(Topic ID: 296196)

Zizzle Marvel Heroes broken ball return spring and super weak flippers

By kiwasabi

25 days ago


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  • 27 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 days ago by kiwasabi
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    #1 25 days ago

    I just picked up a Zizzle Marvel Heroes off craigslist for $50. Overall it seems like the closest thing to a real pinball that I'll get in a mini pinball. There are two issues though.

    1) The ball return spring is broken. Is this a part that's readily available online? The original owner actually cut down the plexi (ugh!) and his solution was just to hand reset the ball return ejector each time the ball drains. I'd like to get this fixed the right away if possible.

    2) The flippers are super weak and I can only get the ball up the ramps maybe 1 in 10 or 20 tries. I see that some people have upgraded to arcade buttons and flippers. What all is involved and what parts are needed for these mods?

    Any input on this machine would be appreciated. BTW it's the model 1 as it doesn't have the lights in the backboard.

    #2 25 days ago
    Quoted from kiwasabi:

    I just picked up a Zizzle Marvel Heroes off craigslist for $50. Overall it seems like the closest thing to a real pinball that I'll get in a mini pinball. There are two issues though.
    1) The ball return spring is broken. Is this a part that's readily available online? The original owner actually cut down the plexi (ugh!) and his solution was just to hand reset the ball return ejector each time the ball drains. I'd like to get this fixed the right away if possible.
    2) The flippers are super weak and I can only get the ball up the ramps maybe 1 in 10 or 20 tries. I see that some people have upgraded to arcade buttons and flippers. What all is involved and what parts are needed for these mods?
    Any input on this machine would be appreciated. BTW it's the model 1 as it doesn't have the lights in the backboard.

    Usually Zizzle is a dirty word around here, but with pin prices skyrocketing I’m sure you’ll find more people starting to enjoy those little things.

    The spring is probably a generic part, post a picture of it and maybe someone can suggest a replacement

    #3 25 days ago
    Quoted from kiwasabi:

    I just picked up a Zizzle Marvel Heroes off craigslist for $50.

    Was this the one on Denver Craigslist? Nice score, hope you get it working!

    #4 25 days ago

    There is very little information out there about these machines. Can you post some pictures of the underside of the playfield? Need to see pictures of some of the assemblies attached to the playfield.

    I don't know anyone whose modified these machine to use conventional pinball assemblies like flippers and slingshots.

    #5 25 days ago
    Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

    Usually Zizzle is a dirty word around here, but with pin prices skyrocketing I’m sure you’ll find more people starting to enjoy those little things.
    The spring is probably a generic part, post a picture of it and maybe someone can suggest a replacement

    I know they are basically toys. But it's all I can afford at the moment. From playing it quite a bit tonight, I still think it's closer to what I want (a modern pin, 90s to current) than an EM pinball, which gets boring very quick.

    Anyway it's a very tiny spring. I was going to take it to Ace Hardware to identify but from searching on their site, it seems the springs they carry are much bigger than this.

    PHOTO_20210704_013217 (resized).jpg

    #6 25 days ago
    Quoted from fosaisu:

    Was this the one on Denver Craigslist? Nice score, hope you get it working!

    Yes indeed and thank you. He was up in Mead which is near Fort Collins. I was up in Greeley on Friday and was able to grab it on my way back. He actually had someone come by and pass on it because the guy thought it was going to be a full sized pin. For $50, lol! It's fully playable, you just have to manually reset the little ball return plastic ejector every time the ball drains. He cut down the plexi by 2 or 3 inches so you can access it. It really irks me that he did that instead of fixing it properly but these things go for $500 on ebay and the piece of plexi could probably be cut for about 40 bucks at Ace Hardware. So not the end of the world.

    #7 25 days ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    There is very little information out there about these machines. Can you post some pictures of the underside of the playfield? Need to see pictures of some of the assemblies attached to the playfield.
    I don't know anyone whose modified these machine to use conventional pinball assemblies like flippers and slingshots.

    I'd be happy to open it up and post some pics of the underside of the playfield in a day or 2. In the meantime here are a couple useful links about people modding the flippers and such on these pinballs (one post is from here from MoSeS_1592 who maybe could help answer some questions). One other thing I've seen mentioned a couple times is using a higher voltage power adapter to give more power and oomph to the flippers. I saw 85vett mention upgrading his power adapter in a comment. Hopefully someone could shed some light on this. I wouldn't want to fry anything by trying this willy nilly. The stock power adapter is 24V 2.5Amp. I appreciate the responses, guys.


    Zizzle Pinball Flipper Upgrade, Cause The Originals SUCK!!

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/zizzle-potc-pinball-mod-using-arduino-microcontroller
    Zizzle POTC pinball mod using Arduino microcontroller...

    #8 25 days ago

    Buried in the comments of that video I posted of the guy replacing the buttons with arcade buttons I found this comment:

    "The switch is not on the bottom the switch is on top the wire runs down the channel. The switch is the button with a spring along with contacts. Its cheap but they do work. I replaced my switch like you did. The main problem is from the flipper plunger its weak. I have car door lock plungers to replace the weak junk on the zizzle."

    So it might be a better bet to try replacing the flipper plungers first before drilling holes in the side of the cabinet to put in arcade microswitch buttons. I did notice in his video that his flippers were more powerful than mine even before he changed the buttons. He claimed that the button mod made the flippers more powerful though as the weird button design was causing the switches to not make good contact. There is a separate issue of bad responsiveness and wonkiness in the flippers so that part probably would be fixed by the button mod.

    #9 25 days ago
    Quoted from kiwasabi:

    He cut down the plexi by 2 or 3 inches so you can access it. It really irks me that he did that instead of fixing it properly but these things go for $500 on ebay and the piece of plexi could probably be cut for about 40 bucks at Ace Hardware.

    I wonder if it’s strong enough to support a sheet of glass as a replacement? Of course you’d have to find the right thickness. Or do you have to flex it to put it into place?

    #10 25 days ago

    Maybe this armature extension spring (10-120) would work as a replacement for the spring you need.

    https://www.pinballlife.com/armature-extension-spring-10-120.html

    #11 24 days ago
    Quoted from fosaisu:

    I wonder if it’s strong enough to support a sheet of glass as a replacement? Of course you’d have to find the right thickness. Or do you have to flex it to put it into place?

    That's a really good idea. And actually I know where to get the best price on glass in the Denver Area, Horizon Glass is generally like $32 for a 24" x 24" tempered piece of 1/4" thick glass. This uses a 1/8" thick piece of plexi, so it would be a 1/8" thick piece of tempered glass. The cabinet itself is 7/16" thick particle board which is not water damaged or anything. All the trim / siding pieces remove easily off the plexi, so glass should be quite doable. Thanks for the suggestion as glass is definitely way better than plexi and this didn't cross my mind. The plexi dimensions are roughly 17 1/2" wide x 33" deep BTW in case anyone wants an idea of the actual playfield size. With good flippers this definitely would be a good little pinball table for someone without much space or doesn't want to spend $4000 on a machine in the peak of the pinball bubble.

    Quoted from trilogybeer:

    Maybe this armature extension spring (10-120) would work as a replacement for the spring you need.
    https://www.pinballlife.com/armature-extension-spring-10-120.html

    It's hard to tell the scale from that picture but it looks virtually identical. I appreciate the suggestion and I will give it a shot.

    #12 24 days ago

    trilogybeer I found the dimensions on the spring you linked. 0.375 X 0.75 X 0.375 inches. The length of the Zizzle spring is about 7/16". It may be okay to use a bigger spring though since obviously the tiny one they include breaks.

    #13 24 days ago

    Just bend the broken end of the spring to create a new hook.

    #14 24 days ago

    You’ve probably seen it, but here’s a blog re: modding a Zizzle, including replacing the flipper buttons (with some discussion in the comments re: upgrading the power supply):
    http://zizzlepinballmods.blogspot.com/?m=1

    #15 23 days ago
    Quoted from 2000_Alum:

    Just bend the broken end of the spring to create a new hook.

    This should have been obvious but neither I nor the original owner thought to try this. I've done it now and it seems like it's going to work, just a bit of a trick getting everything put together just right. Thanks for the suggestion. It's obviously a little bit shorter and tighter now which may mean it will break again at some point. But it does have a slightly bigger hook on it now than before so maybe it will hold up fine.

    Quoted from fosaisu:

    You’ve probably seen it, but here’s a blog re: modding a Zizzle, including replacing the flipper buttons (with some discussion in the comments re: upgrading the power supply):
    http://zizzlepinballmods.blogspot.com/?m=1

    Thank you, I had not found that blog. Just from some quick reading it does sound like it's the buttons that are the issue with the ball speed, and not the flippers themselves. Here's something I didn't think of that I will try first before doing anything with the buttons or flippers though. He used a little bit of armor all on the playfield to lubricate it a bit. The graphics on the playfield are literally just paper glued to the medium density board, so that's creating a lot of friction. Would Armorall be the best product for this or should I try something else? I have some leather furniture cleaner which may be pretty similar to Armorall, given that he says he uses that stuff on his furniture too.

    "The other night I wanted to make the play field surface pop a little more. I don't have wax, which is what is used on real pinball machines. I don't know how well wax would work in this case because the artwork on the surface is actually just paper permanently adhered to a piece of medium density board. I did however had a bottle of Armor All. Yes folks, this stuff ain't just for cars. I use this on a ton of other stuff like hardwood furniture, speaker cabinets, etc.

    Rather than spray directly to the surface (not recommended) I sprayed just a little bit on a folded up paper towel and started to gently wipe it around the surface. Then I wiped the excess off with a clean paper towel. This leaves an invisible slightly oily layer, making the surface slippery and smooth. When I started up the machine again and started playing.... WOOAH!!!! That ball just flies all over the play field. This added much more speed and drastically preserves the energy to the ball when hit by a flipper or bounced by a bumper. So count surface friction as another factor in the slow-ball movement issues. It's ridiculous how different it feels now. It feels far more like real pinball machine gameplay."

    Edit: Looks like he did end up using wax on this playfield:

    "Also finally broke down and used car wax to polish the heck out of the surface. I didn't do a full strip of the play field. I only removed the rails that go across the field from the right ramp to get it out of the way. After that, I added a generous layer of Armor All."

    #16 23 days ago

    Alright I got the ball return fixed. I took the suggestion of just bending the broken end into a hook, and this worked great. The real trick is putting it all back together. I've attached a couple pics showing where the spring goes and how the pieces are supposed to go together. I also attached pictures of the underside of the playfield. From reading on that blog some more, he just used some Mother's Synthetic Wax on the playfield to give the ball a bit less friction. I do see there is wax specifically for pinball machines, it's probably not all that different from car wax but who knows.

    Anyway the mods I want to do will be replacing the wonky stock buttons with Sanwa style arcade buttons, as well as adding a drain post in the middle drain and the side drain, since these are both too wide and make this machine a drain monster. At this point though it's fully functional and I may just prop up the front legs a bit so I can hit the ramps until I've replaced the buttons and waxed the playfield.

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    1 week later
    #17 14 days ago

    Alright I did the flipper button replacement with Sanwa 30mm arcade buttons. The 30mm Sanwa buttons snap right into the black plastic button housing, so that's nice. The drill bit you need is 30mm or 1 3/16". Although you can use 1 1/8" and hand sand it to 1 3/16". The flippers are definitely more consistently responsive now but.... not more powerful in the least bit. I don't get all these people saying that replacing the buttons magically made the flippers more powerful, because they did nothing to add to that whatsoever. I'm also going to add some real rubbers to the flippers, since stock they don't have them. Not sure if just stock flipper rubbers would be the right size or not. These flippers are almost exactly 3" long. Any other ideas would be welcome. Here are some small mods I intend on trying on the flippers before doing something drastic like replacing the flipper solenoids (power might be an issue for that, I believe the current solenoids draw 16V...someone mentioned using car lock solenoids instead.... lol).

    "using the old flipper button springs as replacements for the flipper solenoid returns, weaker springs lets them hit a little harder. when you're replacing stock solenoid springs with the old flipper button springs, unscrew the flipper crank arms and flip their bushings upside down (in through the topside) and put the plastic washers on top. that'll get you about a mm higher off the pf so the flippers cant drag, the pins will just reach the solenoid tips with a little slack too when you put the plungers back into the solenoids with their new weaker springs. it oughtta get you a little better hits."

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    #18 14 days ago
    Quoted from kiwasabi:

    But it's all I can afford at the moment.

    And a fine pin it is. Play it. Enjoy it.

    LTG : )

    #19 14 days ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    And a fine pin it is. Play it. Enjoy it.
    LTG : )

    Thank you, LTG. Definitely the closest you can get to a real pin in a home unit. Probably why people pay so much for them.

    I did those flipper tweaks mentioned above. Replacing the springs definitely give the flippers a snappier feel. We tried flipping the bushings as described above, and ended up with the flippers too high up to where one jumped over the backstop. So instead of putting the washer above the bushing, we actually put it under the playfield by the screwhead instead. This sort of negated the benefit of raising the flippers (if there was one), but somehow doing this helped maintain better stability in the flipper arms that connect to the solenoid. Before we did this we noticed a lot more play around the area of the arm by the screwhead, which was causing a lot of force to be lost. So between the button replacement, spring replacement, and bushing / washer rearrangement, the flippers feel WAY better. It will never feel like a real pin, but it's now a lot closer. I may still consider replacing the solenoids with something more powerful, as I said above, someone mentioned used car door lock solenoids instead.

    I just ordered some pinball flipper rubbers. Looks like the flippers are the standard 3" size so I just got standard 1/2" by 1 1/2" rubbers. This may be the last thing I'll do for the flippers. Messing with the solenoids looks too difficult.

    #20 13 days ago

    Can anyone confirm whether it's a good idea to upgrade the power supply to get more flipper strength? I've read some mixed things about this. MoSeS_1592 or zizzlemeplease maybe could help if they're still around? I haven't gotten the flipper rubbers in the mail yet, but that will be the last flipper mod I've found to get them hitting harder, before I simply have to level off the playing field with some cardboard under the legs. It's just still really hard to hit the left ramp. From reading in some other threads it sounds like upgrading the coils or solenoids for the flippers may be a bad idea as it may overpower them and cause potential damage to the plastic components since this is a toy and not intended for that kind of rigorous force.

    #21 12 days ago

    Does it make sense that people are saying to use the smaller / weaker springs from the old buttons and replacing them with the larger / stronger springs on the flipper solenoids to get them hitting better? I feel like maybe they're a little snappier response but maybe a bit weaker. Personally I don't understand the logic of using weaker springs on the flippers to get more powerful hits.

    #22 12 days ago

    I decided to get some real pinball flipper return springs and see how those do in this. The part is "Bally Williams Pinball Machine Conical Flipper Return Spring Set 10-376". They are roughly the same width, .875 inches. The Bally springs are 2.125" long though and the Zizzle stock springs are only about 1 1/3 inches long. So maybe swapping the flipper return springs out is a good idea, just needs a little more compression force. The logic of using smaller springs for more power makes absolutely no sense. Someone just wanted to use what they already had available.

    #23 12 days ago

    Cool that you're making the best of and improving what you've got.

    #24 12 days ago

    Before you put too much time into a Zizzle....
    I added RGB lighting, coloured rubbers, outlane posts and a center post, waxed the f out of it and made it 500x better than stock.

    I gave it to my 5yr for Christmas. 3mo later he was so bored with it we sold it. Unfortunately this isnt even a very good kids toys.

    #25 12 days ago
    Quoted from KnockerPTSD:

    Before you put too much time into a Zizzle....
    I added RGB lighting, coloured rubbers, outlane posts and a center post, waxed the f out of it and made it 500x better than stock.
    I gave it to my 5yr for Christmas. 3mo later he was so bored with it we sold it. Unfortunately this isnt even a very good kids toys.

    Did you put in the real arcade buttons? That makes it infinitely more playable. I was able to fix my other flipper. There was just a kink in the ball return spring from when we switched it with the smaller spring. I can now hit the right Venom ramp every time. The left Mystique one takes some momentum built up but is much more doable now. I don't know if these came stock with rubbers on the flippers or not, but my flippers do not have any. That will help more with ball control once they arrive in the mail.

    Ah yeah and now I realize why the smaller flipper return springs are better... they put up less resistance for the solenoid but still get the job done. I had it backwards in my head where the springs were for propelling the flippers, which is why I was thinking a bigger one only made sense. I'm learning a lot about pinball machines from this so it's good for that. I know you all are looking down on me with pity from your Medieval Madness mountain above me. I'll get there eventually. If anyone has anything for sale or trade in the Denver area, you can let me know. I saw a Jurassic Park Data East go for $1250 2 hours after it went up. Maybe I'll be able to grab a deal (steal) like that someday.

    #26 12 days ago
    Quoted from Pinbub:

    Cool that you're making the best of and improving what you've got.

    For $50 I have no regrets. Now when I have a real pin I will feel a lot less reluctant to work on it myself. Eventually I'll probably flip this for $500 and put that money towards a real pin. The problem is I find EM machines to be incredibly boring, I want a modern pin, mid to late 80s or 90s, which are basically ALL 4 grand and up at this point. I saw a Data East Jurassic Park go for $1250 within 2 hours of being posted. Hopefully I'll snag a deal like that some day.

    #27 7 days ago

    I added drain posts on the center and right drains. Left drain isn't as wide so I left it alone. This helps playability a lot.

    I also added real rubber to the flippers. This actually seems to have made playability worse. The ball bounces around on the flippers now rather than settling on them like it should. I am also having a lot harder time hitting the left ramp which is the farther away one. Originally I was thinking of trying a bigger ball, but now that I'm seeing that it's making certain shots harder to make, it seems like I should maybe try a thinner band of rubber or just go back to the bare flippers. I wasn't sure if this machine came with rubbers on it stock or not since mine didn't. Now it would seem it didn't, and for a good reason. FYI the ball is only 13/16" for anyone wondering. Some people said 7/8" but it's a hair smaller than that.

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