Visit #37 – Eric Neff (Cheddar) in Lodi, CA
The subjects: Jumping Jack and Grand Prix
After dodging the heat wave in the Bay Area for a week (and paying a visit to the impressive Computer History Museum in Palo Alto), the Pinwagon arrived at a rustic 1900’s house in Lodi, CA.
I was greeted by Eric at the door of his delightful vintage home. A weenie-shepherd guarded the hallway and a Grand Lizard stood watch in the rear. I knew I would be safe in this part of California wine country.
In the pinball room, a rare Eclipse offered a challenge to any would-be takers. It shares a similar layout with Gottlieb’s Black Hole except for two rows of drop targets in place of the lower-level reverse playfield.
Some may scoff at the lack of the lower playfield, but the drop targets nicely break up the wide open feel of the original. Eclipse plays fast with some wicked rebounds! Give it a spin if you see one.
Hello again, Jumping Jack. Have you returned once more to challenge me with weird scoring problems and flaky solder joints?
Stingy Reel Syndrome struck again… with only 40 (or fewer) points being awarded per 50-point target. Same story for 500 point targets. Which always leads me to a common point of failure -> motor stack 1A.
A small ratcheting screwdriver like this one is perfect for removing switch stacks in tight areas.
After polishing and gapping the switch contacts at motor 1A, the problem ceased. Yeah! But for some reason, player 1 wasn’t receiving bonus scoring on the last ball (3 or 5). Let’s keep looking.
If you’ve ever examined a Gottlieb schematic and wondered what the numerals inside of this dashed-line box around “PLAYER UNIT” represented – it is the step count of the rivets traveling around the disc.
Starting with a fresh game, one click advances the disc to “click 2”, and so forth. Which means by the time the disc reaches “click 8”, player 1 is on ball 3. And “click 9” puts player 2 on ball 3.
On a 5-ball game, “click 16” would put player 1 on ball 5. “Click 17” would select player 2, ball 5.
We can see that clicks 8 and 16 (for player 1) follow a different path than clicks 9 and 17 (for player 2). Player 1’s issue was found along the path leading through P, motor 4A, and motor 4C.
Whoa… that can’t be right. A wire from the harness was loose.
A quick solder job was all that was needed here.
Aha! The connection after the motor 4C switch had a broken solder joint. It was supposed to carry the circuit back to the transformer... which was confirmed by jumpering the connection.
The solder bridge was repaired, and player 1 no longer suffered a significant disadvantage on ball 3/5.
For some reason, we were being awarded a match replay when the wrong number was lit. One of the wipers had been installed in the wrong position.
On Gottlieb score reels, the wiper should always point between 4 and 5. Think of it this way: Gottlieb score reels always leave work early. They check out sometime around 420... yeah man…
Chris (alwaysrockin777) came by for a quick spin on Jumping Jack. “It is alive!”
I just happened to be in town when Brad, Ron, and a few others with the Pin-A-Go-Go (PAGG) pinball show were shopping around for a new location. The show has been experiencing growing pains at their usual venue and Lodi will likely be next for 2018.
We walked the large event halls for the afternoon before diverting to a local brewpub. Always nice to relax with a few new pinball fiends.
We returned to work on Grand Prix. Inside the backbox, the match unit had been given the medieval “Butterfly Torture” and screwed to the top. I can’t explain why this was done. Perhaps because the wiper discs had been lost? No matter… the game would still work without it.
Some of the score reels were not resetting. Eric and Chris checked and adjusted some of the zero-position switches.
Fixed a few, and found a few more. Many switch stacks to check on a 4-player game!
I bumped into a nearby Centaur and noticed the… boob orbs. Can you imagine the mighty Centaur reverb-voice challenging you to hit the BOOOOOBBBB ORRRBBSSSSSSSS, human?
Rows of gleaming switch contacts could mean only one thing… the Magic Brush had made its glorious presence known.
Ah, but something was amiss, and I challenged Eric to find it.
And I now challenge you to find it.
The EM Home Challenge continues! We went three rounds on Jumping Jack and the streak prevailed: 19-7. Beware the momentum!
Eric is now a newly-minted Pinball Jedi… ready to conquer the EM world with his Dremelsaber. May the Gleaming Contacts be with you!
One last stop before departing for Salinas. After running into Ron Chan at the PPM Annex and the Lodi event halls, my route took me to his house for a quick visit and some fixes on Bow & Arrow (and lunch).
Really enjoying my time on the west coast! I’ll be back for the Lodi pinball show in 2018.
Next stop -> Cary Carmichael in Salinas, CA