2018 American Pinball Houdini -- N/A

Check List When Buying A Pinball

Pinball

Houdini #171. I ordered it in May 2017 at the Allentown show. It came about 11 months later.

This game does not need a lot. I added decals. I also bought and framed the translite, I framed a poster of the play field, and I framed two signed fliers.

I just added the Decals around the stage screen, the upgraded power supply, shaker motor, knocker, and EOS switches (not yet but soon).

This game at first was frustrating. I made the settings a bit easier for me and now enjoy it, plus getting better at the tight shots.

The pictures have been taken with the glass off to get a better picture.

This game has a PDF manual.

item Click on the Internet Pinball Database logo to the left. This is a GREAT resource to find out about the machine, see pictures, see reviews and download the rule sheet if one exists for the game. This provides additional insights into playing the game.

 

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Cool steam-punk flippers.

 

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I first saw this game at the Allentown show in May 2017. This is at the Expo with the side blades.

 

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From API's site.

 

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From API's site.

 

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From API's site.

 

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From API's site.

 

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From API's site.

 

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From API's site.

 

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Houdini Flier

 

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When the game first arrived, I opened the box with the shipper there to ensure no damage. It was packed well with empty cardboard boxes above and below the head to protect the head.

 

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I have the 171st official game off the production line.

 

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The game entering the basement.

 

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Front legs installed.

 

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On my lift to get the back legs on.

 

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All legs installed.

 

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Head lifted. Head lock is the same as Stern. The leg bolts also use the same size Allen wrench (provided).

 

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The head without the artwork.

 

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The goodie bag.

 

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The ball got stuck above the gate from the plunger. I thought the gate was not aligned correctly. But as the following photos show, the gate was breaking. Others on pinside noted the same problems with the gate. API sent me a new gate but I had one from a 1970s Williams game.

 

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The ball was popping out of this milk can loop. I added the felt dot here but it did not work well....

 

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...I added the second dot which allowed more balls to successfully go through this loop.

 

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I thought I needed to add dots here. I didn't realize that the gate was moving but the end over the dots was not since it was breaking.

 

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I used these felt dots.

 

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The ball really got stuck and the gate fatigued and broke.

 

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The broken original gate.

 

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A gate from a 1970s Williams pinball that is the exact same size. Barry at API sent me a new one that came a few days later.

 

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Gate replaced.

 

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I found a bug in the code. During Escape from Death, the stage opened when it should not and the ball got "lost". I sent the logs to Josh (programmer). He found the issue and said he would correct it. Of course, many other people found errors during this initial time and Josh did a great job addressing them and fixing them.

 

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Over the years, API came out with a better power supply for the coils. People were having problems with the lower catapult hitting the trunk consistently. I would usually turn on a game in the evening and play it with another one or two over an hour or so. The catapult worked every time. With working from home, I thought I'd have time to turn on a game and play it here and there though out the day. Although too busy, I would try to play before 8:30 and then after 5. I played the game in the morning and every catapult shot hit the trunk. I played in the afternoon and every catapult shot missed the trunk. The next day I turned it on and the catapult hit the trunk every time. So I guess I needed the upgraded power supply. I also bought the shaker motor, knocker, EOS switches, and some extra coils. A few years ago I bought a decal for the API theatre housing. I also have Cliffy protectors and may change some of the rubbers to purple superbands.

 

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This is the beginning of the pictures to add the 48 V Power Supply. API provided instructions with the new power supply but it was different than the photos. I found a variation of the instructions on the web site support page, so will reference both while discussing this.

The main points are the power supply in the above write up clearly showed the labeling of the connectors. The power supply I received did not. (It actually did, I just did not see it right away.) As shown in the photo below, the terminals are very well marked.

You will also notice that the power supply is very awkward to install based on putting the play field up on the sleds. So I connected as much as I could (as shown below) from the comfort of my desk (and double and triple checked it) rather than playing twister within the game.

I had a shop light that a put in through the coin door to easily work in the power supply area.

The Wall Nut connectors they provide were not very good (someone on Pinside also confirmed this). I was having a heck of a time trying to push the wires in and they just would not stay at all. I have these cool connectors I bought from www.makegoodies.com. With a good sale, they are very affordable and great to have.

 

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Here is a front view of the power supply with the terminals clearly labeled.

At this point turn off the game. Unplug from the wall. Remove the lock bar. Remove the glass. I like taking the balls out but they do have a flap when you lift up the play field. Lift up the play field and place the resting point of the sleds into the front lock bar area.

 

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The kit includes a BROWN wire with a forked end on one side to connect to the above new power supply. The other end is in the poorly utilized Wall Nut. Before I did anything inside of the cabinet, I worked with the parts they supplied. The forked shaped side of the BROWN connector goes to any one of the 3 +V terminals on the right (7, 8, or 9). I placed it in terminal 7.

The kit includes a BLACK wire with a forked end on one side to connect to the above new power supply. The other end is in the poorly utilized Wall Nut. The forked shaped side of the BLACK connector goes to any one of the 3 -V terminals in the middle (4, 5, or 6). I placed it in terminal 4.

The kit includes a 6 molex pin (male on one side; female on the other with 2 wires coming out with forked ends from one end. You can see this 6 molex connector with about 6" of white and black wires in the picture above with all the parts. It is to the left of the power supply. This Molex connector will be used later to open up the existing 6 molex connector power input so that we can also get power input to the new power supply.

There are 2 wires coming out of one side of the molex connector with forked ends that also connect to the new power supply. BLACK goes to L which is terminal 1. WHITE goes to N which is terminal 2. There is also a GREEN (ground) wire which goes to ground which is terminal 3. The other side of the GREEN wire will be connected later.

Now the above new power supply has all of the wires connected at the convenience of a desk or table.

 

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Above I put down the plastic protector and you can clearly see the labels.

 

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The new power supply goes to the right of the existing power supply. There is a ground wire (GREEN) going into the power supply at the right side, so I will position the new power supply below the wire so I do not crush it.

 

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I placed the new power supply in with the attached wires. I am also about to remove the plastic protector on the existing power supply.

 

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Sneeze guard removed.

 

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I am pointing to the 6 pin MOLEX connector that you will pull apart and insert the supplied MOLEX connector. It can only go in one way. This splits the power to the original power supply and to the new power supply.

 

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Molex connector inserted. You can see the BLACK and WHITE wire which have already been connected to the new power supply. BLACK to L (terminal 1). WHITE to N (terminal 2). You can see the GREEN wire at the lower left of the photo that I installed one side to GROUND (terminal 3).

 

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There are two or more BROWN wires and two or more BLACK wires already connected to the lower right of the original power supply. You will use a small flat head screw driver to loosen the connectors so the wires can come out. These are the wires that will connect to the BROWN wire going to +V (terminal 7) and BLACK wire going to -V (terminal 4) on the new power supply.

 

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On my game, there are two BROWN wires and three BLACK wires (you can see two of them go to one connector).

 

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The above instructions say to remove about 1/2" of insulation. First cut off the tips and crimps. Then remove about 1/2" insulation.

 

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Just a picture in progress.

 

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I placed the BLACK and BROWN wire with the Wall Nuts on top of the new power supply.

 

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I cut off the tips and removed the insulation.

 

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I couldn't get the BROWN wires into the Wall Nut if my life depended on it. So I sat back and thought about it.

 

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I connected the other end of the GREEN wire to the ground post on top of the box where the on/off switch is at the front right of the game.

 

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Now that I finished thinking, I had these really nice connectors from www.makegoodies.com. The wires easily slide in on the left side as shown above and then the orange handle closes and locks in the wire.

 

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Two BROWN wires from old power supply connected to the BROWN wire going to the new power supply.

 

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Just showing the ratings on these guys.

 

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I connected the BLACK wires in the same way. Since I was using 3 wire connectors and I had 4 wires, I twisted two wires together and placed into the connector.

 

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Every thing is now connected correctly. I double checked wires. Triple checked wires. And.....

 

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The power supply didn't work. No green LED turned on. Shalin Shah walked me through some steps but I found the problem below....

 

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The BLACK wire from the 6 pin MOLEX connector which was supplying the AC power to the new power supply was basically not connected at the crimp very well. You can see the above photo where the wire came out when I gently pulled it.

 

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You can see in the above photo that the BLACK wire between both connectors was good, It was the BLACK wire coming out of one of the molex connectors to the new power supply that failed.

 

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My solution was to cut the good wire in half. Strip away 1/2" from each side and also the broken off wire ...

 

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...and connect together with another one of my connectors.

 

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Everything back together...

 

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...and the sneeze guard reinstalled.

 

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The new power supply worked and the green light was lit. I adjusted the catapults and seance hole and the game worked great.

 

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Now I will install the shaker. The 4 lower screws will connect the shaker to the cabinet. The top 2 screws will connect the cover. I used thread lock on the screws into the cabinet.

 

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I placed the shaker at the left of the coin box above the pre-drilled holes with the wires coming out the back. I screwed in 3 of the 4 screws to the cabinet. I could not reach the top left screw.

 

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I placed the cover on and put the 2 screws on.

 

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The instructions stated to connect the shaker to DRV-2 on the ADD ON board. The add on board is furthest to the back and hard to see so I took photos straight on to ensure DRV-2 was the second connector from the left on the top row.

Also note in this photo that the fuse is missing and will be added for the knocker at the top left. The connector to the knocker coil will go to connector DRV-5 which is the connector in the top right row above where it says STD-3. New power will also come from the new power supply to the right connector (VIN-2) which is covered by the BLACK and YELLOW wires.

 

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The connector from the shaker motor is connected to DRV-2 which is the second connector from the left on the top row.

 

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Removing the screw to place the wires with the rest of the wires.

 

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Wires dressed with existing wires. I will cut off the ends of the ratchet ties.

 

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Shaker complete and working after I set the menu selection to SHAKER ON (MEDIUM).

 

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A few years I bought a decal set to placed on the API Grand Display. I finally got around to adding it.

 

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I took off the plastic casing by removing the two screws. I added the top first.

 

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Then placed on both sides wrapping them over the top.

 

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Other side.

 

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Installed.

 

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Installed.

 

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The above photo begins the knocker installation. Note that I had to move the plastic wire holder to the right to get the plate to fit against the side of the cabinet as described in the directions.

 

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The front metal bracket needs to be 1 3/16" from the plate.

 

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The knocker positioned correctly.

 

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Connecting the wire that will go to the ADD ON board at DRV-5.

 

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This shows the other side of the wire that will connect to DRV-5 on the ADD ON board.

 

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DRV-5 is in the top row on the right above STD-3.

 

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This shows the 4 AMP SB fuse added to the left fuse holder at the top. DRV-5 for the knocker coil added at the bottom right. The power connected for the knocker VIN-2 which is the vertical connector at the right bottom partially covered by the BLACK and YELLOW wires.

 

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The BLACK and BROWN wire coming out of VIN-2 in the photo above need to be connected to what used to be the Wall Nut connected to the BLACK and BROWN wires connected to the new power supply. Instead, I will connect the BLACK and BROWN wires to my gray/orange connectors. I will open one of the holes and twist the wire in and reconnect.

 

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Both wires connected to the new power supply. The BLACK is connected to the BLACK wire that goes to -V (terminal 4) on the new power supply. The BROWN wire is connected to the BROWN wire that goes to +V (terminal 7) on the new power supply.

 

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Complete.

 

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Dressing the wires.

 

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Wires dressed.

 

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This is the start of adding the EOS switches to the flippers.

 

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The instructions are pretty clear. Turn off the game. Unplug the game. Remove the play field glass. Lift the play field. Work on the left side first. Remove the two screws holding the empty EOS switch plate attached to the flipper base on the left.

 

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The two screws above the coil (one above the spring) are the screws to remove.

 

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The switch with the BROWN/BLUE wire goes on the left flipper. It was strange they provided two different sized screws. I should have used one of each on both sides. But it worked fine using two small on one side and the larger on the right side.

 

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The switch is installed normally open with the longer leaf closest to the coil. Use the provided screws and nut bracket to attach the switch to the bracket. Then use the two screws you removed previously to place the bracket back on the coil plate. Ensure that moving the flipper plunger causes the longer leaf to close the switch.

 

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Since I had my step ladder out, I placed the right EOS on the right side by following the steps just described.

 

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A poor photo of the right side but the longer leaf is closet to the coil.

 

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The BROWN/BLUE wire from the left flipper will go all the way down to the lower switch board at the left side near the cabinet as shown above.

 

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The wire already has the connector in it. It will go into the 33rd slot from the right. I tried to be lazy and place it in while connected. That did not work.

 

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I loosened the connector but needed a small flat head screwdriver to pry open the connector carefully.

 

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The BROWN/BLUE wire (which you can see above the paper with letters is now inserted into the 3rd position from the right.

 

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I dressed the wires going down to the lower switch board.

 

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Above I cut the excess of the ratchet ties. The black wire is hanging to the left.

 

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The directions state to attach to any black wire of a nearby switch. This switch is easily accessible so I soldered it to this switch.

 

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I have no idea why I took this photo. But the board at the top facing down is the top switch board that the right EOS VIOLET/RED wire will connect to.

 

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The VIOLET/RED wire will go onto the connector I am pointing at into the4th slot from the right.

 

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I loosened the connector similar to the other side. You can see the VIOLET/RED wire coming from the right into slot 4 while all the other wires are going straight down. I then used a few ratchet ties to dress this wire.

 

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The black wire gets attached to any black wire on a nearby switch. I chose this switch because it was easy to get to.

 

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I put the game back together and went into TEST>SWITCHES. The left flipper EOS registers as UNUSED (14). the right flipper EOS registers as UNUSED (58) as shown in the photo above.

 

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This is the beginning of installing the Cliffy protectors. I also bought purple super bands from Marco a few years ago. I will only place them in the lower area. Don't want to bother working in the upper area around the bumpers at this moment. I will wait for one to break.

* All Cliffy protectors have a plastic covering on them to protect the finish on the side that is visible. In the instructions below, it is assumed that I removed this plastic before installation. So you should as well. Cliff also provides alcohol pads to clean the area around where the protector will go for the ones using glue like the switch protectors and catapult connectors.

 

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I will add Cliff's switch protectors to both in-lanes since the ball drops at the top of the switch. The open side goes towards where the switch wire attaches to the black body.

 

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Picture of the scoop hole I will work on next (don't know why I took the picture at this particular moment).

 

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Right switch protector in place.

 

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Left switch protector in place.

 

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Now I will work on the scoop protector. It took me a lot longer to do it than it should have. You can look at my pictures as well, but in order to do this at one time, you need to:

* remove both plastics - the brown going up and the green/black going down.

* remove the scoop hood

* Remove the clear post behind the left side of the scoop (you can see the screw coming through the plastic about an inch above the scoop on the left).

* remove the right metal guide.

* loosen the black wood since the back right of the protector will go slightly under it.

* Lift up the play field and take off the 2 nuts and 2 washers to the lane guide on the left side so that the front left of the protector can go under the left lane guide.

* remove the VUK (vertical up kicker) under the play field

** Once you do all this, it was relatively easy to slide in the protector (after removing the plastic) and get it under the wood at the back right and the metal lane guide at the front left. I was able to do this with the play field standing up so that the VUK can lay on the other coil without falling.

The pictures below have me diverting to the next shiny object so I move between this scoop and the lower rubbers and plunger protector before finally finishing this one scoop protector.

 

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The scoop protector with the plastic still on.

 

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Remove the top plastic going up.

 

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Remove the scoop hood.

 

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I remove this VUK here but end up putting it back until I take more pieces off the top as I described previously.

 

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Resting on the other coil.

 

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Again, the above steps will be done after you take off all the items from the top first. These are the two nuts and washers hold in the left lane guide that the front left of the protector will go under. This is the bottom nut and washer to remove.

 

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This is the top nut and washer to remove.

 

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Unplug the Spirit light and remove the wood and the lower green/black protector.

 

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Spirit light removed and lower plastic removed. I also removed the right lane guide.

 

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I replaced all the rubbers near the plunger exit with purple super bands. The 7/16" that goes around two posts was hard. I use water from an insta-heat in the kitchen and fill up a cereal bowl. I put the rubber in for a few minutes and pull out with tongs. I then can place over the screws of both posts and use a large nut driver to push down both sides one side at a time.

 

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Now I took off the apron to add the protectors around the plunger lane.

 

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After removing the plastic this will go around the scoop on the left and under the wood.

 

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I loosened the screws to the wood below the play field.

 

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To get the right side of the plunger protector, I will remove the mechanism and loosen the wood.

 

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Mechanism removed and wood loosened.

 

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I remove the screws on either side of the scoop and slide under the wood. Then tighten the two screws.

The straight protector on the right goes beneath the right wood. There is a hole for the lowest screw to go through. So you line it up to follow the groove so that the metal does not stick out on the right side.

 

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Tighten all the wood screws.

 

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Add back mechanism.

 

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Add the rest of the mechanism. Note that you can see the protector but it is not sticking out.

 

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I add electrical tape just in case. As you can see in all my photos, I also use the game blade protectors from Pinball Universe I purchased from Pinball Life.

 

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The plunger lane looks good and is protected.

 

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Removed the two nuts, washer to metal ramp, plastic protector washers and original 2.5" rubber to add new purple rubber.

 

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Purple rubber added.

 

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Everything put back.

 

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Will replace this sling similar to what I did with the right sling.

 

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Everything removed. This side uses a small 1/4" nut and washer to attach the wire ramp. It was very hard to get the nut driver in. So I placed the washer on first. Then used a telescoping magnet. I attached the washer to magnet and carefully got it started so that the nut was on the bolt. Then I used the nut driver to tighten.

 

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Back to the scoop protector. (Remember you will follow what I said above, not what I did so you an learn from my mistakes.)

 

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Now that the back left post was removed, and the right lane guide was loosened to allow front left to go under, and the wood was loosened to allow the back right to go under the wood, and the VUK removed, the scoop fits in snuggly but easily. Note that the plastic protection was removed from the protector.

 

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In this photo, the right side is up a little. But once the right land guide is added, this will be properly in place.

 

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Scoop added.

 

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Left back post added.

 

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Right lane guide added. Protector now snuggly in place.

 

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Plastics added back.

 

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Spirit light added back.

 

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Tighten wood screws and add back washers and nuts to left guide.

 

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All finished.

 

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Now I will work on the lower catapult and the super bands on this side. Remove the top plastic first.

 

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Then remove the lower plastic.

 

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Remove the milk can lane guide.

 

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Loosen the wood on the left since the protector will go under this wood.

 

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The protector easily fits in and under the wood and the hole lines up. It is obvious which protector is which, but Cliff does label then LOWER and UPPER. This is LOWER.

 

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You can see the protector goes below the wood.

 

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Milk can lane guide reinstalled. Also the rubbers to the right were all changed since they were easily accessible.

 

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Tighten the wood screws. Place the 2 plastics back on.

 

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This top plastic and the one above the coil will be removed next.

 

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Both plastics removed.

 

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The protector will go under the left screw of the coil bracket. So I removed the left screw and loosened the right screw. I used the alcohol pads to clean the area.

 

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protector installed.

 

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Screws reinstalled and tightened.

 

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Large plastic reinstalled. Then I installed smaller plastic (forgot to take photo).

 

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Glamour shots.

 

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All lower rubbers are now purple super bands.

 

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scoop.

 

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Lower catapult.

 

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Upper catapult with small danger plastic replaced.

Virginia Sales Tax

Virginia sales tax is currently 6.0%. Sales tax for in-state orders applies to machines and parts. It does not apply to the delivery or repair services.

Warranty

As of August 1, 2014, we will no longer provide a warranty with our pinballs unless you purchase a separate warranty from us. A 1 year warranty is $500 or pay as you go if you even need it. If you buy it directly from us and take it home yourself, you will be inspecting it to ensure it works. If we deliver, we will ensure that it works 100% when delivered.

Reasons You Should Let Us Deliver Your Pinball (or Another Machine)

  1. We will NOT provide a warranty for the machine since we cannot be assured that a problem did not happen when you transported the machine. (As of August 1, 2014, we will no longer provide a warranty with our pinballs unless you purchase a separate warranty from us. A 1 year warranty is $500 or pay as you go if you even need it. If you buy it directly from us and take it home yourself, you will be inspecting it to ensure it works. If we deliver, we will ensure that it works 100% when delivered.)
  2. We take responsibility for any damage that may occur during the delivery process.
  3. We professionally set up the machine, connect all the connectors, attach the legs, head, etc. and ensure that the pinball works properly. If anything is out of adjustment due to moving the machine, we can fix it in a few minutes as compared to having to come to your house later and charging you a trip fee and repair charge.
  4. If anything major is out of adjustment, we can order parts and repair. This hardly ever happens but it could and you and the machine are protected.

Delivery Options

We are currently set up for local delivery only within the Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, and North-Eastern West Virginia area. If you are interested in shipping the pinball machine, we will contact a shipper. You will pay all crating and postage costs.

If you would like us to deliver and set up within 50 miles of Purcellville, the charge is $300; within 100 miles $475. The delivery charge includes delivery to a first floor or basement level if walk-out.

We will not sell you a game/deliver the game if the only entrance to your basement is an inside the house staircase. They are too narrow. Plus we have to ensure we don't mess up carpet or wood. It just isn't worth it.

You may also come and pick up the machine from our location.