Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

Restoration/upgrades/fixes/fabrication of pins and vids
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tinyrodent
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

This arrived, I'm really looking forward to trying it out! But it will have to wait for another day...
new cleaner.jpg
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

For the ultrasonic bath, I used about 50/50 hot purified water mixed with white vinegar, and a bit of dish soap. It's mild on the hands, non-toxic, and seems to work pretty well. After a couple of minutes in the bath, parts are dipped in clean purified water, and laid out to dry. About halfway done:
parts cleaned.jpg
The dirtiest parts had to be cleaned twice, with a replacement of the water. The water gets dirty very quickly, and then doesn't clean effectively. Moving the parts around while the bath is running, helps a lot to clean them thoroughly. After the rinse and dry, some parts such as bolts and screws, are ready to use. Some parts want a bit of a rub with a cloth, some want a light polish, and a few have light rust from drying out and need a bit more polish. But in the end, the parts are practically as good as new.
parts polished.jpg
For metal parts, this cleaning method is much preferable to the heavy abrasives I was using before such as steel wool, scotchbrite, and sandpaper. It does a better job cleaning, more quickly, with less mess, and less finishing work required. Just have to wear hearing protection while it runs.
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

The flipper rebuild kit is a bit of a disappointment, with low quality parts all around. The pawls in particular have several problems including crooked actuators. I hope they are usable; if not, maybe the original ones can be salvaged. Coil sleeves are wonky too.
pawls.jpg
Three out of the eight sockets have damaged threads. All of the set screws are fine (they even included some extras), but they won't go in the hole. The thread may be repairable with an appropriate tap, we'll see.
pawl threads.jpg
The arm of the pawl is supposed to be insulated, a bit of heat shrink tubing corrects the problem. If the tubing won't fit, pliers can be used to stretch it open a bit.
pawl heat shrink.jpg
Flipper assemblies built up. I hope to get all of the soldering done outdoors later today.
flippers built up.jpg
Everything went well during assembly until the last two screws. Threads in the plate are completely stripped out, so I put nuts underneath.
stripped plate.jpg
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by World_of_Warships »

Printing coil wrappers, using an ultrasonic bath..! Wow! You are doing a fantastic, carefully planned, restoration project. Great documentation and clear steps explained. It almost feels I could do it myself! (Not!) Good job and good luck! Boy, the feeling when you'll get to play that very first game!

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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

World_of_Warships wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 12:51 pm
Printing coil wrappers, using an ultrasonic bath..! Wow! You are doing a fantastic, carefully planned, restoration project. Great documentation and clear steps explained. It almost feels I could do it myself! (Not!) Good job and good luck! Boy, the feeling when you'll get to play that very first game!
Thanks man, I can hardly wait for that day! :D
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

I got the pop bumper lamp sockets to fit by removing the insulation. The alternate style uses bare flat leads, insulation is not needed as long as the lead is routed carefully. A piece is left on the end of the leads temporarily to make threading easier.
pop socket fix.jpg
Pop bumper rebuild complete.
pops rebuilt.jpg
Trying out a new lubricant. 8-)
midnight back.jpg
midnight front.jpg
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by steamfitter »

Very nice work
I also love stouts
:thumbup
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

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steamfitter wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:59 am
Very nice work
I also love stouts
:thumbup
Thanks man, that looks like a tasty one! :beerchug
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

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Flipper pawl threads repaired, and insulation installed.
pawls done.jpg
The last two decals have been applied, playfield surface is now done. I want to get the protector on there, but it is mainly secured by the flippers, and they aren't quite ready to install yet. In the meantime I finally debugged the non-working lamp. Referring back to my photo I could see it was the 7K Bonus lamp, so I noted the wire color at the socket (yellow/brown), clipped on a test lead, and fed it through a hole in the playfield.
test lead.jpg
Now with the playfield lowered, I can open up the head and test for continuity at the other end of the wire, where it connects to the lamp driver board. Consulting the manual, 7K Bonus lamp should be at J3 pin 25. Color code confirmed, and continuity tests ok.
lamp connectors.jpg
Lamp driver schematic shows that the 7K Bonus lamp is driven by a component at Q38:
lamp schematic.jpg
Testing the SCR at position Q38 with a multimeter shows that it needs replacement. It's a simple repair, and I have the part in stock, so it goes into the queue for the next time the soldering bench is setup outdoors.

With the head open, the next obvious job was to rebuild the missing 20-pin connector for the rectifier board. The connector housing was salvaged from another machine, a bit discolored but should be fine. Shiny new trifurcon pins:
rebuilt connector.jpg
Good lighting is essential for this job.
head lit.jpg
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

All of the soldering is done, including the lamp board repair. Flipper assemblies built up:
flippers assembled.jpg
The underside of the playfield is now complete.
underside complete.jpg
Next step is to get the playfield protector on, and secure it with the flipper bats. But looking at the bats I'm not loving the new shape. It is tapered vertically, unlike the original straight sided bat. So the rubber doesn't really fit properly. :(
flipper shapes.jpg
Then there is the mini flipper. It uses a 1" diameter rubber ring, which normally has a round cross section. But the yellow ones I got have a flat side, can't imagine why:
flat sided rubber.jpg
Don't really like that fit of that one either. :evil:
mini flipper.jpg
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by World_of_Warships »

Looks like that rubber ring had too much of that stout!! Keep up the good work, very interesting!

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Re: Skateball Shop Log

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I decided to build up as much of the top side of the playfield as possible before peeling and securing the protector. The flipper bats, spinner, and all of the gates, have to wait until after. But almost everything else can be done in advance. This represents many hours of work, dealing with small problems like misaligned holes, stripped threads, etc. Having a lot of photos from the teardown is very helpful. But in some cases things weren't assembled properly so its "original" condition can't be relied upon.
topside building up.jpg
One of the lane guides is supposed to be single-sided, but only doubles are available. So I made a little jig with some scrap wood and old posts to hold the guide steady. Tomorrow I will use a cutting wheel to remove one side.
prepare to cut.jpg
But now I have to clean up a bit so there is a place to eat!
dinner table.jpg
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

Lane guide cut and installed.
lane guide installed.jpg
The original left slingshot plastic has a common spot of wear on the left side that I want to prevent.
plastic compare.jpg
It is caused by rubbing on this exposed screw head.
plastic position.jpg
My solution is to make a plastic protector from a strawberry container. It is fairly thin but tough and should do the job, practically invisible when installed.
plastic protector.jpg
Progress. The film on the underside of the playfield protector has already been removed, and when everything is done, the top film will be peeled.
playfield progress.jpg
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by YellowMustard »

very nice job!!!
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

YellowMustard wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:47 am
very nice job!!!
Thanks, it will soon be finished! :D Today I received some nifty 3D printed standoffs from Chnillapoil, similar to ones in the 3D printed parts thread.
standoffs.jpg
I like them better than the original metal for sure.
standoffs installed.jpg
It's starting to look like a pinball machine with flippers on it...
a pinball machine.jpg
There is still some work to do on the spinner target. But I can't resist peeling the film. 8-)
moment of truth.jpg
Almost like new!
almost like new.jpg
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by Chnillapoil »

Good job Brett !Another one saved !
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

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Chnillapoil wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:06 pm
Good job Brett !Another one saved !
Thanks! I think it's worth the effort.

It was a slow day, not much progress. But at least the spinner is installed, which completes assembly of the top side of the playfield.
spinner installed.jpg
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by MIkea »

This is easily my favourite thread in any of the forums. Excellent work!!!

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Re: Skateball Shop Log

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MIkea wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:45 pm
This is easily my favourite thread in any of the forums. Excellent work!!!
Wow thanks! I enjoy reading the HEP thread on Pinside and try to do something similar here.

Today was spent on a couple of areas in the lower cabinet. I'm not going to make the inside look like new, but there are some key items that deserve attention. First of all, the replay knocker.
knocker dirty.jpg
It's not terrible, but there's a screw missing, and for maximum knock, it really should be cleaned and polished, with a new coil sleeve and rubber grommet. Like this:
knocker clean.jpg
The other area is the tilt board. There are actually three tilt mechanisms here, but only the pendulum is relevant for home use. I will clean it up a bit but the pendulum is going to get special treatment. If you have seen Craig play, you know the tilt needs to be working really well! ;)
tilt board dirty.jpg
The factory method of electrically connecting the pendulum in this era of Bally game, is to solder a wire directly to it. But this can make for eccentric motion of the pendulum, I don't like it.
tilt solder.jpg
Instead a ring is crimped to the end, and the wire is connected by a screw to the hanger. It works well as long as the parts are clean.
tilt no solder.jpg
Tilt board rebuild done.
tilt board clean.jpg
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tombiosis »

Move that slam tilt from the coin door onto the side of the cab so that Slappy can’t do any of his patented slap saves! :mrgreen:
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

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Today the repaired power assembly returned, big thanks to Sylvain! :D Here's what it looks like fully installed:
power installed.jpg
Didn't get there right away though. After checking all of the test point voltages, I plugged in the rest of the cables and found a little problem. Poorly crimped pin (my fault), the wire came out, had to be redone. Some of these wires are a bit oversized for the crimp, removing a couple of strands of wire can make it fit better.
bad crimp.jpg
Now the game boots, and displays are working. Voltage reduced to prolong display life.
hv adjust.jpg
Most of the remaining tests complete without any significant issues. One flipper had to be adjusted due to binding. A rebuild kit often includes an allen key for the set screws, but it's not a very good tool for the job. A small wrench with appropriate bit is way better.
flipper wrench.jpg
Replay scores were scrambled, this often happens when the batteries or RAM chip is changed. A dead giveaway is a score with anything other than zero in the last digit.
memory scramble.jpg
The coin door buttons only allow this to be changed in increments of 10,000. In order to set it properly, reset to zero with the red button on the MPU in the head.
reset button.jpg
At this point all of the lights, switches, and solenoids are working. The game is playable! No doubt some tuning will be required. Perhaps starting tomorrow...
playable.jpg
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by World_of_Warships »

What a beauty! Seriously great job! Rarely would I come back to read on about a post, lol, but I did for this one. Hope you will post some playtime with sounds! :D

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Re: Skateball Shop Log

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World_of_Warships wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:36 pm
What a beauty! Seriously great job! Rarely would I come back to read on about a post, lol, but I did for this one. Hope you will post some playtime with sounds! :D
Thanks! There will be video eventually but it may have to wait until the game is featured on Pinballers stream. :)

I realized with some horror a mistake I made yesterday. Normally there is no contact between the flippers and the playfield protector. But when the playfield is vertical, the protector falls away from it slightly and touches the bottom of the flippers.
protector leaning.jpg
Yesterday I was live testing EOS switches, flipping the flippers with the playfield vertical, and made some scratches on the protector. Not very noticeable. But very annoying after trying hard to be careful. :(
protector scratched.jpg
The lower right flipper felt weak in testing so that's top priority to fix. At first I assumed poor adjustment of EOS switch, my fault again. But the switches appeared to be making good contact. You'd think this is a closed switch, right?
closed switch not.jpg
Nope. Contacts are filthy and not making an electrical connection. What the heck? These are brand new! Maybe some manufacturing residue? Regardless of the reason, cleaning is straightforward. Place a small amount of Novus 2 on a strip of clean cloth, pinch between the contacts, and pull the cloth through repeatedly until no more black stripe. Then finish by pulling through a clean area a few times.
switch cleaner.jpg
Looking more closely at the switches, I'm starting to doubt whether they were manufactured correctly. Observe the problem switch contacts - they appear to a be gold plated type intended for low-voltage use.
ASW-A20-34.jpg
Compare with the secondary EOS switch contacts, clearly a more robust design intended for this high voltage application.
ASW-A10-45.jpg
Finally all of the switches are clean, I decide to double check the integrity of the coils using a multimeter. It's a straightforward test, to measure ohms from the ground lug to the other two lugs. Then measure again with the EOS switch blocked like so:
switch blocker.jpg
Really should have tested the flipper coils a long time ago, like before parts were ordered, because sure enough, one of them has a bad hold winding. :FP:
Last edited by tinyrodent on Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by mad »

nice job congratulations and I like the rigid protector on the playfield.

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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by cdnpinballer »

Really nice work Brett.

You can order the proper lamp sockets from Pinball Resource.
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