New Father Daughter to Pinball

By tristan2400

November 12, 2021

22 days ago

Hello and good evening! 

Well, I've been told by a few people that I've gotten into this hobby at the wrong time......well, my daughter and I have that kind of luck. She is 14, and I took her to a pinball arcade. It was my first time as well. She absolutely fell in love with it. So much I wanted to find a macofor us. But financially, I can't. So I started to look for local auctions. I knew I was going to have to buy a project. A broken machine. Maybe even junk. Just to have a chance to work on it with her, and so she has something to look forward to when she comes over to my house. Well, a few days later I see one at an auction. I go there and did a bit of research, knowing that a broken machine is worth about 400 to 600 for the machine of Time Warp by Williams 1979. My daughter was with me and liked it. Saw the potential like I did. And our only shot. So I won it at a little over $500.  

As soon as I won, a guy comes up to me and says you just bought a really big project, pretty much telling me and my daughter that we bought junk more or less. I was devastated. Still am a bit...... regretful maybe still? Made me sick the whole drive home. Did I just waste my money???? 

Well, even if I did, I kept telling myself, I have the base to a machine that could work. Even if I can only afford to put in a part every few months or years. She took the boards out herself, and cleaned it up a bit before she had to leave for the weekend. So so proud of her and surprised at how involved she was!!!

I wish there was a way to find a network of people that enjoy pins in my area, but how do you do that? How can I find a "friend" to come look at my machine, or learn from??? 

Fast forward a few weeks, and I've scrubbed, vaccumed, and scrubbed some more but the machine was sitting in a barn for years I think. Looks damn good since I cleaned it. 

We are just both at the mercy of Google for information...... especially me. I need things fixed but who do you trust?  

I also called a local pinball shop, I asked about board repair, they said it's not worth it, and can't get the parts in a timely fashion even if I wanted to. Also felt like since I was new, they wanted me to just drop off the machine with them and have them do all the work to make sure it's nothing else. I felt a bit pushed into thinking no matter what I do to try and fix it, only they can. I don't know.....maybe I'm reading into things to much. But he threw out a number for going through the machine and getting just operational at $1400!!!! 

I'd be in close to $2k for a machine that is not worth it according to what I've seen. 

Oh well, that's my first timer story so I'll take any advice! Both of us will!!!

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18 days ago

Hey Tristan!

I hope you're doing alright tonight. I am new to Pinside but know enough by way of my husband. I happened upon your story while looking for a post from him and wanted to see if I could help you out a little!

Sadly, I think stories are an overlooked part of Pinside. You should definitely check into the Forums part of this site. If you have a Time Warp (not too shabby!), there are a few specific subforums that might help. You should definitely look into the Bally/Williams subforum. There's also Restoration Questions. They might be able to provide you guidance when you come across a stubborn issue or help get you pointed in the right direction. You can perform searches and stuff too. It's pretty active, so it's definitely worth popping into. Just click the Forum button at the top to get in on the action.

If you have Facebook, you should also search for Pinball groups on there. There's bound to be a few groups for pinheads that are in your area. Some might be technicians with infinite knowledge, some are just people who enjoy pinball. There's also active general pinball groups and restoration groups that you could join. It might be your best bet for finding a pinball "buddy" that's close enough to provide real assistance.

E-bay and Pinball Life can be great resources for aftermarket replacements. Pinball Life has an awesome assortment of rubbers and coils and all the things you might find yourself needing. If you know for sure that you are having board issues, you might be better off posting a gig on Craigslist for repairs. I would definitely acquire a multi-meter if you suspect PCB issues and watch Youtube to learn how to use it. They don't have to cost a fortune. I believe Harbor Freight sells them.

How exciting it is for you and daughter to have a shared hobby! Some of my fondest memories are tinkering around on cars and things with my dad. This kind of sounds like a lot more fun than that though! I wish you both the best of luck and hopefully you can get it up and running in no time!

- Sarah

17 days ago

I really enjoyed that story. I’m so excited to get my self into trouble like that with my daughter. I just hope she takes a liking to it as much has your daughter. This appears to just be the start of your pinball adventures with your daughter. How exciting. I was just looking at all the classes they offer at pinball expo. Not to mention all the games you can play. It’s every year in Chicago and you’re driving distance. Your wish is granted. The biggest network of people in pinball and you’re bound to find someone close by to you. I’m hoping to be at the next one which will be my first one. Was hoping to be at this one. See how this crazy covid world is by then. My pinball repair skills are pretty close to yours right now and am at the mercy of Google and YouTube. It’s pretty frustrating at times. Pinside is great too. If you post something people will definitely respond and help you. Worst case scenario you can sell that pin at a slight loss to someone more experienced looking for a project. But it won’t be a loss at all. That pinball machine inspired this story on pinside and the start of all the pinball adventures with your daughter. I want to invite you guys to my cabin in Branson Missouri. It would be a great adventure for you and your daughter. It’s got it own pinball machine in it and is even walking distance to a pinball arcade, which I wonder if I inspired but that’s another story. Your daughter is a great age to enjoy Branson. Looks like it’s under a 12 hour drive from you. If you are interested message me and I will make all the arrangements.

13 days ago

I restore classic Porsches, and we see this all the time with them. The most expensive cars to fix are the "cheaper" ones.

Sending you my best! It's a lovely story, but it sounds like you have a long road ahead!

12 days ago

There is a Facebook group called Pinball repair help group!!! Join that and post information such does it turn on and start asking one problem at a time on there. They have been very helpful when I started and had no idea of what to do. Good luck!!!

11 days ago

I'd recommend Joe's classic video games channel on YouTube. He does a great job explaining how the machines work and explains how he goes about fixing them.

10 days ago

If you ever have any questions give me a shout in messages. Im a full time pinball technician as my job and can help you along the way!!!! Good luck.

10 days ago

What was the machine you ended up buying? Can you post any pics of it? There are a lot of people here that are happy to help any way they can

3 days ago

I'm on my fifth machine (two solid states and three electro-mechanical) and learned all through youtube and pinside. It takes a bit of time to get accustomed on how to work on these machines but once you get the hang of it, it gets much easier. I recommend a few things in my experiences:
1) clean and adjust all the switches (not with sandpaper). I made my own tool to adjust them using a paint can opener that I cut a slot down the middle (don't use pliers), but you can buy this online. Adjusting might also include just checking that the screws going into the switch are tight and allowing good connection.
2) Repin all the connectors to the boards in the backbox ( is great for the little terminals you'll need). This is very important especially if there are some things not working properly at first as this is essentially the "brain" of the machine and one bad pin can cause issues. Also, I've found that shaving down those tiny indoor door "keys" to a thing point work awesome as a pin removal tool. The specific removal tools I bought online were just too flimsy.
3) Buy some of the triple thick clear coat spray paint at Walmart for 5 bucks and spray the backglass to prevent any flaking of the paint in the future.
4) If a coil doesn't appear to be working, use a multimeter to check the ohms. I've had a few occasions when the coil was just fine but it was either a wire that needed to be resoldered or the part (including the inner part of the coil) needed to be cleaned from gunk built up.
5) Check the fuses that they are the correct amps. They can be underneath the playfield also, so check closely so you don't miss any. Actually, do this first before anything else;)

Just some thoughts on where I usually start! Good luck!

15 hours ago

Your story is the opposite end of the spectrum to the many newbies who've caused pinflation buying machines, especially 90's titles but then will have less than zero idea about how to fix them when they have an issue very quickly or even maintain them properly to keep them in top condition.
Sorry to hear you've wanted to save on getting in with a 'fixer upper' and its proving such a drama. It's a lot easier if you're already into maintaining and restoring pins than jumping in cold like that. Many similarities as others have pointed out to going out and buying a car that needs works but not really understanding how much or what to do.

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