Tales of the Arabian Nights Pinball Machine

During our December 2005 New Year holiday trip to Aruba, my daughter played a few games on a TOTAN machine at the Wyndham Hotel (now Westin).  She was hooked from that day onwards.  All other machines since then were compared to that one, but none were better.  She played one (and many others) again at the 2006 Allentown Pinball Show, and did not change her mind.  I found one in the local area that needed work (the kind of machine I like), and purchased it for $2k.  At the time, TOTAN machines on Pinball Classifieds were selling for $3k to $4.2k.

The Restoration
The first step was to completely strip the top of the playfield including mylar and glue, and remove most of the parts from the underside for cleaning and repair.  The playfield was then waxed several times, and then mylar applied to heavy wear areas.

Playfield right after all the mylar has been removed and before
repair of wear areas (described below).  The playfield is known
for its vibrant color and beautiful design.

Shots of the playfield post-reassembly.  I decided to use purple flippers, red flipper rubbers, and white rubber rings.  Since the playfield was protected
by mylar, it cleaned up very nice.

Shot of the cabinet's side.

Repair Tips and Restoration Notes

Repairing playfield wear
There were a few areas with wear that I repaired in a variety of ways.  The first was to use acrylic paint to perform the touchups.  Thanks to my wife's large collection of paints, I was able to find a very close match to the colors on the playfield. 

Tiger magnet area before the repair.

Tiger magnet afterwards.  The color match is near perfect.

The yellow used was "Crafter's Edition Bright Yellow #72010", and the black was "Apple Barrel Gloss Black #20662".  As usual, I used a sewing needle in order to paint the fine detail.  After I did the touchups, I brushed on the clear water-based poly from Olympic that I used in the Flash and MM restoration.  In addition to the above, there were some pin hole sized defects here and there that I also touched up.

Original appearance of orb saucer.  Wear mainly along right edge.

Acrylic paint was mixed to match the playfield color and used to repair the damage. 
Several layers of clear gloss polyurethane was used as protection afterwards.
Note this looks like this image on ipdb.org.

The second method of repair was to make an overlay with the techniques learned from the MM restoration.  As before, this involved obtaining a good digital image of the area either by repairing it with Photoshop, or by a photograph from a good playfield.  After color correction to match the playfield, these were then printed with a Color Laser on glossy photo paper.  I then used a  Xyron 500 machine to make a sticker out of the printed artwork.  Although the adhesive is quite strong, it yields easily to freeze spray, so the overlay can be removed.

After printing the artwork onto color laser paper, the Xyron machine makes
a sticker out of it.

Wear around the vanishing magnet.

The area after repair with an overlay.  The overlay blooms in the image due to
the flash.  The match is better when viewed with the naked eye. 
Thanks go to Kim Mitchell for the photo of the
intact playfield.

The left captive ball area with wear on the flame and under the ball guide.

Overlay applied.  Note the excellent color match.  The area looks original. 
To learn how to do this, see the MM restoration.

In November 2008, I removed the overlay and repainted the flame.  The reason was that the topcoat mylar was starting to curl, and I decided to remove it.

The third method was to purchase an overlay from Jeff at Classic Arcades. This is because the wear area was one of the inserts with white lettering.  Although I am able to print color on clear, or color on white, I am unable to print white on clear. 

Before and after pictures of the SINBAD insert.  It is the only one that needed repair.

After application, the edges of all the overlays above were sealed with a thin bead of water-based poly.  This keeps wax away from the adhesive.  This method has stood the test of repeated plays on the MM.  They were then covered with a layer of protective mylar (except for Sinbad insert).

Preventing GI damage
Williams put out a Service Bulletin to modify the WPC-95 CPU boards to prevent overheating of the GI diodes.  Instead of running the risks associated with removing a working CPU board from the machine, I decided to solder directly to the diode leads as shown below.  In addition, I removed half of the translight bulbs so that it will run cooler and cause less stress on the GI circuit.

Photo of jumpers around the GI diodes.  These feed the translight panel, and looks like they
have overheated in the past, a common occurrence with this circuit.  Compare
with this photo on Clay's site.

Decal on ball launch ramp

The ball launch ramp has a dark trail ground into it from the many balls that have been launched.  I decided to do something about it.

I decided to use the scanned image from the plastics to make this decal for the ball launch ramp.  It causes the plastic to appear to extend into the plunger area. 
The decal was then mylared for long wear.

Overall view of the playfield shows the size of the ball ramp decal in
comparison with the rest of the playfield.

Making protectors
Certain areas of the playfield get more wear than the rest.  Examples are the scoop holes, the left saucer ball lock, and the harem plastic.  Methods were devised to protect these areas.

The bazaar scoop entrance in the original condition.  Note the wear on the playfield.

Scoop protector made from an aluminum sheet that
was bent and cut to match the needed shape.

Scoop installed made of aluminum sheet and then painted and laminated.

Protectors were also made for the vulnerable plastics using sheets of Lexan. 
The original harem plastic was broken in several places. 
This highlights to me the high stress areas of the playfield. 
Note the shine coming from the new plastics, not a single scratch.
The protector extends out about 1/4" from the edge of the plastic. 
Note also how nice the magic lamp disk cleaned up.
It was buffed with rubbing compound and Novus 2 to
remove the haze from ball trails.

In addition to making protectors for the vulnerable plastics, I also protected them by not peeling the white paper backing off the back of the plastics (unless the plastic has a clear section). This paper does not block the light very much, and provides protection against abrasion from metal ball guides.  I wish I had done this also for my MM plastic set.  See the IJ restoration on how to make plastic protectors.

Another plastic that is frequently broken is the right inlane plastic.  The ball
hits the cantilevered end when it drops from the right ramp.  The protector for this plastic spans two bolts and provides a bridge on which the
cantilevered end rests (blue arrow).

The new skill shot ramp from Kerry Stair has very sharp edges on the ball guides. 
The ball is lofted in the air by a launch ramp and then often bangs
against these edges.  I decided to find a way to prevent the ball from
constantly being nicked by this edge. 
Note that I have already installed a protector for the ball on the
side fences (black plastic topping).

The ball guides were softened with clear tubing to prevent ball impacts.
The skill shot decals that I printed myself have been mylared along with
the entire horizontal tray.  In almost all cases, the ball does not hit any metal.

The standard skill shot ramp from Kerry Stair has sharp edges on its metal parts.  To prevent the ball from being constantly nicked, I decided to protect it from these edges.  A worn ball will more readily abrade the playfield.  For the left and right side walls, I found that black grommet edging used in the electronics industry works just fine.  The curved ball guides were softened by using clear tubing cut lengthwise and then pushed onto the ramp edge.  Thanks to Kim (Mr. 68) for this idea.

Note also the cobra plastic mod in the image above.  The original cobra plastic is not very visible to the player, so I printed the scan onto some white photo paper and then fastened it in front of the bulb.  The new decal is just folded along the metal edge, and when the glass is slid back into the machine, it folds the decal back.  Speaking of the bulb, this item was vulnerable to vibration, and would blow out every few weeks.  I fixed this problem by fashioned a shock mount from some rubber grommets on the mounting tab of the bulb holder.  Normally, there is supposed to be a green cover on the bulb, but I opted to not install it.  The decal hides the naked bulb from the player.

Top view of left diverter.  Note the use of adhesive rubber to
protect against metal-metal contact.
The haze on the playfield is due to the top two loops being mylared.

There are two diverters in this machine.  To prevent damage from the flapping of the metal guide, a small rectangle of adhesive rubber was used in both locations.  This prevents metal contact every time the diverter activates.  One other example is the metal diverter that flaps onto the plastic swirl ramp.

Fuse F104 investigation
After playing our first few games on the newly restored machine, F104 blows as soon as the ball passes the magnet ramp (when the magnet is energized).  This fuse does not blow in test mode.  In investigating this problem on RGP, I found some interesting questions being raised about this fuse.  They were:
  1. What is the proper part to use for F104?  Depending on where you look, it can be specified as a 2.5 Amp SB (slow-blow), 4 Amp FB (fast-blow), or 4 Amp SB.  The fuse I was using was a 4 Amp FB.
  2. When F104 is blown, and the Ramp Magnet (Solenoid 8) is tested, it is the Ramp Diverter (Solenoid 21) that fires!  Why is that?
  3. When F104 is blown, and you disconnect the Ramp Magnet, when the Ramp Diverter is activated, it stays pulled in.  Why?
Here are the results of my investigation:

Question 1:  What is the proper size for F104?  Answer: Using a clip-on DC current probe, the current pulse (in test mode) through the ramp magnet is shown below.

Current trace through the Ramp Magnet (Solenoid 8) in test mode. 
Note peak current of about 10 Amps, and the
ripple of the full-wave rectified 60 Hz line power.

Looking at the blow curve of fast blow fuses, and slow blow fuses we can understand how long the fuse will sustain this 10 Amp current.  The data is summarized in the table below.

Type of Fuse
Average Blow Time @ 10 Amps (sec)
4 Amp SB
4 Amp FB
5 Amp FB
6 Amp FB

I would prefer to use a fast blow fuse if possible.  That sentiment is shared by Martin Reynolds, another RGP member with electronics experience.  After trying a 5 Amp FB (which was not successful), I installed a 6 Amp FB.  After a few games, I realize that the Ramp Magnet is energized for as long as 2-3 seconds (!).  It remains to be seen if the FB fuse will survive.  Updates to come in the weeks ahead.

Question 2: Why does Solenoid 21 fire when F104 is blown?  Answer: The schematic below was obtained by tracing the wiring in the machine and consulting the schematics of a WPC-95 machine.  Note that the protection diode D41 is not directly connected to +50V, but is connected via F104 (!).  When this fuse is blown, and the Ramp Magnet is activated, the two Solenoids are put in series and connected to +50V.  This is the reason why Solenoid 21 fires when F104 is blown.  The current path in this case is marked by the dotted line.

Current path when F104 is blown and the Ramp Magnet is activated.  It causes the Ramp Diverter to pull in.

Question 3:  Why does Solenoid 21 stay pulled in when the Ramp Magnet has been disconnected?  Answer: Note that in the circuit above, that the coil collapse current is passed through the ramp magnet.  If this magnet is disconnected, a potentially very large voltage can be created at the anode of D41.  This may cause damage to Q26, and is probably why S21 stays energized if it is pulsed when S8 is missing.

Enhancing the bass
The original speaker inside the cab had a rip in the surround, and suffered from low output.  I decided to replace it and to boost the output of the cabinet amplifier.

Cabinet with new bass speaker, a 6.5" woofer with a beefy 20 oz magnet.

The speaker I selected cost $17, has a low frequency cutoff at 41 Hz, and an efficiency of 85 dB.  Unfortunately, I overlooked that this was meant for home audio applications, with an impedance of 8 Ohms.  A better choice would have been a 4 Ohm unit such as is typical with car audio components.  However, it fit perfectly, and I decided to use it.  Sites such as partsexpress have car audio speakers, and a 6.5" woofer with an efficiency of greater than >=90 dB and a cutoff of <=35 Hz can be found.

Closeup of the corner of the audio board where the bass boost mod is installed.  The boost resistor can be easily changed.

WPC-95 machines such as TOTAN have a separate amplifier for the cabinet speaker.  To compensate for the speaker's impedance and to increase the bass level, I reduced the value of R41 by putting another resistor in parallel with the existing one.  This was done by soldering two machined pin IC sockets on the leads of the resistor so that I could easily change the value by plugging in a resistor.  On the Medieval Madness, this additional resistor was 330 Ohms.  On the TOTAN this was set to 110 Ohms.

The result was a nice increase in the low end with lots of rumbling and vibration when the Genie spoke and the pop bumpers are hit.  Not as dramatic an increase as on the MM, but a nice addition nevertheless.

A new home
In 2010, I decided to change the collection a bit, and decided to sell my TOTAN.  My game room is in my basement, and access is via an exterior set of stairs that has a sharp 90 degree turn at the end.  Getting machines in and out has always been a big challenge, but over the years, I developed some tools to improve access.

We started by supporting the backbox end and removed the legs.
Then, the cab was tipped back and the front legs removed.

The first improvement measure is a 'stair climbing' hand truck that was purchased for $100, and my first use on a pinball machine at this occasion.  I thought it would be too short at 40", but as it turned out, the resulting geometry is just fine.  In the photo below, the machine's center of gravity is balanced over the wheels, so I am not bearing its weight, yet I can easily control it.  Two people are needed to 'break it over' from the standing position due to the large size of the wheel mechanism, but once it is up, it balances just fine.  It has a weight capacity of 600lbs.

The machine balanced on the special hand truck.

The design has six tumbling wheels that prevent the need to dead lift the load up each tread of the stairs.  At least that is the intended result of the mechanism.  Of course, I could have purchased a motorized hand truck such as an Escalera, but they cost as much as a pinball machine, and I would only use it very rarely.

This is the sharp turn at the bottom of the stairs.

The second improvement measure is a platform that drops down and covers the floor of the landing at the bottom of the stairs.  This is because that bottom most level is too small to make a turn with a pinball machine that is sitting on a hand truck.  This platform increases the area considerably, and makes it possible to make the turn.  It also removes the need to step down when leaving the basement.

Another view of the machine on the platform at the bottom of the stairs.  Note the winch cable at the bottom of the image.

The final improvement is an AC powered 1500 lb capacity winch that is fastened to the wall of the basement stair well.  Combined with the tumbling action of the 6-wheel mechanism, it should allow the machine to be winched up smoothly.  The winch has a remote pendant, and cost $90.

View of the winch routing to pull the machine up the stairs.

I put a rope around an oak tree that is at the top of the stairs, and hooked a pulley to it.  The pull cable then runs from the winch through the pulley, and then down the stairs after riding on a cardboard pad to prevent scraping on the concrete of the top stair tread.  The pull cable is then hooked to the metal structure of the hand truck.

Close-up of the winch from Harbor Freight Tools.

We got set up at the bottom of the stairs, and starting putting tension on the pull cable.  After lifting the machine by one inch, we bounced it up and down a little to make sure the weight was not a problem.  We then slowly winched the hand truck up.  It became apparent that the action of the tumbling wheels was very smooth, and very little additional tension was needed to climb each tread.  With lots of stopping and pausing, it took only three minutes to climb the stairs.  With experience that could be cut down considerably.

The new owner Bruce at the top of the stairs.  He said it was very easy, and
he just had to balance the load.

A discarded alternate concept of this winching system was to build a sled that would roll on two wooden beams up and down the stairs.  However, I decided against this due to the bulk, but also because once I arrived at the top of the stairs, I would have to transfer the machine from the sled to a hand truck anyway.  So I figured it best to strap onto the hand truck from the start.

Good bye TOTAN.  You go to a good home.

The entire operation starting with the loosening of the first leg bolt to closing the gate on the truck took a total of one hour.


Project Log
  • Sept 4, 2006 - Picked up machine from Mike Frasca.
  • Sept 5, 2006 - Found on RGP, the original manual and instruction booklet for $30 shipped.
  • Sept 6, 2006 - We play our first game on this machine after addressing the following problems with the electronics:
    • GI strings.  Two strings were out, but after replacing their fuses, they came on.  I noticed the fuses were loose in their holders, and bent the clips slightly to grasp the fuses tightly.  Perhaps this was the reason the fuses were removed.  I will need to apply the Service Bulletin (mentioned above).
    • Vanishing magnet retractor solenoid.  This was shorted, and probably why the fuse for the high-power solenoids was blown.  After the solenoid was disconnected and the fuse replaced, all solenoids worked!  The driver for the vanishing magnet solenoid was not damaged and was tested with another solenoid in the machine.
    • Left lower flipper opto.  This was bad, but did not prevent play.  A new one was ordered from BAA.
    • Overall, I was relieved that very little electronics work was needed.
  • Sept 7, 2006 - After surveying all that I needed and obtaining prices from the vendors above, it was clear that BAA had the best prices.  I purchased about $260 in parts today including a complete new plastics set, several solenoids, fuses, a skill shot assembly, ring kit, purple flippers, purple bumper caps, a mylar sheet, and other small items.
  • Sept 9, 2006 - Major disassembly milestone reached.  All of the parts removed from the top of the playfield, the major parts removed from the bottom of the playfield, and all the mylar removed with 20 oz. of freeze spray.  Just lifted a few pin pricks of paint particles here and there, so the latter process was quite successful.
  • Sept 11, 2006 - All ramps cleaned and polished with Novus 2.  They are in pretty good shape some minor cracks here and there, but will not be obvious once mounted in the machine.  I decided to not flame polish them as they looked fine with the Novus 2 alone.
  • Sept 12, 2006 - Almost all of the mylar glue removed from the playfield.  What a hassle that was!  Unlike the glue from the Space Shuttle, this one gums up and makes a mess.  I found the best way was to squirt alcohol on the glue and let it soften and swell up.  I then used a soft plastic square to scrape the glue up.  Using paper towels just proved to be a mess, and the ridge of scraped up glue/alcohol gel was a good way to presoften the fresh glue.
  • Sept 16, 2006 - Completed surface of playfield, including touchups, application of overlays, mylared top two loops, built one of the protectors, and thoroughly waxed everything.
  • Sept 18, 2006 - Done with installing under playfield mechanisms (various magnets, captive ball cage, etc), playfield posts and rubber rings.
  • Sept 19, 2006 - I run my first Genie test to clear the Vanishing Magnet error on startup.  Pretty cool how it grabs the ball and causes it to appear at the Bazaar scoop.
  • Sept 21, 2006 - All plastics and ramps are back on the playfield.  The machine can almost be played now.
  • Sept 22, 2006 - Skill shot ramp and launch ramp decals.
  • Sept 23, 2006 - Performed mod on GI diodes to prevent further board damage.  Then, washed all parts of the translite tray, and removed half of its bulbs.  Also, replaced bad left flipper opto.
  • Sept 23, 2006 - We play our first games with the restored machine.  Woohoo!
  • Sept 23, 2006 - After playing a few games, fuse F104 blows.  I looked in the RGP archives, and find this.  Looks like Slow-Blow fuses are required.
  • Sept 25, 2006 - Write-up of my investigation of the F104 circuit.
  • Sept 28, 2006 - Finished touching up cab and adding flipper button protectors.
  • October 2, 2006 - Added bass boost.
  • October 4, 2006 - Remote battery mod installed.
  • January 15, 2007 - Purchased a used translite on ebay for $53.  After cleaning, it shows to be in pristine condition.  No scratches or marks.  It is installed into the machine, while the original (has some scratches on back) is hung as a decoration.
  • November 5, 2008 - Removed overlay and repainted flame under left captive ball.
  • August 21, 2010 - Sold machine to Bruce.

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