This is technically not a pinball machine, but more of a gun
game. I played one in the summer of 2006 that is owned by
another RGP member, Mark Gibson. He furnished photos of his
machine for IPDB.ORG,
and naturally, his is a really nice looking and playing machine.
Hyperball is equipped with 55 3/4" steel balls which you fire with a
solenoid "Hypercannon". The mechanism is capable of 250 rounds
per minute, and the direction of firing is controlled by
dual hand controllers. This machine is very cool to play, and
when one was offered on Ebay in a nearby location with no bids, I
decided to bid on it, and won it for the opening price of $150.
seller was nice enough to include an original manual and a spare ball
As I prefer, this machine was not initially working, but after a day's
work on Veteran's day 2007, I was able to get it running. Some
things that I did were:
Completely removed the transformer board to vacuum the cab and retrieve loose balls.
Properly fastened the metal screen that covers the transformers
and protects them from falling balls (it was just lying loose
in the cab before).
Swapped out ball feed screw motor (the old one was seized up).
Patched hole in bottom of cab and added a speaker.
Added some screws to fasten driver board to metal backbox tray
(it was just held by connectors before).
Fixed coin door diagnostic switches (they were missing).
Added coin door lock (also missing).
Replaced battery holder on CPU board with remote mount tray (old
Replaced GI connector that plugs onto Power supply board with crimp style for more robust current carrying capability.
Checked all fuses for correct rating, and replaced as needed (two
circuits with incorrect fuses).
Changed the four digit credit/match plasma display.
Fixed several broken wires on the playfield (mainly
GI wiring & some ball switch wiring).
Fastened lots of posts (missing under playfield nuts).
All these parts were in my spare
parts supply. Regarding the speaker installed, I found
out on RGP that Hyperball comes with only one speaker, the one on
the backbox. This was a surprise to many who responded. I
decided to leave the one I added in place.
The backglass and the playfield were in excellent condition, every bulb and the shooter worked fine, but almost every plastic was broken on the machine. Also, I needed three under playfield ball chutes, and the GI relay under the playfield. Ken ("Kenbo" on RGP) was nice enough to send me these for only the shipping charges.
Modifying the shooter
When I played the machine for the first time, it seemed to me that the shots were going more left than expected. The reason became clear when I removed the shooter from the machine: It was mushroomed (peened) by the many ball hits, and the face was at an angle. This is perhaps why almost all of the plastics of this machine were broken when I received it. There must have been many airballs in the past.
The original shooter. The end has been peened back due to the
many ball hits
(photos by Mark Gibson).
The shooter is a hollow shaft, and I started by drilling out the inside
to make the inner shaft straight. The size of the ID is
3/16". I then tried various ideas to make a replaceable shooter
tip. In addition to being serviceable, I also wanted the tip to
be softer than steel so that the new set of 3/4" balls that I had put
into the machine would not be scratched up. My first idea was to
use a flat head bolt with a rubber pad. However, I found that I
would have to thread the inside of the shooter shaft to make sure the
bolt would not shoot out after a few shots. I then hit upon a
simpler idea of making a rod out of a stiff rubber material, and then
having a small amount protrude from the tip.
The inner bore drilled out, and the outer flange ground flat.
is the rubber staff ready for use.
The modified shooter rod with the hard rubber tip.
Since the hard rubber is fairly
light, it does not have enough inertia to shoot back out. Also, I
made the rubber strip long so that it bottoms out in the inner
shaft. The resulting performance was excellent. Shots were
consistently straight, and I know I have a durable replaceable tip that
will not mark the balls.
the machine down
Hyperball is notorious for being noisy. I spent some time finding ways to quiet this machine down. To start, I used my Sound Pressure Level meter to obtain some quantitative results. The meter was placed 16" from the left side in front of the yellow ball on the side art. The game sound volume was then turned to minimum, and I played a game while observing the meter. The resulting noise level peaked at 90 dB. Per wikipedia, this is comparable to a major road at 10 meters. This site also claims hearing damage at prolonged levels of 85 dB.
The SPL meter was set up 16" from the yellow ball on the left side art.
It was clear from simply listening to the machine that the loudest part
is the bottom part of the ball feed mechanism. Balls fall into
the trough and rattle around noisily. As a test, I padded that
area with some rubber, and then found that the second loudest part was
the top of the ball feeder, where the balls leave the auger. I
then decided to remove the entire mechanism to pad all the areas.
At first, I was going to use some rubber sheets, but I decided to use a
material that slides easily so that if it came loose would not jam the
auger screw (and possibly damage the motor). The material I
decided to use was adhesive felt that I bought from the craft store
(Michael's). They come in 8.5x11" sheets, and cost one dollar
each. They are easily cut with scissors, and the adhesive is very
The parts of the auger padded with black adhesive felt to quiet it down.
These are the areas of the machine
that I padded.
At the bottom of the auger feed trough, there are three metal
surfaces that the balls touch. These contributed the most noise.
At the top of the auger, there is a small ramp that deflects the balls onto the trough of the playfield.
The path of the ball as it is lifted by the auger. This path can be identified by a dark line eroded into the metal.
The top part of the playfield trough that catches the balls from
The angled part in the back of the subfloor where the balls hit when going through the gates.
The part of the subfloor that get struck by the balls that drain from the two lowest points on the playfield.
The backstop of the ball shooter as it retracts.
The final tally is a noise level that peaks at 81 dB. Thus a
reduction of sound power of almost a factor of ten. Most of
this reduction is due to the first three items above. As a matter
of fact, the loudest part of the feed trough is now the "click-click"
of the balls touching each other, and as they hit the sides of the
auger screw. This portion is greatly reduced when the machine is
Truth be told, my fingers are not as
nimble as they once were. A few games on Hyperball will leave my
trigger fingers quite sore. As a result, I decided to add
auto-fire to the right handcontroller button. In this manner, the
player has the option of single or auto-fire. The circuit had to
be small, and feature an isolated output so that it does not interfere
with the switch matrix. Its design is shown below.
Circuit to add auto-fire to the
Hyperball handcontrollers. The rate is controllable by R1.
All the parts were from my spare
parts supply. The circuit is simply a 555 timer
with an optoisolator output that is controlled by the trigger
button. One important design requirement was to cause a fire
immediately as soon as the trigger is pulled. Any delay will
impact the player's sense of control. It would also allow the
right button to be continued to be used as single fire (one pull, one
shot). This is accomplished by connecting the ground terminal of
the timer to
ground with the trigger switch. Placing the switch in another
location (in series with R1 or in series with the positive power line)
would cause a brief delay before the first ball is fired. Another
benefit about this configuration is that the circuit consumes no
current when the trigger button is released.
In addition to these previous connections, the optoisolator connects to the switch matrix with the row/column polarity as shown. No diode is needed since the switch is a phototransistor. The circuit is powered by the 5V and ground connection in the top left corner. This supply comes from the opto supply on the playfield. A connector on the circuit board allows this to be disconnected for removal of the handcontroller panel.
I also wished to be able to install the circuit by simply connecting it to existing connectors (for easy removal). However, examination of the schematics showed that this would not be possible because the left and right handcontroller buttons share one wire. The circuit was therefore installed by unsoldering the connections to the right handcontroller button and rewiring the panel accordingly.
The above circuit built onto a circuit board and then mounted onto the
handcontroller panel. The board measures about 1.5" x 0.5".
To better show how the game plays, I
shot a video of my daughter playing the machine. At the beginning
of the shot, you see her right hand, and that she is firing while
holding down the right button.
11/9/07- Purchased this machine from Jim Queen via Ebay for $150.
11/24/07 - Received and installed "ABC", "KLM", "HIJ", and "VWY" plastics from Mark Gibson. He did not even want anything for postage. In return, I modify his shooter plunger as shown above.
11/27/07 - Rev 6 of the Hyperball ROMs installed. This rev
saves high score in nonvolatile storage. It costs only $7 from
John Wart, Jr.
11/28/07 - Received and installed left apron, small arrow, "DEFG", "RSTU" plastics from Ken S. (Kenbo on RGP). Also received (and installed) from him several ball switch chutes, the underplayfield GI relay, and the Z-bomb button. He did not charge me for these parts. In return, I also modify his shooter plunger as shown above. Now, all plastics are in excellent shape except the "NOP", which has a repair.
12/7/07 - Received the "NOP" plastic from John Wart, Jr. He was gracious enough to let me have it at no charge. Now all the plastics on the Hyperball are in excellent unbroken shape.
2/1/09 - Sold machine for $325.
(c) 2007 Edward Cheung, all rights reserved.