(Topic ID: 39174)

Strange Science - the Atom Smasher


By Ripcord

6 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 48 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 months ago by guard
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

You

Linked Games

Topic Gallery

There have been 5 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

DSC_1727.JPG
photo-12.JPG
photo-11.JPG
photo_3.JPG
photo_2-1.JPG

#1 6 years ago

So I bought my first real pin - a Strange Science. Have been having a good time for the past couple of days tuning it - taking it all apart, cleaning it, replacing rubbers, re-soldering loose joints, installing remote battery, etc. It's all working really well.

...Except the Atom Smasher. Nothing obvious is wrong, so I'm not sure what I can do. Just curious if anyone had experience or advice on this.

There are two things:

1) The ball just won't get there!

So in this machine there's an upper flipper to kick the ball up and around an inverse ramp (it goes back, then up, then reverses direction back toward the front of the playfield) which drops it into the "Atom Smasher", which is used to get multiballs. I have nailed that kick at least 4 dozen times, and it just refuses to go in. It goes up the ramp, gets to the top, then seems to...I dunno...peter out before it reflects back down. It just seems to fall back down (I guess, it happens pretty quick so it's tough to see).

If I roll the ball by hand and get a LOT of speed, I can get the ball up into the atom smasher.

The flipper doesn't seem weak to me - it feels pretty strong. I've been reading up on when flipper rebuild is recommended, and it doesn't seem like it needs a rebuild. But if the problem is just flipper strength, would rebuild help?

I've taken the ramp all apart, cleaned it good, don't see anything wrong. Everything looks as it should and there's nothing blocking the ball, it just doesn't want to get there.

2) Balls not getting "caught".

So at the top of the Atom Smasher ramp is a switch. That switch trips a solenoid at the bottom of the ramp that raises a couple of bars that block balls from leaving the end of the ramp (locks them). But it seems...sluggish. But only sometimes.

If I manually place a ball at the top of the ramp (so it starts off with no inertia - slower than what'd probably happen if the ball was kicked up there) and let it roll down, it hits the switch but there's a delay before the solenoid kicks and raises the bars. That's almost always enough time for the ball to roll out of the Atom Smasher and back into the playfield. That confuses the game, who thinks the ball is locked.

If I trip the switch manually it's like this - 1) hit switch, 2) sound effects trigger instantly, 3) wait a second, 4) BOOM, bars raise.

The weird thing is that it seems to only do this depending on the cycle. You can kick the balls back OUT of the atom smasher, which trips another switch (and will lower the bars). If you trigger the "ball needs to be locked" switch at the top of the ramp again, the bars raise INSTANTLY - there's no delay. And that seems consistent - it seems like there's an INTENTIONAL delay in the "first ball locked" case, but that usually lets the ball escape and confuses the game.

Anyone run into either of these or have any ideas?

It would stink not to be able to use the Atom Smasher. That's probably the top feature of this game.

#2 6 years ago

So problem #2 MIGHT be because (or at least made worse by) warping in the ramp plastics, and the ramp being installed wrong (maybe to work around the warping - if it's installed "correctly" the ball just barely won't squeeze through.

It looks like this makes the ball run at a slightly steeper angle overall, so I guess it would pass down the ramp faster. If I wedge some things in to allow clearance but also approximate the right angle, then the ball will get locked. But man, the locking pins come up like the tiniest fraction of a second before the ball makes it there. The window is so small.

So I'd like to try to de-warp the plastics somewhat to see if that'll help and I can install it right. I've read about using the "sandwich between glass and use hairdryer" method, but since these are curved pieces, this seems really tricky. Anyone have suggestions there?

I've attached a couple pictures, but they don't really do a good job at showing off the warping, which is mostly at the end of the bottom (red) piece and the beginning of the top (clear) piece.

photo_2-1.JPG photo_3.JPG

#3 6 years ago

I was having problems with my upper flipper too. It might be time for a new coil.

http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/strange-science-upper-flipper-problem

#4 6 years ago

Hey

I have that same warping issue with mine. If I put mine together how it is meant to be, with both red pieces sandwiched together, the bottom plate seems inclined to much and the ball has to go up hill as it rounds that last corner to the slide (actually hits the top plate a bit as a result). So, I have my bottom red piece stuck below that left side slide rail. That way, as it rounds the corner, it "drops down" into the slide. It was the only way I could get this to work. My game came that way, and when I tried to put it together the "right" way, It took me quite a while before I relalized the plastic had warped a bit and that that was likely why it was that way to begin with.

As for the solenoid timing...I never noticed an issue with mine, but can check that tonight and let you now how mine acts. All of my flippers were rebuilt, and I noticed an immediate difference. Not a cheap rebuild on that game.

Aaron

#5 6 years ago

Don, on problem #2... When you knock a ball over the atom smasher trigger, is there a delay before the blocking pins raise? It's like a full second delay on mine and we're talking about like 7 inches of ramp for the ball to travel down. Looking at a couple youtube videos I found the balls don't take anywhere near the delay to get down the ramp as I see mine doing before the blocking pins raise.

I think!

#6 6 years ago

Thanks Aaron. That sounds exactly like how mine was set up originally. In my case the warping doesn't make the ball roll up hill, it hits the upper plastic which has warped down and stops the ball. But someone before me set it up like on yours - instead of interleaving the two pieces, they just put the red ramp under the transparent cover. No interleaving.

But yeah, if you don't mind checking, I'd appreciate it. If mine's not acting normal I can't even imagine what I'd do to deal with that?

#7 6 years ago

Ok, I think I noticed something useful.

I think the "up" solenoid gets triggered twice when the switch is hit. And that the second attempt is what's raising the pins for me. And that it SHOULD raise on the first attempt.

I notice that when I hit the trigger switch, I see the pins move slightly, like either the up or down solenoid activated (though I don't think it's the "down" one) and didn't do much. Then a second later it raises.

When I go into self test, I find that the first time I try to activate the up solenoid I hear it hum but do nothing. Second time always works, but first always does nothing.

Anyone know what would cause that? Seems weird that it'd be a faulty solenoid if the second time it always works fine.

#8 6 years ago

Yeah, they should be coming up as the ball hits the first switch on entry. I am going to have to think about why yours would be waiting. Does that switch work on the switch edges?

#9 6 years ago

I had the same problem with mine and it requires three fixes. First, you need to adjust the EOS switch. If that doesn't fix it you need to replace the upper flipper coil with the strongest coil possible. (I sold the game so I can't look at it for you but I think it had a green wrapper and was for an EM machine.) If those two fixes don't work, you will need to rebuild the flipper using the older style, non-linear flipper. The parts can be purchased from Pinball Resource.

#10 6 years ago

In fact, upgrading all the coils and replacing the linear flippers dramatically improves the playability of the game. With a little luck you can even make it up the anti-gravilty ramp, through the volt-meter, and to the upper flipper.

#11 6 years ago

Thanks. So sorry about all the newbie questions, but...

I've been doing research on different coils and while I can find info on what model coil a replacement is for, I'm not finding any info about power. When you say "upgrade", do you mean just replace, or I should be able to find some with (more windings, etc) that would give more strength?

#12 6 years ago

I had the problem with balls not being caught on my game. If I remember correctly, something about the metal rods was binding slightly and not moving absolutely vertically when triggered.
Look over the whole mechanism for something loose, worn or otherwise causing some friction or binding on the rods.

#13 6 years ago

Yeah, it seems like there's a metal piece under the playfield that sort of gets caught - it moves slightly on first try, and on second try it's able to pull completely and release the pins (which are spring-loaded to raise up and lock balls). I don't see anything catching or worn or loose, though.

I'm trying to think if I can come up with a way to make it more "slippery". Maybe machining it to make the edges that rub against each other smoother?

Still, it's opened by a solenoid - is it possible the coil could also just have gotten, well, "weak"?

#14 6 years ago

No, it is much more likely to be a misalignment. Take it apart, clean it, and put in a new coil sleeve.

#15 6 years ago

The coils I used were A24-570/34-3600. It makes a huge difference. Also replace the coil sleeves and adjust the upper EOS switch.

#16 6 years ago

Thanks. They're all already A24-570/34-3600s (on all 3 flippers) - let me try replacing the sleeves and cleaning the coil. And seeing if I can try to find a way to reduce friction on the latch that releases the Atom Smasher locking pins, which seems to be sticking and causing problem #2. I can't even imagine how I'd do that except maybe try filing it down =)

#17 6 years ago

Here's a weird thing I noticed today. There are two caps on the lower right flipper switches, but somebody's cut one of them (I think it's the one for the second EOS switch on the lower flipper that activates the high voltage on the upper flipper, or at least that's what someone mentioned in another forum post).

Don made a post a while back where you posted a pic and no caps were present at all (see http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/strange-science-upper-flipper-problem?bb_attachments=194081&bbat=21696 . Notice in this case the left flipper has a capacitor but the right has none. In mine caps are present on all three switches between the two flippers, but one of them in the right flipper is cut). Any idea what they're for, and whether this could be affecting the power to my upper flipper?

#18 6 years ago

The caps are to suppress the sparks from the high voltage. And you should change the EOS if you haven't. They power the upper flipper. I would like to see a pic of yours to see how they are wired on the double flipper.

#19 6 years ago

Thanks Don. Here it is

photo-11.JPG

#20 6 years ago

Somewhat better picture of the capacitor wiring:

photo-12.JPG

#21 6 years ago

Ok, I think problem #2 is solved. I used a file to lightly grind down the latch that gets released to raise the locking pins, and it seems not to stick anymore (so the pins raise as soon as the rollover switch gets tripped instead of maybe after the second time the coil fires). So that's great.

I still don't seem to have enough power in the upper flipper to get the ball up to the top of the ramp (problem #1), but ordered new coil sleeves today. The EOS switch seems fine to me (on all flippers it triggers JUST BEFORE end of stroke), but I probably have more reading to do about how to make sure I have that tuned right.

So 8 minor problems down, 12 to go =)

On that capacitor - I assume if it tests ok I should reattach? I don't get why it was snipped, but it sure looks like it was to me. There's a small nick on either side of the break where it looks like wire cutters may have rested before the cut, and I can't see why this would have just snapped on its own.

I see similar sparking from both flippers, though.

#22 6 years ago

Hang on a sec - on my double-EOS switch... Is that last contact supposed to be open by default? I don't see how it would work otherwise.

Also, I notice my wiring is slightly different from Jon's...

#23 6 years ago
Quoted from Ripcord:

Hang on a sec - on my double-EOS switch... Is that last contact supposed to be open by default? I don't see how it would work otherwise.
Also, I notice my wiring is slightly different from Jon's...

Yes, it should be open and then close when the flipper is at full stroke. DSC_1727.JPG

-1
#24 6 years ago

Thanks. I have that corrected but I don't see any change in play. But it's still miswired it appears, so I'll try correcting that. This coil looks like it was replaced at some point (the only one I think), so I guess like a few other things done to this machine, they didn't put it back right.

So do I understand right and this second EOS switch is supposed to be what enables the high-power coil on the upper flipper? The upper one feels pretty strong when activated as-is and is kicking the ball ALMOST enough, seems like more than if just the low-power was active.

#25 6 years ago

Btw, this is a lot of fun You guys have the best hobby.

#26 6 years ago
Quoted from Ripcord:

So do I understand right and this second EOS switch is supposed to be what enables the high-power coil on the upper flipper? The upper one feels pretty strong when activated as-is and is kicking the ball ALMOST enough, seems like more than if just the low-power was active.

Yep, you got it. So, when you press the flipper button, the game engages the lower flipper at high power until it hits the EOS switch there, at which time the lower flipper switches to low power. Simultaneously at that switch to low power, the second EOS contact on that switch feeds the upper flipper, sending high power to hit. The upper flipper switches to low power once it goes full stroke and engages its own EOS switch.

What you're going to want to make sure is that all your solder contacts are fresh on the EOS switches, especially the leads up to the upper flipper. AND, check to make sure that the EOS switch on the upper flipper "doesn't" make contact until the "very" end of the flipper stroke. As long as my aim is right, I can hit that upper shot every time.

And yeah, diagnosing issues with these things can be a lot of fun. Good luck!

#27 6 years ago

You may need to adjust the EOS switch on the upper flipper to allow for a greater range of motion. This is what ultimately made it work for me.

#28 6 years ago

i have always questioned what the pitch of this game should be. i hear this complaint alot. went as far as using power ball on mine to improve game play.

#29 6 years ago
Quoted from Pinmeister:

I had the same problem with mine and it requires three fixes. First, you need to adjust the EOS switch. If that doesn't fix it you need to replace the upper flipper coil with the strongest coil possible. (I sold the game so I can't look at it for you but I think it had a green wrapper and was for an EM machine.) If those two fixes don't work, you will need to rebuild the flipper using the older style, non-linear flipper. The parts can be purchased from Pinball Resource.

do you have a link for the older style non-linear flippers you talk about

#30 6 years ago

What's a "power ball"? The ball from Twilight Zone? Seems like that'd be lighter and wouldn't play as well, how does it help?

I get the feeling this game - where I can hardly make it up ramps, can't get to the atom smasher for multiball, etc, even though I have it at like a negative 5% pitch - is probably only 1/3 as fun as it could be. So if there are drop-in ball replacements that'd help, that'd be great =)

Edit: Holy crap those ceramic ones are expensive

#31 6 years ago

Replace the upper coil and the double EOS switches. The original coil has a brass sleve and will bind. The EOS switches are high voltage and may look good but conduct poorly. That second EOS is how power gets to the upper coil.

#32 6 years ago

Before I go replacing everything, shouldn't I be following up on the bad wiring that could explain the problem?

#34 6 years ago

So on the wiring...

If I've done my research right, and drawn this out right (and I'm not much of an electrical guy, so this is mostly new to me)...

So the second EOS switch, when closed, provides all power to the upper coil. It should provide the same input power to the upper coil as the lower coil is receiving.

In my case, however, the power that's sent to the upper coil has already been passed through the low-resistance resistor on the lower coil. So power being sent to the upper coil has already been stepped down a bit. And by moving the mis-connected wire in my case (from middle terminal across the resistor, to the left terminal where power is coming in), the power to the upper flipper should be increased somewhat.

Do I have that right?

#35 6 years ago
Quoted from Ripcord:

What's a "power ball"? The ball from Twilight Zone? Seems like that'd be lighter and wouldn't play as well, how does it help?
I get the feeling this game - where I can hardly make it up ramps, can't get to the atom smasher for multiball, etc, even though I have it at like a negative 5% pitch - is probably only 1/3 as fun as it could be. So if there are drop-in ball replacements that'd help, that'd be great =)
Edit: Holy crap those ceramic ones are expensive

my pitch is around 5 also, check everything out like everyone says and if it ok you might like trying powerballs or sometimes called navi balls. pinball life has the cheapest, they are lighter and make loading the smasher and knocking out balls in front easier. also get more action in the pop bumpers. i bought one just to try, liked it so i bought the rest. they are pricey but i plan on keeping the machine.

#36 6 years ago
Quoted from Ripcord:

So the second EOS switch, when closed, provides all power to the upper coil. It should provide the same input power to the upper coil as the lower coil is receiving.

Yes.

Quoted from Ripcord:

In my case, however, the power that's sent to the upper coil has already been passed through the low-resistance resistor on the lower coil. So power being sent to the upper coil has already been stepped down a bit.

No, the power that goes to the upper flipper is not coming through the lower flipper. The lower flipper only pushes the EOS together to send power up there. The power is separate.

#37 6 years ago

And I assume the point of the second EOS switch is to ensure that the lower flipper has been stepped down to lower power before power is sent to the upper flipper? To avoid both being active and drawing high power from the line at the same time?

If so, making sure the second EOS switch only activates after the first EOS switch does is probably important to strength of both flippers, I'm assuming?

#38 6 years ago
Quoted from donjagra:

No, the power that goes to the upper flipper is not coming through the lower flipper. The lower flipper only pushes the EOS together to send power up there. The power is separate.

I'm talking about in my (currently miswired) case. Have a look at the picture I posted. It looks to me like power going to the upper coil is crossing a resistor on the lower coil assembly once the second EOS switch closes, so would be reducing power and possibly explaining (at least part of) my strength issues with the upper flipper.

It also looks like I had the second EOS switch closed all the time, so both coils would have tried to be on high-power at the same time (which I'm guessing might mean each flipper would then possibly be weaker than designed). When I fixed that it did seem like the power on my upper flipper increased slightly, and it seems like that makes sense.

#39 6 years ago

It took me a second to see it. You are right. Fix that, it is definatly sending lower power because it is tied to the lower coil. The photo you linked of mine is pretty clear. Make it look like mine.

#40 6 years ago

The way yours is wired now, it never sends the high power to the upper coil.

#41 6 years ago

We could call it "full" power, right? I guess there's three power logical power states?

"Full" power - power coming from the line.
"High" power - line power minus the low-ohm resistor (left one)
"low" power - line power minus both the low-ohm (left) and high-ohm (right) resistor (when the EOS switch is open, breaking the short that bypasses the high-ohm resistor).

The upper flipper SHOULD be sent "full" power, but is being sent "high" right now. Then it has a second (and third) resistor of its own.

So my upper flipper's high-power state at the moment, instead of being "line minus low-resistance", it's "line minus (2xlow-resistance)"? Or "high minus a little".

Talking it out helps with the concepts in my head =)

Anyway, will give it a shot after work.

#42 6 years ago

And in answer to your questions...

Quoted from Ripcord:

And I assume the point of the second EOS switch is to ensure that the lower flipper has been stepped down to lower power before power is sent to the upper flipper? To avoid both being active and drawing high power from the line at the same time?

Yep

Quoted from Ripcord:

If so, making sure the second EOS switch only activates after the first EOS switch does is probably important to strength of both flippers, I'm assuming?

And, yes, probably. It is logical, I suppose, to assume that if both coils are receiving high power at the same time, then it would be a reduced high power given the double load.

#43 6 years ago
Quoted from hotmach4u:

do you have a link for the older style non-linear flippers you talk about

Here you go.

http://www.pbresource.com/rebuildkit.html#KT-BFLIP04

Scroll down until you get to "Bally Rolling Stones 5/80 to Truck Stop". It's that one. They're not cheap to do the game in full, given you need two packages, but I definitely noticed a difference on my game and it led to a successful upper flipper shot on mine.

#44 6 years ago

Success!

The upper flipper is working great after fixing the wiring. Provided I can get accuracy right (which I'm getting pretty good at), the ball makes it into the atom smasher every time. The locking pins release and raise perfectly after I filed the latches down just a bit.

Adjusted EOS a little more on all flippers, and they're definitely more powerful. It's like a whole different game now.

I'll still go ahead and replace the coil sleeves this weekend after my order comes in. Hopefully the old brass one in the upper flipper won't be too big a pain to get out.

Thanks everyone for all the help!

#45 6 years ago

I am so addicted now it's not funny.

Also it was call for my wife to make out with me after she saw how much improved gameplay is. Good times, people.

#46 6 years ago

Yea! Congrats. Enjoy the game. Love this one!

#47 6 years ago

Nice work. It is a fun game when it is set up properly.

6 years later
#48 3 months ago

Ok....I've tried everything except putting a higher powered coil on the upper flipper. Slope, pitch, adjusting[and adjusting, and adjusting], sleeve, resoldering,....everything. Only thing left is a higher powered coil. What would be the ideal replacement to try? I have an A24-570/34-3600 in there now.

Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
From: $ 16.95
€ 3.95
Flipper Parts
Multigame
From: $ 40.00
Cabinet - Other
Rock Custom Pinball
From: $ 5.00
Cabinet - Other
Rock Custom Pinball
$ 13.00
Electronics
Yorktown Parts and Equip
$ 44.95
Wanted
Machine - Wanted
Columbus, OH
$ 10.00
Cabinet - Sound/Speakers
Gweem's Mods
$ 137.00
$ 76.95
Cabinet - Shooter Rods
Super Skill Shot Shop
$ 38.00
Cabinet - Sound/Speakers
ModFather Pinball Mods
From: $ 7.60
Cabinet Parts
PinBoltCaps
€ 59.80
Lighting - Backbox
Freddys Pinball Paradise
From: $ 9.99
Eproms
Matt's Basement Arcade
$ 24.95
Cabinet - Armor And Blades
Hookedonpinball.com

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside