(Topic ID: 211448)

A Pecos Diary - My Journey to Pinball Operator


By Pecos

2 years ago



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  • Latest reply 68 days ago by Dono
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There are 419 posts in this topic. You are on page 4 of 9.
#151 1 year ago
Quoted from desertT1:

Why would you want them keyed differently?

Keyed alike would be ideal iff (if and only if) somebody couldn't buy a lock and key on the Internet with the same key as my 'keyed alike locks.' If, for example, I bought the same locks as you on eBay or Amazon, and there aren't that many different 7/8" tubular cam locks for sale on those two sites, I would have access to all of your machines. I certainly wouldn't be trying my keys in your pins, but it is one more thing that I DON'T want to have to worry about before I lay my head down on the pillow.

Today's haul:

I started working on my next Project Pin and found the Gottlieb chime unit and the power cord male plug missing. This solves one problem, the easy one:

DSCF3858 (resized).JPG

Two of those five quarters are my first Pecos Pinball 'take.' That sounds so greedy and capitalistic, like I'm taking candy from a baby! It will be a LONG time before I am actually breaking even on my investment. This exercise in capitalism is more of a labor of love rather than a greedy grab for geld.

Come heck or high water I am bound and determined to get my first Gottlieb pinball machine working. Anyone care to guess which one I am choosing as my first working Gottlieb? Hint: It has a lot of drop targets and is missing the chime unit! It is the first Gottlieb I remember playing and has an iconic backglass that looks something like this->. It is in my collection.

It sure will be nice to finally have a Gottlieb up and working 100% here at Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour! I can't wait to hear those melodious Gottlieb chimes! Oh, wait, SOMEONE STOLE THE MELODIOUS CHIME UNIT!

#152 1 year ago

Congrats on the big take! Hope much more comes your way

#153 1 year ago

Buy locks for a route from a true Lock & Hardware distributor such as H. Hoffman & Co., IDN-Tucson etc. They will set you up with a new code of keyed alike locks that is territory protected.

Padlocks too.

#154 1 year ago

Baton or Cobra locks are good for commercial vending use.

#155 1 year ago
Quoted from MrBally:

Buy locks for a route from a true Lock & Hardware distributor such as H. Hoffman & Co., IDN-Tucson etc. They will set you up with a new code of keyed alike locks that is territory protected.
Padlocks too.

That's going to be very large dollars for this new operator. I would save your money. Once you are clearing hundreds of dollars net of expenses then maybe you consider dropping all that cash on expensive territory-protected locks.

Because if someone wants to get into your machine, they're getting in. Locks keep honest people out. Only.

#156 1 year ago

I use DUO locks. They are the hardest to pick and the most durable. Very hard locks.

#157 1 year ago

Thanks, all, for the information on locks. I will be checking out prices but, for now, I will be scavenging locks with keys off of my herd of Project Pins. I have a lot of locks without keys. I took one to a locksmith to try to be keyed or rekeyed and they couldn't do it. I didn't leave with a sense that I was dealing with a competent locksmith. Has anyone had any luck finding keys for old locks? I would think that a good locksmith could rekey these old locks.

Today's haul - all the way from New York to Tucson in short order:

DSCF3860 (resized).JPG

Locks! Locks! Locks! These will be used on the backbox doors. Thanks forceflow for the nice price and fast shipping!

#158 1 year ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Locks! Locks! Locks! These will be used on the backbox doors. Thanks forceflow for the nice price and fast shipping!

Glad you'll be able to use them

Quoted from Brijam:

Because if someone wants to get into your machine, they're getting in. Locks keep honest people out. Only.

I've seen games with games with coin doors that were pried open or bashed in, cabinets fronts that were kicked in and/or torn apart, cabinet bottoms that were kicked in (Gottlieb installed metal plates on their System 1 games--not sure if the practice also extended back into the EM era or not), I even had a game where the side of the lockbar was pried open, and the siderail was pulled off (I think the effort was eventually abandoned, but it still caused a decent amount of damage).

I'd suggest going with mid-range locks that are enough to deter casual attempts at access and basic raking/picking. I'd rather see someone destroy the lock, rather than other (and more expensive) things on a game. Better to lose a few days earnings, than the earnings *and* have extensive damage to the game. It would be quicker for someone to use a battery-powered power tool to cut through the cabinet than to try to defeat a high-security lock.

In another thread, I saw photos from games from an operator who put stickers that said "cash box emptied daily" or words to that effect.

#159 1 year ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Has anyone had any luck finding keys for old locks?

It's likely that somebody can re-key those locks, but it will definitely be cheaper to buy used locks. It's just not that big of a deal to have a few different keys until you have a lot of pins on route.

#160 1 year ago
Quoted from Brijam:

It's likely that somebody can re-key those locks, but it will definitely be cheaper to buy used locks. It's just not that big of a deal to have a few different keys until you have a lot of pins on route.

I have 17 games out now and at least 5 keys. They are all kept together, but not all on the same ring. I’d like to get it down to one or two keys, but it’s not a big deal at the moment. As long as you know what goes to what lock it’s fine.

#161 1 year ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Anyone care to guess which one I am choosing as my first working Gottlieb?

Amazing Spider-Man?

1 week later
#162 1 year ago

Pecos Pinball is excited and honored to announce their affiliation with the Spotted Bull Eatery and Bar. Pecos Pinball is pleased to bring their second vintage pinball machine to the Tucson area.

The Spotted Bull Eatery and Bar, formerly the Vail Steak House Cafe & Diner, is going through their soft opening and will have their Grand Opening on October 13th, 2018. The Spotted Bull Eatery and Bar is located just off I-10 at the Vail, Arizona exit.

The first machine at the Spotted Bull Eatery and Bar is a Harlem Globetrotters On Tour, Bally 1979. This machine comes via my San Tan Valley Project Pin Guy and is one of the nicest examples you will ever find. It has a reproduction playfield. It looks great and plays just as well. It will be located in the bar/saloon area.

Harlem Globetrotters will be 50 cents a game. Stop by and support pinball in Tucson and say that Pecos sent you!

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The owner and his wife.

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I have been an operator for about a month now. Today I really feel like one. I took my time setting Harlem Globetrotters On Tour and still put a couple of connectors on wrong before getting it right. Fortunately, it powered right up. I realized that I hadn't done a lot of testing on the kick-out hole behind the in-line targets. It worked fine - twice - and then died! When I ran through the solenoid test, sure enough, solenoid number four wasn't firing.

I reset the book keeping values after finishing final testing and letting the owners and others in the bar have some free pinball. I discovered that the replay threshold was off by 20,000. When I tried to reset it, the first digit couldn't be recognized because all but one of the segments was on. And it was on for all four players. The 100,000 digits are fine when playing! Weird stuff for sure!

Today I am an operator and really feel like one!

#163 1 year ago

The lock situation has been resolved thanks to forceflow, Bruce's Lock Shop, and my San Tan Valley Project Pin Guy. Thanks guys! I won't say anything more about the locks other than all locks for the coin doors are of the highest quality. I did follow one of the Pinsiders suggestion to buy a few of the locks.

Quoted from Pecos:

Anyone care to guess which one I am choosing as my first working Gottlieb?

Sorry Ryan, try again. Here is a visual hint:

1st Gottlieb Hint (resized).png

I got a definite 'No' from the retirement facility. I am working on several more possible clients. Good things are happening at Pecos Pinball!

#164 1 year ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Pecos Pinball is excited and honored to announce their affiliation with the Spotted Bull Eatery and Bar.

Wow, fantastic! Glad to see your collection reaching a wider audience!

Quoted from Pecos:

Here is a visual hint:

Ha-ha! That's a nice and generous hint. Jumpin' Jack/in-the-Box.

#165 1 year ago
Quoted from Matesamo:

I am surprised that you can't get a tax break on labor, did you talk to an accountant?

I’m a CPA. Free tax tip of the day Pecos, I can confirm you cannot do anything with your labor for tax purposes being self employed.

Good luck!!

#166 1 year ago

I spent my morning catching up on this thread. It is great reading about how you work through issues and I love the attention to detail in how you plan your business. It feels like I've been winging it haphazardly since day one.

I really wish you were in Cleveland instead of Tuscon. I would have given you half of the stuff you bought along your journey. I have so many mechs and coin boxes not to mention all the projects you've tempted me into. I feel like no one here has the energy to route machines.

#167 1 year ago

The second pinball machine at the Spotted Bull Eatery and Bar is an Aztec, Williams 1976. It will be located in the bar/saloon area.

Aztec will be a retro-priced at 25 cents a game. Stop by and support pinball in Tucson and say that Pecos sent you!

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And that is where the good news ends and the bad news begins. Here you can see Harlem Globetrotters with all playfield lamps working.

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And then, the insert lamps went out. It wasn't 'just a fuse'. This is what I found on the power supply board.

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That bridge rectifier got hot! I don't know what this means, but I plan to fix the power supply board and then LED the game to reduce the heat load on these bridge rectifiers.

The solenoid for the kick-out saucer behind the in-line drop targets worked for a while and then died yesterday. Talk about my share of bad luck! I know the boards are old but I shouldn't have this many problems so quickly after bullet-proofing them. I knew it was a long shot, but I looked up the connector and pin number for this solenoid. I checked out that pin and connector and couldn't find a problem. So it is now time to start looking at the transistor(s) for this kick-out saucer.

Worse, I found three problems on Aztec after delivering it to the Spotted Bull. The replay button doesn't always work. Player three's 1,000 point score reel wasn't resetting, and player three wasn't awarding a replay when the replay score of 570,000 was reached.

I don't mind a few problems and I will get these solved soon enough, even if I have to buy some new Bally boards, but this hurts my credibility. That is something that I can't afford at such an early stage in the life of Pecos Pinball. I will be working hard this week to resurrect my games and my self-respect. I have a great client in the Spotted Bull Eatery and Bar and I will do whatever it takes to make and keep them happy.

Harlem Globetrotters On Tour has been brought home. Another game, Super-Flite, will take it's place until I can get Harlem Globetrotters back up and running 100%.

I don't know how to best prevent this in the future except for longer burn-in periods for rebuilt boards and that is exactly what I plan to do. And, I better test Super-Flite again, thoroughly, before delivering it to the Spotted Bull.

#168 1 year ago
Quoted from Pecos:

I plan to fix the power supply board and then LED the game to reduce the heat load on these bridge rectifiers.

You won't be sorry. Customers love them. I have had very good luck with Comet LEDs. No matter who you buy LEDs from, buy the SMD type. Non SMD LEDs fade quickly on route, and I've had very high failure rates with them.

Sorry to hear about your power supply issues.

In my (limited) experience routing older games dating back to the late 70s, every 'new' old game you bring on route has a break-in period. By that I mean things will break for a while once you put it on route again. Once you fix the things that were gonna break, the machine tends to stabilize for a long period of time. Then most of your cost are parts that are designed to fail: balls, rubbers and coil stops/sleeves, etc.

#169 1 year ago
Quoted from Brijam:

You won't be sorry. Customers love them. I have had very good luck with Comet LEDs. No matter who you buy LEDs from, buy the SMD type. Non SMD LEDs fade quickly on route, and I've had very high failure rates with them.
Sorry to hear about your power supply issues.
In my (limited) experience routing older games dating back to the late 70s, every 'new' old game you bring on route has a break-in period. By that I mean things will break for a while once you put it on route again. Once you fix the things that were gonna break, the machine tends to stabilize for a long period of time. Then most of your cost are parts that are designed to fail: balls, rubbers and coil stops/sleeves, etc.

I agree with all of this. LEDs for sure, they are easier on the games, if nothing else bulbs put out a lot of heat. Every time you put a game out you need to expect things will go wrong with it until it settles in. Between being left on a lot and, hopefully, getting a fair amount of play things will break no matter how much prep you do.

#170 1 year ago

All my classic bally / sterns that have suspect rectifier boards get a new one from weebly (https://nvram.weebly.com/new-pcbs.html). Get the kit for $35 shipped and it's a fun project to build and install on the cheap. He's a pinsider and I've had great success with fixing problems with his boards. I've done 4 so far 10/10 A++ would buy again.

#171 1 year ago
Quoted from RyanClaytor:

Ha-ha! That's a nice and generous hint. Jumpin' Jack/in-the-Box.

You know your Jacks Ryan! You got it. It's hard to forget that Jack in the Box nose once you see it.

Quoted from davideokills:

I spent my morning catching up on this thread. It is great reading about how you work through issues and I love the attention to detail in how you plan your business.

Thanks davideokills. Nice of you to say and it's good to hear that my writing is not so boring that it put you to sleep. Or did it?

Quoted from davideokills:

I really wish you were in Cleveland instead of Tuscon. I would have given you half of the stuff you bought along your journey. I have so many mechs and coin boxes not to mention all the projects you've tempted me into.

You are so generous. Fortunately, there are a few people here in Arizona and on Pinside that are just as generous and have made my start-up issues minor compared to what they would have been without their help. I am truly blessed!

Quoted from Brijam:

You won't be sorry. Customers love them. I have had very good luck with Comet LEDs. No matter who you buy LEDs from, buy the SMD type. Non SMD LEDs fade quickly on route, and I've had very high failure rates with them.

I appreciate the advice brijam. SMDs for sure. I have no problem going all LEDs on a SS, other than the price. For machines on route, LEDs make a lot of sense since the games are usually on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Quoted from Brijam:

Sorry to hear about your power supply issues.

Thanks. There must be something more going on that I am missing. This shouldn't be happening on day two.

Quoted from Brijam:

In my (limited) experience routing older games dating back to the late 70s, every 'new' old game you bring on route has a break-in period. By that I mean things will break for a while once you put it on route again. Once you fix the things that were gonna break, the machine tends to stabilize for a long period of time. Then most of your cost are parts that are designed to fail: balls, rubbers and coil stops/sleeves, etc.

I'm sure that you are right, pretty typical for most electronics.

Quoted from clg:

...if nothing else bulbs put out a lot of heat.

And worse yet, as the incandescent lamps age they get even hotter.

Quoted from Chalkey:

All my classic bally / sterns that have suspect rectifier boards get a new one from weebly (https://nvram.weebly.com/new-pcbs.html). Get the kit for $35 shipped and it's a fun project to build and install on the cheap. He's a pinsider and I've had great success with fixing problems with his boards. I've done 4 so far 10/10 A++ would buy again.

Great idea! I have done business with barakandl and love his products. It is becoming rather obvious that I need a backup set of new Bally boards. This will happen again and putting in a new board as a permanent solution or until the original boards can be fixed is absolutely essential for an operator. Thanks! I'll definitely be following your advice.

#172 1 year ago

A new rectifier board is relatively inexpensive. Sure you can build your own if you want, but if you don't want to then by all means you can usually find new ones for $60 at Great Plains electronics. I think I have installed 20+ rectifier boards without one failure so he makes a good product. Your connections are just as important as your board set, and it is cheap to upgrade your connectors.

If I placed a Harlem on location, I would replace all the boards except sound board with new, repin all backbox connections, replace all switches, diodes and capacitors on the playfield, high power switches at the cabinet, remove and clean flipper buttons, replace coin mechs with immonex, service pop bumpers and flippers with new parts. If you aren't going to replace all the switches, do yourself a favor and replace the switch at the saucer. Saucer switches tend to fail before any other switch, I guess because the ball sits on them keeping them closed for a time before ejecting out. Most of this I learned from taking games to shows over the years and seeing what happens when the public plays your games nonstop for several days straight.

Doing the above won't keep everything from failing, but it does eliminate some areas that tend to create their own problems. I have done this treatment to a couple of dozen classic Bally/Stern pins that I have routed since 2010. It has worked well so far keeping repairs to a minimum.

#173 1 year ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Great idea! I have done business with barakandl and love his products. It is becoming rather obvious that I need a backup set of new Bally boards. This will happen again and putting in a new board as a permanent solution or until the original boards can be fixed is absolutely essential for an operator. Thanks! I'll definitely be following your advice.

I know it's tempting, but don't repair those old Bally rectifier boards. Barakandl sells kits. I personally ordered the blank boards for $15, bulk ordered the electronics from GPE & built three boards. All and all, the board build cost me $36 with shipping minus my time. Good Luck Pecos, keeping fighting and hustling. Awesome thread.

#174 1 year ago

If i see the middle rectifier you used more solder, maybe the burnt one had insufficient solder, got hot and started to arc.
I use these old boards on location and they are normally pretty solid if you replace the headers, solenoids and fuseclips

#175 1 year ago

Dear diary,

Last night was the low point of my pinball operating career.

I haven't worked this hard since I worked at CSC. I haven't been this burned out since I missed a flight out of SEATAC and spent all night in Las Vegas, not getting any sleep for 24 hours.

Friday I spent all day up in Phoenix getting two pinball machines from My Project Pin Guy in Scottsdale.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/what-machine-did-you-bring-home-today-post-your-pictures/page/198#post-4601224

He has quite a background in pinball. I took him to lunch and enjoyed hearing some of his stories.

Later that day I visited my San Tan Valley Project Pin Guy. He gave me 39 locks from the days he used to operate pinballs for a mere pittance. These locks are super heavy duty locks and look the part. I don't know what these locks are worth, but new high quality locks cost me $16 and his locks are better than the stuff I can get today. He also had a Gottlieb chimes unit, very hard to find, that I needed for Jack in the Box. We agreed to $100 for everything but I will be sending him $200. He and so many others have been a huge part of getting my Pecos Pinball biz up and running. I am so blessed - truly! Thank you guys!

Saturday and Sunday I spent all afternoon at the Spotted Bull getting two machines set up.

The long and short of it was that I was feeling pretty burned out and down after I found three problems on Aztec and after I had to bring Harlem Globetrotters On Tour back home to fix two problems.

Pinsiders brijam, clg - all the way from 'down under' lands, chalkey, brianbannon, tomahawkjim and cudabee - all the way from the Netherlands, gave me some good advice, provided solace in my time of troubles and sent some very important encouragement. What a great group of people pinball people are and what a wonderful Website for pinball that Pinside is!

I'm back at it today after a good nights sleep. Missing my afternoon naps has made me a grumpy old man!

Quoted from cudabee:

If i see the middle rectifier you used more solder, maybe the burnt one had insufficient solder, got hot and started to arc.

I think you are right, cudabee. Good diagnose it and thanks for mentioning it. I need to know what happened and why so I won't make this mistake again. That is the best explanation and makes a whole lot of sense considering the problems I was having getting the top side of the board properly soldered.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/a-pecos-diary-my-journey-to-pinball-operator#post-4290167
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/a-pecos-diary-my-journey-to-pinball-operator/page/2#post-4300923

I looked for the transistor number for the target saucer solenoid on the schematic and found that it was Q11. I pulled the solenoid board this morning, officially called AS-2518-16 Solenoid Driver Board Assy and got out my DMM to test Q11. I certainly expected that to be the problem. It wasn't! Surprise - Surprise - Surprise! It turned out to be a broken trace or a cold solder joint, not on the connector but on one of the transistor legs! More surprise!

DSCF3919 (resized).JPG

Not the greatest soldering job. I won't be overly critical though, my soldering skills aren't much better.

Here is a close-up of the solder joints and trace. Hard to see any breaks in the circuit, but the continuity test wasn't lying.

Uncontinuity (resized).png

With that solved, I pulled the power supply/rectifier board. Bally officially calls it the AS-2518-18 'Transformer Assy.' The bridge rectifier still tests good, but what a mess! That must have been quite a light show!

I will be ordering bayonet style (#44/#47) SMD LEDs tonight or tomorrow, probably from Comet. I like their bright white SMDs. I used them on Hardbody and they really bring the playfield to life.

I will be using my brother and his wife's birthday gift to purchase a new Transformer Board, pre-assembled, from weebly.com. I neither have the time or the confidence in my soldering skills at this point to try the DIY kit. I will in the future. I really enjoy these kind of projects. Thank you, brother mine.

#176 1 year ago

Operating pins will come with plenty of ups and downs. A number of years ago I was doing my weekly maintenance on location. This location had 15 pins but was lightly traveled. I walk up to Tommy and can't tell if it is on or off. GI on the playfield is lit, but nothing else seems to be on so I reboot it. Nothing, but the GI is lit, and I can tell it is trying to boot up but can't get there. One of the bartenders walks by and says, "Yeah, it was doing that all weekend since Friday I think." That tells me the game was trying to boot unsuccessfully for three days as it is Monday now. I open up the backbox and see a black burn mark on the CPU board as big as my fist, several obviously blown fuses and a smell that means trouble and expense.

As it turned out, I decided to replace the CPU board as it had so much heat damage, fix the popcorn popping board, replace the power supply board--this was the culprit, and replace seven blown fuses. This game was destroying itself trying to boot up without enough power to get there. This was a good learning experience for me as even though I had seen transistors lock on at power up, hadn't seen a pin do this much damage to itself just by being powered up.

Thankfully, where I have my pins located today, this sort of indifference by the staff would not happen.

#177 1 year ago

I'm working on a few classic Bally/Stern games right now and am having quite a "fun" time with the rectifier board/transformer in one machine right now. Looking forward to things getting back up and running for you. Is the place open now, or is the "grand opening" still coming up? Just wanting to know when I can go play.

#178 1 year ago
Quoted from desertT1:

Is the place open now, or is the "grand opening" still coming up? Just wanting to know when I can go play.

They are going through their soft opening now and are open 6AM to 8PM currently. They are having a heck of a time finding good help. I hear the same thing from a friend who owns a DQ. The Grand Opening is set for October 13th. I plan to bring one of my ‘special’ games like Wizard! or Firepower set to free play.

Wait until I get Harlem back to the Spotted Bull before visiting. It will be worth the wait. The backglass is a 10 and the repro playfield is a 9.5. I just ordered $110 worth of LEDs from Comet and a new rectifier board from barakandl for it so it should be a real standout.

Quoted from desertT1:

Looking forward to things getting back up and running for you.

Thanks for the good wishes. I can say that I have a much better appreciation for having just a few pins on route, let alone 17! We should meet up sometime and compare notes.

#179 1 year ago
Quoted from Pecos:

They are going through their soft opening now and are open 6AM to 8PM currently. They are having a heck of a time finding good help. I hear the same thing from a friend who owns a DQ. The Grand Opening is set for October 13th. I plan to bring one of my ‘special’ games like Wizard! or Firepower set to free play.
Wait until I get Harlem back to the Spotted Bull before visiting. It will be worth the wait. The backglass is a 10 and the repro playfield is a 9.5. I just ordered $110 worth of LEDs from Comet and a new rectifier board from barakandl for it so it should be a real standout.

Thanks for the good wishes. I can say that I have a much better appreciation for having just a few pins on route, let alone 17! We should meet up sometime and compare notes.

Did you get the resistor board kit for classic Ballys? It keeps LEDs from blinking when they shouldn't.

#180 1 year ago
Quoted from desertT1:

Did you get the resistor board kit for classic Ballys? It keeps LEDs from blinking when they shouldn't.

I bought a bag of 500 750Ω resistors for like $3.50 from GPE. I have already used them on Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man and they work great. It is a little more work to solder a resistor to each lamp socket, but stupidly easy to do. And, call me weird, but I actually enjoy soldering them on. I will be doing the same for Harlem Globetrotters On Tour.

Good point though. Without a new lamp board that will support LEDs, or resistors on each lamp socket or the Siegecraft classic Bally LED adapters, the lamps will blink - not acceptable at all.

#181 1 year ago

Super-Flite is now at Spotted Bull, replacing Harlem Globetrotters On Tour until the new LEDs can go in and the rectifier board repaired.

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It appears to be working 100%. I was the first to put a quarter in Super-Flite making me the first customer. I bought the barkeep, Sarah, a free game. Big time spender am I.

#182 1 year ago
Quoted from BrianBannon:

One of the bartenders walks by and says, "Yeah, it was doing that all weekend since Friday I think." That tells me the game was trying to boot unsuccessfully for three days as it is Monday now.

I feel for you, man. I've been in exactly that place.

Somebody vandalized the coin door of my Firepower last week. Didn't get in, but they sure ruined the door.

#183 1 year ago

I began working on repairing the rectifier board today. If I can get it working, I am hoping that it will be rock solid when I replace the #44 incandescent insert lamps with LEDs.

Solder joint going bad? (resized).png

It looks like one of the solder joints has either melted or wasn't properly done. Is this what caused the arcing and the damage to the board? It sure looks suspicious.

After removing the bridge, I was left with this mess.

DSCF3931 (resized).JPG

I soldered two speaker wires to the bridge leg to replace the damaged trace. As you can see, my soldering skills aren't the greatest.

DSCF3933 (resized).JPG

Bridge #2 tested bad in circuit. It tested fine out of circuit. I know that some parts need to be tested out of circuit, but I didn't think that bridge rectifiers were one of those components. I sure would appreciate if any of you electronic gurus could let me know what is going on here.

These repair entries in the diary may bore most of you to tears. But having your pin on location working 100% is critical to a successful pinball operator business. If you are interested in operating your own games, you should know, after getting this far in this thread, just how much work is involved in getting these classic pinball machines working like they did 'back in the day.'

#184 1 year ago

Looks like more attention needs to be given to really cleaning surfaces & maybe using a bit of flux. Are you using a soldering station with adjustable temp, or just a pencil?

#185 1 year ago

You need to solder both sides of the board , where the bridge rectifier legs goes through, these tracks are joined through the board ,
The blackened area looks like it is not soldered at all ?
I just had the same problem on a Harlem Globetrotters , I couldn't get the solder to take at all, between the board and the legs of the new 35amp bridge ,
the bridge I was replacing (solenoid bridge was blown) ,

I had power coming in to the board , but not at test point, I ended up putting a new 10 amp bridge in, like the original ones were fitted, and that fixed it . As I could solder it properly onto those large tracks .
Buzz with meter between the leg and track to make sure its joined .

Replacing some power supply boards with new ones is a good idea , then you can practice rebuilding the old ones .

Soldering tip: Keep the Tip Clean! important .
if the solder wont heat up , apply some fresh solder and let it melt in .
With those large tracks you need to turn up the iron to about 410 -430 , the other smaller finer tracks turn the iron to about 370 ,
Use a medium size pencil tip . try keep the middle of the tip on the component or track , using the very tip wont get the heat in ,
, and you really need to remove all the old solder , before you re solder new parts back on .
Did I mention keeping the tip clean to that's really important.
Good luck with the machines and the operating

#186 1 year ago
Quoted from dasvis:

Looks like more attention needs to be given to really cleaning surfaces & maybe using a bit of flux. Are you using a soldering station with adjustable temp, or just a pencil?

I clean off all dust with a small paintbrush. I use flux, 'Master Mechanic Solder Paste, cleans * fluxes.' Here is a pic of my soldering/desoldering station:

DSCF3935 (resized).JPG

Quoted from Ralph67:

You need to solder both sides of the board , where the bridge rectifier legs goes through, these tracks are joined through the board ,

I have always been able to solder on only the solder side but learned soon enough that this didn't work with the bridge rectifiers. So, yes, I soldered both sides.

Quoted from Ralph67:

The blackened area looks like it is not soldered at all ?

The blackened area is where the trace was, the important word being 'was.' When I cleaned the area with Isopropyl alcohol, part of the trace broke off. I used two pieces of speaker wire and solder to replace the trace.

Quoted from Ralph67:

I just had the same problem on a Harlem Globetrotters , I couldn't get the solder to take at all, between the board and the legs of the new 35amp bridge

I can normally do a decent job soldering components on these boards, but these bridge rectifiers have been nothing but trouble.

Quoted from Ralph67:

With those large tracks you need to turn up the iron to about 410 -430 , the other smaller finer tracks turn the iron to about 370 ,

I'm running my adjustable temperature solenoid station at 310º. I was running at 360º but the Chinese Yihua soldering station was going through too many heating elements. 310º seems to work fine for me.

Quoted from Ralph67:

and you really need to remove all the old solder , before you re solder new parts back on

I have a Hakko desoldering gun. Yes, I remove all old solder. It's fun sucking up that old stuff with the Hakko! Thanks mom, dad and brother for the gift!! It's been a real time and board saver!

Thanks ralph67 for taking the time to list out the helpful soldering tips. I will admit that I don't keep my soldering tip clean. I will change this bad habit immediately.

#187 1 year ago
Quoted from Pecos:

I clean off all dust with a small paintbrush. I use flux, 'Master Mechanic Solder Paste, cleans * fluxes.' Here is a pic of my soldering/desoldering station:
[quoted image]

I have always been able to solder on only the solder side but learned soon enough that this didn't work with the bridge rectifiers. So, yes, I soldered both sides.

The blackened area is where the trace was, the important word being 'was.' When I cleaned the area with Isopropyl alcohol, part of the trace broke off. I used two pieces of speaker wire and solder to replace the trace.

I can normally do a decent job soldering components on these boards, but these bridge rectifiers have been nothing but trouble.

I'm running my adjustable temperature solenoid station at 310º. I was running at 360º but the Chinese Yihua soldering station was going through too many heating elements. 310º seems to work fine for me.

I have a Hakko desoldering gun. Yes, I remove all old solder. It's fun sucking up that old stuff with the Hakko! Thanks mom, dad and brother for the gift!! It's been a real time and board saver!
Thanks ralph67 for taking the time to list out the helpful soldering tips. I will admit that I don't keep my soldering tip clean. I will change this bad habit immediately.

Use a choir-girl copper scrubber in a tuna can for easy cleaning of tips.

You can buy something like this also.

#188 1 year ago
Quoted from Pecos:

I clean off all dust with a small paintbrush. .

This fiberglass bristle brush works great for really getting surfaces clean ---

amazon.com link »

Extra tips -

amazon.com link »

#189 1 year ago

I received the LEDs this afternoon. I put the order in early on Tuesday and Comet shipped the same day. I didn't care that much about fast shipping before but it sure is important to me now that I am trying to get Harlem Globetrotters On Tour back on tour! Thanks ryanwanger at Comet.

I ordered 1 SMD, sunlight, frosted, for the backbox and GI. 2 SMD, natural white and color matched, clear, were ordered for the small inserts and 4 SMD, natural white and color matched, no dome, were ordered for the arrows and large inserts. I also couldn't resist ordering some fast blinking LEDs for behind the name on my Williams EM backglasses. I got some RGB color changing LEDs for Magic Town and I might put a few in Harlem Globetrotters for the mezzanine area.

comet_leds_for_harlem (resized).jpg

Good things come in small packages.

comet_leds_for_harlem_unboxed (resized).jpg

I put the solenoid driver board, transformer and rectifier boards back in this evening, turned the game on and saw an immediate flash. Fuse F4 had blown - the fuse for the solenoids. I put a new 4 Amp fast blow fuse in, I am either out of or have misplace the 5 Amp fuse required. I then disconnected the solenoid driver board and powered up again. No flash! That narrows it down to the solenoid driver board. I will leave the game on in attract mode for several day to do a 'burn-in.'

If I am going to spend $110 on LEDs for a pin, I want customers to know that there are LEDs in the game. I have certainly accomplished that. These LEDs are BRIGHT! I really like the natural white for the inserts. They really stand out - fitting for an SS but not an EM.

LEDs!!! (resized).png

All of the backbox and GI lamps are rock solid. A little more than half of the computer controlled lamps are flickering. That is what the 750Ω resistors are for. With any luck, I should have this game working 100% in a day or two.

For all the Baywatch lovers, please note that Harlem Globetrotters On Tour is legless!

#190 1 year ago

I have serviced hundreds of the Bally pins over the last 21 years. Some are operated, & most are in homes. I re use old varo bridge rectifiers on the 1978 - 1980 Bally ones where the board is still good. For operator or home hacked boards I replace with a new board. Some service techs in the past would solder the wires to the pins. I bring it back to factory or better, with original varo bridges if possible. Use trifurcon contacts for problem wires (G.I.) etc. & regular contacts for low voltage.

Also re use old bulbs to reduce costs on G.I. 47 bulbs for head, 44 under playfield, & pops. The operator I do work has bought leds, those flat top ones are crap! Other frosted ones can be poor also. I have a bucket of old 44 & 47, GE ones are the best ones for pops (bigger filament).

#191 1 year ago
Quoted from greatwichjohn:

I have serviced hundreds of the Bally pins over the last 21 years. Some are operated, & most are in homes. I re use old varo bridge rectifiers on the 1978 - 1980 Bally ones where the board is still good. For operator or home hacked boards I replace with a new board. Some service techs in the past would solder the wires to the pins. I bring it back to factory or better, with original varo bridges if possible. Use trifurcon contacts for problem wires (G.I.) etc. & regular contacts for low voltage.
Also re use old bulbs to reduce costs on G.I. 47 bulbs for head, 44 under playfield, & pops. The operator I do work has bought leds, those flat top ones are crap! Other frosted ones can be poor also. I have a bucket of old 44 & 47, GE ones are the best ones for pops (bigger filament).

Actually, the old GE 1847 bulbs are best for pop bumpers....

#192 1 year ago
Quoted from greatwichjohn:

I have serviced hundreds of the Bally pins over the last 21 years. Some are operated, & most are in homes. I re use old varo bridge rectifiers on the 1978 - 1980 Bally ones where the board is still good. For operator or home hacked boards I replace with a new board. Some service techs in the past would solder the wires to the pins. I bring it back to factory or better, with original varo bridges if possible. Use trifurcon contacts for problem wires (G.I.) etc. & regular contacts for low voltage.
Also re use old bulbs to reduce costs on G.I. 47 bulbs for head, 44 under playfield, & pops. The operator I do work has bought leds, those flat top ones are crap! Other frosted ones can be poor also. I have a bucket of old 44 & 47, GE ones are the best ones for pops (bigger filament).

Just to add to John's advice.

Be sure to use the tin plated phosphor bronze trifurcon male contacts for the GI connectors, I use them for all the connectors because phosphor bronze handles the heat better than the tin plated brass and the cost is just nominally higher. I was surprised to see that even tin plated brass trifurcon connections would burn the connectors black on the GI and need to be repinned within 18 months of heavy location use--game turned on for more than 12 hours a day every day. For home use, tin plated brass trifurcon contacts should be fine. Regarding soldering wires directly to the pins--Bally issued a Service Bulletin instructing techs to solder wires directly to the test points to work around connector problems. So when you see that sort of activity, it was just a service tech doing what the mfr recommended, ha!

#193 1 year ago

Always thought the hacks to test points was some non pinball tech's handy work. Saw a few EBD's done this way. One local bulk buyer would splice the wiring harness to fix bad contacts. Recycle old bulbs, every dollar saved goes to your bottom line. Back 10+ years boards were scarce or not available, so you spent many hours repairing them if you could. Now we just buy new, reliable replacements. I have many tray's of ic's pulled from the old mpu's. Same with displays, buy new set, & used old good ones in another game.

#194 1 year ago
Quoted from BrianBannon:

. Regarding soldering wires directly to the pins--Bally issued a Service Bulletin instructing techs to solder wires directly to the test points to work around connector problems. So when you see that sort of activity, it was just a service tech doing what the mfr recommended, ha!

As I stated in the "Hack of the week" thread. No one believed me. It was a great idea. Kept the games earning..

#195 1 year ago

I really appreciate your perseverance in bringing older games back into the wild. It's a truly commendable effort.

I'm curious how you have selected the initial titles to put on location. I ask because it seems like you have either run into a bit of bad luck with immediate breakdowns or maybe haven't chosen the most reliable examples from your herd? Maybe there are other machines in your collection that are mechanically more route ready? Or maybe the ones you're really focused on sharing with the public just need more private testing before putting them on route?

I would have the game set up at home EXACTLY like it would be on route (needs coins for credits, special/ match features set at appropriate values, etc) and play the crap out of it. I would even set myself a high semi-arbitrary threshold of test games (100? 200?) that the machine would have to pass before being deemed ready. Any breakdowns during the testing period would reset the clock and the testing process to zero. Ideally, I would like the machine to have proven itself trouble free for months on end with regular use before becoming a route candidate.

I know that breakdowns are inevitable with everything, but maybe having a more rigorous reliability testing procedure in place would help. Or maybe I'm just unrealistic about how often lightning strikes in the wild....(looks at sky and ducks head).

I've been following along since the beginning of this thread and hope to see many future posts in which you cannot keep up with your overflowing cash boxes!

#196 1 year ago

It is really hard to test a game enough at home to simulate what it will get (hopefully) on location. At a minimum I always left them on for a couple days and would try to get some people around to play on a game a lot. Having said that, moving the game can create issues. I have found problems normally pop up very quickly or when a game is out out or after a month or so of heavy play. I also found maintaining older games is much harder. All of that dry solder likes to let go after a while. While the repair to a switch is easy it meant a trip to fix it. I had wire come off a solenoid once that shorted and did all kinds of board damage. Older games also use mechanical coin mecs which gave me more problems than anything else. Electronic coin mechs are 1000x better. While I love a lot of the old games I started focusing on newer games as they were much easier to maintain, particularly with an electronic coin mech.

#197 1 year ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

I really appreciate your perseverance in bringing older games back into the wild. It's a truly commendable effort.
I'm curious how you have selected the initial titles to put on location. I ask because it seems like you have either run into a bit of bad luck with immediate breakdowns or maybe haven't chosen the most reliable examples from your herd? Maybe there are other machines in your collection that are mechanically more route ready? Or maybe the ones you're really focused on sharing with the public just need more private testing before putting them on route?
I would have the game set up at home EXACTLY like it would be on route (needs coins for credits, special/ match features set at appropriate values, etc) and play the crap out of it. I would even set myself a high semi-arbitrary threshold of test games (100? 200?) that the machine would have to pass before being deemed ready. Any breakdowns during the testing period would reset the clock and the testing process to zero. Ideally, I would like the machine to have proven itself trouble free for months on end with regular use before becoming a route candidate.
I know that breakdowns are inevitable with everything, but maybe having a more rigorous reliability testing procedure in place would help. Or maybe I'm just unrealistic about how often lightning strikes in the wild....(looks at sky and ducks head).
I've been following along since the beginning of this thread and hope to see many future posts in which you cannot keep up with your overflowing cash boxes!

“Funny” story. I got a shift Speed from a friend who had started taking the topside apart waiting for the Hardtop. I wasn’t going to wait so I put it back together to go on route. Solved a few electrical issues as well. Played 50 games in a few days, easily. Put it on route and the power supply fails 2 days later. Doh! It happens.

#198 1 year ago
Quoted from clg:

Having said that, moving the game can create issues.

This. Test in your shop as much as you can, but expect them to be broken just due to the movement once you get them on location. Sometimes it takes a few days for the issue to emerge.

#199 1 year ago

Harlem Globetrotters On Tour is back on tour!

DSCF3945 (resized).JPG

DSCF3949 (resized).JPG

Super-Flite was brought in while Harlem Globetrotters On Tour was at the PPPP being fixed. I don't know if it will be staying at the Spotted Bull or not.

#200 1 year ago

I think the cabinet of the Superflite is too far damaged to put on location, now the first impression does not reflect the energy and love you put in this endeavor.
Personally i would make it look better from at least an onlookers distance, that must be not too hard to do.

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