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(Topic ID: 129298)

Hi tap to help with weak flippers and pops


By Pauz21

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 25 posts
  • 13 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by Wickerman2
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 5 years ago

Looking for some help. Have a 1970 Williams 3 jokers. Working 100% but flippers and pops are weak. Checked the sleeves and they're clean. Not gummed up. Is hi tapping it a smart way to go.

#2 5 years ago

I'm a fan of High Tapping, but not for the reasons you suggest. You need to rebuild the entire mechanism in question, then assesses whether it needs High Tap or not. The sleeve/plunger is only one area to worry about. The bushing through the PF, the crank/bakelite relationship and EOS adjustments are all areas of potential issue.

Generally, Williams flippers are pretty strong and shouldn't need high tap.

Same deal for for the pops, but I wouldn't generally categorize them as "strong".

You need to get the mechanicals right, then you may not even want High Tap.

#3 5 years ago

You may have dirty switches or jones plug causing a loss of current to these items. When I have something that feels weak, if all the mechanical parts are good, I go around and start cleaning switches and connectors.

#4 5 years ago

I have high tapped some Ballys and Gottliebs but Williams EM's usually pack a pretty good punch already.

#5 5 years ago

Can it hurt to do it?

#6 5 years ago
Quoted from Pauz21:

Can it hurt to do it?

You are not going to hurt anything.
It just gives a slight volt adjustment anyway.
It only effects the coils and not the lamps.

#7 5 years ago
Quoted from Pauz21:

Can it hurt to do it?

In general, no it won't hurt it.

I always rebuild the entire assembly first to be sure it's mechanically sound and does not have excessive "slop" in it. Then I check/file/replace the switches: spoon switch on pop bumpers and EOS as well as cabinet flipper button switches.

When the above all check out and things still seem like they could be better, then I high tap it.

#8 5 years ago

Just my own personal 2 cents worth here:

I agree with others that hi tap isn't going to hurt anything from what I've seen and read. However...

My first table was (and still is as I will NEVER sell or trade it) a 1976 Williams Space Odyssey. When I got it I was very unhappy with the responsiveness of the pops and the power of the flippers. I was considering hi tap then and started reading about it. While doing so I found what you are finding in this thread - lots of people in the hobby advocating the rebuilding of the assemblies in question to ensure that they were working properly. In the end, that is what I did and I don't think I'd ever switch the table to hi tap. Why? A few thoughts, and I share them just because I wish more people had been this clear about things in threads I was reading at the time:

OK, Flippers first. One of the things that I read here on Pinside a few times during my initial research that really struck me was the idea that your flippers are your only point of interaction with your table and are the only thing that you really have control over. Since this is true, make sure they work the best they can. Once I had purchased a Williams Flipper Rebuild Kit from Steve at Pinball Resource and then done the work to rebuild them, I found that they functioned better than before. Significantly better. Waaaaaay better. Better to the point where I was kind of shocked. That flipper rebuild kit cost me $53.84. I'm just trying to state in as enthusiastic terms as I can that this was money well spent and that those people on Pinside were right. Don't be afraid to spend that money because I highly doubt that you would ever regret it.

One Pinsider has done a great job breaking down how to rebuild flippers. Here is his guide:
http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-upgradingrebuilding-flippers

As far as pop bumpers on a late period Williams EM go, just re-read my comments above regarding flippers and insert "pop bumpers" whenever you see the word flippers. Everything else is just as true except the part about having control of them. Also, pop rebuilds were only about $10-15 per pop. Very inexpensive and I was just as shocked at the improvement. Again, don't hesitate. Money well spent, I assure you.

Here is a guide about rebuilding pops:
http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-rebuilding-pop-bumpers

The one thing I would add is that it was really important to finish these rebuilds correctly. In each case this meant adjusting the associated leaf switches/end of stroke switches after they had been replaced to get maximum performance out of those parts.

Seriously, I can't encourage you enough to do this stuff. I really think you will love the results. I only wish I had done so sooner with my Williams EM.

#9 5 years ago

What is your line voltage? High tap is meant to correct for low line voltage. Rebuild the flippers and bumpers. Clean and adjust all the switch contacts that bring power to the playfield components. Two switches to check are on the tilt relay and the game over relay.
You should also clean and properly adjust the flipper "end of stroke" switches.
Is this a DC powered game? If so, maybe the bridge rectifier needs to be replaced. Whip out the DMM and check the line voltage and the voltage to the powered components on the playfield. Also, clean and wax the playfield. I am not a fan of unnecessarily high-tapping games. No, it doesn't harm the lamps, but it puts undue strain on non gameplay related components such as score reels and steppers. I recently worked on a 0-9 unit on a game that had been high tapped for perhaps it's entire life on location. The game didn't have an unusually high number of plays, but the unit I was working on had a lot of wear, and wouldn't step properly. After restoring the transformer to the normal tap, and servicing the unit, it worked properly again. I'd much rather see some windings removed from the pop bumper coils than high-tapping a game needlessly.

#10 5 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

What is your line voltage? High tap is meant to correct for low line voltage. Rebuild the flippers and bumpers. Clean and adjust all the switch contacts that bring power to the playfield components. Two switches to check are on the tilt relay and the game over relay.
You should also clean and properly adjust the flipper "end of stroke" switches.
Is this a DC powered game? If so, maybe the bridge rectifier needs to be replaced. Whip out the DMM and check the line voltage and the voltage to the powered components on the playfield. Also, clean and wax the playfield. I am not a fan of unnecessarily high-tapping games. No, it doesn't harm the lamps, but it puts undue strain on non gameplay related components such as score reels and steppers. I recently worked on a 0-9 unit on a game that had been high tapped for perhaps it's entire life on location. The game didn't have an unusually high number of plays, but the unit I was working on had a lot of wear, and wouldn't step properly. After restoring the transformer to the normal tap, and servicing the unit, it worked properly again. I'd much rather see some windings removed from the pop bumper coils than high-tapping a game needlessly.

I think your servicing of the unit made the unit step properly, and not returning it to normal tap.

#11 5 years ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

I think your servicing of the unit made the unit step properly, and not returning it to normal tap.

When it was on high-tap, it wouldn't step in single increments. That was after I serviced the unit. Restoring the tap to "normal" solved that problem.
The game has now been fully shopped, cleaned and waxed, and plays plenty fast on normal tap.
I once had a problem with a "Melody". No matter what I did, I couldn't get the "relay action" holes to pass the ball properly. I then noticed that the game was high-tapped. After setting the game back to "normal", the holes passed the ball perfectly. If your line voltage is 110-120V, there's really no need to high tap.
High tapping won't do anything to improve game play on a sluggish game with worn and gummy components.

#12 5 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

When it was on high-tap, it wouldn't step in single increments. That was after I serviced the unit. Restoring the tap to "normal" solved that problem.
The game has now been fully shopped, cleaned and waxed, and plays plenty fast on normal tap.
I once had a problem with a "Melody". No matter what I did, I couldn't get the "relay action" holes to pass the ball properly. I then noticed that the game was high-tapped. After setting the game back to "normal", the holes passed the ball perfectly. If your line voltage is 110-120V, there's really no need to high tap.
High tapping won't do anything to improve game play on a sluggish game with worn and gummy components.

I agree with that completely.

At the same time, I've had different games on high tap and I've never had any issues with steppers working incorrectly due to it. Interesting issue.

#13 5 years ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

At the same time, I've had different games on high tap and I've never had any issues with steppers working incorrectly due to it

Ditto.

#14 5 years ago

I high tap for quick results, but eventually I fix the problem with newer coils cleaning contacts, or rebuilding the flippers. But you are not going to hurt anything.

#15 5 years ago

High tap is for when you have low voltage issues...but will help without rebuilding flippers and pops. I prefer to rebuild and avoid high tap,especially since it can provide unnecessary voltage to moving parts and can damage them.

#16 5 years ago

I tried it tonight. Helped with the flippers. Still not happy with the pops. Gonna try to tune em up too. Thanks for the advice everyone. Feel free to keep the discussion open as it seems there's mixed feelings about this.

#17 5 years ago

I'd like to hear what you end up doing with your pop bumpers to make them strong again. I have a Crosstown that needs some power in that area

#18 5 years ago

Rebuilding the pop bumper assemblies and removing some of windings on the coils will definitely improve the performance. So much so that I put some of the windings back on as I found the a few bumpers TOO active. The EM guide at pinrepair.com (thanks Clay) will walk you through it.

#19 5 years ago
Quoted from smailskid:

removing some of windings on the coils will definitely improve the performance.

Be aware that there are downsides to this as well:
1. The coil looks bad when complete, unless you re-wrap it somehow.
2. There is a limit to what you can do here. Clearly, one loop of wire is a short, so someplace between a short and where you are now, you will get a maximum force on the slug.
3. You will need to experiment with this. 3 layers may or may not do it for you, or it may cause you problems.
4. As you unwind, you will also get more current, which will set you up for burned up coils. I have changed out several of these hot rod coils at the VFW on old EMs. There are many reasons a coil will burn, but I have not pulled switched out a burned stock coil yet. May be just coincidence, it could be that the machines at the VFW get 100x the workout of home use or any combo in between, that is just my experience.

Regardless, first and foremost, rebuild the pops. New coil sleeves, clean all metal parts, clean the spoons, clean the contacts, make sure they slide nice and are well aligned, etc.

#20 5 years ago
Quoted from smailskid:

Rebuilding the pop bumper assemblies and removing some of windings on the coils will definitely improve the performance. So much so that I put some of the windings back on as I found the a few bumpers TOO active. The EM guide at pinrepair.com (thanks Clay) will walk you through it.

Put the windings "back on?"

Explain that one for me, please.

#21 5 years ago

Agreed that is best to rebuild and clean everything and not rely on removing wraps of wire.

In the past I have just reglued or taped the coil wrapper. Doesnt look bad unless you need or want it perfect. Personally for the game i needed to do this some tape on the bumper coil was the least of the issues.

Yes there is a limit to how much can be done. To much and it will be a short but you can remove a number of wraps before this occurs. Again see pinrepair em guide.

For home use I wouldnt have concern about a burned out coil because of this, but that is only my opinion.

#22 5 years ago

EMsinKC--- i did not like the "hot" bumpers in some spots. It made the game far to easy as the ball just stayed in the pops as they were so active. It was too much...and not good. So what to do? I had saved the wire wrappings I removed. So i sanded off a small portion of the enamel insulation on the wires and soldered them back together. I rewrapped the coil wire and replaced the paper wrapper and it played as original. A new coil would be ideal but i didnt have one one on hand and i wanted to get it playing better.

#23 5 years ago

So... I cleaned two of them up and replaced the sleeves and they seem to work better. Went to replace the other 3 and I'm not sure if the pin has mushroomed or what but I couldn't get the pin out of the coil... Moved about half way and I can't move it no matter how hard I pull. Gave up, pushed em back together and went back to playing. Kinda bitched up one of the aluminum sleeves trying to get it out so the reality is, I NEED to get them apart some how. Any suggestions.

#24 5 years ago

High tap it!!! Wives tales abound about damaging electronics. Rebuild the flippers/pop bumpers first--it's easy--then if it's still sluggish you can either swap for a slightly higher power flipper coil or high tap it...all can be changed back. It's your game, get it playing the way you want it.

#25 5 years ago
Quoted from Pauz21:

I couldn't get the pin out of the coil

All sorts of threads on this--heating it up etc.....easiest is to get a new coil along with your rebuild.

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