(Topic ID: 127239)

Returning F14 Flashers to Original Design - Vid's Guide


By vid1900

4 years ago



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  • 45 posts
  • 12 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by vid1900
  • Topic is favorited by 45 Pinsiders

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Williams_1987_F_14_Tomcat_Service_Bulletin_41.pdf (PDF preview)
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15
#1 4 years ago

F-14, as Steve Ritchie designed it, was supposed to have 4 flashers on the upper loop.

Williams discovered that the switch brackets would bend over time and contact the flasher bases. That would end up shorting out the switch column.

Rather than sending out an insulator kit, Williams issued a Service Bulletin instructing operators to cut out 2 of the lamps and then tie the other two together on a single circuit. This totally killed the "feel" of the game.

Most F14s came from the factory without the proper lamps or wiring, so here, we are going to restore the game to full function, as the master intended.

I get about 2 emails a month about how to do this restoration, because all the directions and videos on the web are needlessly confusing.

Williams_1987_F_14_Tomcat_Service_Bulletin_41.pdf

#2 4 years ago

Job one is to acquire two #89 flasher sockets.

$1.50 at Pinball Life:

http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=63&pg=1

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#3 4 years ago

Next we want to insulate the socket bodies so we don't blow up the switch matrix if the switch brackets bend over time.

We will use Shrink Tubing because it is tough and slippery. Electrical tape will quickly wear through and blow up the Matrix.

Cut the tubing a little long, as it shrinks when you heat it up.

Trim off the excess tubing with a razor blade after heating.

DO NOT TRY AND TAKE A SHORTCUT BY USING TAPE AS AN INSULATOR.

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#4 4 years ago

Remove the target foam backing from the A and O of the upper loop.

If the foam is old, it will just crumble.

This foam was in good shape, but if it was not, I'd redo all the Target Foam while the machine was apart.

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#5 4 years ago
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#6 4 years ago

Slip a piece of Shrink Tubing over the back of the Switch Bracket on both the A and the O switches.

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#7 4 years ago

Reserved for pic

#8 4 years ago

Using a heat gun on MEDIUM heat, or just a household hair dryer, shrink the tubing.

Cut off any excess with wire cutters.

Now the lamp socket AND the switch bracket is insulated with slippery tubing. The lack of friction is important.

DO NOT TRY AND TAKE A SHORTCUT AND ONLY INSULATE THE LAMP SOCKETS. If you do, the sharp switch bracket metal will wear through the lamp socket insulation.

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#9 4 years ago

"Target Foam" is actually just foam weatherstripping.

Don't pay .90 cents for little squares, buy a whole roll of the stuff for $2.

Remember, if the old foam is rotten and crumbly, replace all of it now.

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#10 4 years ago

Make sure the Target Foam does not interfere with the contacts of the switch.

Trim any extra off the top with wire cutters.

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#11 4 years ago

Williams was kind enough to leave us a mark on where to center the missing Flasher bulbs.

This is NOT where the lamp bracket screw goes, just a mark to align the lamp.

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#12 4 years ago

There is a lamp position marker on the TOM side too.

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#13 4 years ago

Install the Lamp Socket with a 3/8" screw.

Remember don't put the screw in the centering hole!

You can use the playfield plastic that covers the lamps as a "sanity check" to make sure your lamps are in the right position.

The new bulbs should fit under the RED domes, without touching the sides of the domes.

Leave at least 3/8" between the socket and the switch.

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#14 4 years ago

Same thing on the TOM side.

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#15 4 years ago

Now we flip to the underside of the playfield and do some wiring.

Find the Lamp Resistor Bord next to the Right Eject coil.

You will know you have the correct board, because one LAMP pad has an all WHITE wire and a WHITE wire with a BLACK stripe.

These wires are connected together so the Blue and Clear lamps fire together. We are going to untie them so the lamps fire independently, as Ritchie intended.

We need to unsolder the WHITE/BLACK stripe wire, but leave the all WHITE wire in place.

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#16 4 years ago

Now remember, we are still on the same lamp board, here.

Solder the WHITE/BLACK stripe wire you removed from the last step, to the empty LAMP pad directly across from it.

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#17 4 years ago

At the top of the playfield, you will find the Diode Board.

Find the empty pad marked "A7".

If your F14 is an early production model, you may find the cut wire still connected here, wrapped with tape. Since they made 15,000 F14s, most people will not be that lucky.

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#18 4 years ago

Solder about 5 feet of wire to the pad marked A7.

This is now the DRIVER wire.

Run the wire along the Diode Board's wiring harness and up to the Lamp Resistor Board.

Leave the Zip Ties loose along the harness, as you will be bringing another wire back, for at least part of the way.

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#19 4 years ago

Just across the row of Blue inserts from the first Lamp Resistor Board we untied, you will find another Lamp Resistor Board with an empty row of GROUND, DRIVER, and LAMP pads.

You know you have the correct board because, it's half empty, and the LAMP pad in use has a WHITE/BLUE stripe wire on it.

Solder the DRIVER wire you ran from the Diode Board's A7, to the empty pad labeled DRIVER.

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#20 4 years ago

With your DRIVER wire attached, now run about 5 feet of new wire to the pad marked LAMP.

This wire goes back to the 2 lamp sockets we installed in the upper loop.

Fish this LAMP wire through the loose Zip Ties you put in place for the DRIVER wire, and pull the Zips tight.

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#21 4 years ago

Williams did not have enough transistors on the driver board to run all the coils and lights needed for F14.

So they built a switching circuit using a relay, so the same transistor could switch an "A" group or "C" group.

Note that there are many almost identical looking relay boards under the playfield marked "Snubber". Ignore those.

The Relay we want is at the top of the board, and it says "Relay C-11232-1". This is the A/C Select Relay.

The "A/C" does not stand for Alternating Current, just that it switches between A and C.

The two Red Lamps we are adding, need power from the "A" side of the relay.

That is why you can't just steal power from the Blue or White lamps - Those are on the "C" circuit.

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#22 4 years ago

Take power from the "A" side of the relay by soldering an Orange wire to the pad with the other Orange wires.

Feed this wire along the wiring harness and through the playfield to the Red lamps.

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#23 4 years ago

This photo at first looks confusing, so click on it to make it larger.

Here we are taking that Orange power wire from the A/C Relay, and connecting it to the Red lamp.

We are also taking that White/Violet wire from the Center Lamp Resistor Board and connecting it to the Red lamp.

Finally, we are connecting another spare Orange wire and a White/Violet wire to the same Red lamp and fishing them back below the playfield.

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#24 4 years ago

Now take the two wires that you fished back under the playfield from the Red lamp on the "CAT" side and bring them up on the "TOM" side.

Solder them to the Red lamp socket.

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#25 4 years ago

Here you see all the lamps installed again.

Finally, put the plastics back on and make sure that all the bulbs are correctly positioned, and that the wiring is neatly tucked out of the ball path.

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#26 4 years ago

Here is a color schematic of the entire job.

It looks a lot simpler when you see it all at once, yes?

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#27 4 years ago

That's a nice looking F-14 playfield, Vid!

#28 4 years ago

vid, I'm not sure I'd trust you to babysit my daughters, you'd probably take them to a strip club or something, but I'd hand over any of my games to you without a second thought!

#29 4 years ago

You're also going to want to separate the white and blue flashers and move flasher 9 to it's own board. this is either also how it was intended or it was this way on the prototype machines. It how has this nice blinding cyclonic action light show.

-c

#30 4 years ago

nice job vid man!

#31 4 years ago

Another great how to guide, its on my list of things to do on mine.

#32 4 years ago
Quoted from Hawk007:

nice job vid man!

Hawk - wow, I had that Heather Thomas poster up on my wall when I was a kid! She was HOT!

#33 4 years ago

Vid, great job as always. Here is the source I use. May help those who like movies instead.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZCIcjVdWlCE?autoplay=1&rel=0

#34 4 years ago

Must have had a power failure, because I can't access my server.

I'll get the rest of the pics up ASAP.

#35 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Must have had a power failure, because I can't access my server.
I'll get the rest of the pics up ASAP.

were you testing the ORIGINAL design?

#36 4 years ago
Quoted from GixerEd1:

Hawk - wow, I had that Heather Thomas poster up on my wall when I was a kid! She was HOT!

Yup..you bet. I think all us red blooded males did. Great poster! Classic awesomeness! And hey Vid I have an early f-14 with clear beacons and clear flashers if you need any input.
Cheers

#37 4 years ago
Quoted from johnwartjr:

That's a nice looking F-14 playfield, Vid!

It certainly is!

Are you ready to do mine?

#38 4 years ago
Quoted from cichlid:

It certainly is!
Are you ready to do mine?

No sir.

I'm completely F14ed out.

That playfield was the hardest playfield I've ever restored.

All the Mylar came up, removing only the paint from the inserts.

But when I used alcohol to remove the Mylar glue, the entire playfield planked like it had sat underwater for years.

Then once I had it all restored and buffed out to a perfect sheet of glass, I put a big chip in it while repopulating it.

So I'm taking a big vacation from anything associated with F14; I got a huge pile of 11 Silverball Manias as my next endeavor. Always easier to do all the same title at the same time.

1 week later
#39 4 years ago

I did this like a week before this guide was published, and it sure would have saved me some head scratching. I just jumpered it off the orange wired flashers under the radar, seems to be working fine but I do like the idea of going straight to the relay board.

#40 4 years ago
Quoted from tonedef131:

I did this like a week before this guide was published, and it sure would have saved me some head scratching.

You are not the only one, believe me!

I constantly get emails from people who have messed up their game trying to follow some of the directions out there on the web.

Quoted from tonedef131:

I just jumpered it off the orange wired flashers under the radar, seems to be working fine but I do like the idea of going straight to the relay board.

Flashers under the radar are on the correct side of the A/C circuit, so you are all good.

8 months later
#41 3 years ago

Vid,
Apparently I have an early F14 with all wires in place but clipped and taped.
On the side with only the red flasher, I have two clipped orange wires and one white/purple. I see in your pictures only one orange there. Any idea why I have two? (There are two on the side with the red/white/blue flashers as well.)

I also noticed my first resistor board I'm missing R1. Obviously that needs added back in?

I didn't realize mine was early. I have #44 bulbs under my chevron inserts. Didn't realize later runs had 555s and a circuit board.

#42 3 years ago
Quoted from shirkle:

Apparently I have an early F14 with all wires in place but clipped and taped.
On the side with the red/white/blue flashers, I have two clipped orange wires and two clipped white/purple wires. Is this correct? Do all of those go to the new lamp?
On the other side, where there's just the red flasher, I have two clipped orange wires and one white/purple. Again, is this all normal?

Here is how it looked originally:

f14_(resized).jpg

#43 3 years ago
Quoted from shirkle:

I also noticed my first resistor board I'm missing R1. Obviously that needs added back in?

Usually they get hot and unsolder themselves. Look under the transformer board.

Quoted from shirkle:

I didn't realize mine was early. I have #44 bulbs under my chevron inserts.

That's the early one, congrats!

#44 3 years ago

Thank you. Looks like I just have some things to reverse. Wish they didn't clip the wires so short!

#45 3 years ago
Quoted from shirkle:

Wish they didn't clip the wires so short!

Sons of bitches.

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