Created on 08-01-2021

 

 

Canada Pinball Forum Pindude152 Bally Surf Club

 

1954 Bally Surf-Club Bingo Repair

Talk about electro-mechanical pinball machines

Pindude152

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Postby Pindude152 » Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:15 pm

Here is my new bingo repair thread.

This time the "patient" is a 1954 Bally Surf-Club. Before tackling problems I will go through the features and gameplay.

 

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Surf-Club


It's a very fun (for a bingo machine) woodrail era bingo machine. I would consider it one of the best entry level bingo machines you can get.

The object of a bingo game is to light, by landing 5 or more balls in numbered pockets, a continuous sequence of 3, 4 or 5 numbers on one of the predetermined lines on the card(s) to win credits. Won credits are added to the credit meter. Balls that make it all the way down the playfield and drain are returned to shoot again until all 5 balls have landed in a numbered pocket.

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Main Card

 

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Full view of the playfield

 

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The ball return hole


Back in the day if you won enough credits, usually 200 or more, you could have your credits paid out by the manager of the fine establish in which you were playing. Some games were 5, 10 or 25 cents per credit. That's the dodgy part of it that made the bingo games illegal. And the fact that they raked in a ton of money that the government couldn't get their hands on.

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Credit window


To reset the credits back to zero, turning Off the game and back On again would start a credit reset sequence. Some games had a hidden knock off button that when pressed would start the reset sequence without having to turn off the machine.

Surf-Club is a true gambling machine. Before shooting your first ball, you can put in an unlimited number of coins for the chance of activating (winning) extra features that "improve" your chances of winning or getting better odds.

By odds I mean how many credits the machine will award you if you do get a 3, 4 of 5 in line. Surf-Club has 8 odds steps ranging from 96 credits for a 5 in line to 300 credits for the same 5 in line

 

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The odds Steps



Example: The first odds step

96 credits for a 5 in line
16 credits for a 4 in line
4 credits for a 3 in line

First coin starts a basic game with basic odds with a spin cycle, a bit like a slot machine for features.
Second coin steps up odds and starts a spin cycle.
Third and subsequent coins starts a spin cycle where you "bet" against the machine. You could win or advance a feature or you could get nothing. Thus GAMBLING.

Most features you win progressively. At each feature panel, there's a row of arrows that indicate (tease) how close you are for being awarded the feature. Very crafty, makes you put even more coins in the machine. After each spin cycle, a feature could advance, none, one arrow, a few arrows or all the way.

Surf-Club's fun features:

Two Super Cards: When super card feature is active, a three in line scores as a 4 in line. On Surf-Club first super card is all even numbers, second super card is all odd numbers.
Left and right playfield rollovers activate respectively first and second super card.

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Super card 2

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Super card 1



Corner scoring: When the feature is lit hitting (lighting) all 4 corners on the main card scores 200 credits (very difficult to hit all 4 corners)

 

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Corner Feature

Last edited by Pindude152 on Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.

"It's heavy. What is it? ... The, uh, stuff dreams are made of"
-The Maltese Falcon

"He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life"
-Homer Simpson

Wanted: Bally
20 hole Bingo machine: Orient, Venice, London, Safari, Super 7, Bonus 7 or Hawaii. Bally Four Million B.C.
Quality EM repairs & refurbishing

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Pindude152

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Postby Pindude152 » Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:41 pm

Surf-Club features and gameplay continued...

Number spotting: When feature is active you have the choice of spotting (light the number without actually having to hit it) 9, 14 or 15. You select the the number with the front knob before shooting the 4th ball. 15 turns out to be the center number of the main card. Very handy. Numbers 14 and 9 are the center numbers of each super card also very handy. When one of you balls do land on a spotted number, then you just wasted one of your balls.

Super Line: On Surf-Club the super line is a separate line from the main card. When this feature is active you select a 3 number sequence with the front knob before shooting the 4th ball. Lighting 2 consecutive numbers if selected scores as a 4 in line and lighting all 3 selected numbers scores as 5 in line. Being on the same panel you had to choose between spotting numbers OR playing for the super line. You couldn't have both features at the same time.

 

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Spotting and Super line feature panel

 

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Front door view with Red Start button, Yellow Extra ball Button and Spotting and Super Line Selector knob


Hold and Double hold feature: When activated this feature allows you dump all the balls in either odd or even numbered pockets after shooting all 5 balls. Double hold allows you to do it a second time. This feature, combined with the super cards and number spotting awesome.

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Hold / Double hold feature panel

 

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Hold / Double hold feature selector buttons


Extra balls: After Shooting all 5 balls and playing the hold / double hold feature if active you can bet for extra balls (up to 3 extra balls). After pressing the yellow button, each coin dropped starts a spin cycle for the chance of progressively lighting "First" then "extra" then "ball" after which you get an extra ball. A spin cycle can advance by NO steps, one step or multiple steps. You can repeat this process until you are awarded all 3 extra balls.

 

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Extra ball panel



To recapitulate gameplay

Coin the game until you win a satisfactory number of extra features and good odds.
Shoot your 5 balls
Play for extra balls in the hope or winning.
Win credits for 3, 4 or 5 in line.

However, this is a gambling machine and the devious purpose of a gambling machine is to give the player the impression that the chances of winning are way better than what they actually are. The same applies to bingo machines by way of proportioning.

Proportioning?

Simply put, the machine gets more tight or more loose depending on odds, features, and number of credits won, it's not perfectly random.

The probability of features being awarded depends on what the odds are at. The better the odds are, the tighter the machine is for features.
The probability of odds improving depends on what features are won. The better the features are, the tighter the machine is for odds.
The probability of extra balls being awarded depends on where the odds are at and features awarded. The higher the odds and / or features are, the less extra ball will be awarded.
The odds, features and extra balls depend the number of credits previously won. The more you win the tighter the machine gets. The more credits you play without winning, the looser the machine gets.

On top of that Surf-Club has operator adjustment jacks to make the game generally tighter or looser for extra balls and corners feature.

These games are electromechanical works of art.

"It's heavy. What is it? ... The, uh, stuff dreams are made of"
-The Maltese Falcon

"He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life"
-Homer Simpson

Wanted: Bally
20 hole Bingo machine: Orient, Venice, London, Safari, Super 7, Bonus 7 or Hawaii. Bally Four Million B.C.
Quality EM repairs & refurbishing

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monty

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Postby monty » Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:05 pm

Pindude152 wrote:These games are electromechanical works of art.


No kidding - there is wayyyyyy more going on in bingos than I realized! Is it typical to see this many betting options or are most just simple 'plunge a 3/4/5 line and win' ? Had no idea some could be this complex.

Thanks for posting - always enjoy your bingo content.


http://www.pinballowners.com/monty613
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Pindude152

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Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:01 pm

Location: Gatineau

Postby Pindude152 » Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:34 pm

monty wrote: Is it typical to see this many betting options or are most just simple 'plunge a 3/4/5 line and win' ?



Most bingo games have multiple features. Surf-Club has a bit more features than other games of that era.
Very early games, the 3 card and 6 card games typically don't have any special features. Just the 3, 4 and 5 inline scoring.
20 hole bingos from the late 60's and early 70's have an insane amount of features.

I wanted to start my new thread with some explanations on playing Surf-Club because I understand most people have never seen a Bingo machine and have no idea how to play it. Having a better understanding of there machines makes it a bit more interesting.

Thanks Monty for your support. I appreciate it.

"It's heavy. What is it? ... The, uh, stuff dreams are made of"
-The Maltese Falcon

"He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life"
-Homer Simpson

Wanted: Bally
20 hole Bingo machine: Orient, Venice, London, Safari, Super 7, Bonus 7 or Hawaii. Bally Four Million B.C.
Quality EM repairs & refurbishing

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Patrab

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Postby Patrab » Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:48 pm

Toujours intéressant de lire tes posts Pindude. Continues. :)

Have: Capcom Breakshot, W Jungle Lord
Would like to find: Eight Ball Deluxe, Cleopatra, Matahari,
Speakeasy

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R.A.B.

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Postby R.A.B. » Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:27 am

You know J.F., you are an asset to this hobby. And wanting to explain these marvelous electro-mechanical computers to MAACA members is a noble and complex endeavor to say the least and I am glad you took this on. And much like the inner workings of these beasts, there is alot of stuff to explore.

And in reading your posts I can not think of anyone else I would want to learn from about these, you are clear and concise in your explanations of the very deep and complicated rules. I also think that Surf Club is a great choice, it is really when Bally took off with their bingo product line and realized that there was an amazing revenue stream ahead with these machines. From Bright Lights (1951) to about Show time (1957) was to me the age of bingo machines I prefer, after that they got to overwhelming for me as a player, as a repair guy I think their mechanisms were improving.

I also wanted to say that your posts have revived a certain desire in me (especially these days) to sit on a stool quietly with a couple of rolls of nickels, a quart of beer and loose myself in the sounds and sensations, context and time that these machines can provide. They are time traveling machines even though I did not exist (as such) back then, I still think that I can visit when the conditions are just right.

Keep up the excellent work Pindude, and I remain quite aware (and in great respect) of what it takes to write such precise information along with all the editing it certainly demands to get it just right. The efforts are as dense as a bingo bundle of wires going from the mixer to the various steppers. Got to keep the signals clear of shorts and confusion in such a maze of information and I think you are doing a great job.

Sincerely,

R.A.B.

http://www.montrealpinball.com
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Maxed out at 11 machines, no more no less. Toujours a 11 machines, pas moins pas plus.
Une règle suivi gueri de tout. A rule respected can cure anything.

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cait001

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Postby cait001 » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:28 pm

Thanks for this great thread, JF. I can't wait to visit your arcade again some day.
I think the bingo you brought to the Pinball Expo was the single machine I played the most.

What is the mechanism involved for proportioning?

WMS Triple Strike (loan), GTB Hollywood Heat (loan), BLY Kick Off, STN Meteor (lent), DE Jurassic Park (loan), GTB Sinbad (lent)
backglasses wanted: Fairy, Centigrade 37, Fire Queen, Dimension, 2001, Out Of Sight
marquees wanted: Gals Panic, Life Force, R-Type (w/ship), Super Dodge Ball, Strider, Spy Hunter (cockpit)
Pinball Women Ottawa -- Ottawa Pinball Map -- repair blog -- game ratings

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Pindude152

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Postby Pindude152 » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:52 pm

cait001 wrote:Thanks for this great thread, JF. I can't wait to visit your arcade again some day.


I do plan to host a pinball and bingo PW at my place in the near future. Hopefull you'll be able to make it.

cait001 wrote:I think the bingo you brought to the Pinball Expo was the single machine I played the most.


Thanks. Nice to know it was apreciated. I got a lot of positive feedback from seasoned pinballers, but I think it mostly confused the general public.

Maybe next show I'll bring another machine but stand by it and guide curious players through a game. I'm even thinking of making a small picture exhibit about the history of bingo machines.

cait001 wrote:What is the mechanism involved for proportioning?


It's a system really. It's a combination of the spotting disc, mixer, reflex unit, odds unit, feature units, drag arm cams and other factors depending on the game.

"It's heavy. What is it? ... The, uh, stuff dreams are made of"
-The Maltese Falcon

"He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life"
-Homer Simpson

Wanted: Bally
20 hole Bingo machine: Orient, Venice, London, Safari, Super 7, Bonus 7 or Hawaii. Bally Four Million B.C.
Quality EM repairs & refurbishing

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rccanuck

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Postby rccanuck » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:22 am

Very interesting thread....thank you!

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cait001

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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:42 pm

Location: Centretown, Ottawa, ON

Postby cait001 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:29 am

Pindude152 wrote:I do plan to host a pinball and bingo PW at my place in the near future. Hopefull you'll be able to make it.


Me too! Now that I've had an introduction to your collection, I really want to play them more.

WMS Triple Strike (loan), GTB Hollywood Heat (loan), BLY Kick Off, STN Meteor (lent), DE Jurassic Park (loan), GTB Sinbad (lent)
backglasses wanted: Fairy, Centigrade 37, Fire Queen, Dimension, 2001, Out Of Sight
marquees wanted: Gals Panic, Life Force, R-Type (w/ship), Super Dodge Ball, Strider, Spy Hunter (cockpit)
Pinball Women Ottawa -- Ottawa Pinball Map -- repair blog -- game ratings

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PinMeds

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Postby PinMeds » Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:16 am

This is a brilliant post. Incredibly well done.

EM's and Bingo machines in particular are truly electric magic. A brilliantly arranged series of relays, switches, and lights, some racy artwork, a ball guided by the laws of physics, and they could control the minds of men (mostly) and seduce them to part with their hard earned wages with implied promises of return that were seldom fulfilled. Evolved from the same manufacturers slot machines, you didn't have to go to Sin City to indulge in electro-magical gambling, you could have it right in your home town pub!

And once they evolved to include flippers, adding an element of skill, pinball was and is considered to be "for amusement only" in the eyes of the law. But the same perceived sense of potential gain, even if it's just another free game, is what seduced the youth in the Golden Era. And in home use, it's still more fun to compete.

When I was a young boy, my Grandmother would always warn me not to play with the "slot machines", that they were evil mechanizations sent by the Devil through the Mob to ensnare you. She saw pinball machines as no different than the Slots and Bingos she experienced as all the rage in her time.

I feel that Bingos are to Pinball as the Blues is to Rock'n'Roll, and with what tempts and lures the minds of the young (and not so young) to drift in these times being a portable handheld screen glued to their face, I do believe it really is sometimes better the Devil you know.

Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to put this all together, it is an invaluable reference tool for anyone interested in the workings and incredible complexity of the rule sets these machines possessed.

https://www.pinballmedics.ca

Canada Pinball and Classic Arcade Historical Archive: https://pinballmedics.ca/ottawa-pinball-archive/

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sylvain

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Postby sylvain » Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:25 am

JF's post here about this particular Bingo machine, rules and pictures
would be worthy of inclusion in any future edition of Jeffrey Lawton's Bally Bingo Pinball Machine Book !

Well done sir.

- Sylvain.

Looking for Bally Capersville or The Wiggler, Williams Grand Lizard, Swords of Fury, 1986 Pinstar Gamatron, and a few others.
Collecting & repairing electro-mechanical and solid state pinball machines with quality and care for over 34 years.
Serious and fun hobby, powerful nostalgia !

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Pindude152

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Postby Pindude152 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:39 am

I sorta abandoned this thread. Sorry about that. I lost interest in this machine along the way.

Obviously, I finished repairing it and this very machine was the one at the flea fair.

Here are a bunch of pics on repairs I did and some stuff I find interesting.

I had to clean and check the adjustment on all the switches on the control unit and the trip bank. Freed up all the steppers. Went over the 120v stuff and the fuses, make sure everything was sound. Treated all the leather clutch disks with neatsfoot oil. The usual stuff.

Replaced a bunch of cut wires on the spotting disk, mixer 4 and mixer 2. I got some donor jumper wires from a busted spotting disk off a Cypress Gardens. The wires were cut by the operator to make the machine tighter.

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Cut wires on the spotting disk

 

Cut wires on mixer 4

 

Cut wires on mixer 2

 

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Replacement jumpers



I referred to the Surf-Club manual and my other Surf-Club to redo the wiring

I replaced a bunch of worn out parts with good ones I had in stock. My guess is that from batch to batch of parts, there was a bit of variability for metal hardness, that eventually results in on part cutting through another.

Replaced one of the drag arm disks, some pegs had a slot cut halfway through. Those slots can cause the drag arm stop to remain jammed and cause catastrophic problems!

Wear on drag arm disk

 

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Worn out drag arm stop (notice the corner missing)


Here is a good drag arm stop in comparison. That little corner makes a world of difference.
The bad stop made the timer step up with clockwork regularity once the 5 balls were in play. It's meant to have a pseudo-random duration between pulses.

 

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Good drag arm stop


Worn out score extra step index arm.
In this case, the score extra step unit was seized. It eventually ate through the index arm.

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Worn out score extra step index arm


The total payout meter was missing. Fortunately, I had a spare one.

 

Missing meter


Something interesting about this game is that the knock off button was left intact. The one in my other S-C was removed.

 

Knock off button seen from the inside

"It's heavy. What is it? ... The, uh, stuff dreams are made of"
-The Maltese Falcon

"He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life"
-Homer Simpson

Wanted: Bally
20 hole Bingo machine: Orient, Venice, London, Safari, Super 7, Bonus 7 or Hawaii. Bally Four Million B.C.
Quality EM repairs & refurbishing

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spiroagnew

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Postby spiroagnew » Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:39 pm

I'm amazed at the technology in these machines that Bally used to take people's money out of their pockets. Also amazed at the hacks operators used to take even MORE money out of pockets and reduce payout percentages.

Wonderful thread. Keep it up.

Rob
creditdotpinball.com