(Topic ID: 237498)

Pop Bumper Model

By lloprete

2 years ago

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  • 14 posts
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  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Frogger1108
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    #1 2 years ago

    Hi, everyone! I am currently working with a group to make an educational model of how a pop bumper works. We are using pop bumpers from a Williams Pit Stop that we bought on eBay. They work fine and have been cleaned, but when we have them attached to our wooden 'playfield' (a plain piece of plywood) and roll a ball towards them, they don't kick it out nearly as powerfully as expected.

    We thought that perhaps there wasn't enough clearance between the metal ring that gets pulled down by the plunger and the playfield surface to let the ball travel further towards the center before triggering the switch - in that case, we figured maybe we needed to carve out an inlay on the top surface for the weirdly-shaped plastic piece, but the pop bumper rebuild guide here:
    does not seem to have such inlays (see picture 11.jpg).

    So, at this point, I'm not really sure what could be done to improve its performance. Any recommendations?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    #2 2 years ago

    For reference, here is what the pop bumpers from Pit Stop look like:

    (not my build- someone else's)

    #3 2 years ago

    Power being used AC or DC and voltage?

    #4 2 years ago

    Is your playfield a full 1/2" thick?
    How are you powering the coil?

    #5 2 years ago

    DC voltage using variable power supply. I'll try to remember what voltage we were testing at - I know it was based off a schematic for another pin we had

    #6 2 years ago

    9/16" really low-quality plywood for our proof-of-concept test (measured by calipers)

    #7 2 years ago

    Digging out the playfield would give you less contact with the ball, not more, unless I'm not understanding what you are saying.

    #8 2 years ago

    Yeah, I think you're right -it just seems like the ball is not able to go into the pop bumper as far as normal before getting kicked back out

    #9 2 years ago

    Also, right now, I'm testing it with ~25V

    I have to go in a few minutes, but I'll be working on it some more when I find some time (probably next Saturday around the same time) - maybe I can also post some videos/pics of what I mean by it not working as well as expected

    #10 2 years ago

    Are you using a pop bumper relay like most original pop bumpers? Have a look at MarkG 's web page here

    #11 2 years ago

    Can we see what your model looks like? As mentioned above, the momentary spoon switch contact needs to energize a relay to power the bumper until the end of stroke switch is opened.

    #12 2 years ago

    Thanks for the mention HowardR.

    Playfield thickness could be a factor as others have mentioned. The gap of the pop bumper skirt, or spoon switch might also affect how lively the pop bumper seems.

    A pop bumper relay can be important as HowardR mentioned. The duration of the solenoid impulse will be variable and likely a bit short if you're not using a relay to drive the pop bumper since power is cut immediately after the ball leaves the pop bumper skirt. When used in conjunction with a relay, the relay sends power to the pop bumper when the skirt switch closes, but keeps power pumping through it until the pop bumper end of stroke switch opens. So you get a consistent pulse every time equal to the time it takes the plunger to travel through the solenoid.

    Another potential issue is the structure of your demo. When the pop bumper solenoid fires it delivers a pretty substantial amount of energy. But if your plywood can vibrate much a lot of that solenoid energy goes into shaking the plywood, pop bumper and whatever else it's attached to rather than delivering that energy to the ball. If your model is very rigid and doesn't allow things to shake much when the pop bumper fires more/most of the energy will be delivered to the ball making the whole mechanism seem more lively.


    1 week later
    #13 2 years ago

    Thank you all for your advice - if I get a chance to work on it later today, I'll post some pictures. It seems there are a ton of variables to getting it to work just right. I'll just have to play around with it until the demo works well enough. I'll keep you updated.


    #14 2 years ago

    I think I know what you're talking about, I had the same experience when I built my first custom pinball machine. Take a look at Bobs video of his homemade pinball machine, are your bumpers behaving similarly to his ?

    If so, the problem is the already mentioned activation time of the bumpers which is too short if you just use a "short circuit" to activate them.
    I solved the problem by activating my bumpers with a microcontroller, in this case an Arduino. It's very cheap (Arduino + materials are under 10 bucks) and reliable and maybe also interesting for your project depending on what you want to include.

    Hey there! Got a moment?

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