Pinbot light saucer rule

I was playing Pinbot today and was noticing that on some balls the inlane would always light the saucer as normal, but on other balls the inlane would never light the saucer. The behavior was always consistent for the duration of a ball, but I found no pattern or predictable indication of what would happen on a new ball until I tried it.

Is this some wacky rule I never noticed or is something else going on?

I noticed something similar on the one I was playing before we traded it. The inlane was always registering, but it wasn’t lighting the saucer for the next advance. My initial thought was maybe collecting the currently lit one was necessary, or lighting the target from the left inlane, but I really couldn’t find any rhyme or reason to it either. I’m glad it wasn’t just me imagining things!

from the manual

right return lane flashes eject until made or for timed interval (adjustable)
entering eject lights lamp solid. hitting return lane flashes next value.

So, sounds like you have to collect it. Makes sense otherwise you would just not hit it until it was lit for 75k or extra ball.

The thing that always confused me about it was it would show you your current bonus level when you went into it so I was like, is it collecting the bonus?? It’s pretty much not really worth shooting for IMO anyway. My favorite shot was always the energy value under the ramp but that’s not super safe either (and dangerous to build up in the pops)

No what I’m saying is it never lights the first one to begin with.

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Also during multiball that 75K is worth more than a newly reset solar value, so I’ll take that first every time.

True, depending on what romset is in the machine. Some of the tournament ones simply reset it to 500k every time (or 750k)… or there is the one that papa has that uses 100k (which seems way too low)

I’ll have to see what’s in the code causing the non-lighting as I’m working on disassembling it right now. Not to the “figure out what everything does” stage yet though.

ok, playing around with the game… seems like the scoring for the single eject goes like this:

Unlit, pays 10k

Right inlane will light the next level, which will flash. Depending on the machine settings, this could be untimed, or have a timeout associated (could be as short as 1 second).

You make the eject, it will award the flashing value, which will then light solid.

Subsequent shots to the eject will only score the 10k again, NOT the lit solid value. (confusing!)

Making the right inlane while a lamp is flashing on the eject hole will NOT advance it.

Making the right inlane which a lamp is solid should flash the next level, subject to the timer/rules above.

There is a flag in the code which I think concerns if you have already collected an extra ball/extra ball settings on the machine - this is the only way the game will avoid lighting the next level. The flashing code will always run after hitting the inlane.

It’s certainly very strange behavior, and I’m not surprised, really, since Bill Pfutenreuter was the programmer… he certainly was a bit outside the norm when programming. Not sure what they were doing setting the flags, they aren’t set/cleared many places in the code. But it does appear to hinge on those couple of flags… one is probably a flag that you are at your maximum extra balls already or they’re turned off, and the other is probably a flag that you already lit it for extra ball once this ball, so don’t light it again.

The code is certainly not straightforward… I would love to get a peek at the original source with the comments in there.

To sum up, I guess the answer as to why sometimes it flashes and sometimes it doesn’t, is that something is affecting those 2 flags in the advance code. Not sure what that something is yet, although for sure one is the ball start routine… it sets one flag and clears the other.

To complicate things, the eject hole timer is also something that is on the auto adjustments, so there is data in there for that as well.

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