In Progress Lost in the PAC MAZE... Another Obsessive Restoration

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Nedreud

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Feb 12, 2013
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#1
16-October-2016
SETTING UP AND INSPECTION


It's all @DRD's fault. I wasn't supposed to be getting another pin. There's only room for 3 in my summerhouse/office... unless... maybe... if I get rid of the desk I could put another machine in its place...?

Rewind to September 18, 2016, and I get a PM titled "Mr and mrs going cheap on pinball owners ..." Well, if that isn't click-bait to a pinhead I don't know what is? Inside the message read "Worn pf, bubbling glass ... Should be dirt cheap." I made an offer of £150 but the seller was looking for around £500. I sent some examples of recent sales of fully working machines from the same era in good condition going for £495 (FUTURE SPA), £500 (NGS) and £550 (MMPM). Stretch my absolute maximum offer to £200 as it's really all I've got and I've still got to get the machine from Devon, 300 miles away. Seller "...can't let it go for any less that £250..." I'm out. So I post a thread on here to let everyone know there's a machine for sale. Other's think it's worth £250. Other's note it has an ALLTEK MPU and think it's worth at least £250 in parts! :eek: Then I get another PM from @Nickbs offering to collect the machine and bring it to Special When Lit in Salisbury if that helps with transport costs? It sure does! Up my offer to £250. SOLD.

The PinballInfo community is a very bad influence. Like a bunch of addicts at a crack convention.

So, following on from the FOR SALE thread I created here is the shop log for my fourth pinball machine. Yes, it's another classic-era early-80s solid-state hunk-of-junk project from Bally: MR & MRS PAC-MAN. It was designed by George Christian (who also did GOLD BALL) and released in 1982.

After a masterclass in how to play ATTACK FROM MARS by @Moonraker at his 50th birthday party held at Special When Lit this is how MMPM ended up after I dragged it in on my own at 1 o'clock in the morning (I really must get a bigger trolley with bigger wheels):



Generally the cabinet is in good condition and no where near as faded as GOLD BALL sat next to it. Slightly disturbing is the handwritten label on the bottom that reads "CHECKED OIL". The backglass is in good condition with only slight bubbling but there's a bit of a nasty scrape down the right-hand side but luckily no major chunks or dings:





The serial number EPM11436 appears on both the left-hand side of the cabinet and the rear of the backbox:



According to IPDB this machine has a confirmed production run of 10,600 units so I think this was one of the last to be made. The IPSND lists serials from EPM1044 to EPM11594. Assuming that numbering started at EPM1001 then the final serial would be EPM11600 and my machine is just part of the last 200 made.

In keeping with my other 3 pins I have yet another set of mismatched legs:



Coin door looks good but in keeping with tradition the lock has been punched out:



Up on it's legs now, here's a view of the bottom half of the two-part backbox from the rear:



The paint in between the backbox halves is pristine as it's never seen the light of day. Going to be great to get a perfect colour match as I do intend to repaint this one. The metal tabs on either side of the hole are the locks for the lower backglass and slide back and forth:



The lower backglass is in mint condition. Dirty and dusty but mint:





MMPM is stuffed with no less than 6 displays, 5 of which are 7-digit:



Next job was to bolt the head on with two bolts. Due to the small size of the backbox half the boards are mounted on the rear of the light board door, which is made of sheet steel and much thinner than the usual wooden door. Still a squeeze though! On the back of the door (left to right) lives the SQUAWK & TALK sound module, AUX LAMP DRIVER board and main LAMP DRIVER module. In the traditional position at the rear of the backbox are the MPU, in this case an updated ALLTEK ULTIMATE MPU and on the right-hand side the HV/REGULATOR/SOLENOID module:



The three boards on the door all looked original and untouched. Obviously the ALLTEK is totally new, probably replacing an acid-damaged AS-2518-35 MPU. The HV/SOLENOID board has had some work, most notably a slightly dubious capacitor replacement in the 5VDC section:



So, to summarise so far. Up on it's legs, backbox back together. Note the single fluorescent tube for lighting the backglass. Also, note the light board has cut outs for 2 more tubes to be fitted. I intend to replace the tube with a self-adhesive strip of warm LEDs around the edge because it really is hideous.

 
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Nedreud

Nedreud

Well-Known Member
Feb 12, 2013
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Aldershot, UK
#2
16-October-2016
TESTING AND FIRST REPAIRS


First things first: fuses. The mains plug had a 13A fuse. Don't think a pinball needs quite that much! Replaced with 3A. Next, fuses in the power supply module in the bottom of the cabinet. Amazingly they're all present and correct! :eek: Other than being very dirty the inside of the cabinet looks pretty good. At first glance I don't spot any hacks or mods. In fact, every thing might be as it was built. Note the extra ballast and starter for the fluorescent:



All the boards are still disconnected in the backbox so I can test the voltages coming out of the PSU:

TP1 6.5VDC SWITCHED ILLUMINATION
Reading: about 38V
TP2 +230VDC UNREGULATED 190V for displays
Reading: nothing
TP3 11.9VDC UNREGULATED +5V for MPU
Reading: about 13V
TP4 6.5VAC GENERAL ILLUMINATION
Reading: nothing
TP5 +43VDC SOLENOIDS
Reading: 43V

Mmm... not so good. Way to high on the SW .ILL. and nothing on the displays or GI . I'm hoping it's a problem on the AS-2518-54 board otherwise it's a toasted transformer. Before re-connecting the boards and trying for a power-up I inspect the underside of the playfield. I find a coil operated mech I've not seen before. It's for the diverter gate in the left outlanes:







Diverter gate:



Generally the condition of the mechs, switches, lamp holders and wiring is pretty good. Most of the plungers are dirty and blackened, and the switch points all need cleaning, but nothing horrific. Looking closer a few things start to crawl out of the woodwork. First up, the under-playfield fuse for the solenoids is blown:



The left-hand slingshot doesn't move. Looks like we have a melted coil and could have been what blew the fuse. I'll need to test the solenoid driver board in case there's a dead Q transistor that is stuck on:



After removal here's the inside of the coil sleeve:



Clearly STERN coils are not wanted in a BALLY machine :D I have a very grotty but working spare AN-26-1200 coil which I fit with a brand new sleeve:



A bit more waggling reveals the upper flipper bush is knackered:





It had actually broken into three pieces. Replaced with brand new bush (and adjusted the EOS whilst I was here as it was a bit bent):



I also spotted this beauty. An anti- anti-cheat. Small piece of electrical tape over the horizontal slam switch. Good for preventing a TILT on those really hard nudges ;)



At this point I decided it was time to reconnect all the boards and fire it up. I didn't expect much and certainly didn't get much! :( The fluorescent worked and after a few seconds there was sound from the SQUAWK & TALK so at least that's working. But nothing else really. Just a single lamp in the lower backbox behind Pac-Man. The ALLTEK MPU is showing 2 green LEDs. One is for the +5V so I know that part of the regulator board is working. The other green LED is supposed to flash 8 times as the board goes through the test cycle but it's locked permanently on. I have a feeling that this could be due to it not getting the +43VDC due to the blown under-playfield fuse.

Didn't have any more time to get stuck in but was curious about the filthy playfield so tried a little Novus #2 on the display window and some Mill Wax on the playfield:





So what appears to be horrific scratches actually looks like trails left by a wet dirty ball!

To be continued...
 

astyy

Play Flipper Games for Fun and Recreation
Jan 19, 2015
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#6
Enjoying this already. That worn area is certainly an easier artwork restore than the similar on your PARAGON. You'll have this up & playing in no time :thumbs:
 

cooldan

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Jul 21, 2011
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#8
so how come you're not going for the much nicer playfield you were offered instead? i thought it was being offered up for free but i might have been wrong about that.
 
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Nedreud

Nedreud

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Feb 12, 2013
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#9
so how come you're not going for the much nicer playfield you were offered instead? i thought it was being offered up for free but i might have been wrong about that.
Well spotted! But yes, had a little PM with @Johnnyo and have taken up his very generous offer of a considerably better playfield on the condition that it is only used to rescue this pin. No cheeky wall art or eBay money making ;) There really are some super nice people on here!
 
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Nedreud

Nedreud

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Feb 12, 2013
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#10
That looks like some serious effort for the underside of a playfield. Are you going to go for a similar look, with painted components Peter?
Yes, @JT., I'm going to following in PINBALLMIKEDs footsteps and have a bash at powder coating all the mechs. He's done it on other pins - gold on a MEDUSA restoration and silver on a truly wonderous CENTAUR revamp. I have a friend with his own powder coating facilities just large enough to bake pinball legs. All I have to do is provide the powder.





And yes, that's chrome-effect powder coat, not chrome plating!

I'm thinking MMPM could be begging to have all the mechs in yellow!
 
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JT.

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Jul 24, 2011
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#12
Yes, @JT., I'm going to following in PINBALLMIKEDs footsteps and have a bash at powder coating all the mechs. He's done it on other pins - gold on a MEDUSA restoration and silver on a truly wonderous CENTAUR revamp. I have a friend with his own powder coating facilities just large enough to bake pinball legs. All I have to do is provide the powder.





And yes, that's chrome-effect powder coat, not chrome plating!

I'm thinking MPMM could be begging to have all the mechs in yellow!
It looks awesome :clap:
 
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Nedreud

Nedreud

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Feb 12, 2013
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#14
Been doing some research this evening, watching gameplay vids, reading blogs, scanning Pinside, etc. Would you believe that for a game that shipped over 10,000 units no one has made repro pop bumper caps for it? Seems they're a bit of a f****r to get hold of. Even Steve Young's Pinball Resource is out of stock of the blank opaque yellow rings and caps on which a homemade decal could be added.

IMG_6154.JPG

Bit of a pain in the **** as one of my caps is bust and it would look bad to have a new one and an old one so ideally need a pair!

Going to have to get extra creative on this one...
 

Anton

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Jun 30, 2016
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#15
Must be a company out there who does 3d printing? Can't see they would cost much....makes me think about getting one to play with. Not expensive anymore either...can pick them up on eBay for a few hundred...
 

Johnnyo

Site Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
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#16
On the spares front MMPACMAN is sadly lacking, nearly every Bally of that era, you can get cabinet stencils for, except yes you guessed pacman. There is also hardly any dedicated spares available apart from generic spares across the range.
The only thing I could source were the drop targets but they don't match the originals either.
Despite the production numbers can only guess it's not a loved machine stateside.
I have a spare bumper cap will dig it out may be better than what you have.
 
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Nedreud

Nedreud

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Feb 12, 2013
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#18
Must be a company out there who does 3d printing? Can't see they would cost much....makes me think about getting one to play with. Not expensive anymore either...can pick them up on eBay for a few hundred...
I've got a friend who's quite into 3D printing. From what I can see reproducing the shape wouldn't be a problem. It's the texture and surface finish that would be difficult. Because bumper caps are injection moulded they have perfectly smooth and shiny surfaces from the polished metal moulds in which they are created. 3D printing is an extrusion process that, as far as I know, can't reproduce that kind of surface. At least not in domestic small-scale printers. Maybe larger commercial machines could do it?
 
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Nedreud

Nedreud

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Feb 12, 2013
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#19
Just use shapeways if u have a 3D model that is
Looks interesting and there are quite a number of pinball parts already created but looking closely at the few that have actual pictures of the end product it's the finish that sets apart the original component from the printed repro.

For example, these are "WMS - Coin Door Switch Cover Prt# 03-7233", with the shiny smooth original on the left and rough lined repro on the right. Great if you absolutely couldn't get it anywhere else at all and this part might not be that visible in the coin door, but I think an underlit pop bumber cap would look decidedly dodgy.

Also, these work out at £14.13 each. There were also Bally drop-targets at around £18 each!

 
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Nedreud

Nedreud

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Feb 12, 2013
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#20
On the spares front MMPACMAN is sadly lacking, nearly every Bally of that era, you can get cabinet stencils for, except yes you guessed pacman. There is also hardly any dedicated spares available apart from generic spares across the range.
The only thing I could source were the drop targets but they don't match the originals either.
Despite the production numbers can only guess it's not a loved machine stateside.
I have a spare bumper cap will dig it out may be better than what you have.
I wonder if this is a licensing issue? Pac-Man was published by Namco but licensed to Midway in the US. That's the same Midway that was owned by Bally and eventually became Bally/Midway Manufacturing which was eventually split and bought by WMS which continued to make arcades under the Midway name and pinballs under the Bally name, etc., etc., etc., more splits, mergers, acquisitions, until eventually Midway Games files for bankruptcy in 2009 but still in 2016 a liquidating trust is distributing any proceeds to creditors and "pursues avoidance actions". I guess anyone attempting to make Bally Pac-Man parts will get caught up by that trust attempting to extract maximum value from any rights, licenses or interests it holds over game-specific parts.

It does seem rather odd that there are no game-specific parts, i.e., parts featuring Pac-Man imagery (backlglasses, bumper caps, plastics, drop-targets, stencils or playfield), for a game with such a large production run.
 

JT.

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Jul 24, 2011
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#23
Looks interesting and there are quite a number of pinball parts already created but looking closely at the few that have actual pictures of the end product it's the finish that sets apart the original component from the printed repro.

For example, these are "WMS - Coin Door Switch Cover Prt# 03-7233", with the shiny smooth original on the left and rough lined repro on the right. Great if you absolutely couldn't get it anywhere else at all and this part might not be that visible in the coin door, but I think an underlit pop bumber cap would look decidedly dodgy.

Also, these work out at £14.13 each. There were also Bally drop-targets at around £18 each!

Could you hand-finish it to get a better finish?
 

rockhouse

Active Member
Jul 10, 2015
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#25
nice write up should help anyone who has a mr and mrs pac man
So what appears to be horrific scratches actually looks like trails left by a wet dirty ball!
soon be nice and shiny:)
 
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Nedreud

Nedreud

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Feb 12, 2013
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#26
I can print you off a couple and send them over if any use ?
Thanks for the offer, Ian! Hold off for the moment. Let's get this game working first and see what I can salvage. I've not really looked that closely at the caps I've got... might be able to do something with them until I can get hold of some NOS. Pretty much the last thing I'll need to finish the restoration!
 

BigIan

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Jul 21, 2011
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#29
If you print it off in a decent printer to start with you get a pretty decent finish, most of the rough finished prints are from cheap printers of misconfigured printers

JD Eagle topper ? if you have the cad file yep..
 
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Nedreud

Nedreud

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#30
Did a bit more research via IPDB. I looked at all the solid-state games released by Bally between 1980 and 1988. The change from what I will call "classic star" pop bumper covers to "ring and cap" covers appears to have ended with FLASH GORDON (custom red translucent) and started with EIGHT BALL DELUXE (custom translucent orange):

"CLASSIC STAR" one-piece cover with PARAGON image:
upload_2016-10-18_18-14-3.jpeg

FLASH GORDON, the last "classic star" but in translucent red and with custom centre art:


EIGHT BALL DELUXE, the first 2-part "ring and cap" covers in translucent orange with custom EBD logo:


EBD caps in translucent orange:


Translucent orange ring:


I went through all the other releases up to the final game under the Bally name, BLACKWATER 100. Those marked * have custom logos printed on the cap:

1981-04 Eight Ball Deluxe 400 Opaque White* then all Translucent Orange*
1981-06 Embryon Translucent Blue*
1981-06 Fireball II Translucent Red*
1981-08 Fathom Translucent Blue*
1981-09 Medusa Translucent Red*
1981-10 Centaur Translucent Red
1981-12 Elektra No pop bumpers
1982-02 Vector 1 pop bumper but no cap
1982-05 Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball Opaque Yellow*
1982-08 Speakeasy Translucent Orange*
1982-08 Speakeasy 4 Translucent Orange*
1982-08 Spectrum No pop bumpers
1982-10 Baby Pac-Man No pop bumpers
1982-10 Eight Ball Deluxe Limited Edition Translucent Orange*
1982-11 BMX No pop bumpers
1983-03 Grand Slam Opaque White*
1983-06 Centaur II Translucent Red
1983-10 Gold Ball Translucent Orange*
1984 Eight Ball Deluxe Translucent Orange*
1984-01 Granny and the Gators No pop bumpers
1984-02 X's & O's Translucent Orange*
1984-03 Kings of Steel Translucent Orange*
1984-07 Black Pyramid Translucent Orange (1000 WHEN LIT 3000 WHEN FLASHING)
1984-10 Spy Hunter Translucent Orange*
1985-02 Fireball Classic Translucent Orange* ( 1000 WHEN LIT 3000 WHEN FLASHING + MEDUSA HEAD)
1985-05 Cybernaut Translucent Orange (ring only)
1985-08 Eight Ball Champ Translucent Red*
1985-11 Beat the Clock Translucent Blue*
1986-03 Lady Luck Translucent Orange
1986-06 Black Belt Translucent Red*
1986-06 Motordome Translucent Orange (1000 WHEN LIT 3000 WHEN FLASHING)
1986-09 Special Force Custom Jungle Huts
1986-11 Strange Science Translucent Orange*
1987-03 City Slicker Translucent Blue*
1987-04 Hardbody No pop bumpers
1987-05 Party Animal Translucent Orange?
1987-08 Heavy Metal Meltdown Translucent Orange
1987-10 Dungeons & Dragons Translucent Orange
1988-01 Escape from the Lost World Translucent Red
1988-03 Blackwater 100 No pop bumpers

So, what do we notice? Orange wins the day with 18 games, red with 7 and blue with 4, all translucent. Opaque white crops up just twice but in limited numbers on the first 400 EBDs and 1,000 GRAND SLAMs. Opaque yellow? Completely unique to MPMM. Interesting that all games except CENTAUR I and II up until 1986's LADY LUCK had custom printed caps, but thereafter it was more likely that games had plain rather custom caps (last 4 games with caps all plain) - yet more cost cutting during the downfall of Bally? Three games shared a printed cap with the instruction "1000 WHEN LIT 3000 WHEN FLASHING".