(Topic ID: 215875)

LOTR: Top saucer won't eject strongly enough


By CadillacMusic

1 year ago



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  • 28 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by CadillacMusic
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#1 1 year ago

Really stupid problem. On our LOTR, if you get a ball into the top right saucer, the game cannot seem to eject it strongly enough. It moves the ball about a half an inch to the left, right to the brink of the depression. But it can't get it over and out. What's extra weird is that if you keep the ball in there, it will keep weakly kicking it and the ball won't leave, BUT, if you go to test mode and fire the solenoid, it's strong enough to kick the ball out. Stumped on what to do. Tried changing the transistor, plunger, and coil. There's nothing left to change! But it's still not working. Anyone dealt with this before?

#2 1 year ago

Sounds mechanical in nature. I'm wondering if something isn't lined up properly with the saucer/switch.

Did this problem just appear out of nowhere? Had you done any other work or servicing lately?

#3 1 year ago

Sadly, I don't know if it came out of nowhere. It has been having a few problems with ejecting over the past year, but for the last 6 months it's been in the kind of dive that never calls us when something's wrong. I cleaned the playfield and replaced the batteries with a lithium one, but that's really all I've done.

#4 1 year ago

Not sure if this is your issue but I remember a similar thread:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/pulling-my-hair-out-video-to-issue

#5 1 year ago

Top and bottom...

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#6 1 year ago

Took the spring out on recommendation of my boss, btw.

#7 1 year ago

Often times it's a minor alignment issue. Lossen the bolts holding the upkick and move it slightly to better line the plunger up in the center of the hole. May take a few tries to find the sweet spot.

#8 1 year ago

I am struggling to understand the suggestions but also don’t know how this fully works- so will ask this in effort to hopefully clarify the issue and probably also learn.

The OP stated the kick out works flawlessly in a test menu but fails during game play- yet suggestions are all based upon an assumption of it being a mechanical issue. How is that the case if a test firing causes a perfect ball ejection (I take this to mean no mechanical issues exist). What I don’t understand is how it’s then different during game play but so can imagine other things interacting during game play to potentially cause an issue.

Seems to me either there is a know difference between the two test cases (test menu vs game play) that makes it obvious why it’s mechanical (maybe pulse time on coil) or there is something being missed.

#9 1 year ago

it might need cleaning.take out the coil and coil sleeve and clean the coil stop,plunger,spring,ect

#10 1 year ago

yup new sleeve and clean plunger

#11 1 year ago

Oh, it's got a new sleeve and plunger. To answer rufessor, it seems solenoids kick with more power during test mode. I've seen once before where a solenoid would kick like a mule in test mode, but fail to get the ball out in gameplay. My guess is that during test, the solenoid is fired continuously, while it's alternated on and off hundreds of times a second in gameplay. That means more solenoids can fire at once without setting off the watchdog. Gonna move the whole mech over slightly. Was trying to avoid new holes in the playfield, but it's better to have a working mech.

#12 1 year ago
Quoted from CadillacMusic:

Took the spring out on recommendation of my boss, btw.

I don't see how it could work without the spring. The spring pushes the plunger out so that when the coil gets energized the plunger quickly gets pulled into the coil to exert a force on the ball. You need that plunger travel distance created by the spring pushing the plunger out of the coil to generate the force. F= ma, you are not going to have "a" without a distance to travel.

#13 1 year ago
Quoted from CadillacMusic:

it seems solenoids kick with more power during test mode.

thats because the coils are being tested indivually.they fire much harder in coil test than in gameplay

#14 1 year ago

My favorite equation! The idea was that gravity will pull it down. Something is majorly funky though, because if you put a strong spring there, the plunger doesn't have enough power to even move. I think I'm gonna try a stronger solenoid.

#15 1 year ago
Quoted from CadillacMusic:

My favorite equation! The idea was that gravity will pull it down. Something is majorly funky though, because if you put a strong spring there, the plunger doesn't have enough power to even move. I think I'm gonna try a stronger solenoid.

before you do that you might have to beef up the transistor and fuse.just putting in a stronger coil will possibly blow out the transistor that runs it.

#16 1 year ago
Quoted from CadillacMusic:

My favorite equation! The idea was that gravity will pull it down. Something is majorly funky though, because if you put a strong spring there, the plunger doesn't have enough power to even move. I think I'm gonna try a stronger solenoid.

Are you sure the wire is not partially broken or the solder not bonded well?
Also, does the plunger move back and forth freely by hand?

It also could be a bad/failing transistor.

#17 1 year ago

I've already changed the transistor. I'm sure I didn't mess up the solder over 3 different coils. The plunger does move freely by hand. Hence me going crazy. I think something is either messed up in the code, or the electronics behind the transistor. Factory reset does nothing, though. I don't happen to have another whitestar driver board that I know works lying around. Annoying.

#18 1 year ago

Try to put a 1/4 spacer between the back of the plunger and the rubber stop. You can tape a bottle cap there as a test or use a piece of wood. I had a similar issue on my tspp school bus kickout that nagged me for years and this finally fixed it.

#19 1 year ago

...1/4 inch? I'll keep it in mind, but things are getting worse. Right now the plunger won't even move. It's gotta be something non-mechanical.

#20 1 year ago
Quoted from CadillacMusic:

I've already changed the transistor.

what i meant was a transistor that can handle more power than the one the manual is calling for

#21 1 year ago

Also check you don't have the coil strength set to "soft" in the settings and perhaps on yours it's just too soft for this coil. Maybe try changing it to the standard setting or hard and see if it makes a difference.

#22 1 year ago
Quoted from DCFAN:

It also could be a bad/failing transistor.

if the coil is firing properly and is not locking on or blowing the fuse then the transistor is fine

#23 1 year ago

The coil isn't firing properly, but it's also not the transistor, because I just changed the board out, and it's doing the same thing. Okay, the replacement driver board has a lamp row missing, but that shouldn't effect anything. Burning a new ROM.

#24 1 year ago

I guess I should amend that previous statement. If I, say, ground the coil with a jumper, the coil fires fine. It does not fire fine otherwise. I have good continuity to the plug, by the by.

#25 1 year ago
Quoted from CadillacMusic:

The coil isn't firing properly,

if it is firing in coil test then its doing its job

#26 1 year ago

Solution: Replace CPU chip. I shoulda upgraded it a while ago anyway, as I was running 4.0. Working like a charm in original position now. Thanks everyone! Group troubleshooting is best troubleshooting.

#27 1 year ago

glad you got it fixed, but how does replacing the cpu chip fix a coil that won't fire strong enough? i also thought you said the plunger would not even move, which is a mechanical, not electrical issue.

#28 1 year ago

The cpu tells the solenoids how to fire. If you have a chip in there for, say, 15 years (has it really been that long?), the code can get a bit corrupted. It's just one bit or byte that's off somewhere, but it can change "Pulse 50 times per second" to "Pulse 10 times per second".

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