(Topic ID: 266623)

Stern auto-plunger problems

By ShooterMcD

1 year ago


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  • 30 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by ShooterMcD
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    #1 1 year ago

    Seeking some help from all you excellent people. Something is up with my Ghostbusters auto-plunger. The mech is shared across multiple games and I’ve read some previous posts but I’m still struggling.

    The power is weak and will not make it up the ramp most of the time. About 20% of the time it launches fine. If it has to launch repeatedly during multi-ball, it will never have enough power and all balls collect in the lane.

    I’ve tried/investigated:
    Coil stop- not mushroomed. Also Hard to replace as it’s tied to the entire mech bracket.
    Coil - replaced. No change.
    Switch to trigger ball launch looks acts fine.
    Mech moves freely. Nothing is binding. Tried a different spring but no change.
    Tried multiple adjustments of ball contact points on the auto plunger with no change.

    Thoughts or recommendations?

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    #2 1 year ago

    Does the manual shooter rod work normally?

    Any chance you have a cliffy on the shooter lane. I’ve had the same problem when one gets out of alignment and the ball Hangs up on it.

    #3 1 year ago

    Thanks for the reply. No Cliffy on the shooter lane and shooter rod works fine. It’s not inhibiting the auto-plunge in any way.

    #4 1 year ago

    Check to see if both fingers of the auto plunge are hitting the ball squarely so it sends the ball out straight. Next check the lane guide of the ball launch to make sure it’s not effecting the trajectory and adjust if needed.

    #5 1 year ago

    Is the plunger bracket bent? I’ve got an AFMr on route. Same problem. Manually works fine. It’s smooth. Everything looks good. Then I notice the bracket is bent. Doesn’t seem like much but I straighten it by hand, and it makes the launch 100% of the time.

    #6 1 year ago

    Lethal_Inc
    The fingers look good and I’ve tried to bend them a bit but no change depending on how they are aligned. Both are flush with the ball. Lane looks clear but I’m going to check that again.

    ryanbrooks
    You’re talking about the hanging bracket holding the coil and mech? Where would I look for a bend?

    Thanks guys. This game has been unplayable for the last week or two while I’ve been messing with this and waiting for the replacement coil (which didn’t help).

    #7 1 year ago

    I'm having the same problem on my Bksor. It worked fine until this lockdown we've had. I've taken everything apart cleaned it and replaced the coil sleeve, now sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. The power is maxed out.

    #8 1 year ago

    I feel your pain. Maxing our the power doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. I even reflashed the code just to try something different.

    #9 1 year ago

    It really becomes a pain in the butt when you get six multi balls going.

    #10 1 year ago

    Check if shooter rod tip is centered in-between forks of plunger and not close to either side. You said you changed coil but did sleeve get replaced? Sometimes just cleaning inside the sleeve with 90% alcohol with a piece of scotch-brite pad and also the plunger rod will make a big difference.

    #11 1 year ago

    Check to see if there’s a crack in this anywhere.
    6B2E679A-51F5-4DA4-9518-B42DA3A10F10 (resized).jpeg. I’ve had a couple of these go from cracked to totally broken within a few games.

    #12 1 year ago

    Wow! What a pita this thing is. It’s a seriously finicky mech.

    I think I fixed it... after some bending and tweaking, what seems to have made all the difference is having the plunger force the ball about 1/8-3/4 ahead of the forks. The ball seems to have been coming back towards the mech a bit too far and sometimes conflicting with how the switch was being triggered.

    Hope this helps someone else out there.

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    #13 1 year ago

    SMH. Spoke too soon. Still having the same problem. It really seems like a coil power issue... going to investigate the switch further.

    #14 1 year ago
    Quoted from ShooterMcD:

    Wow! What a pita this thing is. It’s a seriously finicky mech.
    I think I fixed it... after some bending and tweaking, what seems to have made all the difference is having the plunger force the ball about 1/8-3/4 ahead of the forks. The ball seems to have been coming back towards the mech a bit too far and sometimes conflicting with how the switch was being triggered.
    Hope this helps someone else out there.[quoted image]

    Forks should be touching the ball and not as spread out, surprised your not having issues still but if it's working now then I would just leave it.

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    #15 1 year ago

    If you have any velcro with the sticky backing, you can cut a small piece and put it between bottom of playfield and where linkage contacts it making the forks not rest so far back like yours are. See the picture in post #11, area I'm talking about is to the far left of the circle in the picture.

    #16 1 year ago

    I had a similar problem on my Family Guy, that auto plunge would work erratic, the washer around the shooter rod next to the spring was beat up, it would bind on the rod and hold it in too far after the manual plunge and keep the ball too far ahead.

    #17 1 year ago

    Here's a picture of the area I'm talking about and the thread it came from.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/tech-help-please-acdc-autofire-plunger-getting-weaker-and-weaker

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    #18 1 year ago

    Ok. Thanks for all the help guys.

    I bent the forks in quite a bit and also used the felt/Velcro trick. Seems to back in business for now. I played about 3 full games without an issue.

    Still seems crazy to me the way this mech has so much slop in it and little tweaks can have such a big effect.

    #19 1 year ago

    I still can't get mine to work consistent.

    #20 1 year ago

    I was asked to post a picture. Hope this helps.

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    #21 1 year ago
    Quoted from ShooterMcD:

    Mech moves freely. Nothing is binding. Tried a different spring but no change.

    I had something similar happen. first time I looked everything checked out, worked perfectly. Then someone said it was messing again up a week later, I checked it and found a screw that was somewhat loose causing it to bind every so often.

    #22 1 year ago

    There was an older post about this problem, What is holding your shooter spring on?
    The problem on the old post was that the e-clip stuck out just enough that it impeded the auto plunger.

    #23 1 year ago

    There are two bushings on the pivot point. I had issues with mine, inspection showed the bushings were: 1. worn. 2. the other shot. Replaced them both and bought extra spares. 545-5352-00 NYLINER, 3/16" SHAFT, 545-5423-00 NYLINER, 1/4" SHAFT, 4L1-FF

    #24 1 year ago

    Adding velcro, bending the bracket so it touches the ball evenly on both sides seems to be working so far. Thank you.

    7 months later
    #25 1 year ago

    Reviving an old thread instead of making a new one to keep the conversation going about something that needs to be dealt with at Stern.

    I'm on my 2nd NIB Stern in a row where the auto plunger is just weak. Straight out of the box, my Avengers Premium barely made it all the way around the orbit/ramp, failing maybe 20% of the time. And now that I've got maybe 50 games on it, it's down to below 5% success rate. It's just too damn weak.

    Previously I had a Jurassic Park that, in the same way, was about a 80% success out of the box, then dropped to near 0% success VERY quickly. These are home use games, not played very hard at all. And once those auto plungers start to miss, it doesn't matter if the game is booting up for the first time, or the coil has been fired 25 times in a half hour, it just sucks.

    I've tried it all - bending the forks, doing the velcro trick, coil sleeve replacement (this shouldn't have to be a thing at such low plays, but whatever, tried it).

    Has anyone made any progress on improving this issue? I'd be willing to buy the parts and rebuild it however necessary.

    1 month later
    #26 1 year ago
    Quoted from MikeCP:

    Reviving an old thread instead of making a new one to keep the conversation going about something that needs to be dealt with at Stern.
    I'm on my 2nd NIB Stern in a row where the auto plunger is just weak. Straight out of the box, my Avengers Premium barely made it all the way around the orbit/ramp, failing maybe 20% of the time. And now that I've got maybe 50 games on it, it's down to below 5% success rate. It's just too damn weak.
    Previously I had a Jurassic Park that, in the same way, was about a 80% success out of the box, then dropped to near 0% success VERY quickly. These are home use games, not played very hard at all. And once those auto plungers start to miss, it doesn't matter if the game is booting up for the first time, or the coil has been fired 25 times in a half hour, it just sucks.
    I've tried it all - bending the forks, doing the velcro trick, coil sleeve replacement (this shouldn't have to be a thing at such low plays, but whatever, tried it).
    Has anyone made any progress on improving this issue? I'd be willing to buy the parts and rebuild it however necessary.

    I am having the same issue on my Deadpool. I bent the forks and tried the Velcro. Added a washer or two at the rod/fork assembly thinking that taking out the slop would help. Turned up the power. Replaced the coil sleeve. Nothing helps.

    Every time I fire it up the auto launch works good the first 5 times and then gets weaker and can’t make the orbit. I ordered the nylon bushings and will swap those in to see if that helps.

    #27 1 year ago

    Can you share a picture or two of the alignment of the ball in the shooter lane?

    #28 1 year ago

    Here is mine. I bent the left fork in a bit as the ball was mostly propped up by the left fork and not resting on the right fork.

    No big difference as it works fine for a few plunges but seems to get weaker.

    Anyone know how to test voltage on the coil and what reading I should get on my multimeter? Also what do I set my MM to?

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    #29 1 year ago

    I have fought with many auto plungers. I honestly think it's just the nature of the design. There is a ton of slop in the mechanism, in multiple places. Some game designs do not suffer because of it, but some definitely do. Some games can be tweaked enough to overcome the slop, but some just can't. I think until that mech is redesigned with much tighter tolerances or fewer assembly joints, there is always going to be some percentage of plunges that just go wonky. A combination of shooter lane design and tolerance stack-up in the mechanism parts is going to determine which machines suffer and which do not. There are things you can do to minimize that percentage (and it sounds like you've done most of them), but some games are just never going to be 100%.

    #30 1 year ago

    I would try bending in both forks a bit more. Ultimately that is what made the biggest difference for me.

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