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MOONRAKER


Brigham
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Next in the workshop is Barry Noble's BFM conversion 'MOONRAKER'.

This is the machine with the infamous 'Nudge Up or Down' feature, the 'un-mechanical' aspects of which are discussed elsewhere.

First Light appeared as soon as the plug was inserted, with one of two fluorescent tubes lighting immediately. The second tube was missing, and on inserting a new one from stock (good,eh?) it promptly struck. Promising.

My first impression was that the machine was incomplete; there were wires and plugs hanging around all over, and extra screw holes with the shadow of missing parts still visible.  It was with some relief that I noted the 'loose ends' were neatly taped over; they were from the initial conversion!

One of the payout tubes (10p) was made of white plastic drainpipe, and the tube next to it (5p) had no payout solenoid. The holes in the baseboard caused further dismay, until I looked at the payout card, and realised that no payouts included this coin. Another relic of the Noble conversion.

It turned out that the tube in the 5p position was the original 10p tube! A matter of minutes had it re-inserted in its proper place, and I was thinking that this machine wasn't going to be the nightmare I expected.

So, try a game. The acceptors weren't accepting, which is usual after a bit of standing, so I tripped the '10p-two plays', wire, and we were off. All three reels running and stopping, the variator clearly working, a number of wins paying-out, and even 'HOLD' operating, although with some lamps missing, and only able to be selected with the bottom row of buttons, the ones which double as 'nudge down'.

Worth getting the acceptors working, then. They were fairly clean, and mostly complete. John. my friendly motorbike mechanic, has become a dab hand at setting-up coin acceptors since I rediscovered electro machines, and he had them sorted in no time. Only the '50p-change' one required anything other than careful adjustment. It had lost the tippler, but a simple ramp was made up to direct the coin into the correct channel. Maximum security isn't a high priority when it's only a hobby.

Once we had the coin-operation sorted, it was just a matter of intensive play. All the payouts eventually came right, with a dose of Servisol now and again. All except the bottom position of 'any position' bell on reel one, which was a minor misalignment of the contact wiper. Bearing in mind what we know about 'nudging up', this was all remarkably good.

Nudging was the next item to burst into life.

Downwards.

Only.

I was all set to leave this as it was; but it's my first machine with both-ways nudge, and my curiosity got the better of me.

Remembering that the 'nudge up' buttons didn't double as 'hold', which they were meant to, I looked at them first, and there it was; each one with a spade 'off'. Obviously the last operator had given up on nudging upwards, and opted for an easier life!

So, 'go for it'. Connections back on, ready to nudge either way...

Now, the notches in the reel discs are certainly worn. Normal stopping is fairly clean, but nudging was initially a nightmare, in either direction.

The first reel would take two nudges, then suddenly run on, clattering. Reel three would take two presses to start nudging at all, at least on some parts of the reel.

I didn't want to start filing and grinding, but with some delicate adjustment of the solenoid fixings a mostly satisfactory state of affairs has been obtained. It isn't mechanically pleasing, but it will do. I've seen worse in actual revenue-earning service.

Just the correct Bulgin mains connector to find. It's been bypassed, but safely in this case.  Next one in is my SECOND JPM Super Multiplier. First look inside suggests that it has been on fire.

More to come.

PS.

I'm not sure where I stand regarding tokens for this era. The £1 payout on 'MOONRAKER' is said to be in tokens, and there is a token acceptor, complete with payout tube and solenoid, but disconnected; the £1 pays out in cash. I'm leaving it for the moment. I don't even remember what a Bell Fruit 10p token looks like.

What's the prevailing opinion in the E/M scene?

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1 hour ago, Brigham said:

Wow!

Thanks, Ron. It looks like the Barry Noble rebuilds could be worth collecting in their own right.

Yes there were plenty in the Nobles range to collect.

Nobles electro conversions 1979.jpg

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