A sound decision

Jokes, funny videos and amusing diversions.

A sound decision

Postby Enzo » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:19 am

I am a technical guy.

I enjoy a good pinball machine, and have since childhood. I worked in that industry for a long time too. Many of us owned our own pinball machines, and that included my pal Stuart. He had a great Gottlieb Funland pinball. We used to gather in his basement to play it for hours. Like most Gottliebs, it is a shooters game. Contrast to Williams games which are more about fast action. Or Bally games which tend to have a more basic, dumber "game" to them.

Meanwhile, Williams also made a lot of baseball pinball games. These are games where the playfield looks like a baseball diamond, a ball pitches out from under a flap on the field, and you have a baseball bat you control with a button. Those have been around a long time. Some later ones had an electronic sound unit added. By today standards it was pretty crude, but in the 1960-70 era, it was cool. It made a low level crowd noise background - mainly just white noise. But for when you got hits, the crowd got loud. There were also explosion sounds for home runs. Both pows and big booms.

One time I conspired with Stu's girlfriend to go over to his house during the day while he was away. And I installed one of these sound units into his Funland. The FUnland, like all pinballs of its era had three chimes inside, so it went bing, bong, or boong, as you scored. I added this electronic sound unit, mounted a speaker inside, and wired it into the relays. In some cases I had to add extra contact blades to the relays for my new functions. SO be it.

Now when you fire up the Funland, nothing different at first. But after a bit, certain targets made explosion sounds. Stu looked concerned first time noises started coming out. Then once you advance the game far enough, the SPECIALS light up. And that turned on the crowd noise. Stu now knew something was up and was enjoying the trip. There are a couple spinning targets on Funland, and hit them and the game cheers loudly and when you actually win a game, the loud boom happens.


It wasn't really challenging technically, but it was fun and a great surprise for Stu. Nowdays, pinballs have electronic symphony orchestras inside. But I like to think mine was a pioneering project.

https://pinside.com/pinball/archive/fun-land

https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/11/05 ... ball-1957/
E Pluribus Condom
User avatar
Enzo
Enlightened One
Enlightened One
Chortling with glee!
 
Posts: 11046
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:30 am
Location: Lansing, Michigan

Re: A sound decision

Postby g-one » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:55 pm

Did you get to see him find out the first time? That would have been fun.
I like the looks of that Funland playfield. But a technical question about the machines in general. There are a lot of wires in those looms:
Image

When I worked in the wiring up of a tv station, there were overhead troughs of wires everywhere. So they had lots of spares in case of failure. They would be marked at both ends and I guess there was a master map somewhere of them all.
Did they have spares in those wiring looms? Or would you just have to splice repairs in or replace the whole loom? I can't see taking a loom apart and replacing an individual wire?
striving to recognize the penultimate straw
User avatar
g-one
Illuminatus
Illuminatus
 
Posts: 1091
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:18 am
Location: Melonville, Canada

Re: A sound decision

Postby Enzo » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:34 am

Oh yes, I was there, I planned it that way. At first he was confused...what is that noise? But then he realized the game was making it, and the noises made some sense. He loved the game that way. And my mods could easily be removed, leaving the machine bone stock.

I used to do field service, and trained many others to do the same, and was often found with a game open and lookers-on peering inside at a view like above. The above view is actually a relatively simple machine. On others the relay rail on the right might be full, no empty spaces. The open area in the center would have another relay rail. Front left the scoremotor could have more switch stacks. Far left rear is a stepping unit, and games can have several of those. Plus up in the head will be all the score reels and other stepping units.

But inevitably, someone would remark, "Look at all those wires, how do you keep them straight?" I tell them, the wires are not what breaks. No, there are no spares in the loom. If one of the wires were cut in two somewhere, I would just splice it, or at worst, run a piece of wire outside the loom. That is all 24vAC relay logic, so there is no grounding or audio hum issue.

You can see the wires are all color coded. The incredible fold out logic tree diagram has relay contacts and wire colors. SO I look for the gray/white wire on the AB relay, for example.

I still remember that on almost all Gottlieb games the open at zero contact on the credit stepper are brown/white and green/white. SHort those together and the start button will launch a new game even at zero credit. It puts the game in free play mode.

I remember our big paradigm shift. (I had to read that god awful Kuhn book three different times in my college career) In the old days, games were all relay logic. You had to be able to understand simple logic trees. and electromechanical things. Then in 1976, the pinballs all went digital electronic. Neon digital scores replaced stepping units. No more relays, but now a CPU and transistors. One nice thing about digital systems was the diagnostics button on the inside. Press it once, and all the controlled lights blinked off and on, press again and the score displays cycled through all the digits. Next push, all the solenoids pulsed in sequence. There was a step to test all switch closures. There was also access to all the book keeping data.

I had been training a crew, and they had learned about the diagnostics and all that. Doing fine. Then one day one junior tech encountered an older mechanical pinball for the first time. He was looking all over the thing, high and low, looking more and more puzzled. "Herb, what do you need?" "Enzo, I can't find the self-test button." For the non-techie, that would be like wondering where the computer port was on a 1957 Ford.
E Pluribus Condom
User avatar
Enzo
Enlightened One
Enlightened One
Chortling with glee!
 
Posts: 11046
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:30 am
Location: Lansing, Michigan


Return to Toys-Я-Us

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron