Thursday, October 26, 2017

Williams OXO back from the dead

Back in late September I picked a cool project game that's been on my want list for awhile. 1973 Williams OXO. I always liked the artwork and colors of the game. The 3 x 3 Tic-Tac-Toe card is a miniature version of a bingo card in a sense.



The game I bought was a bit of a mess. The lockdown bar was "misplaced", most of the flipper mechs were purloined, the knocker assembly was missing, the ball trough switch was AWOL. The ball shooter and housing was missing and the spare one that came with the game was cactus. The coin door wiring was hacked and the flat bar protecting the trip bank was missing.



Hopefully I had a spares of all the aforementioned parts, coming from a WMS Super-Flite I picked up for parts. I know super-flite is a pretty rare game but the one I picked up was missing the head and the body was rotten beyond repair. I also picked a williams gulf stream playfield that donated a few parts to the OXO.

Oddly, the chime unit was still in place, which was a surprise. Usually, they're missing in this kind of deal.

The worst thing about my OXO was the wiring harness that was hacked between the head and the score motor panel. I guess someone wanted to take the game apart didn't notice the jones connectors. According to the guy representing the seller, all the wires were correctly repaired.



In a Williams game, the same wire color can be used 3 or 4 times in the same wiring loom. That makes the risk of crossing wires extremely high. However, I trusted that the previous repair guy did his homework and correctly matched the wires.



The repair job was a mess of electrical tape and poorly crimped butt joint crimp connectors. I redid all the joints with solder and heat shrink tubing.



However, there were signs that some wires were mixed up... The game was over fused with 20 and 30 Amp fuses. When I first turned on the game after resoldering all the spices, the game was locked up. Completely unplayable. Doing all sorts of crazy stuff. Solenoids energized and extremely bright lamps all over the backbox. Obviously, there were a few crossed wires.

I began the painstakingly long process of figuring out all the crossed wires. It involves a multimeter, the manual, schematics, a good deal of logic, a good sense of observation, patience and intuition. In the end there was close to 20 crossed wires (out of 60! Ouch!) I reversed the mistakes on the female part of the jones connectors in the head. I realise the connector map is no longer "original" but it seemed like the easiest way to fix the crossed wires.



After that I had to take care of the trip bank. I think the playfield if my OXO was dropped at one time. There's a weird bend in the trip bank that makes the switch adjustment a bit tricky on a few switch stacks. Also, over time some switch stack screws got a bit loose, that allowed some switch stacks to shift a bit and short circuit to the frame by way of the switch actuators and the set-up bar when the bar would reset the bank.

After the trip bank, There were a few odds and ends to take care of, little stuff to dial in the game. The most noteworthy repair was re-winding a 6 Volt coil for the triple bonus relay from a 120V trip bank reset coil I had laying around, Both used 24 AWG wire.

In the end, I'm happy. I got my OXO and got a good challenge out of it. To put a price on the number of hours I invested in the game added to the price I paid for the game, this game is a disastrous money pit. However, I suspect there's not many EM repair guys that would have taken on this project. I did it for myself, for the challenge of chasing bugs. The game would probably have ended up chopped as spare parts or something eventually. It would have just rotted in the corner of some warehouse in Syracuse NY.

Now it's in my game room for myself and my friends to enjoy. Spread the joy trough pinball.





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