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Long overdue update!


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  • Long overdue update!

    Morning all! It has been a long time since I have posted here! I really want to make an effort to be more active within this community (because it is a great community).

    The HM here at the center just recently retired... So now I have inherited the "keys to the kingdom!". Back when I originally was posting I had just started working on getting our center in better shape. Back around those times I was calculating that we would run around 600-800 FPS. We are getting into our busy season as our summers are non stop around here. I ran our reports for last week and we ran a total of 159 stops with 17,237.7 games bowled for said week. This broke me into the 1,000 FPS range (1,097 to be exact). I want to keep making improvements and better this center to usher it into a new "era" that it hasn't seen in a long time. I would be ecstatic to start averaging 75 stops a week!!!

    Since my last posts we now have waffle belts on all 60 lanes. I started having issues with the roller clutches we were trying out and have gotten rid of those. Still trying to get a good cleaning routine going. I have broken the house into banks of 12 lanes (Mon-fri) for replacing ball wipes and distributor cleaning at the least. Cleaned up and organized our back end to the best of my ability at the moment and am starting to increase our stock of commonly used parts.

    My most common issues are still jams on the distributor and table jams. I notice a good amount of "dive bombing" head pins through the bin and double stacked 2/3 pins that go past the butt guide and double shuttle. I've slowed down on our pin elevator strips but have around 50% of the elevators now fitted with the strip (i wish there was a better set up than that strip).

    Any advice on the HM life would be greatly appreciated in this stage of my career. What repairs/adjustment/mods have made the biggest impact on your FPS numbers? I look forward to hearing from a lot of you that I haven't spoken with in a while. Thank you all for your support in the past and your continued support moving into the future. And thank you for your time in reading my update! I hope everyone here is doing well!

  • #2
    Id keep my eyes open on those waffle belts. I bought them for a couple years and they started literally breaking down into pieces and getting EVERYTHING they touch filthy, and they would tack up like glue and pull the carriage around by the rollers waaay to hard, related to that they starting tearing their laces out. I like them better than the rough tops and black poly Vs and some of the ones we have are still working great. I think you are never going to stop all the pinjams and pins in the table with a stringer bin. I've spent countless hours baby sitting and trying to catch the problem on video, then you force cycle the machine for 2 hours and its fine.
    When you know what to do, everything is easy.


    • #3
      yeah man, i already know what your talking about with the waffle belts. I've been dealing with tacky pins and torn lacing since we made the switch. My old HM got a belt from JCP a while back that I have grown rather fond of. It's been on my lane 12 for a while now. It looks like a black/grey AMF rough top but it's red and has a rubbery texture to It and I have been actually liking its performance. I haven't been able to find that belt though unfort since we got it to test. Was pitched to us as being as good as the waffle without the drawbacks (dirty pins, crowning, etc..) If I find them I would like to test a few more lanes with that belt and possibly make another full switch over time..... Ah my stringer bins... Lol... Yeah, i really wish i had a house full of durabins here. We have one here so far and I love it.


      • #4
        I worked on the 90XL (Black chassis) version, and took me quiet a while to get all the inherent issues figured out increasing our FPS on them to 3-4,000 per week. We were a high lineage centre here and could run over 90 games per lane per day during peak times.
        Main issues were the pin wheel, table and sliding of the motors. For the pinwheel support wheels we moved over to an over sized enviro type bearing here to reduce the slack in the pin wheel. (Made in the UK) I believe in the US, Vantage do this part only. I don't know if you noticed or not, but if you measure the wheel horizontally and vertically you potentially will find it not be round. Head first pins / orientation is a huge problem and well worth sorting this out. Levelling your dizzy pans / distributors will help greatly. (I would read the sticky thread on best mods which will help give you ideas here)

        Double shuttling is an issue here also, so setting up the table so the cups sit flat to the bin will help also. You can bring the table back, and make sure it is level at the 7 and 10 pin sides on spotting. Ensure your cups lay flat to the bin to reduce double shuttling. You can purchase an "upgrade" kit for the front end, which uses the 70 tie rods and plates, which you can bolt onto the table. This has the effect of lengthening everything out, and could help you. QAMF sells this upgrade to the steel table.
        I also found that the spot/respot support rod through the arms, on the front end would buckle badly as it is made of weak mild steel. When this bends the whole table moves out of alignment. We made a replacement part for this in the UK out of a much stronger material. Hopefully someone in the US will have done this also.
        The spot solenoid can also be cushioned more as it has a tendency to snap really regularly and cause problems. You can use the 70 back rubber shock here, as it stops the premature breaking of the solenoid frame. This in turn however will push out the solenoid away from the machine. We re-manufactured the solenoid links to accommodate this in the UK.

        Setting up the table is key here. We used to get a lot of finger cell related calls, and the 5 pin cell would pop off. A good finger set up is required here with only 1/4 inch play on each one. You can turn the washer around on the wire way to make it more secure and reduce the binding / digging in effect here. Plenty of good topics to read on this set up on the 90XL.
        Also watch that the table itself is not out of alignment. It can take damage and buckle, and require flattening out.

        You can add a bin mod on to stop the pin butts laying over the base of pin butt guides. The "Bat Wing" mod is excellent if you can get this to work on the bin. I used a double hanger on each side of the plate to stop the pin from straying over the butt plate. Some folks remove the top two rollers on the dizzy to get the pins to lay flatter and drop earlier on delivery. The distributor being too low, can also cause the pins to slide forward rather than sit down into their bin locations.

        A sliding table motor can also cause issues, along with the a sliding sweep. Replacing the gearbox bearings out with a decent bearing will help stop the sliding, and if your electrically inclined you can change out the sweep and table relays in the chassis. Though opening the big black chassis box is not for the faint hearted.

        Keeping the table / cups flat, bin mods, slowing down the pin wheel, levelling the distributor and dealing with the pinwheel will all vastly reduce your pin feed stops.
        The classic clutch I found worked great, and moved away from the single piece clutch or super clutch personally.

        You can use a fabulous piece of software called Parts Tracker written by Andrew on here. It will assist you in tracking your stops and parts, and you will soon build up a picture of your common stops. From here, you can start a plan of attack to see what causes the most problems. You can bulk upload the prices too from your suppliers into the software which is great. It just takes a while to populate your parts inventory into it, mainly counting all your stock, and then train your team to use it all the time. Cameras on the machines will give you a much better insight into what is happening, and takes out the guess work. A camera per pair pays dividends, so you can play back the stop and see what actually happened vs what you suspect happened in your head.
        A good PM cleaning schedule is a must. Machines are like people, they like to be clean and well lubricated before they like to party.
        We used the PM sheet by John Isbell from QAMF as the basis, and I added onto this. Never a moment of time will every be empty again.
        Bring me the freshest "Mean Green" known to man! Juice on!


        • #5
          I completely agree with you on everything you have said here. I have tried looking into the vantage elevator roller as I have heard about them before but all I have ever found is the normal grey roller. I know EBN sells an enviro style elevator roller but I have no idea if they are oversized or not. Do you or anyone know if the ebn enviro is a larger size? I wouldn't mind slowly upgrading to those over time if they are. I have also recently gotten a few anti-sway kits from PPP. We bend a lot of safety links and spring support plates here and I was curious to see how well their spring supports hold up and possibly upgrading to those over time across the house.

          we have adjustable elevator sheaves on all 60 of our machines and i've been tinkering a lot with the speeds to dial them in to what's best per machine. It's just so hard now that we are into the summer months and we are full pretty much all day/night long with summer camps, kids bowl free, open play, and league. But, i've been working hard for a while to get this place to where it is now... When I first got here we had those buddy's orientation brackets on all the machines with the oem black v-belt on the distributor...none of the distributors were ever leveled or set up.. Pin guide rails weren't adjusted.. No one even really new how to adjust those orientation brackets and that point in time was the worst this place had ran. Everyone was always cleaning them with our 99%IPA which killed them quick. For now I'm happy with the progress we've made but I don't want to stop and get "settled" with things... i want to make this (at minimum) a 2,000fps center for the employees sake and for our customers.

          i was even thinking about the enviro style slide in place of the front 2 rollers on the dist. Forks because i've seen how "nicely" it lays the pins into the bin... Just wish stuff like that wasn't so much $$.

          Thank you very much for all your input and feedback. I started setting up our tables a while back on my own to help with the table jams and to make spotting easier for usbc inspection... In the past the guys would spot racks and that was that but then we had wobbly pins all over the place.. Tables not setting full racks accurately, and jams. So we've come a long way from our old leadership but I also know what i've inherited and that I still have a long way to go if I want to make this one of the better centers around.


          • #6
            ​​​​​​​any thoughts TJ on anything? It's been a while since we've spoken. How have thing's been since your center went over to bowlero?


            • #7
              Originally posted by DavidBirdB View Post
              Do you or anyone know if the ebn enviro is a larger size? I wouldn't mind slowly upgrading to those over time if they are. I have also recently gotten a few anti-sway kits from PPP. We bend a lot of safety links and spring support plates here and I was curious to see how well their spring supports hold up and possibly upgrading to those over time across the house.
              Not sure tbh.... worth asking however.
              You must be getting a lot of feed / orientation issues if the safety's are bent. Make sure your safety link is straight, and when the spring tab bends forwards loosing tension, you can simply turn it round, and hey presto. Good as new.
              Bring me the freshest "Mean Green" known to man! Juice on!


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              Adsense Classic 2


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