(Topic ID: 193079)

When EM's drive you crazy


By daveyb98126

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 16 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 days ago by EMsInKC
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 1 year ago

Just when I thought I was getting closer to a fully functioning Big Ben....

I was having start up sequencing issues. The pin would reset score reels, but the motor would keep running, the coin door would keep energized, and the game wouldn't start.

All I did was clean the gummy contacts on the Bonus Unit and.... now the flippers work, scoring reels in the 10's and 100's work (1000 and 10,000 not), drop targets go up and down like a Jack in the box and won't stop, and the game is playing albeit weird. Oh, and the match coil is staying energized and a couple more quirks.

I don't even know where to begin now.

#2 1 year ago

I feel your pain.

#3 1 year ago

Ah, the joys of pinball ownership. I too, feel your pain. Am working through a couple issues with my sttng that pin guy was kind enough to assist me with. Hell I rarely even play it. Hate when the toys are broken. I can tolerate a hole in my roof easier that I can tolerate any of the toys being broken. I know, seek help. I hear you. Hang in there. May I suggest the aide if a local tech familiar with e/m's. There is no disgrace in this

George

#4 1 year ago
Quoted from GPS:

Ah, the joys of pinball ownership. Hang in there. May I suggest the aide if a local tech familiar with e/m's. There is no disgrace in this
George

Yes, absolutely, hard to get them to my house. They say the drive is too long. Heck, I'm willing to chauffeur, buy them lunch, and pay them for their time.

#5 1 year ago

It's been years since I went through a Big Ben, but I'm thinking there's a set of contacts
on the Bonus Unit. You might want to check and make sure they're making and breaking properly..

#6 1 year ago
Quoted from daveyb98126:

Yes, absolutely, hard to get them to my house. They say the drive is too long. Heck, I'm willing to chauffeur, buy them lunch, and pay them for their time.

Puyallup is close to I-5 and 512, your not that isolated.

#7 1 year ago

I'm in this club!

#8 1 year ago
Quoted from daveyb98126:

Yes, absolutely, hard to get them to my house. They say the drive is too long. Heck, I'm willing to chauffeur, buy them lunch, and pay them for their time.

I understand. I have one person in my neck of the woods that is a great service person. Lisa from Cadillac Music. Great attitude and a savvy tech. Trying to get her to start her own biz formally. There are enough people I feel out there that enjoy bthe avocation but due to lack of time or tech skills would rather pay another for their skills. I enjoy trying to fix the game myself but only due to the fact that trying to get a tech here that I believe in is hard.

#9 1 year ago

I've always envied the guys who can solve just about any EM issue in very little time.

Every once in a while, I'll come to fix a game in 20 minutes. Each problem has an easy to find solution. Self esteem is brimming, and I feel like I'm finally "getting it."

A month later, another EM comes by, and coasting off my last success, I think "I got this!" But realize just how little I know, and how much more I need to learn to truly be a seasoned tech. The game will kick my butt, I get frustrated, and tap out.

Don't give up though! Take it easy, take you're time, and eventually you'll come to fix your game. Avoid burnout. Check and double check switch gaps. For me, most of my issues come from thinking a switch is properly adjusted when it's not.

Good luck!

1 year later
#10 5 days ago

I think my Royal Flush machine has been down somewhere between 1.5-2 years. You can search and find many posts from me asking for help all over the map. Sometimes I got responses and help, other times not. Well - it's working now. I'm happy. It was great to play it again (4-player, 5-ball game with NO issues.. well, except no match feature). But I'm also kind of numb about it. I expected to really LEARN some good stuff along the way, like how to read schematics or really understand how to isolate and troubleshoot a particular circuit. Nope. But somehow, I figured it out. I could have paid ~$300 and been up & running a year ago. I don't regret being stubborn and working on it myself. EMs are hard man.... but I am less afraid of them now. I'd pull the board again without too much worry.

#11 5 days ago
Quoted from Boise_D:

I think my Royal Flush machine has been down somewhere between 1.5-2 years. You can search and find many posts from me asking for help all over the map. Sometimes I got responses and help, other times not. Well - it's working now. I'm happy. It was great to play it again (4-player, 5-ball game with NO issues.. well, except no match feature). But I'm also kind of numb about it. I expected to really LEARN some good stuff along the way, like how to read schematics or really understand how to isolate and troubleshoot a particular circuit. Nope. But somehow, I figured it out. I could have paid ~$300 and been up & running a year ago. I don't regret being stubborn and working on it myself. EMs are hard man.... but I am less afraid of them now. I'd pull the board again without too much worry.

I have family in Boise. Next time I visit I’d love to come play your game (it would get me out of my in-law’s house haha)!

#12 4 days ago

My heartfelt advice: DON'T GIVE UP.

I have only been in the hobby for six years, and the frustration that you are describing has already happened to me many times. I also expect that it will happen to me many more times in the future as long as I keep the damn things in my life - and I'm pretty sure I will keep them.

Most recently, my 1975 Williams Pat Hand was down for at least 6 months. I put up a post here at one point and got some help, but EMs are sometimes mysterious and addressing one issue led to others. I gave up and had Clay Harrell to my house. Clay is an AMAZING person to watch work on a machine. I have paid for him to come out three times in my six years in pinball. Early on (probably visit #2), I stopped trying to learn how to "fix" something from him and decided to try to learn HOW he assesses and works through an issue. I found this to be a much better way of trying to get something out of his visits. He is ALWAYS helpful, funny and committed to getting things fixed. In my own way, I have learned a LOT from him by watching him work his way around a pinball machine, especially an EM.

When Clay left last time, Pat Hand was working fine. Within 48 hours the same problems were back. Instead of losing it and getting all worked up, I just kept working my way through the schematic the way Clay did. I elicited a little help from an engineer and an electronics mechanic during a pinball party at my house last month. The night after the pinball party, I opened up Pat Hand, took a deep breath, and started chasing down circuits and checking switches. Next thing I knew - BOOM - back on came my playfield and I haven't had an issue since.

So in the end, I know what I did and I know how I did it. Sure, it took MONTHS and a payment to Clay to get things back on line. For me, it means 2 things:

1. I have learned a little more about pinball repair and have a couple more tools in my mental arsenal the next time an issue comes up.
2. I have learned that the next fix - whenever it may be necessary - might be just as confusing, anger provoking and head scratching as the last. Or, it could be fixed in 10 minutes.

Either way, I will keep learning and improving my repair skills, as long as I keep trying.

Keep at it! Don't give up! Don't worry about how long it takes. Just keep trying. At some point, things will work correctly and you will be standing there playing a game on the machine again and - from what I have experienced in the last six years - it will feel pretty damn good!

Best of luck!

Tim in Motown

#13 4 days ago

I might add that when you are checking switch gaps, don't rule out normally closed switches that look like they are closed but may need just a tiny tweak more to make good contact. I've started to manually activate relays and such to visually verify that both/all switch leaves involved move (checking for proper wiping action) as it opens and closes.

#14 4 days ago
Quoted from goldenboy232:

I have family in Boise. Next time I visit I’d love to come play your game (it would get me out of my in-law’s house haha)!

Give me a heads up next time you're in town. We've got 19.

#15 4 days ago
Quoted from Boise_D:

Give me a heads up next time you're in town. We've got 19.

I will — Thanks!!

#16 4 days ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

I might add that when you are checking switch gaps, don't rule out normally closed switches that look like they are closed but may need just a tiny tweak more to make good contact. I've started to manually activate relays and such to visually verify that both/all switch leaves involved move (checking for proper wiping action) as it opens and closes.

The bane of EMs. The switch that looks like it is making, but isn't and vice versa...

I check every single relay. I clean every switch. I look to see if I'm getting deflection of the short blade on n/o switches. I've been doing this a long time. But still, there are always switches that are off. It the rule with EMs.

When I restore them, usually they're close when I first power up. But not once has one worked perfectly. I don't expect that will ever change.

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