(Topic ID: 43909)

Theatre of Magic Club

By Nilroc

6 years ago

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#496 4 years ago

Joining the club today. I see someone mentioned this particular machine about a year ago. I purchased it from an owner who took amazing care of it and added a few mods (including the electroplating of the rails).

Note the saw mod. My understanding is that this is an actual saw blade. I'm not entirely sure that's safe, but it looks dulled out so I don't think I'll lose a finger. I'll still keep my fingers away!

This also is my first machine! Jumping in...here goes nothing.









3 weeks later
#524 4 years ago

Hey all, I'm hoping someone can help me troubleshoot an issue with my ToM. I'm new at fixing these things, maybe this sounds familiar to you all.

My game operated totally perfectly, that is, until I messed with it. One of the speakers was scratchy, probably just aged, so I performed the speaker surgery project in Tony's Do-It-Yourself guide (here: http://www.dziedzic.us/wpc_speaker_replacement.html ). I did this to become acquainted with the machine a bit, because this is my first pinball machine. I don't THINK that's the cause of my recent troubles.

I also was curious about ColorDMD (I'm still not sure how I feel about it, honestly, I think I like it better with the original DMD), but while doing the speaker upgrade I also installed the ColorDMD to see what it looked like. Lesson from this: Don't do two mods at once. If something breaks, you don't really know what was the cause.

Unfortunately, after performing all this surgery, I now have some intermittent weird problems. When the game is going gangbusters, and a lot is going on simultaneously (like Multiball or various game modes), the game will freeze. The DMD will literally lock on whatever frame is on it, the lights of the entire playfield will turn off, and SOMETIMES the game will reboot. Other times, the game won't come back from a power cycle, the CPU hanging in blanking state.

When the game doesn't come back from the power cycle, I can sometimes bring it back to life by removing all the ribbon cables from the CPU board and adding them back one by one, bottom to top, turning on the machine each time. When I remove all the cables, the CPU board boots normally. I add the first, restart it, no problem, and continue up the board. I've found that when I add back the cables, sometimes when I add the cable (upper left on the CPU board) that connects both to the sound interface board and the display board, the CPU board goes back to blanking state. If I remove it, it boots, with errors (obviously no display). Monkeying around will get it back, but then the intermittent issue pops up again and I start all over.

Unfortunately, since the cable involved touches both the sound AND the display, I'm having trouble figuring out what might be the cause.

Any thoughts on what I broke? Could the ColorDMD display be drawing too much power or something? My audio engineering knowledge says to me that speakers (and their sizing) shouldn't have an impact on the sound board, so I suspect something else is afoot.


#526 4 years ago

I did try unplugging the ColorDMD from power and the display board while leaving the CPU board connected and it didn't change the blanking state. Only after I disconnected the display board from the CPU board did the CPU board boot normally.

If I'm having a problem with 5v logic, would the entire playfield go dark? Assuming this is the case, any pointers on where to start finding the problem in the 5v?

Thanks, sorry for the noob questions.

#528 4 years ago

I've now checked what you asked. From what I can tell, the controller board is still receiving power at J606. See the attached photo, I assume the low voltage harness is what is still connected?

Regarding J116, I do believe it is connected to the center connector as described, again see the attached photo.

Can you confirm I did this properly? Thanks.


#530 4 years ago

FWIW, you're making me really like ColorDMD with all this help.

I double checked all the pins, none were bent. Of course, now that I've re-seated everything again, I can't get it to repeat the reset. Maybe it was one of these connectors, maybe not, or maybe it's just weird luck. I'll post if/when I can get it to happen again.

#535 4 years ago

Hey all. I hate to add my trunk woes to the group, but can anyone help me localize this:

The trunk doesn't move, or make a noise. The trunk test says "Please Wait, Trunk Should be Moving," but it's not. The test then dumps into error mode, with all the switches as open and "ERROR" on the left.

I checked the motor with a 9v battery, and it turns the gears no problem. I checked the connections between J116 and J126 and the motor control board, but I don't see any issues there. Any thoughts on what to check next? The LED on the motor control board is off.

Thanks in advance.

#536 4 years ago

Crap, I'm a moron. Molex unplugged on the power leads to J116 at the bottom of the cabinet when I flipped it back. /me facepalms.

#543 4 years ago

How do you get the green in the lower left of your backglass? Do you use a color LED behind it?

#547 4 years ago

Here's a noob problem I'm hoping is obvious to you guys:

Every time my ToM has been off for a while and then is turned on, during the tests it says to check Switch 83, Vanish Lock 1. Occasionally Switch 66, Top Lane 1.

I move to the test (single switch test), it appropriately shows open, and if I manually open and close the switch, it works fine. I'll then power cycle and re-test and everything appears fine, and until then next period of powering off, it doesn't come back.

Is this a switch matrix connections getting old issue? Any thoughts welcome.

1 week later
#554 4 years ago
Quoted from GameVault:

I have to decide which mods to do as time goes on.

Best thing I've done so far is upgrade the speakers. I went with an 8" woofer. Ground shakes.


Second best thing I've done is clean the junk from the trunk. It now spins without noise super fast.


My next move is GI OCD.


#557 4 years ago
Quoted from gliebig:

Color DMD, Mirror Blades and LED's!

I was thinking about mirror blades... But honestly, I'm gravitating towards the red velvet blades.
I have the ColorDMD. Took me a couple weeks to get used to it but now I love it, can't go back.

1 week later
#561 4 years ago

FYI, I just posted to this topic on the voice actors of ToM, finally revealed:


1 week later
#567 4 years ago

Can you post a photo of where the metal wall meets the wire rail? We can compare (mine is fine).

Quoted from urbanledge:

had a look at this.the metal wall guides the ball right into the end of the wireform.
i wedged out the metal with a piece of cardboard and it cured it.
have to come up with a long term solution

1 week later
#575 4 years ago
Quoted from RVH:

Is there a plastic above this that may be affecting the ball as it comes to the top of this Ramp?

Honestly, I looked at this closely, and I don't think it's a plastics issue. Sounds like it was a rail alignment issue and it was now fixed!

1 week later
#591 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

So I don't know why it bothers me and not other people, but I think that the solution is to not play in dimly lit rooms, and if need be, add some lower playfield GI like what Stern puts in a number of their games like the one I've attached to this post.

First, let me assure you, you're not the only person who experiences this, as I do as well. The ambient room lighting can increase or decrease the severity of it, as can the nature and brightness of the LEDs you use. The reason the issue seems elusive is that it tends to be a problem coming from the outer edge of the retina of your eye, which picks up greater light sensitivity than looking directly at something. For a certain subset of people, this distinction is even greater.

This is a process similar to the DLP color wheel rainbow effect, which again, only effects a certain subset of people. To quote wikipedia on this one:

Brief visible separation of the colours can also be apparent when the viewer moves their eyes quickly across the projected image. Some people perceive these rainbow artifacts frequently, while others may never see them at all.

This effect is caused by the way the eye follows a moving object on the projection. When an object on the screen moves, the eye will follow the object with a constant motion, but the projector will display each alternating color of the frame at the same location, for the duration of the whole frame. So, while the eye is moving, it will see a frame of a specific color (red for example). Then, when the next color is displayed (green for example), although it gets displayed at the same location overlapping the previous color, the eye will have moved toward the object's next frame target. Thus, the eye will see that specific frame color slightly shifted. Then, the third color gets displayed (blue for example), and the eye will see that frame's color slightly shifted again. This effect is not perceived only for the moving object, but the whole picture.

So, bottom line, you're not alone. For what it's worth, what you're seeing is the LEDs flicker when your eye isn't directly looking at the LEDs. I had the same problem, and sorry about your pocketbook but my problem disappeared when I installed Herg's GI OCD.

Quoted from nickbuol:

The owner also told me that he finds Coin Taker LEDs much too bright and likes buying from Comet and Flipper Fidelity better.

I've used the CoinTaker LEDs without any issue. Sometimes I do have some problems getting the wire contacts on the CoinTaker LEDs to match with the bulb sockets, but some minor adjustments with a fingernail solves the problem. I use their Supers for just about everything, though frosted or retros for the GI strings on the playfield so it doesn't look like clown vomit. Note that I do not use the LED OCD, and I haven't had flickering problems since.


#593 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

So one question about the Herg's GI OCD vs LCD OCD, I would have thought that you would need both in order to provide the desired result. You are saying that I would *just* need the GI one? That is unexpected (but helpful $$$ wise).

Yes, that's been my experience. I think it may be that the lights are flashing in a manner that makes it hard to see. It might also have something to do with the dimming effects that the ToM machine uses mostly on the GI (vs. just flashing on the rest). The GI OCD allows the dimming effects to work properly. I've found when a machine tries to dim a light with an LED on it I get increased flicker, at least to my eye.

Quoted from nickbuol:

I wonder if C.T. can swap out the GI lights for frosted or retros within their kit? I will have to ask them.

Hmm, good question. Since there is no real way to know what the original design intent is (that I've been able to find, let me know if you or anyone has figured that out), I would recommend doing the entire kit and then replacing elements piece by piece as you see fit. I've found that some of the GI's look pretty good with 44 or 555 Frosted, some look good with a bright exposed color, though certain lights that are meant to look like edison-style light bulbs you can replace with retros (for me, the only retro I use is right beneath the spirit ring).

Here is an example, note the two white frosted on the left side of the photo and the two purple 4LED style (these were in the machine when I bought it):


Here is the retro bulb under the Spirit Ring:


I hope that's helpful.


#595 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

I understand that the saw will spin at more times with the 1.4h ROM, but is it really worth the expense (even if I could find a 1.4h chip) over the 1.3x ROM?

I wouldn't change it just for the saw. There are no other changes in the ROM except support for prototype ToMs (Saw, Magic Post), and the introduction of a potential multiball crash.

Personally, I love the saw effect, I'd just call this a "nice to have" vs. a critical update.

1 week later
#598 4 years ago

This concerns me:


I've seen some back and forth around whether or not the post next to the trunk belongs there. Am I hearing right that it should be removed? Note the playfield issues around the trunk and that post. Any suggestions on how to restore? I've been looking for a complete playfield restoration outfit but haven't had much luck so far here in Northern California.

#602 4 years ago

Anyone know where to get one of these? Mine appears to be missing:


#604 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

Does anyone in the club have the ability to get a high resolution scan or image of the "A" in M.A.G.I.C. on the playfield?

I scan mine for you but I don't have the equipment, sorry!

#606 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

Heck, I would take a super steady high res (not cell phone) photo with a ruler for scale next to it as a starting point.

Hmm. Well, I could try getting something well lit with my 5D. The challenge, as you suggest, is scale. Let me give it a shot.

#607 4 years ago

Here you go, hopefully these will help. The color reproduction when lit properly is usually pretty amazing with this camera I'm using.

First, with a ruler:


I added one with a caliper to get extra nerdy. My angle isn't precise but it's somewhere around 27mm.


#608 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

Agreed, remove it. Mine was sheared off at some point a LONG time ago and I never fixed it. Sure, the ball sometimes goes and gets stuck between the right post and the trunk, but it is rare, and when the machine does a "ball search" it knocks it loose without any damage to anything. I've seen people put a piece of sticky foam tape on the ramp back there to make it so that the ball can't get stuck there to begin with.

I removed that post, and replaced with a tee nut, which appears to be what was intended from factory. The challenge is that now, at least the way I play, the ball gets stuck up there. You're right, a ball search will release the ball (versus strip the gears in the gear box while the ball wedges itself between the post and the trunk).

I'm hearing foam tape, I've seen rubber tubing... Any other suggestions on what I might do to keep the ball from getting stuck up there? Only happens if the ball is headed in that direction when the trunk is turning.

Also, you'll see the t-nut isn't precisely flush. That's because I tried to use the screwing down of the nut to "draw it into" the playfield slowly, versus use a hammer on my playfield. Any thoughts on this I'd welcome as well.

Here's the spot before:


Here's the spot after:


1 week later
#615 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

OK. So I tried to mess around with the photos of the "A" above that jsa was able to provide, and I am finding that they just aren't clear enough to make a nice original looking print for a decal.
Does anyone have the ability to scan the "A" in MAGIC vs. taking a photo of it?

Is the issue focus? Scanning is definitely the right way to go. I've been meaning to pick up a portable scanner, though I haven't really done the research yet on what's ideal.

#621 4 years ago
Quoted from KyleCat:

Does anyone know what type of led's I should buy for all of the lamps, GI, and flashers? Any tips on color for areas would help too. I think its cheaper to build my own design.

I used CoinTaker's supers for just about everything behind an insert. I can see an argument for going to frosted for anything GI. Behind inserts frosted can also appear a bit more diffused, so I may switch some to frosted for colors like yellow. For flashers I used supers as well, though I did a red flasher for the trunk (green is also fun) and color matched the backglass for those flashers as well.

There are a number of bulb sockets that require the Flex style, you can pick them out pretty easily.

One thing I would absolutely emphatically recommend is to get the GI OCD for your GI string:



#623 4 years ago
Quoted from KyleCat:

Can you get a non-ghosting LED ROM for this game? If so please provide me a seller

I don't have ghosting problems with 1.4H.

#629 4 years ago
Quoted from KyleCat:

Took some neat pictures with my dads new DLSR.

That first photo is pretty amazing. Has your playfield been recently clear coated? Or is that just the factory diamond plate?

#632 4 years ago
Quoted from KyleCat:

All factory, I bought this baby near mint for $4300. I am a lucky son of a gun

Indeed, it's a beautiful machine from the photos. I took a shot with my camera to see that angle as well. Here two shots, the first to match yours:


Note the chain/lock mod. According to the previous owner, the chain was developed by someone in Europe, possibly Denmark. They were sold in the here in the United States by Pacific Coast Pinball in silver or gold. I haven't seen another chain like it, though if you have one, please post! In theory, they are almost exact replicas of the chain and lock shown on the side decals.


#637 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

That chain and lock kit runs $50 plus $5 shipping.

Yeah, that photo on Pacific Coast Pinball is actually my ToM. They owned my machine for many years, and were responsible for the mods (including the real saw blade and eletroplating the rails). They mentioned that the chain/lock mod was "one of maybe a dozen," so you might want to grab one while you can.

Quoted from KyleCat:

Wow, those led's really pop. Can't wait til mine come in the mail. I am going to keep the GI incandescent because I like the look. Does it say JOOS Lock Co on the lock?

It doesn't say JOOS, I think it says Dior. Probably a charm that someone found that looked precisely like those locks. I'm all for do-it-yourself mods, but this one is pretty nice if they still have them in stock.

Quoted from KyleCat:

Where did you get the drama faces on the open trap door buttons?

I got them from Pinball Decals as nickbuol suggests. It's difficult to know if they were factory or not. The Pinball Arcade version of the game doesn't have the decals, but I've seen them in older photos of ToM. Regardless, I like them, they seem like they fit. I suppose we could ask JPop or someone else involved in the game.

#639 4 years ago

Two questions:

1) Is there any value, other than bookkeeping, to the actual time/date function of ToM?

2) My ToM has never kept time (even with fresh batteries). Any suggestions as to why, and how to fix it, if there is any purpose?

#656 4 years ago
Quoted from KyleCat:

I have taken up the playfield plenty of times, I have never removed the subway

I've slowly built up courage to do this stuff. I removed the trunk/motor assembly to do the "remove gunk from the trunk" trick, what a massive difference that made (trunk is super fast now and quiet). That helped me become more confident.

I'm not ready to do a teardown yet. That's next, as I plan to restore the playfield.

#662 4 years ago

Is the idea that you could see it spin better? Mine has an actual saw blade so I like the look of what I have, but I can see people getting this if it increases the visibility of the moving blade.

#664 4 years ago
Quoted from flashinstinct:

Well the foil would get different tones during the spin and the graphic would enhance that. Does the saw spin originally or was it a mod. Depends how fast the blade spins

The saw does not spin without the mod. It was designed to spin, but the feature was removed last minute to save costs. The developers re-introduced the code later to accommodate the mod, and most ToM owners probably have it.

#692 4 years ago

I just had my first LED fail, ever, today...in a pop bumper. Repeated what nickbuol just went through and replaced it. It's good to have a bunch of LEDs lying around. When I first got the machine, I pulled all the bulbs and LEDs (it was mixed) and threw the LEDs in a bag, then replaced them with consistent make/quality/color matching from CoinTaker. That bag of old LEDs comes in handy.

Regarding your decision on ColorDMD; It's great, but I can see both sides if you're a purist. I made the call when I was upgrading my speakers and speaker panel. I figured, since I was customizing the speaker panel, if I ever plan on upgrading to ColorDMD, I better make sure the panel speaker adapters accommodate the larger size of the ColorDMD, just in case. Then, the way my cave man brain works, I better get a ColorDMD, so I can measure properly. Now I've got two 5.25's in the speaker panel (had to make the right hole bigger) with adapter plates to accommodate the 3-way tweeters, and a Boss 8" Chaos Extreme in the cabinet (also had to route a bigger hole and create a new adaptor plate).

Speaker panel, note the adaptor had to be altered to accommodate the ColorDMD:


Here's how it looks from the front:


Here's the cabinet speaker, when you have the l-pot set right it shakes the room:


If you ever want to do this speaker upgrade yourself, I followed this guys post to the letter:


#694 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

Yeah, I agree that the gap of the ColorDMD is annoying from the side. Straight on it looks good... Well, I guess since it is gapped back a little bit, so the new brighter LEDs (vs. incandescent) backbox lights shine down between the speaker panel and the ColorDMD as well.
So I agree that it needs a little tweaking. I was thinking some black foam tape on the back of the speaker panel, and then removing the spacer and tighting it down against the foam.

You know, you mentioning that gap is the first time I've noticed it! Now that I see the photo, I can see the gap, but honestly it's almost impossible to see otherwise. I took that photo from that angle to show the speaker better.

#695 4 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

You know, you mentioning that gap is the first time I've noticed it! Now that I see the photo, I can see the gap, but honestly it's almost impossible to see otherwise. I took that photo from that angle to show the speaker better.

Also...notice the metal frame for the ColorDMD. That white gap is on the screen itself, coming from the backlight of the LCD panel. I'm not sure there is anything you can really do about it, other than create a foam seal around the inside edge of the window.

#702 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

So, any ideas on what would cause this?

I think he's saying it was happening before, but you couldn't see it. As mot suggests, you need to test the power levels at various points to troubleshoot where your voltage problem is. This is fairly common as the driver board gets old and the caps/etc. need replacing.

#703 4 years ago

Anyone have any tips if I want to move my Tiger Saw mod to be powered by an external 5v instead of drawing it off the board? It would be nice if there was some kind of clean package for an external 5v for mods vs. hacking one together.


I found this, anyone used this?

amazon.com link »

Also, does anyone know what current these Tiger Saw motors are rated for?

#711 4 years ago

For Christmas, my buddy who is housesitting set a ridiculous high score for me to beat on my ToM. I have a long_ way to go.

#713 4 years ago

I have a lot of work ahead of me.


#719 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

Yeah, I'm calling it as either he was really, REALLY lucky, or cheated himself. The absolute best that I've seen on our ToM since we bought it in 1999 was about 4.5 billion, if my memory is correct), but that is with 5 regular balls plus 4 buy-ins. Anything higher was during "testing" with the glass off.

Nope, he doesn't cheat. He's a league competitor in San Francisco. The other score on my pin (that he just pushed down) is from Neil Shatz.

He regularly gets in the 5-7 billion range, gets to Grand Finale without a hitch. Brian is placing high in California (I'm not sure he feels he can compete PAPA, but he's on the way there).

#720 4 years ago

Oh, and I should add, just 3 balls (plus extra balls, of course).

[EDIT:] Brian tells me my machine *IS* easier, because Replay is set to give Extra Ball. That's how I got the game, but what did I know.

1 week later
#738 4 years ago

Just installed LED OCD on the ToM. I didn't think it would matter that much, but the difference is insane. I'm trying to get closer to the intent of the designers, I think this gets me there. The LEDs I'm using are almost all CoinTaker Supers, FWIW, and the LEDs light up at about 4% and continue until 95%.

#741 4 years ago
Quoted from gliebig:

What does the OCD do? I LED my TOM with standard bulbs. Looks fine to me.?

When you replace your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, there are certain things that don't work quite right, namely dimming. In the case of the ToM, there are certain special effects the designers created, primarily on the general illumination string, where the table dims/brightens during certain play modes. With LEDs, I would just get flicker, not dimming, or no effect at all. Once I installed the GI OCD, it corrected that problem.

The issue is similar for the insert lights, in that the game fades those lights in and out. I agree with nickbuol, really the machine looks fine without the LED OCD...However, I recently replaced my power driver board with a Rottendog, and since then, I was getting ghosting on the inserts (LEDs lighting up dimly when they are not supposed to, when a nearby LED was on). To fix it, I bought the LED OCD. Not only did it fix the ghosting, but suddenly I saw what my lights would looks like when properly fading and dimming, and it's really beautiful. I wouldn't have known because, as others have said, it looks quite good on ToM without it.

#745 4 years ago
Quoted from meSz:

JSA can you advise as to what fading you see or even throw up a video showing this? On the fence about buying this and would like to see.

I tried to create a before/after video, using the "passthrough" option on LED OCD (in theory, turns off the LED OCD and simulates not having one installed). Unfortunately two problems; One, I'm not sure passthrough is working correctly, and two, none of the intense flicker and ghosting show up with the LED OCD installed. You can look and tell me if you can see it:

I've been told to really see the difference and fading with video, you need to shoot in slow motion. I don't have the patience to make that video.

Check out this thread:


I find that pretty much captures what I saw with the GI OCD, and the LED OCD is no different.

#746 4 years ago

Hey all, different topic: Today, I installed "Leon's Fix," the board built by german-pinball. Just a refresher, there is a bug on Theatre of Magic where under certain conditions, if you hit the trunk at the wrong time, it causes the trunk to lock up until the game is power cycled (or you run a trunk test).

It was called Leon's Fix because Leon Borre (RIP) proposed that this software bug could be fixed with hardware, and suggested how it might be done. Years after his death, the community here started a thread on the topic:


After a ton of contributions and german-pinball (Ingo)'s excellent work, he shipped a hareware fix that installs beneath the trunk. The fix comes on it's own, or also combined with a high quality opto board for the trunk. I received mine today and installed it. The error is gone, and everything works perfectly! Here are photos.


Pretty freaking amazing.

#747 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

I believe that there is a setting to prevent GI dimming, but maybe that is just for the "attract mode." I know that I turned off some setting just before putting the LEDs in per recommendation of Pinball Bulbs (I believe)....
Maybe that is also why I am not noticing it.

That is correct, it is recommended you turn off the dimming features with LEDs without GI OCD. It's a shame, it's really dramatic.

Quoted from nickbuol:

Before the LED upgrade, I was told that I probably wouldn't need an LED OCD with ToM, but maybe a GI OCD instead.

That may have been me. If you're not having ghosting issues (mine only occurred after getting the Rottendog board) I'd say it's totally fine without it.

Quoted from nickbuol:

Then there is the talk of reproduction ToM playfields possibly being available at the Texas Pinball Festival in March. Not that I have the extra cash AT ALL right now, this could be a once in a lifetime chance to get a "perfect" playfield. Of course, since I live in Iowa, travel would need to be arranged to make that happen, plus I can't imagine the amount of time it would take to do a playfield swap. Sooooo many wires, bolts, pieces, etc. I guess with a 2nd playfield at least I could set them side-by-side to do it (probably have to build 2 rotisseries)

I don't have the courage to do a full teardown yet. It's a month of work for someone like me (at least) and the game works fine. One day...

#752 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

I've been on the "paid" list for a few days now. Not sure when mine will ship. Did he send you a shipping notification or did it just show up one day? Can't wait to get it installed because we had a good 4 person game going this past weekend and the trunk took a double hit and stopped at about a 45 degree angle about 1/2 way through our "match." The game does a good job of not becoming totally crippled without a moving trunk, but still was much less enjoyable. Power cycle and it is fixed, but still. Ruined the games we had going.

He's assembling the PCBs by hand so he's doing the shipments as he can. I was on the list early so I got mine fairly quickly. It took about six days from Germany to California. He sent me a PM with tracking info when it shipped.

#753 4 years ago
Quoted from gliebig:

Any mod to fix the ball going through the pops without hitting anything? Always seems to happen during straight jacket escape.

Not that I've heard of. It happens some percentage of the time, the majority of the time on mine it hits at least a few times.

1 week later
#773 4 years ago

I've been experimenting with SmartDMD:


#774 4 years ago

Nice job, Namsun. Did you have that professionally restored? I'm digging the trim on the backbox. What's the story there?

Separate issue: Anyone here feel bold enough to lend me their ramp exit guard for a few weeks? I'd take it to a machine shop, have it 3D scanned and reproduced and send it back.

Just for reference, here's the part:


#776 4 years ago
Quoted from gliebig:

Does the clock mod work with the game clock?

The clock mod lights up when you advance the clock or at midnight in the game, my understanding.

Note that the game's time and date function, meaning the actual time and date, have zero relationship with the clock in the game, which advances separately.

#779 4 years ago
Quoted from njgsx96:

I have a friend with a machine shop. if you can wait, he already said he would make a copy of mine. Figure I can get it to him next week, have some made up.

That would be beyond amazing, thank you so much. I'm happy to pay for the trouble, of course.

#782 4 years ago

Anyone here have any idea why I might have this problem: First time I get to two balls locked, trunk magnet fires normally with third ball and multiball starts. Second time I get to two balls locked, the trunk registers a hit but the magnet doesn't fire. If I start a new game, process repeats. Sometimes it will work twice and not three times, sometimes just once.

Any thoughts? I figure if it were a fuse problem, it wouldn't work the first time, right?

#784 4 years ago

You are correct, thank you. The pin in one of the molex connectors wasn't seated properly under the trunk. Thanks for the help!

#787 4 years ago

Namsan, by "digging the trim," it means I'm very impressed! C'est étonnant. The trim is gold around the backbox, I haven't seen that before. Can you purchase that separately?

Also, great work on the videos. You should post them all, they can be very helpful.

#790 4 years ago

Ok, this is weird. Adam Rhine left a bunch of faces hidden in the ToM game ROM. Check this one out:


#791 4 years ago

Here's the other ones. I think one of these messages is a safe sex PSA in France. I guess we know the origin of the ROM.


#798 4 years ago
Quoted from njgsx96:

JSA, PM me your address and I will get this in the mail for you.

You seriously are amazing. THANK YOU! Please tell your friend we're so grateful!

#801 4 years ago
Quoted from njgsx96:

I am just paying it forward and doing my part!
If anyone else need one, I had him make a few.

This is the spirit I've seen since joining this community. It's a great group and I've had fantastic help from so many people, so quickly. I will be sure to do the same.

#802 4 years ago

Many, many thanks to njgsx96 for his help. You all know how long I've been looking for this part. THIS COMMUNITY ROCKS.


2 weeks later
#816 4 years ago

Locks like that are basically charms for charm bracelets. Tons of Etsy crafts folk make and sell them, it's an entire international community. The good news is that you can search for them and find them fairly easily. I'm guessing mine came from a similar source. If only they said JOOS Lock Company on them!

1 month later
#864 3 years ago

I'm trying to isolate a change of behavior. In the past, if lock is lit, and I knock the ball into the trunk from the center loop, it registers a locked ball no matter what mode the game is in (during illusions, etc). It seems now that this is intermittent, and particularly if I'm in another game mode, if I sent the ball on the center loop and it enters the trunk, it doesn't always register it as a locked ball. It then pops the ball back up again through the trap door as normal.

Has anyone seen this? Is the issue a sensor inside the trunk not registering?

1 week later
#888 3 years ago
Quoted from BrooklynDrug:

Hello theatre of magic owners!
I was wondering if there is a cliffy that exist for the trap door? I'm looking at a Tom right now and has a bit of wear there. I was wondering if a cliffy even existed for this. Thanks for any info guys. Thanks!

He really wants to make one for the trap door and trunk as well. Unfortunately, he hasn't had access to a playfield to model the cliffy off of! If you can take an accurate scan with a portable scanner, he's said that might be enough to get started. I was planning on doing this myself as soon as I tear down my playfield for playfield restoration, but I'm having too much fun playing the game to take the risk on my first teardown! If someone else wants to step up here, let me know.

#889 3 years ago
Quoted from Slingshot:

Need some help looking for the hardware (correct) that goes in the spot where the T nut should be at. Thanks in advance.

What should be there is a t-nut. Are you saying you want to know what size of t-nut?

People have experimented over the years with putting a post in that location of various types, and all that has resulted is the ball getting stuck and it causing potential damage to the playfield. Mine had a post someone had put there so I took it out and replaced it with a t-nut, and now it works very well. On the very rare occasion a ball gets stuck the game releases it automatically when it figures out the ball isn't draining.

#899 3 years ago
Quoted from Slingshot:

Im thinking this is the stud just need a verification,

Well, first, let me say again, I don't think there should be a post there. There are a number of threads here on Pinside where this is discussed and the majority of ToM owners would probably tell you it's going to break your playfield. JPop and others have also reinforced this. For a brief time people were modifying it in the hopes it would reduce the chances of a ball getting caught, but it only made it worse. For that reason, I would replace the t-nut.

As for what size of t-nut. I have a #10-32, mainly because the #10 fit the trunk gear assembly box better. However, I've been meaning to replace this with a #8-32 or a #6-32, because I believe it fits the space on the playfield better.

#900 3 years ago
Quoted from DumbAss:

I just finished a complete tear down and rebuild (re-assembled about 3 months ago). The playfield was clear coated. It was touched up, repaired and scanned at the time. The trap door area was not perfect but in good condition. The trunk was pretty much perfect. I don't have the scan but I can easily get it from the person who scanned it. I'm not sure about how scale and measurements factor into this. Should I just contact Cliffy directly?

Yes, or you could send them to me, whatever works for you. I know a lot of ToM owners who would love to buy a trap door and trunk cliffy so I'm happy to help.

#903 3 years ago
Quoted from Slingshot:

Thanks I appreciate the help! I was not planning to put a post there I realized later after looking at it that was the wrong part that I was thinking of. I think you are right it is a 6 or 8-32 T-nut and then from what I've gathered there is a 1/2" (length) hex head bolt that then anchors the motor base to the underside of the PF right into the T-nut.

Ah! Yes, you are correct. There is a head head bolt there to cover the distance. Do you want me to photograph it?

#906 3 years ago
Quoted from Slingshot:

Absolutely! Thanks Bro!

First, future ToM owners warning: I have chosen to use a #10-32 t-nut here, because the previous owners damage to the playfield was such that a #8-32 or #6-32 wouldn't have filled the hole properly. Also, I decided to stick with #10, because it fit the hole for the trunk base better as well (and the other bolts for the other three mounting points are also #10).

There are a number of articles on tricks to getting a t-nut to properly set into the playfield, so I won't bore you with those techniques.

Here is the link to the #10-32 x 3/4" hex machine screw I used:


Obviously, if you choose to use a #8-32 t-nut, you'll need a #8 screw, which you can find here:


Here is a photograph of the machine screw. Note that I also chose to use two washers. You can probably get away with a single washer, but the reason I use two is because I want to make sure the screw doesn't pass through the t-nut and create a playfield bump. If your playfield is less damaged, you may find that one or no washers are required:


Here is a photograph of the base of the unit, note my two washers:


Here is a photograph of the actual #10-32 t-nut in place, please no heckling about the condition of the playfield. I need to tear it down and have it restored, but I'm not quite ready to do so:


I'm curious what other ToM owners have going on here with their screw and t-nut (or clever alternative). When I have the playfield restored, I'll have it done professionally, and they ask you to remove the t-nut. Ideally there would be one set beneath the clear, but that might be a little risky.

Hopefully this helps!

#907 3 years ago
Quoted from ramegoom:

Pictures of my the trunk area with the posts and rubber guard:

Dude what's up with the bolt on your trunk?

#909 3 years ago
Quoted from ramegoom:

Hah, junk in the trunk!
I wondered that myself. There's one on each side. Prior owner must've felt he needed extra support.
I have a new trunk to install, and won't drill it for the bolts - but still, makes me wonder what the former owner was thinking.

Yeah, the whole thing is a little overkill. My recommendation is you put some dynamat on the inside of the bottom of the trunk (or the whole plastic) to prevent any cracking as it hardens over time. As for the ball guard rubber thing... I have nothing (just the t-nut) and honestly the game works great. You definitely need to keep that gearbox clean and properly greased so that the trunk moves fast, and since I've done that, it almost never gets stuck. More importantly, with just a t-nut, when it does get stuck, it figures it out and moves the trunk to release the ball. You interfere with that when you have additional posts!

1 month later
#940 3 years ago

Where are you all getting your brass trim/legs/rails?

2 weeks later
#953 3 years ago

FYI for ToM owners. I was having a SDTM issue getting worse over time from the ball popper/trap door. It was being caused by play between the armature and the coil sleeves. I chose to replace the armatures and coil sleeves in the trap door bracket assembly, which fixed the problem. However, note that the new Marco armature replacement (04-10019) is slightly off (either the hole for attaching the trap door lid or possibly the entire length), so it hovers the trap door slightly above the playfield by a few mm. The fix is either to use the original armature or bend the stop bracket (with the rubber grommet).

I also posted on the old thread:


2 weeks later
#955 3 years ago
Quoted from KyleCat:

Well guys, the party is pooped. My theatre crapped out on me and the trap door can't kick out a ball. The trap door comes up but the ball won't come out. I've had this problem before and I think it was something with a bent switch but I can't remember how exactly. Any help would be appreciated. Happy 4th!

Happy 4th indeed! There are two coils relevant to that trap door, one opens it (obviously working) and one is the popper. You can run a test on that in the test menu first (remember to close the coin door while the test is running). If that coil pops, then yes, it could be that the switch that detects a ball is in the cup isn't firing. This is the switch that is mounted to the coil bracket assembly near the coil that raises the trap door. Check that one as well.

#970 3 years ago
Quoted from KyleCat:

I found that there was a fuse for the trunk magnet and ball feeder but it's on the fliptronics board. Thanks jsa for the help.

On a related but different solution note, I recently had a problem where the trunk wouldn't lock any balls. It turned out to be my optos in the trunk were starting to get less sensitive. I tried cleaning them but it still was intermittent. I ended up replacing the optos and it corrected my problem. I'm terrified of soldering yet I'm slowly getting the hang of it.

#973 3 years ago
Quoted from bsbdmd83:

So as I understand to replace the opto board as well as the motor and gear assembly, I need to extract the pins from the molex connector. Is this a process where I could damage the pins and should I have a backup cable?

Great question. Ideally you have a molex pin extraction tool, but the first time I did it, I did it with a needle nose pliers. I did not need a backup cable. The worst possible thing that can happen is that you damage a pin (which I have yet to do), which then would require re-crimping a pin back onto the wire.

Regarding molex pin extraction tools, the ones labeled as such all suck horrible ass. I've had better luck with this:

amazon.com link »

Just as an aside, I'm surprised you would have to replace the gear assembly. Usually you can restore it completely by opening it up, de-carbing the brown gunk from it, and applying new grease. Did a gear actually break? Motors die, though mine is an original.

#975 3 years ago
Quoted from RVH:

The pins have a tab on them that needs to be pushed in as you wiggle and pull the wire out. I use a stiff sewing type of needle to press on the metal tab.
Pull the connector apart and look into the male side and you can see the tab that needs to be pushed in.

The tabs are typically on both sides of the exposed part of the pin, just FYI.

1 week later
#983 3 years ago

Great work, that must have been quite a lot of work to design, well done. I tend to steer away from the cosmetic mods myself, though when I bought my machine it had a real saw blade hooked into the tiger saw mod. Anyway, good work.

4 weeks later
#1035 3 years ago
Quoted from dudah:

Is it bad luck to sell your first game?

I was on my back, floating on the Feather River this summer, listening to music at a music festival. There were probably about 250 people floating around me on various inflatables, at various stages of intoxication. Anyway, a friend of mine is chatting with me and brings up pinball, and somehow we get to talking about Theatre of Magic.

Anyway, within a few minutes, a completely passed out guy with his head barely above the water line picks up his head and yells at us, in a slurred speech, "Theatre of Magic is the best pinball game. EVER." He promptly passes out again.

Another guy hears him, and says, "Shit, did you just say Theatre of Magic? Seriously the most fun pinball game ever."

Pinball tournament players grow tired of the rules and get bored of the game, for sure. As far as general entertainment, I think this game has better legs than other games. Take what I'm saying with a grain of salt, I'm new to this. However, the reason I chose ToM was for this reason.

Your call though!

3 weeks later
#1091 3 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

Yeah, but isn't 1.4 known to have some (rare) multiball failure or something? I remember there being some reasons why people said not to go to 1.4... It would be nice to have the saw spin as designated by the 1.4 ROM though...

I've never experienced any bugs in 1.4H. I'm not saying they aren't there, but so far, nothing.

2 weeks later
#1130 3 years ago
Quoted from Robl45:

So I was playing today with the kids and during my turn the game just turned off and reset. We then played another game without issues. Since getting the thing out of storage, its probably been played 50 times without incident. Should I worry about this or is it just a freak occurance? Using 1.4h home rom.

This also tends to happen when there is a fluctuation in the 5v side of the power feeding the MPU board. This is caused by a number of factors, including components getting old on the power driver board. There is a band-aid fix if it continues to happen where you can place a small board in line to make the 5v stable. Here is a link:


The reason I say band-aid is because ultimately you want a stable 5v source, and you should repair the cause at some point. I'd only do any of this if it continues to increase in frequency.

#1132 3 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

Bought a big metal container of professional strength Goof Off from Home Depot (about $15) and WOW... The adhesive comes off quickly with this stuff and a plastic putty/scraper. It took off adhesive where the mineral spirits/razor blade left it behind.

Just went through this on another installation. My experience was similar, in that there was so much adhesive impregnated into the top layer of the wood, I'd either have to sand or use a large amount of toxic glue remover. I ended up opting for a lot of sanding. It took forever and honestly, in retrospect, I probably would have benefitted from using the toxic glue remover. What's a little carcinogenic exposure when it means getting things done so much faster?

#1136 3 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

Last night I put a coat of gloss on the cabinet and backbox, and tonight I did another coat.

Am I seeing this right that you left your electronics in the backbox while you painted it? That's bold... though probably fine if you protected them properly.

#1144 3 years ago
Quoted from fiberdude120:

Well if you miss playing your TOM I am about 30 min from where you are and you can come by and play mine to get your fix. Mine is also in beautiful condition so if there is anything you have to look at let me know.

I used to live in Pawling, now I'm in Mill Valley, California. Too bad, I'd have finally found someone I could challenge to a ToM tournament.

#1150 3 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

So I have no idea what I want to do. I really can't afford to put any serious money into this machine after the recent items, but it almost seems like the more I improve things, the more that the "A" stands out.

Is there a scanner one of us can borrow that would produce the scan that would work for you?

#1174 3 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

I don't think that most people who are casual players would really notice, thus the product name of "OCD" is soooo appropriate. Only those with OCD (or a bad machine like that Twilight Zone on their website) would get a big enough benefit to make it a hands down "must have."

I'm a casual player and I noticed, but bear in mind, there is a specific percentage of the population that can see flicker in LED systems more than others (similar to the DLP rainbow effect). The enhanced lighting control the software gives you and the ability to control the speed of the fading is really a fantastic addition to your machine. I intend on keeping mine so these investments are for my own enjoyment.

#1176 3 years ago
Quoted from meSz:

Thanks a lot for the pics and details! I may wind up mixing it up between yours and Drewblood's! Question is....will the LEDs look good when they come out with the 3D Translites?

They should match the light locations, so my guess is yes.

#1178 3 years ago
Quoted from jyeakley:

Are you basing your opinion off of the video on the site or have you seen this in person? The video(s) do not do this mod any justice...once you see it in person you will want it. At the very least you should eventually get the GI OCD - LEDs simply do not work right on the basement sequence. It was programmed to gradually dim to dark - without the board, LEDs just flicker - it is horrible. Or keep the GI incandescent

What he said. Basically, any game with dimming effects on either the GI or insert LEDs need this modification, IMHO.

1 month later
#1282 3 years ago

Tempted, but I just bought a kit from him for my other project! You guys are killing me. Maybe after I finish...

#1305 3 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

I just need to know how the backbox speakers are wired so that I get them correct and not reversed. Heck, even a closeup photo of the speakers with the wires visible would be helpful as I should be able to at least tell which wire goes to which post on the speakers.

I'd take a photo myself, but I re-wired the speakers differently when I performed my speaker upgrade. I found this helpful, however, for understanding the original wiring method, and you could probably use this as a reference:


#1313 3 years ago
Quoted from Robl45:

When does it actually dim. I tried looking on mine and couldn't see it.

The dimming effects are easiest to see when Multiball starts. The whole machine dims to black right before it starts.

#1320 3 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

I remember seeing someone's post about installing that pop-up post, but honestly, it was a bit lacking in cleanliness for my tastes. They had to drill a hole elsewhere in the playfield (they did it in front of the left flipper) for the "shoot again" insert, and then put in a post.
No idea how well it does or does not work though. I am pretty sure that they had to use a non-Williams/Bally part for the pop-up between the flippers, but that is all I remember about it.

Dave Zabriskie (did the sound work for ToM) has a prototype with the Magic Post. Would it be useful to have some photos of the post, top and bottom? I think one of his kids might have it now but I'm sure we could work it out.

#1332 3 years ago
Quoted from Robl45:

So I replaced a burned out GI bulb in the sling and looked under the playfield and noticed at least on TOM that probably half the bulbs or more are sitting horizontally. Do you need flex LED bulbs for all of those locations or just for the T and E in theatre? Those flex bulbs are double the price.

I've used the Cointaker flex bulbs. The total cost of ownership of all my LEDs (I bought them bit by bit over time all from Cointaker, mostly the Supers, Retros and Super Flexes, along with Super flashers as well) wasn't much more than a kit and I'm really happy with it.

When I got my ToM, 3/4 of the bulbs were LED and the rest were still incandescent or burnt out. The LEDs were all over the map, early era dim ones and newer ones, so I nuked them all and started from scratch with a consistent type. On it's own, it was a great improvement. Then I added the GI and LED OCD boards, and well, it's insanely amazing now, IMHO.

#1351 3 years ago
Quoted from GorillaBiscuits:

Thanks for the tip. Will hold out. Hopefully I won't destroy it like I did your board!!!
I think I fixed it temporarily by twisting the pot back and forth for a while. Played a solid ten games and worked fine. Is it worth it to upgrade the ball save magnet boards as well?

I never bothered to upgrade the magnets...I'm not sure it's an upgrade. If they aren't working properly, sure, but chances are if they are not something else is wrong.

I'll echo the previous statements...Hold out for the auto-eddy boards. Note that you'll need to adjust the location slightly the trunk auto eddy board, as it doesn't fit perfectly in the original screw holes (you'll need to make a new hole). Don't panic, just be careful!

#1384 3 years ago

What you're experiencing now is what I spent weeks tweaking (and then again with the GI and LED OCD boards). There is no real record of default bulb behavior and "artist intent," so it's hard to know what flasher is supposed to go off and when. You can run the test, of course, but when you are new to your game you will often miss a bulb or two that you never knew was there in the first place.

I'm the end, I traced every bulb chain in the machine and experimented with different colors and brightness levels (with GI OCD). If you ask pinball designers they tend to say they prefer incandescents, but I'd love to get JPop's opinion on my setup. I think he'd like it.

1 week later
#1391 3 years ago
Quoted from Robl45:

Stupid machine resets in the middle of a game. Its done it 3 or 4 times already. With the amount of games we play and the few times it happens, its not annoying enough to start going crazy over, but I'm wondering if that wpc board for 29 bucks will fix the issue? Maybe the plug its in isn't super stable?

Resets like this are almost always from the 5v watchdog. Voltage drops and it resets. There are lots of causes to this but primarily stems from the power driver board may have some flaky/aging components. The Kahr board does work but it's a good idea to track your problem down and correct it versus bandaid it, though in my case that required sending my power driver board to someone who could re-cap it and clean up any old joints.

#1401 3 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

I have a cheesy video (sorry for the music. My wife and daughter were chatting with me during the video.)
» YouTube video

That's pretty epic! Nicely done.

2 weeks later
#1451 3 years ago
Quoted from NeilMcRae:

Guys my trunkis off centre - is this just an adjustment of the grub screw to re-align?

Underneath the playfield beneath the trunk is a disc called the opto interrupter. It has four notches on it. That interrupter disc is held onto the trunk shaft with an allen wrench screw. You loosen that screw and adjust where those notches sit relative to the shaft. This governs where the trunk stops when it changes faces. I hope that helps!

#1458 3 years ago
Quoted from oropuro:

Hey guys I am getting a TOM fresh off European route, what will be the major issues? Common problems with this game?

I'd say common issues mentioned here in this topic include:

- Extra post mounted to right of trunk, usually needs to be removed
- Trunk damage around the outhole
- Trunk gearbox grease has turned into molasses, needs to be opened, de-gunked and re-greased
- Magna-save magnet rings go bad in various ways
- Optos get old and fail. They are used to determine which way the trunk faces, whether or not a ball enters the trunk, and the ball trough.
- Trunk sticks when it's hit, can be fixed with Ingo's hardware fix

#1460 3 years ago
Quoted from Robl45:

what do you mean by the magna save magnet rings go bad? I don't really want to shell out for the auto eddy sensors right now, but I would like to make the save magnets more reliable. They seem to work now, but only if the ball is going slowly.

Mine are the same magnets in the spirit ring and magna save (outlanes) that I had when I first got the game, so I don't think this necessarily happens often. However, I've read in this topic over time that people have had some issues with them losing efficacy or otherwise acting goofy and replacing them. My experience is the ball doesn't necessarily have to be going slow, but it can't be going super fast and it must be in the precise right location for the roll-over magnets to work. The spirit ring is more forgiving.

#1486 3 years ago
Quoted from ramegoom:

To explain further, the glitch in the original program causes the trunk motor to hang up if there should be a signal from the eddy circuit while the motor is running. So, you hit the pickup 3 times during game play, setting the trunk in motion. Then another ball hits the pickup during the motor movement and the glitch does its thing.
A software programming modification would call out ignoring the eddy pickup signal during motor motion. Not gonna happen, so we need to do a hardware modification.
While I'm on the eddy circuit, the biggest problem with failure of the circuit is the poor connections on those flimsy connectors. If the sensor connector pins pick up corrosion (which they all do) or lose spring tension to the pins (which they all do), you're forever tweaking the trimpot to get the circuit to function normally.
Might as well mention the carbon trimpot too...they tend to get flaky and lose their setting. Easily replaced if you can solder down to PC board component level.
So one of the easy fixes for that two pin sensor connector is to cut it off, strip the wires, and then solder those two pins directly to the sensor wires. Connector is eliminated from the mix. You need to be very familiar with soldering techniques for tiny parts.
The other connector has the same issues, so you can solder directly, or replace that connector. You need the tools to replace those small AMP terminals, though. Hit the pins with a pencil eraser to clean up any corrosion on them. Temporary fix, but it does solve the eddy board issue without having to replace the board. The self-adjusting boards will get flaky too, if the connectors don't connect properly, so replacing the board doesn't always fix the actual problem.

I believe one of the decisions german-pinball made making the ToM boards was to cut the signal but not the power to the eddy boards while the motor turns. This is relevant with auto-adjusting eddy boards because you don't want them to recalibrate every time the motor turns.

#1489 3 years ago
Quoted from ramegoom:

Don't know how german_pinball does his, but the way I did mine was to disable the connection at D3 on the Eddy board. The circuit stays alive, but interrupting D3 prevents the output signal from getting to the CPU during the time the relay is energized. Power is never interrupted.

Yep, that's pretty much how he did it as well. His schematic is based on the concept by Leon Borre.

1 week later
#1513 3 years ago

I tried to make a video a while back, but without a high speed capture and lens, it was super hard to show on video what it looks like in real life.

#1532 3 years ago
Quoted from Frogman:

I'm a new TOM owner, am doing some fix-up work, and need to replace a broken plastic that's supposed to be secured to the right ramp. The plastic is totally clear - no ink. Is there a way to purchase a generic clear plastic or one that's designed for that location, but not purchasing an entire plastics set? I've checked some of the major online sources, but mostly see just the kits.

I don't think you can buy the specific plastic that you broke without a kit, but there have been for sale sheets of plastic you could cut/shape. Which plastic is it exactly?

#1548 3 years ago

Yeah, MAGICIANSHIP went was yellow on the non-prototype and I believe the bottom is red:

IMG_5639 (resized).JPG

#1553 3 years ago

I'll be honest... I don't think you should do the playfield swap. I think you should either restore yours or have yours professionally restored. You could do a water slide decal over the A... I know we had this discussion before, getting a good scan was challenging. It's not insurmountable, though!

1 week later
#1571 3 years ago
Quoted from FlippyD:

Does anyone here have the trifecta of GIOCD, LEDOCD and Pinduino installed? Was the system able to handle all three boards?

flippyd I've certainly had the OCD boards plus many other mods (including two RPi's pulling 5v, long story) for long periods. I haven't had a problem. That being said, your power driver board needs to be in good shape and many are marginal (as if there are problems on the 5v side it can cause resets).

If you're nervous, earlier in this topic I explained what I did to move some of that stuff off the board and into an external power supply. It's been working flawlessly, so it's an option if you are concerned.

1 week later
#1597 3 years ago
Quoted from meSz:

It does come pre-programed BUT you can install the software onto a laptop (very easy to do) and go in and program the brightness you want! No soldering involved. All you do is take the board and install it on the inside of the back cabinet on the left side (3-4 screws). Then you take the connectors that go to the lamp board and plug them into the GIOCD. Obviously the plugs go in a certain way and you hook up to power but again its east and HERG provides instructions!

You'll want to use a laptop for two reasons. First, it allows you to adjust the brightness for each level the machine wants for the GI. You set the lowest level to the lowest level of brightness without flicker. Then do the same for the brightest. You can test each string individually, and determine what looks best, send and save the settings, and you're golden.

Just a piece of advice, I bought a long USB extension cord so I could back up somewhat away from the machine to do the testing.

#1604 3 years ago
Quoted from Drewblood419:

Also you want to set the lowest number of dimming curve to zero not 1. Zero will be the full off you are looking to achieve anything above zero with LEDs will remain lit (small amount of power required for LEDs s to light) so for the effect to work right set that to 0 and the rest of the curve will set itself hope this helps feel free to PM with questions I don't mind to walk anyone through the setup if needed

My only thoughts on this is that there are times that the lights are supposed to be OFF, and in which case brightness 0 is what the MPU wants, so that should be zero. Brightness 1, however, I would think should be the lowest dimness without flicker, not zero. I may be wrong, but that seems right to me.

1 week later
#1645 3 years ago
Quoted from nettek:

So, my question and request, is does anyone have some closeup high res photos of the back of the inset panel showing the wiring colours, or alternatively, could someone run a flasher test on their machine and tell me which of the flashers is which?

How is this?


1 week later
#1662 2 years ago

Yes, the ColorDMD is a great option for this pin. It honestly feels like it was designed that way.

#1666 2 years ago
Quoted from chuckcasey:

So just to make sure, in the video is the LED ColorDMD display?
Not the LCD.
the LED is brighter and $30 cheaper. Agree?

I have the LCD. It looks great. I'm sure the LED is brighter.

3 weeks later
#1705 2 years ago
Quoted from pinballinreno:

Early promo vid
» YouTube video

That video is terrible.

#1714 2 years ago

My wife now plays more than I do on my ToM. We'll see what happens when my TOTAN arrives. Kind of scared...total protonic reversal?

1 week later
#1731 2 years ago
Quoted from forensicd:

joined the club! Quick question. What detects when the ball goes into the trunk? I am having no problems at all with the game detecting hitting the trunk, but not when it goes in to start modes, jackpots, etc.

There is an optical transmitter and receiver on either side of the inside of the trunk cavity. Try cleaning it first (maybe a cotton swab and alcohol). If it still fails, you may need to replace the optical components. I ended up replacing mine because the do go bad after a while.

#1736 2 years ago
Quoted from Frogman:

Has anyone experienced the trap door opening and closing really quickly when it's supposed to stay open? The basement effectively shoots balls out and stays open long enough for this to happen, but doesn't stay open when I hear the audio cues to shoot for the trap door. Suggestions?
Also, much of the time when video pinball is activated, the real (physical ball) is still in play on the playfield. Shouldn't the ball be suspended or locked somewhere while the video portion is being played?
Thanks to anyone or takes the time to respond.

Hey there. Yes, I have experienced this (trap door opening and shutting without sending out a ball), when one of the switches in the subway wasn't registering properly (it was stuck).

#1750 2 years ago
Quoted from MiamiRedSkin:

Just picked up this HUO beauty. I am running out of room so this one might be for sale soon...

That's quite a unique machine. A time capsule, really.

I'm curious, are there any colored incandescents? It's really a rare opportunity to see how these machines were shipped. Also, I find it really interesting that the targets that sit on either side of the center ramp have no decals/stickers on them. I always wondered if they came that way.

#1752 2 years ago
Quoted from GreenMachine19:

Yes there are. I have green incandescent 555 in my trunk and a red under the right ramp magnet

You're saying you have colored incandescents, but what about miamiredskin's original machine?

#1757 2 years ago
Quoted from MajorHavoc:

You mention colored lamps, my machine had a few colored plastic or rubber caps on a few of the lamps. I removed them recently when converting to LED.

My goal with the question is I'm curious what the intent of the designer was with lamp colors. For example, I've seen MANY ToMs with green LEDs beneath the Melpomene and Thalia masks by the jets (tragedy and comedy faces).

It was curious to me, because clearly they are yellow inserts, so why do people make them green?

Then it occurred to me, perhaps the original incandescents were colored (or had colored plastic on them), and now we've lost record of that original coloring.

I'm big on trying to recapture intent. Color matching LEDs does that to some extent because we assume the color is the same. However, examples like this one or even GI get lost to time.

2 weeks later
#1781 2 years ago
Quoted from Robl45:

Yea, I'm likely going to add this too at some point. Mine does it pretty rarely but enough that it pisses the kids off in the middle of a game. Since the other games don't do it and this one has the spinning tigersaw, it has to be the saw drawing a little too much power at times I would guess.

I did two things to eliminate these issues. First, I had my power driver board "cleaned up" by a professional. This eliminated the resets. Second, I installed one of these:

amazon.com link »

I use this for my 5v mods. I'm sure there is something better out there.

I think the power driver board should be able to handle all these mods, though.

1 week later
#1796 2 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

I went the fiberglass kit method and put it on the bottom couple of inches on all sides (inside the trunk obviously). Between the resin and the fiberglass sheets, it is rock solid and should hold together pretty well... The foam tape has been the method people used for a long time, but I never tried it. The fiberglass method costs a little more (kit runs about $15) and takes a little more time, but it was still easy and pretty quick (minus the curing time).
Not sure which is the longest lasting method, and the science behind both makes good sense. One absorbs some of the pinball impact and the other strengthens the trunk. Maybe a combination of both would be possible, who knows.

The issue with the trunk chipping is that as the soft plastic trunk ages, it hardens. As that happens, it can cause chipping. If you make the trunk harder, it absorbs even less shock, so you may be encouraging chipping.

For this reason, I installed dynomat inside my trunk bottom inside to absorb as much of the shock as possible. If/when the trunk gets too hard, I'm not sure there is much I can do outside of replacing it.

#1798 2 years ago
Quoted from Kahanaohana:

my friend just got a tom. the hocus pocus flashes when you hit the target but the outlane magnets arent saving the ball. It seems to throw them a bit in test mode. Any ideas where to look? thanks for any help

Hmm, by throw them a bit you mean it actually repels the ball? If so, it sounds like reversed polarity. That would be odd. Take a photo of the wiring beneath and see if you notice anything.

#1801 2 years ago
Quoted from Azmodeus:

Questions about the magnet save.
I have seen the magnets on the side marginally save my balls. I might have 2 types of balls accidentally. But my question is:
Is there a ball type not to use or it it just working as intended.
Thanks. I kind of like the fact that it doesn't grab it every time perfectly. I've seen it work stronger on others but mine seems fine.
I would troubleshoot more but I have trouble even getting under the hood right now,
Just wondering. On the magnet strength. I will change all balls soon, but which to use? On theater specifically.

I've just used standard, normal stock pinballs sold by Marco, Pinball Life, or a half dozen others and never had a problem with the magna saves catching balls (when then aren't flying by too fast).

#1803 2 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

Again, that was all from my research a while back, but that does not mean that it is the end all, be all of this question and I am sure that a foamed trunk or dynamated trunk or fiberglassed trunk will all last a really long time. Almost as long as this post. LOL

Wow, I'm convinced. This leads me to another conclusion; I may 3D scan my trunk and try printing them with various materials.

#1809 2 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

You may have better luck (more expertise) in this 'Restoration' thread...

Just echoing nickbuol above here. That thread is the right place and others have asked this question.

I used to think I had the courage to do playfield restoration, but I'm not there. At some point I'll do a teardown and restoration of my ToM, and when I do, I'll probably send my playfield to HSA. Meanwhile, it's just too much fun to take it apart for months.

#1813 2 years ago
Quoted from pinballinreno:

Mirco has new ToM playfields available right now, they arent perfect but they look ok. It might be the best option, you might get one while they last.
Restorers have an very difficult time on these. if you have cracking on the trick inserts, its near impossible to do a clean touch up.
So its a toss up, lower quality repro or noticeably touched up repairs possibly at high prices.
Alternatively there do exist, a very few original cearcoated NOS playfields if you got the money to pry them loose.

I'd take a look at HSA's ToM restorations. I think they repeatedly have shown stellar work with no signs of the repairs, if not better than original. However, it's expensive, way more than a repro. For me, I already know the answer, but each person has to weigh that themselves. I wouldn't choose to not have a restoration done because ToM playfields have any special needs.

3 weeks later
#1817 2 years ago

Seriously, great work.

3 weeks later
#1831 2 years ago
Quoted from Cserold:

thanks! I remember reading about this board. Do you have a link to where it can be purchased? Cheers, Craig


3 weeks later
#1852 2 years ago

I'm now experiencing the trap door/SDTM issue for the second time since I've owned my machine. Things I've already tried:

- Tightening popper guide on armiture
- Replacing armitures and coil sleeves
- Replacing springs
- Adjusting coil stop depth

The popper coil has some slop (meaning, the coil can rotate in the bracket). I know vid1900 has said in the past for other rebuilding techniques that the coils should be tight in the bracket...Could that be it?

Obviously, the trap door mechanism has a "backboard" like a basketball net, and the angle of that metal backboard effects the direction of the pinball. There is a tiny amount of play in that direction, but honestly only the mount allowed by the slot guide in the bracket for the trap door armiture, which seems like it's moving as designed.

This worked for about six months before starting to fail again. Anyone have any thoughts?


#1855 2 years ago
Quoted from RVH:

Change the coil to one step weaker one, 26-1500.
You can just swap it with the coil that's used for the shooter lane.
Edit: the ball will come out a touch slower and gravity will do the rest.

That is a hugely creative response, I love it. Did you do this already? What's been your experience with it?

1 week later
#1866 2 years ago
Quoted from Damien:

Can you install the trunk and magnet boards, or only one or the other?

Well, simplest way to answer this: You can install everything. I have the pinbit boards for the magna saves and the trunk eddy, and I have the Leon boards as well.

3 weeks later
#2023 2 years ago
Quoted from Damien:

1) The trunk magnet was burning F904, but the magnet itself is bad so I've disabled it until I get a replacement. F903 is now blowing from the outlane magnets. Is this a common issue? Can the magnet time be adjusted?

Hmm, that's odd. I've never heard of that before. I don't know of magnet time being adjustable either, nor have I heard of someone doing that as a fix for blowing fuses. Is it possible they got wired together somehow? Also, are you confident you have the right fuses? Have to ask.

Quoted from Damien:

2) Installed the auto Eddy boards from Pinbits, and started getting an error on the Left Drain Eddy (Switch 45). Any ideas?

If you unplug the left drain eddy, what happens? Before putting in the auto-Eddy board, what was going on there? Did you get that error before?

Quoted from Damien:

3) The auto Eddy boards are larger than stock Eddy. Do you just drill new holes?

That should only be true for the trunk eddy. The other two should fit in the existing holes. I had to make a new hole for the trunk eddy...I use a manual crank drill with a 7/64 bit and some masking tape to tell me when I'm in 1/4".

#2024 2 years ago

Can anyone tell me, when lock is lit, what software logic needs to happen for a center loop to register a ball lock when it drops in the trunk? Just the opto in the trunk, or something else as well?

I'm having a new problem where sometimes, when lock is lit, and I send a ball into the center loop, it drops in the trunk from behind but doesn't register a ball as locked, then it shoots it back up again from the trap door. If the trunk has an opening facing you (pre-illusion), it triggers the illusion, but not the ball lock.

Could this be just the opto? I replaced it a year ago, so it's fairly new.

#2026 2 years ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

I would check the subway switches to see if they're working.

I've tested the center loops switches (both sides), the "subway opto," and subway lock 1, 2 and 3, and all are working perfectly. That's what's driving me nuts.

2 months later
#2196 2 years ago
Quoted from mc300baud:

talking about prices, i just picked up a very nice, unrestored (at least, as far as the previous owner knew) TOM with a bunch of minor mods for $7500. i had been looking at driving to the wilds of British Columbia to get a player's condition that came in one of our container buys from Italy last year for $5600 (only mod would have been a color DMD, with some insert wear and other usual issues from years of being routed,) but a two-day trek with snow this early in the season and all the work i'd have to put into it convinced me to go with the other option.
glad i did because this one is darn pretty and plays like butter. it also came with a hat and wand for a topper as a cool bonus.

I don't think that's close to the value, so you're good. Nothing gets played more than my ToM. Every amateur universally says it's their favorite (my friends who are competitive players get bored, but I'm not that good so it's perfect for me).

I've been contemplating doing a full restore on it but we play it too much to tear it down. I'll wait until something breaks.

2 weeks later
#2229 2 years ago
Quoted from Aniraf:

I’ve been helping a friend work on his TOM and we’ve got it in a really nice place, minus one bizarre issue. Fuse F106 constantly blows out and takes the lights from the right slingshot out. From what I can tell, literally five lights go dark on the right side and nothing else has an issue. I can’t find any shorts or grounding that would cause this. The game must be powered on for about 25 minutes before it happens.
I’m using the correct fuses (per the manual). Has anyone had a similar issue?

F106 is supposed to be just G.I. string 5. Unless I'm really missing something.

It's interesting to me that the slingshot goes out as well. Check to make sure the sling isn't shorted or crossed into that string.

#2231 2 years ago
Quoted from Aniraf:

Only the sling lights go out, the slingshot is still completely functional.
I don’t think you are missing anything. I saw the same. I replaced the leds just to be sure one of them wasn’t doing something strange.

Only time that has happened to me has been when there was a marginal short. Game play + heat would move it into short condition and blow. Another possibility is a problem at the connector on the driver board. Any burnt pins?

#2242 2 years ago

I started burning my own roms, but not the security chip. I never really tried.

#2245 2 years ago
Quoted from billsfanmd:

Thx. good idea....the mirror blade is cool but I have seen a few and you cant really tell its spinning unless you really look at

My previous owner had placed an actual saw blade there. He said he introduced a wobble to help see it as well. Positive, you can see it spinning. Negative, it is dangerous.

1 week later
#2260 2 years ago
Quoted from allsportdvd:

Just realised it's the trunk motor drive board - my trunk only spins part of the way round

Does it do this in test mode? I'd be looking at the opto board and make sure that's working properly (and the interrupter disc is aligned properly).

#2267 2 years ago
Quoted from Damien:

Interesting. Did you have to extend your wires like he did in the video?
And, looks like attaching to the trunk motor will activate it on every trunk hit. Any way to do it so that it goes on during the Tiger Saw illusion, or when you hot the captive ball?

If you are using ROM 1.4h, you attach your GND to J125 pin 3. Then it will turn on during the Tiger Saw illusion/captive ball hits.

#2279 2 years ago
Quoted from adamross:

I just installed Pinball Pro speaker upgrade and it sounds like sh*t. Sounds garbled, with little to no bass coming out of the sub. Had problems with the original speakers when I first got this machine home but thought the upgrade would solve problems. Could it possibly be a damaged audio board?
Thanks in advance for any help.

There could be something wrong with the amps. Note there are two channels on a ToM. Make sure they are connected properly, J1 should be connected to the cabinet, and J2 to the backbox speakers. J1 is sometimes called J504, J2 is sometimes called J505. Also, I would not recommend a crossover for the cabinet speaker if the Pinball Pro comes with one, it isn't necessary. If there is one, bypass it.

If it is all wired properly, I'd start by removing the connector at J1 and seeing if your backbox speakers sound ok, then vice versa.

Anyway, if none of this helps, I'd look to the sound board for failed components.

3 weeks later
#2325 2 years ago
Quoted from Archieball:

Hi! I just recently aquired a ToM, and I have a question. A friend of mine who also owns a ToM had so much problems with putting LEDs in it that he gave up in the end and reverted it to incandescents. Apparently he tried all sorts of leds, also non-ghosting ones, but he still got flickers. So my n00b question is, is this a common problems with ToMs for some reason, or should I just proceed with LEDs myself and see how it goes?

There's a couple things going on here. First, understand that different people have different sensitivity to LED flicker. If you happen to be someone who can see it, it's like you can't "unsee" it, and it plagues you. Your friend might be someone with that sensitivity.

Second, tell him to invest in LED OCD and GI OCD boards. These modulate the LEDs and eliminate the flicker. They also introduce fading and dimming effects back into the LEDs that the designers intended. For example, when you hit multiball on ToM, the entire lighting (GI and inserts) all dim to darkness during the build up animation sequence. If you just install LEDs without the LED and GI OCD boards, the LEDs flicker and shut off, they don't dim. In that case, you either turn off dimming effects in the menu, or you use these boards.

2 weeks later
#2346 2 years ago

Ok, here's one for you experienced ToM people. This has happened to me twice.

I'm on 1.4H. I'm at about 999M. I hit the last right orbit needed to go to Midnight Madness. The machine freezes, with only the top row of pixels showing on the DMD, and reboots.

Anyone else seen this? Bug? I'd say it was a 5v issue, but it's not like a big light show was going on at the time...and I've cleaned up my power driver board and it has very stable 5v.

2 months later
#2438 1 year ago
Quoted from hocuslocus:

honestly it seems like both are a bit weaker then I remember.

I found a similar issue due to the adjustment of the EOS gap after a flipper rebuild. Check that.

I saw this in use at INDISC in January. If you’re doing a tournament with expert players it adjusts various game rules to make it harder. In general it worked well. Some possible bugs but no resets that I witnessed. Not something I would install in a home game unless I expected to play pinball champions in my house on a regular basis.

#2441 1 year ago
Quoted from hocuslocus:

I messed with this yesterday, I was thinking that it wasn't getting the full stroke or something. It shouldn't matter for the power stroke right? only for the hold.

I recommend reading and re-reading Vid's guide. Honestly, a lot can contribute to this. If there is slop in the taughtness of the coil in the bracket, EOS gap, etc. This post is helpful:


1 month later
#2454 1 year ago
Quoted from embryon:

Anyone know the part number of the original metal post that sat on the front right corner of the trunk. It 's the one that's basically a rod with a groove for the rubber not the ones with a point. thank you very much

Well... It depends on the specific space you're talking about.

Many machines that had never had implemented Service Bulletin # 82 (http://www.ipdb.org/files/2845/Bally_1995_Theatre_of_Magic_Service_Bulletin_82.pdf) added a post spacer with a rod and groove where the t-nut is, but that turns out to be a mistake, causing playfield damage. Don't do that. If the ball is sticking back there make sure you have #82 done. Otherwise, let it stick, and the ball will release itself when the trunk turns.

The one just to the right of that t-nut, next to the ramp, COULD be replaced with a post spacer (rod and groove), but the ones I've seen have a point, like this:

IMG_1029 (resized).JPG

Here's the one pictured:


Here's a post spacer you speak of:


Anyway, best of luck with that.

#2458 1 year ago
Quoted from embryon:

excellent, At the moment I had two of the pointed posts there and no t-nut on top, so I'll proceed once my playfield is touched up and clear coated, to install the post spacer and the pointed post. thanks for your advise.

I personally feel a post above the t-nut is a bad idea. FWIW, Jpop also confirmed this a long time ago. Still, you can’t argue about 20 years. Just know if a ball gets caught between the trunk and that post, which I’ve seen happen, the torque can damage a playfield, which I’ve also seen happen.

7 months later
#2639 1 year ago
Quoted from ababapanos:

I need your help please. I have a weird problem.
When the indicator “ball lock” lights up, when I send the ball there, it doesn’t lock the ball but it goes from the drop port and the program doesn’t continue right and doesn’t give multiball.
I made all the tests and all the switches work well, and the boards and fuses seem okey. What could be the problem?

A couple things come to mind.

I know you said the tests work and switches work well, but test the opto switch in the back of the trunk inside. Just put it in switch test and move a pencil in there. I've had to clean my sensors several times when I've had the same symptoms. I've only had to replace them once, when they were super old.

Check the switches in the subway to the scoop.

#2641 1 year ago
Quoted from ababapanos:

thank you very much for the answer.
can you please show me the opto switch back in thank ? because I do not know where is it...[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

From the top of the playfield, if you look into the trunk through the opening (or if you take the trunk plastic off it's easier to see), you'll see a transmitter/emitter element and a receiver element, one on one side of the trunk and one on the other. They are mounted behind holes through the trunk assembly, little PCBs. Essentially, an electric eye that detects when a ball falls into the trunk.

I was able to use a cotton swab and some isopropyl alcohol and clean them and get some more use out of them, but unfortunately those little electronics and sometimes get old an unreliable. This might not be the cause of your problem, but it was for me. A simple test is to "break" the electric beam with a pinball during switch test and make sure it's detecting properly as a ball falls into the trunk.

One thing to remember is that the software of the game depends on things happening in a certain order...so if you hit that beam first, then the subway switch next, the game presumes something has happened. Sometimes the switch test is only useful if you know all the switches in a chain that trigger an event. Unfortunately that's not documented anywhere, but you can figure it out manually (start the game, trigger the switches, etc). This is why for ball troughs, if only one opto in a series of optos is broken, you get weird behavior... because you roll balls into the trough and it seems to register but you get things like double ball kicks into the shooter lane, etc. Complex software really!

2 months later
#2720 11 months ago
Quoted from soren:

1.4H is not as much the latest version as it is a special version. With very limited usage. A requiring a new security chip.

1.4H restricts you to free play only, enables the motor control for the spinning tiger saw, and supposedly fixes a bug or two. I have both ROMs, honestly both have crashed on me in different conditions, I don't think it matters. I like my spinning tiger saw so I keep 1.4H installed with the Ingo board. No one has ever noticed the trunk not registering hits while turning.

The new ROM is a tournament ROM. I'm not sure everyone would want the changes it brings with it... Perhaps you can shut off those changes?

#2724 11 months ago
Quoted from Lhyrgoif:

What would you do?

The problem is you don't know if it's the right coil or not for where it is located without reading the wrapper. I suppose you could test it somehow and determine that, or take a gamble that it's the original coil. My thought would be to replace it with a new one, and while you're at it, print a wrapper for it that properly labels it for future reference.

#2729 11 months ago
Quoted from soren:

Is it possible to describe by what patterns exactly this motor is running. I might consider adding it. But the patch will still be rooted in 1.3X.

I would (and many) be all over this if you added it. You’ve already done excellent work... this would just make it a no-brainer.

#2731 11 months ago
Quoted from soren:

Is it possible to describe by what patterns exactly this motor is running. I might consider adding it. But the patch will still be rooted in 1.3X.

I should add... This was turning on elements of the software that was already mostly in the code but disabled prior to release of the game for cost savings. There is some discussion of it somewhere online at the time 1.4H was released.

#2733 11 months ago
Quoted from soren:

I am pretty confident. It would just be nice with some user experience for reference.

All I know is that it closes at Pin 3 on J125 to activate and deactivate the saw in software. I believe it not only spins during the Tiger Saw illusion, but also during Tiger Saw Multiball. Finally, at any point in the game when you hit the captive ball, it pulses the motor as well, though I don't know why, you can barely see it.

#2734 11 months ago
Quoted from soren:

I am pretty confident. It would just be nice with some user experience for reference.

Alternatively you could find Louis Koziarz who gave the world 1.4H in 97.

4 weeks later
#2763 10 months ago
Quoted from Jimmyhonda:

Thank you. I tried that. Still not ejecting well. It seems like it’s shooting more upward than to the side. I’m thinking about repositioning kickout assembly so it shoots the ball more to the side than straight up, but I want to hear from others first. Thank you all.

Did this start happening recently, or did you acquire the game like this? I often find the solution thinking about what can possibly change.

1 month later
#2794 8 months ago