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 »

cdnpinballer wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:06 am
Really nice work Brett.

You can order the proper lamp sockets from Pinball Resource.
Thanks Lee! I would have gotten some of these if I had known there was going to be a problem. Don't really like the old style socket for pop bumpers.

Today I cleaned the EOS switches some more, haven't heard back from the supplier about those yet. The game plays about as well as can be expected with one bad flipper coil. Haven't had to make many adjustments yet. However a couple of new problems have appeared. First, a ball can get hung up on the edge of the protector in at least one spot, impossible to shake loose without tilting.
ball hangup.jpg
Second, occasionally a drop target will eject out of the bank during reset. Maybe the reset mechanism is working too well...
target eject 1.jpg
Here's another example. When this happens I have to turn the game off, raise the playfield, and realign the target which has jumped out of the slot meant to guide it.
target eject 2.jpg
I'm not setup to make any gameplay video, but there is a tutorial by Bowen Kerins. Not one of his best, but shows the basics of the game, and the sound effects can be heard if you turn it up.
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
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tombiosis
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tombiosis »

Ill bet if the hole was slightly larger at the roll over ( below rollover) it would have the momentum needed to not hang up.
Shame to have to cut it though...
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Gone but not forgotten: 6M$M, Sorcerer, WPT, Elvis, Centaur II, Sure Shot, Firepower.

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cdnpinballer
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by cdnpinballer »

When I have a drop target coming up too high like that I switch it around with another in the same bank. This has usually fixed the problem.

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sylvain
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by sylvain »

The Bally/Stern Drop-Target resetting too high and/or out of track is a fairly common issue with these older games.
I usually perform the following steps to eliminate the problem:

1- adjust the position of the associated drop-target reset coil bracket (some can be adjusted) to just barely make the drop targets click in their up position at full solenoid bottoming-out at its coil stop;

2- Ensure the target reset plate is 'straight', e.g. not one side pushing higher than the other. This can be adjusted on some assemblies via Allen screws on the reset pawl on one side.

3- if necessary (and possible), add a washer at the back of the drop-target cage assembly at a screw position, to slightly move the back plate slightly in the cage due to the added washer spacing... so that the drop-target actuating metal lever piece no longer comes-out of its guide at the back of the cage when the drop target is pushed/reset all the way up.


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Looking for Bally Star-Jet, Capersville or The Wiggler, Williams Magic City, Grand Lizard, Swords of Fury, 1986 Pinstar Gamatron, and a few others.
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tinyrodent
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

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Thanks for the suggestions guys! I took a break from this game today, working on some other stuff. The updates here won't be so frequent going forward, with all the major items complete. However knowing Craig, there will probably be another project arriving soon... ;)
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
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graysonsdad42
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by graysonsdad42 »

Is this a passion project or something being restored that might end up on the market soon?

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tinyrodent
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

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graysonsdad42 wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:07 pm
Is this a passion project or something being restored that might end up on the market soon?
Craig buys games not just to collect and enjoy personally, but also to share with the Ottawa pinball community via various events. I would guess this game is highly unlikely to be on the market anytime soon.
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
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World_of_Warships
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by World_of_Warships »

Maybe one day, when all this craziness is over, we'll get the chance to put some quarters in it!
At Stage 1, slowly moving to Stage 2
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4742&p=40349&hilit=stages#p40349

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tinyrodent
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

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World_of_Warships wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:06 pm
Maybe one day, when all this craziness is over, we'll get the chance to put some quarters in it!
It will be free play at upcoming events. Stay tuned...

I finally got fed up using bar clamps to hold the playfield vertical. That was an acceptable workaround during teardown, but now with all the weight of installed parts, it's quite awkward, even a bit dangerous, and overdue for a proper solution. First lay some towels and stand up the playfield sideways. I could take it out altogether, but it's a real pain in the neck because of the cabling.
playfield sideways.jpg
Next pry off the left rail; it was already loose, poor job with a nail gun. Recall the right rail has a substantial gap in it. My plan is to cut the same gap in the left rail, then put some supports underneath.
pry rail.jpg
It's clear that the rail wasn't removed before the cabinet repaint... and maybe someone's child was playing in there with a pencil? :D
under rail.jpg
I never use a playfield prop rod, and removed the one from this game, which would be in the way of the new supports. If anyone reading this would like the original assembly, send me a PM, it's yours for free.
prop rod.jpg
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

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tinyrodent
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Re: Skateball Shop Log

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Flipper assembly with bad coil removed. A replacement coil is on the way. There's already a lot of scarring on the flipper shaft just from one install, so I hope to get this right on the next try.
flipper removed.jpg
To cut the rail, I took out the mitre saw, unused for many years. It didn't even get through the two cuts before falling apart.
mitre fail.jpg
I like hand tools but this one was always a piece of junk. Glad to be able to get rid of it. Ever on the lookout for stuff to salvage for pinball projects, I couldn't resist keeping aside this metal rod.
salvage rod.jpg
I used the bare blade to finish the second cut.
rail cut.jpg
Securely installed with wood screws.
rail installed.jpg
Now the cabinet is ready for new supports. However that will have to wait, because there is another new game arriving soon! :shock:
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

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tinyrodent
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Re: Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

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What a relief to get some cooler weather! I don't have much energy for pinball projects (or anything else) during a heatwave. Spent the time (over)thinking about the new playfield supports - what materials to use, what shape to make them, and so on. In the end I just used the scrap of rail cut out of the left side.
scrap.jpg
It's the perfect size to cut in half and make a pair of matching supports. Don't look at my messy jigsaw cuts too closely. :oops:
new supports.jpg
Using a box to roughly test the new service position.
test position.jpg
New supports installed.
supports installed.jpg
With playfield in place.
supports closeup.jpg
New, no hassle, service position. I should have done this on day one!
new service position.jpg
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

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Re: Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

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I finally found a used replacement flipper coil that tested OK on the bench. It was dirty with a stuck coil sleeve. Got the sleeve out, cleaned it up, and partway through replacement got to the part where a new sleeve is inserted. Stuck fast, will not move by hand.
stubborn coil sleeve.jpg
A little bar clamp can be very helpful to coax the sleeve into place. The socket on the right provides a space for the sleeve to stick out a bit.
coil sleeve coaxer.jpg
Flipper coil replacement complete.
flipper coil replacement complete.jpg
Plug and play!
plug and play.jpg
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

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Re: Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

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I played a dozen games or so, and quite suddenly the bottom right flipper started to stick hard. There wasn't anything obviously wrong so I took out the flipper assembly and broke it down. Blackened dirty parts. After a dozen plays!! :evil: I polished all of this stuff before installation.
dirty flipper parts.jpg
The tip of the coil plunger, and the corresponding area of the coil stop, seem to be smashing into each other destructively and making a lot of mess. It appears to be shedding a plated coating?
plunger tip decay.jpg
The filthy brand new coil sleeve isn't even straight. This goes directly into the garbage, not worth cleaning.
dirty sleeve.jpg
After a lot of elbow grease, the parts are polished and rebuilt once again. I hope it plays longer than a dozen games before needing another rebuild... :roll:
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

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Re: Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

Post by tinyrodent »

After playing a few games I noticed a new problem. Sometimes the bottom pop bumper does not fire. I can still hear the scoring sound effect when the ball touches the bumper skirt, but no action. Schematic for the solenoid driver board shows the bumper is driven by transistor Q10.
bumper schematic.jpg
I got out the multimeter and test leads, but didn't need them because just touching the transistor, it was obviously loose with cracked solder joints.
q10.jpg
Looking at the back, before:
q10 before.jpg
And after. Game is much more fun with fully working pop bumpers. :)
q10 after.jpg
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

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Game Rules & Strategy

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The game has a number of settings that can be adjusted via dip switches on the MPU board, and via the coin door test button. Most of these relate to whether or not the player's progress is saved from one ball to the next, in each scoring area. Usually I prefer maximum difficulty settings on classic games, so that the scoring doesn't roll over too often. But this game has a millions digit, and can handle liberal settings without much danger of rolling. The exception is extra ball, that needs to be all conservative settings.

Although the game doesn't have a "skill shot", it does take some skill to plunge at the correct strength for the ball to reach the top lanes. And this is usually what you want to do at the start of each ball. The objective is to roll over an unlit lane, causing it to light; and when all 3 are lit, the bonus multiplier is advanced. The position of the lit and unlit lanes can be moved with the right flipper button.
rules - 123 lanes.jpg
From there the ball usually falls into the pop bumpers. Not much to say about these. Always powered. Each one is lit by a corresponding 123 lane.
rules - pop bumpers.jpg
Next to the pop bumpers, the upper target bank. Hit the flashing arrow to light it solid. Light all 3 solid to qualify bonus collect on the saucer. Every third completion also advances the bonus multiplier.
rules - upper targets.jpg
Below the pop bumpers, the center target bank. This is another timed target challenge, where the reward depends on which light is on at the time the final target is dropped. It's not usually worth going for, but if you happen to accidentally advance the value, it can score 100,000 points for a completion.
rules - center targets.jpg
On the left side of the playfield, the SKATE target bank. Each completion advances the saucer value.
rules - skate targets.jpg
On the right side of the playfield, the saucer. Advanced values are cumulative - so 20k + 30k + 50k = 100k at the maximum for a single collect - which doesn't reset the value. With liberal settings, this doesn't dominate the scoring quite as much. But it's a valuable shot that a skilled player may be able to repeat. After another completion of the SKATE targets, Extra Ball is lit, and when collected, the saucer resets to base value.
rules - saucer.jpg
The right inlane/outlane area is best avoided from both directions. The ball can easily roll up from the flipper and drain. However a slower roll up and back down, can claim the inlane switch twice for good value. Roll over B once to light it for the remainder of the ball.
rules - right lanes.jpg
The left inlane/outlane area is reversed similar to Fathom. Much less dangerous than the right side, but takes some time to learn when a nudge is useful. Sometimes inlane drains can be saved, and sometimes outlane balls can drain. Roll over A once to light it for the remainder of the ball. Lighting both A and B lights the spinner, which I haven't highlighted here. When lit it scores only 1,000 per spin, not enough to make it worth shooting for on its own. However it does lead to the 123 lanes.
rules - left lanes.jpg
The bonus is advanced by any drop target, and most or all of the rollover switches. In traditional Bally fashion, you get to keep 20/40/60 for the next ball. The maximum bonus count is 70 multiplied by 5. It can be collected any number of times in the saucer, but collect has to be relit via the upper target bank.
rules - bonus.jpg
It's not an easy game, and liberal settings don't increase ball time. But once in a while it all comes together, feels great! :D
high score.jpg
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

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Re: Game Rules & Strategy

Post by tinyrodent »

After all that I forgot to talk about strategy. :oops:

With bonus multiplier retained, it makes sense to try to advance that to 5X early. It will pay at every bonus collect.

Similarly, with 20/40/60 bonus retained, those are important milestones to reach early in the game. Especially if you see 19/39/59 bonus, make a point of collecting a drop target or something.

A good way to advance bonus is to work on the SKATE target bank. Each completion advances the saucer value. So, if the ball comes to the right flipper, shoot for the SKATE targets. If the ball comes to the left flipper, shoot for the spinner (if 5X not reached yet) or the saucer. If cradled on the right, and a saucer shot is desired, a rolling backhand can work, or a tap pass.

After the bonus is at maximum, then the upper target bank becomes attractive for qualifying the saucer bonus collect.

The upper left flipper is usually safe, and can complete the upper targets easily. It can also be used to shoot across to the 123 lanes.

The upper right flipper is not very safe for batting, tends to put the ball out of control. However it can sometimes be used to prevent the ball from rolling to the right outlane.
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
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Re: Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

Post by tinyrodent »

After many plays, the drop targets are behaving well except for one target of one bank. It's ejecting a bit too far, and requiring two hits to knock it down.
target eject 1.jpg
I found a few discussions of various fixes for this problem, then came up with my own. Plastic spacer cut from a berry container, fitted to the target cage cover.
target spacer fitted.jpg
With the spacer installed, the slotted plate is forced inward just enough to keep the target on track. Problem solved! :D
target spacer installed.jpg
target spacer installed.jpg (85.46 KiB) Viewed 121 times
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

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Manu2
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Re: Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

Post by Manu2 »

On the one I played back in the 80's, the operator has cut one side of the B switch of the right inlane. Because, you can do it backward with the right flipper again and again, to add bonus. Is it the case on yours ?

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Re: Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

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Manu2 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:30 am
On the one I played back in the 80's, the operator has cut one side of the B switch of the right inlane. Because, you can do it backward with the right flipper again and again, to add bonus. Is it the case on yours ?
I have tried but on this game it's not easily done; if the ball goes backward at all, it tends to continue to the outlane. Maybe it gets easier when the game is beat up and tired on location.
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
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Re: Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

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Yesterday I thought the final gameplay issue was fixed - a chattering left slingshot. Part of the solution was to put a tighter rubber. But after a few games it started to chatter again, I powered off and let it sit. This morning I noticed this:
busted sling rubber.jpg
Sometimes a new rubber can break if it's against a sharp metal guide or similar. Doesn't appear to be anything like that here; perhaps just a manufacturing defect. A replacement rubber seems to have resolved the chattering again, so it's back to playtesting.
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

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Re: Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

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Quite suddenly the machine developed a tendency to reset in the middle of a game. After it happened a few times, I realized it was triggered by the rebound switch behind the SKATE drop targets. I spent quite a lot of time looking at the rebound target wiring (several switches chained together), and didn't notice any problems. Probably not related, but while there installed a foam pad to dampen any bounce, and prevent shorting to the switch frame. Not sure why I neglected to do this during rebuild.
target foam installed.jpg
The material is available from home reno supply stores:
target foam roll.jpg
Anyway after all that messing around, there was no change to the symptom, so then I did what should have been step one - try switch test mode. With the ball removed, this is telling me that switch #9 is closed.
switch test 9.jpg
Referring to the manual, switch #9 corresponds to the rightmost coin slot.
switch test numbers.png
Doh! I did this myself adding credits. The actuator is stuck.
coin door switch.jpg
With the actuator freed, now switch test mode shows all switches open.
switch test 0.jpg
And the game is back to playing perfectly! :D
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

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Re: Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

Post by World_of_Warships »

Berry containers and foam window shield! That's putting these things to great use!! Thank you for a great job documenting and the step by step of your findings throughout your restoration work. Taking notes and tons of pictures is some great advice! That pin is saved and will be enjoyed for many, many games. Myself, following your post made me realize I can start to fiddle with my latest game, The Shadow. Still daunting, but if you could turn this Skateball into this pristine looking thing, I can try! Again, fantastic job!
At Stage 1, slowly moving to Stage 2
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4742&p=40349&hilit=stages#p40349

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Re: Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

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World_of_Warships wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:17 pm
Berry containers and foam window shield! That's putting these things to great use!! Thank you for a great job documenting and the step by step of your findings throughout your restoration work. Taking notes and tons of pictures is some great advice! That pin is saved and will be enjoyed for many, many games. Myself, following your post made me realize I can start to fiddle with my latest game, The Shadow. Still daunting, but if you could turn this Skateball into this pristine looking thing, I can try! Again, fantastic job!
Thanks and congratulations! The Shadow is a fun game, hope to read about your fiddling! :D
Playing: Recel Lady Luck, Bally Skateball, Stern Seawitch
Fixing: Bally Fathom
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

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World_of_Warships
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Re: Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

Post by World_of_Warships »

tinyrodent wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 1:00 pm
World_of_Warships wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:17 pm
Berry containers and foam window shield! That's putting these things to great use!! Thank you for a great job documenting and the step by step of your findings throughout your restoration work. Taking notes and tons of pictures is some great advice! That pin is saved and will be enjoyed for many, many games. Myself, following your post made me realize I can start to fiddle with my latest game, The Shadow. Still daunting, but if you could turn this Skateball into this pristine looking thing, I can try! Again, fantastic job!
Thanks and congratulations! The Shadow is a fun game, hope to read about your fiddling! :D
Shadow was in excellent condition, very happy with it! Fantastic, fun, gameplay! But I can start by replacing a few burned bulbs (thou most are already LEDs, but not all non-ghosting), restore those darn T1 'Shadow rings' lamps (almost impossible to find WITH the plugin), a few plastics including the black plastic shroud surrounding the mini playfield. Nothing much, then I'll tackle the cabinet decals and the legs. But it's fun stuff, all of it!
At Stage 1, slowly moving to Stage 2
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4742&p=40349&hilit=stages#p40349

I also drive a Tier X Yamato in World of Warships

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