Page 6 of 6

Re: Bradley Challenger and variants

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:11 am
by gameswat
Thanks for the inner glass info. When re-assembling the machine it finally dawned on me what had happened over the years and why I was puzzled. Originally the inner glass sat inside the notches cut into the two silver painted wooden side rails. But to get to the playfield the operator had to remove the front glass, then remove 4 screws holding the two tin covers in place above the inner glass, and also 2 more screws holding the steel coin deflector. Only then could you slide the glass up and out to unclog the playfield. Obviously a pain after the 10th time!

Later on both my machines were converted to allow that inner glass to be removed from the front of the machine with less inconvenience. By turning those wooden rails backwards (swapped left to right so they fit) and then a slightly less wide inner glass was cut and then held in place by two pins at the bottom edge (the same nickel plated pins as used on the playfield but filed slightly). This allowed the inner glass to be removed by just unscrewing the three bolts holding the centre cast alloy payout plate in place, once this was removed the glass could be lowered until it missed the top of the wooden door frame, then twisted forward slightly from the top and lifted out. Because of the conversion the inner glass sits forward from its original position by about 3.5 mm. So the playfield pins had been pulled out slightly to accomopdate this, which stops coins jamming against the glass and pins. After cleaning and replacing the pins it became obvious that there was practically no wear on the extra 3mm that had been showing, but that the pins had spent almost their whole working life at the original depth, with lots of wear. So it would appear that this conversion was done late in the game when the machines were sloppy and jamming more often than originally.

I chose to put the machine back the way it originally was made. As yet I've had no sign of any coin jams on the playfield after about 600 coins. If the coin acceptor is adjusted and working correctly it should stop any damaged coins from ever making it as far as the playfield, and they should be rejected to the right side cup.

Re: Bradley Challenger and variants

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:35 am
by gameswat
I'm so disheartened to learn that this machine is a huge GYP! Even though I've played a couple over the years that only amounted to a few dozen times. But on completion and final testing of my first machine I discovered that only 7 of the 15 chutes actually accept coins! So this is in fact even worse than the early 10 stop - 20 symbol slot machine!! After many hundreds of coins as yet not one has landed in the 8 empty chutes as shown in the first photo below. So these are just dummy chutes hand filled so that the machine always looks inviting no matter how emptied the last player left it. And that carefully worded middle plate doesn't lie when it says "All coins that fall into the columns below will eventually be returned to the players." Haha, classic. What strikes me as strange is why they bothered to even put payout mechs in every chute? If I'd realised this at the beginning I'd have saved myself a lot of time by just swapping parts around to the unused chutes.

Anyway machine number one is finished and works perfectly and great fun. Though the coin deflector wheel you control is probably only about 15% useful. More often than not the coin heads to the left side of the playfield no matter what you do with that wheel. I guess this is because the coin rolls down from the top coin chute from right to left and still has rolling momentum when it hits that wheel. Sometimes if I leave the wheel untouched the coin will stall there by itself in one of the concaves, then you can tip it left or right.

The only thing I'm not thrilled with is that centre nickled plate saying "For Amusement Only", which should be black in the recess. But this example was over polished and some of the letters have barely any height to them. After a bunch of attempts I could never get it to look right so abandoned it as is.

Re: Bradley Challenger and variants

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:07 am
by badpenny
GYP .........

cheat or swindle (someone).
"a young inventor gypped by greedy financiers"
an act of cheating someone; a swindle.

As are most amusement machines I'd suggest.

Nails over cups on Allwins.
Flags that stop the ball dead at the Lose hole
12 stop mechs showing 24 fruits.
Skill stops that do less than bugger all.
Mystery Payouts


Re: Bradley Challenger and variants

Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:46 pm
by pennymachines
Excellent job as always. !!THUMBSX2!!

The Challenger was one of my first machines but my experience of it was slightly different. Like you, I didn't twig for a while that half the columns were obstructed by pins, but I found that coins did just occasionally get through. I remember thinking it might be better if they didn't, because when one of these columns paid out it remained empty for a very long time. The result was the opposite of what we are assuming Bradley intended. Instead of the machine always appearing at least half full, it more often appeared half empty!

If, as you suggest, the columns were designed to remain full but unwinnable, (which as you say, would require less mechanism) it would make sense. As it is, I concluded that Mr Bradley didn't think it through properly. I've noticed that some Super Challengers adopt a similar scheme but usually I think they just bias the coin towards alternate channels. There doesn't seem any need to obstruct the channels as the machine takes its penny "commission" every time it pays the player's coins back. The Challenger has 15 columns, so it's very unlikely that one won't be almost full. The Ruffler & Walker multi-ball allwins only have 12 and work fine without this strategy.

I've seen a number of different deflector wheels and some give more control than the many-faceted 'B type' on your machine. It's interesting how much tweaking of the design went on over the years of production.

Re: Bradley Challenger and variants

Posted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:30 am
by gameswat
By hand I can get a Penny to enter those 8 "dead" columns, but as yet with probably over 900 plays I'm still yet to see one coin enter any by themselves! Mr PM has had them occasionally enter so the odds will probably be something like 1000 to 1!! As PM rightly commented, the machine always makes a profit on any emptied column, so I'm confused about the pin layout. Looking at various photos of other machines they all appear to be the same. So this design was used over a decent period of production without change. The only way I can see to make all the columns work would be to remove all or at least most of the lowest row of pins.

I figured out a way to slightly improve the odds for the player which is to always play another coin while emptying a completed column. So rather than just pulling the lever to pay out your winnings, instead you'd play another Penny and hold the payout lever down. This will empty the full column and then keep that column open in case the just played coin enters - if so, to be returned to the player for free. Then hopefully on the next play that "free coin" will land into a full or close to full column. :D

Re: Bradley Challenger and variants

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:07 am
by coinops
Just found this thread...

I have another variant of the Challenger. This Zig Zag (with bolt on nameplate) has a "0" cast into the awards above the center chute, instead of a "6". If a coin goes into it, then it drops right into the cashbox. I found this one some years ago at the Chicagoland Show.

Regards from the North Coast of Ohio.

Re: Bradley Challenger and variants

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:48 pm
by pennymachines
That's interesting to see. No doubt you noticed the Zig-Zag on the first page of this thread with the cast framed opening front glass. Bradley indicate the model with the first number of the serial stamp. The Zig-Zag on page 1 appears to be 201/. Is yours stamped 200/? It appears the Shooting Star (stamped 202/) evolved from Zig-Zag.

I don't know where Snakes & Ladders fits in, but that was also a 'bolt-on' revamp and both the example J P posted and the one in the AMECO advert have the central column blanked. That weaselly ploy seems to have become standard sometime during the production of the MK1 Challenger, presumably in response to demand from operators.

Re: Bradley Challenger and variants

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:13 pm
by coinops
My Zig Zag serial no. is 201/1796.

Re: Bradley Challenger and variants

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:18 pm
by pennymachines
OK - so Challenger was model 200, Zig-Zag was 201 and Shooting Star 202.
I don't believe there were 1796+ Zig-Zags made, so their serial numbers must have continued from the Challengers.

Maybe the Snakes and Ladders were AMECO Challenger revamps.

Re: Help with Bradley Challenger

Posted: Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:40 pm
by treefrog
treefrog wrote:
Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:33 pm
pennymachines wrote:Carefully paint over the lettering with Vaseline using a very fine paintbrush and then over-spray the plates with whatever colour you want for the background. Leave for a day to dry thoroughly then carefully rub the paint from the letters using a toothpick or similar.
I will definitely have a go at this although one would need a very steady hand, I love these tips... there needs to be a tips section to add to the resource section... mind you I don't keep any Vaseline in the house...
Your link Mr PM reminded me that the tip on Vaseline and it has only taken me 10 years to have a go and use this on a bandit casting where I needed to leave some areas polished last week. Works great and only takes seconds to remove the painted greased areas after drying !!THUMBSX2!!