(Topic ID: 40523)

Replacement for those sliding horseshoe contacts in Williams drop targets


By Steve_T

6 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 166 posts
  • 61 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 months ago by oldschoolbob
  • Topic is favorited by 52 Pinsiders

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“The second video, is it too long?”

  • Yes, it's too long. 5 votes
    38%
  • Well...almost too long. Maybe. 0 votes
  • No, it's fine. 8 votes
    62%

(13 votes)

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There are 166 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 4.
#1 6 years ago

Those sliding horseshoe contacts in 70s and 80s Williams System 6 (and System 4) drop targets - unfortunately they can be unreliable from getting dirty or out of adjustment. The targets don't always score, or the bank won't reset after the last target drops. It affects game enjoyment more than you would think!

Sure, you can take them apart and clean them...but they'll get dirty again sooner or later. In some machines it's a major hassle to disassemble & clean them because of other stuff in the way (e.g. adjacent pop-bumper assembly).

Wow, didn't mean to sound like a car salesman. But I've been at this for a while and there's a whole background and history for this thing at one of the other well-known pinball forums.

Anyway, a working replacement has been designed and is nearly ready for prime-time. Have a look at these videos:

(November 2012)
(February 2013)

Interest?

cheers,
Steve T.

Post edited by Steve_T : Long video replaced with a shorter one.

#2 6 years ago

Sure! Price, configuration and availability options?

viperrwk

#3 6 years ago

Availability options:
* 3-, 4-, or 5-bank (tentatively named EH1.3, EH1.4, and EH1.5)
* Regular SPDT switches as shown in 2nd video, or flying leads for your own SPST switches (optional transistor installed per target)
* Special Daisy-Chain option wired with flying leads
* Availability date is being worked on, feedback from everyone is "the sooner the better"

Configuration:
* Standard 3-, 4-, or 5-bank targets (most machines will use these)
* Special Daisy-Chain hook-up instructions (Laser Ball, Scorpion, others?)
* Non-standard target bank instructions (Laser Ball, Tri Zone, others?)

Price: $TBD per target bank (less than $50, more than $20)
Here's the pricing model I'm thinking about at the moment...
1. bag of parts cost
2. + cost for professional assembly
3. + shipping
4. + obscene profit mark up of...maybe 15% to 18%? (Like a tip for the waiter at a restaurant!)

Some people have asked about a kit, the bag of parts basically, to save on the professional assembly. So I'll probably do that too, but let me tell you - I've assembled about 5 of these (2 x 4-bank, 3 x 3-bank) and would MUCH rather pay someone else to do it.

later,
Steve T.

Post edited by Steve_T : Try to fix the auto-formatting.

#4 6 years ago
Quoted from Steve_T:

I've assembled about 5 of these (2 x 4-bank, 3 x 3-bank) and would MUCH rather pay someone else to do it

How much you willing to pay someone else to put them together?

#5 6 years ago
Quoted from Steve_T:

Some people have asked about a kit, the bag of parts basically, to save on the professional assembly. So I'll probably do that too, but let me tell you - I've assembled about 5 of these (2 x 4-bank, 3 x 3-bank) and would MUCH rather pay someone else to do it.

I would love to be able to get some 3-bank kits(to start with) from you.

Thanks for following up on this project.

#6 6 years ago

I would be very interested in a kit that I could put together too... for all three different configurations.

#7 6 years ago

Nice job Steve! Happy to see you've made so much progress. Best on your sales!

#8 6 years ago

I assume this will accommodate multiple scoring options where, depending on whether arrow is lit or not, the score for a target changes, as with Flash.

#9 6 years ago

Bamaro - Yes it'll accommodate anything & everything, just like the factory-original targets.

Actually, the target scoring behavior and lit vs. unlit arrows and what-have-you are completely implemented in the software running on the MPU in the back box. Below the playfield, the target circuits and method of wiring targets to the switch matrix (and even the physical design of the target mechanism) are identical in all the Williams System 4 and System 6 machines.

By the way, I think Flash is a great machine...would love to get one someday.

later,
Steve T.

2 weeks later
#10 6 years ago

Any updates on the availability date? I'd love to pick up two 3 bank sets for my Gorgar!!!

Great job

#11 6 years ago

Nice job! I'm interested in them when you have your production going!

#12 6 years ago

So it looks like you won't have single drops available for games such as Tri Zone?

1 week later
#13 6 years ago

Interested in sets for Flash and Blackout, I just made 50 horseshoes at work, but have not tried them out yet.

#14 6 years ago

I could use one for my Gorgar

4 weeks later
#15 6 years ago

How is progress going?

#16 6 years ago

Steve,
I have a flash pinball machine and am interested in purchasing the 3 and 5 bank kits. Are they available and what would the price be if they are pre-assembled. Thanks

#17 6 years ago

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the ongoing interest! I've been checking my email to see if new comments have been posted. It turns out my options must be set for no notification, so I didn't realize there had been this many replies!

Latest status:
* The 2 original prototypes are still working fine, of course.
* Four "early production" boards have been assembled:
- One is installed in a Stellar Wars and is working fine.
- One has been built up by my "assembly & distribution partner" guy.
- Two production boards are on a display stand (not in use).
* Received good design advice while showing the display stand at Texas Pinball Festival.
* Based on that advice:
- Board needs re-layout to be more resistant to mechanical shocks.
- Custom switch-mount brackets (which I had hoped to avoid) are needed.
- Improved leaf spring design copied from System 7 drop targets.
* Tentative agreement reached concerning assembly and distribution.
* Still trying to keep the price US$50, or less. (Emphasis on the "or less".)

Please keep sending me messages every few weeks, believe it or not that's what helps to keep this effort rolling.

cheers,
Steve T.

P.S. - Stangbat:
Yes, there will be a single target option for Tri Zone. It'll require a little extra work. Basically, each target must have a new switch installed and then wired to the circuit card that'll be mounted a couple feet away. (It'll be on the side of the cabinet interior instead of attached to the target mechanism below the playfield. Essentially that's how the original prototypes were built, you can see what I'm talking about in the really long video on my YouTube channel.) You can use the SPDT microswitches that come with the circuit card or, with 1 extra transistor added on the circuit board, you can use an SPST switch instead -- like a regular leaf-contact switch which are used pretty much everywhere else.

There will also be an option for "logically connected but physically separate" target banks like those found in Laser Ball and Scorpion.

#18 6 years ago

Great to see your still on it! Stick with it. I'm in for a set for Flash!

2 weeks later
#19 6 years ago
Quoted from Steve_T:

Yes, there will be a single target option for Tri Zone.

Just saw this, thanks for the reply.

2 weeks later
#20 6 years ago

Any updates?, would like kits for Blackout and Flash.

#21 6 years ago

Looking forward to this product...

#22 6 years ago

Didnt see this thread until now. Definitely interested. Keep us posted.

#23 6 years ago

Bump for great product idea

-1
#24 6 years ago

Were you the guy that bought that bank of targets from me at TPF? Believe someone at/near the GPE booth who did was working on a replacement for these things. My targets weren't the exact type but sufficient enough for demo purposes. Glad to see that these things are getting off the ground.

#25 6 years ago

I've been working with Steve on these, and when they're ready I'll be doing the assembly and sales of them as per current plans.

The main remaining issue is the mounting brackets for the switches themselves, once those are ready it won't be long. Just don't have a timeframe yet on those.

-Hans

#26 6 years ago

Awesome

1 month later
#28 6 years ago

I'll try to get in touch with Steve for an update on this.

-Hans

1 month later
#29 6 years ago

Would love to know if these are near availability.

#30 6 years ago

Haven't heard from Steven in a while. Will try to ping him again on this. Last time we spoke, the main issue was brackets for the microswitches, other than that he was basically on the final board revision.

#31 6 years ago
Quoted from toddsolus:

I could use one for my Gorgar

Didn't Gorgar have the microswitches?

#32 6 years ago

No, Gorgar still had the sliders.

#33 6 years ago

I'm about to start a Stellar Wars mega-restoration and would order one of these kits if they were available.

2 weeks later
#34 6 years ago

Hey Everybody,

Sorry about these delays! The microswitch brackets have been a real pain in the butt. See, they have to be able to bend a little bit every time the target bank resets due to the 1/8" of over-travel on the reset. I had a set of six brackets made for testing, flat outlines cut from a sheet of leaf-spring metal. Got them on Sept. 14, and two of them broke immediately when bending to form, cheez! One survived and it seems to be functional as designed. (I was surprised to find out how brittle spring metal turned out to be. Maybe I should have simply gone with stainless steel?) The other three I'm saving to work with just in case Plan B doesn't pan out.

Speaking of Plan B... In March 2013 I found out the university's water jet for cutting the leaf-spring metal wasn't going to be available until May. Then in May the date got pushed out to August! (Which actually turned out to be September.) Anyway, I was super-disappointed in May when another 3-month delay was dropped on this effort. So Plan B was hatched and worked in parallel with the original spring metal idea -- I ordered a 3D printer kit to see about making these things out of plastic instead of leaf spring metal. The kit was assembled in June, started learning the ins & outs of printing in PLA plastic in June & July, bought a heated print bed add-on in August (they say only ABS plastic requires a heated bed, but it helps with PLA too).

Earlier this week, following the broken metal leaf-spring tragedy, I printed several test brackets out of plastic and they look very promising. My only big concern is the durability of these things compared to the leaf-spring metal. In SolidWorks the leaf-spring simulation went for 100 billion cycles before metal fatigue failure...I think that's how SolidWorks says, "It'll last forever." I don't know how to do a simulation of little 12 degree "bending events" in a bracket made of PLA plastic. Maybe it can only handle 10,000 cycles? Or maybe "just" 5 million?

Sheesh, this project has been delayed enough...I might go with plastic brackets even without knowing how durable they'll be. (Note: They seem to be fairly durable, but I usually prefer to go with known facts over "they seem to be...") Anyway the 3D model of the bracket can be posted to Thingiverse and, if the need arises, replacements can be printed by the dozen in less than an hour.

More to come...

-Steve T.

#35 6 years ago

Very cool, I'll be able to print my own brackets in ABS. I just need to find some 3 bank targets for my Firepower. They're getting pretty hard to find/expensive.

#36 6 years ago
Quoted from Steve_T:

they have to be able to bend a little bit every time the target bank resets

Sounds like you need to change your design. Requiring something to bend on every reset is a recipe for lots of failures. Can you come up with a work around that works without bending?

1 month later
#37 6 years ago

Anyone in the Dallas/Fort Worth area want to volunteer their WMS System 6 (or System 4) machine to be a test subject? It needs to be played daily or at least weekly.

Interested candidates can send me an email, my Gmail account is harmlessfuzzball.

-Steve T.

P.S. - RacerRik - I appreciate your comment, but think it all the way through...besides the pinball itself, is there anything at all in a WMS System 6 pinball machine that moves during gameplay which doesn't involve something bending? Everything the ball touches that involves any kind of motion also involves bending: the shooter rod, all rollover switches in various lanes, pop bumpers, stand-up targets, drop targets, slingshot kickers, outholes, flippers. I literally can't think of anything that doesn't involve bending. If you can...well, by all means let me know!

1 month later
1 month later
#39 5 years ago

How are these progressing ??

#40 5 years ago

I'm interested in these for my Blackout.

#41 5 years ago

I'd buy some also. Ed

1 week later
#42 5 years ago

I promised not to divulge any details, but have been in recent contact with Steve on this, and updates will be coming in the near future.

-Hans

1 month later
#43 5 years ago

Just wanted to bump this. Any updates?

Thanks,
Luke

2 weeks later
#44 5 years ago

I'd be in for a 5 bank and maybe a 3 bank for my Flash. PM me when you are ready to move some product.

#45 5 years ago
Quoted from Chupon:

I'd be in for a 5 bank and maybe a 3 bank for my Flash. PM me when you are ready to move some product.

I've been following this from the beginnings on rgp.... I also need this for my Flash. I'm looking forward to updates as well.
Sounds promising!

#46 5 years ago

Can't provide details yet, but Steve and I have been regularly conversing on this project lately again. It is a live project, under active development still, just slower than anticipated. At the moment it's down to finalizing layout, and making sure the design is going to survive attached to drop target banks. Looks like, hopefully, one more major layout change and then just tweaking and on to production.

I really appreciate the patience you guys are showing on this.

-Hans

#47 5 years ago
Quoted from HHaase:

Can't provide details yet, but Steve and I have been regularly conversing on this project lately again. It is a live project, under active development still, just slower than anticipated. At the moment it's down to finalizing layout, and making sure the design is going to survive attached to drop target banks. Looks like, hopefully, one more major layout change and then just tweaking and on to production.
I really appreciate the patience you guys are showing on this.
-Hans

Great to hear. Thanks for the update.
I have a system 3 "Hot Tip". Currently all my horseshoe contacts are working great. But if they ever start to fail would this system work in my game? I only see system 4 to 6 talked about in the thread.

#48 5 years ago

I appreciate all the effort gone into this and a replacement for the horsehoe contacts has been long overdue. I thought you might like to know that the actual contacts are being replicated by Homepin. They are in the final stages of development.. all that is required is the final tooling to put the 2 bends in the brass plate. Contacts themselves should be available in around 2 weeks time

#49 5 years ago

Yep, been talking with homepin about them already, and glad to see that people will have solid choices. I am actually almost out of my stock in replacement sliders, 25 left out of a run of 500, so I also have to decide on making another run or not of those.

Hot Tip will be fine. The design triggers an input into the driver board so that the signals look like the original targets would appear.

4 months later
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