal parts, and nobody should have bent them out of adjustment, right?
What was especially maddening about mine was that EVERY SINGLE TIME I tested the unit by manually moving the step-up lever, it worked flawlessly! And as we all know, those coils are pretty strong so they shouldn't have a problem. So why did it always act up when left to the coil itself??
Well, that step-up lever is mostly nylon. The nylon end engages with the metal coil rod and it's all pretty free flowing so you wouldn't think there would be an issue. BUT! Naturally, it's easier to reach and lift the nylon end of that lever. But nylon is flexible. I finally discovered that me pushing on the nylon induced enough torsional flex to transfer lateral movement into the hinged end that has the metal latch... allowing it to move Just. A. Half. A. Hair. More.... enough to work... every single time.
But, if I pushed the coil plunger alone, it NEVER worked. The latch always stayed engaged by just a hair. We're talking the difference that 40 years or 25,000 plays creates as a burr or edge on that part over time.
So anyway. THAT was the cause. The repair was to file a slight chamfer on the latch and Step-Up pawl, and fine-tune the springs. Filing aggressively might have negated the need to mess with the springs but I almost broke the part. Note in the picture you can see a charred spot on the metal latch: I initially thought I could bend the pawl ever so slightly, but it went too far and threatened to crack so I had to heat it with a torch and reset the piece, then reinforce with epoxy. The moral of the story is: use caution!
After figuring out the issue, dozens of games have been played without a phantom... so far so good
I hear ya. I too figured that my moving parts and the game moving parts are 2 different things. I also had an issue similar to yours with the ball count unit that would die whenever it reset. Took days to figure out that 40 years of resets had punched the stopper enough that the unit would reset TOO far. And just far enough that the wiper was clear of the contact. Oy vey. Now enjoy playing that thing!
FIRST I'd like to thank everyone who helped out by contributing advice, tech tips, parts, troubleshooting, and even just hanging around to read or follow my long-winded ramblings. You're all part of what makes this community special. And honestly, sometimes just knowing that kind of thing exists, with me as a small part of it, helps me through the day.
I'm pleased to say that on July 16, this rescued Prospector - my very first foray into the world of EM's - was broken down into subassemblies, carted upstairs and out of my house, loaded into my van, and driven over to my customers' house. Whereupon the assemblies were unloaded, carried downstairs into their basement, reassembled, and then turned on... to play without a hitch from the start and through the rest of the evening!
My friends paid me a more than generous amount for the work (if not enough to quit my day job yet, ha!) and for that I put myself on the line for a few house calls. The next day the game wouldn't start, which was actually great as it gave me a chance to go over and demonstrate troubleshooting an actual problem as opposed to a theoretical one. Clicking a relay to rotate the motor took care of it and as far as I know (having stayed in touch and asked several times since) it's been fine ever since. My customer even managed to roll the reels once and is looking forward to his first Expo (Louisville) next year. So I call this project a success! For the record I never did have time to fully iron out the target-extra ball award, but it does work on High Score levels and such so that's at least good enough for their purposes.
Here's a couple more pics of it in the new home... we/they got right into playing so I had a chance to take a proper good one in nice lighting, etc... but you get the idea.
This was really fun, and of course I now have the EM bug and am hunting for my own... funny how that works
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