(Topic ID: 297972)

Gottlieb Star Race Project

By Ken16

1 year ago


Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

  • 25 posts
  • 5 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 9 months ago by koji
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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#1 1 year ago

IMG_20210803_002410433 (resized).jpgAbout 10 years ago when I first started collecting pins I picked up a fully populated Star Race playfield. I had always wanted to hook this up to a computer and implement my own game rules. My plan for this project is to control the playfield with a CobraPin pinball controller, recently designed by cobra18t, along with the open source OPP and MPF software frameworks. I don't have a cabinet for this game and I am unlikely to find one since Star Race is only 1 of 2 extra wide body games made by Gottlieb. I will be making this into playable table that will live in my den. The circuit boards will live inside the table. I also don't have a backbox or back glass so the scoring will most likely get implemented as a single 8 digit 7-segment display built into the table. I won't be making any permanent or irreversible changes to this playfield. If I grow tired of this game then the next owner will be able to restore it into an original working game.

My reasons for posting my progress here are as follows:

1. Participate in the pinball community. I've been somewhat of a closet pinball fanatic.
2. Learn from others. I welcome ideas and suggestions. If I can't find the answer to a question I may post it here.
3. Share what I've learned. I know these projects are often helpful to people that are restoring the same machine.

#2 1 year ago

Top side of the playfiled is decent. Plastics are decent with no chips or cracks. Inserts are nice and level. The paint is mostly intact. The only bummer is the missing paint / bad touch up located about 8 inches above the center drain. Unfortunately, someone placed mylar over this so I would either need to live with it or remove the mylar and risk further paint damage. I hate mylar. I'm going to live with it for now. Touch up paint will be the absolute last step for this project if I even get to it. I have yet to touch up any of the complete machines in my collection and some could use it.

#3 1 year ago

Nice, definitely a beautiful playfield to start out with.

I recently went through one mechanically.. did not finish cosmetic work tho, as it occurred to me that the game is just too darn big for my room, so it is on my sell block now .

I was experimenting with custom audio for it here:

Using the Lisy80 board (lisy.dev), it is incredibly cheap way that supports much of what you may need including the MPF project for making your own rules and so forth. My issue was that using the actual game rom, many of the sounds are re-used and cut short, so modifying particular switches for sounds was a bit of a lost cause. I also encountered a slight delay on switches before the audio would actually play, which I did not solve. Lisy also supports DIY displays and Fadecandy etc. You would need to acquire a System80 bottom board, power driver and driver board tho.

The core rules and shots on this game are excellent. I can't see those changing too much, as they work with the PF inserts etc. (Basically, you need to advance the yellow and green sides to advance the bonus multiplier. The top rollovers provide more lit opportunities around the PF to do so, including the loop where a clockwise will give you a yellow, and counter-clock will give you green.. it's brilliant. Also might be the only pinball to have a vari-target rule where you complete all of the vari positions to score a extra ball. Potential for multiball on the kickout if you could adapt the ball-trough with another switch.

Great project. Looking forward to seeing progress with whichever route you choose.

I have a video on my channel going over the original rules.

** If you end up selling the PF at some point, please let me know.. if I still have the game, I'd def try to swap.. mine looks worse

#4 1 year ago

IMG_20210731_235510755 (resized).jpgThe bottom side of the playfield is really clean. No writing, solder rosin or other crud. This playfield has one major problem though. Someone in the past cut all of the wiring harnesses. I can't imagine why anyone would do this but it's the reason why I was able to pick up this playfield at a very good price. Thankfully it came with the severed harnesses. IMG_20210731_235539553 (resized).jpg

Step 1 will be to reattach the wiring harnesses. I plan to splice the wire together via solder and cover with heat shrink. I considered various crimp butt connectors but I don't want the harnesses to become anymore bulky than necessary. I've ordered a manual from PBR to help with identifying which wires go where.

#5 1 year ago

koji, thanks for sharing your video. It's always cool to hear what people do with custom sound affects and music. I will definitely check out your rules video too.

#6 1 year ago

While I'm waiting for my manual and heat shrink to arrive, here is a photo of the controller board that I plan to use. IMG_20210803_143431752 (resized).jpg
I'm going to use a 90 watt 5v 18 amp supply for my LED lighting and a 350 watt 24v 14.6 amps supply for my solenoids. IMG_20210803_143747964 (resized).jpg

#7 1 year ago

I ordered 100 of these to experiment with for lighting.
amazon.com link »
ws2812b_pcb_frony (resized).pngws2812b_pcb_back (resized).png

#8 1 year ago

I also picked up a strip of 5v ws2812b LEDS to play with.ws2812b_strip (resized).png

#9 1 year ago

I have a question about the above 2 LED options. They are both using WS2812B ICs. While, they both have a capacitor from +5V to ground only 1 has a resistor. My question is: Why is the resistor needed. The resistor is labeled 750 which I believe stands for 75 ohms which is about the correct value for a current limiting resistor given 5 volts. ws2812b_pcb_closeup (resized).png This is not just and LED but an actual IC with a LED built into it. The datasheet makes no mention of the need for a current limiting resistor and the sample circuit does not specify a resistor. Oddly, the datasheet doesn't specify the max current either. https://cdn-shop.adafruit.com/datasheets/WS2812B.pdf
sample_circuit (resized).png

#10 1 year ago

Manual arrived from PBR today. I have enough heat shrink to get started on repairing the wire harnesses tonight.IMG_20210805_145845409 (resized).jpg

#11 1 year ago

I really enjoy Star Race. I think the art is awesome too. I'll be keeping an eye on your progress

#12 1 year ago

Need a backglass? I have a NOS one. Pm me if interested.

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#13 1 year ago

I just finished re-attaching the the harness for the switch matrix. Only 1 million more wires to go. I only forgot 1 heat shrink tube.IMG_20210806_000506561 (resized).jpg Not bad for a first time. The first two splices were a little dicey but I got a lot better after that. I also started out brushing some extra rosin like a lot of videos recommend. However, I found this just made a big mess. The first one I did resulted in the rosin flowing an inch and half down my soldering iron. I did the rest of them without the rosin paste and it worked fine. The recipe that worked well for these 22 gauge Gottlieb wires was:

1. Weller WESD51 at 650 F
2. Chisel Tip
3. Good Quality 67/37 lead-based rosin core solder. I used MG Chemicals.
4. 1/16" 2-to-1 shrinkage heat shrink.
5. Helping hand device.
6. Fume extractor. You can build these with cpu fans, etc... See youtube.

The joining technique that worked best for me was to fan the ends of the two wires and push them into each other. However, I turned each wire 2 turns in the opposite direction before pushing them together. This allowed me to twist wires while undoing my initial wire turns. The end result is that you end up with the exposed wire twisted together but the insulated portions of the wire are not twisted.

Here is the rest of my setup.IMG_20210806_000456743 (resized).jpgIMG_20210806_000715840 (resized).jpg

#14 1 year ago

Started on the lamp harness tonight. Spliced about 20 more wires.

#15 1 year ago

These arrived today.IMG_20210808_180337314 (resized).jpgIMG_20210808_180515398 (resized).jpg I'm going to finish re-attaching the wiring harness before I start playing with these. Only about 40 more wires to go.

#16 1 year ago

Finally finished repairing all the wiring harnesses. I didn't really need to do the A3J3 harness, which has something like 56 wires, because I'm planning on using addressable LED instead. All but 2 of the wires on the harness are for lamps. However, I fixed it anyways so the next owner of this playfield won't have too. There's only so many Star Race games left. Repairing theses harnesses brings this one back to life.IMG_20210810_005046037_HDR (resized).jpg

#17 12 months ago

This one screw holding the apron on took over 30 minutes to remove. Too much rust and it wouldn't back out of the hole.IMG_20210813_223821966 (resized).jpg
I made need to buy a couple of these brackets or maybe just rethread them for a larger size screw. IMG_20210813_232008994 (resized).jpg

1 month later
#18 10 months ago

How are things coming along Ken16 ? Just stumbled on this and really keen to follow it now.

#19 10 months ago

Finally have some updates to post. I've been busy and then my phone refused to connect to my laptop for a while. I removed, tested, cleaned and re-attached all the solenoid assemblies. I cleaned all the metal and plastic parts with my ultrasonic cleaner. Here is a photo of the bottom side of the playfield with everything re-attached the way I like.IMG_20211006_221917105 (resized).jpg. I replaced two of the solenoids as the sleeves had melted inside them. Cleaned up the underside as much as possible. Someone had spilled a coffee or beer on it at some point in the past.

#20 10 months ago

Here is a photo of the top side after cleaning and waxing it.IMG_20211006_223758564 (resized).jpg

#21 10 months ago

Here are some shots of the playfield after re-attaching all the posts and installing the rubber. Metal parts have been polished.IMG_20211010_190015362 (resized).jpgIMG_20211010_190009275 (resized).jpgIMG_20211010_185955988 (resized).jpgIMG_20211010_185949197 (resized).jpg

#22 10 months ago

Next step is to re-install the playfield art plastics. These are in good shape. Not warped and all the art is there. However, some of them are very dirty on the graphic side. Again, most likely beer or coffee. I think I will try warm soapy water first. adfit, thanks for checking in on the project.

#23 10 months ago

Playfield plastics have been reinstalled.IMG_20211015_141740996 (resized).jpgIMG_20211015_141811960 (resized).jpg

#24 10 months ago

I've pretty much done all the cleaning, polishing, waxing and repairing that I am going to do for this playfield. Now it's time to figure out what to do for a cabinet. I only have the playfield and the playfield glass so I will have to build something. Options are to build a real cabinet modeled after one of my other Gottliebs, only wider, or build some sort of coffee table thing. I would like it to be fully playable. I've got the woodworking tools to go either way.

The coffee table approach is of interest to me because I could place it in my office where I currently have an old blanket chest. The only downside to the coffee table idea is that I think it would be hard to allow for nudging during game play. I would have to come up with some sort off suspension idea to make it work. I was also thinking that it could be a wooden frame with glass or plexiglass sides to allow one to see inside. There should be a lot of surplus plexiglass once this damn pandemic comes to an end.

A real cabinet would be nice too. I wish this wasn't an ultra-wide pin. It would make it a lot easier to find a donor cabinet. Only Star Race and Circus were built to this width.

#25 9 months ago
Quoted from Ken16:

I've pretty much done all the cleaning, polishing, waxing and repairing that I am going to do for this playfield. Now it's time to figure out what to do for a cabinet. I only have the playfield and the playfield glass so I will have to build something. Options are to build a real cabinet modeled after one of my other Gottliebs, only wider, or build some sort of coffee table thing. I would like it to be fully playable. I've got the woodworking tools to go either way.
The coffee table approach is of interest to me because I could place it in my office where I currently have an old blanket chest. The only downside to the coffee table idea is that I think it would be hard to allow for nudging during game play. I would have to come up with some sort off suspension idea to make it work. I was also thinking that it could be a wooden frame with glass or plexiglass sides to allow one to see inside. There should be a lot of surplus plexiglass once this damn pandemic comes to an end.
A real cabinet would be nice too. I wish this wasn't an ultra-wide pin. It would make it a lot easier to find a donor cabinet. Only Star Race and Circus were built to this width.

May as well try an APB on some of the pinball groups for a cab.. always worth a shot that someone has one they have been holding on to.

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