(Topic ID: 342558)

My NASCAR is playing by itself? Uh Help?

By JoeChamp

10 months ago

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  • 7 posts
  • 6 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 months ago by Pinfidel
  • No one calls this topic a favorite


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#1 10 months ago

Following a recent shop/restore of a mostly functioning NASCAR a strange thing has started happening. Seems like during SHORT TRACK mode "or not" the game registers hits without the ball striking anything. I did my best to capture a video of this. (Note at the start of the video the game was searching for the ball, bc I had removed it). Notice how the game continually says "woo hoo, nice shot" even when I'm holding the ball. Here that crash/explosion sound, its basically non stop. Sometimes when I start a new game that crash sound will happen 5 or six times before i launch the ball. What could be happening here?

Before you ask... I checked each Opto in switch test mode. All were responding perfectly. I replaced the stand up targets in the test car bracket, tested perfectly. I checked the switches on the short track, they register fine.

What am I missing? Everything else seems to work fine.

#2 10 months ago
Quoted from JoeChamp:

Sometimes when I start a new game that crash sound will happen 5 or six times before i launch the ball. What could be happening here?

Just like you suspect, there is a switch erroneously being triggered. You just need to track down which one. You need to investigate switch test further. Take the glass off the game and enter switch test. Remove all the balls. Now, shake the playfield, raise the playfield, lower it, and with your closed fist pound on it everywhere in an attempt to get a switch to trigger that should not be triggering. You will find it!

Keep in mind that a switch does not have to be completely "bad" for this to be happening. A dirty or misaligned opto, a wire barely connected, or an almost failing microswitch could all be causing this problem.

#3 10 months ago

Sound-wise I believe that's the captured ball target sound, you may want to look there first, especially since in the video when you tried triggering it, it wasn't triggering when you had the ball hit it but it went off on it's own after that. check to make sure the Cap Ball target isn't always touching or something of that sort first as that should be an easy visual check, then if that checks out, look under the playfield at that same target but check the wires.

#4 10 months ago

Phantom switch closures on a Whitestar game upgraded to LED's makes the likely suspect pretty easy to figure out.

Whitestar era optos didn't age well. They become increasingly susceptible to phantom closures. Typically caused by nearby flashers, but because your game has been upgraded to LED, a feature light or even a GI bulb can do it. Your optos are now almost 20 years old. Replace all of them. They're relatively cheap and easy to replace, no soldering. You're not seeing the issue in test because no other lights are going off in test.

Once you get all new installed, you may have to shield some from nearby light, if you still get phantom closures.

#5 10 months ago

Problem solved. Thanks snyper2099 for the advice about banging the bottom of the playfield. I lifted the playfield and inspected each switch. Thats when I noticed what looked like a possible short on the wires soldered to the standup targets on the test car. And this is why it was constantly registering hits. A little electrical tape and a slight adjustment and now the game plays perfectly.

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1 week later
#6 10 months ago

This was a good catch!

However, I've worked on a fair number of Nascars, (and Dales), and my experience is that sooner or later you are going to want to:

Replace the optos with a higher brightness LED. LED's have a lifespan, and they are specified to that lifespan when they are at half brightness... so LED's can be plenty bright to the eye, but not quite bright enough for completely reliable switches, and they will get more dim over time. No amount of cleaning will make them as bright as they used to be a couple of years ago.

On a couple of troublesome Nascars, I've replaced several of the opto LED's (do the transmitter and the receiver as a pair, don't ever use these replacement only for the transmitter, and leave the recieiver, or vice versa...).

I buy these:


From mouser:


These are significantly brighter, and I've used them anywhere Stern/Sega had a visible LED opto switch with no problems.

This is particularly important on the 'through the playfield' window on Nascar, and on all trough opto boards.

The other thing that is a VERY common repair on these opto switches is to go to the two-opto board in question, and replace the 2-pin connectors and plugs. Yup, replace the pins on the board, and rebuild the connectors with fresh .100 terminals.

This is almost mandatory for Nascar. Intermittent opto problems went away when I replaced the 2-pin connectors and pins on the suspect optos.

Good luck!

#7 10 months ago

Had a NASCAR for like, 8 years and loved it. I sold it a little while ago because the family wanted a new pin, and they voted it off the island. I miss it and wish I never sold it. Sigh.

Imho... the race track is one of, if not the best thing in all of pinball. Pat Lawlor totally nailed that. What an incredible design feature and theme integration. It is so cool.

Anyway, I was going to suggest checking the spinner switches and their respective wires underneath the playfield that go to them, because something is definitely tripping them off. Glad you got it figured out, and play a game for me.

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