Working on Silver Sails

By robertmedl

1 year ago


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#1 1 year ago

Start a new game. All odds units reset. But G odds doesn't then step up and the Y and R odds are "stuck" (their step up coils are energized, but the units won't step up). If I manually step up G, then the Y and R odds step up as they should, but G odds is still one step short of 4 odds. If I manually step up G again, then the game plays fine.

1 minute video here:

#2 1 year ago

Rebuild your green odds stepper. Looks like it is not zeroing on the right rivet to me...

#3 1 year ago
Quoted from bingopodcast:

Rebuild your green odds stepper. Looks like it is not zeroing on the right rivet to me...

I did rebuild it. I suspected that I may not have reassembled it properly. I'll have a look. Thanks!

#4 1 year ago

Rebuilt incorrectly. When the unit resets, there is a metal "arm" that engages a stop on the back of the ratchet wheel. This stops the unit at the reset position. I reinstalled the arm incorrectly (from the top rather than beneath where it is mounted on the unit), allowing the unit to travel one extra step.

INCORRECT installation here: -- The metal arm to the left of the switch should be mounted on the underside, not the top.

CORRECT installation here: -- The metal arm is mounted on the underside, not the top.

#5 1 year ago

Maybe this will help someone. At least it helped me in writing it up...

Issue: "Press Buttons Now" lamp doesn't always flash when it should. Sometimes it flashes, sometimes it doesn't.

How should it work: With the Magic Screen lit, the "Press Buttons Now" lamp should flash depending on time tree value Before 4th, Before 5th, After 5th and number of balls shot.


0. Locate the lamp circuit on the schematic. Lamps generally run horizontally across the top of the schematic, so start looking at top left. The "Select now lite" seems to be the lamp we're looking for.

1. Understand the lamp circuit.
A. The right branch is simpler -- it goes through the "Select after 5th ball lockout relay". And thinking about when I have seen the lamp flash and when I have not, I realize that lamp does flash when After 5th is lit, but doesn't otherwise. A quick set up of a game with the Magic Screen and After 5th lit confirms it -- the lamp flashes as it should.
B. The left branch is more complex. Reading down from the lamp, I see "Select before 5th ball lockout relay", the timer unit, "Select before 4th ball lockout relay", and the "Yellow R.O. trip relay". I'll probe along this ciruit to find the problem.

2. Get out the manual, compare with the schematic, and think.
A. From the lamp to "Select before 5th ball lockout relay" is wire 48-12. In the manual, I find "Select before 5th ball lockout relay" and see that 48-12 is involved in the flashing of the lamp. Makes sense.
B. From the "Select before 5th ball lockout relay" to the timer unit is wire 14-1. Again, looking at the manual at the "Select before 5th ball lockout relay", I see that 14-1 is in the same switch stack as 48-12. Makes sense. Now, I find the timer unit in the manual and look for the lug with 14-1. I see that it, along with 27-4, is "Thru wipers D, Press Buttons Now Lite at 4th step". OK -- getting more interesting. This circuit goes through the wipers at step 4, and looking at the manual wiper D and mentally stepping the unit up 4 steps I see that wiper D would rest on rivets 14-1 and 27-4. Makes sense; the rivets correspond to the lugs that I was just looking at. Let's keep thinking, but keep in mind that this is only for before 4th and that the issue is also present from before 5th.
C. From the timer unit to the "Select before 4th ball lockout relay" is wire 27-4. I just saw 27-4 on the timer unit right next to 14-1. Makes sense. And in the manual I see that "Select before 4th ball lockout relay" wire 27-4 is involved in the flashing of the lamp for before 4th.
D. From "Select before 4th ball lockout relay" to "Yellow R.O. trip relay" is wire 50-12. Again, looking at the manual at the "Select before 4th ball lockout relay", I see that 50-12 is in the same switch stack as 27-4. Makes sense. And looking in the manual at "Yellow R.O. trip relay" I see that 50-12 is involved in the flashing of the lamp at before 4th.
E. From timer unit to the "Yellow R.O. trip relay" is wire 23-5. Ahhh -- this is where the after 5th comes into play. Looking at the timer unit, I can see that at the 5th step, wiper D will be connected to 23-5 and 14-1. Hmmm... 14-1 is common to both the before 4th and before 5th circuits...

3. Probe and fix it.
A. From the previous steps, I understand the conditions needed for the lamp to flash. I start a game, manually step up the screen to D, step up the timer 4 steps (see 2B above). Confirm that the lamp is not flashing.
B. Set multimeter to AC. Attach probe to lamp on wire 48. Since the lamp is not flashing at either before 4th or before 5th, probe at an easy to reach point in the circuit above where the circuit splits between before 4th and before 5th. There's only 14-1, and it's easier to reach on the timer unit than on "Select before 5th ball lockout relay". Let's pick timer unit lug 14-1. Multimeter reading is 0V. Probe other easy points -- wiper D on rivet 14-1 reads 6V. Ah ha! There is an issue between the rivet and the lug on the timer unit. How are they connected? Via wires on the back of the plate. Visual inspection of the wire from the rivet to the lug looks good, but when I tug the wire with my dental pick, the wire popped right off at the lug. Resolder wire to lug and fixed.



#6 1 year ago

Nice job! Cold solder joints are the worst.

#7 1 year ago

Issue: When playing on the red button, "Red Button for combination Scores and Features" lamp flashes but does not stay lit. "Blue Button for Scores", "Green Button for Features", "Extra Balls" lamps work as designed when playing on the corresponding blue, green, yellow buttons.

How it should work: RED lamp should stay lit when playing on the red button.


0. Locate the lamp circuit on the schematic. Lamps generally run horizontally across the top of the schematic, so start looking at top left. The "All feat. lite" (schematic location M12) seems to be the lamp we're looking for.

1. Understand the lamp circuit: Looks like the lamp circuit goes through 3 relays, then a switch where it splits; one branch leads to the shutter motor, the other to extra balls.

2. Get out the manual, compare with the schematic, and think.
A. Lamp wire 25-15 > Red Button Relay switch B (SPDT) which 'Opens circuit to extra-balls feature lite and completes circuit to red scores and features lite'.
B. Red Button Relay switch B wire 51-15 > Play scores relay switch A (SPDT) which 'Directs circuit from yellow button play lite, and red button play lite, to blue button play lite'.
C. Play scores relay switch A wire 36-15 > Play features relay switch A (SPDT) which 'Directs circuit from yellow button play lite, red button play lite, blue button play lite to green button play lite'.
D. Play features relay switch A wire 30 > Timer cams index 17C (NC) which 'Opens circuit to red button relay, and extra ball trip relays'.
E.1.A. Timer cams index 17C wire 13 > Red button switch 1 (NO) wire 85-7 > powers the Red button relay > wire 91-15 to Shutter motor cam #6XA swtich located under cam #6
E.2.A. Timer cams index 17C wire 13 > Yellow button switch (NO) wire 25-8 > Gold game relay #3 (NC) wire 31-18 > Before 5th selector lock trip (NO) wire 40-17 > Extra ball trip relay

3. Probe and fix.
A. As I was about to begin by attaching a probe at lamp wire 25-15, I fired up another game just to look around at what was going on. I noted that the Red Button Relay was not staying energized when playing on the red button. So this is the real issue -- why isn't the Red Button Relay staying engaged?

4. Locate the Red Button Relay on the schematic (D12). Up to wire 30 (ignore for now), down goes to Yellow button switch #3 (NC). [In general, switch #1 is closest to the cabinet, so switch #3 will be away from the cabinet.] Visual inspection of Yellow button switch #3 reveals the issue -- it's jacked waaaaay open. Adjust the switch and the issue is fixed.

Before and after pictures attached.



#8 1 year ago

Issue: Red Letter Feature Unit (RLFU) does not advance; it does reset if manually advanced to any position. The unit can be manually advanced / reset, and the lamps light appropriately when the unit is not at its reset position.

How should it work: This 8-step unit advances in tandem with the Green Score Unit (GSU), which is also an 8-step unit. And while the RLFU is an 8-step unit, its 8 positions are tied to just 6 red letter game levels, corresponding to each letter in S-I-L-V-E-R. From the manual, you can see that RLFU positons 1, 2, and 3 map to the S game, and positions 4 through 8 map to the I-L-V-E-R games.

Put another way, when the green odds are at any of its lowest 3 values, the red letter game is S. As the green odds advance to level 4 and above, the red letter game advances to I-L-V-E-R.

0. Inspect RLFU unit for broken wires, and clean unit as needed. In my case, I rebuilt the unit since it was very dirty.
1. Verify that the step up coil works by jumpering from the GSU step-up coil to the RLFU step up coil (see photo 1 -- look at the multi-colored jumper wire from the GSU in the head to the RLFU at the top of the laid-down face) and starting a game. If the RLFU coil is good, it should step up; if not, you'll blow a fuse. In my case, the coil was good.

2. Locate and understand the circuit:
A. Step up units / coils are generally found across the bottom of the schematic. Hmmm... the RFLU isn't there across the bottom.
B. Continuing counter-clockwise around the schematic, I see the "Red Letter Feature Unit Coil" at H50, which looks promising. However, scanning the units around it, it appears that these are all RESET coils, not STEP UP coils; apparently, they ran out of space to more precisely label the "Red Letter Feature Unit Coil" at H50 as "the "Red Letter Feature Unit Reset Coil".
C. Continuing counter-clockwise around the schematic, I see the "Red Letter Feature Unit s.u. Coil", which is what I want. Down from the coil hits wire 70 (ignore for now); up from the coil via wire 98-9 is the "Green Score Unit s.u. arm sw." (NO), which then hits wire 30. So, it must be this switch. Which switch is it? It's the switch on the green score unit step up arm; when the green score unit steps up, this switch gets closed by the step up arm, which in trums steps up the RLFU. Makes total sense given our understanding of how it should work.
D. Manual operation of the GSU reveals the issue -- the green score unit step up arm switch is gapped too far (see photo 2) and does not close when the GSU steps up.

3. Fix: Clean and adjust the green score unit step up arm switch (see photo 3).




#9 1 year ago

Gel-Gloss is your friend when cleaning a playfield.






#10 1 year ago

OK. So this issue wasn't on my Silver Sails, it was on my Golden Gate, which is the same game. I've removed some of the dumb things that I did.

Issue: Game will not award extra balls. When playing on the yellow button, the EXTRA BALL light would lite, as would 1ST and EXTRA, but never BALL. If I manually advance the extra ball unit from EXTRA to BALL and then continue playing on the yellow button, it will advance from 2nd to EXTRA, but never to ball. Same for the 3rd extra ball.

How it should work: At some point, extra balls should be awarded.

0. Locate the Extra Ball step up coil on the schematic. Generally, coils are along the bottom of the schematic; I located it at B26.

1. Get an overview of the circuit. Reading up the schematic from the EB step up coil, there are three circuits that step up the coil. One or two switches in each and they all hit the EB unit. And then up from that I see there is Mixer #3, the adjustment plug, the spotting disc, eb trip relay #1, eb trip relay #2, and a few more switches. OK, so I have a general sense of what elements I may be looking into.

2. Research. I often start with a search of Phil Hooper's site. From reading his excellent explanation here (, I can confirm my understanding that there are three ways that the EB unit can be stepped up, but what I learned is that two of the three (the right two circuits) are really for show. And given that my EB unit steps up as it should except to BALL, I'm convinced that the two right circuits are working as designed.

3. Probe and (hopefully) fix. So I start with just visually inspecting stuff and cleaning switches with a flexstone, starting from the stup up coil.
-- Mixer & spotting 16 pulse cam #2B is in manual page 21. It is NO and appears to close as it should when it rides over the cam.
-- Start relay is in manual page 28-29. I see from the schematic that I am looking for wires 78 and 75-4. Back to the booklet I see that this is switch A (NC). that switch checks out.
-- Ignore mixer #3 for now.
-- Look on the spotting disc for any broken wires, excessive dirt on the disc, pitted rivots. Tug at the wires on the lugs with my dental pick. Nothing seems out of the ordinary.
-- Keep going up to see the eb trip replay 1, eb trip relay 2, blue score booster. Use the scmeatic and the manual to find the right switches; inspect and clean. All seem good.

4. Stumped, so reach out to friends. Sent email to friends and got this summary explanation.

A. Voltage is provided on wire 18-2.
B. Wire 18-2 is connected to wire 43-5 by position of the spotting disc (There are other “optional” wires but they all end up on wire 43-5).
C. The voltage passes through the spotting disc wiper & contact point to wire 43-5.
D. Wire 43-5 is connected directly to the Extra Ball Unit to a contact point(s) on the unit circuit board. When the Extra Ball unit is at position 1 a circuit is present between wire 43-5 and wire 75-4 (The Extra Ball unit MUST move 1 step during the very first play for extra balls. We know this is happening because “1st” & “Extra” light.).
E. Wire 75-4 connects to wire 78 through a normally closed switch on the Start Relay.
F. Wire 78 goes to one of the 16 pulse switches on the top control unit motor mounted on the back door. The 16 pulse switch closes a circuit to wire 38-4 16 times every rotation of the control unit.
G. Wire 38-4 steps up the extra ball unit.

6. Apply explanation. OK... Let's see what happens when voltage is applied to wire 18-2. I can easily get to 18-2 on the spotting disc; manual page 13 shows me that it is wiper B. So start a game, shoot 5 balls, press the yellow button, go into the head and jumper 18-2 from a spot where I know there is voltage and is easy to reach -- the anti-cheat relay (tip: this relay always has voltage when the game is running). If the EB unit does not advance to BALL, then the issue will be DOWN the schematic from 18-2; if it does advance to BALL, then the issue will be UP the schematic.

The unit did advance the BALL. So if voltage gets to spotting disc 18-2 it will work. But voltage is not getting there... So, I start tracing up the circuit again: eb trip replay 1, eb trip relay 2, blue score booster, etc. There really is no convenient place to apply voltage analogous to how I did on spotting disc 18-2.

But I can at least check for continuity from spotting disc 18-2 up the circuit. Get out the DMM, clip one lead to spotting disc 18-2 (not the finger... the other end) and test for continuity at easy places up the circuit. First stop -- the spotting disc slip ring arm. Looking at the paperwork glued above the slip ring arms on the back of the back door, I see that slip ring arm on the bottom middle is 18-2. No connectivity. What about the slip ring itself? No connectivity there. So... this narrows down the issue to the thin wire that connects from the 18-2 finger to the 18-2 arm.

7. Fix it! Wires from the fingers to the arms are threaded through the disc itself and are often wrapped in electrical tape. Only a small bit of the wires are exposed. Probe what I can with my dental pick; none seem loose. Unwrap the electrical tape; nothing out of the ordinary. But I do notice that all of the wires are solid colors... I'm working with 18-2 (red-black) I thought? Turns out that the wires that connect the fingers to the arms don't match up... they're just solid colors. Look at the 18-2 finger; solder looks good. But on a tip from Lawton, before I take the whole spotting unit apart, I unsolder the wire from the finger, which turns out to be tan. Just to make sure, verify connectivity from the end of the wire that I just unsoldered to the wiper ring; verified connected. Resolder the wire to the finger; verify connectivity; play test to confirm that extra balls are now being awarded.

8. Thank your friends who helped you, have a beer, and play a few games.

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