F14 Tomcat Restore

Restoration/upgrades/fixes/fabrication of pins and vids
cap
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F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby cap » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:03 pm

I am restoring my first pin, an F14 Tomcat.
I'm a noob, greener than the Green Giant, but I'm willing to learn.
I'll post my questions as I progress.

The ball cup on the VUK fell off. I found the pin on the bottom of the cabinet.
I attached the ball cup back using the pin and now the VUK works.
Sometimes the VUK fires multiple times even though the ball is always ejected on the first kick.
Is there supposed to be a spring on the shaft of the ball cup? My VUK does not have one.
How do you fix this?

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Sparky
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby Sparky » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:18 pm

cap wrote:I am restoring my first pin, an F14 Tomcat.
I'm a noob, greener than the Green Giant, but I'm willing to learn.
I'll post my questions as I progress.

The ball cup on the VUK fell off. I found the pin on the bottom of the cabinet.
I attached the ball cup back using the pin and now the VUK works.
Sometimes the VUK fires multiple times even though the ball is always ejected on the first kick.
Is there supposed to be a spring on the shaft of the ball cup? My VUK does not have one.
How do you fix this?


your switch might be adjusted too sensitive.
OWN: shit. PAST: shit. LF: more shit.

The silverball shines her eternal glory upon us all!!! Amen, hallelujah!

cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby cap » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:56 pm

Sparky wrote:your switch might be adjusted too sensitive.


Aha. The manual I downloaded was missing pages. I found another one with the component schematics.
There is a spring but it is on the other side of the coil, far from the ball cup.

Thanks for the hint. I'll check the switch adjustment tonight.
First pin: F14 Tomcat

cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby cap » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:04 pm

I have another problem. Sometimes a ball can sneak in to the far right lock by rolling on the playfield instead of coming from the ramp. If there is a ball already locked there, the game hangs until ball search ejects all locked balls. Am I missing a one-way gate at the entrance of the far right ball lock, or that's a problem with the switch in the lock?
First pin: F14 Tomcat


cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby cap » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:48 pm

cap wrote:Am I missing a one-way gate at the entrance of the far right ball lock, or that's a problem with the switch in the lock?


To answer my own question, there is definitely a gate holder with a pin hole on each side but the gate is missing. That explains why the game expects a single ball in the lock. I have another hand-made gate I want to replace, so that makes two to order.

I had a problem with an outlane switch. Turns out the sensitivity was fine, so I clean the switch with a piece of paper while holding the blades together. Worked like a charm.

I had "Adjust Failures", so I cleaned the contacts of the battery holder. It's working better but the problem sometimes comes back. I'll have to use sand paper on the worst contact.

I am done led'ing the inserts, except for 9 bulbs that have a different socket. I will have to procure different leds for those.

Next big project is removing the mylar. The maaca forum suggested freeze spray for the mylar and metyl hydrate for the glue. If you disagree, now is the time to let me know before I buy the stuff.

What about cleaning the rest of the playfield. Is Goo Gone still the best product? Should I buy the Goo Gone liquid cleaner 236mL or the Goo Gone spray gel 355 mL?
First pin: F14 Tomcat

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Azatotht
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby Azatotht » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:56 am

I use Goo Gone to remove the glue, not to clean the playfield...

Novus 2 is recommended to clean the playfield.
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Sparky
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby Sparky » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:45 am

cap wrote:I had "Adjust Failures", so I cleaned the contacts of the battery holder. It's working better but the problem sometimes comes back. I'll have to use sand paper on the worst contact.


If there is battery corrosion, then just sanding the contact won't solve the issue. The battery acid will keep eating out the board and cause multiple problems unless you neutralize it, and replace the battery holder.

This is more than just a shop job...
OWN: shit. PAST: shit. LF: more shit.

The silverball shines her eternal glory upon us all!!! Amen, hallelujah!

cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby cap » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:36 pm

Sparky wrote:If there is battery corrosion, then just sanding the contact won't solve the issue. The battery acid will keep eating out the board and cause multiple problems unless you neutralize it, and replace the battery holder.


Thanks for the warning. I don't think it's dramatic. There was no battery leakage. I think it is a little oxidization from the air.
Let's say I would like to neutralize it, how would I do that?
First pin: F14 Tomcat

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Sparky
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby Sparky » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:01 pm

cap wrote:
Sparky wrote:If there is battery corrosion, then just sanding the contact won't solve the issue. The battery acid will keep eating out the board and cause multiple problems unless you neutralize it, and replace the battery holder.


Thanks for the warning. I don't think it's dramatic. There was no battery leakage. I think it is a little oxidization from the air.
Let's say I would like to neutralize it, how would I do that?


I really doubt air oxidation. Put some vinegar on it. If it fizzes, it is battery acid.

Take the board off, rub vinegar on the corrosion with a toothbrush, and then neutralize with baking soda once the corrosion is gone. Rinse with hot water and then rubbing alcohol to remove the moisture. Blow with compressed air and let dry.
OWN: shit. PAST: shit. LF: more shit.

The silverball shines her eternal glory upon us all!!! Amen, hallelujah!

cap
Posts: 25
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby cap » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:46 am

Sparky wrote:Take the board off, rub vinegar on the corrosion with a toothbrush, and then neutralize with baking soda once the corrosion is gone. Rinse with hot water and then rubbing alcohol to remove the moisture. Blow with compressed air and let dry.


I'll write down the recipe. I sure hope I don't have to do that. I did not look at it yet because...

I started removing the mylar. After 3h I am 80% done. I will need 3 cans of freeze spray. Maybe 2 is enough if you really know what you are doing.

Removing the plastic is a breeze. It became easier after I realized the glue is neutralized only when frozen. If you give it time to thaw, you simply waste your product. Counter-intuitively, the spray does not freeze on contact. It works best if you pull after the 5 secs it needs to freeze. It's easy to pull even when not frozen, but that's when you cause damage.

I used Goo Gone because it had a spray applicator. Maybe I'm stupid, but it took me 90 mins to figure out the glue does not dissolve. You have to scrap it off with an old credit card and a cloth. That part is a PITA.

The playfield looks great but I damaged some of the inserts. They would need new imprints to do an excellent job. Also they don't look flat anymore. I have a hard time determining whether that's just left over glue or that's because the top coat of clear on the plastic was ripped. I am doubly hesitant because of the imprint issue.

I'm glad my first experience is on a cheap game. I would not want to learn how to do this on a collectible game.
First pin: F14 Tomcat

cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby cap » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:19 am

This morning the inserts are sticky. There is a lot of glue left to remove. Maybe I was 70% done instead.
The wood is fine though.
First pin: F14 Tomcat

dr.nybble
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby dr.nybble » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:12 pm

Many people report success using alcohol and flour to remove Mylar glue. Anyone here tried it?
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby cap » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:22 pm

I read on pinside it is common for insert art to be peeled when removing mylar.
Looks like I'll have to learn how to use water slide decal paper.

The inserts are not sticky anymore but they are uneven. The clear is ripped in patches and you can clearly see the difference in height.
What is the procedure to repair this in preparation of the water slide decal?
First pin: F14 Tomcat

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Sparky
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby Sparky » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:14 pm

OK. After discussing with you today, let's go over some issues with the F14:

1- No flashers

OK, this might be simple... but here is the theory first. The board can only manage so many solenoids and flasher bulbs. So, what they did was use one solenoid circuit (#14) to control a relay. This relay is used to control one of 2 solenoids/flasher. So, for instance, if you close the circuit on solenoid 1, and the relay is not energized, you will activate coil 1A (the outhole kicker). But if you power the relay while closing solenoid circuit 1, you will activate 1C (flasher bulb #1). So... if the A/C relay is faulty or simply not getting energized, you won't activate any "C" solenoid, which happens to be 8 of the 10 flashers. They will not light up. This is explained on pages 32 and 33 of the manual.

2- knocker wires cut and cannot be found

OK, again, fairly simple. The knocker is solenoid 6A. It receives power from wire and is controlled by a grey/blue wire which goes to pin #7 on connector 1J11 (bottom of MPU, second from the left... pin 7 is the 3rd from the left). 34V solenoid power comes from the power supply board at connector 3J3. But if someone cut the wires, it might be because the coil is dead. Measure the resistance between the 2 tabs with an ohmmeter. If 0, it is shorted out. If out of range, it is open (broken wire). My bet is that it is shorted.
OWN: shit. PAST: shit. LF: more shit.

The silverball shines her eternal glory upon us all!!! Amen, hallelujah!

cap
Posts: 25
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Location: Laval

Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby cap » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:36 pm

Sparky wrote:The board can only manage so many solenoids and flasher bulbs. So, what they did was use one solenoid circuit (#14) to control a relay.

Service bulletin #41 required the removal of the two red flashers at the top of the playfield. That's already done on my machine.

All my flashers work except two.

Flasher 1 is the right-most one on the vertical wall behind the playfield.
I have replaced the bulb but that's not the problem. There is a loose connector right next to it.
It might be that easy but the location is a bitch because you can't see anything.
I'll have to use a mirror or film with an iPhone.

The last dark flasher is on the far left next to general Yagov.
Again the bulb is fine. It's not mentioned in service bulletin 41.
The connections are underneath the diverter so I can't check easily.
It's on my todo list with lower priority.

Sparky wrote:The knocker is solenoid 6A. It receives power from wire and is controlled by a grey/blue wire which goes to pin #7 on connector 1J11 (bottom of MPU, second from the left... pin 7 is the 3rd from the left). 34V solenoid power comes from the power supply board at connector 3J3.


Wow, that's super precise info. I am very grateful.
Tonight is the first time I reached the free play score. Quite a light show but it's not the same without the knocker.

I used iHandy on the iPhone to measure the playfield angle. It is set at 10 degrees now.
The manual recommends 7 degrees. Maybe I inverted the front and back legs compared with the seller.
I'm not sure if I want a fast game or an easy one. I'll have to try both.

My daughter played with me tonight. Already she noticed the game plays much better.
First pin: F14 Tomcat

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Sparky
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby Sparky » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:59 am

Great! So the A/C relay works then.

As for the knocker, the most important wire is the grey-blue wire. As for the power, any wire containg the 34V solenoid power will do.

As for which wire goes where on your coil, that is easy... in ALL cases with coils with a diode, ALWAYS put the power wire with 34V to the tab that is on the banded side of the diode on the coil. Here is an image to help:

ae-23-800_30_0.jpg
OWN: shit. PAST: shit. LF: more shit.

The silverball shines her eternal glory upon us all!!! Amen, hallelujah!

cap
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:19 pm
Location: Laval

Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby cap » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:33 am

dr.nybble wrote:Many people report success using alcohol and flour to remove Mylar glue. Anyone here tried it?

If vid from pinside recommends it, that means a lot.
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-ultimate-playfield-restoration#post-547712
I wish I had known about it before I removed my mylar.
My playfield is great, but the inserts are terrible.
First pin: F14 Tomcat

dr.nybble
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby dr.nybble » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:09 am

You can now get a complete F-14 insert set:

http://www.planetarypinball.com/mm5/mer ... -INSERTSET
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby cap » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:39 pm

dr.nybble wrote:You can now get a complete F-14 insert set

That's nice to know. That would be extremely tempting if it had solved the insert decal problem.

After reading part of Vid's Guide to Ultimate Playfield Restoration,
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-ultimate-playfield-restoration
it appears the solution is to use a sharpened wood chisel vertically (not slanted) to chip the old clear.
Unfortunately, that also destroys the decal that's left.

Vid says waterslide decals must be printed with a laser printer since ink from ink jets fades too quickly.
He also says waterslide decals require a coat of clear before and after and
that requires clearing the board above and below because clear must be spray painted.

Looks like I had beginner's hubris. This is a big job that will take down my first and only pin for too long.
I'll consider it after I buy my second pin.
First pin: F14 Tomcat

dr.nybble
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Postby dr.nybble » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:37 pm

They also sell a complete decal set too (if the time comes).
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