Pinball MAGNETISM circuits

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

Had noticed balls getting stuck in the ball trough, not loading into an upkicker or not sitting directly on trough ball microswitches/optos, causing the machine to think a ball was missing. My first thoughts were that the ball trough itself had become pitted . I also doubted the angle of the ball trough for a moment, as a slight adjustment allowed the balls to roll down normally. It then became apparent that

Pinball MAGNETISM circuits
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the balls were magnetised and pulling together stronger than the force of gravity, or simply sticking to the metal ball trough. This did not happen for every game; only when certain balls landed in the trough next to other magnetised balls and also when they randomly lined up with magnetic polarity matching or opposing. This would cause the pinballs to not line up with the microswitches in the ball trough, as they were pushing the top ball back up the trough by about a centimetre. A magnetic field can be represented by lines of induction or flux lines/dipoles. These lines are invisible and are produced by magnetized material or by electrical currents. Magnetic flux measured in Gauss (G) It is named after Carl Friedrich Gauss, an early researcher in the field of magnetism. Magnetic objects are surrounded by a magnetic field. Some devices can detect this field and also give information about the direction/polarity of the field and even its strength. Show on magnetic flux paper/pole sensor foil gives a good visual indication of magnetised pinballs, although not very precise (see the picture & the video below). Polarity indicator test magnet only indicates polarity on pinballs that are quite heavily magnetised, i. e. ~30 gauss. Electronic indication from a gaussmeter gives an electronic reading that equates to an actual magnetic force in Gauss. Also indicates north & south polarity, which is difficult otherwise with a spherical...

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