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High Speed: maintenance log

Perhaps my experience can serve as a cautionary tale to others.

My High Speed was my first machine. I have kept track of major things as I remember them, so this log is not complete. I started keeping it after I'd had the machine for 3 weeks, and periodically ignore it when I'm annoyed. I tend to update it irregularly. I am still toying with my format; problems may or may not be noted well.

Everything here was pretty much noted days or even months after the fact. Some of it has been re-edited.

20 Jan 2001

Bought a High Speed at the San Jose Super Auction. Upon bringing it home, we found all of the balls in play (i.e., not in the trough). Replacing one of the 2.5A fuses made everything fine. Ryan rebuilt the lower-right flipper with mostly new parts (no new spring, no new EOS switch -- EOS switches are hard, don't have an old-style spring).

22(?) Jan 2001

Broke the pinball machine. Something seems to be shorted, blowing a different 2.5A fuse on the power filter board.

27 Jan 2001

There are a lot fewer fuses at Radio Shack since I've been cleaning them out. A lot fewer diodes, too. Still can't find the problem, and it's driving me nuts. I checked the transistors (most of them I checked incorrectly; I should read the documentation more closely.) But it doesn't look like a transistor, and that's something. (I had been hoping it was a playfield problem. Turns out it mostly wasn't.)

28 Jan 2001

Checked all the playfield resistors; found a bad one on the ramp coil, but it didn't fix the short. Brian pulled all the plugs to the playfield and the fuse still blew.

29 Jan 2001

Got a manual! Brian found the problem within a few minutes of looking at schematics. I had thought it was on the playfield, but it was the varistor near the blown fuse (F3 or F4, can't remember now). Brian removed the varistor, we played, and there was much rejoicing. Plugged the machine into a surge supressor for now to make up for the lack of a varistor. (In retrospect, this was silly, but I was desperate.)

30 Jan 2001

Brian replaced the varistor. We replaced a 47V with a 42V. A varistor has near infinite resistance in the face of small potentials, but when it hits its threshhold, it shorts. It's a voltage spike prevention device, and in my case, it shorts fuse F3(?), and suicided itself along the way. Unfortunately, the schematics don't list the voltage of the varistor. This presumably really means it isn't entirely important, but Brian pointed out the 47V +/- 10% varistor existed in a 35V +/- 10% system. That means there can be up to 38.5V and the varistor can short at as little as 42.3, which is a safe margin; now, the new varistor could short at as little as 37.8, which is actually marginally overlapping. If both sides are made to marginally more exacting voltages, it's not a problem. Given that fuse hasn't blown since, it seems that things are well. The new varistor is considerably larger physically so practically it should be able to handle higher amperage. If that's the case, it should last longer.

I should have paid more attention to the scorch marks on the capacitor on the power filter board. This sounds stupid now, but I'd assumed it was something from some long forgotten part, or that it'd been there when the game was working. Apparently I was wrong.

7? Feb 2001

Got parts (new flipper rebuild kits, new rubber, new balls, Novus, etc.) Replaced most of the rings (the 5" ones behind the bumpers are tough to get to without removing the ramp and I want a better excuse before I take half the hardware on the playfield off).

8 Feb 2001

Started rebuilding the other two flippers. The bushing on the upper flipper fell apart as I pulled the shaft through it.

9 Feb 2001

Finished rebuilding flippers. Failed to notice that the EOS switch on the upper-right flipper was not opening. This is bad. Played two two-player games. Matt was playing his last ball and the upper right flipper was sticking up, but it could be pushed down. The problem was that because the EOS switch wasn't opening, the coil heated up and melted the sleeve. This ruined the coil. We replaced the EOS switch, assuming the coil was good--until we went to put the plunger back in and found a wall of nylon in the way. I should not have assembled the flipper with a cracked bushing, but even so, perhaps we could have saved the coil if we'd done something differently. I didn't check the EOS switch before playing the game after I reassembled the flipper. Most of this headache could have been avoided.

12 Feb 2001

Ordered parts. I'm writing this as of the 14th. Happ reports the coils in stock, but the stuff is blocked on the bushings, which I'm afraid to do without. The in-stock date seems to be slipping day-for-day. I wonder how long the order can go.

14 Feb 2001

Cleaned the mylared surfaces with Novus. The playfield looks better. Unfortunately I'm unsure what to do about the exposed wood. Some of the damage is pretty bad, but it's mostly just touchup stuff; there's nowhere the text can't be read. I'm afraid to wax the exposed wood given the condition of the paint.

20 Feburary 2001

Cleaned a bunch of stuff with Novus. #2 actually gets the filth off the rubber.

21 Feb 2001

Got the coil and the bushing! Put them in, everything's fine -- except both lane change switches seem like crap now (don't know why), and one of the rollover switches on the ramp is flaky (makes starting 3-ball multiball hard). Incidentially, the new EOS switch had to be bent a little to make it straight so that the catch would open it. Oh, well... it's been sitting in a package for a long time, so it doesn't seem that weird that it was a little goofed up.

27 Feb 2001

Over the past week, I bent the lane change switches back so that they work more consistantly. (I finally got to see the status report from holding the button in.)

Also this week, Matt found the Vio-Yel wire that powers the hideout and kickback coils was frayed, which explains why those coils were working intermittently. He spliced in a 22AWG wire.

When the right flipper gave out tonight due to a bad solder last week (power wire was coming off the terminal), I fixed that (there's a lot of solder (too much) on it now) and changed Matt's splice to an 18AWG wire. There appears to be a bad connection between the splice and the backbox, but the splice seems good. I think the problem is with the connector (small 12-pin connector between the playfield and the backbox); it's working fine now, but I'm not quite sure why. (I did find out that the Vio-Yel wire joins the 2.5A fuse that's not on a board. That's kind of useful.) Probably should clean the pins.

14 Mar 2001

I am being punished for playing pinball late at night. Just as I was about to start a multiball something went very wrong and the machine went dead (GI was on, music was still playing). Power cycling did not help, and the machine seems to be flaking out strangely when it comes back on (occasionally, coils fire, display has little bits of garbage flashing on the right-hand side, speakers popping). I am worried because I am afraid something on the CPU board is very broken.

[I turned out to be wrong: the power supply had just gotten really flaky, but now I've got a bunch of spare CPUs if I ever really do fry one.]

26 May 2001

I have been very derelict in updating this. The game has intermittant problems, probably with the power board, probably due to aged capacitors, according to Brian. This, coupled with a few minor problems I don't currently have the parts to fix, is pissing me off.

I replaced the flippers with new ones. The new ones are the right size and shape but the logo is slightly different, and they're better reinforced. I doubt anyone has circa 1985 Williams flippers left, so it's worth trying to clean the old ones, but they're covered in rubber goop. The looks of the game are much improved.

The kickback switch was dirty, so it stopped working. I cleaned it, but bent it out of whack, so it needs to be replaced. Of course I might have melted the coil, too.

The left hideout's side switch sticks, and needs to be replaced. Sometimes the balls go in and don't hit the lower switch so they get lost and it hoses multiball.

I'm pretty sure most of the other coils need to be cleaned out; I need to buy new sleeves.

2 Dec 2001

I have been very lax in updating this. I moved; the pinball machine moved. Talked Brian into re-capping the machine (note: not difficult) but the recapping job went bad. This was months ago. Got a new power board on eBay (actually, a whole power subsystem). Brian swapped it in. It's so cute when the lights are blinking and it's actually working that I want to actually fix some of this stuff. The reliability of the game seems improved.

The kickback switch is working well again thanks to more careful bending. I should still look at the coil. The left hideout's switch has been bent to be better, but it is not good. The ramp cover needs to be de-warped or replaced.

20 Dec 2001

For the first time, I am updating this right after working on the game.

I finally got around to doing something about the ramp cover, which was bowing down and interfering with play. All I did was flatten it. The conventional wisdom on the web is to heat the oven to 250°F, heat up the plastic, then put it in a book to flatten it. I tried that but didn't like watching the oven for disaster to occur. Someone on a newsgroup had suggested using a heat gun; this was much simpler. I just flattened the ramp cover and put it back on. The traffic light is closer to level.

The GI lights are out a lot of the time. Apparently the connectors are fried. Fortunately the guide saw this coming, and told me what to look for. Actually, Kidder found this, too, but I wasn't paying attention when he figured out which connector to jiggle. I need parts to fix this correctly.

3 Mar 2002

Matt and Chris came over last night and complained that the High Speed was a really dark game. I said it was just the GI lights and if you'd like to fix them we can do that. Matt soldered new header pins in and replaced the IDC connector with a Molex connector and things are much brighter now.

Still having problems with the ramp cover. Resets seem to have been solved with a new power supply board. I'm looking into getting the old one fixed, but that might be a waste of money.

XX XXX 2002
Cut a new ramp cover with a new bandsaw. My old cover wasn't that bad, but it sagged near the ramp entrance and impeded the ball. My new cover has an extra lip near the front that makes it hang over the whole ramp. I'm not quite happy with it, and I've got Lexan left. My next attempt needs to involve drilling holes in it so that the screws can't slip out. I had followed Williams' example and notched the edges, which means the cover has to be affixed carefully and not tightened too much. I think I can do better.
15 Oct 2002

At some point (I have no idea when now) I finally took the ramp off and replaced the back rubber rings. Someone put the plugs on my ramp backwards; they will have to be cut to be fixed, so I can't take the ramp all the way off. I've rebuilt one of the really weak bumpers, but not the other two. I still need to do a bunch of playfield touchups but they will probably wait some (long) time.

22 Oct 2002

Had a party over the weekend. Left hideout was acting up. Replaced the sleeve; still acting up. Plunger/link may be going; will have to look at it tomorrow.

While looking around I discovered that the left flipper was not going all the way back down when lifted by hand. I have never replaced the bushing on this flipper, so I decided it was time.

First I start removing screws from the bushing, forgetting why I need to take the whole mounting plate off. A nut drops out. I forget which screw I'm working on and another nut drops out. I eventually found them both. When I get the flipper off and go to replace the sleeve (might as well) I discover that it does not slide in and out easily. So I get another coil. I remount the bushing--the wrong way. So I remove it and mount it a different wrong way. So I take out a screw and put it in the wrong way, without realizing that I need to take everything off. So I take everything off. Finally I attach the damn thing and mount the coil. Now I can't put the plunger in so I take the coil off and put the plunger on and start putting in the coil stop screws without putting the coil stop on. Of course I haven't put the spring on so at least I'm killing two birds with one stone.

I cleaned the flipper rubber. The bottom-right flipper works well and is mounted quite neatly. I need to replace the bushing and coil on the bottom-left flipper.

Of course the left flipper isn't perfect and the upper flipper exhibits some of these symptoms; the left could probably use a new coil and the upper flipper's bushing is a screw short.

22 Oct 2002

So the left hideout doesn't work. I wonder if it needs lubrication? Might as well take it off and figure out what is jammed. Oh, weird. Where did a round-headed Phillips screw come from? Hey, it's not binding anymore!

In other news, since rebuilding the right flipper I can't backhand the escape hole. Oh, well, practice, I guess.

29 Oct 2002

Spontaneous Phillips screws are from the plastic with the U-shaped cutout for the left hideout. Holes in the playfield side rail are stripped.

New Alan Meyer plastics for lower target bank and slingshots. Center bank still on its way (has the hole in the wrong place). Fender washers installed for these three plastics (bottoms of slingshots and at the ramp entrance). Old lower target bank plastic was cracked severely near the ramp entrance. I hope the washer at the ramp entrance prevents further damage. Upper target bank isn't getting a new plastic. The old one looks okay, but there's a shield installed on it already that I haven't really taken apart to look at (at least in recent memory) that was on the game when I got it. While this apparently means the plastic has a cut in it, it looks fine and the shield may prevent ball hangups, so it stays.

The center and lower target bank plastics have weird metal posts that are well attached to the old plastics. I filed them down so they'd fit in the new plastics. I don't know if this was the right thing to do but the damage isn't too severe in any case.

I now have an NOS ramp. I'm not quite sure what my plan for it is, though.

23 Apr 2003

Finally got the replacement center bank plastic from Alan Meyer. Has it really been almost six months? Oh, well, it looks really good. Huge improvement.

30 Apr 2005

Work has been done on this game in the past two years, although it doesn't look like it.

I replaced the LL flipper's coil and bushing. Chris Kuntz pointed out it was binding a bit, so first I tried an adjustment. That didn't work, so I tried replacing the coil (which was baked). That didn't work so I replaced the bushing. That worked.


Related Links: High Speed Arcade Pinball

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