I finally took the plunge and bought a pinball. Being no stranger to electrical and mechanical systems (working in chemistry, I repair analysis instruments sometimes), I decided I do have the skills to keep it operational.
So, what machine to buy? My favorite pin is TZ (like many) but it is too expensive for a first pin and also, I understood, pretty difficult to maintain. Since I am new, I have no pro-this or anti-that attitude: I just have to see what brand I like or not.
Having played just around 20 different pins in real life and double that in VPinMAME, I chose Tales from the Crypt, by Data East.
It’s just a great game to play. I bought it as a project for my brother and myself (he just plays it). Good for his reactions and hand-eye coordination: he has a mental handicap, and was just blown away by this gift, he likes the TV-series very much! It’s rules are deep enough for me, and getting multiball and other achievements are easy enough for him. This will keep us both interested for a long, long time.
So now it sits in the livingroom, (almost) fully functional and plays wonderfully. At 900 euro's, I thought it was a reasonable deal.
I do have a few questions, though. I've made a few pics, but I see I can just upload 6. Ah well.. Questions are in the description. If anyone can answer any of them, it'd be greatly appreciated!
- Not much playfield-wear, other than by the scoop. It looks like all
that there is will be dealt with by cleaning and waxing. Is Mill-
Wax really all I need, or should I use Novus 2 as well? Do I need a
- The backbox electronics are very nice indeed. In fact, this is what
has put me off from buying a pinball machine for a long time: all
those horror-pictures of burnt connectors, damaged PCB’s and loose
solder-joints got to me. Luckily this one looks virtually new. I’m a
happy camper! Also, all four PCB’s in the BB have the same serial
number (98981) as inside the cabinet, so I guess it’s not been
- It works! My bro, the friend who helped me carry it into the house,
myself, we all had a blast playing it for the first hours. And we still do!
- There is nothing really bad. Except maybe for the amount of work ahead of me, and the 150+ euro's it'll cost to get it into the shape I want it to be in.
Of course I inspected it before I parted with the money. Did a full diagnostic etc. etc. It looked fine. But boy, when you get home and really put your nose into every crevice of the machine, what a lot of work to be done:
- The left flipper-trigger looks distinctly different from the right
one: The right one has a plastic notch as the last ‘contact’, which
seems to give the contacts more ‘spring’ to it. The left flipper
coil also feels reluctant when releasing and less feisty when
activating. The left contact has three wires going to it, the right
one more (4 or 5, can’t make it out well.). The left flipper coil-
assembly also seems to wobble slightly, compared to the right one.
Play is no really hindered with all this though.
- Left flipper sometimes hangs in activated position(5% of the time)
and so does the right-upper flipper (20%). Also, right-upper
sometimes does not fire. The LED’s on the flipper board seem fine
- All spinners do not run very smoothly. Posts and axles look
- The right ramps’ micro-switch has lost its blade, and no longer
registers an entry (no more ‘trick-shot’, whaaaaaa). I feel a
previous owner has assembled it wrong. What kind of small bolt is
that, that goes into a threaded hole to secure a metal strip where
the micro switch goes onto? What size do I need? (pic3)
- Virtually all screws and bolts look ugly and oxidised, when
inspected closely. (pic3)
- A dozen or two of the lamps are busted, or their sockets are. Both
#44 and #89’s.
- All rubbers need replacing.
- The captive ball’s target needs a lot of force to activate. Though
in playing, the difficulty does not feel bad: one needs skill,
which is the point me thinks.
- P-E-R targets are not symmetrical: two of them almost touch.
- The right guillotine drop-target sometimes hangs halfway when a
slow ball touches it. The registers though.
- The enter-shooterlane-kicker fires a second or even a third time
90% of the time, even if the ball enters the shooter in one go,
which it always does. When inspecting its functioning, the coil and
micro switch assembly can be seen to ‘wobble’ a bit.
- One of the bolts securing the right playfield rail is missing on
the right side. I am too scared to lift the playfield now.
- One ‘screw-eye’ securing the large wire form to the right-middle
playfield, scratches into the cabinet’s inside leaving an ugly
arched scratch. It doesn’t look like I can nudge it a little more
to the left, because it’s all pretty taut and the next connection
is to the right keeper target’s top plastic. (pic4)
- The left lane-divider has had it’s top section cracked at the bend,
probably from catching fastballs on the left flipper. The right one
is on the verge of going there too. Perhaps replacements can be
- The orange plastic behind the drop targets is completely smashed.
And the rubber there has lost almost all flexibility, so this is a
progressive thing. This needs to be addressed first! (pic6)
- The large top-plastic over the vault and the crypt is smashed, and
repaired by an owner with duck-tape(!). I can see how the ball got
stuck once between the top and bottom plastic, just behind the
scoop. Maybe I should block that gap with a post or some such? (pic1)
- Typical PF wear on the right-side of the scoop. A Cliffy-protector
has been ordered. Question: will this flat piece of metal not
damage the balls, or is it too flat for that to happen? Should I
fill up that missing chunk beforehand, so as to not let balls put
dents in the protector at that empty area? (pic2)
- There seem to be two small bolts protruding into the scoop from
below the PF at the right side. What do I do with that? It looks
like it’ll happily chop away at the balls’ surfaces whenever they
enter or leave the scoop. (pic2)
- There is a small nail-hole on the chin of the large Keeper at the
bottom of the playfield, below the line of draining. It seems to
have no purpose, now or before.
- One of the threads for one leg-bolt is ground up. Are those metal
back plates which can be had from parts-dealers universal?
- There is a (blue) lamp on top of the Guillotine drop-target plastic
which does not appear in the lamp location schematic. It doesn’t
work, and I haven’t tried a spare (yet). Also, there is a ‘left-
lamp-enter #62’ light in the schematic which isn’t there anymore. I
can see some snipped wires under the PF next to that ramp, but I
can’t for the world see where that lamp would go. Someone must have
lost a part in the machines history?!
- There is a lot of buzz, crackle and hum from the speakers,
especially when attract-lights go on and off. I know: I should plug
it in a grounded socket, but I have none available where it is now.
Maybe there is more going on besides the missing grounding?
- I’ve read that the ball-launcher should deliver the ball at the
guillotine drop-targets. This machine puts it everywhere: mostly at
the scoop and sometimes higher(vault) or lower(left ramp) and
anything in between. Is my coil or its sleeve bad?
All the above, plus:
Replacing all lights, except backbox lights, with LED coloured
lights. Youtube-footage and pictures of machines done with this
look really nice. It’ll cost in excess of 150 Euro’s, but it looks
worth it. Does anyone feel different about this? Does anyone have
experience with the difference with ‘white’ as opposed to ‘bright-
white’ LED’s? Will my electricity-bill be significantly lower?
A lot of touching up on the cabinet. It’ll be a hoot (not!) trying
to find the correct colours for it. Luckily, I have an artist-
acquaintance who will prolly be able to help me a bit with this.
It has Display ROM 1.03 and CPU ROM Belgium 1.02. Needs V3.0x.
I really want to install new speakers, as the standard ones sound
pretty bad and muffled to my ears. Also: the diagnostics just say
left-both-right. No bottom/bass/centre/cabinet speaker is listed.
It does work, however. Maybe this is for V3.0x ROMS’s?
And finally, the question that's been on my mind ever since I peered into the cabinet:
Do I remove the backglass and open the door with lamp when I lift the playfield totally up? And is there *anything* I should know or do before I lift it up?
Any help, comments, flames, kudo's etc. are greatly appreciated!