(Topic ID: 230379)

Normal play(?) of a ‘55 United bingo

By tfduda

1 year ago

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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by tfduda
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#1 1 year ago

I picked up a 1955 United Manhattan for my first bingo adventure. It seems to be working well after spending the past month or so doing my best to figure out how it ought to work and then slowly and methodically troubleshooting and fixing the various problems it had. Given that this is the first bingo I’ve ever played/worked on, I have studied the manual and schematics, watched various bingo videos, read many threads here and lots of the info presented on the bingo.cdyn.com site, listened to many of the bingo podcasts, etc. to understand how a machine like this should operate. Despite all this, I am still trying to figure out the dynamics of game restarts and extra ball adjustment features (see below). These are both very minor issues, but I’d like to ensure that the machine is working exactly as it should. Given my impression of the deep knowledge base of many of the bingo pinsiders, I assume these are easily addressed.

1. Game restarts.
Based on how the machine currently operates (and best as I can tell is configured to operate given the circuits involved), starting a new game is only possible by inserting a nickel, even if replays are available on the register. Once a game is started, replays can be used for adding options, etc. or for attempts at extra balls, but not for starting a new game.

Moreover, if there are replays available, a replay is subtracted from the register when a new game is started with a coin.

Is this how bingos normally operate (or at least United bingos from this era)?

2. Extra ball adjustments (“coin” and “game” modes).
When the adjustment is set to “coin” mode, the extra ball push button relay engages when the extra ball push button is pressed. A replay or coin insert can then be used to try for an extra ball. The relay disengages as the extra ball routine completes (due to a switch opening on one of the cams on the control unit which cuts power to the relay). And then if the relay isn’t activated, a coin added will start a new game.

When the adjustment is set to “game” mode, the relay engages when the extra ball button is pressed as it does in “coin” mode, but then it stays engaged even after the routine is completed (the “game” mode circuit bypasses the cam switch that occurs in the “coin” mode circuit). Because of this, in “game” mode, coins added after the extra ball push button is first pressed only activate the extra ball routine and cannot be used to start a new game. Hence, once players begin to try for extra balls, they cannot abort this path and start a new game instead (like they can do in “coin” mode).

Is this normal operating procedure for a bingo machine (or again, a 1955 United)?

Thanks in advance for any comments or advice!

And if anyone has a nice backglass for a 1955 Manhattan (mine has a bit of flaking paint, but luckily it’s only very minor and in unimportant areas), I’m interested!

#2 1 year ago

Push button should work with replays on the register

#3 1 year ago

Thanks Bingo Butch—that makes much more sense!

The wire from the play all push button goes to a switch located near the shuffle motor that is opened when the shuffle is closed (when the second ball is lifted). It looks like it may have been rewired this way given that this particular wire was wrapped around a wire bundle instead of being within the bundle. In addition, the machine had an additional push button installed that activated the drop coin chute switch. I don’t know why disabling the play all push button is needed after a game starts if a push button that activated the drop chute switch is added, but perhaps this explains the current configuration. I will try bypassing the switch near the shuffle motor as this should enable the play all push button to work with replays on the register. Will check it out later this week. Thanks again!

#4 1 year ago

I checked my notes and the switch mentioned in the last post (the one that is attached to the wire from the play all push button) that opens when the 'shuffle' (shuttle in Bally terminology) is in the closed position is a make-break switch. I haven't traced where the other wires connected to the switch go to yet, but will soon. An additional question I have then about normal operation of a bingo machine (or 1955 United bingo in case there is variation among years or different manufacturers) is as follows:

If replays are available and the play all push button is pressed in the middle of a game (after ball one and before ball five), will this activate a new game or is starting a new game on replays disabled until after the fifth ball is played?


#5 1 year ago
Quoted from tfduda:

If replays are available and the play all push button is pressed in the middle of a game (after ball one and before ball five), will this activate a new game or is starting a new game on replays disabled until after the fifth ball is played?

pushing the play all button any time the playfield shuffle (bally calls it "shutter") is closed will cause the shuffle to open...that resets the game. The key to figuring out the schematic is when "normally" is.

in this case, the shuffle switches are drawn when the shuffle is closed, so the 2nd position shuffle motor switch that is NC at schem B6.5 will cause coin relay switch 3 power the shuffle motor.

wrt wiring changes for free play, you can rip all that out and put it back to factory if you want. Misadjusting the SPDT replay register zero switch ("R.P. S.U. zero sw") at schem B2 so it always connects wire 65 to 45 is all you need assuming you don't care about the coin meter (if you have one) working right. The game will function normally - resetting credits at power on, etc. - except it will also cycle when the register is 000 and never accept a coin (if your coin lockout coil/armature works).

the replay register always decrements when the game cycles if credits are > 000. When the game left the factory, it would reject an inserted coin if the register was nonzero. Operators often disconnected the coin lockout because it tended to make a buzzing noise, and also if you are daft enough to insert a coin when you have credits, that improves the profit margin

you have the game mode vs. coin mode thing pretty much figured out. The only thing to notice is the Play All pushbutton sw. 1 at schem C2.5. When you push the play all button, that switch opens and removes the power from the extra ball pushbutton relay. When you drop a coin, the game will reset.

#6 1 year ago

Any problem you have give us a call we will walk you through it

#7 1 year ago

Thanks so much for the comments!!! It’s working correctly now!

With regards to the play all push button, sw 2 on the button was wired to a make break switch associated with the shuffle motor that was causing the circuit to open when the shuffle was closed. I bypassed this switch so that the circuit doesn’t get interrupted when the shuffle is closed. Pressing the play all button now appears to work as it should. Thanks Bingo Butch and baldtwit for the info on proper operation!

In addition, baldtwit noted that sw 1 on the play all push button should interrupt the power to the extra ball push button relay and cause it to release. This wasn’t happening. I know that part of the schematics quite well as I had a problem with keeping the extra ball push button relay engaged (turned out to be a poor connection at the extra ball adjustment switch) and so i’m embarrassed not to have realized this earlier. Today I checked out the switch in question and for some reason this switch was jumpered(?!). I removed the jumper and now can abort extra ball mode by pressing the play all button. I assume that the jumper had something to do with the push button that was added to substitue for the coin drop chute switch, but don’t understand how.

Again, thanks so much for your insights! It took less than 30 mins to diagnose and repair.

Perhaps the only other question I have at the top of my mind is with regards to maintenance of motors. The control unit and mixer motors appear to be working well and so I really don’t want to disassemble them. Would it instead be worthwhile to add a small amount of electric motor oil to them so they continue being happy or is this not necessary?

Otherwise the only other work I think I need to do on the machine now is to develop my bingo playing skills!

#8 1 year ago

the wiring disabling the buttons when the shuffle was closed may have been for someplace like ohio where replays were illegal. They got around it by requiring the game to be reset with a coin. Cycling the machine further using replays must have been legally fuzzy or nobody thought too hard about it.

shorting all play switch 1 I don't see the point of either. Was the game in coin mode?

are the motors in the game the original merckle ones - round gearbox with a couple thumbscrew-looking oil cups for the rotor bearings? if so, a drop of oil in the cups is okay, but probably not needed.

I don't put oil in the gearboxes as it just leaks out. If there's a way to open a merckle gearbox, I dunno what it is. If they had leaking liquid oil in I removed the motor washed it out with solvent thru the screw hole in the side of the gearbox case, then injected some grease. Otherwise I leave them alone.

you can remove the conical nuts holding on the stator and bearing with pliers...but they may be left-hand thread and if they are seized you can bust the bolt section or strip them, so if the motor is working I'd leave it alone.

Butch probably has a better answer for motor lube.

I will eventually grab a Manhattan parts head from the pacific pinball museum and document the mixers and reflex unit. Based on the schem, it's likely they are the same as Pixies except maybe some rivet wiring on mixer 2. You can find that documentation on http://bingo.cdyn.com/machines/united/pixies. If your game is playing reasonably well (i.e. you are losing, but not obscenely quickly), then you don't need that info.

#9 1 year ago
Quoted from baldtwit:

someplace like ohio

Dead on and impressive. Machine has a stamp/engraving that says “RECORDED 2778 City of Toledo” on front below the extra ball push button (see photo below). I assume the number is a registration number of some sort.

I think you’re right on about it having been modified to be restarted with a coin as that’s exactly what was happening. Seems that there were other mods too that I don’t completely understand but were likely associated with possible issues of compliance. In total, wire connections were added or modified at the play all and extra ball push buttons (disrupted normal connections), replay set up zero switches (added wires to both switches), fifth ball relay switch, and replay reset relay switech. In addition, new switches were added to the shuffle motor second position switch (a make break one and a nc one were added to the top of the stack), extra ball push button relay (one was added between switches 2 and 3), near the sequence index coil (whole new nc sw added to the right of sequence index cam sw 16), and tilt relay bottom (right?) switch (one added to top of stack—see photo below) that were connected to the added wires. I originally thought that the manual and schematics didn’t include all the switches in them. I see now that they just didn’t include the added ones. I used jumpers to wire it as it should have been originally and disrupted all the added circuits and it plays as I understand it should (start with replay, reset extra ball pb relay by pressing play all pb, not be able to start game with zero credits, etc.).

All of the added wires were cloth and were similar to bundled ones. They were wrapped around wire bundles and so it was clear that something was done with it and that these mods were done some time ago. They were also spliced where they entered the backbox and labeled so that the machine could be disassembled and wires disconnected and reconnected easily. It took me a while to realize that these were added wires and not just original ones that had been unbundled. Also, when new switches were added, the little spacers in the added switches were clearly distinct from the ones that were originally installled (see photo of added tilt switch below). It is interesting to know that these mods may have been done to be in compliance with Ohio laws!

There were also push button switches added to the front of the machine to bypass the coin chute switch and the manual ball lift button switch. I assume the first was to make it free play while the second was to ensure that balls could be lifted (there were issues when I first got it together with the timer step up unit and one of the ball lift switches that kept the ball lift from working properly/automatically and so I assume the new ball lift push button switch was added to circumvent one or both of these issues). I think though that these were separate mods from the ones mentioned above given the appearance of the wires (not like the ones in bundles).

A picture of the mixer motor is below. The control unit one seems identical to this one. They both look to be original, but I don’t see a name on them. The control unit one seems to purr like a kitten and appears to be working excellently. In comparison, the mixer one sounds like it is straining a tad bit especially when the mixer disks are kept from moving. I haven’t disassembled the mixer unit as it appear to be working ok, but assume that doing so to lube and clean components and to oil the leather bits might be a worthwhile winter project.

In terms of play, it seems to work well. But again, I am just learning about what normal play should be. Is there anything in particular that I should notice? It appears to give all features and steps up occasionally to more advanced ones more quickly than usual at times. I assume this is normal... I still very much suck at playing it though!

Thanks much again for feedback and comments!

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#10 1 year ago

Maybe that was a reimport from Toledo, Spain.....

2 weeks later
#11 1 year ago

those are merkle-korff gear motors. The name/info is stamped onto the face of the gearbox, so you can't see it until you remove the motor from the mounting bracket.

I removed the outer bearing and stator from a control unit one last week and washed out the gearbox with solvent. I used both spray brake cleaner and denatured alcohol, then squirted magnalube into the gearbox with a syringe. The conical nuts are reverse-threaded, so you twist them clockwise to unscrew. The fan was pressed on and pried off easily with a couple flat bladed screwdrivers. If there's a way to get into the gearbox itself, I don't know how. It looks like the gearbox was soldered closed or the face plate was inserted into a heat expanded case and the case shrunk as it cooled. I don't have a disposable motor to experiment with at the moment, and getting the gearbox apart isn't worth the effort to replace the grease.

what you put back in the gearbox is probably not critical. Liquids will weep out, and originally it was some kind of grease. If you want to use something more liquid to dampen gear noise better, use thick stuff like heavy weight transmission fluid or add in some miracle goo like lucas oil stabilizer to boost the viscosity way up. Keep the liquid below the shaft/rotor holes level to minimize seepage...the rotating gears will pick up the oil and carry it where it's needed.

the main reason I took the motor apart was a lot of dried oil on the rotor causing binding with the stator. The motor was pretty much frozen … hard to spin the fan even when motor removed from control unit shaft.

the mixer shaft has a few more clutches than the control unit, but the effort to spin the fan blade with your finger shouldn't be hugely different. You should be able to spin the fan and slip the clutches without making a deep notch in your skin.

wrt to how scores/features improve, the reflex unit wiper position impacts that a lot. In general, tho, united games seem a bit looser than bally - and often the main features enable easily.

if you take a look at the schems for bally games like barrel-o-fun or lotta fun you'll see references to a 1/2 red button adjust plug. That may help figure out what your mods were doing. Those games didn't have a replay register, but a stepper unit capable of stepping up/down and resetting worked pretty much the same way. Once a game was reset using a coin, the remaining 5 cards could be enabled by the player using the red button or the cards enabled automatically to the extent your accumulated score from the previous game(s) allowed - the 1/2 red button adjust plug configured that.

#12 1 year ago

Thanks for the info baldtwit! I’ll likely disassemble the mixer unit components sometime soon to clean and lube the clutches and shaft. Will check out the motor when it’s off the shaft, but it seems in good shape.

I have disabled all of the mods to the push buttons, etc. and the machine is working wonderfully (perfect as far as I can tell). I even had three five in a rows and a four corners during a single session the other day and so might be developing some bingo playing skills! About the only thing it’s lacking now is a nice backglass as the current one has some flaking areas. I put a few photos of the playfield, etc. on the pinside game database:


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