(Topic ID: 299194)

Sonic Mars Trek help needed

By Bonk

34 days ago


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  • 32 posts
  • 4 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 days ago by HowardR
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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#1 34 days ago

Would appreciate any help with this. I have a Sonic Mars Trek that I've been working on for a while and I'm not sure what else to try to get it working correctly. The main problems I have is that the start button will not start a game. I can add credits with the coin switches and see that they are added to the credit reel. I can manually activate the relays on the relay board to get it to start a game and it will subtract a credit but the ball does not kick out from the trough to the shooter lane, and likely related to that the game will not detect a drain or a ball in either bonus outhole. I can manually activate the outhole relay and it will advance to the next ball and I can get through a game that way. Everything else on the playfield works and scores correctly and the reset relay will zero out all the score reels.

I can activate all the relays on the bottom board and on the bottom of the playfield and they seem to function as they should. I've cleaned the rivets and lubed all the stepper units and they move well.

Some other things I've noticed- I'm not sure why but occasionally after playing with the relays the start button has worked to start a game but I have the same issue with the outholes not activating and I'm not able to reproduce it consistently.

One final concern is that the bonus switches are slow to activate the stepper, meaning if a moving ball passes over a rollover switch too fast it won't fully activate the bonus step up. I can hear it initiate but it won't complete the step up unless the switch is held down for a second or two. Thinking that may be a switch gap issue on the score motor?

I can view the schematic at IPDB but don't have one on hand https://www.ipdb.org/files/1550/Sonic_1977_Mars_Trek_Schematic_Diagram_continuous.pdf

Sorry for the long post. Thank you for reading and for any help with this.

#2 34 days ago

Try cleaning and or adjusting the coin relays on the motor board.

#3 34 days ago
Quoted from bonzo71:

Try cleaning and or adjusting the coin relays on the motor board.

Thank you for that suggestion! I just checked the No. 1 and No. 2 coin relays, cleaned with a flexstone and made sure the movement was good. Activating these will both add 4 credits so they seem to be working. There is a relay next to it called Coin Set up Relay, activating this by hand does not have any effect. I should add that on a couple occasions when activating the Reset Relay I noticed this coin set up relay firing and it caught my attention because it was sparking a bit, I haven't noticed it do that again and it also doesn't activate with the reset relay anymore.

Something new I've noticed, with the credit reel at 0 if I activate the reset relay I can then push the start button and it will add another player but it still won't start a game.

#4 34 days ago

Check the #3 coin relay also. I had a similar issue with my Butterfly recently.

#5 34 days ago
Quoted from bonzo71:

Check the #3 coin relay also. I had a similar issue with my Butterfly recently.

Ha I didn't notice there was a 3rd coin relay on the other side of the board. Went through and did the same thing to that one, this one does not add credits to the reel but does cause the score motor to spin around once.

Does your coin door coil pull in when you power on the machine? I've noticed mine does not do that and when adding credits I see the coil do a very weak pulse which is not enough to activate the lockout. Wondering if I have a bad coil there that's causing some of the issues. Thanks again for your suggestions, very much appreciated.

#6 34 days ago
Quoted from Bonk:

the start button will not start a game

If pressing the Credit button doesn't activate the Credit relay,
Inspect and diagnose this circuit with Alligator clip jumper wires

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/gottlieb-big-shot-repair#post-6305153
http://www.planetimming.com/Pinball/troubleshooting/EM%20Troubleshooting.pdf
http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index3.htm#features
Example of a pinsider actually doing this https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/red-baron-tech-question#post-5858156

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#7 34 days ago
Quoted from Bonk:

Ha I didn't notice there was a 3rd coin relay on the other side of the board. Went through and did the same thing to that one, this one does not add credits to the reel but does cause the score motor to spin around once.
Does your coin door coil pull in when you power on the machine? I've noticed mine does not do that and when adding credits I see the coil do a very weak pulse which is not enough to activate the lockout. Wondering if I have a bad coil there that's causing some of the issues. Thanks again for your suggestions, very much appreciated.

Yes, the relays on the door lock on when the game is first powered on and temporarily power off when adding a credit.

#8 34 days ago

Thank you for the schematic clipping! Just ordered some alligator clip jumper wires so I'll be able to test that later this week and will study those links so I have an idea of what to do, I'm brand new to schematics and jumpers so I have a lot to learn ha. Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

Quoted from bonzo71:

Yes, the relays on the door lock on when the game is first powered on and temporarily power off when adding a credit.

Thanks a lot for confirming that, I had a feeling mine wasn't working right. Will try to figure out why it's acting up.

#9 30 days ago

Got the jumper wires. I read all the links you sent but it's still a bit confusing to me. Am I jumping the credit button to the credit relay, where you've written in red on the schematic? I went ahead and tried that with one clip on the white/orange wire lug of the credit button to the black wire on the credit relay coil. I have a feeling I'm reading it wrong as that didn't have any effect.

#10 30 days ago
Quoted from Bonk:

Got the jumper wires. I read all the links you sent but it's still a bit confusing to me. Am I jumping the credit button to the credit relay, where you've written in red on the schematic? I went ahead and tried that with one clip on the white/orange wire lug of the credit button to the black wire on the credit relay coil. I have a feeling I'm reading it wrong as that didn't have any effect.

There are 5 switches in the circuit I posted. Do you see them? Any one (or less likely more than one) could be at fault.

The simplest (but not 100% reliable) way to find out which switch is at fault is to jumper over them one at a time and test.

In case there's more than one switch (or solder joint etc) at fault, it's more thorough to jumper over them in combinations, starting at the Yellow wire on the transformer.

#11 30 days ago

Thanks for the quick response. I do see the five switches now. I'm sure using jumpers will click eventually but for now I'll start by visually inspecting each switch in the circuit to see if there's anything that could be causing an issue. I appreciate the help with this!

#12 30 days ago
Quoted from Bonk:

I'll start by visually inspecting each switch in the circuit to see if there's anything that could be causing an issue

For a switch to work 3 things are necessary:
1) When open, there should be a small space between the contact points (duh)
2) When closing, the long blade's contact point should push the short blade's contact point enough to move the short blade
3) The contact points should be clean, which they usually will be if #2 is happening

#13 29 days ago
Quoted from HowardR:

For a switch to work 3 things are necessary:
1) When open, there should be a small space between the contact points (duh)
2) When closing, the long blade's contact point should push the short blade's contact point enough to move the short blade
3) The contact points should be clean, which they usually will be if #2 is happening

Thank you for this. All the switches I've looked at meet this criteria and all the relays activate when pushed by hand.

I was able to jump the reset relay to the credit button and that did start up a 1 player game, if left on there it would add 4 players. Does this mean the problem lies between these? I see a switch marked IND-A on the schematic. Unsure what that is referring to though.
Also I noticed when it starts a game the trough outhole will fire but in a game all outholes are inactive, one problem at a time haha.

#14 29 days ago
Quoted from Bonk:

I was able to jump the reset relay to the credit button and

You didn't say which wires you jumped from and to.

Let's start by guessing that maybe the problem is to the left of the Credit button on the schematic, namely in the Reset relay switch or the Motor switch labelled IND-A. Do you see those switches on the schematic I posted?
The next step is to test our theory. We do that by running a jumper from the yellow wire on the Reset relay switch that has a Blue-Yellow wire on its other terminal to the White-Gray wire on the Credit button. Do you see how that eliminates the Reset relay switch and the Motor switch from the circuit?
Now press the Credit button. If the Credit button now works, then our theory is correct and we've narrowed down the problem to the part of the circuit left of the credit button.
If the Credit button now still doesn't work, what does that mean in terms of where the problem might be?

#15 29 days ago
Quoted from HowardR:

You didn't say which wires you jumped from and to.

Sorry I left that out, originally I was connecting Orange/Green from the reset relay switch to the White/Orange of the credit button, this would instantly start up a new game without me pressing the credit button. I see I had that wrong and tried it the correct way-

Quoted from HowardR:

yellow wire on the Reset relay switch that has a Blue-Yellow wire on its other terminal to the White-Gray wire on the Credit button. Do you see how that eliminates the Reset relay switch and the Motor switch from the circuit?
Now press the Credit button. If the Credit button now works, then our theory is correct and we've narrowed down the problem to the part of the circuit left of the credit button.

This was correct! Pressing the credit button with the jumper installed started up a new game and subtracted one credit. Going to take a good look at Index-A on the score motor and see if anything stands out. Thank you again for all your help, very much appreciated.

#16 26 days ago

Good news HowardR! You were spot on with helping me track down the problem. After looking at INDEX-A and spinning the motor a few times I noticed that the top switch contact was too high and never made contact with the one below it. A quick adjustment and the credit button works works every time! Not only that it fixed all the other problems I wrote in my first post. Thanks again for the introduction to schematics and jumper wires, it helped me out a lot here and I'm sure will help in the future as well.

I do have a new issue that seems to be related to the bonus collect. Almost every time the ball drains or lands in the collect bonus outhole on the playfield it will sit there while the bonus unit steps down to 0 then up one and back to 0 in a loop and it won't kick the ball out. If I pull the ball out it will eventually stop. I noticed that the bonus stepper arms don't always make a nice centered contact with the rivets, like it's almost touching two rivets at the same time. Do you think this could be the problem and is there a way to adjust these stepper arms?

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#17 26 days ago

Behind the spider are two screws. Loosening those will allow you to rotate the contact board. You will need to remove the spider, by removing the nut, to get to the screws.

As it is, it will cause issues. The contacts on the spider should be centered on the rivets.

#18 25 days ago
Quoted from bonzo71:

Behind the spider are two screws. Loosening those will allow you to rotate the contact board. You will need to remove the spider, by removing the nut, to get to the screws.
As it is, it will cause issues. The contacts on the spider should be centered on the rivets.

Thank you for these instructions, didn't know you could rotate the contact board like that. I turned the board just enough so now the rivets are all centered now. Much appreciated!

I was hopeful that would fix the bonus collect issue but it unfortunately persists. I shot a couple videos, one of the playfield side and one of the bonus stepper while its happening. It seems like half the time the bonus collect saucer works as it should where it steps down and ejects the ball and relights the 10000 bonus light. Half the time it sits in that loop until eventually ejecting the ball. There has been a few times where after ejecting the ball the 20k bonus light is lit rather than the 10k and it will jump to the next ball without it ever draining.

1 week later
#19 14 days ago

Still working on this but not sure if I should be focusing on the bonus unit or the score motor for this issue. The schematic gets a little confusing when it comes to the bonus collect/right eject saucer and I'm having a hard time figuring out where to look. Any suggestions appreciated! Game is playable except for this last issue, getting close.

#20 13 days ago

If the Right Eject coil doesn't activate, there are several possible causes, but the first one to look at is
Inspect and diagnose this circuit with Alligator clip jumper wires

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/gottlieb-big-shot-repair#post-6305153
http://www.planetimming.com/Pinball/troubleshooting/EM%20Troubleshooting.pdf
http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index3.htm#features
Example of a pinsider actually doing this https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/red-baron-tech-question#post-5858156

pasted_image (resized).png
#21 13 days ago
Quoted from HowardR:

If the Right Eject coil doesn't activate, there are several possible causes, but the first one to look at is
Inspect and diagnose this circuit with Alligator clip jumper wires
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/gottlieb-big-shot-repair#post-6305153
http://www.planetimming.com/Pinball/troubleshooting/EM%20Troubleshooting.pdf
http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index3.htm#features
Example of a pinsider actually doing this https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/red-baron-tech-question#post-5858156
[quoted image]

Thank you HowardR for the schematic highlight.
I jumpered from the Brown/Red wire on the score motor to the White/Green on the Auxiliary eject relay. With the jumper the bonus collect works much better and will kick the ball out from the right saucer without the reset loop although it will sometimes kick the ball out while the bonus is still counting down. Also it will fire the eject relay anytime bonus is advanced. Still have the occasional reset loop when the ball drains but seems to be gone from the collect bonus saucer. Does this indicate an issue with the relay that was jumped?

#22 13 days ago
Quoted from Bonk:

Does this indicate an issue with the relay that was jumped?

Yes, check the Aux R. Eject relay switch: For a switch to work 3 things are necessary:

1) When open, there should be a small space between the contact points (duh)
2) When closing, the long blade's contact point should push the short blade's contact point enough to move the short blade
3) The contact points should be clean, which they usually will be if #2 is happening

#23 13 days ago

Looks like all the contacts are working as they should. I could try adjusting the gaps closer so they have better push on the short blades but as of now they move when the relay is pulled in. I also cleaned the contacts and tightened the switch stack. Not great pics but maybe you'll see something I'm missing. First pic is the relay not pulled in, second pic is pushing in the relay latch. Thanks for the quick response to my last question!

To add to my confusion, there is a relay directly underneath the Auxiliary eject called Right Eject Relay but those contacts all seem to be working as well.

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#24 13 days ago

Check wire colors to find the switch on the Auxiliary Right Eject relay.

#25 13 days ago
Quoted from HowardR:

Check wire colors to find the switch on the Auxiliary Right Eject relay.

On the machine there are these eject relays. Looks like the schematics differs a bit in naming of the Auxiliary R. Eject Relay but safe to say it's the same one?

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#26 13 days ago

I don't know. Check the wire colors.

#27 13 days ago

Gotcha, I'll check out that switch on the aux eject relay.

#28 12 days ago
Quoted from HowardR:

Check wire colors to find the switch on the Auxiliary Right Eject relay.

I believe this is the correct switch on the Auxiliary Eject Relay, White/Green and Brown/Red seen at the top. Visually it looks ok, switch opens and closes like normal.

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#29 11 days ago

Sorry to bump this so much. Still trying to find a solution for the bonus countdown loop described in post #18 where the ball enters the bonus collect saucer or the trough and bonus countdown will work as expected counting down to 0 then back up to 1000 and instead of ejecting the ball it will cycle back to 0 and then 1000 for around 10-15 seconds before eventually ejecting the ball.

I looked at the score motor again while spinning it and all switches there seem ok. All relay switches seem good too so not sure where to look to track this issue down. Thanks to the help from the two posters in this thread the game is playable and the bonus countdown loop only effects it for a short time.

#30 11 days ago

Have you checked the score motor switch at 4A? If not, id clean the 2 contacts on it and make sure it's making contact.

#31 10 days ago

The aux R. Eject relay needs to be watched during the saucer scoring sequence.
Does the relay stay pulled in once pulsed?
Does the relay drop out before score motor reaches the 4 cam?
Standing up the playfield may be needed to watch the relay.
Posting a snippet of the schematic of this relay coil and it’s hold in circuit would help.

#32 10 days ago
Quoted from pinballdaveh:

The aux R. Eject relay needs to be watched during the saucer scoring sequence.

Quoted from pinballdaveh:

Posting a snippet of the schematic of this relay coil and it’s hold in circuit would help.

From https://www.ipdb.org/files/1550/Sonic_1977_Mars_Trek_Schematic_Diagram_continuous.pdf
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