(Topic ID: 211448)

A Pecos Diary - My Journey to Pinball Operator


By Pecos

2 years ago



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  • Latest reply 70 days ago by Dono
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There are 419 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 9.
#51 2 years ago
Quoted from Pecos:

I added to my Website

If you're open to some help, I can spruce your site up a little and make it mobile friendly.

#52 2 years ago

That Harlem PF is a beauty!

#53 2 years ago
Quoted from steviechs:

If you're open to some help, I can spruce your site up a little and make it mobile friendly.

Thanks for the offer. I'm an old-school MIS type and do my own HTML. I never got around to learning how to optimize my Websites for mobile devices. Maybe it's time to learn.

Quoted from DNO:

That Harlem PF is a beauty!

Thanks DNO! The backglass is just as nice. It does have it's problems though, see below.

I replaced the power cord with a new one from PBR. The old one had been spliced in two places and had no grounding prong! The new cord is 13 feet in length. 13-15 feet is perfect for a pinball machine. Remember that it takes about five feet just to get the power cord out of the machine and to the floor. It is important that you wire-up the new power cord properly!

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A lot of potentially boring information about bridge rectifiers and Bally Transformer boards commences forthwith. You have been warned... But there are lessons to be learned here if you have the fortitude to read on.

I got my parts from GPE and finished up the rectifier board rebuild. Bally calls it a 'Transformer Board', so if you hear that term, it is what I call the rectifier board. I then started in on repinning the connectors. I became burned out repinning connectors after repinning the edge connectors on a Gottlieb System 80, years ago. Never did get that one working. Repinning is boring and tedious work. I repin one wire at a time so I won't get any wires mixed up. A lot of Amps run through some of these wires. I used Trifurcon pins since they have three points of contact and not just one.

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After putting the transformer board back into place and connecting it up, I powered on the machine and looked for the flashing LEDs on the MPU board. I got one flicker and seven flashes! I LOVE seven flashing LEDs because it means the MPU booted up with no problems. Indeed, I was able to coin up the game and play some balls. What a great feeling to have a working #Harlem Globetrotters On Tour!

And then my happy-place world came crashing down to reality. The game locked up while playing. I turned off the game and let it cool down. I turned the game back on and got NO flashes! There was no voltage at all on TP3, the 12VDC supply that eventually becomes the 5VDC needed to power the MPU. Had bridge 2 died already? I took the board back to the bench and replaced bridge 2 and put it back into the game. The seven flashes were back! Awesome work, Pecos!! I then remembered that I had purchased some stick-on heat sinks for the bridge rectifiers from GPE per Vid's recommendation. I put one on each of the three heat sinks.

My joyful celebration was interrupted, once again, with reality. I had to turn off the machine to let the bridge rectifiers cool down. I then cleaned the metal slugs with alcohol before putting on the heat sinks. When turning the game back on, I saw only five flashing LEDs. Stopping on flash five meant that there was something wrong with the displays. I already knew that. When the game was working I saw that two of the displays looked dead and the credit/ball in play display was not displaying the credits. The other two displays looked like the the walking dead. After turning the game off and on again, I got six flashes. That meant that the 43VDC power was missing! Yikes! Was I snake bit or what?? And then after sitting down and thinking about my problems, always a good thing to do, I remembered the reasons why Vid recommended leaving space under the bridge rectifiers:

Quoted from vid1900:

Here we have mounted the rectifiers as far above the circuit board as possible.

This give room for airflow.

This lets us see the topside solder joints.

This lets us attach heat sinks using bolts at a latter time.

Hmm, topside solder joints?? Putting on the heatsinks stressed these solder joints. Was it possible I had broken the solder joints? I moved the third bridge rectifier around a bit, with the machine off of course, and restarted the game. Now I was back to no LED flashes again. Two steps forward and five steps back! I checked for voltages on TP5. TP5 should test about 43VDC. I had none. TP3 also showed no voltage! Both were missing! I toned out the bridge rectifier to traces on the board with my DMM and, sure enough, one of the bridge 3 legs and two of bridge 2's legs were not soldered in place! Fortunately, I had room to get a soldering iron in there and solder the legs from the top of the board. I toned out the legs again and got continuity. I then turned #Harlem Globetrotters back on and, and, and, SUCCESS! So much for my wonderful soldering skills! These bridge rectifiers, like all of the other components are soldered on the back of the PCB. Insufficient solder had made it to the top of the board where the traces were. Another lesson learned the hard way, easily fixed thanks to Vid and his guide. I've got to remember to send that guy some $$Moolah$$.

This bridge rectifier should last another 40 years.

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After looking at some business cards online, and their prices, I have decided to make my own. I wanted a picture of a pinball machine on the card and I did find one company that had that design - only $39.00 for 100. That's when I decided to make my own! Here is the first draft of the card - constructive criticism and ideas welcome.

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Oh yeah, I've played some games of Harlem Globetrotters On Tour and it's fun! There are still problems to solve, but I'll leave that to another day.

12
#54 2 years ago
Quoted from Pecos:

After looking at some business cards online, and their prices, I have decided to make my own. I wanted a picture of a pinball machine on the card and I did find one company that had that design - only $39.00 for 100. That's when I decided to make my own! Here is the first draft of the card - constructive criticism and ideas welcome.

In my opinion you have too many fonts and slogans and could benefit from some alignment. I made 2 pretty simple options.

  • Went with a single font in different sizes/weights
  • Single color makes for cheap printing. You could choose any combo of color(s) though
  • Combined the slogans into 1. You could update to whatever you think is more in line with your desired branding
  • Removed the website address mostly to allow for some white space. People will find it based on the business name and email address and given that your website is not really business focused, I left it off for now.
  • The game could be replaced with any of your choosing so long as you can find a good profile picture of the entire machine. I tried a few 'real photos' and they just don't look as polished in my opinion as the game outline

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#55 2 years ago

I agree 100% with the issues with the original business card, single font (or two at the very most) would be the way to go. Love the generic pinball silhouette image, very clean looking. I would include the website address but only if it will be updated with a cleaner and more professional look. I think the top is very appealing. I would change the email address to inquires@pecospinball.com on the business card.

Honestly, I do not like either slogan very much as I feel it is unclear what the business is. I would go with "Specializing in the placement and maintenance of vintage pinball machines in retail establishments" or something that really speaks to the business. The top cards slogan feels like it is a place to play pinball while the bottom slogan feels like it is pinball sales.

As for the website, it needs to be cleaned up and focused on the business. I know it is probably a quick site just to get up and running but here are a few suggestions; get rid of the google search bar at the top. If you are going to have a listing of the machines on the main page it should be two photos, one of the backglass and one of the playfield. Print out new score cards for each machine before taking the photos, I would even look at custom text at the top of each like "Your business name here" or something. Add it as an option. Avoid text like "not everyone likes the theme" and play up the retro 80's look. Include other options that an interested business might look for like options for pricing, extra ball/extra games and such.

Play up that you will maintain and repair these machines or rotate them in and out on a set schedule. Do you plan on offering any other services like setting up tournaments and/or leagues or providing guidance to a retail employee to do so?

Oh and get rid of the links to other sites like pinside. Sell them on your company, don't send them here to read about your plan. Put in links on the site for pinball repair (might as well makes some scratch on the side) and "Selling a pinball machine". Have your web site on all your machines, you might be surprised by someone who sees the machine in public and remembers they have one in the storage room at home they want to get rid of.

Have some shirts made up with your Pecos Pinball on the breast, embroidered is best, so when you visit establishments you look professional. Print up a ton of business cards and give them to anyone and everyone.

Good luck!

#56 2 years ago

I checked VistaPrint (they do our business cards) and their premium glossy business cards are 500 for $30. We had really good luck with the premium glossy ones, it gives the cards a nice feel. Anytime you get compliments on a business card you know it is making an impression. Do not print your own on that cheap perforated paper, you need to stand out and for the price of a rubber kit you can leave a great first impression with a potential client.

#57 2 years ago

+1 on the vista print glossy cards, you could likely do something pretty wild with color and really stand out. Did mine years ago with the glossy finish & gold embossing from vistaprint and they were well worth it.

#58 2 years ago

steviechs, how awesome of you to design some sample Pecos Pinball business cards! I like what you have done by simplifying the card but want to keep the Website name. I like the font used for in the second example. What font is that? I would want to go with a simpler font for my name, phone number and email address in the middle. I'll have some samples ready in the next day or two. Again, bravo!!

Quoted from Matesamo:

As for the website, it needs to be cleaned up and focused on the business. I know it is probably a quick site just to get up and running but here are a few suggestions;

Yeah, I cloned it from one of my other Websites and did a quick and dirty on it. It started out as a Website to write about my restorations and now needs to be converted over fully to make it about my new business. You have a lot of good ideas there and I will be reading them again, several times, as I proceed blindly onward through the fog. Thanks for taking the time to write these down. I probably won't be the only one who will benefit from them.

With #Harlem Globetrotters On Tour working, it was time to move on to the next problem. Fifteen of the insert lamps were out. I replaced all of the old lamps with new #44 lamps. The ground wire was broken to one of the lamps and I fixed that. I wanted to do the self test to see which lamps were still out. I pressed the little red button on the coin door to enter the self-test mode and, nothing! It had worked before. Why wasn't it now? The switch tested okay and the connections in the backbox seemed fine too. I was stumped. Serendipity found me when I pressed in on several of the socketed chips on the MPU board and, when pressing the little red button, the game went into self-test mode. It is working now but it sounds like I have a bad solder joint or an IC that was not firmly seated. When, not if, it happens again I will at least know where to look. Serendipity is a good thing! I could have spent days trying to track that problem down. A working little red self-test button is critical on route because that is how you get to the bookkeeping data, games played, coins dropped etc.

Anyway, in lamp self-test I found eight lamps still out. I checked out each of the lamps and found one I forgot to replace. I am down to seven bad lamps. I'll be testing SCRs this time before replacing them - lesson learned the hard way on #Future Spa.

It looks like I am going to have to buy the replacement LED displays. Player one display appears to be dead - no dot. Player three display has a dot but nothing else. Player four display has the top segment stuck on. Players two and four segments look like blobs of light, not clean segments. I just don't think these displays can be salvaged.

Boy oh boy, this hobby, now about to be business, sure is expensive!!

#59 2 years ago
Quoted from Pecos:

this hobby, now about to be business, sure is expensive!!

Ah, but now it is a different item on your balance sheet!

#60 2 years ago

The font for the second card was Harlow Solid

http://fontsgeek.com/fonts/Harlow-Solid-Regular

Agency was the font on the first card. I like the lighter font face on the 1st card for the name and details; you could go with a gray instead of black to differentiate some

#61 2 years ago

Grnrzr brought me this handy dandy tool holder designed to fit right on a pinball machine cabinet when he brought me Airborne Avenger. I hadn't thought of a need for it until yesterday. Do you talk to your tools? I did this week. The LED work light I bought from Amazon was way bigger than it looked in the picture. Add to that a short, thick power cord and the thing is always falling off tables, pointed in the wrong direction and just plain unwieldy. I told it that I hated it!

barakandl recommended this Mastech DMM. I like it a lot and haven't cursed at it, yet but, it too, is bigger than I would like. It too, is always falling into the pinball machine.

And then I remembered this removable tool holder from Grnrzr. This is perfect for holding the DMM and LED work light! Thanks Grnrzr! It took me some time to see the brilliance of your gift.

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I have a couple of reworked designs for my business card:

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I want my business card to say:

I'm professional
I'm creative
I'm not like everyone else, I'm different

I plan to print these on waterslide decals, transfer the decals to white card stock with 'speckles' of silver paint. I will then clear coat the cards. I like the idea of VistaPrint, but it is too status quo for my needs.

#62 2 years ago
Quoted from Pecos:

I have a couple of reworked designs for my business card:

I want my business card to say:
I'm professional
I'm creative
I'm not like everyone else, I'm different
I plan to print these on waterslide decals, transfer the decals to white card stock with 'speckles' of silver paint. I will then clear coat the cards. I like the idea of VistaPrint, but it is too status quo for my needs.

At the end of the day this is certainly your business and your decision to make but you are a new unproved business trying to get a niche product into retail establishments. If I were a business owner I would want your vibe to be: You are a professional, you are reliable, you will make me money. Maybe Arizona is a different vibe, it probably is, but you are going to have to go the extra mile to get started. You are asking a business to take a chance on you, you take up valuable floor space and potential headaches for a very small payoff. Every little advantage you can get you need to seize.

#63 2 years ago
Quoted from Pecos:

I plan to print these on waterslide decals

Can you print these backward? That way you can apply to the underside of the playfield glass on all your games.

Other thoughts for EM locations: Coffee house (non-chain), Diners, Hair salons, non-chain restaurants, local drug store. Think places where people have to wait.
I would love to do something like this in my home town, but there always seems to be more cons than pros to doing it.

#64 2 years ago
Quoted from brenna98:

Think places where people have to wait.

Laundramats? The ones I've been to had some arcade games and crane machines since most of their washing machines were still quarter operated.

#65 2 years ago

I'd try to photoshop out the color difference in the background of the pinball machine, otherwise looks good.

If I wasn't away from work for the week I'd do it for you

#66 2 years ago
Quoted from brenna98:

Can you print these backward? That way you can apply to the underside of the playfield glass on all your games.

Or just place a card under the clear plastic score card cover on the bottom arch. Or, Painter's tape the card to the arch. Just like normal route operators do. Why risk a decal getting scraped off of the glass? Or, it disintegrating during the weekly glass cleaning?

#67 2 years ago
Quoted from Matesamo:

At the end of the day this is certainly your business and your decision to make but you are a new unproved business trying to get a niche product into retail establishments. If I were a business owner I would want your vibe to be: You are a professional, you are reliable, you will make me money. Maybe Arizona is a different vibe, it probably is, but you are going to have to go the extra mile to get started. You are asking a business to take a chance on you, you take up valuable floor space and potential headaches for a very small payoff. Every little advantage you can get you need to seize.

Matesamo, I hope you don't feel slighted by any of my decisions. I value your opinions and appreciate your advice. I will follow a lot of it.

I went downtown today to hand in my paperwork for my business license. I need four business licenses in Tucson to operate pinball machines:

Transaction Privelege Tax TPT
Tucson Business License
Vending Distributor License
Individual Pinball Machine License

I had already gotten the TPT license and my fingerprinting done, so I needed to have my paperwork, about 10 pages worth, checked. There turned out to be several problems. I completely missed the page that said I needed two passport photos. While Michael, the Tucson License Division employee, was going over my paperwork, I ran down to Walgreens to get my two passport pictures made. Then, the fingerprinting I had done was done incorrectly. It should have been done for a Vending Distributor License, and it wasn't.

Michael was very nice, staying into part of his lunch to help me out. Then I had to go back to TPD, Tucson Police Department, to give them my paperwork and have my fingerprint taken again - this time with the right form. Michael had gone out of his way to call ahead and let them know that I was coming and what had happened - exceptional service! The business license forms then had to go to The Department of Public Safety, DPS, for a background check. They were very nice at TPD. They didn't charge me a second time to have my fingerprints taken. When I got home and checked my voicemail, I had a message that they had forgotten to collect the $22.00 fee DPS needed! Guys and gals, please get it right!! If you don't know what you're doing, I can't help you out. I'm completely lost in this rat's nest of red tape!

At least the people helping me are friendly and we will get this straightened out soon enough.

Edit: Forgot to mention that I had to be 'notarized' too.

This is getting expensive:

Transaction Privilege Tax, TPT: $32.00
Tucson Business License: $62.50
Vending Distributor License: $137.50
Individual Pinball Machine Licenses: $6.00 Each
Two Passport Photos: $16.29
Fingerprinting: $10.00
DPS Background Check: $22.00
Parking: $2.00

I believe that either the Tucson Business License or the Vending Distributor License, or both, are prorated quarterly. This is why I chose to start my business on April 1st. I won't get my business license or the pinball machine tax tags until the background check is completed.

I got some 6821 PIAs in the mail today from China that I need to get Laser Cue up and running. They were only $0.79 each. I don't like having to order from China - I've been burned before, but there aren't a lot of options left. I didn't buy them blindly. Another Pinsider said that they had gotten good PIAs from this source. If only half of them are good, I will be happy with that.

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#Harlem Globetrotters is working well except for seven insert lamps that are out and the bad displays. I am really happy that it only took about a week to get it working! Grnrzr has offered to sell me five of his used Bally displays for a very reasonable price. Thanks Grnrzr for helping to get my #Harlem Globetrotters out on route.

There are so many people who have helped me on this journey. You know who you are. Thank you all!!

#68 2 years ago

Our story left off with a second fingerprint session where the TPD (Tucson Police Dept) officer forgot to get the $22.00 needed to go with the business license application to DPS (Az Dept of Public Saftey). I got a call early the next morning from said officer. She wanted to meet me at the facility where fingerprints were taken to take my money order and get the business application off to DPS - even though it was closed! I asked if I could be refunded for first set of fingerprints that were taken incorrectly. She agreed to refund me the $10.00 You often hear about poor service from governmental agencies, but this was exceptional service. The process to get licensed to operate pinball machines may be crazy, but the people who make this process work went above and beyond expectations to help me get through the process. I offered to donate a Pecos Pinball machine for one of the TPD events. I like to reciprocate when I get treated well. Thank You Michael and Emelda! You are both superstars!

While waiting for the displays for #Harlem Globetrotters, I forged ahead by working on Aztec 2. I replaced the coin door lock and added a backbox lock. I made a new score card and set the sore threshold in the backbox. I played some games and tested the tilt.

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I have three Aztecs and each one has a lousy backglass.

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Game #6, Aztec 2, is ready to go!

I bought some 65# card stock at Michael's. 65# is the most that can be put through my Canon laser printer. I also printed out some information cards that I could put on the apron of each pinball machine.

I spray painted a few cards with Krylon Triple clear coat. I don't think it looks any better, but it does leave the text shiny. I had bought three packages of four Master locks. Each package had been keyed differently so I painted each key a different color and clear coated it. Now I know which key to use for which lock.

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I printed a score card for Harlem Globetrotters using the colored card stock. I like the addition of color for SS pins. I will stick with plain white for EMs.

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#69 2 years ago

Today I worked on the Lamp Board to try to fix the remaining seven computer controlled lamps that weren't working. When I got the Lamp Board to my work bench I couldn't believe what I was seeing. What is wrong with this board??

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I learned how to test SCRs and found three bad 2N5060 SCRs. That left one lamp left to diagnose, the G-L-O-B-E Special, Q53 lamp. I replaced the three bad SCRs with 2N5064 SCRs and replaced Q53 too. This time I was much more careful desoldering the SCRs and the work turned out top-notch - no lifted traces or pads. I put the Lamp Board back in and put the game in self-test mode. All lamps were working, except for the the G-L-O-B-E Special. I cleaned the lamp socket connection with Isopropyl alcohol and used the Magic Brush on it. That fixed it! All computer controlled lamps are now working!

Now, I need to take a trip to Gilbert, south of Phoenix to pick up the displays from Grnrzr and Harlem Globetrotters On Tour will be ready to route.

I haven't mentioned that I have written up a contract. It details what Pecos Pinball will provide to the 'Receiving Business' and what they will be expected to do. The contract is written so that either party can break the contract at any time for any reason and what happens when the contract is broken. I am not a lawyer, so I don't know how well it has been written, but I did put a fair amount of time determining 'what happens when.' I won't post it here for legal reasons.

I also made a spreadsheet of the games that will be on route, their serial numbers and route locations. This was required as part of the business license application process. If you would like a copy, PM me.

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What was wrong with that board? SCRs Q1, Q2 and Q3 were missing. Why would that be unless they were scavanged for another game? I just couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it.

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#70 2 years ago
Quoted from Pecos:

What was wrong with that board? SCRs Q1, Q2 and Q3 were missing. Why would that be unless they were scavanged for another game? I just couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it.

Not a big deal really, In earlier games, which that board was from (Harlem Globetrotters used the newer, traces on one side only PCB), not every SCR was used. The board was designed to control up to 24 two lamp circuits. Early games did not have that many controlled lamps so the SCR's were not used. If a game had a lamp circuit down on location, us technicians knew enough to take an unused SCR out and install it in place of a bad one.

Keep the game working at its best to earn the most money possible.

#71 2 years ago
Quoted from MrBally:

Early games did not have that many controlled lamps so the SCR's were not used. If a game had a lamp circuit down on location, us technicians knew enough to take an unused SCR out and install it in place of a bad one.

I get that, but Q1, Q2 and Q3 were used. I wasn't clear in my earlier post, but of the seven lamps that were out, replacing those MCRs fixed three of them. Three more were fixed by replacing the three SCRs that tested bad and the last lamp was fixed by cleaning the contacts. My best guess is that the three MCRs were borrowed to fix another game.

I did some more grunt work yesterday - not very exciting but will mention it anyway. I replaced some beer seals on lockdown bars, added some 'Owned and Operated' tags to some of the games and adjusted the leftmost flipper on #Harlem Globetrotters. It looked a little droopy. Sure enough, when I checked pictures of other #Harlem Globetrotters, the flipper was lower than it should have been.

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Well folks, it's April 1st and the joke is on me. I have no insurance, I have no businesses signed up and I don't even have my business license yet. I will be working on the first two this week and I am waiting for DPS to finish my background check so I can get my Tucson Business License, my Vending Distributor License and my Game Licenses.

#72 2 years ago

After finding that two of the three bridge rectifiers on the rectifier board hadn't been soldered on the top of the PCB properly, I did a quick and dirty solder job on it. It came back to haunt me on Sunday when #Harlem Globetrotters wouldn't boot up. The 12 Volts was missing, again. Today I took the board and transformer out and soldered bridge 2 properly. When I went to put the board back in and turn the game on, the game made a horrible electronic humming sound. I took board and transformer back out, looking for solder bridges. I don't think I found any. I put the transformer and board back in, this time with the other board connectors removed and turned the game on. No issues. Hmmm. I tested the fuses and found that the 5A and 20A fuses had blown. I put new fuses in and turned the game back on. Still no issues. I hooked up the board connectors and turned the game on to find the game working perfectly. Fortunately, I had checked the fuses early on and replaced several slow blow fuses that shouldn't have been there with fast blow fuses, perhaps saving board damage. I don't know what I did wrong - possibly put the connectors on incorrectly? I am very fortunate that no damage was done. Thank you Bally engineers for saving me from myself!

I cleaned up the #Harlem Globetrotters cabinet bottom. I found the keys to the backbox, but there was no hook to hang them on inside the coin door. I found some curtain hangers and they attach easily to the inside of the coin door. It works great! I enjoy finding household items that replace a part in my pinball machines!

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I called the fifth insurance agent today. He is supposed to call me back with a quote for liability insurance tomorrow.

#73 2 years ago
Quoted from Pecos:

I found the keys to the backbox, but there was no hook to hang them on inside the coin door. I found some curtain hangers and they attach easily to the inside of the coin door. It works great! I enjoy finding household items that replace a part in my pinball machines!

The backglass lock key hook on that era is attached to one of the front left leg bolt cover mounting screws. They were made of case hardened steel and many are snapped off.

#74 2 years ago
Quoted from MrBally:

The backglass lock key hook on that era is attached to one of the front left leg bolt cover mounting screws. They were made of case hardened steel and many are snapped off.

Good info! Is this what you mean? I never would have thought of looking for keys there. The keys I found were in the bottom of the cabinet.

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#75 2 years ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Good info! Is this what you mean? I never would have thought of looking for keys there. The keys I found were in the bottom of the cabinet.

Yep. Half of that hook has snapped off. The operator bent the remaining part up to still use as a hook. This is fine unless you stand the main cabinet on its back. But, if you do, the keys are usually in the head anyway. Since the head is removed from the main cabinet.

#76 2 years ago

I am putting a PR package together so I will have to information to leave with potential clients. This sample does not include all of the pictures. I will be putting pictures in for each pinball available for routing.

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Pecos Pinball PR3 (resized).png

#77 2 years ago
Quoted from Pecos:

I called the fifth insurance agent today. He is supposed to call me back with a quote for liability insurance tomorrow

Any news on this front?

#78 2 years ago
Quoted from Atari_Daze:

Any news on this front?

I did hear yesterday from the last insurance agent I contacted. He is still looking for a company that will provide the insurance. I guess insurance companies don't want my money. It's tough being 'the little guy on the block.'

I modified the title of my PR Package and added some pricing info.

Pecos Pinball PR and Information Package Title (resized).png

I left the first two PR Packages and Business Cards at local businesses today.

#79 2 years ago
Quoted from Atari_Daze:

Any news on this front?

I just got a quote for insurance by email from the fifth insurance agent I contacted. I will have to read the details, but it is half of the $1,100 - $1,200 'ballpark' quote I was given from another agent. There is light at the end of the 'find insurance' journey!

#80 2 years ago

I brought two copies of my Pecos Pinball PR Packages and business cards to a couple of places on Thursday. One was a comics book store. The owner said that the noises from a pinball machine would drive him nuts. I happen to like the sounds of a pinball machine and, after a while, they become something your mind tunes out. To each his own, I guess.

The other place was a local pub. The owner was very nice. We sat down and had a chat. He didn't have the room and he told me he would feel bad if one of my pinball machines got damaged. I understand the risks of putting one of my beautiful machines in the public. I worked at an arcade and saw how pinball machines get beat up. Legs, coin doors and the bottom of the cabinet get kicked. Playfield glasses get broken and all kinds of drinks get spilled on the playfield glass and drip into the cabinet. The bad news is that it hurts to see one of your pinball machines get beat on. The good news is that all of these damaged parts can be replaced. He seemed to be a pinball guy, so maybe something will come of my visit. He, like me, would like to see more pinballs in the wild.

I have sold one of my pinball machines. I spent today moving it from my neighbor's house to mine and fixing a few minor problems and waxing the playfield. This is something that has been in the works since September of last year. It is coming at a good time because my credit card is becoming bloated and this will help pay for the expenses involved in a pinball business start up. More on this later.

I got my #Hardbody Station 3 plastics from Atari_Daze today. He told me that he was having problems with pixelation. Then he told me that they weren't his best work. I think they look fantastic! Bravo Atari_Daze! He even sent me more than I paid for! The people on this forum continue to amaze me with their generosity and quality of work. Thanks Atari_Daze for making my #Hardbody look awesome!

I have more Station 3 plastics than I need. If a Pinsider needs one, PM me.

This is how the Station 3 plastic looked:

DSCF3492 (resized).JPG

I had to put some small post rings under the plastic to keep the plastic from drooping.

DSCF3493 (resized).JPG

The new plastics:

DSCF3491 (resized).JPG

And on the game:

DSCF3494 (resized).JPG

Doesn't it look great! What an improvement! It may be a small item in the general scheme of things, but it's the small things that matter a lot to me.

Being a perfectionist can sometimes be a pain. Two of #Harlem Globetrotters GI lamps were out. I took two lamp sockets from a Williams Suspense backbox that had been given to me. The lamp socket in the backbox was replaced and soldered in place. One down and one to go. When I went to put the second lamp socket under the playfield I noticed that it had been wired up with two 6V wires! Sometimes I can't believe what I am seeing and have to triple check that, yep, someone wired this up wrong!

I signed for my liability insurance today. Scott at Nova Insurance Services found me a good, relatively speaking, deal for the insurance. My insurance begins April 13th.

I am still waiting to hear from Michael at the Tucson Business License Department that my background check has been completed. Hopefully, that will occur next week before my insurance kicks in.

#81 2 years ago

The Interrupted Journey:

I sat down to do my Project Pin thread duty on Friday night and saw an ad, only an hour old, for a 1977 Williams Big Deal for cheap. I just spent $1000 starting my business so I have no business spending money on another pin. But it was a late 70s Williams, which are all good, and the price was irresistible. The seller was kind enough to hold it for me.

Grnrzr had offered me some of his used Bally displays for my Harlem Globetrotters. I was able to combine picking up the displays with picking up the Big Deal. Grnrzr is a great guy and was kind enough to give me a special price on the displays. He took the time to find five good displays and tested them in one of his games. One of the displays had cracked solder joints. That was no problem. I have the tools to make that problem go away quickly.

When I got home, I put the displays in the game and the display on player four was acting weird. In attract mode, the displays flash from current scores to highest score. In between, the displays go blank for a second. But player's four display wasn't blank. The segments were partially lit. Hmm. Not sure what would cause that.

I then replaced it with another display and that turned out to be the one with the cracked solder joints. I took it to the bench and gave it the Hakko treatment to remove the solder on the male header pins. I resoldered the joints, put it back into the machine and it worked perfectly.

I then put the machine in self-test mode and the first digit of player three was missing! I turned off the machine, removed the display and took it to the bench. It, too, had cracked solder joints - a lot of them, so many in fact that it was a miracle that it was working at all. I knew this one! Remove old solder. Put on new solder. Put display back in machine. It worked like a charm! No doubt, just removing connectors and putting them back on was enough to crack the old solder joints. Certainly not Grnrzr's fault. If I remember, I will be taking the other three displays off and doing the same work on the solder joints. No sense in waiting for them to fail.

Perfection personified at Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour!

DSCF3511 (resized).JPG

So Harlem Globetrotters is now working 100% and ready to go on route. And the displays I got from Grnrzr are simply beautiful! They look brand new. Thanks Grnrzr's! Knowing what I know now about these old Bally displays, I won't be buying any without seeing them first - and certainly not buying any on eBay. I am very fortunate to have a Pinsider who helped me get the displays I needed. There are so many people helping me get my machines ready to go on route. Thank You all!

I realized that I hadn't put a new barrel spring on the shooter assembly. I get these brass looking barrel springs that I put on all of my games. It's another one of those little details that make a difference in my book. When I got the shooter assembly off the game I realized that there were two more problems. First, the shooter spring was broken. I had to rob a new one from OXO since I had none in stock. Second, the copper metal ground had a plastic sheath around it. Coke had gotten into it and the copper piece had literally disintegrated! Coke will do that to metal. I fixed that problem with two copper leaf switches I had on hand. Wherever this game had been, they sold a lot of soda!

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Before:

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After:

DSCF3507 (resized).JPG

After putting a thin layer of Super Lube on the shooter rod, it went back onto the machine.

DSCF3508 (resized).JPG

#82 2 years ago

Glad to see the Station 3 plastics arrived safely and your machines are still coming together. (thanks for the compliments)
Hope your pinball peddler pursuit persists!

#83 2 years ago

Don't forget to adjust the +190 volt displaypower as low as you can. Ballpark is 160 volt.
If the 190volt is however 230 volt and cannot be adjusted replace entire high voltage section to save your displays
from premature burnout. This happens alot.

#84 2 years ago
Quoted from cudabee:

Don't forget to adjust the +190 volt displaypower as low as you can. Ballpark is 160 volt.

With the machine off, I turned the pot down in the high voltage section of the Power Suppy/Solenoid driver board on Harlem Globetrotters On Tour . After turning on the game I got 155V, which is perfect. Thanks for suggesting this! I want my beautiful, original Bally displays to stay that way. I have three other Bally SS pins that I need to do this to.

I remembered to check the other three displays and the two that I got from Grnrzr had nice shiny and new looking solder with no solder cracks. The only original working display on the game had a visible crack in the far right male header pin solder joint. I desoldered then resoldered those pins and that display should be good for another 20+ years.

#85 2 years ago

Two more PR packages were delivered today. I was lucky to speak with the owner at the first place I stopped. He is very interested in two or three machines. I am to contact him when I get my license. I am very excited about this opportunity.

The manager at the second place thought the idea of my vintage pinball business was "very cool."

On the way home I heard 'Pinball Wizard' on the radio. No kidding! If that isn't some kind of sign I don't know what is!

#86 2 years ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Two more PR packages were delivered today. I was lucky to speak with the owner at the first place I stopped. He is very interested in two or three machines. I am to contact him when I get my license. I am very excited about this opportunity.
The manager at the second place thought the idea of my vintage pinball business was "very cool."
On the way home I heard 'Pinball Wizard' on the radio. No kidding! If that isn't some kind of sign I don't know what is!

Great news Pecos! I'm sure youre impatiently waiting on that business license.....

#87 2 years ago
Quoted from nascarrey:

Great news Pecos! I'm sure youre impatiently waiting on that business license.....

Thanks nascarrey! I wasn't until today. Now that I have a potential client, I'm chomping at the bit to get a hold of those tags for the machines. I called Michael today and found out that the AZ DPS has 45 days to do the background check. Tomorrow will be two weeks. How long can it take to do a background check? It's the last step in the licensing process, so just as soon as that is done, I'm in business!

#88 2 years ago

Fingerprints/background check took almost the max amount of time. The funny thing is if they made a single phone call they would have saved themselves a lot of time. Oh well.

Do that spreadsheet on something like Google Sheets if you have a Gmail account. Eliminates double effort and less chance of data entry errors.

Looking forward to location announcements.

#89 2 years ago

Seems like getting permission to put a pinball machine out in public takes longer and involves more hoops to jump through than getting a gun? Maybe we need a constitutional amendment to protect our God given right to enjoy pinball on location.

2 weeks later
#90 2 years ago

I am still waiting, waiting, waiting. In the meantime I had a nice pinball party at Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour since this is the last time that all of my games will be here at PPPP.

I saw my possible first client and explained the situation to him. He is still interested. I have a possible second client.

My insurance kicked in on April the 13th. All of my license fees are paid. I am losing $3.00 everyday that I have to wait to start my business. It has been a full month since the background check was started. Still waiting.

I picked up a Bally Wizard! yesterday that I want to route. It will be a while before it gets restored but it will be nice to have a working Wizard! on route for play in Tucson!

I sold a Williams Spanish Eyes to Robert and Constance at D&D Pinball today. This will help the money situation until some quarters can start coming in. It's a fun game. If you are near downtown Tucson, look up D&D Pinball and go play it and my other 'Middle Pop' Williams pin, Fan-Tas-Tic.

Still Waiting...

#91 2 years ago

Yo Pecos... enjoying your thread and hope the quarters start rolling in soon. BTW, I’m going to drill new lower-post holes for Fan-Tas-Tic at the museum. Ever since you pointed out how they angle downwards to the drain, I’ve been wanting to correct that. Seems easily doable by moving the lower pair of posts inward to eliminate the tilt. That’s how the Freedom proto is set up... looks like Norm agreed with your findings and corrected it in his final middle-pop layout.

#92 2 years ago

Hope they get you up and rolling soon Pecos! As Tom Petty says... "Waiting is the hardest part"

Quoted from NicoVolta:

Yo Pecos... enjoying your thread and hope the quarters start rolling in soon. BTW, I’m going to drill new lower-post holes for Fan-Tas-Tic at the museum. Ever since you pointed out how they angle downwards to the drain, I’ve been wanting to correct that. Seems easily doable by moving the lower pair of posts inward to eliminate the tilt. That’s how the Freedom proto is set up... looks like Norm agreed with your findings and corrected it in his final middle-pop layout.

Just picked one up last week-my first middle pop!

#93 2 years ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

Yo Pecos... enjoying your thread and hope the quarters start rolling in soon.

Thanks Nic! So do I. I ordered 1000 preformed quarter wrappers today. I hope to go through all 1000 quickly!

amazon.com link »

Quoted from NicoVolta:

BTW, I’m going to drill new lower-post holes for Fan-Tas-Tic at the museum. Ever since you pointed out how they angle downwards to the drain, I’ve been wanting to correct that. Seems easily doable by moving the lower pair of posts inward to eliminate the tilt. That’s how the Freedom proto is set up... looks like Norm agreed with your findings and corrected it in his final middle-pop layout.

Wow! I hope this idea works out for you. I will feel bad if it doesn't. I'll be looking forward to the results.

Quoted from nascarrey:

Just picked one up last week-my first middle pop!

Speaking of middle pops:

Quoted from Pecos:

The second 'middle pop' pin, Spanish Eyes, has left Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour. The good news is that you can play it and Fan-Tas-Tic at D&D Pinball in Tucson. If you ever find yourself in Tucson with nothing to do, check them out!

Before this turns into the middle pop thread, I did get some work done today. I went looking for simple quarter counters on Amazon and Ebay. The tray type, which would be fine, were for pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters. A quarters only tray counter was nowhere to be found. There were some plastic tube type for more than $10.00 shipped. It's just a piece of plastic, people!

I had some PVC pipe laying around. I found that a quarter fit into one of them with only a little bit of slop.

DSCF3530 (resized).JPG

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This might work out perfectly. The space between the quarters and the tube might be the perfect size so I can slide a quarter wrapper in there, making short work of loading the wrapper. Fingers are crossed! Will serendipity pay me a visit?

I spoke with Michael at the Tucson Business License Department and told him that it has now been more than a month and that I am losing almost $3.00 every day that I don't have a license. If I could just get a status, that would be helpful. I am concerned that the background check request might have been lost or put at the bottom of the wrong pile. He has emailed the Arizona Department of Public Safety trying to get this done. He is going to work on it next week - again. Everybody in this licensing process has been wonderful, especially Michael. I can't say that about AZ DPS.

17
#94 2 years ago

I got a call from Michael at the Tucson Business License Department this morning. He has resolved the background check problem. I am to go downtown tomorrow to pick up my 'tags.'

Thanks Michael for all of your hard work getting this done!

DSCF3537 (resized).JPG

This is what a Tucson licence tag used to look like.

Beginning tomorrow, I can put pins on location.

#95 2 years ago
Quoted from Pecos:

I got a call from Michael at the Tucson Business License Department this morning. He has resolved the background check problem. I am to go downtown tomorrow to pick up my 'tags.'
Thanks Michael for all of your hard work getting this done!

This is what a Tucson licence tag used to look like.
Beginning tomorrow, I can put pins on location.

Pecos: "Cha ching"!!!

#96 2 years ago

I should be ecstatic. But getting my license tabs after this long wait is a bit anti-climactic. It's been a long journey and I'm just getting started.

Here is a picture of Michael getting my tags ready for me. Michael has always been there to help me along the way. Thanks Michael!

DSCF3538 (resized).JPG

Here are the all-important Tucson License Tags:

DSCF3540 (resized).JPG

Quoted from nascarrey:

Pecos: "Cha ching"!!!

Almost there. Next stop, getting the pins out into the public!

#97 2 years ago

I sincerely hope you cover your costs and end up making at least half of minimum wage (New York or California) for your time invested within a year.

#98 2 years ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Beginning tomorrow, I can put pins on location.

...one small step for Pecos...

#99 2 years ago

Been following your project from good ole Germany. Good luck!

#100 2 years ago
Quoted from MrBally:

I sincerely hope you cover your costs and end up making at least half of minimum wage (New York or California) for your time invested within a year.

I won't be disappointed if I don't. I have been blessed with help from so many in the Pinside community and local community getting to this point.
atari_daze - sent me some very nice plastics for Hardbody - more than I paid for.
jwwhite15 - sent me six coin boxes for a very reasonable price.
grnrzr - sold me five great looking Bally displays, inexpensively, keeping the original look for Harlem Globetrotters On Tour.
My Project Pin guy in San Tan Valley sold me Harlem Globetrotters On Tour and Super-Flite, the first two games to go out on route.
These are just the people who have helped me get my Pecos Pinball business up and running. There are others who have sent me parts for free for other games at Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour.
Thank you!!
If I don't make money then this will be my contribution to the community that has given me so much.
Speaking of costs, here is the update you have all been eagerly waiting for:
Transaction Privilege Tax, TPT: $32.00
Tucson Business License: $62.50
Vending Distributor License: $137.50
Two Passport Photos: $16.29
Fingerprinting: $10.00
DPS Background Check: $22.00
Parking: $2.00
9x City of Tucson Coin Operated Machine Licenses @$6.00 each $54.00
Parking: $2.00
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total: $338.29 for fiscal quarters two to four 2018, 75% of a year.
I am not including my time or gas, both of which are worth something, or the cost of the pinball machines and parts. The costs listed above are just the costs needed to get my licenses. Add the almost $600 cost for liability insurance, and I have almost $1000.00 invested and haven't even made a single quarter yet. This is probably ballpark typical for a major city like Tucson.
I spoke with my first client today. He has to move some old games out to make room for the Pecos Pinball games. I should start moving the pins, Harlem Globetrotters On Tour and Super-Flite tomorrow. His customers are going to love these pins and I am going to feel like a proud papa to have them reborn into a whole new world!
I began this thread hoping to document the process for becoming a pinball operator in the hope that it would encourage others to do so. I am not so sure that I have accomplished that. But you will have a much better idea what you will be getting into if you are as crazy as I am and want to start your own pinball business!
My first License Tag is on the game!
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Added over 2 years ago: Forgot the MPU for Harlem Globetrotters that Kris Bliznick at Firebird Pinball supplied and the electronic parts I got from Ed at Great Plains Electronics. I have probably forgotten others that I will be adding as I remember.

Added over 2 years ago: NVRAMs provided by barakandl and Borygard.

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