(Topic ID: 144000)

2016 Arcade Expo/INDISC Official Thread

By Tbgolfen

4 years ago

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  • 345 posts
  • 66 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by girloveswaffles
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    #28 4 years ago

    How are the EM pins coming along? I see over 200 listed on the website but the inaugural event last January had no more than about 20-30 working in total... and of them... at least half weren't working very well.

    Understandably, although the website says "each of these machines will be displayed and in working order – ready to be played by you and your friends", I'll need confirmation before promoting the event this time. It's just too expensive and time consuming to fly to LA, rent cars and hotels, etc, for what is a comparatively small number of playable titles.

    I personally spend 30+ hours on a typical EM for the mech/electrical portion alone. You can't simply "fix what broke" on these old games. They need to be completely rebuilt to withstand another generation of pounding... and that takes a lot of time... and John has a LOT of games.

    I believe Arcade Expo will eventually become a premiere experience like Pinburgh/ReplayFX, TPF, PHOF, and Ann Arbor. Just needs some more time to get there. So, how we doin'?

    #31 4 years ago
    Quoted from Tbgolfen:

    Sounds like we need you to come out and help us! If you would ever consider donating some time the pinball community would be indebted to you.

    I'd like to, but time is indeed the issue. Would be a lot easier to coordinate if I were local, but even then, you'd need about 20 clones of me for a solid month to make an appreciable dent in that many machines. If I had a full week I could go through (full rebuild, not just "fix") two machines (not 4-players), maximum, on a full-tilt nonstop schedule... assuming no serious repairs/undoing of hacks were necessary. That's just the mechs and electrical stuff. No polishing/waxing/cleaning/rubbering/touchups/etc.

    That's why I was curious about the EM's. Without a secret army of Oompa-Loompas in the back, it seems all but impossible to bring even 20% online by the January deadline (assuming the status quo hasn't changed much). But would love to see it happen regardless!

    #37 4 years ago

    Hiya Clay. Agreed there are no shortcuts. Just gotta get those 30 hours in one way or another.

    I spent the last three days at PHOF chewing the fat with Tim and Todd about maintenance, zoning, doing business, etc... and of course your name came up favorably. Really like your help guides and I've seen several games you've sold on Pinside/FB and they all looked very nice. Especially for the price.

    I'm putting Ann Arbor on my travel itinerary for 2016. Looking forward to seeing the collection and meeting you & the local pinsters.

    #38 4 years ago

    BTW, staying tuned Tbgolfen... just reply when you get confirmation of the status quo. Thx!

    #41 4 years ago

    As a courtesy to visitors planning to attend, it would be considerate to specify which games will/will not be ready on the event website. Currently it says "all are playable" which is apparently not the case for many of the EM's.

    As mentioned, I'm a huge proponent of pinball and teach others how to maintain and restore them. But I can't promote or encourage people to spend $1000 to visit an EM collection if they won't have much of anything to play. Not asking for miracles... only want to ensure proper expectations this time.

    2 weeks later
    #61 4 years ago

    I think we're still waiting on a headcount of working EM's.

    #71 4 years ago
    Quoted from NimblePin:

    What happens if I get you a Nico-super-Hoov-approved "headcount" and it's only say...70-95 out of 170+ EM's that are working 100%?
    Too few to bother with?
    If I sign you in as a guest one of the three days, will you still hem and haw again about how people (read: "volunteers") aren't putting in the proper Clay-approved 30+ hours on each game?
    You do know if you help before/during the show you get in for free, right?
    No offense Nico, but I think you're missing out on what AE is all about.
    All I can say to answer your original question is that it's definitely already better than last year's event!
    (as far as working games are concerned.)
    But to tell you how to spend your hard-earned $700 on a pin-travel experience again well, that's completely up to you.
    Big thanks to the underappreciated volunteers who continue to help!

    Hang on a minute friend... rest assured my goal is not to hold anyone's feet to the fire. Remember, I'm only a hobbyist who teaches restoration classes and enjoys sharing the hobby with new people.

    The reason I quoted "30 hours" wasn't to nitpick the group volunteer effort going on there which is awesome. Rather, it is a figure I often repeat because that is typically how long it takes me to go through a single game to the point where it will hold up to many thousands of replays without something breaking. A polite disclaimer, if you will, for setting expectations. Lots of eager newbies want to bring a game to VECTOR and think they can get it going in a single evening... won't happen.

    Generally it does irk me whenever someone brings a tired, ratty Craigslist game into a festival to get in for free and haven't done a thing to it. People get excited when they see that game listed on the event page... only to be disappointed later. It's NOT good for the hobby. Too many abused and neglected games sitting in the back of sad pizza joints and bars across America have sullied the image of pinball in the court of public opinion. Unfortunately, even at shows, some of this is unavoidable. The logistics of vetting "good" games can get very complicated at bring-your-own shows like TPF with so much loading in/out going on. However, since all of the games at Arcade Expo sit tight year-round... wouldn't that make it relatively easy to keep an accurate inventory?

    When you say "you're missing out on what AE is all about"... I understand where you are coming from. Most visitors will come to Arcade Expo to play whatever is turned on and working and will enjoy the experience as-is. I get it. Last January it was cool to see the venue and meet John and explore the sheer ambitiousness of the project and socialize. The thing is, a lot of people travel to these shows to fill in their knowledge gaps and play games they can't play anywhere else. Which we couldn't do as EM guys because that section of the museum was largely inoperable.

    So, if the "real" number of working pins is 50 or 70 or 100... great! I'm sure anyone who is planning to travel a long way to play those games would appreciate it. As far as condition goes, ultimately, it is up to you guys to decide when "done is done". Your customers will be the final arbiters of this... either with silent disapproval or repeat visits.

    My highest hope is to see you guys succeed.

    #72 4 years ago

    Forgot to add: The reason EM's lack popularity is most often due to condition. People instinctively avoid them because, sadly, they've been neglected visually and mechanically and rarely deliver that snappy and bright pinball experience people want.

    That's why I am so passionate about them. Properly upgraded, tuned, and clear coated... EM's play like lightning in a bottle. People LOVE them at my shop. In fact, several visitors have begun to collect them after seeing what they can really do. I've seen it happen again and again. There's just something special about that mechanical lure. You just have to help them see the light again.

    #81 4 years ago

    Thanks Nimble. I only wish I lived in SoCal so I could devote my spare cycles to the effort. 1000+ mile distance is a killer unfortunately.

    Since PHOF is within driving distance and many collectors already own the "big Gottliebs" (wedgeheads in particular), I'd recommend moving these up the queue since they are fun yet substantially different from the herd:

    Gay 90's
    Sea Ray
    4 Million BC
    Travel Time
    Delta Queen
    Captain Card
    Freedom (if prototype version)
    Mata Hari EM
    Jungle Queen

    #110 4 years ago

    Update: It's a cheap week for flights and hotels, so I'm considering flying in early and kicking some EM's into action. What the hell. Aiming for a Tuesday evening or early Wednesday arrival. I won't have anywhere near enough time to do the "full rebuild", but certainly enough to pop in new plungers, linkages, yokes, coil sleeves, rubbers, adjust switches, optimize things, etc. I'll focus upon the ones which need to be dialed in rather than trying to resurrect the totally dead ones... otherwise one machine might eat up all of my time.

    What days/times can I get started?
    Are tools and replacement parts available onsite for the EM's?
    Is any sort of nearby lodging/special accommodations available?

    Hmmmm... might be better to PM these questions. Nimble... *INCOMING*

    #119 4 years ago

    Cool. Reposted to my D/FW peeps.

    Will be there on the 12th w/tools and determination game-face on. At the very least I plan to create a Google Docs repair inventory for you guys and get some EM's dialed in. Let's do this.

    #125 4 years ago

    I'm staying at the Travelodge across the highway Tue-Sun. Still had rooms available at $75-ish a night w/breakfast last I checked.

    #136 4 years ago

    Tuesday night - Sunday morning... sadly too late to board the brew bus...

    #146 4 years ago

    Spent last night at PHOF. Tim says he might make it... not sure. He's hellaciously busy and ultra-no mood for jokes-hardcore these days. Honestly, I worry about what this hobby is doing to him. :/

    #161 4 years ago
    Quoted from pinwiztom:

    Me and my buddy Glen Peters will be there for SAT.
    Looking forward to playing some classic pins and of course meeting other pinheads.
    cheers tom

    I bought a '62 King Pin and a Heat Wave from Glen. Y'all come by and say hello!

    #162 4 years ago

    Rocket III @ 10:36pm...


    #163 4 years ago

    Rocket III @ 11:06pm


    These photos turned out way larger than intended. Anyway... one down, not sure how many to go. I don't have time to make any of them "perfect", but I should be able to resurrect/dial-in quite a few before the show starts.

    #174 4 years ago

    *whew* just returned from Wednesday's all-day repair stint. Was hoping to keep up the momentum and move on to Skyrocket, knock it out as fast as Rocket III, and maybe hit a few more before the end of the day. Alas...

    ...ye will now hear the well-known EM-fixer's tale, "The Unexpected Lamentations"...

    To begin, I fire up a game of Skyrocket and the right flipper is loose. No problem, right? Tighten those allen screws and done. But tightening the screws has no effect, because the flipper pawl has sheared apart from its "cuff". Someone previously attempted to fix this by using a big solder blob to fuse them together... nuh uh. Too much torsional force in this zone. To fix it, we need welding, not soldering. Had to rob a parts machine for a new pawl. Which doubled the expected repair time.

    I played a little more and whenever I scored 3000 points it trapped the game in a 3000-point loop. 3000-ding-ding-ding-3000-ding-ding-ding. Out comes the schematic. Motor switch looks good. Gate open switches look good. Target switches look good. Aha! The 3000 point relay switches are misaligned. I re-gap those... and move down the main relay bank gapping several borderline cases along the way (of which I found many).

    By this time I noticed none of the 10-point targets are scoring. The backbox reveals why: The 10-point relay coil is completely gone. Since I didn't have a spare G-30-1500, I subbed a G-31-2000 which is commonly used in Bally relays. Now the 10-point targets are scoring again.

    Ah, but what is this new source of smoke? It appears the 10-point relay coil may have been removed because it triggers the neighboring 00-90 match unit... and THAT has a slagged, frozen, crispy black solenoid which miraculously did not melt its adjoining plastic gear wheel. Again, back to the parts machine to steal a match unit coil and install it. After, of course, completely disassembling and rebuilding the match unit and cleaning the slag from the plastic gear.

    Are we done yet?!? Not quite. Most of the 10-point playfield targets (including the slingshots) are machine-gunning the score reels/relay/match unit. I manually adjust and polish all of the playfield switches. Which requires more time removing plastics, etc, etc.

    Finally... no machine-gunning. But a new problem has arisen: The 10-point and 100-point reels are not rolling over after 9. I test player 2 and the reels completely freeze up! Aaargh! The player select relay is immediately suspect... so I take it apart, polish the contacts, and optimize the switches. Now, scoring on player 2 no longer freezes up the action. But the 10/100 reels still aren't rolling over.

    I remove each score reel and clean it carefully with Windex, then optimize the switches. All "9th positions" look OK. Can't see any trouble here.

    I move on to the 1000/100/10 relays and give them the same treatment as the player select relay: Disassemble, polish, optimize gaps, reassemble. Boom... 9's are now rolling over to 10's.

    Are we done YET?!!! The left pop bumper isn't scoring any points. A quick adjustment of its relay fixes that. But the pops are a little weak. I bless all three of them with a set of new plungers, yokes, and bakelites... and replace the metal sleeves with nylon ones. Better now.

    It's 11pm and my ride is calling my name. I still see a number of other things which bug me: Missing bulbs and flaky sockets, center post isn't lighting up, would like a bit more flipper strength, etc. But the day is over and I've only returned one game to service... mostly.

    I got unlucky with this one. It started with a loose flipper and just kept throwing problems. At what point does a person back out? I kept thinking, geez, this is taking too long... but I can't quit now... ughhhh.

    Tomorrow I will take Nimble's remaining pile of parts and blast them into the games which are working but need a little extra oomph. Mostly pop bumper upgrades, methinks.

    G'nite & looking forward to this weekend. First the work and then the fun...

    #194 4 years ago

    Ideally I'd take a few turns off the pops or swap in hotter coils (flipper coils too). But... at least it's back from the dead...

    If you see me come say hello!

    #197 4 years ago

    I'm happy to report the EM situation is VASTLY improved over last year's debut. I'm having a good time fixing, leveling, and playing as I move through the aisles and getting to know everyone behind the scenes.

    It will take a while yet before the games are fully optimized to their maximum potential... but as far as I am concerned Arcade Expo has already reached the next level. The volunteers are dedicated and know their stuff. That's what will ultimately make Arcade Expo a success.

    C'mon out and join the fun.

    #238 4 years ago

    My feet are destroyed and I'm -beyond- tired after five days... but this was a ton of fun. I'm planning to make Arcade Expo an annual thing. BTW if you saw a guy walking around wearing Union Jack bowling shoes and a Space Invaders knitted scarf, that was me.

    Twas good to meet several Pinsiders and several other folks in person including PinWizTom, Glen Peters, David V and Brad of PPM, the Expo hosts & family, NimblePin, Richard H, Cactus Jack, Pete, John, Molly, Aaron and Cindi, Hans M... and many more. As fun as pinball may be, it's nothing without the people behind it. Was also pretty cool riding back to the hotel with Walter Day and Billy Mitchell, even though we were all ready to call it quits.

    Next event: Texas Pinball Festival this March. Hope to see some of y'all there & witness a few of my creations!

    #315 4 years ago

    How many did they make with the Gottlieb 80-style displays? Don't think I've ever seen that anywhere else.

    8 months later
    #342 3 years ago

    Arcade Expo one weekend, TPF the next. Book yer tickets, folks!

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