Weyland Yutani - Dedicated to Keeping 3 Alien Specimens Alive


By knockerlover

2 weeks ago


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Post #3 Posted by knockerlover (18 days ago)

Post #186 Links to 1.2 software release Posted by Ferret (1 day ago)


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39
#1 18 days ago

Weyland Yutani - In the Alien Universe, the mission of "The Company" is to obtain a living sample of the species they designate Xenomorph XX121. This is the story of three pinsiders obtaining four living specimens with the mission of keeping them at least alive, and hopefully transform as many as possible into "weapons-grade" (fully feature working, xenomorph heads, etc.)

This thread is first and foremost, a running documentation of all of the technical challenges, discussion, ideas, fixes, part sources, and anything that may help to keep this game going for all to enjoy for as long as possible, as discovered through our process of fixing these games in our posession. I humbly ask you to keep the other negative commentary about the drama surrounding this game, in "containment" and keep the acid burn leaking out of those facilities (other threads) to a minimum.

I'll provide a little background on the adventure in how the games came to be, to set the stage a bit, but recognize.. this thread isn't about the find, it's about the revival and sustainment of these creatures, and likely I'm not going to answer detailed questions about the find as it's really not all that interesting. But also recognize that in order to avoid PM's about "where did these come from?" some level of addressing it has to occur.

Before the full announcement came out about the bankruptcy of Heighway pinball, etc. I had began trying to source leads on at least one alien. The odd part about this is, it took a really long time to find someone who was willing to part with one at a price I was comfortable with and it seemed that the only people willing to part with their games at a reasonable price were for games that were less than stellar (non-working, damaged, etc.), but given that the alien community and the pinball community is so tight-knit one lead turned into two, and two turned into four. Given that we were basically buying non-working or damaged games, we figured that buying a few of them would be the best bet with the hopes of ending up with at least a majority of working games, and maybe 1, hopefully not 2 donor games.

The weeks leading up to the Allentown show I was putting the wheels in motion to have games in a place that was relatively convenient to us, renting a u-haul trailer from Manassas, VA and after approximately 12 hours of pure driving time @pinbackpacker and I had 4 alien games in the back, one of which was the Cointaker prototype machine that has traveled around to all of these shows (We will call machine C). A piece of pinball history that I personally think is really cool, so many of us have played this game.

IMG_4935 (resized).jpg

When we finally arrived to Allentown on Friday morning, we thought.. what the hell, let's plug one, people can play it, and if it works, put a price on it, and hopefully this will help us fund a little bit of our adventure. To our surprise the game played extremely well minus the xenomorph head, and it had a 4-person deep line throughout the weekend. A few stuck balls, some weirdness early-on with ball searches, but all-in-all a success. The Allentown show machine (we will call Machine A.) Todd Tuckey was there at Machine A on Sunday doing his thing for quite a while and I look forward to seeing his video featuring it.

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This game being out on the show floor led us to a buyer who wanted to buy one from us, and after walking through the condition of all the games as we knew it (Machine D) was sold. Now we had three machines left between us three pinsiders and a little cash in reserve.

Allentown was a lot of fun, and it was great talking to everyone about the game, playing it, and seeing how excited everyone was to play one at the show. Those that know me, know that my passion is restoring games to top-tier level, and sharing them at shows for everyone to appreciate.

Machine C made a brief appearance at the ramada as well..

IMG_4944 (resized).jpg

After a long trip, time at the show, 4 exhausted pinsiders finally arrived back at home with 3 machines in various condition.

IMG_4963 (resized).jpg

To follow, the findings of condition so far.. and the process of getting these specimens converted into weapons-grade machines!

#2 18 days ago

wow, thats pretty crazy you found 4 machines in such a short time. Do we know how many actually shipped to the US? I just thought it was such a small number, and you managed to get 4 in what sounds like a weekend lol

best wishes in keeping them alive!

#3 18 days ago

Left to right is Machine A, Machine C, and Machine B.. (yes it bothers me that they are out of order in this picture.. sorry).

IMG_4981 (resized).jpg

Machine A - Is a pinball brothers game, some notable differences.
-It has the newer "open" PC with the plexiglass cover.
-It also seems like the playfield display uses DVI, vs VGA like the other two.
-The main trunk link runs up the right side of the game in a larger bundle.
-The IO boards underneath are a blue vs a red color.
-The main board underneath says "Pinball Brothers" vs Heighway pinball
-The cabinet has a sticker on the back that actually says "Alien Standard Edition" with a serial number.
-Has the upgraded xenomorph boards (2 boards vs one).

In terms of condition, it doesn't seem as though any features of the xeno head work at all. Other than this, I haven't found any issues (yet).

The underside of the playfield w/ the blue boards and pinball brothers labeling.
IMG_4983 (resized).jpg

Machine B -
- The backbox experienced some serious shipping damage, some possibly from us. The bezel on the backbox and translite were busted, the main display was shattered, and the display in the playfield was non working.

The backbox display and frame comes out fairly easily, it's 4 small screws on the bottom and 6 small screws on the top. The display itself is secured in the frame by another set of small screws, and luckily once removed there is a manufacturer label and model # on the back.

Manufacturer: AU Optronics
Model No: M270HV02.1

IMG_4976 (resized).jpg

I was able to source a refurbished one from ebay for $80 shipped, but it looks as though they are about $200 new. It's controlled by a smaller controller and power supply in the frame, which I assume is working but ordered two just in case as these are also used in the playfield displays.

Generic LCD Controller Driver Board
Manufacturer: Rowa (various China)
Model No: M.RT2281-E5

IMG_4979 (resized).jpg

This below, I believe is the power supply, but I havent found any info on it yet.
IMG_4980 (resized).jpg

The smaller 10" under playfield display also was not working. This entire assembly removes from under the playfield with four larger screws, and the display itself comes out of the frame with 6 smaller screws around the edge. Inside it contains the same generic LCD controller, a smaller power converter/supply, and the thin 10" display. The ribbon cable seems to be the main culprit as I can get the display to come on from time to time but it isn't sustainable. Luckily we were able to find an exact replacement 10" display (in case it was the connector on the display itself) for about $50 each.

Below is the inside of the smaller playfield display frame/box. Then the serial number on the smaller display.
IMG_4990 (resized).jpg
IMG_4991 (resized).jpg

Manufacturer: Innolux
Model No: Q101IRE-LA1 Rev 01

The underside of the playfield with the red boards and the "Heighway Pinball" labeling.

IMG_4985 (resized).jpg

Machine C - at first glance, appears as though the stepper motor that controls the alien tongue powers on, and tries to work, however it sounds as if the gearbox is stripped.

This machine has a sticker on the back that says "Full Throttle" w/ a serial number similar to the others.

Luckily there is a part # on this stepper motor, however I do know that later revisions had a larger and appears like a more rugged stepper motor. I'm going to try the originals in case they are specific to the boards that we have.

These look like they come from a UK based manufacturer, and are relatively inexpensive. I was able to order 4 of them for about $100.

Manufacturer: MotionCB
Model No: GMW32W0069

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#4 18 days ago

These four were all bought from Cointaker right?

#5 18 days ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

These four were all bought from Cointaker right?

One is the CT prototype machine.

#6 18 days ago

Sweet, can't wait to get them all working!

#7 18 days ago

Glad someone is preserving some of these Xenomorphs.
Here are a few pics from pinball expo 2016 when the team and prototype were accountable.
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#8 18 days ago
Quoted from knockerlover:

One is the CT prototype machine.

Yes, but my understanding was tha CT had four machines, one of which was the prototype. And they sold all four to one buyer.

#9 18 days ago

This is a GREAT idea for a thread~!~! We've also had a long running thread discussing various technical issues (https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/heighway-pinball-support-full-throttle-and-alien/page/8) but I think It's great to have information consolidated here.

BTW - I have one of the newer 'pinball brother's' versions. Everything is working except my tongue gear is slipping on the shaft (that sounds bad). In the thread I linked you can see a better replacement gear is being 3d printed, and I hope to receive one soon.

#10 18 days ago
Quoted from knockerlover:

Machine C - at first glance, appears as though the stepper motor that controls the alien tongue powers on, and tries to work, however it sounds as if the gearbox is stripped.

Did you see the posts in the Aliens thread about someone 3D printing a new gear for the head? Might just be that gear spinning like was happening to one owner and not the motor.

#11 18 days ago

As a former owner I wish you all the best and look forward to following along.

#12 18 days ago

Perhaps my main contribution can be creating some documentation to help out other owners with repairs. Is there anything available? Parts list, switch matrix, electrical diagrams, anything? Might be challenging with two different production lines too, sounds like there's a few (major) internal differences.

#13 18 days ago

Alien is a really nice pin, I played delt31s alien a few months ago and was blown away at the quality and experience. It’s definitely a pin I would own, too bad the company has had so many issues. Good luck in preserving pinball history

#14 18 days ago

I think someone should bring one to pintastic.
Thanks
Blake

#15 18 days ago

Bravo!!!

29
#16 18 days ago
Quoted from PaulCoff:

Here are a few pics from pinball expo 2016 when the team and prototype were accountable.

Good lord, my body language sitting up there is pretty hilarious, way to broadcast what you're feeling to whole damn room Aurich.

When it comes to broken plastics, backglasses, anything with art, just know that I'm available as a resource. I obviously have a lot of feelings about this game, but at the end of the day I'll do anything I can to help the existing games be complete.

#17 18 days ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Good lord, my body language sitting up there is pretty hilarious, way to broadcast what you're feeling to whole damn room Aurich.
When it comes to broken plastics, backglasses, anything with art, just know that I'm available as a resource. I obviously have a lot of feelings about this game, but at the end of the day I'll do anything I can to help the existing games be complete.

Thanks Aurich!

#18 18 days ago

Awesome thread. Still hoping to to trade for or buy one local. If I have one high risk machine in my collection shouldn't be too bad

#19 18 days ago

Plugging in - good info here. Mine is also a pinball brothers version...

IMG_7044 (resized).JPG

-1
#20 18 days ago
Quoted from WeirPinball:

Plugging in - good info here. Mine is also a pinball brothers version...

This is nuts that they did this. Is it evidence they knew they were moving assets?

#21 18 days ago
Quoted from hank527:

This is nuts that they did this. Is it evidence they knew they were moving assets?

Acid burn.. quit leaking from the speculation threads!

#22 18 days ago

Machine B display works if I hold the connector in place just like this! Lol.

Not sure which it is, the connector, the display or both..

39452C4E-243B-4148-970D-1B1BB80ABA8B (resized).jpeg

#23 18 days ago

Reserved.

I think I might have a "tweener" game...one with features of both games A & B but I need to inspect and get back with you.

#24 18 days ago

Great thread! Thanks for getting this started. It really encourages me to keep my LE #55!!! I will have a closer look at my machine and take some pictures of the specific parts tomorrow.

13
#25 18 days ago

After a closer inspection of Alien A and comparing it to the instructions in this thead post..

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/upgrading-the-heighway-alien#post-4248019

I figured out the Machine A has the upgraded boards and the upgraded stepper motor. I get the impression these might be a required pairing.

Using that thread post as a guide I eventually determined that the tongue motor was incorrectly wired and the board installed backwards.

Everything worked fine in test, but not in the game. It appears that adjustment 44 in the aliens adjustment menu can disable the xenomorph (which it was).

Alien xeno Head works perfectly now. Check out this video of the boot up and start of ambush MB.

» YouTube video

#26 18 days ago

That mech is cool but if it were not working, it's not a huge deal as far as game play goes. They spent so much time messing with it.

#27 18 days ago

This thread is awesome. Great idea and I hope that you guys can pull it off and enjoy your machines for years to come.

#28 17 days ago

Awesome....I keep hoping one day you guys can use the term "bulletproof" when describing alien

#29 17 days ago
Quoted from hank527:

That mech is cool but if it were not working, it's not a huge deal as far as game play goes. They spent so much time messing with it.

Agree on the gameplay point, but this is the main mech in the entire game! It must be working, period.

#30 17 days ago
Quoted from snakesnsparklers:

Agree on the gameplay point, but this is the main mech in the entire game! It must be working, period.

It’s like T tex on J Park. needs to work.

#31 17 days ago

Are the ramp returns all the same?

#33 17 days ago

where the ball drops to the inlanes.

#34 17 days ago

Given that the fully working game is the one with the 2-board system, and it seems like the one board system and old stepper motor was prone to failure.. I think our plan is going to be to reverse engineer and re-create the 2 board system with the upgraded stepper motor.

This is the upgraded stepper motor in the 2 board system.

https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/trinamic-motion-control-gmbh/QSH4218-35-10-027/1460-1074-ND/4843425?utm_adgroup=General&gclid=Cj0KCQjwuMrXBRC_ARIsALWZrIgBIk10-DKkcOBVESjjv2sYmebGr-7gH1suGwnnIO-5P3zwEnRZwJoaAng7EALw_wcB

Also, the daughterboard appears to control the stepper motor for the tongue is a "StepStick"

http://reprap.org/wiki/StepStick

#35 17 days ago
Quoted from Kneissl:

Are the ramp returns all the same?

No. If you look at the cut-out where the ball drops from the ramp into the inlane - the older/earlier machines had a tear drop shaped hole. This also allowed the user to adjust the inlane post without tearing apart the ramp. In the newer models, the cut-out is a circle. This eliminated the problem of the ball not dropping into the inlane cleanly, but now you can't adjust the inlane post without tearing down the ramp.

#36 17 days ago

I got updated ramp returns. was just wondering if there's variation beyond the tear drop hole change, I have another post at the end that wasn't there in my first rev.

#37 17 days ago

Alien B, and C all have teardrop shape left ramp inlane returns ball drop.

Alien A, has a circle shape drop but the artwork is still teardrop shape.

#38 17 days ago

What a great Thread! Once you get one running perfect, you'll have a template for all the others.

#39 17 days ago
Quoted from knockerlover:

Alien B, and C all have teardrop shape left ramp inlane returns ball drop.
Alien A, has a circle shape drop but the artwork is still teardrop shape.

Can you tell us what date is on each one of the three pins, as far as build?
Seems like the earlier editions have had more issues than the later built ones.

#40 17 days ago
Quoted from brett:

Can you tell us what date is on each one of the three pins, as far as build?
Seems like the earlier editions have had more issues than the later built ones.

Brett, do you know where to find the build date? I wasn't able to find anything on the cabinet decals or on the playfield.

#41 17 days ago
Quoted from knockerlover:

do you know where to find the build date?

There is a sticker under the playfield towards the front. One of yours is marked PA-0028. The ones with "PA-xxxx" were pre-production, and not date stamped as far as I know.

Regarding total number of Aliens - I'm guessing around 150 +

A 'pre-production game' I purchased at TPF 2017 was marked as PA-0025. Another pre-prod machine was marked PA-0038. My updated machine is stamped as 'checked' on 05 Dec 2017. It is marked P-0130. Another machine stamped as 'checked' in Nov 2017 is marked P-120.

#42 17 days ago

@partyking do you still have your game?

#43 17 days ago

Yes - and I plan to keep it. I've got everything working with the exception of the Xeno. I just need a new gear - or will try to re-glue the one I have.

#44 17 days ago

Alien A - PA0113 (obviously the newest w/ the pinball brothers boards, and the updated xeno boards/motor)
Alien B - PA0028
Alien C - PA0025

#45 17 days ago
Quoted from knockerlover:

Alien C - PA0025

HEY! That is the machine I purchased at TPF in March of 2017. I returned that machine to cointaker at TPF 2018 in exchange for the one I have now (P-0130).

I made some tweaks to that game, but yes, it has all old hardware and is stuck on version 0.94 of code until you can install new GI, drop targets and xeno. I wonder if it still has my high scores - See any JBB scores? Also, are the facehugger tails still broken, or did CT replace them?

#46 17 days ago

Interesting. Does that mean Heighway made at least 113 Aliens games?

Quoted from knockerlover:

Alien A - PA0113 (obviously the newest w/ the pinball brothers boards, and the updated xeno boards/motor)
Alien B - PA0028
Alien C - PA0025

#47 17 days ago
Quoted from PartyKing:

Regarding total number of Aliens - I'm guessing around 150 +

#48 17 days ago

Work continues. Doing some software updates.

B4E32277-4139-4B83-A9AB-1933FF80E630 (resized).jpeg

#49 17 days ago
Quoted from PinBackpacker:

Doing some software updates.

If that is machine C (PA-0025), I'm curious how the update goes. I was told you could not update code until the updated hardware (GI lights, drop targets and Xeno) were installed.

#50 17 days ago
Quoted from knockerlover:

Brett, do you know where to find the build date? I wasn't able to find anything on the cabinet decals or on the playfield.

On mine it’s on the bottom of playfield. It’s a sticker dated 13-9-17 initialed by HEL with PA-0045 as serial number.

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