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So, blogging takes a decent amount of time and I’ve been super busy lately. To help streamline my repair posts and keep them more up to date, I’ve decided to start up a Facebook page that I’ll use as my primary hub for repair posts and what I’m currently working on.

Please follow me at: https://www.facebook.com/carolinapinball/ to keep up to date on all my current projects!

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1995 Williams No Fear and 1996 Sega Twister Repairs

Both of these games came into the owner’s possession when he purchased his lake house about a year and half prior. Neither game ever worked completely, but had gotten increasingly worse in the intervening time.

Each game was actually a really nice example of each title, just needed a little love to get back in action.

For No Fear, the first thing I noticed was garble all over the DMD screen. A reset of the ribbon cable from the DMD Controller board to the DMD cleared this issue up.

 

No Fear in the process of being gone through.

No Fear in the process of being gone through.

 

I put in new balls, new rubbers (I think No Fear is the easiest rubber kit I’ve ever put on a game), polished and waxed the game. I replaced burnt bulbs and checked all solenoids and switches. The left flipper EOS was getting an error report. It was a wire which came unsoldered on the EOS.

In going to replace the batteries, I noticed that one battery was beginning to leak. Luckily, nothing was on the board yet. So, I snipped the battery holder and added in a remote pack.

Battery corrosion, gotta get that pack out of there!

Battery corrosion, gotta get that pack out of there!

On Twister, likewise, I replaced any burnt bulbs, installed new balls, a new rubber kit, polished and waxed the playfield. I also checked all switches and solenoids.

When I opened the backbox, I noticed the CPU was hanging off it’s screws awkwardly. I placed it back in the brackets appropriately as the screws that go into holding these boards in don’t just serve to keep the board in place, they are also the grounding points for the board.

Never seen one completely off the mounting brackets like this, but first time for everything.

Never seen one completely off the mounting brackets like this, but first time for everything.

There were a couple of switches that needed adjustment and the left flipper was completely off from a mechanical positioning standpoint. I wrenched it from under the playfield and properly aligned that flipper.

That left flipper was just a little out of alignment...

That left flipper was just a little out of alignment…

Probably the most glaring issue was the ball popper coil constantly firing and sometimes spitting out two balls. In looking at the switch test, I noticed switch 15, which is the opto that recognizes when the popper is energized, was stuck closed. These little opto boards are notorious for problems on both Sega and Stern games.

These little opto boards are notorious for needing solder reflows.

These little opto boards are notorious for needing solder reflows.

I took out both the receiver and transmitter board and reflowed the solder to the pins and the opto receiver/transmitters themselves. This gave the extra bit of reassurance in keeping that board set operating properly.

The only other error with Twister was a right slingshot not working due to a broken link in the coil assembly. This was the only part I didn’t have on hand, but one’s on order and will be dropped in as soon as it arrives.

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WPC Sound Board A-12738 Repair

These little sound boards in WPC era Bally/Williams games can be difficult to track down issues on and there are no inexpensive reproduction replacements, so the boards themselves are quite expensive if they need to be replaced.

A client brought this board to me. It wasn’t getting the usual start-up bong or any sounds on his game. The game would stay in test mode for about 8-10 seconds, boot up, but no sound whatsoever.

After making sure the ribbon cable wasn’t the problem or the already socketed chips on the board, I did a little sleuthing and with fairly high certainty determined the U9 RAM to be the culprit. I socketed and replaced the 28-pin 6264 RAM chip, plugged the board back in my test machine and viola, working A-12738 sound board.

I’ve ran into this failed RAM issue twice now on WPC sound boards. Sometimes similar issues can happen with bad I/O buffer chips, but it seems this 6264 RAM is failing with a little higher rate as these boards get older.

Socketed and Replaced U9 RAM chip

Socketed and Replaced U9 RAM chip

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Electromechanical Pinball Machine Shop Outs

Have had several calls over the past couple weeks about shopping games out. Out of the lot, three have been electromechanical machines.

The first two, a 1970 Bally 4 Million BC and a 1971 Williams Stardust, were both owned by the same gentleman. He’d owned them both for nearly 35 years and they were both in really nice shape outside of the dry rotted and broken rubbers. His 4 Million BC was interesting in that it was a German imported version and all the writing on the backglass and playfield was in German.

I shopped them both out with new rubbers, cleaned and polished the playfields and plastics, waxed the playfields, and added in new balls. They cleaned up real nice and new, clean white rubbers make a world of difference in how a game both looks and plays.

Bally 4 Million BC shopped out with new rubbers, polished and waxed.

Bally 4 Million BC shopped out with new rubbers, polished and waxed.

The second electromechanical shop out of late was for a 1972 Bally Nip-It machine. The owners had owned the game for 41 years, so HUO for the majority of its life as well, and also a beautiful machine. Probably the nicest Nip-It I’ve ever seen. Not sure if it’s true or not, but the owner said when she bought it, the seller told her it was the machine they actually used on “Happy Days”, so if so, pretty cool little piece of memorabilia.

Likewise, I replaced all rubbers with new white rubbers, cleaned and polished the playfield and plastics, waxed the playfield, and added in new balls. It was really dirty and most of the rubbers were dry rotted, but it cleaned up and looks like a whole new game now.

Bally Nip-It Shopped Out and looking sharp.

Bally Nip-It Shopped Out and looking sharp.

So, as you see, repairs aren’t the only thing I do. If you have a game that works well but is in bad need of a freshen up with some new rubbers and a good cleaning, shoot me a line!

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1992 Data East Star Wars Pinball Repair

This is another game from the personal collection. Out of the nearly 60 pinball machines I’ve owned, I’ve never had one burn up a connector enough to actually smell it until this one.

I had my back line of games on and started to smell electrical burn, which is the last thing you want to smell around a pinball machine. After a few minutes of hunting down with my nose, I narrowed it to Star Wars. Cut it off, opened the head and found some very burnt connectors on the GI connector from the power board and the ones going to the inter-connector to the backbox head.

GI connectors burning up over time on these Data East games, as well as most other manufacturers, is actually really common. These are the lines that supply the general illumination lamps and they are on all the time, which can create a good deal of heat through the board and on those connector housings.

To remedy, I replaced all the male pins on the power board and added in new female molex housings on the 9-pin connector from the power board and 6-pin connector to the backbox with trifurcon crimps.

Turning the power save to a lower setting on games that allow you too or replacing your incandescent lamps with LEDs which run at lower amperage and less heat dissipation help reduce the likelihood of this type of burnt connector happening again, or can save this type of repair if your connector/pins are in good shape still at this point in time.

Nasty burnet male pins on the GI line of the power board.

Nasty burnet male pins on the GI line of the power board.

 

New male pins and female connectors with trifurcon crimps save the day.

New male pins and female connectors with trifurcon crimps save the day.

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1988 Williams Swords of Fury Refurbish

Have been a little slow on the updates lately, but just too busy to keep up, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Not too long ago I picked up a 1988 Williams Swords of Fury machine that needed a little love, but overall was a pretty nice example of this cheesy, fun System 11 pinball machine.

This one was going into the permanent collection for awhile, so it got the royal treatment. I tore the whole top half of the playfield down, re-rubbered the game, added new star posts throughout, polished and waxed the playfield, and added LEDs throughout the game.

There were some sluggish drop targets on the drop bank and one which wouldn’t reset the entire way. I pulled the target bank apart and made the necessarily adjustments for smooth operation and fixed the not resetting one by adding a small piece of double-sided adhesive underneath that gave enough length to get it to push all the way up for proper reset.

Both the left flippers weren’t working, which required a complete rebuild of the top flipper assembly including the EOS, and a partial rebuild of the bottom left assembly.

All-in-all she came a long way from her humble beginnings and I’m now enjoying this game in my current line-up.

I’ve got a stock pile of repair logs to fill out, bear with me as I try to get a new one up every day or two until I’m through the queue.

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Swords of Fury Day 1

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Swords of Fury after repairs, shop job and LEDs added.

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1980 Williams Firepower Light Restoration

This came in from a client who’s Bally Strikes and Spares I repaired and restored late last year. This game had been down for some time, so it needed a little love, but was a very nice overall example of this seminal Williams title.

For this machine, I installed a new Rottendog MPU/Driver board in it, adjusted about 4-5 switches, replaced a switch diode on one switch that the diode had fallen off, repaired the left flipper which was DOA when the game was turned on, re-rubbered the entire machine with new white rubbers, touched up a wear spot near the top of the playfield in the blacks, cleaned and polished plastics and playfield with Novus 1 and Novus 2, waxed the playfield with Carnuba Gold Class paste wax, installed LED lamps into the playfield GI and added two mylar sling protectors where I noticed some wear was starting to occur.

Firepower, ready for play!

Firepower, ready for play!

Firepower is back playing strong and such a fun machine!

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