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(Topic ID: 96478)

Target Alpha Bonus issues - Finally FIXED!!!


By John_I

6 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 33 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by SadSack
  • Topic is favorited by 9 Pinsiders

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Formed Switch Blades.jpg
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#1 6 years ago

I've been trying to get a Target Alpha running. It started out as a basket case with lots of issues including Vaseline in the Ax, Bx and Dx relays. After a ton of work, I have it playing pretty well now. It is down to just two problems that are kicking my butt.

First problem is scoring bonus. Sometimes it gets it right and other times it will be a thousand short or maybe give you and extra couple thousand. Also, it counts the bonus in fits and starts with no rhyme or reason. For example it might step 7 times fast then wait, then 2, then 3, then 3. The next time it will be some other sequence. It never counts up to 15 straight through without some random pausing in there. I have checked all 15 drop switches in both the up and down position, made sure the stepper is running smoothly and is not gummed up, tweaked the adjustment of the rotor, cleaned the rivets, checked/cleaned/adjusted the stepper switches and even looked on the score motor. At this point I am afraid the problem is on the motor because of the counting issues.

The other problem is the thousands wheel chatters on the player two score only. I have checked all of the switches in that bank of reels along with the 10s, 100s and 1000s relays. I also didn't see any problem on the player unit.

#2 6 years ago

check the contact pads on that 1000's reel. On my super soccer, the pad looked great. Cleaned it...looked closely, and I could see the pad wiggle up and down. knew then that the crimp let loose. Soldered it and was good from that point on. Might be the same issue on your bonus relay.

Sometimes I would get the score to miss a register, sometimes it would do to many, because of that pad issue. have to look closely and touch it with something to see if it wiggles at all.

#3 6 years ago

I had what sounds like a similar issue with bonus countdown as you have. I started his thread and the guys had me fixed in no time......also make sure the switch on the bonus unit is closed...and closed tightly...it should open when the 15 position is reached by an arm/lever on the gear wheel. If dirty or not making good contact the vibration of the stepper could cause similar stop and go issues countdown issues.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/tech-em-help-target-alpha

#4 6 years ago
Quoted from tuffano:

I had what sounds like a similar issue with bonus countdown as you have. I started his thread and the guys had me fixed in no time......also make sure the switch on the bonus unit is closed...and closed tightly...it should open when the 15 position is reached by an arm/lever on the gear wheel. If dirty or not making good contact the vibration of the stepper could cause similar stop and go issues countdown issues.
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/tech-em-help-target-alpha

Ditto.

(The gist was to tighten the switch stack on G and make sure it stays locked on for the duration of the bonus countdown; the bonus collect should be very quick, and not take multiple score motor revs.)

#5 6 years ago

Thanks for the inputs guys. I just cleaned and tightened up the 15 position switches on the bonus unit and it fired through all 15 like a machine gun! I am still getting an extra thousand or two once in a while. I've been testing it by knocking down all the drops and checking the count to be correct. I also tuned up the K relay and got it just right. After breakfast I will look at the G relay and score motor switches a little closer. I am assuming something is bouncing and giving extra points from time to time?

I'll also look for a loose point on the player 2 score reels or 1000s relay.

Thanks again for the help. Pinside search is not the greatest or I would have found that other thread. I need to remember to search using google with "pinside" as a search term...

#6 6 years ago

Update:

OK, so I have the bonus counting all 15 in one turn of the score motor as it should be. I am still having problems with it not scoring properly. Mostly it seem to be over scoring. For instance I can knock all 15 targets down and get 17,000 in bonus... I checked the G and K relays again. I shut the lights out and looked for big blue flashes on all the affected switches and saw none. I took apart the 1000s score reel and found a broken off switch blade on the switch down by the plunger and put in a new one from a parts machine. Other than that the other switches and everything looked fine. Still over scoring.

On the second problem I took apart the player 2 1000s reel and found the spring that is internal to the plastic reel at the hub was binding so the reel would not snap and hold into place. This allowed it to move around and let the switches chatter. I put the reel back together properly and that problem is fixed.

#7 6 years ago

re: the extra bonus points scoring, how well is the Bonus Unit stepping? Has it been rebuilt, cleaned, etc.?

and also maybe double check the gapping on the switches at score motor position 4A and 4D. If they're lingering closed long enough for the bonus unit target scan to leave one target and reach another, maybe it gets double counted?

#9 6 years ago
Quoted from John_I:

Mostly it seem to be over scoring. For instance I can knock all 15 targets down and get 17,000 in bonus.

I put an answer out on RGP, but this seems to be a little more specific, so....check to make sure your stepper is actually stepping each time the coil fires. The coil will continue firing until you get the the 15th position switch. You may just need a slight adjustment in stroke or you may have a coil stop issue.

5 months later
#10 5 years ago

I've read a bunch of similar posts on the bonus circuit and units/relays involved with this circuit as i had a ton of problems with my TA as well - great tips by all that have replied.

I had 2 separate bonus counting issues - also applicable to El Dorado, Lucky Strike, Gold Strike, Canada Dry.

Issue 1 - at 1st and 2nd ball on a 3 ball game, I was getting an extra bonus score or 2 - this was caused by the motor switch 4A gapped too tightly... after a tweak or two of the gap and retest, that issue was solved quickly.

Issue 2 - During double bonus countdown (K relay engaged), the bonus score was adding extra thousands - example all 15 targets down resulted in 45K bonus instead of 30K. I've seen a few other posts about this issue but none really matched my 2nd issue hence my post here. First off, the bonus function on these games is very unique, in that the bonus is scanned after ball drain by invoking the bonus step down coil (Called "Add Bonus Unit") in conjunction with a bonus score control relay and various motor switches. Part of my issue was trying to visualize the logic and the unit/switches involved.

As mentioned so well in previous posts, you have to make sure the step up/down switches on that bonus unit are very clean and perfectly adjusted, because it vibrates quite a bit when the add bonus coil is fired due to the fact the step down coil is energized by as many as 4 motor switches.

Ok, back to my problem on double bonus - when looking at the schematic, I noticed that when K relay (double bonus) is energized at bonus score time, the Add Bonus Unit coil is energized by score motor switches 4D, 4A, 2D and 3B. However, because K relay is energized, score motor switch 4A only energizes the add bonus coil when score motor 2D or 3B are closed. Since I was receiving too much bonus, I realized that the ADD BONUS COIL WASN'T FIRING ENOUGH (allowing the scan of too much bonus per motor cycle)... once I figured that logic out it was so much easier getting down to the issue at hand... I finally realized there was a problem with one of those switches (2D or 3B) NOT completing the circuit to the Add Bonus Unit coil... DUHHHHHHH.

After some troubleshooting (it's always the last switch I check), the problem was with the 2D switch... The 2D switch dog was bent a little too far out, and even though the switches on that stack did close, they closed too late, so the circuit through motor switch 4A to the step up coil could never complete. that basically allowed more bonus to be scanned.

Keep this in mind if your game is adding too much bonus... those 4 motor switches must be gapped correctly to ensure proper bonus scoring. Also look at the switch dogs carefully (D level); I've seen them broken on this game - they get a lot of abuse.

2 weeks later
#11 5 years ago

I had the same issue with my TA. The G relay was not latching in. I inspected and cleaned all the contacts in that circuit. It is way better now but still takes 2 or 3 revs of the motor. Is this just further insane little adjustments? Not much throw on the bonus unit to play with...

#12 5 years ago

Thanks for the inputs. My TA is down at my EM guy's place. He is trying to fix it, but it has been at the end of his queue because I told him I am in no hurry. I will pass this info on to him.

1 week later
#13 5 years ago

Can someone get me a picture or two of a well adjusted Target Alpha score motor? My EM tech is getting his butt kicked by this and he is pretty sure it is in the motor switches. Some good clear pictures from a couple of angles would be very appreciated!!

#14 5 years ago

What issue is it currently having?

#15 5 years ago

The bonus scoring is not accurate. It works fine sometimes. Other times it gives you an extra thousand or two or shorts you an extra thousand or two. It does this on all four players. Seems to do it more on some targets than others. The best EM tech in Florida is working on it for me. He pulled it out of storage and worked on it all day today. This guy has fixed some serious stuff for me, but this one is kicking his butt.

#16 5 years ago

Sounds like you'll get it sorted out then.

#17 5 years ago

I'm uploading a video. (I'm not even the best EM tech in my county.)

#18 5 years ago
Quoted from newmantjn:

I'm uploading a video. (I'm not even the best EM tech in my county.)
» YouTube video
» YouTube video

Thanks!

1 week later
#19 5 years ago
Quoted from John_I:

The bonus scoring is not accurate. It works fine sometimes. Other times it gives you an extra thousand or two or shorts you an extra thousand or two. It does this on all four players. Seems to do it more on some targets than others. The best EM tech in Florida is working on it for me. He pulled it out of storage and worked on it all day today. This guy has fixed some serious stuff for me, but this one is kicking his butt.

1. Make sure all of your target switches (both banks), when made, are indeed cleaned and closing properly.
2. Previous posters have details on checking the bonus unit - this is crucial that it's stepping properly and the brass contacts are clean - lube with a good dielectric grease while you're at it.
3. Check the NO G switch and ensure it stays closed throughout the entire add bonus cycle.
4. Motor switches 4A and 4D are part of the 1000s scoring circuit, so make sure those 2 switches are cleaned and gapped properly... since 4A is so close to the cam, it has potential to pick up a lot of dirt and grease. 4D is easier to get to; it's important to make sure the switch dog that trips 4D is properly set, mine had been bent out a 1/4 inch or so and hence it was barely closing at each cycle - causing bonus to be shorted intermittently.
5. Bonus Score control relay is part of this circuit - make sure the switches in that circuit are clean and making properly - also 2 motor switches in this circuit - 1C and 2B - ensure contacts cleaned/gapped properly. Lots of other relays in this circuit; I'd focus on the motor switches here.
6. Add Bonus relay - has 4 motor switches involved - 2D, 3B, 4A, 4D -clean and gap properly. Also ensure normally closed G, normally closed K - relays tripping properly, and contacts cleaned/gapped.

#20 5 years ago
Quoted from Dono:

1. Make sure all of your target switches (both banks), when made, are indeed cleaned and closing properly.
2. Previous posters have details on checking the bonus unit - this is crucial that it's stepping properly and the brass contacts are clean - lube with a good dielectric grease while you're at it.
3. Check the NO G switch and ensure it stays closed throughout the entire add bonus cycle.
4. Motor switches 4A and 4D are part of the 1000s scoring circuit, so make sure those 2 switches are cleaned and gapped properly... since 4A is so close to the cam, it has potential to pick up a lot of dirt and grease. 4D is easier to get to; it's important to make sure the switch dog that trips 4D is properly set, mine had been bent out a 1/4 inch or so and hence it was barely closing at each cycle - causing bonus to be shorted intermittently.
5. Bonus Score control relay is part of this circuit - make sure the switches in that circuit are clean and making properly - also 2 motor switches in this circuit - 1C and 2B - ensure contacts cleaned/gapped properly. Lots of other relays in this circuit; I'd focus on the motor switches here.
6. Add Bonus relay - has 4 motor switches involved - 2D, 3B, 4A, 4D -clean and gap properly. Also ensure normally closed G, normally closed K - relays tripping properly, and contacts cleaned/gapped.

Thanks! I will relay this info.

1 month later
#21 5 years ago

Well it took many months but we finally found and fixed the problem. Fred Stab took pictures of a Solar City score motor while we were at Florida APE last month. He compared those pictures and found that one of the switches on the score motor on my Target Alpha was broken off at the very end. This extra little tip on the switch was hard to notice, because there is another switch right across from it that is supposed to be that way! You can see this in the second picture below.

Anyway, this extra little tip on the switch holds off the switches that few milliseconds more that it needs to make all the switch closures happen in the proper order and timing. Pictures below.

Thanks to all who posted help in this thread. I wanted to come back and close it and hopefully help people in the future.

The game works perfectly now by the way. The bonus scores correct EVERY time, even on double bonus.

TA Problem.jpg TA Fixed.jpg
#22 5 years ago

Hey John, that new blade, did you craft it or order a new one... if so, do you have a part no. for it?

Thx!

Don O

#23 5 years ago
Quoted from Dono:

Hey John, that new blade, did you craft it or order a new one... if so, do you have a part no. for it?
Thx!
Don O

Got lucky - my EM expert Fred had one in his junk pile. It's hard to tell in the picture, but they are exactly the same length to the bend.

#24 5 years ago
Quoted from Dono:

Hey John, that new blade, did you craft it or order a new one... if so, do you have a part no. for it?
Thx!
Don O

Don,

Look at page 63 of the parts catalog I sent you the other day. Is A-9349 the blade being discussed here?

#25 5 years ago
Quoted from MikeO:

Don,
Look at page 63 of the parts catalog I sent you the other day. Is A-9349 the blade being discussed here?

I too am looking for a couple of these blades (if it is the one I think it is). Does someone have a pic that would match up the A-9349 to a picture of same so that I can verify the part number? I do not have a parts catalog.

#26 5 years ago

Formed Switch Blades.jpg

#27 5 years ago

If you look at the pictures I posted yesterday above, it sure looks like an A-9349 blade that was the one that was broken.

#28 5 years ago
Quoted from John_I:

If you look at the pictures I posted yesterday above, it sure looks like an A-9349 blade that was the one that was broken.

Awesome! Thanks much!

1 week later
#29 5 years ago

Yep, 9349 on my game... just got one mailed to me from PBR... appreciate the time taken to post that parts page here; ... I've talked to another pinhead recently that had the same blade broken on his game... the end of this switch gets a LOT of pressure, since the tip of the blade is angled outward and gets continued hammering when the motor is engaged.

#30 5 years ago

Sounds like anyone with a Solar City, Canada Dry or Target Alpha should check out this switch. A lot of people might not even notice because of how fast the bonus scores and trying to do the math that fast in your head. As I mentioned above I want this thing to score perfectly so it can be used in tournaments.

Since fixing this problem, I have had a constant parade of minor problems to fix on this Target Alpha. I think this game was built on a Monday morning or something. Two of the recent problems were wires the came free from relays on the bottom board and one wire came off a switch on the score motor. The technician must not have been soldering hot or clean enough that day.

Here are the most recent problems:

1) Very rarely, like once in 100 balls, the ball will simply kick into the shooter lane without scoring the bonus.

2) Last night I had a game that would not end. After the last ball, the ball kept getting returned to the shooter lane every time rather than ending the game. There was no ball in play light nor did it say game over.

This morning, I took apart the player unit and it was significantly gummed up. I cleaned it out really good with alcohol and put in a new coil sleeve. It runs beautifully now. I need to clean out the coin unit but did not get around to it. The bonus unit is already clean as a whistle and adjusted properly.

3) This morning the game was playing great. I played like 20 games because it was so much fun to finally have it playing this nice. Then I played a game where I started a one player game, but after each player one ball player two would get a ball! After the 5th ball on player one, the game ended without giving one to player two. Each time player two came up the player light would light, but only the 1 light below was lit indicating the coin unit has only seen one player start a game.

Oh well, I am going to clean out the coin unit later today and also search for more wires disconnected. This has been the single hardest game I have ever had to dial in. None of my other EMs game me this kind of problems.

3 weeks later
#31 5 years ago
Quoted from John_I:

Sounds like anyone with a Solar City, Canada Dry or Target Alpha should check out this switch. A lot of people might not even notice because of how fast the bonus scores and trying to do the math that fast in your head. As I mentioned above I want this thing to score perfectly so it can be used in tournaments.
Since fixing this problem, I have had a constant parade of minor problems to fix on this Target Alpha. I think this game was built on a Monday morning or something. Two of the recent problems were wires the came free from relays on the bottom board and one wire came off a switch on the score motor. The technician must not have been soldering hot or clean enough that day.
Here are the most recent problems:
1) Very rarely, like once in 100 balls, the ball will simply kick into the shooter lane without scoring the bonus.
2) Last night I had a game that would not end. After the last ball, the ball kept getting returned to the shooter lane every time rather than ending the game. There was no ball in play light nor did it say game over.
This morning, I took apart the player unit and it was significantly gummed up. I cleaned it out really good with alcohol and put in a new coil sleeve. It runs beautifully now. I need to clean out the coin unit but did not get around to it. The bonus unit is already clean as a whistle and adjusted properly.
3) This morning the game was playing great. I played like 20 games because it was so much fun to finally have it playing this nice. Then I played a game where I started a one player game, but after each player one ball player two would get a ball! After the 5th ball on player one, the game ended without giving one to player two. Each time player two came up the player light would light, but only the 1 light below was lit indicating the coin unit has only seen one player start a game.
Oh well, I am going to clean out the coin unit later today and also search for more wires disconnected. This has been the single hardest game I have ever had to dial in. None of my other EMs game me this kind of problems.

For what it's worth, I was talking to Tim Meighan (an expert EM guy and restorer who used to work on the games on location/route) here in Seattle because of an issue on my Target Alpha and he said that there's a known design flaw on the bonus units that they never could consistently resolve with those machines on location. Basically, they will occasionally not count the bonus correctly, even with everything dialed in. So, FWIW, even an "expert" says it may not be possible to get it to count the bonus correctly 100% of the time (such as what you describe with #1 above, and some of the previous problems in this thread). Still a fantastic game.

1 week later
#32 5 years ago

At the A-town show, I noticed a TA with the obvious bonus count issue... Bruce Moyer opened it up and I noticed right off the bat that the broken switch that so many TA/SC/CD owners have had happened to them had also happened on this game, because that switch was replaced with the A-127 switch (I believe that's a motor brake switch) somewhere down the line!

I wonder how many friggin' games have this switch broken or have had it replaced with the wrong switch.

My TA has also suffered a lot of other issues and continues to break down a LOT more frequently than it should, especially since it's a GTB... albeit somewhat later in the EM era.

#33 5 years ago
Quoted from John_I:

1) Very rarely, like once in 100 balls, the ball will simply kick into the shooter lane without scoring the bonus.

The zero switch on the bonus unit is adjusted too tight. If it had to do with the tilt, the bonus unit would step down without scoring.

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