(Topic ID: 18743)

** Fixed So Far!! ** X-Files Question: "Phantom" File Cabinet Hits


By NPO

7 years ago



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  • 25 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 years ago by mulder2010
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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#1 7 years ago

** - 6/29/2012 - go to the post from the aforementioned date to see the new question; I'm keeping my original post here for posterity sake. - **

To Moderators: I know I asked this in my "Pin #4" Thread, I just figured it'd get some better attention if I made this a forum thread. Hope it does not appear that I am spamming D: .

Hey JWS and other owners or anyone that has an idea, I have 2 questions for you...

I have noticed that there are two opto boards in front of the filing cabinet. On both pairs, one of the LEDs is on and the other is off. My understanding of the optos operation is that the ball breaks the beam of light between the lit and unlit LED, thereby causing something to happen - depending obviously on what pin you're playing.

So on XF, you have two sets of optos directly in front of the filing cabinet. From the POV of looking at the filing cabinet, the LED at the bottom right and top left are on, and the other two are off - obviously catching the light beam that the turn on LEDs are sending. For fun, I put my hand in there, and I noticed the magnets were triggered when my hand crossed the 2nd opto switch (closest to the filing cabinet)...

1. My question: what does the first opto switch (the set closer to the flippers) do ???? Is it supposed to activate the magnets first...? If so, mine doesn't.

2. Also, I have noticed from time to time when the ball goes into the filing cabinet to start multiball - it doesn't - the DMD doesn't say that multiball has begun or anything. The machine has to go through its "self check" and once it does that, the filing cabinet moves around and something must happen because THEN the DMD goes through the appropriate animations and multiball begins.

**EDIT to previous paragraph** - at the time that I wrote the above paragraph, I had the machine not completely and properly leveled. I have since taken the leg levelers ALL the way to the ground (meaning there's no more thread left, the legs are as close as they can be to the ground now), and so far everything is good. The manual says these legs are designed to have the game at the recommended 6.5 deg pitch with the leg levelers turned all the way in like I now have them. So, if the problem happens again, my guess is the filing cabinet is going too far down, not allowing the ball to roll out of the filing cabinet and activate the leaf switch that is in the "subway trough" underneath the playfield. What do you all think - maybe I should apply a small amount of white lithium grease or similar lubricant to the motor gears that move the filing cabinet up and down? Those are some of my thoughts - for now though SO far...SO good!

All in all, a very fun game. I just want to learn and understand what's going on here .

#2 7 years ago

Never owned this title but have you went into portals and done a switch test? It's possible that first opto pair is misaligned, dirty, or broken.

#3 7 years ago
Quoted from Erik:

Never owned this title but have you went into portals and done a switch test? It's possible that first opto pair is misaligned, dirty, or broken.

I did jump into the switch diagnostics. Thankfully, I didn't see it register anything about the optos being misaligned - yet. I'm still learning how to navigate the Sega menus, which isn't too hard - it's just - well.... work does beckon me from 6pm-2am .... D:

#4 7 years ago

I've never looked into the opto's for the filing cabinet in detail as you've done. I bought mine, it was working so until it breaks I wasn't going to go messing with things, kinda how I am. If it's not broke don't fix it. Until you posted about sticking your finger up near the file cabinet and the actions that took place I never even thought to do that.

I've had mine for 4 months, and other than replacing a main board that was having issues with the GI lights, and installing a new yellow X button I've had no other issues that needed to be addressed. Mine didn't have the yellow X button on it when I got it, so I had to get one to replace a small white button that had been on there.

I do have an owner's manual for XF, and it has alot more detailed info than I could ever retain in my head. Bought mine off Ebay. You can probably buy one from Marco's or some other reputable online pin parts dealer. I highly recommend buying one. Once parts start needing replacing you'll want it for part numbers.

On the file cabinet and ball going in and not starting multiball, I have had that happen once. But it corrected itself. I've had balls almost go IN the file cabinet but stop right before the door and just hang there. Play stopped, the machine checked itself and once the machine determined where the ball was it either stopped the magnet and the ball automatically dropped in the door, but in any case the pin always seem to know to do that check when the ball is close to going IN the file cabinet, but doesn't .

1. I have a playing tip for you. If you can hit the left ramp 3X on the same ball you will get the TOOMS reward. When the ball hits the left ramp on the third time HIT the round yellow "X" button
on the front of the pin. If you hit it fast enough you can get bonus points up to 780-800K. Continue to hit the left ramp after the TOOMS reward and you'll get 50K every time you do.

Another thing that's really cool about XF is that it will stack extra balls. If you're rewarded with an extra ball, and during the play of the ball before you use the extra ball you get a second extra ball it will stack them. You'll play the extra ball, once it drains you'll play the next extra ball rewarded. I like that feature. I really like it when I'm on the last ball, it extends the play time which is always a great thing.

I'm happy that you're diggin' your XF pin. It's cool that out there there's another person that just "get's it".

#5 7 years ago

The magnet is supposed to slow the ball down if yours has the updated roms the magnet will not work as much mine only slowed the ball and would only catch the ball during multiball your magnet may be burned out also if your magnet quits the ball will destroy the file cabinet quickly

#6 7 years ago

And it sounds like your switch in the subway is stuck or something is stopping the ball from going through

#7 7 years ago

I thought the opto near the file cab was for counting hits on the file cab the one further away turned on the magnet on during different modes. guess ill have to pull the glass and report back.

#8 7 years ago

Thank you everyone for your responses; I definitely appreciate you guys coming to help me out! Here's my thoughts after reading everyone's responses:

1. So far, after taking the levelers all the way through so the machine is the closest it possibly can be to the floor, the multiball issue has resolved itself. My girl played a good solid 5 games, and believe me, she can rack the multiballs up - and she told me the machine worked great, so hopefully, that issue is done.

2. I do have the manual, and it is a really good read. My magnets do stop the ball - at least when the get to the 2nd opto switch (closer to the filing cabinet). Someone laid down a sheet of mylar/clearcoat for when the magnets stop the ball, so thankfully, it looks like the "future magnet wear" on the playfield has been addressed as my PF has no wear in this area at all .

OOO OOO OOO!!!! I think I know what the first set of optos is for - it just hit me! You know how when you earn "The Truth", the magnets catch the extra balls that go to hit the filing cabinet...? I would be willing to bet that the first set of optos powers a second magnet that catches the extra balls ONLY during "The Truth." I think you're dead on, ssbodyman! Now I gotta go try it and see what happens !

I'm back - yep - that's EXACTLY how it works. The first set of optos does nothing until Truth multiball. At that point once Truth multiball is enabled, the first set of optos enable and they catch the extra balls while Truth multiball is happening!

Both questions addressed and answered - w00t!

Quoted from JWS64:

I'm happy that you're diggin' your XF pin. It's cool that out there there's another person that just "get's it".

Totally man. Thank you for the tips! We actually named our cat Tooms from the famous episode "Squeeze"! I'm not selling this one for a long, long time. I'm digging this game majorly, and hey, the wifey loves it too . She even beats my scores . That's fine with me ; I'm glad she really likes pinball .

Life is Good .

#9 7 years ago

Ok guys, here is a new question,

I have started to slowly convert XF to all LEDs. I started with some bulbs under easy to reach plastics, the FBI badges near the slingshots, the two lights on top of the filing cabinet, the FBI lights around the manhole/trapdoor, the 2,4,6,8X multiplier inserts, the "special" lights on the outlanes and the "X" on the inlanes, and finally, the "Shoot again" light and the "beam of light" that originates from the UFO and is directly parallel to the Shoot Again light.

Now here are the two interesting things I've noticed:

1. The 8X insert stays on a LOT more than the 2,4,6X inserts. It doesn't follow the light pattern that the other inserts do, and it stays on A LOT more. It does flash here and there, so there's no transistor problems....

2. Remember the Shoot Again bulb and the "beam of light from UFO hitting Mulder" bulb that is right on top of the Shoot Again light? Well, as I play, BOTH of these lights turn on every single time I shoot either flipper. If I power either flipper, both these lights turn on, and if I leave a flipper up as if I'm cradling a ball, both of these lights stay on...

With regular incads, I had none of these "quirks" - only since going to LEDs did any of this start.

Whatcha think guys? Any ideas?

#10 7 years ago

I have no help to offer, but wanted to offer my encouragement! Good luck!

.. The truth is out there.

The_Truth_Is_Out_There.jpg

#11 7 years ago

what are you using for LEDs? I believe they are ghosting I have a few of the controlled lamps that ghost on mine as well( but not all of them do) I plan on trying some of the ct premiums when I get time right now I have the frosted 2 LEDs in there. No problems with the GI though

#12 7 years ago

I think you're just getting typical ghosting (I got bad ghosting my Sega Starship Troopers as well).

Just try out some Cointaker No Ghost Premiums and see if the problem goes away (I bet it will)

#13 7 years ago

Outstanding, thanks guys for the help! I'll order a couple from Cointaker and see if that works.

If it doesn't, the tech discussion will continue .

The bulbs I have been using when this is happening are CT's 170 angle bulbs and his frosted bulbs. I'll try some No Ghost and see how that goes!

#14 7 years ago

Cool Ill wait and let you try them first

#15 7 years ago
Quoted from ssbodyman:

Cool Ill wait and let you try them first

Thanks for the gallantry .

#16 7 years ago

I bought cointakers white premium non-ghosting led's for underneath the playfield, no issues whatsoever.

One thing you should try and see if you like it, I know I do - Buy these blue led's from cointaker and use them on the left and right side next to each flipper, where you see the plastic with the "die bug die" spray can's on them. The blue not only illuminates that plastic but the blue also
shines down lower where you see the lightning bolt streaks near the drain hole. It gives this area a very cool look. You need 2 bulbs for each side.

Here's the bulb and what it looks like, I buy only from cointaker.

12656739102771217011888.jpeg

#17 7 years ago

Go into single lamp test in the diags menu and test each lamp. Ghosting is when one light is fully on but another is half on or partially lit. If that's the symptom then the cointaker premiums will solve it.

But if the light is fully lit not partially lit, you have a diode problem. In this case either a lamp is wired wrong, a diode is bent shorting to the lamp base, etc. You'll have to track which socket it is and fix it. As you step through single lamp test and compare to the lamp matrix chart in your manual, a pattern should emerge like when lamp 11 is lit so is 21, 31, 81. When 12 is lit, so is 22, 32, 82 etc. Good luck.

#18 7 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

Go into single lamp test in the diags menu and test each lamp. Ghosting is when one light is fully on but another is half on or partially lit. If that's the symptom then the cointaker premiums will solve it.
But if the light is fully lit not partially lit, you have a diode problem. In this case either a lamp is wired wrong, a diode is bent shorting to the lamp base, etc. You'll have to track which socket it is and fix it. As you step through single lamp test and compare to the lamp matrix chart in your manual, a pattern should emerge like when lamp 11 is lit so is 21, 31, 81. When 12 is lit, so is 22, 32, 82 etc. Good luck.

Though on this: the machine did exactly what it was supposed to do with all incads installed. So, if I go into single lamp test mode, are your instructions for incads or LEDs? Just wanted to clarify so I don't infer something wrong when I go to do this.

#19 7 years ago

Wow. So check this out:

I installed all LEDs in the underside of the playfield. I started playing for a good 15 minutes, and everything seemed just fine, when all of a sudden the game started acting like I was rapid-firing the filing cabinet - it was non-stop hitting the filing cabinet and the "zzzzZzZZZZzzTTTTT" noise of the magnets kept going off like nuts. Then multiball started just out of the blue while the magnet "ZZzzzTTT" noise kept going. Let multiball run its course and lost my ball. Started the next ball, and rapid-fire on the filing cabinet ensued again followed by the above behavior.

I took the glass off and put my hand in the path of the file cabinet opto-switch... #47 I believe in the instruction manual schematic. When I did this, that finally stopped the "rapid fire" on the filing cabinet. Took my hand away and crazy behavior described in first paragraph ensued. So I looked at the bulb matrix on page 4, and I started remembering which bulbs ghosted with the flippers whenever I was playing. Sure enough as markmon mentioned, a pattern started to emerge; they are all the bulbs in columns 3 and 4. I took out the LEDs that I had just installed lastnight in those columns, and viola....the game for 40+ minutes was pretty darn solid.

So, looks like I do have a diode problem somewhere. Can someone just quickly explain to me how to test my diodes...?

Thank you for your time.

Life is Good .

#20 7 years ago

Here is the video that taught me.

#21 7 years ago

Newpinowner: the issue I was describing can be only symptomatic with LEDs installed. I'm not an electrical engineer so I can't explain why. But each time I've experienced it was only after installing LEDs.

That video shows how to test them starting around 2:15 in. Remember that bad diodes can act as shorted diodes.

#22 7 years ago

Thank you both for your help! I'm just glad, for whatever reason, it is tied to LED behavior. When the machine started wigging out, my face looked something like: ...

I need to look at the circuit schematics for this machine and get an idea of what I need to check where. I have literally pulled an all-nighter so I'll do this Saturday. I'm in no condition to be diagnosing things on pins today D: ...

#23 7 years ago

Update on the XF situation. I went to metallik's pinball party yesterday (which, thank you btw - what an AWESOME collection!) and talked with a couple people about the game's behavior. Nearly unanimously suggested: misaligned optos.

I'll give the details of everything I did for posterity's sake:

1. Put game in "single switch" mode and literally banged all around the optos to see if it would register due to vibration. Nothing.

2. Checked the tightness and stability of opto boards. Solid as a rock on their bracket.

At that point, I disconnected the opto boards from their wiring harness...

3. I warmed up ALL the solder joints on every single component of both the transmitter and receiver opto boards (to fix cold solder joints).

4. Cleaned the male spade connectors that connect to the wiring harness with electronic spray cleaner and 100 grit sandpaper.

5. Visually inspected the transmitter and receiver bulbs on the opto boards. They did look a bit crooked/off kilter. I took a DMM, put it on diode/continuity test mode (if my theory is correct, this sends a small bit of current through the opto transmitter), and connected the DMM probes to each end of the opto transmitter. The opto light turned on, and then I moved the receiver bulb around until I felt the receiver bulb was as "full" as possible with the red light emitted from the transmitter. I actually got eye level with the transmitter light to the best of my ability and watched the beam go into the receiver.

6. Reinstalled the bracket. I noticed when first taking the bracket off that there were some small circular rubbers (looked like mini post rubbers) mounted between the bracket and the underside of the playfield. My guess is that was to try to align the optos without actually moving them by hand like I did. I discarded these post rubbers for now. Still have them just in case (JIC).

7. Cleaned the female ends of the wiring harness with electronic spray cleaner.

I've played the game a good couple of rounds up to 20 minutes at a time. So far, everything seems to be working correctly. What triggered the "phantom" filing cabinet hits the most was when the ball goes to the pop bumpers and gets going really good in there. So far, everything is performing as it should.

I'll update this thread as necessary. Hopefully, this will be my last post regarding this issue as it was starting to drive me nuts; I was working on this thing until 4am-6am.

Thank you for the help Lonnie and Larry! So far, looks like you guys were dead-on!

Life is Good .

#24 7 years ago
Quoted from NPO:

6. Reinstalled the bracket. I noticed when first taking the bracket off that there were some small circular rubbers (looked like mini post rubbers) mounted between the bracket and the underside of the playfield. My guess is that was to try to align the optos without actually moving them by hand like I did. I discarded these post rubbers for now. Still have them just in case (JIC).

Sega/Stern uses these rubber grommets to reduce vibration to their opto board assemblies. Good thing you kept them!

1 month later
#25 7 years ago
Quoted from ralphwiggum:

Sega/Stern uses these rubber grommets to reduce vibration to their opto board assemblies. Good thing you kept them!

Have a picture of how they look when installed ?

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