(Topic ID: 237344)

Score Reel Solenoid issue maybe?


By tscottn

84 days ago



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  • 16 posts
  • 6 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 79 days ago by tscottn
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#1 84 days ago

Hey guys, I am new to EMs.. Just picked up my first one a few days ago.. (Sky Jump) and am loving it. My plans are to restore entire machine eventually. Anyway, my wife and I have been having a real blast playing this EM. Made my first order with Pinball Resource; manual, schematics, bulbs etc.. to get me started.

Anyway, today I decided to check all the scoring mechs to make sure the game was scoring properly. The first thing I noticed was that when any target or drop target was trying to put 500 points on the board, sometimes the 100s reel would only give 400 or 300 or 600 etc.. i could literally watch the reel get hung up a bit. So I pulled the reel out and cleaned all the contacts, ( same issue ) with the reel out I could watch the reel actually hang up when trying to put 500 pts up. I noticed the solenoid looked like this in the picture. Do you think this may be a bad Noid and I should replace it? I also watched the score mech in the cabinet and it looks like those switches are actuating fine and giving me 5 clicks for 500 pts.

In addition I looked at all the other reels and the solenoids look normal to me.. So what do you guys think..? Thanks fort any help you can throw my way..

ps.. I can post a video if you want to see it in action hanging up..

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#2 84 days ago

First, make sure the score reel is working properly by manually rotating the score reel. Push in the solenoid plunger and see if the score reel clicks into place as it rotates to the different number positions. It should smoothly rotate as you push the solenoid plunger.

It looks like the solenoid overheated at some point. This doesn't mean the solenoid is bad. You can check the solenoid with a multimeter on the ohms setting. The coil should have 2.0 ohms or above. If it's below that, then the coil is weak and it should be replaced.

#3 84 days ago

1st thing to remember is that you dont get tempted to start cleaning and adjusting everything in sight as you will very likely put more faults on the machine than you are trying to fix.

In respect of the coil on the reel, it's looking toasty but, not necessarily bad. I would unsolder its wires, test it with a meter and then do the same test on another reel coil to compare. It's most likely getting burnt because it's taking a heavy load. They dont, unless a continuous duty one, burn for no reason. So, check the relay that fires that reel because that could well be why its hanging. If it's out of whack, then buy a new one from PBR and invest in a schematic too, unless you have one already of course.

Also, check the spring tension on the reel and look for anything that might be making the reel stick. If the return spring is weak, then that might be a factor.

Hope that helps.

#4 84 days ago

I'm fairly new myself, but I can tell you what I usually do. When I get the reel out of the cab, I work it manually to see how well it rotates and where it may be getting hung up. Just keep clicking the plunger using the nub that sticks out. They typically seem to hang up while moving from 9 back to zero....where the switches are getting the biggest workout. It's interesting that yours is having trouble with a specific amount of point.

If it's getting stuck anywhere, you need to break it down and clean it up really well. A lot of times I find old grease that has solidified over time, making the mechanisms move slower than they should....or just all the coil dust that blows around. In any case, when cleaned up and adjusted properly, the score reel should click along easily and have a nice snap in between numbers. That way you can rule out the mechanical aspect of the reel as the issue if you're still having problems after that.

#5 84 days ago

thanks for the responses.. yes I clicked the solenoid and it seems to be clicking fine manually. It does not hang up or show any issues when I click it with my finger. my next test will be to put a meter too it to see if it is getting the correct 2.0 ohms across the contacts, as fredsmythson said. I am tempted to just change it out anyway since this is the only one that looks like this and it seems to be the only one giving me trouble. I haven't received my schematics yet from PBR but when looking at the relay down in the cabinet that fires the score reel solenoid, it seems to be doing its job and not hanging up to the naked eye.

#6 84 days ago

here is a video of the solenoid in action..

go to settings and slow the video down to about half speed and it really becomes very clear that sometimes it fires all 5 perfectly for 500 points and sometimes the noid hangs up and doesn't fire all the way down each time.

#7 84 days ago

It's hard to tell from the video (even when I slow it down), but it kind of looks like it's not always returning to the resting position when the solenoid releases. It's possible that there's a problem with the spring or it could just be getting hung up. it's possible that the plunger is mushroomed or that the sleeve needs to be cleaned or replaced.

What happens during the reset cycle? Does it ever get hung up at that point or just when scoring 500?

#8 84 days ago

Yep, I agree.

It's definitely getting the five pulses you would expect, and it seems to be pulling in fine...so the solenoid seems OK. It's just the plunger is not coming back all the way like it should (at times). Since you said it moves fine when you work it manually, I'm assuming the rod moves easily thru the sleeve? If so...and you can rule out a mechanical issue...maybe the switch sending the pulse needs to be checked for it's gap. Maybe it's not always opening and allowing the plunger to return properly.

Just thinking out loud.

#9 84 days ago
Quoted from PSchwisow:

It's hard to tell from the video (even when I slow it down), but it kind of looks like it's not always returning to the resting position when the solenoid releases. It's possible that there's a problem with the spring or it could just be getting hung up. it's possible that the plunger is mushroomed or that the sleeve needs to be cleaned or replaced.
What happens during the reset cycle? Does it ever get hung up at that point or just when scoring 500?

it never hangs up when the game resets or when just advancing one position. It only happens during the 500 point scoring. I ordered a new solenoid just for the hell of it since i dont like the way this one looks anyway. But you are correct that the plunger is not returning to its normal rested position and seems to stay up when advancing 5 times.

#10 84 days ago

If you haven't completed your order yet, it might be worth looking at the condition of the plunger, spring, and coil stop. I'd hate for you to order only *some* of the parts you need and then have to wait for another order (and pay again for shipping).

#11 84 days ago

Or if those parts are not too expensive, order them anyway... your other score reels will use the same parts, so it's probably useful to have spares on hand.

#12 82 days ago

Hi, Ok I removed the coil in question. but my question is , I had a really hard time removing the nut at the top of the coil that is attached to the back plate. the issue is that as I would try to loosen the nut, the threaded shaft would turn as well, and there was really no room to try and hold the threaded part without mangling the thing. is there a way to remove this nut more easily without the threaded shaft spinning?

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#13 80 days ago

That's the coil end stop. If its turning then I'd just replace it, along with the coil if you are going to change it. The new one has a little nylon washer with a shoulder on it and you should fit it the right way round. You'll see the correct position when you go to fit it. Check too that coil pin to make sure it's not slightly mushroomed at its base or that wont help your reel problem.

#14 80 days ago
Quoted from Classicpinballs:

That's the coil end stop. If its turning then I'd just replace it, along with the coil if you are going to change it. The new one has a little nylon washer with a shoulder on it and you should fit it the right way round. You'll see the correct position when you go to fit it. Check too that coil pin to make sure it's not slightly mushroomed at its base or that wont help your reel problem.

thanks. I think I got the problem fixed. I replaced the coil, sleeve and plunger, however my problem still was there, so i started to do some more troubleshooting and i found that the hundreds point relay that drives the coil needed to be cleaned, because when i watched the plunger studder i could also see the relay doing the same thing. So I cleaned it all up and it seems to have fixed the issue. thanks.

ps, im glad I replaced that coil anyway. the old one looked pretty bad.. probably would have lasted a long time but hey.. no biggie.

these machines are built like tanks..

#15 80 days ago
Quoted from tscottn:

thanks. I think I got the problem fixed. I replaced the coil, sleeve and plunger, however my problem still was there, so i started to do some more troubleshooting and i found that the hundreds point relay that drives the coil needed to be cleaned, because when i watched the plunger studder i could also see the relay doing the same thing. So I cleaned it all up and it seems to have fixed the issue. thanks.
ps, im glad I replaced that coil anyway. the old one looked pretty bad.. probably would have lasted a long time but hey.. no biggie.
these machines are built like tanks..

Welcome to the wonderful world of decagon score reels.

When you work on these reels, there's lots of things to consider. Given that you had a coil that looked a bit worse for wear, the coil sleeve should definitely be replaced. Along with that, there is an anti reverse spring on a decagon that keeps the reel from going the wrong direction as it starts to step. It looks like a little finger sticking up. To test that it is properly adjusted, push the plunger in just a touch and see if the reel will go backwards. If it won't, you're good to go.

Make sure the EOS switch on the reels opens at the very end of the travel. Also, and this can happen, make sure the bracket that holds the coil in place and the plunger goes through is pushed all the way back, away from the reel. If it isn't, it can interfere with the pull in of the plunger and cause an issue like you described here.

Finally, there is a wireform that rides on the score reel itself, and the other end moves the switches on the reel. Decagons are notorious for hanging up between 8 and 9. The reason is a misadjusted 9 position switch. Quite often, they are adjusted so that the long blade is pushed too far into the short blade, and this causes tension on the wireform, and thus the score reel, and it hangs up. You want to adjust that 9 position switch so that it just closes when the reel turns from 8 to 9. That will cure the issue in the vast majority of cases.

Lots of people replace the springs, thinking it is an issue, but I have never had a decagon where weak springs caused an issue. Generally it's the coil sleeve getting gunked up, or the anti reverse spring, or the wireform/9 position switch issue.

These things are touchy and can be a PITA to get adjusted correctly. Once you do get them adjusted they're generally reliable.

It's just not a real good design IMO. I've had way more problems over the years with decagon reels than I have ever had with Bally/Williams reels.

Congrats of fixing your issue. People often neglect the score relays and they cause more issues than reels usually do, from issues like yours to reels not carrying over to the next reel.

#16 79 days ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

Welcome to the wonderful world of decagon score reels.
When you work on these reels, there's lots of things to consider. Given that you had a coil that looked a bit worse for wear, the coil sleeve should definitely be replaced. Along with that, there is an anti reverse spring on a decagon that keeps the reel from going the wrong direction as it starts to step. It looks like a little finger sticking up. To test that it is properly adjusted, push the plunger in just a touch and see if the reel will go backwards. If it won't, you're good to go.
Make sure the EOS switch on the reels opens at the very end of the travel. Also, and this can happen, make sure the bracket that holds the coil in place and the plunger goes through is pushed all the way back, away from the reel. If it isn't, it can interfere with the pull in of the plunger and cause an issue like you described here.
Finally, there is a wireform that rides on the score reel itself, and the other end moves the switches on the reel. Decagons are notorious for hanging up between 8 and 9. The reason is a misadjusted 9 position switch. Quite often, they are adjusted so that the long blade is pushed too far into the short blade, and this causes tension on the wireform, and thus the score reel, and it hangs up. You want to adjust that 9 position switch so that it just closes when the reel turns from 8 to 9. That will cure the issue in the vast majority of cases.
Lots of people replace the springs, thinking it is an issue, but I have never had a decagon where weak springs caused an issue. Generally it's the coil sleeve getting gunked up, or the anti reverse spring, or the wireform/9 position switch issue.
These things are touchy and can be a PITA to get adjusted correctly. Once you do get them adjusted they're generally reliable.
It's just not a real good design IMO. I've had way more problems over the years with decagon reels than I have ever had with Bally/Williams reels.
Congrats of fixing your issue. People often neglect the score relays and they cause more issues than reels usually do, from issues like yours to reels not carrying over to the next reel.

Thank you for all that great wisdom and info. I will definitely refer back to this when i need to do more more on the reels. Hopefully latter than sooner as I am just tackling a few other issues and learning along the way.

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