Friday, September 16, 2016

Bally Mystic Gate bingo: Begin the repairs

Before even turning a new game on, I give it a good visual inspection. Gives me a good idea of what kind of hacked up game I'm dealing with. In this case, the Mystic Gate isn't too bad but there some strange hacks.

First thing I noticed was that extra armour was added around the playfield. I guess it was to make it even harder for potential cheaters to get a hanger in to get "bonus" numbers. Notice at the left of the armour, there's a wire connected via a lug. That wire was connected to pulsing 6v via the 16 pulse cam... weird.

I removed the electrified armour since it interfered with the lifting and lowering of the playfield.

Next is a classic for the Reflex unit.

The role of the Reflex unit in a bingo machine is to make the odds and the features tighter as the machine pays more credits. Also, it gradually makes the game looser as more and more credits are played. A number of hacks were used by operators to make the back and forth operation of the unit a bit more lopsided to the operator's advantage.

On this unit, you can notice that 2 different gears are used, these gears make the reflex unit advance or reverse. One gear has more teeth than the other. That way, it reverses more slowly towards more generosity and advances relatively faster towards more stinginess, regarding features and odds.

Furthermore the operators manually advanced the reflex unit to the least generous position and jammed cigarette pack cardboard in each stepper mechanism. That way, the unit neither advances or reverses. Stays in the same place. I've seen this in at least half a dozen games I've worked on in the past.

Out of curiosity, I checked what brand they were using... Looks like JPS. Lol.

On the shutter motor, an extra switch was added on the #1 stack.

When I first inspected the bottom of the cabinet, I noticed a loose brown plastic sheathed wire. I followed it back to the #1 switch stack. One side of the switch was connected to the Yellow (common), the other side was just loose. I looked everywhere inside the head for a place it would connect but found nothing. I removed the superfluous switch a wire.

Lastly I found a solder bomb on one or the trip bank switch stack. I removed it as a precaution. It could cause all sorts of weird problems.

Another interesting detail, not pictured is that the game has 4 bookkeeping meters. I've personally never seen that many meters in a bingo machine. I still have to investigate what each one does.

Soon, I will have a friend drop by to help me install the head onto the body. The weight isn't too bad as bingo machine heads go but it's still pretty heavy. Then, I'll be able to turn on the juice.

It's hard to keep friends when you collect bingo machines and need a hand to lift the heavy head every time you get a new project.

More to come

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