FIREPOWER drop target mod

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FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby Drano » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:22 am

I haven't posted any projects in while...maybe it's time to add a little content. Hopefully some of you Firepower fans out there will find this useful.

I picked up a decent player condition FP in a 3-game lot from a local collector earlier this year.
I've always kinda liked the game, but having it at home really cemented that feeling. It's just simple, pure fun 80's pinball at it's finest.
I was also always intrigued by the idea of converting one of these to use drop targets in place of the 1-6 stand-up targets in the middle of the playfield. Apparently, the sample games (inclding the one in the flyer) had drop targets and the existing code still supports them. All it needs is a little mechanical work to swap the target banks and some wiring.

By now, this transition has already been well documented by none other than Ted Estes, but I've been following the guide posted here:
http://pinball.flippers.info/firepowerdroptargets/

I've noticed the guide isn't perfect and there are a few mistakes to watch out for, but it's been good so far.

I'll try and cover my progress.
Firstly, the game I got wasn't all that bad but I've been itching to try one of those new Hardtop playfield overlays from Outside Edge and I managed to get one of the first Firepower test prints at the Allentown show earlier this year.
http://www.pinballgifts.com/hardtop.html

Around the same time, I located two sets of williams 3-target banks. It has to be the ones with the horseshoe contacts.
I spent the first little while refurbishing these and, more recently, I've pulled te playfield, sanded the old art off, and have since stuck down the hardtop.

Part of this process involves routing out 2 slots for new 10pt switches that have to go behind the target banks. I did this with a combination of drill and Dremel router. The same edits had to be made to the hardtop as well.

This is about where I'm at at the moment. I'll be installing the target banks, switches and running the new wiring next. Stay tuned.



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IMG_20180506_153629_605.jpg

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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby HPR Pinball » Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:22 pm

Cool, i also have this one in my bank of project :-)
DT mod for Firepower is a must to do !
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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby Drano » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:56 pm

Some people say it will slow the game down a little, but I'm sure the exposed rubber behind the drop targets will be equally as dangerous as the standup targets

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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby HPR Pinball » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:56 pm

Yeah, drop targets slow down the game sometimes, i have no problem with that. It change the behavior of the playfield,
the rebound and effects are different.
It's not on the negative side, it's just different and Firepower with drop targets is still a hard game to master specially with the new ruleset.
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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby Drano » Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:16 am

I haven't looked into the new ROMs very much. Has anyone tried them on a real game? I'm wondering if it's worth considering?

I started installing the guts last night!

IMG_20180823_101441_632.jpg

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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby Drano » Fri Aug 24, 2018 11:28 am

Last night I started soldering the wires over to the new parts.
The drop target bank is pretty easy and it's just a matter of moving the common wire from the stand-up targets to a single point on the back of the DT bank. My drop target bank already had the original daisy-chained connections in place between all 3 targets, so I didn't have to do any of that. Then, each of the white/colour banded wires from the original targets just got moved over to the corresponding lug on the back of each drop target contact.

One thing that confused me however was the wiring for the continuous switch contact and also the new 10pt swicthes I added.

The guides that I referenced do a good job of telling you what colour wire goes to each, but they forget to spell out that these switches need to be wired into the matrix and where those connections should be made on the playfield. I guess they assume that most people are smart enough to figure it out on their own :)

Well, I guess I'm not so smart, so I spent a lot of time this morning looking at the schematic and I think I have it all figured out.

SCHEM.jpg


You can see in the schematic of the switch Matrix where I've written the numbers 20, 24 & 52, 55

20 & 24 are the unused swwitches which will now be located on the end of the two drop target banks for the continuous contact
52 & 54 represent the new 10pt stand-up switches added that will sitt behind the rubber ring behind each drop target bank.

I will need to make sure that I connect them into the corresponding columns and rows by physically finding the neighouring switches already on the playfield and joining them to those.
I'm going to run the new wiring tonight and will take some photos. Maybe that will help anyone else that (like me) gets stuck on step #10

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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby HPR Pinball » Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:39 pm

Thanks for this info, it will be usefull for sure !
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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby Drano » Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:43 pm

Okay... lots of wiring happening now!
As I mentioned before, the guides that I linked at the start of this project do a pretty good job of explaining things... except when it gets to step 10 and you need to figure out where all the wires need to connect to.
Moving the original standup target wiring to the drop targets is not all that tricky. However, once you get to the new 10pt and the continuous contact switches on the drop target banks, it can get a bit confusing.

I wanted to try and provide a bit of an "idiot's guide" to the wiring theory and my selections for the best places to connect everything.

So, first, let's start with a new (revised) switch matrix diagram that I created.

SwitchMatrix_new.jpg



Here's how to read this new schematic:

1) Please note the 4 new switches that I added in RED text into the matrix. 20, 24, 52, 55. I also edited the legend to the right and removed the "NOT USED" and replaced them with new names as follows:

#20 - 1-3 Drop Target Continuous
#24 - 4-6 Drop Target Continuous
#52 - 10pt switch - 4-6 Drop Target Bank
#55 - 10pt switch - 1-3 Drop Target Bank

* Please note that, even though I named #52 & #55 ater the 1-3 and 4-6 drop target bank, these switches are not on the bank mech at all. These are the new standup leaf swicthes we installed behind each bank. However, switches #20 & #24 will be found on the back of the target bank (see next photo for details).

The first thing you'll see is that we have to connect all 4 of these switches to the corresponding wires on their respective columns and rows.
For example, switch #52 (10pt switch - 4-6 Drop Target Bank) needs to be wired into the WHT/YEL wire from Row 4 and into the GRN/VIO wire of Column 7. I've also added the missing switch symbol so you can see that the WHT/YEL wire goes to the tab that connects to the non-banded side of the diode.

Now, we're not going to take apart the wiring harness to make this perfectly 'factory' looking. The best course of action is to jumper these new switches into another switch on the same row, and then another switch onto the same column. I studied the playfield and tried to find the switches that offered the cleanest and shortest wiring opportunities. I will follow up with pictures, but even in the schematic, you can see (in red lines) where I've made connections.

As an example, you can see that switch #52 is jumpered into the GRN/VIO common wire of Column 7 at switch #49 (centre middle left standup). You will also notice that I daisy-chained switch #52 to switch #55.
Now, the other tab of switch #52 (the one connected to the non-banded end of the diode) needs to be jumpered to the WHT/YEL wire of Row 4. For me, the best place to make this connection was at switch #28 (bottom right jet bumper). Coincidentally, I also used the same connection point for the new switch #20 since they all shared the same row.

Of course, the reason this all works is the diodes. They prevent the signals from feeding back in the other direction. So, even though we're jumping wires to other switches, the combination of row and column is always unique and the MPU knows this. This means that our new switch #52 is seen by the game as the connecting of Column 7 + Row 4. No other switch on the matrix can register this address as long as the diodes keep the informatin flowing the right way. This is why games get screwy switch readings when diodes fail.

I'll post some photos next with more detail.
Last edited by Drano on Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby Drano » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:05 pm

I also thought the Column 3 (GRN/ORG) wiring to the drop target banks might be confusing for some, so I created this image to explain in more detail.
This photo is taken directly from the guide, so it doesn't look exactly like mine. It shows the back of the '1-3' Drop Target Bank.

makingconnections1b.jpg


The important thing to note here is that all the wiring except the WHT/YEL wire at point "B" already exists within the game.
The GRN/ORG wire get's moved from the first standup switch and is soldered into the 2nd pad of the #1 target switch plate (far left in this picture). You will notice there are 3 separate switch plates all lined up together and each has 4 solder pads at the top. It's a bit hard to see, but the GRN/ORG wire from the original standup target is now on the 2nd pad of the left (or 1st) green contact plate.

*NOTE*
It's also very important to note that the 2nd and 3rd pad are connected with traces behind the contact plate; and that means that the GRN/ORG wire is actually daisy chained over to each of the three plates. On the 3rd and final plate, it also has one last connection for the 'Continuous' switch that we'll be adding at #20. I have tried to trace in light green how the common GRN/ORG wire from Column 3 actually traces to all 3 of the switches (running down to the banded side of the diode of each) and it even goes to a 4th switch and diode, which is the continuous switch #20 I already mentioned.

So, if your target bank already has all the jumpers in place, you're in luck. All you really need to do is ensure that you make the proper connection at point shown at "A" on this image.
After you've completed that, you just connect the 3 different WHT-coloured wires from the original standup targets over to the lugs on these contact plates that are connected to the non-banded part of the diodes.
In the case of the "1-3" target bank, the wire colours are:

"1" drop target - White-Brown
"2" drop target - White-Red
"3" drop target - White-Orange

On the 4th lug, we will need to add a new run of WHT/YEL wire for the #20 switch (I only had WHT/BLK so I substituted). As mentioned in the last post, I use this wire to connect the new switch into the matrix. We already know that it is connected to the GRN/ORG wire of Column 3 of the switch matrix via the daisy chain shown in this pic. As shown in my revised schematic, the other half od the switch connection goes from point "B" to the WHT/YEL wire on switch #28 (or the 'Bottom Right Jet Bumper').

For the other drop target bank we repeat same process except that the 4-6 target wiring is as follows:

"4" drop target - White-Green
"5" drop target - White-Blue
"6" drop target - White-Violet

Also, if we consult the new schematic, we see that on the "4-6" target bank the new Continuous switch #24 gets jumpered to the WHT/GRY wire on switch #40, or the "Middle POWER Target".

I'll post some more photos as I get time.
Last edited by Drano on Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby HPR Pinball » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:27 am

Thanks a lot, it's very apreciated and that's a very useful way to use this forum :-)
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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby Drano » Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:46 am

HPR Pinball wrote:Thanks a lot, it's very apreciated and that's a very useful way to use this forum :-)


My pleasure.
I hate how some of these tutorials always make the project seem so simple... when, in fact, it is often quite a bit more complex.
Hopefully this helps a few people.

I remember when I did the 3rd magnet kit on my Twilight Zone. THAT was a huge pain in the butt!

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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby OTTOgd » Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:06 pm

Yeah, fantastic instructional thread.

Don't care for the Firepower as a game but interestingly nifty read nonetheless.

Thanks for the excellent contribution to the hobby.

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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby HPR Pinball » Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:50 pm

Firepower is in storage for more than 10 years but you gave me the adrenaline rush to start it as soon as possible !
It's the next pinball project, i'm tired of those beautiful Bally's :-)
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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby Drano » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:07 pm

HPR Pinball wrote:Firepower is in storage for more than 10 years but you gave me the adrenaline rush to start it as soon as possible !
It's the next pinball project, i'm tired of those beautiful Bally's :-)


I agree. I'm a bit tired of my classic Bally. The only ones that still hold my interest are Fathom and Eight Ball. I always found the classic Sterns a lot more fun.

That being said, I always disliked the Williams games of this era, but Firepower is one exception I will make. It is one of the first games that had it all. Multiball, speech, rollover lane changes, kickback... even a spinner. Now it'll have drop targets too! :D
I just have to hear the sounds this game makes and I'm transported back to the 80s. On top of that, it's got some good rules/objectives and difficulty for the era. The cabinet art could've been better though. I think I'll keep it ;)

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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby Drano » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:05 am

The last few days have been pretty boring and I'm jumping back and forth between projects.

Nothing very exciting to report on Firepower. Just a lot of wiring. But, as promised, here are a lot more photos showing all of the connections I mentioned in the write-ups above.


First, let's look at the new 10pt switches behind the drop target banks. At this point you will have completed steps 6-7 in the guide that I linked at the beginning and cut your playfield and fitted the new standups. The photo below illustrates the connections as I've made them:

10pt_wiringFP.jpg


1) The first shot shows the new switch #55 behind the new 1-3 drop target bank. Connection point "A" shows a new WHT/VIO run of wire that has to be added. I will show where this goes to in the next step. Connection point "B" shows a new VIO/GRN wire that we will daisy chain to the other 10pt switch on the other bank and then connect both into the GRN/VIO wire of COlumn 7 on the switch matrix.

2) The 2nd slide shows that other 10pt switch added behind the 4-6 drop target bank. Connection point "C" has a new WHT/BLK wire attached and I will show where that goes in the next step (please note that the guide here calls for a WHT/YEL wire since it has to connect to the same colour wire of Row 4 on the switch matrix. I only had WHT/BLK so I substituted). For the other connection point "D", notice that is has the same VIO/GRN wire that we soldered to "B" on the other switch. B & D can actually be directly linked together (as seen in my new switch matrix schematic earlier connecting switches 55 & 52). As per the guide, both of these connections should be made to the lug with no diode connection. You will now notice a 2nd run of VIO/GRN wire coming from point "D". We will use that to link both of the 10pt switches into Column 7. **NOTE** I added this wire before deciding that I would connect the two switches to switch #49. It would be shorter if you ran it the other way. Meaning, start at "D" then link to "B" and then add another wire to switch #49 (I did the backwards and used a bit more wire as a result)

3) The last slide shows what I mean. You can see the new VIO/GRN wire coming from the top of the image where it is attached to points D and B (switches 52 & 55) and then connecting to switch #49 (Center Middle Standup) where my finger is pointing. It must connect to the same lug as the existing GRN/VIO wire.


Next, let's see where the WHT/VIO and WHT/BLK wires connect.


10pt_wiring_topFP.jpg



1) On the first slide you can see the WHT/VIO wire we added. It's coming from connection point "A" on the new #55 10pt switch (just beyond the left side of the image) and I've run the wire through the harness, as indicated by the red lines, to get it as close as possible to switch #31 Upper Top Right Standup. Make sure to attach the wire to the same lug that has an original WHT/VIO wire. It should on the non-banded side of the diode.

2) On the 2nd slide you will notice the WHT/BLK wire that is coming from the left. We cannot see the connection point in the photo, but it is the same "C" as in the previous set. This wire needs to run to where I've indicated on the right. It connects to swicth #28 Bottom Right Jet Bumper. Make sure it goes to the lug that has the WHT/YEL wire (again, non-banded diode side)

3) You will also notice a new connection "E". This is for switch #20 which is the new continuous contact switch. It's the last lug on the back of the #3 Target contact plate (the one on the non-banded side of the diode). This wire also needs to go to the same contact point on switch #28 of the Bottom Right Jet Bumper.


Lastly, let's get the final continuous switch from the other bank wired. This is switch #24. See below:

ContinuousSwitch_wiringFP.jpg


On this image you can see that I've added a new run of WHT/GRY wire and you can just make out where it connects on the far left side to the last contact plate on the back of the 4-6 drop target contact plate. If you still cannot figure out where this is, Please reference my earlier post from a few days ago showing a close-up of the back of the drop target bank. It's the one indicated by "B" in the lower right. ANyway, the red lines show the path I used to run the new WHT/GRY wire over to switch #40 Middle POWER Target. Again, make sure to look for the matching WHT/GRY wire and attach there (it'll be the non-banded diode).

That's it! If you do this all correctly, you should have a pretty clean wiring job.


The only thing left is to run the solenoid wiring for the reset solenoids on both drop target banks.
The guide does a really good job of showing this on step 7 and where to attach two new wires into the existing black Molex playfield connector. You can see that they purposely left the two holes empty when they chnaged the design of the game at the last momoent and the wires were no longer needed. In any case, make sure you get two coloured wires as the guide recommends. Then crimp new male contacts onto each wire and push them into those holes, following the direction of the guide. The image below shows what happens on the playfield since this detail is not in the guides.

Solenoid_wiring_topFP.jpg



Now, the guide asks for GRY/RED to go to the 1-3 resent coil and GRY/ORG to the 4-6 reset coil. I didn't have these exactly, so the image above shows RED/GRY to the 1-3 bank and YEL/GRY to the 4-6 bank at the top. Here are things to note:

1) The YEL/GRY at connection point "X" is going to the lug on the non-banded diode side of the 4-6 drop target reset coil.
2) The RED/GRY at connection point "Y" is going to the lug on the non-banded diode side of the 1-3 drop target reset coil.
3) A new heavier 18AWG wire has been run in a chain from the banded side lug of the Left Eject Hole Solenoid and daisy-chained to the same lugs on the two new coils. This will provide the necessary power.

I think that about covers my "idiot's guide" to wiring in your Firepower drop target mod :D

Good luck!

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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby HPR Pinball » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:47 am

I call that a gigantic and clear ''how to install'' guide !
Thanks for all the invested time to present this guide to everyone :-)
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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby Manu2 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:59 pm

Very well documented.

I understand the fact that drop targets are more interesting to shoot than stationary targets. But you loose some speed of the game, and I think that speed is more important.

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Re: FIREPOWER drop target mod

Postby Drano » Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:51 am

Manu2 wrote:Very well documented.

I understand the fact that drop targets are more interesting to shoot than stationary targets. But you loose some speed of the game, and I think that speed is more important.


Yes, that's the usual debate when it comes to this mod. There is no question that it will play differently.

However, just imagine a game like Centaur. Would it be a better game with stand-up targets instead of drops? ;)



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