Meteor Makeover, because one Classic Stern is not enough.

(Topic ID: 218405)

Meteor Makeover, because one Classic Stern is not enough.


By TractorDoc

6 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 37 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 12 days ago by TractorDoc
  • Topic is favorited by 11 Pinsiders

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Linked Games

  • Meteor Stern Electronics, 1979

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There have been 58 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

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#1 6 months ago

A short time back I picked up another Classic Stern project machine: Meteor.
I have Nine Ball up and working and this machine was available for sale locally. . . I just like working on/fixing things I guess.

Right off I am declaring this to be a "Get the game up and running" thread -- not going to the extremes Nine Ball received for now.

For extra reading, Nine Ball Thread:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/nine-ball-overhaul-my-attempt-to-resurrect-a-long-dormant-machine

To be really nice this cabinet needs sanded/filled/stenciled and the playfield looks to be completely covered in mylar; those conditions want me to start simple and play several games before going all in.

First, a few pictures.
OK Backglass, but far from perfect.

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Inside the boards look good, even the MPU. That battery was removed shortly after this picture was taken.

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Playfield has all the original drop targets in place, some minor wear here and there, and one smashed passive bumper.

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Why are flipper rubbers always missing and where do they go?

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Perhaps this game was in a rough neighborhood as the door security system suggests. More security means holes to repair later (sigh). I do like the metal ID/number tag on the left.

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First order of business, replacing the rectifier board. Previous owner said the game kept blowing fuses. I saw the board flopping around and did not ask many questions. The plan is to start with a solid power supply and work our way up. . . just like last time!

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Progress will likely be sluggish on this one. I have several other projects in the works and can never be content to work on one thing at a time. Variety is the spice of life!

#2 6 months ago

Buy a modern replacement rectifier board. You'll be glad you did.

#3 6 months ago

Meteor is a great game. I used to have a super nice one. I kinda regret selling it.

#4 6 months ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

Buy a modern replacement rectifier board.

Like one of these?

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Just arrived in the mail today!

#5 6 months ago

Took over the kitchen island this afternoon to solder in the new rectifier board.

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Having done this once before it went quicker this time.

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The plan is to power up from the cabinet harness and check the test points on the rectifier. If all looks good the next step will be replacing capacitors on the solenoid driver board. Stay tuned. . .

1 week later
#6 6 months ago

Well, its raining outside so I had some indoor time to work on the Solenoid Driver.
I have not hooked the SD board up to the new rectifier yet; learning from my Nine Ball project I thought it best to replace the two big capacitors before doing so.

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This board looks to have some tweaking done at some point -- thought the disk capacitor from R52 to Test Point 4 was interesting.

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If I am reading this right is this a SDU-100 Revision "D" ? The board does not quite match up with the pictures of the others on the Pinwiki site, which mentions later revisions without pictures.

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#7 6 months ago

Removal of the capacitors provided more room to clean.

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In between catching up on Pinside threads I was able to secure the new capacitors in position.

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Next step will be to check our voltages back in the cabinet. . . hopefully sometime this week.

#8 6 months ago
Quoted from TractorDoc:

Took over the kitchen island this afternoon to solder in the new rectifier board.

You mean this is not normal?

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#9 6 months ago
Quoted from Atari_Daze:

You mean this is not normal?

Wait a minute. . . is that the kitchen or bathroom counter? Hope that is not the Mrs.'s toothbrush I see!

#10 6 months ago

To answer your question: Kitchen counter/island -- yes, that is normal. Bathroom counter -- not so much.

#11 6 months ago
Quoted from TractorDoc:

Kitchen counter/island -- yes, that is normal.

Phew, I've been telling my shrink for years I'm normal!
And it is a RETIRED toothbrush.

Standing by for further updates.

4 months later
#12 44 days ago

Well. . . .
The weeks turned into months around here once the weather warmed up and there was stuff to do outside.
Finally putting some attention back to this game now that I've moved some other projects out of the shop.

The base cabinet is up on its legs but before I bolt the upper cabinet on I need to give some attention to the playfield. Top of the list is dealing with the upper flipper unit. If you look at a general picture of the playfield underside you may notice a yellow and blue wire on the lugs of the right flipper/upper flipper solenoid. I suppose this was someone's attempt to repair (?) the upper flipper -- not sure how well it worked as the wires were cut when I acquired the game.

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A close up of the upper playfield flipper mech also finds a ceramic component wired into the leaf switch -- the other leaf switch terminal has a red wire that is just hanging there.

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If anyone has a picture of a correctly wired Meteor upper playfield flipper unit I'd love to see it -- in the meantime I will be studying the schematics and looking thru pictures on the Meteor Club thread to see if a pic is posted there.

#13 44 days ago

Looks like someone hacked you wiring up and moved the resistor to the coil instead of off to the side. Let me know if you need more.

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#14 44 days ago
Quoted from Thrillhouse:

Looks like someone hacked you wiring up and moved the resistor to the coil instead of off to the side. Let me know if you need more.

Fantastic!

You've saved me a lot of search time -- I really appreciate it!

1 week later
#15 34 days ago

Dug in a little deeper yesterday.
Attempted to rewire the upper flipper coil from Thrillhouse 's pics. My wires are "backwards" but I was staying consistent with how the wires were oriented on the resistors. It seems the ceramic block was originally hot glued to the flipper mechanism plate; I'd like to make sure everything works correctly before I permanently secure all the loose bits.

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Stripped most of the pieces from the upper playfield. Gave it a good vacuuming and wipe down with Novus 1.

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This is where I have to get realistic with what direction I go forward. Normally I like nice things. . . more often than not I will take a project (car, tractor, etc.) all apart and completely rebuild it. On this game I am leaning towards cleaning it up nicely and making a good player out of it. One of the main reasons is the playfield is 85% covered in Mylar and I am not all that eager to try and remove it. My backglass has some flaking, my cabinet has some scuffs, my coin door has some extra holes. . . all this stuff can be fixed but for now I'd like to get the game up and running to see how much I like it.

New flipper bats, bumper bases, star posts, etc. are on order to replace all the broken and cracked pieces. Sound card has new capacitors awaiting installation. Thinking of blasting and painting the legs and coin door next. . . but those thoughts could change by tomorrow.

#16 31 days ago

Short version of a long story -- the Mrs.'s flight to NY was cancelled yesterday so my time in the shop was cut short. She and the BIL fly out today so he and I had a guys nite of beer and pinball yesterday. Nine Ball was his favorite.

Once they turned in I took over the kitchen island once more and replaced capacitors on the sound board.

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Heading off to the airport soon to see if things go better today. . .

#17 29 days ago

Still too squishy outside to do much in the yard.
Spent part of Sunday moving forward on the little things.
Another anomaly was an incorrect slingshot kicker -- whomever installed this one felt no love for the playfield.

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Some of those screw holes might be the originals. . .

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Cleaned up and refurbished the bumpers and polished up the upper ball guide.

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A pic of the playfield after a couple coats of carnauba.

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In an amateur move I ordered star posts instead of faceted posts for the playfield, so I will need to wait until those come in before I can move much farther there. I cabinet blasted the coin door so we can focus our attention there next.

#18 27 days ago

I could not stand looking at the grubby drop targets anymore so I yanked the six bank from under the playfield today.

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Did not take long to have everything apart and free drop targets. Can you tell which one I gave a preliminary clean?

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A more thorough cleaning and decal removal. Look really close and you can still see the letters shadowed on the targets. My buddy in the graphics business is making me a new set of letters/numbers in the Yellow Submarine font. Originally I thought I'd need to paint the drops to brighten them up but I'm happy with how they present after a good cleaning.

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The rod the drop targets hinge on was rather worn so I made a new one similar to how I did in my Nine Ball makeover.

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Adding a little bit of fancy to the playfield -- my old pop bumper cap was cracked and more yellow than a dandelion so I ordered a new one. Problem was the cap with the red star was out of stock at the time (its back in stock now!) so I ordered the black star/red triangles version for a Nugent machine. Graphics buddy made me a red star slightly smaller than the black one -- stuck it on and I think I like the effect better than just red.

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#19 25 days ago

Graphics guy delivered today! I think we went with 3/4" letter height in the Yellow Submarine font.

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The letter shadow from the originals helped with placement.

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And that is about all I accomplished on the pinball side today. Weather was finally nice enough (and ground dry enough) to allow us to get out and cut some firewood.

#20 24 days ago

I'm curious why you didn't just install new drop targets. Almost 40 year old plastic drops are more prone to break than new ones. The Pinball Resource sells them.

#21 24 days ago
Quoted from Eric_S:

I'm curious why you didn't just install new drop targets. Almost 40 year old plastic drops are more prone to break than new ones. The Pinball Resource sells them.

Oh, probably a couple reasons -- none of them are really right if you know what I mean.

Somewhere I remember reading that the plastic used on the originals was actually a different composition than the aftermarket options and held up better. That may have changed and the newer targets may even be stronger(?).

On some games there is a difference in height with the newer drop targets. I had to make some modifications with my Nine Ball bank assemblies when I put the newer targets in.

The numbered targets are still the chicklet style which I do not think are offered aftermarket. I liked the original look of those and by keeping all of the original drop targets I can keep the same patina throughout if that makes any sense.

I won't say I'm cheap, but if I can reuse some parts and save a few dollars then why not? A little cleaner, my time, and some decals cost me little and give me the satisfaction of making something useful again.

So like I said, no real obvious reason. Just ones that make me happy.

#22 24 days ago
Quoted from TractorDoc:

The numbered targets are still the chicklet style which I do not think are offered aftermarket.

Sure aren't...we all wish they were.

#23 24 days ago

The six bank drop target went back together with minimal issues.

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Back under the playfield for a test fit; I will pull it once more to make a few adjustments to the height fingers to get all the letters even above the playfield. The "TEOR" look a touch low.

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#24 24 days ago

Looking good!

#25 21 days ago

Leveled out the Meteor Targets -- cleaned up that old mylar enough to give off a little reflection.

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I also pulled the numbered drop target assemblies, cleaned the targets, applied new decals, and reinstalled.

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Installed all new bulbs, flipper bats, and faceted posts. Getting close to putting the backbox in place and seeing how everything looks all lit up.

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#26 19 days ago
Quoted from TractorDoc:

Still too squishy outside to do much in the yard.
Spent part of Sunday moving forward on the little things.
Another anomaly was an incorrect slingshot kicker -- whomever installed this one felt no love for the playfield.
[quoted image]
Some of those screw holes might be the originals. . .
[quoted image]
Cleaned up and refurbished the bumpers and polished up the upper ball guide.
[quoted image]
A pic of the playfield after a couple coats of carnauba.
[quoted image]
In an amateur move I ordered star posts instead of faceted posts for the playfield, so I will need to wait until those come in before I can move much farther there. I cabinet blasted the coin door so we can focus our attention there next.

This is looking great!
Are those the original dead bumper skirts or did you get replacements? If they are replacements where did you find them?

#27 19 days ago
Quoted from mrm_4:

This is looking great!
Are those the original dead bumper skirts or did you get replacements? If they are replacements where did you find them?

Many thanks. I believe the yellow bumper skirts are originals that I cleaned up with Novus.

I think you can get them from Steve at Pinball Resource: http://www.pbresource.com/

or Marcos carries them too: https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/03-6035-6
https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/13A-32-PCS

#28 19 days ago
Quoted from TractorDoc:

Many thanks. I believe the yellow bumper skirts are originals that I cleaned up with Novus.
I think you can get them from Steve at Pinball Resource: http://www.pbresource.com/
or Marcos carries them too: https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/03-6035-6
https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/13A-32-PCS

Ok thanks I was digging on a few sites looking for the super old ones that have the metal posts instead of plastic in the middle of the skirt.
Excited to see the outcome of this game. Following

#29 19 days ago

I recently ordered a new crimping tool to aid in securing new connector pins -- it has yet to arrive but I fumbled my way thru putting new pins on the rectifier power/playfield wires. We have general illumination!

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Obviously I installed new rubber rings and I tried test fitting a few of the old plastics. The old rubber stud toppers were more or less turning to dust so I sourced up some 6-32 nickel plated acorn nuts in bulk to use instead.

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Several of my plastics are rather scratched up and the triangle piece above the Meteor drops is broken so I ordered a new set. Maybe overkill for a players game but I was able to save a little money with a Black Friday discount code.

Getting there!

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#30 17 days ago

Crossed some things off the list today -- but also added some things to it.

First I focused my attention on the coin door. I had blasted all the old paint/crud off a week or so ago, today I rattled can sprayed some primer and Rustoleum's Silver Hammered Finish.

Ready to spray:

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Hammered Silver:

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I was a little heavy with my spray finger on the Silver but turned out ok.

While the primer was drying I hooked some connectors up to the boards in the backbox. I thought I was having problems with my original MPU as the LED was staying lit with no action from the lamps, solenoids, or displays. I swapped in an Alltek board only to find I had originally placed the Sound Board ribbon cables in the wrong location. With the ribbon cables in their proper locations (I probably should have waited to plug those in anyway the first time) the game came to life. I am hopeful the original MPU will be able to go back into service.

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So far the positives are I have sound, working lights and drop target banks, and working displays that keep score.
Here is a row of lit inserts under the Meteor bank:

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On the negative side I have one good working flipper -- the right lower. The upper playfield flipper wants to fire as it should and sort of does on every third push of the button. I need to do more investigating there to see if the proper coil is in place (it looks like it was replaced sometime in the past) or if the ceramic resistor is the culprit/can be eliminated by gapping the switch.
As far as the left lower flipper goes -- I am getting power to the coil under the playfield but do not seem to have power at the button. I've traced the wire up to the second post on J2 -- no power there on my meter. I do have power in the green wire that is connected to post 8 on J1. . . so somewhere I am losing the connection between J1 and J2.
I pulled the SD board and studied the schematic to find there has been some past history here as well. The left flipper traces look burned and jumper wires have been added; also this area was highlighted by someone before me on the schematic.

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I popped the cap off the flipper relay and was not getting power to the input there -- so that leads me to believe there is an issue with the jumper wire or the connection at J1. The plan is to repin the wires and see if that helps, if not then I move onto replacing the header pin and jumper wire. I know it will probably be smart to replace all the pins on the board but right now I'm just wanting to confirm everything works.

This was my stopping point for the day. Full view before shutting down for the day.

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#31 17 days ago

looks good so far

#32 16 days ago

Good times in the shop this afternoon.

After replacing a pin at J1 on the SD I was rewarded with a working left flipper.

I swapped out the Alltek board for the original MPU and wouldn't you know I put the sound board ribbon cables on backwards again? I labeled them this time.
The Stern MPU-200 worked just as designed. I took the time to add a remote battery holder.

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I put my less than perfect backglass in place for the time being.

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I had some spinner decals made as my original was rather scratched and chipped (good side is up).

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Crooked Spinner Shot -- look close and you can see the photographer in the ball.

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I was also able to get my upper playfield flipper working -- turns out the switch on the bottom right flipper was gapped too far to allow the upper flipper to flip.

I was able to get in several preliminary games in -- I'm really liking the sweepable potential of the drop targets and the spinner is one of my favorites so far.

#33 16 days ago

Several Playfield Pictures -- not bad for a player's game!

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#34 14 days ago

Assembled the coin door this evening. A few decals away from completion, next up will be to blast/paint the legs the same way. My beehive shooter rod guide is MIA while its getting cleaned/painted.

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Did you notice the extra carriage bolt hole in the coin door hinge? This door was borrowed from my parts Nine Ball as the Meteor Door had some rather large holes drilled into it (similar to the cabinet below the shooter rod -- must have come from a rough neighborhood).

Still some polishing and adjusting to do -- hopefully I can post some gameplay video. I may look into the seven digit display upgrade. . . will have to see how good of a player I am first.

As I'm getting closer to finishing up Meteor my attention keeps getting pulled to the other side of the shop. A couple more projects are waiting

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#35 13 days ago
Quoted from TractorDoc:

I was a little heavy with my spray finger on the Silver but turned out ok.

Aren't you supposed to heavy finger the hammer paint anyway? Looks good from here!!

#36 13 days ago
Quoted from Atari_Daze:

Aren't you supposed to heavy finger the hammer paint anyway? Looks good from here!!

I started to get a little "hammered sag" going at the bottom -- probably would be best sprayed horizontal but I wanted to get both sides in at once. Still looks better than when I started!

Thanks for the kind words!

#37 12 days ago

Buttoned up and played several good games with the glass on.
I'm really liking the sweepable potential of the drop targets and the spinner on this game really seems to rip nicely. There is also a bit of a mental game going. . . do I build up my bonus by taking out the Meteor Targets or do I leave one up and target the spinner instead?

I knew the sounds were one of the weak points going in -- I'm thinking my tinnitus is acting up or the Emergency Broadcast System is performing another test. . .

Space is tight in the shop so these Steve Kirk/Classic Stern cousins are snugged up for the time being.

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