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.