(Topic ID: 252468)

Rocky and Bullwinkle Nell Motor Fix!

By scottacus

4 years ago


Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

  • 18 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 56 days ago by Garrett
  • Topic is favorited by 12 Pinsiders

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#1 4 years ago

Hello Poetry Pals! If your Rocky and Bullwinkle machine is like mine, there are issues with your Nell motor.

The Data East designers chose to use an AC asynchronous motor that was geared down to 4RPM to drive the log and saw blade. Asynchronous motors (like the kind in your microwave turntable) will run either clockwise or counterclockwise depending on the starting position. This means that about half the time the motor will run the wrong way and put stress on the reduction gears which eventually fail.

I tried fixing my motor but a previous owner had already already attempted this to no avail so I bought a replacement motor from Marco for $64. Unfortunately this motor didn’t have enough torque to drive Nell with the original return spring so sometimes Nell moved towards the saw blade and sometimes Nell moved away from it because it is an asynchronous AC motor!

I was frustrated with this because the Nell toy is one of the coolest parts of the machine so I decided to design a direct drop in replacement to fix this. My requirements were that the Nell toy unit that would:
1) always run the correct direction
2) reverse at the end of travel (save Nell or “It’s Curtains!”)
3) not run past the end of travel so that no undue stress is put onto the mechanism.
4) not require any rewiring or other complex electronic work, just plug and play!

To use this new system, the old Nell motor is removed and a new one is put in its place using the holes that mounted the old motor. The original gear and pulley are replaced with a new 3D printed version that can be mounted on the shorter shaft of the new motor. A new driver board with all of the onboard electronics is screwed to the bottom of the playfield in place of the original board and plugged into the native driver board plug (no rewiring). Nell needs to be slid to the far end away from the saw blade and you are ready to go!

Design, testing and manufacturing (Eagle design, custom etching, CNC drill pattern etc) has taken a lot of time so I made three boards since I was set up for production. One is in my machine and has been working great for a few weeks and the other two I’m offering up for sale to the first two Pinsiders who reach out to me via a message on Pinside. The cost for the board and 3D printed parts is $80 and I’ll ship via USPS Priority mail which is $8 for the small flat rate box for the continental US, I'm not sure about Hawaii or Alaska (Total of $88).

I've included photos down below of:

-The driver board mounted under the playfield.
-The motor with mount and printed gear/pulley unit.
-The two units that are for sale and ready to ship.

Here is a youtube video of the unit in action! First I show what happens when Nell is not rescued, note that the log moves at exactly the right speed to just reach the saw blade when "It's Curtains!" Second I show a Nell save. In each case the log moves quickly and smoothly back to it's starting point.

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4 weeks later
#2 4 years ago

I've redesigned the board so that it now has a much more robust Buck Converter that displays the voltage and amperage so that the user can tell if there are issues with any variation from specs. The buck converter is also visible from the coin door.

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8 months later
#3 3 years ago

Wow, very impressive! Are they for sale?

4 weeks later
#4 3 years ago

Yes they are, please contact me at [email protected] for more information. Sorry I don't check in at Pinside very often so I missed your post.

#5 3 years ago

Nice work! My Nell motor is working well enough for my standards (after recently replacing the belt that drives the saw blade), but if it ever gives out, I'd prefer your replacement.

1 week later
#6 3 years ago

Thanks for the hookup. Looking forward to seeing the new mechanism in action!

#7 3 years ago
Quoted from King_Jelly:

Thanks for the hookup. Looking forward to seeing the new mechanism in action!

Your welcome!

1 month later
#8 3 years ago

I was contacted by a Pinsider about making them a Nell Driver unit and from the photos he sent we figured out that he was missing the saw blade and the entire metal housing that supports the motor and saw blade. Because these parts are not available I took my RaB apart and measured up the parts and made a two piece model in F360 that I was able to 3D print for him.

I used my CNC machine to make a replacement saw blade plastic and used photoshop to make artwork for the saw. The DecalPro system was used to print the saw blade graphic and this was applied to the plastic. Here are photos of the housing and blade with replacement motor and gear/pulley from the Nell driver along with a video of the entire Nell board driver and the replacement parts driving Nell on my saw mill.

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1 month later
#9 3 years ago

This is pretty sweet.

Is there a test menu in the game to test this in diag?

1 year later
#10 1 year ago

What a great improvement! I just got a game entirely missing the Nell motor and gear. Your driver board would be a much better solution. Do you have any you are willing to sell still? If so what's the best way to get one?

5 months later
#12 1 year ago

I've just come up with a new design for these Nell Drivers that will make them even better. The new design has the ability to put the stepper motor and its driver to sleep when not in use which saves about 4W of power consumption which is nice! They will be available from Terry at Pinball Life in about a week or so.

There are now more than 110 Nell Driver boards in pins around the world. Together we are saving Nell one pin at a time!

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#13 1 year ago
Quoted from scottacus:

I've just come up with a new design for these Nell Drivers that will make them even better. The new design has the ability to put the stepper motor and its driver to sleep when not in use which saves about 4W of power consumption which is nice! They will be available from Terry at Pinball Life in about a week or so.
There are now more than 110 Nell Driver boards in pins around the world. Together we are saving Nell one pin at a time!
[quoted image]

Can this tech be added to existing Nell drivers ?
I have one of your first Nell drivers.

5 months later
#14 9 months ago

I need one of these someone contact me, please.

4 months later
#15 4 months ago

Sorry I don't check back here very often. Terry carries these at Pinball Life so you can get them there. It is possible to upgrade an older Nell Driver but it would require adding a jumper wire and installing new software. I can be reached at [email protected].

1 month later
#16 3 months ago

scottacus

Thanks! Nell is running again.

But what surprised me were your EXCELLENT instructions! Solid build construction too! Quick and easy installation.

How hard would it be to add a 6V output for an 8" LED strip that would light up the Nell box when the saw is activated? Or flash? A benefit of the LED strip is added light on the lower playfield.

In the picture there is just one 4" LED strip up under the lip of the metal top plate, playfield side. Going to replace it with an 8" strip from Comet to light it up end to end. Right now there's only the 4" above SAVED.
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1 month later
#17 56 days ago

I got my board last week, a great piece of work and a great instruction guide. Not more than 30 mins to do the installation and at the end everything worked perfectly fine.

Thanks scottacus for such a great improvement.

Best regards
Tom

#18 56 days ago

I've installed ColorDMD's, Pinsound and other mods on pins.

I wish everybody would include instructions as they done are on this mod. Excellent.

Played many, many games and Nell keeps on running without any issues.

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