Complete Attack From Mars (in Yorkshire...)

Monkeyboypaul

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May 29, 2013
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Riccall, North Yorkshire
#1
So, i've bought a fixer-upper AFM from a fellow forum member and now i need to start recording the fixing-up process.

IMG_0346.JPG

Stay tuned... this is just a placeholder until i get some photos online, but i want to make this a good one.

This is my 1st "shop" and i'm currently looking at the following timeline:

  1. Now until Christmas - just give it a clean, make it playable, do the easy repairs and improvements. Enjoy it. So far I've added the Color DMD, installed the UFO Pinball PCBs only (no cabling yet), installed the GozMod Saucer PCB (the original had weird LED ghosting), replaced a few rubbers, installed 60% LEDs - mainly backbox...
  2. After Christmas - get the cabinet shopped and re-decalled. Now arranged.
  3. Early 2014 - swap out the playfield, cleaning old parts and fitting new parts where applicable.
Should be done by mid-2014, just in time for PPS to re-release AFM for half the cost of restoring it! Cheers then.

The sale included a spare original Playfield, in reasonable nick, but I've decided to use a Mirco repro instead. Also got some red Mirror Blades - which will be going on right at the very end!

Some other pre-Christmas tasks include:
  1. upgrading the speakers & sub
  2. re-wiring the backbox GI , think it's all wrong! AFM Backbox Kit Pinside Pinball Forum - Pinside.com
  3. replace the coil sleeves - will do when i swap the playfield.
  4. Install both UFO Pinball kits - but should i wait til the playfield swap in 2014? CAN i wait until the playfield swap in 2014...?! UPDATE: no, I couldn't wait...
  5. Clean the ball trough
  6. install Pinbits Strobe
  7. install Plastic protector kit - will do when i swap the playfield.
  8. Martian red eyes when they jump - somehow...
  9. Clean/tumble the playfield metal work
  10. NEW - Powder coat the lockdown bar, legs and side rails.
 
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pintableuser

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Apr 4, 2013
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#2
:D. Looks like a lovely machine before you even start. I'm lookn forward to following this one. The hours involved are a true labour of love. It would be excellent if you could consider adding a running total on costs of parts and special out-services?? Happy days.:D
 
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Monkeyboypaul

Monkeyboypaul

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#4
I agree, it doesn't need decals, but it definitely needs some woodwork & it would look much better with new decals once that's done.

The costs is another thing - i don't want to be vulgar by listing everything, just trust me when i say this is going to be a bit expensive! However, this is one of those rare machines that i can't seem to tire of. It's so simple, yet so satisfying! It deserves to be done properly, where possible and within my abilities, and i'm really enjoying the whole restore process too. I'm not doing it for profit, just for the love of it, and learning loads as i go. Wish i'd got into this years ago, would've saved me a few quid, but circumstances prevented it - space, money, time, work, etc. I always played Pinball when i lived in Skegness between 1985-99, but then i didn't really touch them again until 2011 when a friend let me on his Addam's (my old favourite) so i decided to take the plunge - bolstered by the lessons learnt & fun of restoring several mid-90's fruit machines between 2000-2010.

IMG_0235.JPG IMG_0237.JPG IMG_0393.JPG IMG_0395.JPG IMG_0038.JPG Mirco Playfield.jpg
 
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Monkeyboypaul

Monkeyboypaul

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#12
1. upgrading the speakers & sub

I went for the Flipper Fidelity WPC 95 kit. Generally these speakers are not as loud as the stock speakers. I expected them to be an enormous change, but so far they're just 'better', not 'revolutionary'... mind you, the bass is exceptional - had to move it from 'Hi' to 'Lo' as it was a bit too much. Maybe i'm being a bit hard on them... time will tell.

These kits could do with an extension lead included in the box so you can route the volume pot dial down to the coin door, then you have total control of the Machine's audio output and Flipper Fidelity fine tuning in one convenient location. By default you're supposed to put the dial in the top right corner of the backbox.

The machine is now set to 15 with FF speakers, instead of 10 with the factory stock.
 

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Monkeyboypaul

Monkeyboypaul

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May 29, 2013
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#17
Minor update:

Pinbits strobe is now installed, didn't take long at all. Definitely better than the factory version! Now... how can I make the machine control the house lights to auto switch off when strobe multiball kicks in??? Answers on a postcard please... Need a blackout mod with mains integration. Maybe one of those American clapper things?

Started fitting the UFO Pinball saucer lights but these were not so straight forward. One in particular had 2 cables break. Note the black shrink wrap joining the green cable to a black jumper cable in the photo. Once this was sorted the blue cable did exactly the same.

image.jpg

This took some dexterous fiddling and soldering to rectify. Not to mention several sharp LED pinpricks in each finger. The hardest part was stripping the cable insulation to reveal some copper where it had snapped off - it's like fiddly Teflon! I decided to apply some glue to the Underside of the saucer (pics to follow) just to ensure everything stayed in place and it also covered up the [sharp] metal contacts to reduce potential shorts in future. I've done all 6 saucers now, but will have to fit them another day.
 
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Monkeyboypaul

Monkeyboypaul

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#20
Hastily written update:

The UFO Pinball green saucer LED kit is now installed!

Made loads easier if you loosen the left 'lobster' ramp and remove the left rail (also cleaned).
IMG_0557.JPG


I would suggest everyone adds some form of insulator to the LED pins on the underside of each UFO... i used a glue gun, but i suppose tape might do it. They can be a tight fit and easily damaged as you fit them back into the game, not to mention shorting on the metal ring...

IMG_0551.JPG
The Expansion kit is also in and working, albeit not cable-tidied yet & I've not physically installed the attack hallway lane guides just yet. They might wait until the playfield swap in Jan/Feb. Also this photo reminds me that I need to get the batteries off the CPU board, but that'll have to wait for a month.

IMG_0558.JPG


Took a couple of attempts to get the new Expansion kit Super Jets system working, i had to realign the sticky pad sensors affixed to the base of each jet's solenoid - this senses if the solenoid fires and activates the Bumper Jets flasher. The effect is better than factory in my opinion, but it didn't work immediately and needed some minor realignment.

(Pic to follow)

The Expansion kit was quite tricky to install with the playfield in the machine, you have to do some soldering on the Superjet lamp holder legs which isn't the most accessible place. When i do the playfield swap i will use Jet bumper lamp holders with long wires, instead of the stiff metal legs. The kit also has a 1 particular Achilles heel... There's a kill command which turns the Saucer LEDs off at critical points in the game (Strobe Multiball & Video mode), but the connection from one board to another (single yellow cable, above) is a little 'Heath Robinson' and mine broke within minutes of being touched. Since repaired the problem myself, but it could've be a bit better designed. The fuse seems to get in the way too.


IMG_0554.JPG

Also spent some time going through the test modes, as it didn't immediately kill all the GI (backbox included) in strobe and video modes - turns out there's a jumper setting to enable this feature! That was 20mins of my life wasted...


i also had a leisurely sit down (vs. arching my back over the cabinet for most other things) and replaced the 10x broken backbox lamp holders with new ones. Bit fiddly to remove the old cabling and one cable snapped, so i've had to do a repair... All sorted and working again now. IMG_0559.JPG
 
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Monkeyboypaul

Monkeyboypaul

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#21
Finally started dismantling the machine... Need to get the cabinet stripped ready for a revamp in 2weeks & get the playfields swap done over about a month. Won't have lots of free time but will try to update progress as I go.

Pic shows a little bit of progress as of last night from the phone camera, but I did spend half the day just clearing a space to work and labelling cables, connectors etc.

Wish me luck.
 
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Monkeyboypaul

Monkeyboypaul

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#23
...Thinking about the LEDs in the little Martian's eyes...

Should they come on when:
  1. they jump, so for each solenoid pulse, or
  2. when the adjacent M-A-R-T-I-A-N LEDs are lit?
1 means they light far less often, but perhaps at more relevant times.
2 means they're lit a lot more often, but not necessarily when any of the LEDs in front of them are also lit (M-A on the left, or N on the right)

1. might look like this:
AFM eyes simple diagram.JPG

Has anyone else done this?

I've read Martin's guide and have been in touch with him for tech tips.
http://www.pinballnews.com/learn/rfm.html

Think i'd prefer option 1; less regular & more meaningful Martian eye action.
 
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Monkeyboypaul

Monkeyboypaul

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May 29, 2013
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#30
Off she goes for a cab refurb:

View attachment 4928

Back in 4 weeks.
More like 12! No rush, no space at home because it's going quite slowly...

Dreaded battery corrosion on the MPU... i didn't spot this before.

IMG_0868.JPG

Old playfield being stripped:
IMG_0970.JPG

New playfield being loaded up, slowly... on the dining room table. Anyone in the North want to lend me a playfield rotisserie? i had planned to make one, but I'm not all that practical and this is way more fun.
IMG_0968.JPG
 
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