Who remembers the disco fever from 1970's? Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Bee Gees, John Travolta
and mirror balls. Nowadays it is a bit different, but this game brings back those years.
Compared to some earlier games I bought, this is in fine condition. Previous owner was
a pinball collector. Playfield is not worn much, backglass has some flaking but all in all
this will be a fine machine.
It is time to warm up the old soldering iron, this machine came with a board set that must be
returned. Original boards were included but not working. Well, I guess they can be repaired.
The older Williams boards are quite easy to fix.
Disco Fever was one of the two machines that used "banana" flippers.
The other was Time Warp. Unfortunately my game has ordinary flippers, and the curved ones are
very hard to find. But a 23 year old game doesn't have to be as good as new. The normal style
flippers give the ball plenty of speed.
Christian Marche had certainly seen the Saturday Night Fever poster when he was doing the artwork
for Disco Fever.
After a few days experimenting, the original boards are now OK. A few chips on CPU board were shot,
and a high voltage transistor from power supply was dead. Someone has worked on the driver board
before me, and installed incorrect parts there! But now they are all OK and the spare board set
can be returned to its owner.
Playfield was quite dirty but cleaned easily after all parts were removed. Cleaning with
diluted alcohol, polishing with Novus #2 and waxing with Sonax carnauba made the playfield
clean and shiny again. After new rubbers and some lamps it looks quite nice especially knowing
that it's 23 years old. I used Novus #1 to clean all plastics and they became really nice.
Playfield has not been cleaned for some time. Light bulbs are also getting black.
Backglass had some scratches but the paint was not flaking. I sprayed several layers of
clear acrylic to keep the paint in place, after that I fixed the scratched (luckily opaque black)
areas with black paint and touched up some red areas with a paint pen.
The outer shooter spring was in pieces. But now I got a new spring for it.
No more shooter banging the game frontside when shooting the ball to play.
I changed the display voltage controlling zeners at the power supply from
100 V to 91 V. The displays are a little less bright now, but their lifetime
should be much increased now.
As I replaced the 5V filter capacitor in other games, I also checked Disco Fever. the ripple voltage
was not very high, but since the capacitor is still original and 26 years old, it is time to replace it too.
Small wonder it still works so well, but let's not wait for trouble this time.
Sometimes, when a credit is awarded the game sounds stop working. OK, maybe the knocker coil diode
is open? The knocker coil then causes a voltage spike which crashes the sound board. But the diode was fine.
Some more thinking. With playfield up and game on, I noticed that the sounds stop working if I hit the
cabinet strong enough. Knocker and sound board are next to each other. Looking at the sound board, the
problem was found. Actually, it was written on the board, or to be more precise, on the IC sockets: SCANBE.
These sockets used by Williams are of inferior quality. Well, these lasted for 26 years, but anyway, it is
best to replace them as soon as you see them. So, install new machined-pin sockets on board for CPU, PIA and
ROM chips, and everything's fine again. While at this, I also replaced one electrolytic that looked as if already
replaced, but was bulging suspiciously. Mr. Repairdude has been at work, and installed the cap backwards!
Time for a new cap, this time installed in the right way. I'm sure the sound board will again work for a long time.
Banana flippers at last! The game is now a little bit more fun to play, because the ball doesn't
go so easy between the flippers anymore. The banana flippers are little larger than normal ones.
Thanks to everyone who helped me to get the banana parts.
Disco Fever found a new home at another collector.