(Topic ID: 303564)

Williams Super Star -- ball in saucer gets stuck behind drop target

By Carmoney

2 years ago


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  • 16 posts
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  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Carmoney
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#1 2 years ago

Hi guys,

I just finished re-working a Williams Super Star machine, and have it working 99.9%. The one remaining glitch is that every once in a while, when the ball goes into the center saucer hole and scores the bonus, it doesn't kick out quite fast enough and the drop target in front of the saucer pops up and blocks the ball behind it. When this happens, the only way to clear the problem is to take off the glass and bump the drop target manually.

To address the problem, I made sure everything in the electronic circuit is adjusted correctly--the switches on the long-dwell cam of the score motor were questionable, but I think I now have them correct. I replaced the coil sleeve and made sure everything is clean and smooth. With the power off, everything seems to be moving free and easy like it should. I also gently squeezed the two metal guides in the saucer to make sure the ball is positioned toward the back, to give it maximum impact from the metal kicker.

I MIGHT have the problem fixed. When I tested it today, I could not replicate the stuck ball problem. It's popping out nicely and doesn't just dribble out.
However, I am planning to place the machine in a new home soon and I don't want a leave a problem for the new owner--even if it's only a 1/1000 occurrence.

So I am wondering if giving the kicker coil a little more power would make it work 100%. The existing coil is marked A-22 550 and appears to be original. I am wondering if there is a replacement coil that has a bit more oomph. Or maybe I should unwind a couple turns off the stock coil to lower its resistance.

Or perhaps this is just the nature of this particular mechanism, and it's something that just has to be lived with? ("The ball is wild." --Harry Williams)

I would appreciate any thoughts from those who may have experienced a similar issue.

Thanks,
Mike

#2 2 years ago

Don't think a stronger coil would help you. It would just hit the back of the target harder.
The problem is most likely caused by one of the long dwell switches. When you adjusted that long dwell switch you must have gotten them gapped correctly. That's probably the reason why the problem went away. You should be good to go, but if it does come up again, those long dwells are the prime suspects.

#3 2 years ago

I used to enjoy playing a Superstar in an arcade in PA way back when I was a teen. I clearly recall that I would visit the arcade once/week or so, but every now and then, the Superstar would be dark (shut off) and I could see the ball stuck in the hole behind the drop target. I never gave it much thought then, but it must have been a weakness that could occur given the right combination of misadjustments or freak ball action.

#4 2 years ago

You are not alone...I Remembered this from the IPDB rating comments about the sister game BIG STAR which I own:

"Big Star (and therefore, Super Star) have a design flaw. Works like this: there is a center eject hole that's protected by a drop target. When the eject hole sends the ball back to you, if you shoot it right back in at the right time, the target will pop back up, and trap the ball behind it. The machine will try like crazy to re-eject the ball, slamming against the back of the target again and again, piling up the points. There is no way to retrieve the ball without opening the machine." (IPDB)

Maybe not quite the exact situation.

My game had a very weak center saucer kick out, ball couldn't escape the hole it was kicked so feebly. In fact, the previous owner had put a post and rubber band in front of the drop target so the ball could never go in and be trapped. Of course that move killed scoring the bonuses and free balls, making the game worthless. I cleaned and tightened the gap on the make-break switch located on the bonus unit; saucer kicks strong now and I've never had the ball trapped.

#5 2 years ago

Interesting.

The OP believes his issue occurs because the center target pops back up before the ball is successfully ejected from the hole and thus gets trapped.

The flaw referenced by hjh632 occurs because the ball gets shot back into the eject hole just before the drop target has been reset.

Two different failure mechanisms?

It would seem like the first issue might be mitigated by cleaning and optimizing the switches that fire the hole eject coil (including the motor switch at 5A), installing a fresh coil sleeve, and ensuring there is little slop in the kicker arm mechanism, while the second issue might be mitigated somewhat by adjusting the switches that energize the drop target reset coil to fire as quickly as possible (including the motor switch at long-dwell A).

Yes, No ?

#6 2 years ago

Yes.. it would seem the timing would need to be exactly right on that drop target. Too quick and you have my problem, too slow and you have the other problem.

The timing on mine seems just right. But every time I think it's working perfectly, I seem to have that occasional situation where the kicker kicks, the ball quivers but doesn't quite jump out of the hole, and the target pops up in front of it. At this point, I think my issue is mechanical. And frustratingly intermittent.

#7 2 years ago

I'm having the same issue with mine that was out on location. All of a sudden, the center saucer kickout went weak and wouldn't kick out of the saucer fast enough and gets trapped behind the drop target. I haven't had time to mess around with it, but sounds like a common problem. I'll have to determine if it's an electrical switch issue or mechanical problem.

#8 2 years ago

The last two posts are exactly what my BIG STAR was doing. The ball would just jiggle and quiver in the eject hole until I cleaned and gapped closer the make-break switch ('make at zero position sw') on the bonus stepper. Other choice is motor switch 5-A.

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#9 2 years ago
Quoted from hjh632:

The last two posts are exactly what my BIG STAR was doing. The ball would just jiggle and quiver in the eject hole until I cleaned and gapped closer the make-break switch ('make at zero position sw') on the bonus stepper. Other choice is motor switch 5-A.
[quoted image]

That's a simple fix... electrical check: properly gap and clean the IND-C motor switch and eject switch underneath the kick-out hole. Mechanical check: Make sure that the kicker arm is not hitting the bottom side of the ball rest. If so bend in opposite direction and recheck so arm passes that plate with no hitting/dragging. While you're at it make sure that the kicker unit screws are firm to the playfield.

Others have mentioned other possibilities, like dirty/cracked coil sleeve inhibiting proper upward movement of the arm... always a worthwhile check.

#10 2 years ago

OK, it looks like hjh632 called it correctly in post #8 above. I had carefully checked the motor and relay switches associated with the kicker....BUT...I had not looked at the make/break switch on the bonus stepper since doing my original run-through under the playfield. So I re-cleaned and re-gapped that one switch and BOOM! No more quiver. The ball now kicks very firmly out of the saucer....every time. After extensive glass-off and game-play testing, I have not had a single failure since making that minor adjustment.

Thank you hjh632 and others who contributed with suggestions. This machine is now at 100% functioning.

1 month later
#11 2 years ago

New problem--the five lights for the up/down posts are all flickering together. The post mechanisms themselves are working fine, the problem is purely with the lights. I'm trying to understand schematics, and I'm pretty sure I found the right section--but now I don't know what to do next! What wires or switches should I be checking under there?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can give me some elementary guidance.

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#12 2 years ago
Quoted from Carmoney:

New problem--the five lights for the up/down posts are all flickering together. The post mechanisms themselves are working fine, the problem is purely with the lights. I'm trying to understand schematics, and I'm pretty sure I found the right section--but now I don't know what to do next! What wires or switches should I be checking under there?
Thanks in advance to anyone who can give me some elementary guidance.
[quoted image]

You have to look further up the schematic where power is coming to those 5 lights. Follow the white wire up until you get to the make/break contacts of the game over relay. It's the set of contacts with the white wire and blue wire. It needs cleaned or adjusted.

#13 2 years ago

Game over relay make-break, white wire to blue wire, other leg is Y-G.

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#14 2 years ago
Quoted from hjh632:

other leg is Y-G

Actually, white/orange. The yellow/green is on the other side of the game over bulb.

#15 2 years ago

Yup. Looked too quick

#16 2 years ago

Fixed it. Thanks guys.

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