(Topic ID: 18292)

VID's Guide to Upgrading/Rebuilding Flippers


By vid1900

7 years ago



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#301 6 years ago

Now, in no way am I suggesting you do this, but if this was the last Coil Stop on earth, you could (as a temporary fix), file off the turned up edge with a fine file.

Carefully clean up all the metal filings, as they are very abrasive and would destroy the plunger/coil sleeve in no time.

Ignore this post, don't "repair" them, just throw them away.

COIL-STOP-REPAIR.jpg

#302 6 years ago

Here, one of the Flipper Coils looks burned.

It tested OK with a meter, and the Coil Sleeve easily pulled out from it.

I was surprised, usually Coils that get too much heat will melt, making it difficult or impossible to remove the Sleeve.

Since the new Sleeve slid right in, and the meter said it was not shorted, it went back into service.

HOT-COIL.jpg

#303 6 years ago

The Coil Sleeves are a very important part of having powerful flippers.

The old sleeves are made of metal, and thus have more drag on the plunger than the newer Nylon style.

ALWAYS throw the old metal ones in the trash. Don't clean them, don't burnish them, just trash them.

Your new Nylon sleeve upgrade will give your flippers more power, and cause less wear on the plungers.

You of course got new Sleeves in your kit, but it's good to know that they are the same Sleeves that fit most Pop Bumpers and Slingshots.

COIL-SLEEVE.jpg

#304 6 years ago

The Flipper Bushing is what keeps the flipper from dragging on the playfield and ruining it.

When you see games with two "angel wings" carved into the playfield in front of the flippers, you know nobody ever replaced the Bushings.

We, of course, ALWAYS replace the Bushings when rebuilding the flippers.

Even if the flippers are not dragging on the playfield (yet), they will often have too much play because the Bushing holes have become worn.

Remove the 3 nuts and the Bushing will pull right out.

FLIPPER-BUSHING-INSTALLED.jpg

#305 6 years ago

The Bushings are attached to the playfield with 3 Fin-Shank screws, just like Pop Bumpers are.

If your screws are stripped, bent or corroded, replace them before putting the game back into service.

If one of these fails, or becomes loose, the flipper will chew up the playfield in no time at all.

Make sure the nuts are Nylon Insert Lock Nuts, and have not been replaced with standards - the surface of your playfield depends on it.

http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=240

FIN-SHANK-SCREWS.jpg

#306 6 years ago

Here you can see the difference between an old style and modern style Flipper Bushing.

They are NOT interchangeable.

FLIPPER-BUSHING.jpg

#307 6 years ago

While newer style Pawls grip the Flipper Shaft with a C-Clamp configuration, the older ones have a pair of Set screws offset by 90 degrees.

Each Set Screw has a sharp point that deforms the metal shaft to hold it from slipping.

If you have a Torque Wrench, Williams recommends that you crank the Set Screws down to 75 lbs.

SET-SCREWS.jpg

#308 6 years ago

Here in this picture, we can see the differences between the older Flipper Shafts and the modern style.

Note how the Set Screws have dug a hole by displacing the surrounding metal into a mound.

Note the groove/keyway cut near the end of the shaft is deeper than the metal mounds.

This allows the Flipper to be removed, despite the mound of displaced metal.

If you ever put a modern flipper shaft into the older style Pawl, you will NEVER be able to remove it. The mound of metal will cause it to permanently bind, and you will have to cut it out.

NEVER PUT A MODERN FLIPPER INTO AN OLD STYLE MECH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ever.

Because the shafts get permanent holes in them from the Set Screws, that is why we marked which flipper came from which mech. The Set Screws "find" the old holes as soon as you begin tightening them.

FLIPPER-SHAFTS.jpg

#309 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

NEVER PUT A MODERN FLIPPER INTO AN OLD STYLE MECH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Is there a source? Pbresources site refers you to the one piece later style if you need the shaft for the two piece.

#310 6 years ago

Reassemble the flippers.

Remember to use the Flipper Gap Tool, to set the amount of clearance between the flippers and the top of the Bushings.

If you don't have one, they are only $1 :

http://www.planetarypinball.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=PP&Product_Code=PPS-03-8194&Category_Code=

Gap_Instr.jpg

#311 6 years ago

After reassembly, it is time to set the EOS Switch gap.

99% of all "my flippers are weak, even after I rebuilt them" complaints are from setting the EOS Switch incorrectly.

When the flipper is at rest (not energized), we need the EOS Switch to be TIGHTLY closed.

We do this by gently bending the two switch leaves towards each other with this tool:

http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=1518

Both leaves should have tension towards each other from bending.

=

There can be a few other switches ganged together behind the EOS Switch. These need to be separated by an insulator, or you can accidently send 28VDC down the switch matrix, killing it.

If you make a repair to a ganged switch, or lose the insulator - make sure the new insulator is made of something NON CONDUCTIVE.

EOS-CLOSED.jpg

#312 6 years ago

With your finger, move the Pawl so that the flipper is fully plunged.

The insulated arm of the Pawl will now need to open the EOS Switch.

When fully extended, the EOS Switch gap needs to be EXACTLY 1/8". Not more, not less.

A larger than 1/8" gap will make the flipper weak, by shutting off the high power winding of the coil too soon.

A smaller than 1/8" gap risks that the switch may just arc and not shut off the high power winding at all. This overheats the coil, and burns out the associated transistors.

You will need to play with the adjustment tool and bend the switch leaves a few times to get it perfect.

=

If ever you find a weak flipper that otherwise freely moves through it's range of motion manually, suspect the EOS Switch. The contacts may be dirty, or the tension/gap is set incorrectly.

=

That's it.

Now, with your Nylon Coil Sleeves, your flippers will perform better than they did when they came from the factory.

EOS---OPEN.jpg

#313 6 years ago

Nice

1 week later
#314 6 years ago

Ok, starting my first flipper rebuild on my first pin space station. This is a great tutorial, and actually makes me feel better about doing it myself. Might there be any more tips to make this rebuild a little easier. Not scared or lazy, just want to do it right the first time. If you know what i mean.

#315 6 years ago
Quoted from heni1977:

Ok, starting my first flipper rebuild on my first pin Space Station. This is a great tutorial, and actually makes me feel better about doing it myself. Might there be any more tips to make this rebuild a little easier. Not scared or lazy, just want to do it right the first time. If you know what i mean.

Remember to replace the flipper bushings, even if they are not included in your kit.

Remember that 100 people, many of them total hacks, worked on your game before you bought it. Don't assume anything you see is "factory".

#316 6 years ago

well done...............Bravo

I have tossed a bunch of the flipper gap tools over the years.........
(really didn't know what is was for)

Thanks again

#317 6 years ago

Thank you for all the info! That had to take some time. MUCH appreciated my friend

#318 6 years ago

Dear Vid,

Got lucky and picked up a Barracora. Amazing design and PF.

Not accustomed to these flipper switches. Can I swap them out for a newer style so that I can get a better gap? I can't get a gap of 1/8" on them. I want to upgrade the mechs to WPC anyway like I always do, but not a pro on lane-change parts yet. (pls link part in marco if they have it)

thanks!
-mof

201309_switch-barra.jpg

#319 6 years ago

Looks like the EOS and pawl assembly are already new(er than stock).

You don't have to worry about the lane change switch gap, as it is just a normal matrix switch. As long as it registers it is fine. If you replace the rest of the flipper parts just re-use the old lane change switch.

#320 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Remember to replace the flipper bushings, even if they are not included in your kit.
Remember that 100 people, many of them total hacks, worked on your game before you bought it. Don't assume anything you see is "factory".

And the of the ones who aren't total hacks remember that half of them are well meaning but still have no idea WTF they're doing to that game you just bought. The internet is dangerous, you get people like me who read a few threads and decided they know what they're doing.

#321 6 years ago
Quoted from GListOverflow:

Looks like the EOS and pawl assembly are already new(er than stock).
You don't have to worry about the lane change switch gap, as it is just a normal matrix switch. As long as it registers it is fine. If you replace the rest of the flipper parts just re-use the old lane change switch.

Sure that's what I've been doing with other machines, just leaving in the old lane change switches. In this case, I have no material (right now) on the flipper switch to bend it towards the flipper arm. Perhaps on my switch replacements they are longer, I'll go check real quick. But in this case, I just wanted to create a 1/8" gap and realized I cannot.
-mof

#322 6 years ago
Quoted from mof:

Not accustomed to these flipper switches. Can I swap them out for a newer style so that I can get a better gap? I can't get a gap of 1/8" on them. I want to upgrade the mechs to WPC anyway like I always do, but not a pro on lane-change parts yet. (pls link part in marco if they have it)

Looking at the scale of your picture, I'd say your gap is already 1/8".

If you need more gap, bend JUST the tip of the switch leaf towards the pawl finger. If this makes the switch leaf too short, bend the pawl finger outwards a small amount (or loosen the 2 switch mount screws and pull the whole assembly towards the pawl).

Clean the Lane Change switch by pulling a crisp $100 bill through it a few times while holding it closed, to clean it.

#323 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Looking at the scale of your picture, I'd say your gap is already 1/8".
If you need more gap, bend JUST the tip of the switch leaf towards the pawl finger. If this makes the switch leaf too short, bend the pawl finger outwards a small amount (or loosen the 2 switch mount screws and pull the whole assembly towards the pawl).
Clean the Lane Change switch by pulling a crisp $100 bill through it a few times while holding it closed, to clean it.

Yeah -- normally I bend the tip, but in this case, I feel if I bend the tip, then the lane switch thing won't work properly. I was thinking -- maybe I'm supposed to buy a different one, perhaps the one with the triangle shaped end on it, so that I am allowed to bend more of the end... ?
-mof

1 week later
#324 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

99% of all "my flippers are weak, even after I rebuilt them" complaints are from setting the EOS Switch incorrectly.

Does that apply to Fliptronic II flippers as well? I can't find guidelines for adjusting the EOS gap for them. The manual for my HSII doesn't even seem correct: "With the flipper in the actuated position the E.O.S. Switch contacts must have a gap of .062 (+/- 0.15) inch." However the Fliptronic flippers' EOS switch should be CLOSED when it's actuated. I just left the gap where it was set in the rebuild kit...

#325 6 years ago

Yes, Flip II is opposite the older flippers for the EOS Switch - it is normally open.

No capacitor needed either.

Even if the EOS is broken, Flip II will switch to the hold winding of the coil in a few milliseconds.

So adjustment is not the critical issue that it is with pre-Fliptronic.

Clean the EOS switches with a crisp $100 bill, set them to make contact at the very end of the flipper stroke, and test your work in the switch test of the game menu by hitting the flipper buttons.

#326 6 years ago

If all I have are $50 bills but they are crisp, could I get away with it if I use two?? Or do I need to go to the bank?

1 week later
#328 6 years ago

Quick point... "the diodes away from the endstop" is not 100% correct as it is not always possible to do this without either new parts or modification.

Part 01-7596 (http://www.pinballheaven.co.uk/shop/popup_image.php?pID=1269&image=0) may not have the top notch in. So you would have to either buy a new part, install as per manual, ie diodes at endstop or saw the lug off (as you have done).

My big guns and bk2k definitely have non notched and the manual confirms the orientation of the flipper coil.

However, away from endstop is best, the guide just needs the addition of info on what to do when you cant do this.

#329 6 years ago
Quoted from abaxas:

Quick point... "the diodes away from the endstop" is not 100% correct as it is not always possible to do this without either new parts or modification.
Part 01-7596 (http://www.pinballheaven.co.uk/shop/popup_image.php?pID=1269&image=0) may not have the top notch in. So you would have to either buy a new part, install as per manual, ie diodes at endstop or saw the lug off (as you have done).
My Big Guns and bk2k definitely have non notched and the manual confirms the orientation of the flipper coil.
However, away from endstop is best, the guide just needs the addition of info on what to do when you cant do this.

vid1900 suggested dremeling in the hole and that is fun and works fine. I guess sawing off the post would be easier, but any chance I get to use the Dremel is fun times.
-mof

#330 6 years ago
Quoted from abaxas:

However, away from endstop is best, the guide just needs the addition of info on what to do when you cant do this.

A few pages back I suggested making a notch with a rat-tailed file, or a Dremel:

Quoted from vid1900:

Just cut the notch with a rat tail file.
It will take you longer to find the file and put it in the vise, than to actually cut the notch...

Quoted from vid1900:

(of course you could cut the notch with a Dremmel too)

#331 6 years ago

Wanted to say thanks Vid for your amazingly well written tutorial. I'm brand new to pinball and rebuilt the flippers to my old Williams Laser Ball yesterday with help from your guide. Wow, what a difference. Next stop, pop bumpers. Anyways, your hard work is well appreciated and made this job easy for a beginner.

#333 6 years ago

Here's one not covered in this thread. Rebuilding late Gottlieb EM flippers. The plunger and link (which is a big block of plastic with a guide "pin" sticking out of the back) is not the same as the rebuild parts I got from PBR. has the guide pin been removed for a reason, or do I have the wrong part?

Also, what method is best to remove the roll pin and also replace it. Don't want to pinch the metal tabs of the clamp together and create a bind on the plunger link. Is the orientation of the roll pin important? The slot in the pin should be forward, back, sideways? What do you think is best here?

IMG_2847.JPG

#334 6 years ago

What game is it exactly?

You never know what parts somebody installed before you bought it, lol.

In latter years, Gottlieb removed the pin that sticks out of the head because it would hang up, so don't worry about that.

Use a punch to remove the roll pin. If you have a mechanical friend, he may even have a "pin press" that pushes them out, no hammer needed.

#335 6 years ago
Quoted from Pafasa:

Is the orientation of the roll pin important? The slot in the pin should be forward, back, sideways?

I can't think of any reason it would be, but you can always put it back in the direction you found it.

#336 6 years ago

I'm on it, thanks! Already read all of your guides.....twice. Keep up the great work

#337 6 years ago

On the gottlieb EM flipper rebuild..... Thanks vid for the info. I also posted about this to the guys in the EM hangout and this is what I got! Great info on this topic.

http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/late-gottlieb-em-flipper-rebuild

Got my answers and then some. Love this place!

#338 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

A few pages back I suggested making a notch with a rat-tailed file, or a Dremel:

Missed that bit!

Maybe it could be added to the first page?

#339 6 years ago
Quoted from abaxas:

Maybe it could be added to the first page?

Soon I will have 10 pages for you to read, lol.

#340 6 years ago

Any advise on Fliptronics boards? I seem to have very lose/weak flippers even after a rebuild on WPCs, thinking it could be due to the FT boards.

#341 6 years ago

Some advice on Fliptronic:

Swap left and right opto boards and see if weak flipper follows.

Resolder header pins on boards. Look under magnification for cracked solder joints.

Make sure flippers move freely when manually exercised.

1 week later
#342 5 years ago

What's the best flipper upgrade I can do for my 1981 Bally Centaur?

thanks,
mof

#343 5 years ago

Today on my TZ, the right flipper started to get stuck. Basically it flips up fine, but sticks and slowly goes back down to it's position (about 5 seconds). I'm wondering if this is a common problem that would be fixed with a rebuild. The machine probably needs a rebuild anyway of at least the bottom two and if that would solve the problem, I'll get to work on it this weekend.

Little nervous about doing a rebuild but your guide seems straightforward.

#344 5 years ago
Quoted from sturner:

Today on my TZ, the right flipper started to get stuck. Basically it flips up fine, but sticks and slowly goes back down to it's position (about 5 seconds). I'm wondering if this is a common problem that would be fixed with a rebuild. The machine probably needs a rebuild anyway of at least the bottom two and if that would solve the problem, I'll get to work on it this weekend.
Little nervous about doing a rebuild but your guide seems straightforward.

Try moving the flipper through it's range of motion with the power off.

Yes, that is a super common problem.

Rebuild all the flippers at once, put new rubber on them too.

Check that your bats are un-cracked before you order. It sucks to order parts for a rebuild and find you need yet more.

Don't be nervous, lots of people here to walk you through your first time.

#345 5 years ago
Quoted from mof:

What's the best flipper upgrade I can do for my 1981 Bally Centaur?
thanks,
mof

Get rid of the Linear mechs:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-upgradingrebuilding-flippers/page/11

2 weeks later
#346 5 years ago

I'm trying to remove the flipper bats on my Fish Tales. I cannot loosen the pawl to save my life. I'm afraid ill break the whole assembly if I put all my strength on the allen wrench side, and the nut side won't budge.

What to do? And am I using the wrong tools? Too timid? Too weak? Too stupid?

image.jpg

image-879.jpg

#347 5 years ago

Get stronger.

Worst case scenario - you break the allen head off or the bolt off, and then you are home free anyway.

I've had some mean ones, a ten inch T handle allen wrench 5/32 and a small wrench on the nut usually does it. Or put a ratchet or breaker bar on the nut side for better leverage.

I've never had it happen, but once you have it off, check that you didn't bend the flipper shaft or crack the nylon bushing the flipper shaft rides in.

LTG : )

#348 5 years ago

Just not wrenching hard enough. Try a small ratchet with a 1/4 inch socket and a hex bit in it to fit the Allen head side. No extension. Use a closed end wrench on the nut side. Work both wrenches toward each other for the best leverage and also to relieve the stress you are putting on the rest of the assembly.

#349 5 years ago

Thanks guys. Good advice! I'll let you know how it goes. I just decided to go for it and tear down Fish Takes tonight. Never taken flipper bats off before. NJGecko showed me how...but now that I'm on my own Im clenching a bit. Can't wait to get this cleaned up! Flipper rebuilt kit on the way from PBL!

#350 5 years ago
Quoted from LTG:

Get stronger.

+1

Of course, I have seen people try to turn the wrench the wrong way before.

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