Thursday April 24, 2014

Check the operation of your Magnet Sense Switch!

Sorry that I’ve been so remiss in posting here lately – but between life and enjoying the amazing new WOZ software version 3.0 released not too long ago, I haven’t had much time to film videos or write up tutorials. However, I do have something new for you today: I’ve taken a bit of footage filmed earlier this month and created a quick video testing tutorial to address an issue with the Winged Monkey that’s recently cropped up with some JJP Wizard of Oz owners.

You’ll find the video embedded below (be sure to click on 1080p!)... and after the video, a detailed write-up of exactly what’s going on!

Shortly after WOZ version 3.0 software came out, quite a few owners – including myself – noticed strange behavior in the gameplay behavior of their Winged Monkey. One such symptom is that the monkey initially refuses to pick up the ball: the magnet grabs it, the monkey starts moving down, but before it’s halfway there it suddenly reverses and returns home... and the magnet releases the ball.

After three or four tries, it appears to start working normally again... but don’t be fooled, because it’s not!

Posted by Daniel Tonks on 4/24 at 6:06 AM
Tuesday November 12, 2013

They’re right there, hiding in plain sight...

Okay, seriously... when I got my Wizard of Oz last July, I couldn’t for the life of me find the keys to unlock the backbox. You see, on my three new Stern pinballs, both sets of keys were zip-tied to the shooter rod on the outside of the game – and with my WOZ, that’s exactly where I found the coin door keys. Since unlike a Stern there’s nothing of significance in the backbox that would need separate protecting, perhaps to be efficient JJP decided to use one set of keys for both locks – and so, I tried the coin door keys in the backbox... and presto, they fit!

But, they wouldn’t turn. On my Sterns, the wrong key doesn’t even fit into the other lock, so I concluded that JJP had indeed decided to use one lock, but someone had mistakenly installed the wrong one in my game. What a huge problem!

And that’s when I made a phone call to Jersey Jack Pinball technical support (namely the ever-helpful Lloyd), who calmly described the actual location of the backbox keys on a little hook inside the coin door. Apparently, where Williams/Bally had always put them.

Pinplay Photo #80
Pinplay Photo #81

After ending the call with face glowing red, I humbly unlocked the coin door and – sure enough – there they were. Mocking me. I’d been in and out of the coin door numerous times, using the buttons mere inches below, had even photographed the entire area – and yet, I’d somehow never once taken notice of a dangling set of keys.

In my defense, I’ve never owned a Williams/Bally game before... and it could be that from my angle the shiny keys merely blended into the similarly shiny portion of the coin mechanism... and I’m sure that if the coin door keys hadn’t fit into the backbox keyhole, I would’ve looked harder. But whatever the reason, I did miss them – and although this all happened months ago, from comments it would appear that I’m not the only new WOZ owner who has experienced this “moment of inattentiveness”, which is why I’m now providing the photos above.

The backbox keys are right there – seriously!

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Posted by Daniel Tonks on 11/12 at 6:26 AM
Saturday August 24, 2013

Over-sensitive switches can trigger unexpected behavior.

Pinplay Photo #52
At the beginning of a game, it’s traditional for a pinball machine to wait for you to plunge the ball at your leisure. I mean, that’s why the manual plunger and skill shots are there in the first place, right? However, some WOZ owners have reported that their game frequently auto-launches balls, without giving them the chance to do so manually. While this can indeed be the result of a physical issue that we’ll be discussing in this post, first make sure that what you’re seeing isn’t actually normal behavior.

As of the current game software (version 1.18), The Wizard of Oz should wait for you to launch the ball at the beginning of new balls (Ball 1, Ball 2, Ball 3), as well as on extra balls. However if you lock a ball, it’s completely normal for the game to auto-launch the replacement.

On a standard 3-ball game, expect only three chances to plunge the ball yourself (plus extra balls).

Now that we’ve cleared that up, if you feel your game is still launching balls when it shouldn’t be, then the most likely culprit is an oversensitive switch. Essentially, if any switch on the playfield changes state while a ball’s in the shooter lane (and this could be purely from the vibrations of serving that ball), then the game figures there’s already another ball in play and automatically empties the lane.

On my game these unexpected launches occurred infrequently, but enough to be mildly annoying. I figured the problem was likely some switch somewhere... but how could I find out which of the 113 switches in the game was the culprit?

Pinplay Photo #53
Posted by Daniel Tonks on 8/24 at 8:17 AM
Tuesday August 13, 2013

Adjusting the drop-down feet for optimal Witch squishage.

This past weekend I had the glass off my Wizard of Oz pinball to make an adjustment (if your Haunted Forest ever looks like a tornado went through and leaned a tree, let me know if you need any help) and, after doing that, I took the opportunity to conduct a few camera tests. However, instead of shooting random footage with no purpose, I ended up with something that might be mildly useful to new owners.

On my game, after each software update the default settings for Dorothy’s spinning house results in the Wicked Witch of the East’s trapped legs looking like they’re sticking out of the gutters, instead of being solidly squished under the floorboards. I’ve seen a few comments from new owners and location players about suspiciously malfunctioning feet, which is almost certainly nothing more than a need for calibration.

To help make the process as straightforward as possible, I’ve created a quick video tutorial on how to adjust the spinning house and drop-down wall for optimal presentation of those gaudy striped socks and hotly contested ruby red slippers.

Check it out below, and let me know what you think! Be sure to select 720p or 1080p for the best quality.

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Posted by Daniel Tonks on 8/13 at 7:31 AM
Wednesday August 7, 2013

Get perfect launches into the shooter lane [almost] every time!

Pinplay Photo #46
After you’ve unboxed and are enjoying your brand new Wizard of Oz pinball, you may come across a situation where the game randomly has trouble loading balls into the shooter lane – they seem to pop up, hit something in the exit, and then fall back down... where the cycle repeats. Sometimes this happens half a dozen times (or more) in a row. Increasing or decreasing the ball trough VUK coil strength might seem like an easy solution, but in my case this reduced the frequency of occurrences, but didn’t solve them completely.

At first, the culprit would seem to be the little free-moving metal flap that swings closed over the trough exit to prevent balls from falling out and damaging your playfield when it’s lifted into the vertical position – but this is not actually the case. The most likely cause is the thick piece of metal on the other side, the one that deflects the balls on their way up. It’s supposed to direct them safely into the shooter lane, but in certain instances balls rebound at too sharp an angle, whacking hard into the opposite side and falling back down. Now, this particular piece of metal has been adjusted at the factory to operate correctly, but since the factory doesn’t test games at the normal incline of 6.0 or 6.5 degrees that you probably have in your home, it’s possible that further tweaking is needed.

After one game where I watched my Toto ball save timer run out before a ball was even successfully served, I contacted JJP tech support and the ever-helpful Lloyd provided the following instructions (slightly edited here):

Posted by Daniel Tonks on 8/07 at 1:28 AM
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My WOZ machine had that random issue of failing to load a ball when I needed to. I dreaded and dreaded because I couldn't find anyone in Kelowna to fix it. I did so much research t- that's how I know it's a common problem, and finally I found an...
This looks so incredible. I'd pay $20 to play on this table for 2 minutes right now!
Thanks for the inspiration,