(Topic ID: 298861)

Seawitch from scratch, Allentown edition (Bally/Stern multi-game platform)

By gdonovan

1 year ago


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Topic index (key posts)

22 key posts have been marked in this topic, showing the first 10 items.

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Post #213 Converting Data East LAH flippers to "classic Stern" use. Posted by gdonovan (1 year ago)

Post #618 Seawitch, first gameplay video. Posted by gdonovan (11 months ago)

Post #639 3d printed lamp shields Posted by gdonovan (11 months ago)

Post #690 Cabinet decal work starts. Posted by gdonovan (10 months ago)

Post #792 Seawitch, second gameplay video showing flasher operation. Posted by gdonovan (10 months ago)

Post #794 Centaur "module" section begins. Posted by gdonovan (10 months ago)

Post #796 Seawitch portion of project is complete. Posted by gdonovan (10 months ago)

Post #802 Seawitch at Pintastic 2021. 500+ games in less than 48 hours! Posted by gdonovan (10 months ago)


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There are 1,472 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 30.
14
#1 1 year ago

Edit: Title has been adjusted to reflect that this particular project is not only the restoration of a Seawitch playfield but also the building of a universal Bally/Stern cabinet that will run any Bally or Stern standard playfield from 1977 to 1986. Pretty much any MPU-100, MPU-200, -17 or -35 game that is supported by Alltek or Weebly MPU's. In the future I'll also be dabbling with the Arduino Nano add on for rules changes and upgraded sound effects.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

This thread is documenting a Seawitch being built with nothing to start with but a $60 playfield purchased by random chance while leaving Allentown (in the parking lot no less) and a backglass obtained at the same time. No classic Stern pin was sacrificed in the collecting of parts by me to make this pin a reality but surely when I'm done there are those who wish I had! I'll freely admit to looking but there is nothing trashed out there worth my time for sale.

My stash of parts collected over the years is going to take a beating.

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#2 1 year ago

I'm looking forward to seeing the progress! I would love to attempt something like this eventually.

#3 1 year ago

While formulating a plan I started on the playfield. A number of holes needed to be filled, areas touched up, etc.

The paint wear isn't hard to fix but ball swirl is pretty nasty. I even went as far as to start sanding down the factory coating with 800 grit before stopping. Currently I'm waiting for additional clear to arrive so I can fill in a few inserts, do some water slide decals, blending, paint the white ares, clearcoat and block flat.

Some difference in colors in the pictures is normal, its not done and clear coat will equalize the sheen differences.

The red 2X text on the left is getting water slide as is the bonus ladder text.

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#4 1 year ago

Parts start showing up! CPR plastics, some used drop target assemblies, Pinitech displays and a superb set of steel guides from Mantis.

Spring gate on the way from Cliffy!

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#5 1 year ago

What will be undoubtedly the most controversial item on this project... I'm using a Data East Laser War cabinet to house it. The cabinet came with a Secret Service I had purchased that the former owner was going to swap. The Secret Service cabinet was actually very repairable so the Laser War cabinet went up into the storage rack.. till last week.

It was total surprise to find out that the Seawitch glass fit PERFECT in the Laser War head. I added a channel in the bottom to retain the glass and away we go.

And so the die was cast.
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#6 1 year ago

So last night my wife helped me disassemble a spare Last Action Hero harness that was left over from a playfield swap and I started making a harness from scratch for Seawitch. The Stern wiring diagrams are horrible! I'm actually maintaining factory color codes and use as documented in the manual and it might be the only Seawitch to have all the right colors "as documented"

The harness is being scratch made 100%, all to factory code. Its also being done in such a way that should the opportunity presents it self in the future the playfield can be swapped into an actual Stern cabinet and just plug right in.

Some notes from resident Bally/Stern guru:

1) the coin door/cabinet wiring is that Stern shifted all their switches onto strobe #0 - no strobe #1 running into the cabinet/door.

2) The second (memory clear) switch on the coin door just replicates SW33 from the MPU board so you can zero audits without opening up the backbox.

3) The volume control is a 25k logarithmic pot - different to Bally and it's not connected in series with the speaker like Bally.

4) displays, the 7th (millions) digit enable signal is on different pins at the display connector comparing Bally (pin 12) vs Stern (pin 11). The Pinitech displays should handle both.

I take great amusement know a fair portion of this Seawitch is actually using Stern parts.. although from a different era Stern machine (Data East)

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#7 1 year ago

So for the rest of this build..

MPU and SB-300 sound board are from Weebly, have a spare Stern solenoid and lamp driver boards that I had refurbished months ago for spares and the displays are Pinitech 7 digit single PCB. For the moment I'm borrowing the transformer and A2 power board from Flash Gordon and will swap it out when a suitable replacement comes across my path. FG is being bogged down with playfield work and there is still much to do in other areas before the transformer is required back.

Proper Stern spec volume control is already on the way from Ebay.

For the cabinet a DE new coin door, DE shooter assembly and other odds and ends are in route from Pinball Life and Marco.

Playfield mechs are going to be a mix of the Stern and Bally drop mechs you already have seen, Last Action Hero lower flipper mechs and sling kickers with Stern coils and new upper Stern flipper mechs from Pinball Life. Poppers are drop in units also from Pinball Life with proper Stern classic coils.

The missing wire lane guides are going to be made from stainless wire, already had practice on Flash Gordon making them from scratch.

The missing carriage bolts for various posts on the playfield are being replaced with t-nuts and threaded shoulder posts.

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#8 1 year ago

The only apron I have to work with, going to repaint and stencil with Stern graphics.

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#9 1 year ago

I'm aiming to have this beast at Pintastic this fall, if all goes well I'll have a rattlecan paint job on it and might even do some wood trim work on the head to make it look even more like a classic Stern.

Been flirting with buying a Cameo vinyl cutter to make my own stencils for cab and playfield work, this might be the project that pushes me over the edge.

#10 1 year ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

I take great amusement know a fair portion of this Seawitch is actually using Stern parts.. although from a different era Stern machine (Data East)

About the only part of my DE pin that is DE is the sling shot bracket. Everything else on a DE has Gary Stern and Stern Electronics name written all over. Need a lockdown bar and receiver? Data East parts fit right up .

#11 1 year ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

About the only part of my DE pin that is DE is the sling shot bracket. Everything else on a DE has Gary Stern and Stern Electronics name written all over. Need a lockdown bar and receiver? Data East parts fit right up .

Actually might be using a Bally unit as that is what is available.

Current legs of a Bally too!

#12 1 year ago

This will be a fun follow!

#13 1 year ago

Cool project! Always fun to find a use for those parts lying around the pin room .

10
#14 1 year ago
Quoted from sulli10:

Cool project! Always fun to find a use for those parts lying around the pin room .

Good thing.

I have a Bally Supersonic at work watching nervously, good thing it is in too nice a condition to molest and I have such an extra pile of parts to work with. The residents love it!

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#15 1 year ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

Playfield mechs are going to be a mix of the Stern and Bally drop mechs you already have seen, Last Action Hero lower flipper mechs and sling kickers with Stern coils and new upper Stern flipper mechs from Pinball Life. Poppers are drop in units also from Pinball Life.

How exactly are you going to make the coils work? Classic Stern coils are a different size, and modern stern/de coils are single wound. Why not just order the proper flipper mechs from pinball life?

#16 1 year ago
Quoted from zacaj:

How exactly are you going to make the coils work? Classic Stern coils are a different size, and modern stern/de coils are single wound. Why not just order the proper flipper mechs from pinball life?

1) I already own the 2 flipper mechs, I'd run 4 DE flipper mechs if I had them.

2) Already ordered the 2 correct Stern coils and double stack high current EOS switches.

The DE mechs already have EOS switches and mounts, trivial problem swapping coils and switches.

#17 1 year ago

Let's talk backglass.

Flakey but I have touched up much, much worse. Currently on the back burner while banging away on wiring. Depending on how it comes out I might seek a new one out, I'm funny about backglasses.

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#18 1 year ago

Last Action Hero coughs up a few more needed parts. Going to use the diode stand offs to mount the upper flipper resistors.

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#19 1 year ago

A Bally receiver and lockbar look viable, I'll know for sure once the DE coin door arrives and check clearances.

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#20 1 year ago

I will definitely be following. This makes three people I know all doing Seawitch swaps/builds in the next year. Will be interesting to check out before I start getting into it this winter. My playfield was hacked to death with the wrong parts installed so this will be very informative.

#21 1 year ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

A Bally receiver and lockbar look viable, I'll know for sure once the DE coin door arrives and check clearances.
[quoted image]

Stern/ Data East pretty much coped Bally on just about everything. I think, but do not know, that Bally and Stern used the same lockbar shell.

You are really moving along fast on this project. Impressive for sure.

#22 1 year ago

While waiting for some colored wire to arrive, moved over to rebuilding the GI circuit. No smoke yet! Should have GI done tomorrow.

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#23 1 year ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

Stern/ Data East pretty much coped Bally on just about everything. I think, but do not know, that Bally and Stern used the same lockbar shell.
You are really moving along fast on this project. Impressive for sure.

The Bally lockbar receiver isn't bad but I see why DE went with their own design as the release lever pivot bolt head is REALLY close to the radius of the door bezel. Matter of fact with the original door that is used on Laser War it would have crashed into for sure.

The later door I have on order don't have the squared off bezel so looks doable.

The benefit and curse of running two projects is when you get bogged down on one just shift to the other to keep momentum going. If I had a week off from work I could smoke this out rapidly just being held up on parts.

Everything is connected and has a snowball effect.

I was going to do waterslide decals on Gordon inserts but want to make stencils and paint them ideally.. Now that I'm doing Seawitch I want to make my own stencils for that so makes more sense to buy a Cameo Silhouette 4 for the cabinet and apron work. So Gordon most likely will get painted rather than waterslide insert keylines which will look nicer in my opinion.

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#24 1 year ago

Looking good I'll be following.

The Sanctum has a Seawitch if you ever need a reference for anything.

#25 1 year ago
Quoted from fnord:

Looking good I'll be following.
The Sanctum has a Seawitch if you ever need a reference for anything.

Thanks! James is good people. So far I have found most of the references I need on the board but will be asking for close ups on a few spots that I'm unsure of the color codes and locations.

#26 1 year ago

Yep he's a great guy, Id actually bought that Seawitch off of him and sold it back to him years later. Couldn't bring myself to charge him more than he'd charged me.

#27 1 year ago

On the Bally receiver, you could weld a pivot bolt to the receiver and counterbore the cabinet inside to provide for bolt head clearance. Which is what Bally should’ve done in the first place.

#28 1 year ago
Quoted from 29REO:

On the Bally receiver, you could weld a pivot bolt to the receiver and counterbore the cabinet inside to provide for bolt head clearance. Which is what Bally should’ve done in the first place.

I had given that some thought, now that you bring it up I think that is what I'll do.

#29 1 year ago

Seawitch is getting a lot of love as of late, good to see as it's a fun player.
I picked mine up for $100.00 a few years back.. one of my better LEP buys. Not working with normal wear but complete. Cleaned it up & repaired it plays great.

#30 1 year ago

Playfield GI done but the center socket! I missed that while making runs, easy fix.

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#31 1 year ago
Quoted from dasvis:

Seawitch is getting a lot of love as of late, good to see as it's a fun player.
I picked mine up for $100.00 a few years back.. one of my better LEP buys. Not working with normal wear but complete. Cleaned it up & repaired it plays great.

To be frank, Seawitch is the only classic Stern I have enjoyed playing at the shows. There isn't a lot there but it makes the most of it with unique layout and twitch fest action. I'm not a big fan of games with more than two flippers either so curious how long it holds my attention.

One facet of this project which I have not mentioned is I have an eye towards making this a universal Bally/Stern cabinet where playfields can be swapped out in minutes. The hardest part would be sound, though I might just add a dual pole switch to swap the speaker and volume control from Stern to Bally with a flip.

#32 1 year ago

Parts raining in today! Sound board with cables from Weebly and a bunch of smaller parts and coils from Marco.

#33 1 year ago

While working giving paint some thought. My initial thought was do a modified Seawitch stencil but currently leaning towards "Generic Stern" as utilized on Viper and Orbitor One in Seawitch colors.

Thoughts?

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#34 1 year ago

Unless this is a really faithful purist restore go for something unique. I really dig that general Stern look.

#35 1 year ago
Quoted from A_Bord:

Unless this is a really faithful purist restore go for something unique. I really dig that general Stern look.

Well if I was a purist it would not be in a Data East cab

I could go either way, I'm just thinking of the swappable nature of what I'm building and it would look funny with a Meteor or Galaxy playfield and a Seawitch cabinet.

#36 1 year ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

While working giving paint some thought. My initial thought was do a modified Seawitch stencil but currently leaning towards "Generic Stern" as utilized on Viper and Orbitor One in Seawitch colors.
Thoughts?
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

most of the time the sides of the cab and back box can't be seen anyway. The generic would be easy and cheap to do. It is something that can always be redone at any time.

#37 1 year ago

The Stern cabinet stencil is a good idea.

#38 1 year ago

Dragonfist used same style

#39 1 year ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

One facet of this project which I have not mentioned is I have an eye towards making this a universal Bally/Stern cabinet where playfields can be swapped out in minutes. The hardest part would be sound, though I might just add a dual pole switch to swap the speaker and volume control from Stern to Bally with a flip.

This is what I am doing with a Star Trek cabinet & Magic playfield. Interested in what you come up with. I had to add a coin button to run Stern.

#40 1 year ago
Quoted from RatShack:

This is what I am doing with a Star Trek cabinet & Magic playfield. Interested in what you come up with. I had to add a coin button to run Stern.

I'm considering IDC style .156 connectors for the major assemblies and then using a patch cable to swap pin assignments.

Decided that is how I'm going to install the drop assemblies so that they can just be unplugged and removed with ease. I certainly have enough molex and z connectors about along with Trifurcon .156 contacts.

#41 1 year ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

One facet of this project which I have not mentioned is I have an eye towards making this a universal Bally/Stern cabinet where playfields can be swapped out in minutes.

Stenciling generic Stern on the side of the cabinet will look out of place when it's set up as a Bally game.

#42 1 year ago
Quoted from Quench:

Stenciling generic Stern on the side of the cabinet will look out of place when it's set up as a Bally game.

I'm open to suggestions. I did consider a Stern/Bally logo which would confuse the hell out of people.

Something like the Bally Midway cabs came to mind.

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#43 1 year ago
Quoted from Quench:

Stenciling generic Stern on the side of the cabinet will look out of place when it's set up as a Bally game.

You don't play the cabinet. Function > Form.

#44 1 year ago
Quoted from RatShack:

You don't play the cabinet. Function > Form.

I do like a good cabinet job though, give it more thought as we move closer to completion.

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#45 1 year ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

I'm open to suggestions. I did consider a Stern/Bally logo which would confuse the hell out of people.
Something like the Bally Midway cabs came to mind.
[quoted image][quoted image]

you could do the Bally Midway stripes and leave the logo off.

#46 1 year ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

you could do the Bally Midway stripes and leave the logo off.

Or change Midway to Stern

#47 1 year ago
Quoted from BorgDog:

Or change Midway to Stern

Ding Ding Ding!

That where my head is after looking things over.

#48 1 year ago

Parts raining from sky today!

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#49 1 year ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

Parts raining from sky today!
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Make sure there are diodes on those Pinball Life pop bumpers.

#50 1 year ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

Make sure there are diodes on those Pinball Life pop bumpers.

How rude, no diodes. I would have caught it when wiring but still. Thanks!

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