(Topic ID: 170287)

Join the middle-pop club!

By NicoVolta

3 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 303 posts
  • 61 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 months ago by gdonovan
  • Topic is favorited by 25 Pinsiders


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#48 3 years ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

Probably one of my biggest not-buying regrets was on a Magic City. No, make that two Magic Cities. Stumbled on a Yard Sale with Sam Harvey probably in the early 80's. A whopping $147. Decent shape as I recall. But at that moment in time, that was quite a bit of change as I was "between jobs". Fast forward to only a few years ago: There was what looked like an absolutely mint one for sale on Ebay fairly locally (about an hours drive) but I just couldn't justify adding another one to the overflowing collection so I passed. Sold for the opening bid of $400.
Maybe someday a decent Magic City will find its way into my collection. I have fond memories of dropping a dime into the one in a Burger Joint across from the Canoga Drive in theater every time I rode by on my bike.

Quoted from NicoVolta:

They're actually fairly common and I've seen at least a half-dozen on CL over the past couple of years. Often for less than $400. Keep looking and subscribe to the project/EM craigslist finds threads. They do show up semi-regularly!

Congratulations Nico on the 'Join the middle-pop club! thread!' I enjoyed reading your middle pop bumper posts. Thanks for the nice history lesson. To christen the thread, I will post a middle pop bumper Magic Town I found on CL for CactusJack, although it's a long way from California! Also posted to the Project Pins thread:

~~~~Middle Pop Bumper Alert!~~~~

Manufacturer: Williams
Game/Type: Magic Town / EM 1 Player
Features: AAB
Month/Year: February 1967
Production: 3,950
Cost: $325 Firm
Location: Schroon Lake, NY
Contact/Link: glensfalls.craigslist.org link

Condition: "lights up but haven't had the time to get it working. ...The machine was at the Saratoga Grand Union Motel on South Broadway for many years."

I have had two chances to join the club - both times they were Fan-Tas-Tics. One was in Tucson when I was ignorant of the game and the other was a four hour one way trip that I decided against. Both were $400. If another one shows up local for that price I will try to grab it!

2 weeks later
#103 3 years ago

Oh great Middle-Pop guru and thread Pooh Bah, may I join the Middle-Pop club?

day1_spanish_eyes_1 and_2 (resized).jpg

#113 3 years ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

Curious to see the sides of the cabinet of the upright one. Front panel paint looks unusual.

Neither one appears to be original. Spanish Eyes 1:

day2_spanish_eyes_2_cabinet_left_side (resized).jpg

day2_spanish_eyes_2_cabinet_front (resized).jpg

day2_spanish_eyes_2_interesting_artwork_shooter_housing (resized).jpg

Interesting? This experimental artwork will be the first to go.

Spanish Eyes 2:

day2_spanish_eyes_1_cabinet_right_side (resized).jpg

day2_spanish_eyes_1_cabinet_front (resized).jpg

Quoted from NicoVolta:

Yes indeed... and a pair of Spanish Eyes'es? Don't be keeping them all to yourself now. :p

I plan to sell one but not until I determine whether to sell it 'as is' or after some restoration. I'll have to at least do a simple shop job. I am always interested and then excited to see how these old games clean up. Pinsiders will get first dibs.

1 week later
#118 3 years ago

Isn't life strange? Last week I had no Middle Pop Pins and now I have three!

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2 months later
#144 2 years ago

Three or four weeks ago I finished up the lesser of two Spanish Eyes. I am a sucker for a forgotten and neglected Project Pin that is destined for the Island of Misfit Pinballs:

day1_spanish_eyes_2_playfield (resized).jpg

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It is working 100%, I think. The middle pop on this pin needed a lot of attention. You just gotta have a middle pop game with a high performance middle pop! The switches were misalligned both horizontally and vertically, and of course, the entire assembly was taken apart, cleaned and put back together. I am finally pleased with how it performs. A pinball got stuck in the 'pinball trap' the other day and it must have been in there for five seconds or more. My neighbor who was playing it said simply, "That is cool."

I just finished another middle pop game and, it too, is working 100% after a lot of problems that needed fixing. The bacbox door is on with lock. I only need to work on three coin mechs:

finished (resized).jpg

There was an issue with the middle pop bumper that all members of the "Middle-Pop Club" should be aware of. The point on the skirt was badly worn. When I adjusted the switch to where it SHOULD be, the point would occasionally ride up on the handle of the spoon switch, sticking there and keeping the solenoid switch closed until it overheated. Fortunatley, I found the closed switch before the solenoid was fried.

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I am temporarily borrowing a pop bumper skirt from another machine until I can get one ordered. For less than a buck a piece, I recommend that you always replace the skirt when working on a middle pop bumper.

#146 2 years ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

Nice going Pecos!


Quoted from NicoVolta:

Norm Clark really threw the kitchen sink at that one. It has a little bit of everything.

Which is why I am so happy to have this one working. Lots to go wrong. There are still two issues having to do with loose wires that I am going to have to solve. What is supposed to happen, if anything, when the pinball rolls through both A and B lanes? I am also trying to figure out why there are three German made coin mechs that seem to accept only dimes when the coin plates say '2 Plays = Quarter.'

Quoted from NicoVolta:

How do you like Fan-Tas-Tic?

I must admit that I am more than just a little bit disappointed. Fan-Tas-Tic has two kick-out holes in a similar location to OXO's kick-out saucers which is one of my favorite shots in pinball. But getting the pinball from flipper to eject hole in Fan-Tas-Tic is next to impossible. Getting the pinball into one of the three kick-out holes is key to the game since it spins the roulette wheel and that is the only way to collect the bonus. I'm hoping I will warm up to it even more if or when I can figure out that eject hole shot.

I do like the middle stand-up target shot that lights the left outlane kickback and, of course, the middle pop is fun when it looks like the ball is about to drain and it pops out! It has the DC pops which always makes the action lively.

Quoted from NicoVolta:

not sure if Fan/Spanish has those or metal ones?

Metal on both, looks like copper.

Quoted from NicoVolta:

Interesting to note how hard the skirt gets worked on the middle-pop...

Indeed! It takes a lot of hits on the pop bumper to wear down a skirt point like that.

Enjoy working on yours and your Spanish Eyes. Let me know if you need any pics or help.

Fan-Tas-Tic Tip #1 - Lessons learned the hard way. When you are working on the machine with the playfield lifted, the score motor will run until the little ball falls into one of the holes on the roulette wheel.

Fan-Tas-Tic Tip #2 - Lessons learned the hard way. Your bonus isn't broken when the ball reaches the outhole and the bonus resets to 1000. It is supposed to work that way. No bonus for you!

1 week later
#149 2 years ago

"What about catching and back-handing the shots? I do that all the time on Freedom prototype to hit the drop targets. Can it be done on Fan-Tas-Tic for the SPIN holes?"

I have tried that without much luck yet, but I'm working on it! I am getting better at the straight flipper to eject hole shot though. It's not a saucer so the pinball likes to rim out like a bad basketball shot! It's very challenging. Fan-Tas-Tic has a lot of luck involved with the roulette wheel so it makes a great game for novices at parties or in a family setting. "Play flipper skill games for fun and recreation" is printed on the upper left of the backglass. From what I have seen, it's more 'fun and recreation' than 'flipper skill game.'

Another item that has me puzzled is the audio on my Fan-Tas-Tic. I was sure that it would have the typical three chimes like most higher end Williams games of that period. But all I see is one large bell where the chimes should be. When scoring 10 points, there are no bell or chime sounds at all. When I looked on the schematics for chime solenoids I could only find a solenoid for a large bell? I would like to put a chime box in but the Jones Plugs are four in a row and not the typical two side-by-side configuration, apparently a rarer style of Jones Plugs.

#155 2 years ago

I know that of which you speak, CactusJack, I have seen the clapper/bell on other Williams games Match 00-90 units from that era but there is no such assembly on my Fan-Tas-Tic Match unit. No sounds for 10 points scored is no fun at all!

#157 2 years ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

However, if you download the New Parts supplement from IPDB for Fan-Tas-Tic, it shows the 3 bar chime unit as being part of it, which is how I remember it.

That would explain a lot since it looks to me like someone removed the chime unit and replaced it with a bell.

missing_chime_box (resized).jpg

Quoted from CactusJack:

Where is your Jones plug for the bell? Is there a larger empty Jones plug by or behind the transformer?

I did some research and apparently there were two versions of Jones Plugs and different solenoids used on the first chime boxes and those chime units are hard to find. The 'new parts' document you referenced shows A2-26-1025 solenoids where later chime units used A2-26-1300 solenoids. PBR doesn't even list the -1025 version. What I don't understand is why the schematic only shows a bell solenoid. This must have been one of the first games to get chimes instead of bells?

chime_unit_jones_plug (resized).jpg

Looks like I will be in the market for a chime box! Anybody want a slightly used large bell assembly?

Sorry Nico, I didn't mean to hijack your thread.

#160 2 years ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

Yup, WMS chime boxes are hard to come by

There were two on eBay last night and now they're gone.

Quoted from CactusJack:

Is your transformer by chance labeled 50 Hertz?


DSCF2442 (resized).JPG

Quoted from CactusJack:

Of course, there is always the 70's Chicago Coin approach of using a Nutone Ding, Ding/Dong door bell chime instead. Talk about cheap garbage!!!!

Ha ha! Please spare me the sonic torture! My brother and I spent a good afternoon wasted fixing my parents Nutone door bell. I don't want one of those! Besides, it would be like hearing the telephone ring on a TV show; I would go to the door every time I heard the right combination of points/tones.

#162 2 years ago

Thanks CactusJack! Lots of good information there.

Quoted from CactusJack:

You have a re-import.

I thought you might say that! I didn't believe the story from the seller that this game was in her family since she was a child.

The only previous location information I have is that it used to reside in California:

repair_label (resized).jpg

Ha ha! It must be a reimport from California to Arizona.

2 weeks later
#169 2 years ago

Ding, Dong, Dang!
Chime Me!

By: The Pecos Insider

In our last episode, Pecos learned from CactusJack that his middle-pop-pin Fan-Tas-Tic was a reimport probably through G.A.M.E.S. Even though the schematic shows a large bell for audio and even though his Fan-Tas-Tic had a large bell, CactusJack informed us all that the game originally came with chimes.

missing_chime_box (resized).jpg

Pecos has since received a Williams Chime Unit. It is not the same model Chime Unit that came with Fan-Tas-Tic and that posed some problems to be solved before it would work in that game. I will document that mod here.

DSCF2467 (resized).JPG

The original Fan-Tas-Tic Chime Unit Jones Plug is four male plugs in a row and uses the A2-26-1025 solenoids. The more common Chime Unit, and the unit that Pecos bought, uses the A2-26-1300 solenoids and has a four plug, side-by-side arrangement.

Step 1: Bell removed
Step 2: Pictures taken. Wires on the Match Feature Jones Plug jack labeled, desoldered and Jones Plug jack removed from backbox.

DSCF2485 (resized).JPG

Step 3: Pictures taken. Wires on the Chime Unit Jones Plug jack labeled, desoldered and Jones Plug jack removed from cabinet.

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Step 4: Determine which Chime Unit wires go where on the side-by-side Jones Plug jacks.
Step 5: Resolder the wires to the side-by-side Jones Plug jacks and install Jones Plug jack on mech board.
Step 6: Determine which Match Feature wires go where on the in-line Jones Plug jacks.
Step 7: Resolder the wires to the four in-line Jones Plug jacks for the Match Feature and install Jones Plug jack in the backbox.

DSCF2495 (resized).JPG

Step 8: Install male Jones Plugs and Chimes Unit

DSCF2490 (resized).JPG
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Pecos said, "It was a simple mod, basically just swapping the Match Feature Jones Plug and the Chime Unit Jones Plug and no functionality was lost. The Chime Unit cleaned up nicely. Like all Chimes Units from this era, the rubber grommets were gone. I used Beer Seal in place of the rubber grommets."

Pecos gave me a little pop quiz about 70s Williams EM pinball machines. "Each Chime Unit has three bars, large, medium and small. When 1000 points are scored, which bar is sounded? What about when 100 points are scored and when 10 points are scored? Which bars are sounded?"

Pecos went on about his Fan-Tas-Tic. "I did a small touch-up on the playfield and, dare I say it, it looks fan-tas-tic. And, dare I say that the backglass and chimes are both fan-tas-tic. Each pinball machine has a certain feel to it. Fan-Tas-Tic has an awesome feeling of raw, quiet power, just like my OXO. No clinking, clanking or clunking with this era of Williams DC powered pins! It's too bad that this machine has kicked my butt ten out of the last ten times I have played it because this machine is a real beauty and I want to like it. I like challenging but I have yet to find a single shot that allows me to score enough point to beat this beast. Maybe that is why the playfield is so nice looking. The pinball isn't on the playfield long enough to cause any wear! I'm not giving up just yet. That elusive shot is there somewhere just waiting for me to find it. Well, that's what I keep telling myself as I walk away from consistent scores below 10,000. Ouch!"

Thanks to the generosity of a Pinside member, the bell from the Fan-Tas-Tic will be donated to the ROBO-FRENZY EM arcade project. But Pecos won't be missing the bell. "I know that Williams Chime Units get a lot of grief but they sound great to me after they have been restored. It makes me wonder how many people are hearing the terrible sounding chimes when only a few rubber grommets would make them sound like new again. Bells are fine but there are usually only two in a pin for two sounds where chimes allow for three sounds. It sure is nice to have sounds for 10, 100 and 1000 points when scored!"

1 month later
#173 2 years ago
Quoted from zacaj:

Fun game, but my middle pop is disappointing. I've filed the contacts and adjusted them as close as I can, but it's still not nearly as active as my Spanish Eyes. It's almost impossible to save the ball. Anyone have any tips for getting them working better?

You shouldn't be disappointed so there is something wrong somewhere. This may be your problem:

bad_skirt_tips.jpg (resized).png

Desolder the two lamp wires and take the entire pop bumper assembly apart. Replace the skirt with a new one. Replace the body if cracked or broken. Remove the solenoid and then remove the solenoid sleeve and clean inside the solenoid where the sleeve goes with Isopropyl alcohol and Q-Tip(s) until they are clean. Replace the solenoid sleeve with a new nylon sleeve. Put the pop bumper back together. Don't forget to resolder the two lamp leads. Move the plunger assembly up and down manually to make sure it isn't sticking on the sleeve. Make sure that the copper spoon is clean, a quick cleaning isn't usually enough. Use Isopropyl alcohol and a Q-Tip until you can see that it is nice and shiny. Visually inspect! The spoon switch must line up both vertically and horizontally. The smallest movement of the skirt should close the switch. I use the 'fist test' to test if the gap is perfect. If you pound your fist next to the pop bumper and the solenoid engages then the gap needs to be a tad wider.

There are other possible reasons, but this should fix 95+% of all sluggish pop bumper issues.

#175 2 years ago
Quoted from zacaj:

It's not sluggish or anything

I know you said you cleaned the contacts, but for others, I always use 500 grit sandpaper on the upper contacts and verify that the contacts are parallel to each other with a tiny gap, like you say yours are.

Is the tip of the skirt touching the spoon switch? The slightest movement of the skirt should close the upper solenoid switch. Be careful if doing this manually. That pop bumper can bite your fingers when activated!

1 year later
#236 1 year ago

The second 'middle pop' pin, Spanish Eyes, has left Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour. The good news is that you can play it and Fan-Tas-Tic at D&D Pinball in Tucson. If you ever find yourself in Tucson with nothing to do, check them out!

I have heard that their 'middle pop' pin has become a favorite at D&D.

3 months later
#242 1 year ago

My San Tan Valley Project Pin Guy has had this game for more than a year. I wan't interested in it because it was a 60s game and I prefer the 70s pins. I delivered two pins to him and he offered this up in return. Yes, that's right, free, gratis, no charge. No way he is going to get away with that! I told him he is far too generous. I will give him some cash, just as soon as I get some.

I first told him I wasn't interested in it, but would look it up before a definite 'no.' To my surprise, this is a Middle-Pop game. I had forgotten about that! I told him I would gladly take the game. Unknown to me, the deal came with a second backglass and a second fully populated playfield! Yeah, far too generous!

You can see more pics here and the story about how I survived the desert heat.

This is a Magic Town, an AAB. The extra playfield and backglass are from a Magic City. IPDB shows 3,950 Magic Towns manufactured with only one rating and 2,675 Magic City's made with 22 ratings. Those Magic Town production numbers can't be right. Everyone knows there are almost always fewer AAB games made!

The Magic City playfield has metal flipper bats. I will be moving those to the Magic Town playfield. Metal flipper bats look so cool!

This is my third middle pop game and fourth total counting the two Spanish Eyes. Tucson likes Middle-Pop pins and this one will be put on route if I can find a client and a coin door with all of the coin mech parts.

magic_city_middle_pop (resized).jpg

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