Paragon Pays Me A Visit

18 November, 2008 (01:47) | Pinball | By: admin

In August I got a call from a guy who had a pinball machine he wanted repaired. He told me that the ball launch wasn’t strong enough and the game would just try to launch the ball over and over again. After talking to him he decided to try cleaning the mechanism and a couple of other things I mentioned. About a week later he called again after having done those things and it still wasn’t working. I agreed to have him bring the machine to my place for repair. Initially I thought it was an electro-mechanical machine but it turned out to be a Bally Paragon. This was good news because I knew I wouldn’t have a problem fixing it. I have a lot more experience with that series of game than EM machines.

This is what the rectifier board connectors looked like. Unfortunately I didn’t get to fix this but the whole thing should be rebuilt. I explained that and the owner wanted to leave it and fix it later.



The owner of the machine replaced the coil at some point assuming that a new coil would be stronger. This is a common misconception. A coil is just a bunch of wire on a roll. It’s not the kind of device that gets weak over time. At least not in my experience.

The coil has a Gottlieb part number but it’s suitable for use on this game.

The owner of the machine had also disassembled the ball trough area and flattened out one of the pieces in an effort to make it easier for the launch mechanism to get the ball into the shooter area.

This piece was flattened and installed backwards.

I flipped the piece around and bent it back into shape using a bench vice.

I had to take a picture of this 20+ year old bottle of Novus.

There were coils in the coin box from several different manufacturers. Here we see Gottlieb, Williams and Bally represented.

Another shot of the ugly rectifier board connectors.

You can see the bridge that someone replaced. The wood cabinet is not exactly a good heat sink.

Fixed a bad solder joint on a flipper coil.

Some of the switches were flaky. I cleaned the switch matrix connector at the MPU which solved the problem.

The upper flipper was not working. There is a resistor in series with the stronger winding on the flipper coil of the upper flipper. One of the legs had broken. I’ve seen this before when the resistor legs are soldered directly to the coil and EOS switch lugs. The vibration from the plunger hitting the coil stop causes the joint to fail over time. I fixed the problem with a short length of wire.

If you look closely you can see that the wire from the coil winding to the middle lug is also broken. I just soldered it back on.

These pictures show the ball trough assembly bent back into shape and reassembled.

The game required a bunch of tweaking to get it to play properly. Once that was achieved I started troubleshooting the original problem of the ball launch mechanism being weak. I cleaned the playfield connectors on the driver board and tested the driver board transistors by manually grounding the metal tab of each of the driver transistors. The odd thing was that the ball would launch fine with this method but not when the solenoid was powered during the solenoid test. I ended up replacing the drive transistor and it worked fine. I wouldn’t have thought that a transistor could get “weak” but that’s what happened in this case.

The connector that supplies power to the MPU was pretty hacked but I wasn’t able to fix this either. The biggest problem was that I wasn’t able to remove the board from the machine to work on it. Soldering the wires to the board actually works well… it’s just not too convenient when you have to fix something later. If it were my machine I would have replaced all of the hacked connectors and rebuilt the rectifier board. The owner was very happy to get it back. I didn’t get to do as much restoration work as I would have liked on this machine but it played great when I was finished and likely will for some time to come.