(Topic ID: 4027)

TAF Frequently Drains Down the Center

By Crashdance22

8 years ago

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  • 26 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 years ago by Crashdance22
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#1 8 years ago

We have a TAF on location and I can't figure out why it constantly drains down the center. It has somewhat weak/slow flippers compared to our other games. The problem seems to be that the playfield isn't pitched enough. I can get a ball from the return lane to roll completely off the flipper when holding it up, is this good or bad? The balls strangely seems to just gravitate toward the center drain. Any tips? It would really help the game play better for our customers.

#2 8 years ago

Is it level from side to side? Put a level on the playfield and check?

What is the angle set at? Check it?


#3 8 years ago

Is there any mylar on the playfield to redirect the ball toward the center? I have this issue with my FT. One strip of mylar along the right side targets will sometimes redirect the ball SDTM and it annoys the crap out of me, but I haven't worked up the courage to remove it yet. Other than that, it sounds like you probably need a flipper rebuild and/or new coils. Make sure the coils are the correct ones for that game. Every pin I have purchased so far has had at least one incorrect flipper coil. Also, you can adjust the angle of the flippers to keep the ball from rolling over when you trap.

Nice to see an operator who actually cares about making their games play right! Hope that helps!

#4 8 years ago

The operator is actually my father, and doesn't particularly enjoy tweaking the little things. I may try to convince a flipper rebuild or new coils or something at some point though. I'll check the playfield and horizontal level when I get a chance. I'll also look for mylar.

#5 8 years ago

TAF is a center drain monster machine in general I think. It's the game that I really learned how to slap save on. Check all the leveling like tom said, and make sure that the flippers are strong enough to hit the bear kick ramp cleanly. But center drains on TAF are pretty common.

#6 8 years ago

It seems to happen mainly from bouncing off the electric chair, but yes, it does seem that design contributes to the problem (that and the lack of a ball saver, which I get reminded of all too frequently). I'm able to make bear kick shots, but barely. All 3 flippers are noticeably weaker than they should be, which probably means the coils have just broken down over time. Perhaps we can improve that at some point.

#7 8 years ago

Coils don't "wear" out..its just wire...

Need new coil sleeves, coil stops, maybe the linkage is worn....

TAF is a pretty hard game...

#8 8 years ago

The reason I said that is because I've read about coils "weakening" because of the frequent collapsing of the electromagnetic field. But I could be wrong.

#9 8 years ago

They don't "normally" wear out. Just seems like people who don't know what they are doing just try and replace the coil as the first thing, and usually it has nothing to do with the coil at all...it's normally dirty coil sleeves, worn out parts, bad optos, switch contacts, etcetc...

#10 8 years ago
Quoted from Crash:

The reason I said that is because I've read about coils "weakening" because of the frequent collapsing of the electromagnetic field. But I could be wrong.

Whoever came up with that one was talking out of the wrong orifice.

It's just a coil of copper wire. The actual coil very rarely fails, and when it does, it fails catastrophically (if you think about it, how can a coil of wire fail? Either the wire breaks, or there's a break in the insulation and it shorts out - either way, the coil is no longer functional).

More likely problems are the coil sleeves (these are cheap, and take alot of abuse, and are easy to replace, might as well replace them), worn linkages, or mushroomed bolts.

One good test is to take the glass off, and move the flippers by hand, and see if they have more resistance on the machine with weak flippers.

#11 8 years ago
Quoted from Crash:

I can get a ball from the return lane to roll completely off the flipper when holding it up, is this good or bad?

That is good and how it should be. You should not be able to trap on most games when a ball rolls down the inlane. On some you can do a rollover pass, which is when you hold the flipper up and the ball ramps to the other flipper.

I would guess the main problem is the weak flippers. This is because on TAF, the center ramp is key and a weak shot that doesn't clear the ramp will go flying back toward the center. Also, a weak upper right flipper shot to the jackpot ramp will leave the ball out of control and that's a potential drain situation as well.

With good flippers and the game angled right you should be able to hit the center ramp consistently with either flipper from a trap/cradle.

Oh, and regarding the electric chair, it's designed to be a drain monster. The safest way to shoot it is a backhand from a trap on the left flipper. Shooting it on the fly or from the right flipper is dangerous.

#12 8 years ago

I'll get a chance to look at it tomorrow. Is replacing the sleeves as simple as removing the coil stop at the far end and sliding it out? We don't want to do a complete flipper rebuild; we don't even have the tools for that.

Edit: Found out our other TAF has FL-11630 coils for the main flippers. If this is the case there's a very good chance the one on location has the wrong coils as well. Are 11630s weaker than 15411s?

#13 8 years ago

The main flippers are supposed to be 15411. The 11630 are slightly weaker. Marco has a chart:

Mine had 11629 coils (the strongest) and after replacing them with new 15411 coils with new sleeves, the flippers were stronger. In your case, I'd recommend simply replacing the coil(s) with the correct one and at least replacing the sleeve at the same time. As long as you're comfortable soldering, it's a pretty quick job with no special tools.

#14 8 years ago

Frankly, if you're going to tear it apart to replace the coils and sleeves you really might as well spend another $18 or so and replace the links & plungers, bushings and coil stops while you've got it apart. There really are no special tools needed outside of a couple wrenches/sockets and possibly an allen/hex.

#15 8 years ago

Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to look at it last week. But I can tell you right now we simply don't have the time to do a complete teardown. If anything we'll probably just take a look at the coil sleeves if things are gummed up, but more likely the FL-11630 coils are in there.

#16 8 years ago

Got to play the machine a bit more today and it almost seems like an EOS problem. The upper left flipper is very weak, weaker than the others and moves much slower when pushing the ball than otherwise. Do I need to check the EOS switch for an 1/8" gap?

#17 8 years ago
Quoted from Crash:

Got to play the machine a bit more today and it almost seems like an EOS problem. The upper left flipper is very weak, weaker than the others and moves much slower when pushing the ball than otherwise. Do I need to check the EOS switch for an 1/8" gap?

Check the EOS and while your at it check the flipper with your finger and see if
it moves up and down freely

#18 8 years ago

Quick question does your TAF have opto flipper boards or
leaf switches?

#19 8 years ago

I wish I could get more time looking at the machine but we're moving in a bunch of new washers right now...

2 weeks later
#20 8 years ago

I finally got to look at this one up close and here's what I found. All coils are correct and in good looking condition. There is virtually no physical resistance when moving the flippers. The EOS switches appear to be adjusted fine on both lower flippers. They're adjusted to close about 3/4 of the way in to the stroke. Also, the hold coils are normal and strong. I read 3/4 is an acceptable adjustment and did tweak it a bit to be closer to 7/8. I noticed during playtesting this may have made a slight improvement but I'm not sure, we adjusted the flayfield to compensate and either this or my adjustment has improved the left flipper to some degree. It's still not how it should be though.

The only thing I can get from this is possibly the high power coils are weak for some reason or they are not being engaged long enough. The fliptronic board switches to high power after a few microseconds, and is it possible it's simply switching too soon, before the EOS switch trips? Either I'm not fine enough in my adjustments or I have a bigger problem here.

#21 8 years ago

Guys I really hate to triple post, but does anyone have any ideas as to why the flippers are still weak?

#22 8 years ago

Take a look at the flipper opto boards in the cabinet on the other side of the flipper buttons, they'll look like this...


The metal piece sits down inside the optos (black U shaped things). When you press the flipper button it moves out from in between the optos so they can effectively "see" each other. This completes the circuit causing the flipper to fire. If the optos are dirty or failing, the flippers will not behave well. Try cleaning the lenses with some alcohol on a q-tip. You can also swap them from one side to the other and see if the extra weak upper left flipper becomes an extra weak upper right flipper. That would tell you that you for sure have an opto board problem.

#23 8 years ago

I'm not sure the our machine uses optos for the flipper buttons as I've learned some were replaced with more reliable leaf switches, but I'll take a look once I get a chance.

#24 8 years ago

On my game the launch out of the swamp is a drain. You better have the right flipper up when you see that flasher go off. On multiball you better let all the balls come out and deal with it, if you're right flipper is down you're screwed. I play competitively though, and I want the game that hard.

#25 8 years ago

you know if you have a small torpedo level you can check the bottom of the cab between the legs
usually if you get the front and back L-R you will be in the ball park most of the time

#26 8 years ago

Our machine has been swapped out with leaf switches as I heard the optos failed many years ago. The issue seems to be the flipper mechs then, and we don't have the time nor the money to rebuild them. Thanks for all the help guys!

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