(Topic ID: 270548)

Haunted House Tips on VUK (basement to main playfield)

By calico1997

1 year ago

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  • 16 posts
  • 5 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 months ago by Bam_Man
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders


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#1 1 year ago

Among the many challenges with Gottlieb System 80 games, there is a problem that is specifically bad on Haunted House. Worse than Black Hole, the VUK (vertical up kicker) from the basement to the main playfield has many reasons to fail. There are some tips and fixes already on the forum. I learned a couple things this week that might help a little more.

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#2 1 year ago

I got this game from a guy on Offer Up about 6 months ago and used the Covid-19 stay-at-home situation to work on Haunted House. Most people should know that this is not a good game for a beginner to buy. It is sort of a "forever project". That said, Haunted House can be somewhat reliable if the right fixes are done to it. Again, there's lots of information on repairing and improving reliability on System 80 games.

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#3 1 year ago

When playing, if the ball goes to the basement playfield and gets stuck in the up kicker, it's a buzz kill. Nothing ruins the fun like standing there watching that ball fail over and over to make it up top. It's also damaging things in the machine. This is not a good situation to have happen often. There are a few tips on how to reduce the problem. I didn't find any of those were helping me. I started by just making sure the circuits were working as they should, with the k relay, the correct voltage, and good connections. Next, I purchased as many new parts for the VUK as I could find from Pinball Resource. I rebuilt the VUK with a new, correct coil (the old one was fine), a new coil sleeve, a new plunger, a new spring, a new rubber grommet, and a new switch. I cleaned everything as well. To my frustration, failure on the ball making it out of the basement was around 70% after all this work.
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#4 1 year ago

Adjusting the clear tube is really tricky because you can hardly see it when the playfield is down. You also can't really look down on it from above because of the stainless steel deflector on the top. Alignment of this tube is important. If not aligned, the ball will rattle around in it and fall back down to the VUK dish over and over. My solution for alignment was to grab a sheet of bright construction paper and cut it to about 8 x 5 inches. Then I rolled it up like a tube.

I put the paper tube into the plastic clear tube and made it flush with the "pointy" tip of the clear plastic tube. Then I lowered the playfield. This was tremendously helpful with alignment. I could shine a flashlight through the main playfield window and see exactly where the tube was in relation to the ball saucer. This made it easy to find the correct position from front to back and even from left to right. Obviously, remove the paper when you're done.

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#5 1 year ago

The other thing I noticed is the ball will almost always be off center in the wooden dish / saucer. You can align the VUK assembly all you want. But the playfield is tilted back and there's a lot of empty space where the ball falls into it. The result is that the ball will roll to the back of the VUK dish. When the plunger strikes, it will usually hit the ball off center and cause an inefficient ejection result. (my pinball in the photo is black)
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#6 1 year ago

As the machine gets worn from use, the ball erodes more and more of the wood around the VUK and the off-center resting position of the ball gets worse. I decided to add something in there to re-center the ball every time it lands in the saucer. Several things were tried and worked to some degree. I ended up using a modified "Eject Shield" purchased from Pinball Life.


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#7 1 year ago

The eject shield is nice because it has two nubs on the back of it to support the ball from rolling backwards. It also has a slot on the front of it to help accommodate the wire switch that sits in the saucer. Unfortunately, I had to modify it A LOT. But it only took about 5 minutes.

First, I drilled out the center to make plenty of room for the VUK plunger on Haunted House.
Next, I used tin snips to cut away all the flat plastic mounting holes around the dish.
Lastly, I ended up to needing to cut away more plastic by the slot, to make plenty of room for the wire switch on my game. It ended up being horse shoe shaped.

I got two of these in case I screwed up the first time. You can see the before and after in the picture.

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#8 1 year ago

It fit very nicely inside the saucer of the Haunted House VUK. Almost looks like it belongs there. I added a couple drops of glue to hold it in place. You have to look closely at the picture to see it.

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#9 1 year ago

It isn't perfect centering, but the ball is now considerably more in the middle than before and it finds the same position every time. It's pretty close to center but looks off because of the angle of my camera. I'm showing before and after pictures below.

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#10 1 year ago

Just for fun I made a slow motion video of the ball doing its thing correctly. Sorry for all the reflections and shaky camera.

#11 1 year ago

Great work! good to see a methodical approach in trying to diagnose the issue.

#12 1 year ago

One more quick tip. On the metal "V" bracket that sits above the VUK, you want that adjusted so it helps position the plastic tube from above so the the tube will be directly over the ball. That's pretty obvious. I found that loosening the two screws and moving that thing around becomes very hard to do with accuracy. To help keep track of position, I added some ruler tape on both sides of it. Now when I adjust the V bracket, I can tell if each side is moved the same amount and by how much. If you don't have ruler tape, just put some masking tape on the sides and mark it with a pen.

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#13 1 year ago

I welcome everyone's additional tips and tricks on this subject. Haunted House is a lot of fun...when it works!

- calico1997

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3 months later
#14 1 year ago

Thanks Calico1997 ! Great tips! I just ordered the Eject shield you mentioned! I was able to adjust my tube alignment by using my iPhone. Slid the camera lens over the hole, then took video of the ball trying to kick up. I took a couple trys, but I got it adjusted! Now to try the Eject Shield!

#15 1 year ago

I also highly recommend converting the VUK circuit to use a pop bumper driver board. I constantly fought mine doing those mechanical things you mention above and it worked for a while (I never did the ball alignment mod which is a pretty good idea though). The tungsten relay contacts get dirty which sends less voltage to the coil which makes the coil work harder and the up-kick gets increasingly unreliable, and if that switch is misadjusted you can plan on buying a new coil shortly. 10 years after installing the PBDB upgrade i haven't had a misfeed back to the main playfield....the ball launches with incredible power out of the hole.

4 months later
#16 8 months ago

Thank you for this. Tring these fixes this weekend! Love your lighting too btw!

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