Hello everyone, as a new owner of MMR-LE one of the small things that I dislike about the machine is the dreaded Merlin Saucer that often doesn't hold the ball and exits to the bumper side.
I researched this form and a few other google searches and found many potential fixes for this problem. I wanted to share with you my findings in hopes it can help someone else fix this issue for them as well.
Here is what didn't work -
I wanted to discuss it now incase you found this information also - I stumbled across a post (pictured below) where it states that if you move the guiding top wall post of this shot, a bit to the left it will ensure the ball strikes the C shaped stopper more dead center of the Merlin hole preventing the issue from happening. The problem with this method is that, as I tried this method; I found these instructions don't work for the MMR machines. Only for the older machines as the screws points and posts are different, in particular there is a plastic piece that needs to go on 2 posts (I drew them in red in a picture below) If you move to top wall post to the left, it won't align the holes for this plastic piece to be able to be put back on. As it was before I even attempted to move it, it was hard slotting this into the existing stock position screw posts. Moving this post is just not possible so I had to abandon this idea.
Analyzing the situation -
I took a slow-mo video of the ball missing the hole; there was no way I can start coming up with a fix until I saw the problem first hand.
A video of that slow mo-fail is here:
Here is another video where it worked but still highlights the problem:
As you can see in the video the ball seems to toilet bowl around the hole after hitting the C plate, hit the left side of the saucer and want to pop out the right side, similarly to how this happens in basketball.
Please keep in mind that in these videos I already installed some deadening rubber in hopes of slowing down the impact and bounce. Looking at this video It got me thinking that the only solution is to slow down the ball more but more importantly push down the ball into the hole.
I am adding a few pictures of the Deadening I installed with the 3M Sticky stuff, so you can see the material and how I attached it to the C striker plate; this helps but in my opinion only helped about 10% of the shots.
The other 85% of the solution, adding some more padding and ensuring the proper angle that this pad is attached correctly pushes the ball down into the hole and slowing the ball down even more to avoid a violent bounce off the wood.
In the end I ordered this padding part, I'm sure you can find it somewhere else but this is where I bought that worked.
You can see it installed in the closeup picture below. Now when I hit my shots, 95% of the time they will go in. The only time it doesn't if it wasn't truly a clean shot. I'm perfectly fine with this anomaly, I know nothing is ever perfect but this is the best it's ever been and I'm happy with the result.
Bonus Pic: My wife thought it was funny that as I removed screws, I drew a map of where exactly they go. This ensure I didn't ever make a mistake and I recommend anyone doing Pinball work to employ a similar tactic. It's easier on a magnetic marker safe surface, if you find one let me know I lost my old one; so this paper and tape will do for now.
Hope this helps someone out, in my opinion buy the pad and put it at the same almost 45% angle I have in my picture. I measured where the ball would hit and made sure it was slightly above to push down into the ball, kind of like a giant pushing the head down of his smaller mortals. This will fix it for most people, the deadening material just helps slow it down more but doesn't make that much of a difference, the pad at an angle is key.
Good luck everyone, sorry for the long but detailed post; I'm kind of new to the Pinball world and just want to contribute my part as you all have done for many years of this shared passion/hobby we all love.3m Adhesive to make it stick (resized).jpgCan't move left (resized).jpgDeadening material (resized).jpgMerlin Fix (resized).pngPadding (resized).jpgScrew Map (resized).jpg