I’m hoping I can tap into some technical knowledge on the forum to help me diagnose a problem and point me to a solution. I apologize in advance, but this is a long post; I wanted to detail everything I’ve done in trying to fix this problem.
I’ve had my machine for several weeks now and have been chasing a bug known as “Michael Creep.” During game play, one or more of my Michaels on the left side will creep out from their normal “zero” position. Eventually, over the course of a game or two, the Michaels get driven face-first into the hedges where they’ll stay unless manually reset through the menu or the machine is rebooted (or if I sink a ball under a given Michael during gameplay). In one recent instance, I was just walking up to the machine to start a game, touched the lockdown bar, and all three Michaels kicked out about an inch.
The following links are to videos I took of my machine today. Although these are clips, all took place within several minutes of game play as the issue occurs quite frequently:
I’ve spent several hours under the playfield looking for any kind of issue that could point to a cause. Here’s a list of the problems I’ve found as well as some troubleshooting steps I’ve done:
(1) Soon after initial setup, I was experiencing a problem where partway into a game, the flippers, slings and other solenoid-controlled functions would cease to work. Looking in the cabinet, I eventually found a loose 48v power lead that had come out of its crimped connector. In addition, it seemed the remaining 48v power lead took up the electrical load as it showed signs of melted insulation. I repaired the one power lead as well as two ground leads that also had poorly-crimped connections.
(2) Each Michael servo is connected to the main board with a long extension. Thinking these extensions were picking up EMI, I took the extensions out, removed the bulk of extra wire, then untwisted each wire lead and in-turn braided them. I then installed new pins and plugs. Braiding the wires is an old RC hack that helps choke or reduce EMI in long runs of wire. In addition to braiding the servo extensions, I also braided the flat wires coming off each servo. Again, I wanted to be thorough and confident that I was not picking up any EMI. It should be noted that I left enough extra wire on each extension to allow for multiple routing options under the playfield. The extra I bundled up using a zip tie.
(3) Thinking a servo might be bad, I tried replacing the servo under the bottom Michael (servo 3). Unfortunately, this made no difference.
(4) I tried disconnecting one servo while leaving the other two connected to see if perhaps one servo was affecting the other two. Again, this made no difference as both connected servos would show the problem during gameplay.
(5) Earlier this week, I took another closer look at the components in the cabinet. While checking the power distribution board, I found one of the plugs in the “12 VOLT AND 5 VOLT OUTPUT SECTION” had a ground pin that was not fully inserted into its housing. I removed the plug, pushed the pin in until it was seated and locked, and plugged it back in.
(6) Yesterday, while doing a thorough inspection of the connectors on the main board, I found that the plug on the far upper left had a ground pin not fully inserted into its housing. I removed the plug, pushed the pin in until it was seated and locked, and plugged it back in.
At this point, I can see no further electrical or mechanical issues.
My guess is that I either (1) have a bad main board that is sending voltage spikes down the signal wires to these servos, perhaps due to a bad ground or some other problem on the board, or (2) have a bad power supply. Perhaps while that 48v power rail was disconnected, the power supply was damaged as exhibited by that melted insulation on the wiring.
I have been in constant contact with Spooky but so far they have not been able to help me get this issue resolved.
Can anyone here provide some suggestions on further troubleshooting? I'd greatly appreciate it.
Main_Board (resized).jpgMichaels (resized).jpgPower_Distribution_Board (resized).jpgPower_Supply (resized).jpg