(Topic ID: 253454)

Whirlwind: back from the depths


By zacaj

9 months ago



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  • 169 posts
  • 26 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 months ago by zacaj
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There are 169 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 4.
#1 9 months ago

Picked up a whirlwind that has supposedly been sitting in an enclosed pool building for the past few decades. The moisture and chlorine were so bad even the stainless has rusted. Paint is flaking off the cabinet and bottom is sagging badly. But supposedly it's complete, so what's the worst that can happen?

I've been hunting for a project whirlwind for a while now, although this one is at the edge of my capabilities... I probably would have passed on it except that I happen to have an empty but solid whirlwind cab (including most metal parts) that I picked up a few years ago on a whim
IMG_20191013_185804.jpgIMG_20191013_185825.jpgIMG_20191013_185817.jpgIMG_20191013_185811.jpgIMG_20191013_185838.jpgIMG_20191013_185904.jpgIMG_20191013_185845.jpg

#2 9 months ago

Upon closer inspection, the head doesn't look too bad, so I'll probably reuse it and swap the lower cab. Seems like transferring all the wiring and hardware for the boards would be a big pain

#3 9 months ago

Looking in the backbox, things are not pretty. Transistors are corroded:
IMG_20191013_185920.jpg
Fuses are rusted into their holders. Even the voltage regulator has rusted:
IMG_20191013_185926.jpg
MPU has some acid damage, but doesn't look too bad. Rust seems to have done more damage to the holder than the acid did
IMG_20191013_185941.jpg
The knocker seems to be stuck in the up position, probably due to more rust. I'm sure that doesn't signal anything about the playfield mechs at all...
IMG_20191013_185953.jpg

#4 9 months ago

Followed! Good luck man, this looks atrocious.

#6 9 months ago

good luck underneath! I restored a whirlwind in not nearly as bad of shape, but in pretty bad shape. it's a great game that deserves life, so that you on behalf of pinheads everywhere.

#7 9 months ago

Good luck! I passed on this one after deciding it was beyond my skills.

#8 9 months ago

Surprisingly, lockdown bar came off without issue. Glass was stuck but not too bad. Playfield has factory mylar, doesn't look too bad. Not much wear in other areas either, even all plastics are intact.

The one metal habitrail is grisly. I'll have to get it replated or something... Right spinner has a weird showing metal bump in the middle. Not sure if that's some operator hack or what, not too familiar with the mech. IMG_20191013_190555.jpg
Ramp flaps are very rusty, and sadly it looks like these aren't available anywhere. I hate dealing with ramp flaps. Maybe I can just sand/polish these back to usability without having to replace.
IMG_20191013_190600.jpgIMG_20191013_190604.jpgIMG_20191013_190641.jpg

#9 9 months ago

Under the playfield, every mech is frozen solid except for the ramp diverter. I'd be rebuilding most of these anyway, so I'm not too concerned. The subway will be a pain, but I assume can be cleaned up. My big concern is if the spinners are damaged in any way. They don't turn freely, but I'm not sure if they should either. Even some of the switch wireforms are rusted, along with all the lamp sockets. Hopefully these still work, otherwise that'll be a pain.

IMG_20191013_190658.jpgIMG_20191013_190651.jpgIMG_20191013_190707.jpg
#10 9 months ago

Putting together a parts order of stuff I know I'll need now. Looks like about $250 so far across four sites

While waiting for those to come in I'll probably try to remove the side rails. They're really nasty, to the point where I reflexively don't even want to lean into the cab and touch them by accident. I'll need to transplant all the internal wiring and hardware to my spare cab, so I'll be working in there a lot. Will pull the MPU too and try to get it booting on the bench. Never worked with a system 11 board before.

#11 9 months ago

wonder whats up with yellow border around the spinners? ive only seen red before.

#12 9 months ago

Good luck.
Fuck, the first pic i thought it was some cheetah style powder coating shit show....then i saw it "may" be worse.

Quoted from ccbiggsoo7:

wonder whats up with yellow border around the spinners? ive only seen red before.

I think I've only seen yellow?

#13 9 months ago

Props for taking this rusty ol project on!

Quoted from ccbiggsoo7:

wonder whats up with yellow border around the spinners? ive only seen red before.

I also wondered that?

#14 9 months ago

Oh sorry I see what you guys mean now aboot the border.
Hmm....sun...water damage?

#15 9 months ago

Maybe faded... But if so it's impressively even. Looking at pics on line it looks like the flame around the skill shot and the van should also be red, along with part of the area around the bonus X (gradient). But that's all solid orange. Plastics are all still bright red. The area around the high pressure jets is also red.

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#16 9 months ago

Was worried with the condition of the cabinet that the playfield might be structurally or chemically damaged, but I hit some non mylared parts with novus 2 and didn't lose any paint. Seems smooth after cleaning, so hopefully that's fine. Realized the back plastic above the ramp is cracked on the right, so will have to look for a replacement for that.

Also sadly can't find any part numbers for the rusted metal brackets on the score panel. I know wpc used plastic channels but these are metal. Will probably have to remove them, and the hinges, and sand blast them. Luckily black isn't too hard to paint. Might also paint the legs, as they're solid rust. Or buy a new pair, but I do like to reuse stuff when I can.

#17 9 months ago
Quoted from zacaj:

Maybe faded... But if so it's impressively even. Looking at pics on line it looks like the flame around the skill shot and the van should also be red, along with part of the area around the bonus X (gradient). But that's all solid orange. Plastics are all still bright red. The area around the high pressure jets is also red.[quoted image]

Could it be a proto or a sample? What's the serial number?

#18 9 months ago

Are you going to restore the playfield?

I made all new insert slides if you're interested. They're pretty nuts on (I did them from scratch), but not exact. But they're solid. You can see I made some a bit larger, but they're better than having to deal with actual decal decals if you're clearcoating

ww decals (resized).jpg
#19 9 months ago
Quoted from plankalkul:

Are you going to restore the playfield?
I made all new insert slides if you're interested. They're pretty nuts on (I did them from scratch), but not exact. But they're solid. You can see I made some a bit larger, but they're better than having to deal with actual decal decals if you're clearcoating[quoted image]

Nah, I don't have those skills sadly. If a playfield is bad enough to need restoring I don't buy the game. This one isn't great but it looks like it'll be more than fine for a players pin.

#20 9 months ago

Took the boards out today in prep for removing the playfield and head. started cleaning up the acid damage on the MPU. Took the roms out to test them and their legs crumbled away, so ordering some more and replacing the sockets. Not sure why the rom legs were so susceptible to rust; CPU and PIA are still shiny

#21 9 months ago

Can’t wait to see it done. Keep us posted.

#22 9 months ago

Sound roms are also rusty. Removed all the rom sockets and then realized I'm out of replacements

Plugged it in anyway, and was able to see with a logic probe that the main cpu is running, so the reset section is still alive despite the corrosion. Sound CPU seems not to be booting.

Between all the boards I think I'm going to need 19 new fuse holders! Luckily marco sells a whirlwind fuse pack so I can just get all new ones

#23 9 months ago

Amazing! I am glad you rescued this and saved it from the dumpster. Please document your progress. It’s a great game and rust is relatively easy to fix so I am excited to see this working!

#24 9 months ago

Comparison of the old roms and a new one... The legs on the left one are so black and rusted my camera can't even capture it. Half the legs snapped off when I I tried to remove it.
IMG_20191014_232939.jpg

#25 9 months ago

Pulled the playfield out of the cab so I could access the hinges to remove the head so I could remove the side rails. For some reason there is a single factory zip tie that attaches the playfield and cab harnesses together, which was really fun to find and clip while balancing the entire playfield on the lock down bar with one hand. Once the playfield was tilted down enough this rolled out of the lock:

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#26 9 months ago

Replaced all the sockets on the mpu and installed Leon's test rom. Reset section is a bit finicky but most of the time the board boots. Will be replacing it with a reset generator eventually. All the PIA pins strobed fine except a few going to the display, but I think that's just due to corroded pull ups I need to order. Memory test passed, and all transistors work, which is honestly better than I expected. Sound cpu doesn't boot, need to do more research into how its reset signal is generated since it seems to be separate from the main cpu for some reason.

#27 9 months ago
Quoted from zacaj:

Replaced all the sockets on the mpu and installed Leon's test rom. Reset section is a bit finicky but most of the time the board boots. Will be replacing it with a reset generator eventually. All the PIA pins strobed fine except a few going to the display, but I think that's just due to corroded pull ups I need to order. Memory test passed, and all transistors work, which is honestly better than I expected. Sound cpu doesn't boot, need to do more research into how its reset signal is generated since it seems to be separate from the main cpu for some reason.

Pry off the plastic socket body from the sound cpu and roms, and I bet you find the answer. That mpu has a lot of corrosion.

#28 9 months ago
Quoted from gutz:

Pry off the plastic socket body from the sound cpu and roms, and I bet you find the answer. That mpu has a lot of corrosion.

I already removed and replaced the sockets? They were corroded a bit. It's hard to tell where the battery damage ends and the chlorine damage begins, since basically every exposed piece of metal on this game is at least discolored. I'm going to clean up what I can but can't really depolulate every board completely, so trying to focus on things (like corroded sockets) that I can tell are definitely bad, or components that I can test.

#29 9 months ago
Quoted from zacaj:

I already removed and replaced the sockets? They were corroded a bit. It's hard to tell where the battery damage ends and the chlorine damage begins, since basically every exposed piece of metal on this game is at least discolored. I'm going to clean up what I can but can't really depolulate every board completely, so trying to focus on things (like corroded sockets) that I can tell are definitely bad, or components that I can test.

Sorry - I didn't know you already did the sound sockets! Most people stop looking for corrosion past the reset section, but it creeps into the sound section too.

#30 9 months ago
Quoted from gutz:

Sorry - I didn't know you already did the sound sockets! Most people stop looking for corrosion past the reset section, but it creeps into the sound section too.

It was easy to tell in this case because when I took the sound chips out their legs were corroded Couldn't actually see any corrosion on the sockets but assumed they were bad. Once I pulled the plastic housing off, I could see that nearly every pin was green

#31 9 months ago

Discovered that you need to manually reset the sound CPU when not using game roms, and after that the sound CPU worked fine. Tried to burn some new L3 roms for it and discovered that apparently my stash of 27256s are wrongly labeled or something. They claim to be ST 27C256Bs but my burner says they're not. The chip ID doesn't even match between supposedly the same chip. So now I'll be ordering more of them too

Tested the whirlwind display in my taxi, and it didn't work. Going to test it in a friend's whirlwind to make sure, but I assume I'll need to order a new display for it...

Since the playfield was out I was able to remove the head for eventual transplant to the new cab. Hopefully found the proper replacement carriage bolts on marco to replace the rusted ones.

Took off the side rails, which was a big pain working alone. Needed one hand to hold the blow drier to melt the glue, one to hold the pry bar, and one to hold the rail while I moved the pry bar once each section was free.

Will start migrating the cabinet wiring/etc next, and probably place my first round of parts orders (need new playfield hinge bolts to reinstall playfield)

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#32 9 months ago

Orders out to six different vendors for the first wave of parts. Marco, pbr, pbl, cliffy, digikey, ezsbc. Bought every part I either knew I needed from initial inspection, or probably needed and was cheap.

Got to worrying while falling asleep last night that maybe the rust on the plungers would get every plunger stuck in its coil, and then I'd have to buy all new coils. I took off a pop bumper, and it was very rustyIMG_20191017_190912 (resized).jpg

But when I took it apart, I found that all the rust is, thankfully, surface rust. The plunger that was in the sleeve is still nice and shiny, so I don't have to worry about that anymore. I assume all the mechs will come apart pretty easy. The kickout arms might be in danger since they have two parts and both are metal, but at worst those are readily available.
IMG_20191017_191022 (resized).jpg

Took off a one way gate too since they're quite expensive to replace, and threw all of the parts in some evaporust. I'll leave it overnight and see how they turn out if a soak, cleaning, and maybe a tumble can get then back to serviceable status I'll probably be safe for most of the playfield parts, although the ball guides still worry me.
IMG_20191017_191459 (resized).jpg

#33 9 months ago

Since I had everything out, I figured I should test the transformer. Plugged in the (corroded) plug, and saw it spark. Figured the power switch was on, so I flipped it and then plugged it in. Still sparked. Took a closer look and the power switch has been bypassed, game is just always on. Seems the switch is so corroded it can't make good contact.

#35 9 months ago

looks like you need a big container of evaporust. Good luck on bringing it back!

#36 8 months ago

Chlorine is just brutal on steel. Hopefully all of the metal you want to reuse hasn't become pitted.

This looks like an awesome challenge. I'm jealous.

#37 8 months ago

After a day in evapo rust, the rust is gone, and now there's just some blackened pits. Better I guess? IMG_20191019_083242 (resized).jpg

Most of my parts arrived.
IMG_20191019_151911 (resized).jpgSince I had the hinge bolts, I was now able to migrate all the wiring over to the new cabinet. Put the playfield in, attached the head again.

Tore down the playfield. Not as bad as I expected it to be. Most posts and guides didn't rust.

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Disassembled most of the mechs. Threw what I'm not replacing in the evapo rust, added a few more things (various plungers mostly) to my next order. Coils all seem good. Sleeves even came out of the flipper coils fine, which never seems to happen... Put most of the playfield hardware in the tumbler.

Removed the spinner unit to see what was up with that big bump on the right one. The original system had a metal shaft running through, with theaded holes on both ends. The discs have a recessed hole with slanted edge, so a screw can sit on top flush, and hold the disc to the shaft. Not sure what possibly could have gone wrong to cause this, but the entire stock shaft is gone. Someone then reamed out the hole in the disc to the point where none of bevel on the hole is left, and ran a carriage bolt through. Worked, but left a bolt head on the playfield. Really could use a replacement disc, but doubt I'll find one.
IMG_20191019_193728 (resized).jpg

Everything seemed to be going pretty well until I got to the lamps. All of the lamp sockets are solid rust, but when I tested them with the transformer they actually worked fine. Can't trust them though. The 555 twist sockets, however, all seem to not work, despite looking fine. No idea what's wrong with them, but I guess they'll have to be replaced. the GI sockets need replacing too. All the switch actuators are rusty, no replacements are available though. So they'll get evaporusted too.

Big issue though, none of the switches work. I'm reading about 40k ohms across them when shut. I was able to clean the leaf switches on the pops and slings, and they worked fine. I love leaf switches. All of the microswitches seem to be bad. I hate microswitches. Will need to figure out what the base part number is for the switches themselves, since the manual only gives it with the actuator, which of course are all custom. Looks like about 50 switches to replace... Tracking these down, swapping all the actuators, and soldering everything will be a giant pain (and hit to the budget).

IMG_20191019_220201 (resized).jpgIMG_20191019_220156 (resized).jpg

#38 8 months ago

you need to get a 3M finishing sander disc.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/full-restore-of-a-whirlwind#post-5245133

It will work on all of the mechs, ball guides, and including those gates. You really have to try had to get it to take any real layer of metal off.

#39 8 months ago
Quoted from yaksplat:

you need to get a 3M finishing sander disc.
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/full-restore-of-a-whirlwind#post-5245133
It will work on all of the mechs, ball guides, and including those gates. You really have to try had to get it to take any real layer of metal off.

I'll have to take a look for one! Never done anything with ball guides beyond polishing them by hand

#40 8 months ago

Just buy generic micros and bend each to fit. Or replace with leaf switches for better adjustability in the future. Micros were introduced IMO to make manufacturing easier and to make route maintenance easier. Where time is more important than $$$.

I just checked pricing on micros and they've certainly gone up since the last time I ordered a bunch - I used to pay $1.95 for the generic wire ones. They're a buck apiece more now @ pinball life. Marco is even more expensive.

On the plus side once you do it they'll be fine for years!

#41 8 months ago

Spent the day fixing boards. Rebuilt the reset section of the MPU with a reset generator per pinwiki, worked great. Burned the correct game roms, and it boots up and flashes the leds correctly. Pressing the self test button gives one brief flicker on the diagnostic led, then returns to normal operation. Not sure if that's one 'flash' meaning the ram is bad, or if that's standard. Leon's test rom passes the ram fine, so I assume it's good. Leon's sound rom doesn't seem to work though, I get no reading at all on the sound PIA outputs, and I get the same thing with the stock roms. For lack of any better ideas I plugged the MPU into my taxi, and it booted up, said 'adjust failure' as expected, and made a single tone on the speakers, and then a repeated faint clicking. Since I was mixing and matching sound roms, I figured that's good enough for now.

Replaced the GI headers on the interconnect. One was burnt so bad I had to run a jumper. Tried to replace the corroded fuse holders, but it turns out the giant pile of holders I ordered are the wrong size; the legs are slightly too wide to fit the holes. Grr.

Put together an order of switches. Pinball Life seems to stock about half of them, the other big sellers have almost nothing. So I'll order those and some generic switches for the rest and attempt to transfer the armatures over. Hopefully I can add all these to my last order, since for some reason they still haven't shipped it.

#42 8 months ago

Enjoy reading about your progress. All best

#43 8 months ago

Go go go !!

Feel the power of the wind !!

Following

#44 8 months ago

Evaporust is your friend. I thought that my recent Whirlwind was a rusty mess! Keep the faith and keep at it. I need to start putting mine back together.

#45 8 months ago

Rebuilt the power and aux power supply boards with new caps, fuses, rectifiers. Aux board is putting out 25+50V fine, and am getting a steady 4.99V from the logic supply, but no HV at all. Went to check the schematics, and am finding that the schematics in the online whirlwind manual and my printed taxi manual are completely wrong. None of the connectors match up at all. I think they changed the board design at some point. Probably doesn't matter assuming the display is dead and I'll be switching to LED, but would like to have good voltages to at least test the display first.

Lamp matrix bridge seems to be dead, and terminals are rusted to it, so I'll be replacing that. Glad to see they finally fused it by this generation though.

Very satisfying looking at rows of brand new shiny fuses and holders

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#46 8 months ago

Evaporust was looking very dark, so I took everything out. All rust gone, but nothing looks great. I think most of it will be salvageable though, as it isn't very visible. Most either is unseen parts that don't effect gameplay, or in a few cases I can't find replacements (such as the plunger for the lift ramp), so will have to clean them up the best I can. The one exception is the gates, which are pretty visible and don't look too good. Along with the ramp flaps (which I still need to remove and address) they'll probably need a lot of attention, maybe a new coat of paint or some intense sanding and buffing. IMG_20191021_213139 (resized).jpg

Took the batch of non-rusted parts out of the tumbler. A bit cleaner now, but not very polished. I need to do more research about tumbler polishing, as I'm just not getting results others seem to be getting. IMG_20191021_213428 (resized).jpg

Put the derusted parts in the tumbler to see if it can help at all

#47 8 months ago

what media are you using? Are you adding anything to it?

Walnut for cleaning and cor cob for polishing. You can add some polish or wax to the corn cob too.

#48 8 months ago
Quoted from yaksplat:

what media are you using? Are you adding anything to it?
Walnut for cleaning and cor cob for polishing. You can add some polish or wax to the corn cob too.

Walnut with some metal polish thrown in. Never tried corn cob....

#49 8 months ago

How long do you keep in the tumbler for? might need to run for 3 or 4 days

#50 8 months ago

Disassemble the gates so you can clean them more easily. You can crush a piece of metal wire to reassemble them with some vise grips. On my gates i used evaporust then tried polishing them but then finally used the wheel i posted earlier. That evened out the surface and got a nice shine on them.

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