Williams FunHouse Pinball

Repairs, Restorations, Tweaks and Insights


My wife and I played Funhouse while dating in college. We both were pleased that one became available locally. This machine needed some serious love and care. As with many FunHouse machines that are not Diamond Plated, this one has some playfield wear. Most of it isn't really obvious unless you look for it. There is, however, some significant flipper wear down by the right flipper. The wear does not affect the game play, I'm pleased to report.

Currently my FunHouse is about 80% shopped. The upper playfield looks pretty nice.

Ball launched funny from the main plunger. It was impossible to hit the skill shoot.

The problem turned out to be that one of the three circular lamp inserts above the plunger was not flush with the playfield. The two pictures below show the red insert, which was not flush. The top of the red insert was lower than the playfield. Over time this has caused a nick on the playfield, just above the insert, to appear If the ball was launched very hard, this bump had little effect. If the ball was launched very softly, again this bump didn't affect the flow. However, if you attempt to hit the skill shot, the bump made it near impossible.

I used the heat method and adjust the insert to be flush with the playfield. Using a hair dryer, I heated both the top and the bottom of the red insert. The heating lasted only about 60 seconds with the hair dryer on high. After heating, it was surprisingly easy to adjust the insert with pressure from my fingers. I used a flat block of wood on the top and pushed the insert from the bottom to make it flush. After the plastic cooled down, I used super glue to glue the insert in place (from under the playfield). I also used Super Glue to fill the nick in the playfield and then sanded with 2000 grit paper for smoothness. The two pictures below show the result.

I didn't notice this until writing up this section of the web page, but it looks like some bozo previously adjusted the insert and didn't put it back in the correct orientation! You can see it wasn't correct before I made it flush, so I'm not the guilty party!

Subway was very dirty

The subway is the "plastic ramp" underneath the playfield. A ball falls into the subway when it enters either the Mystery Mirror (a.k.a. Wind Tunnel) or the Trap Door. The subway allows the ball to roll down to the kickout hole to the right of the clock. The image below on the left shows the grubby subway. It was pretty dirty! The picture on the right shows the cleaned up version.

Removing the subway for cleaning was simple. There are about 8 hex nut screws that hold it in place. Because there are two switches permanently attached to the subway, it cannot be completely removed (without desoldering the wires). Since both switches are on the bottom (as viewed from the pictures above), it was possible to fold the top of the subway away from the playfield and clean the inside and the outside. I used Windex for the main cleaning and then followed up with Novus 1.

Main Ramp was very dirty and cracked

I did not realize just how dirty the main ramp was until I took it off to replace. Prior to replacing, you could not see though it into the lock ball area underneath! The image below shows the original main ramp. The ramp in the image above isn't dark because of the exposure. Rather, the ramp is really (really) dirty. Next is a picture of the newly installed ramp.

The new ramp is nice and clean! Below is a picture of the crack in the original ramp.

Below is a picture of the playfield with the main ramp and the steps ramp removed. You need to remove the steps ramp to remove the main ramp.

Two of the general illumination strings did not work

One of the G.I. strings was easily fixed with a new 5 Amp fuse (F108). I could not get the other G.I., the rear playfield, to work even though its fuse (F109) was bad and it was replaced. I checked out all the typical problem areas

Additionally, I used my digital multi-meter to check for correct voltage. Since everything looked good, I thought the problem must be with the triac circuitry that is used to control the brightness level.

Before jumping into the triac circuitry, I was lucky enough to find out the problem was much easier to resolve that I expected. It turned out that

Every bulb in the rear playfield G.I. string was burnt out! All 18 or so of them!

So... always check the obvious! Although having all bulbs burnt out on a G.I. string may not be super obvious. In the future I will eliminate this possibility by always replacing a single bulb in early diagnostics. I suspect all these were burnt out because none of them were easy to replace. Each one required unscrewing the hex screw from the bottom of the playfield that holds the bulb holder. Anyway, Funhouse is much brighter now!

FunHouse kept reporting "Factory Settings Restored"

One of the contacts on the AA battery holder had broken off. This meant that the CPU board was not getting any low voltage while the AC power was turned off. I ordered a new battery holder, removed the broken one, and installed the new one. This was a fairly simple fix and the new battery holder is shown below.

FunHouse had L-4 ROM

The FunHouse came with CPU ROM L-4, however, L-9 was the most recent version. Moving from L-4 to L-9 cannot be accomplished simply by changing the FLASH/ROM chip. Somewhere between the L-4 and L-9 revisions, Williams switched from a 1 megabit chip to a larger size. This requires moving a jumper on the CPU card in order for the pinball machine to recognize the larger chip size. This jumper is soldered and not the simple "pull on/off" kind, so this requires a little bit of effort.

I removed the original jumper and solder it back in the "W1" position. The image below shows the result.

Rudy would not move his eyeball to the left

Rudy kept staring to the right (which is his left)! Having looked at the FunHouse manual, I learned that Rudy's eyeballs are controlled by two solenoids. One of the solenoids moves his eyes to the right while the other moves his eyes to the left. I suspected the solenoid that moves his eye to the left was broken, so I ordered a new one (Part # SM-30-1100). I started taking Rudy apart. Below shows his mechanical nature.

While not easy, removing him from the playfield was not as difficult as I had worried. First, I took of his head plastic. This is shown above. Then there are two screws and 2 hex nuts on the bottom of the playfield that must be removed. Rudy can start to be pulled through the bottom of the playfield at this point, but his jaw is still connected to the jaw drive. Disconnecting the jaw from the jaw drive requires only pulling off a retainer clip from a small rod and pulling the rod out. Here is the hole in the playfield resulting from Rudy's removal.

Rudy looks creepy when taken apart. The image below shows Rudy all by himself. He is no longer connected to the playfield.

It turned out that a coil wrapping was no longer connected to one of the eyeball solenoid leads. I was able to position this coil wire back onto the lead and solder it firmly into place. Running the Rudy test from the diagnostic menu showed the solenoid was now operating and Rudy's eyes would move both left and right! Now Rudy watches the pinball when it goes around a ramp from the left side of the playfield to the right! Since I did not use the new solenoid I purchased, I now have a spare.

Rudy would occasionally get his mouth stuck open

The cause was the 03-8471 "Gear". A few of the teeth had cracked off. It is a bit hard to see from the picture below, but the middle two teeth on the inner part of the gear are broken off.

Below is another picture of the broken gear. The teeth that are missing are between around 11 o'clock.

This was a hard part of find, but my wife found reproductions in Germany. Below is the newly installed gear.

Now Rudy doesn't leave his mouth hanging open.

Want to see a picture of the "Rudy the Amazing" plastic with flashers?

Ok. Here it is.