(Topic ID: 211448)

A Pecos Diary - My Journey to Pinball Operator


By Pecos

1 year ago



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  • Latest reply 4 hours ago by Pecos
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There are 342 posts in this topic. You are on page 7 of 7.
#301 75 days ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Lookee! Goodies! These were shipped quickly and well packaged. Thanks Pinitech!

Glad the package arrived so quick! Always helps when it gets there before the weekend too

Looking forward to hearing what you think!

#302 74 days ago

Pecos Pinball is pleased to announce that Op-Pop-Pop is now on route at Hotel McCoy, replacing Travel Time. Hotel McCoy is a retro-hotel, built in 1970 and recently remodeled with a retro motif and modern amenities. Op-Pop-Pop was manufactured in 1969 and is a perfect fit for a hotel with so many murals and so much artwork. Op-Pop-Pop has 2" flippers, a bagatelle, zipper flippers and a 1960s psychedelic art theme. I wanted to use retro pricing too, so I added a dime mech and a quarter mech. Come and play it! You get 1 game for a dime and 3 games for a quarter, 3 balls per game.

I have never worked so hard and long on a Project Pin before. I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get this one restored. But restored it is and the playfield is in amazing condition for a pinball machine that is 50 years old.

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Hey colsond3, do you remember that backbox door you sent me for my Double-Up? It is being put to good use until I can get a copy made!

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#303 74 days ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Pecos Pinball is pleased to announce that Op-Pop-Pop is now on route at Hotel McCoy, replacing Travel Time. But restored it is and the playfield is in amazing condition for a pinball machine that is 50 years old.

Need to paint that cabinet!

#304 74 days ago

Beautiful playfield. I can't believe you're only charging a dime to play. I have a hard time imagining this game will ever be more than a charity project at that price. If you owned the establishment, were there everyday anyway and didn't need to make any money on it I could see doing this as a perk for the hotel customers but not as an operator. Very generous of you!

#305 73 days ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

Very generous of you!

Not as generous as you might think.

Op-Pop-Pop is brutal. It takes no prisoners.

Brutal Op-Pop_Pop (resized).jpg

If you take a closer look at the slingshots, they are angled in such a way as to send the pinball back and forth between the two slingshots, higher and higher, until the pinball reaches one of the outlanes. Diabolical!

This is a great game to hone your pinball playing skills, but don't expect to be playing for long!

#306 73 days ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Hey colsond3, do you remember that backbox door you sent me for my Double-Up? It is being put to good use until I can get a copy made!

Awesome. Glad you could put it to some use.

This game is brutal. Rumor has it those outlanes have swallowed people whole.

#307 73 days ago

I love that you're putting out these games and putting so much effort in them technically!
But why don't you paint such a horrific cabinet?! That's something I can't really understand.

I also have an operator's route in Belgium(more recent games) but if I would bring in a game looking like this the owner would simply throw me out
A while ago I bought an original AFM but looked at numerous games since I didn't want to put out a game with a trashed playfield and completely faded cabinet.

We also tried classic games on location like Xenon and Flash Gordon but sadly they only earned around 1/4th of the other games at the same place, that's why we pulled them

#308 72 days ago
Quoted from dasvis:

I vote repaint.

Quoted from dasvis:

They smell better with a nice repaint.

Quoted from dasvis:

Paint that super-flite ..it looks terrible..

Quoted from dasvis:

Need to paint that cabinet!

Thanks for letting me know! I would never have known that 80% of the paint was missing if you hadn't pointed it out to me!!

Quoted from Bingovit:

But why don't you paint such a horrific cabinet?! That's something I can't really understand.

I also have an operator's route in Belgium(more recent games) but if I would bring in a game looking like this the owner would simply throw me out

I think we have a new Pinside tradition here - The Crappy Cabinet Colorant Coverings Cops! Seriously though, Op-Pop-Pop is 50 years old. It has probably spent most of it's life in a shed or on the patio of a home in the Sonoran Desert where temperatures can reach as high as 117° and as low as 17° Fahrenheit. If the cabinet is in the sun, the paint doesn't stand a chance. That explains how it happens, but why don't I paint these cabinets? I like original, even if most of the original paint is gone. It's authentic! After putting so much time into getting these working, I have neither the time nor the money to repaint them. You don't play the cabinet, after all! I DO put time into restoring playfields, but not cabinets. You have to draw the line somewhere, and repainting the cabinets is where I draw mine.

I have talked to the manager at Hotel McCoy about getting one of their artists to repaint that side of the cabinet. The other side is much better. I have an idea of the design, but it probably would be easy enough to do myself once I have locked in a design. It's always about priorities and time and a cabinet repaint is at the bottom of my Pecos Pinball priority list. You might be interested to know that the barkeep at Hotel McCoy said that she "liked the industrial look" of the cabinet.

Quoted from Bingovit:

I love that you're putting out these games and putting so much effort in them technically!

Thank you. I put more than three months, on and off - mostly off, getting this working 100% My next restoration is going to be a nice Williams EM, methinks!

Quoted from Colsond3:

This game is brutal. Rumor has it those outlanes have swallowed people whole.

Ha Ha!! So, you are saying that people are going to start disappearing at the Hotel McCoy? That would present a problem, though. We wouldn't know if people were being sucked into Op-Pop-Pop or being abducted by the large UFO in the mural just outside the lobby!

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How could I forget this? This is another great example of Christian Marche's Pointy People!! And the backglass is full of interesting details. First, there is the artist with a large mallet in one hand and her other hand on her 'snake sculpture', apparently about to beat it to a pulp! Or???

There is a lady artist, holding her pointy fingers between her eyes and her painting, slowly backing up to eye and admire her work!

Then, for the final brushstrokes of brilliance, there is a Romulan with a flower, red poppy?, in his hair, just above his strange looking ear. One of his pointy-fingered hands is painting using a who-knows-what and the other is pointy fingering the blond ladies hair. Good, fun stuff!!

I pulled Super-Flite from the Top Fuel Lounge upstairs at Hotrods Old Vail. There are now only the five pinball machines downstairs in the lobby.

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I just love watching kids play my pins! I like it even more when Mom and Dad help out!

#309 68 days ago

Pecos Pinball is once again pleased and excited to announce their affiliation with Galaxy Theatres! Galaxy Theatres Tucsonis located at Houghton and Broadway on the eastside. It has only recently opened and is in a beautiful new building.

Super-Flite will not be available to the public, but will be available to all of their employees. I got a lot of great feedback from management and employes as I was setting the pin up. As I left, there were four people surrounding Super-Flite, one playing and three watching! Play on Galaxy Theatres employees and have fun!

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#310 67 days ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Pecos Pinball is once again pleased and excited to announce their affiliation with Galaxy Theatres!
Galaxy Theatres Tucsonis located at Houghton and Broadway on the eastside. It has only recently opened and is in a beautiful new building.
Super-Flite will not be available to the public, but will be available to all of their employees. I got a lot of great feedback from management and employes as I was setting the pin up. As I left, there were four people surrounding Super-Flite, one playing and three watching! Play on Galaxy Theatres employees and have fun!
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Congrats on the new location.

#311 67 days ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Super-Flite will not be available to the public, but will be available to all of their employees.

So who’s checking the people into the movies?

#312 67 days ago

Regarding cabinet appearance, I guess if your customer doesn't care what it looks like then don't bother with repainting it. You would never recoup the cost of the paint job anyway.

For myself, I wouldn't normally place a piece of equipment that showed so much "life experience". It would have to be a special situation.

#313 67 days ago
Quoted from zene10:

Congrats on the new location.

Thanks zene10. This is my first private location. There are several ways to price the games - cost per month or cost per game. I offered price per game. We never discussed price per month, with the theatre paying to have the game there, but they seem happy with this arrangement. I would like to charge $250 per month for an EM and $400 per month for an SS, but I might not be able to get that. Currently, Super-Flite is priced at 3 balls per game, 2 games for a quarter. What a bargain, ehh?!

Quoted from Colsond3:

So who’s checking the people into the movies?

Good one colsond3! They have a really big staff and they are only allowed to play at break time. Yeah, there might be a little bit of cheating there, but EM games are short and sweet. They have a big enough staff that the game might do as well as some of my games in public locations. Galaxy Theatres hires the disabled and gives back to the community, I like the manager and people there and, most importantly, they like pinball. This is my fourth client. I couldn't be happier with each of them, and I am very picky about who I work with!

Quoted from BrianBannon:

Regarding cabinet appearance, I guess if your customer doesn't care what it looks like then don't bother with repainting it. You would never recoup the cost of the paint job anyway.

For myself, I wouldn't normally place a piece of equipment that showed so much "life experience". It would have to be a special situation.

It would take a lot of quarters to be able to recoup the costs if I had to buy the stencils and too much time if I had to trace the stencils myself and then do the paint job. I am fortunate that none of my clients seem to care. They wanted vintage games and are willing to accept some more-than-vintage looking real life cabinet experience! I still might do the custom 'mural' if I can find one or two hundred dollar bills lying around on the ground somewhere.

#314 67 days ago
Quoted from BrianBannon:

Regarding cabinet appearance, I guess if your customer doesn't care what it looks like then don't bother with repainting it. You would never recoup the cost of the paint job anyway.
For myself, I wouldn't normally place a piece of equipment that showed so much "life experience". It would have to be a special situation.

As long as the game is fully functioning and the playfield is decent, I wouldn't care about cabinet artwork condition.

1 week later
#315 59 days ago

I want to start detailing when one of my pinball machine breaks and what was the cause so future pinball operators will get an idea of what it is like to be an operator. It's going to be boring to the casual observer, but this diary will give you a good idea of the problems you will face, how often they occur and how much time you can expect to take fixing these vintage pinball machines.

To remind you, I have nine pins out on location:

Op-Pop-Pop Bally 1969 EM, Hotel McCoy
Harlem Globetrotters On Tour Bally 1979 SS, D&D Pinball
Black Knight Williams 1980 SS, D&D Pinball
Grand Prix Williams 1976 EM, Hotrods Old Vail
The Six Million Dollar Man Bally 1978 SS, Hotrods Old Vail
Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man Bally 1982 SS, Hotrods Old Vail
Aztec Williams 1976 EM, Hotrods Old Vail
Stellar Wars Williams 1979 SS, Hotrods Old Vail
Super-Flite Williams 1974 EM, Galaxy Theatres

Last Saturday I stopped at Hotrods Old Vail with some friends for dinner and so that our 10 year old guest visiting from Pennsylvania could play some pinball. She was playing Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man and I was watching when the GI lamps went out. At the same time, the flipper was stuck in mid-flip. It's weird how so many pinball problems happen when I am there to watch them happen.

On Sunday I got a text that Stellar Wars was not spitting out balls, again. I knew what this problem was. I found on an earlier visit that one of the connectors on the driver board, when wiggled, would fix the problem. This meant that the female connector needed to be repinned, or more likely, the header pin connectors needed to be reflowed. I made a mistake when restoring Stellar Wars. I didn't reflow the header pins. Big mistake! Cold/cracked solder joints are common in pins from this era.

Sunday evening I went in and found a broken flipper spring on Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man. I also found that fuse F4 was blown. Easy fix but I had neither a flipper spring or a 5A Fast Blow fuse. I pulled the MPU and Driver boards on Stellar Wars so I could reflow the header pins.

I like to fix games within 24 hours, but Hotrods was closed on Monday. On Tuesday I removed the old solder from all of the MPU and Driver board male header pins including, and especially, the 40 pin interconnect pins. Then I added bright new shiny solder. This is the best way to prevent future solder problems.

I went in on Wednesday with a new 5A Fast Blow fuse and a replacement flipper spring for Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man. I brought back the MPU and Driver Boards for Stellar Wars. Both machines were fixed and I was feeling pretty good that all nine of my games were up and running - until today when I got a text that Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man was down again. I didn't know any more than that, but I brought my fuses with me in case Fuse F4 had blown again. It had. I replaced it and now await the next time when it blows and I get a text that Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man is down again. Then, if that happens, I will have to dig in deeper and find the short. UGH!! Not one of my favorite tasks, Maybe I'll get lucky and there won't be anymore F4 Fuse problems.

#316 59 days ago

F4 from Pacman blowing will probably be powerboard related (bridge going out.?), since the coils are separately fused under the playfield.
Or perhaps the solenoid fuse under the playfield is overrated?
I have 50 games on location and having as much fun as you have. I really like this thread, keep it going!

#317 53 days ago
Quoted from cudabee:

F4 from Pacman blowing will probably be powerboard related (bridge going out.?), since the coils are separately fused under the playfield.

Thanks for the tip. It hasn't blown since it was replaced. The manual say 5A FB for two flippers and 7A FB for four flippers. Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man has three flippers! Does that mean that I need a 6A FB fuse??

Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man has an interesting background. It was routed and played to death when I picked it up in the late 80s or early 90s and sat until I got it ready for routing. So, it has a lot of original parts including the bridge rectifiers.

Quoted from cudabee:

I have 50 games on location and having as much fun as you have. I really like this thread, keep it going!

Thanks! I am having fun, a lot more fun this year because I am making some money!

There have been no broken pins since Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man and Stellar Wars was fixed. Kris Bliznick was at D&D Pinball last week fixing games and Robert paid to fix the bad resistor in one of the displays and replace one of the MCRs that had died when one of the lamp resistors shorted. Robert and Constance have been so good to me! I have promised to get 'The Captain' ( #capt-fantastic-and-the-brown-dirt-cowboy) working for him. I am giving it 'The Treatment' so it should stay working for a good long while. If you have been waiting to play The Captain at D&D, hang in there. I will be working soon.

I collected D&D Pinball on Thursday and Hotrods Old Vail on Saturday. The income was down, but that is to be expected since it's June in the Sonoran Desert. I have two more games on route since last month so my overall income should be about the same as last month.

I have been trying to get one of my pins into my best friends house for years now. Out of the blue, his SigOth asked me to bring a pin over for her 4th of July Birthday Party. I want to bring my pride and joy, OXO. But it had a problem that I hadn't been able to fix. I would work on it for a couple of hours, give up, and come back to it later, starting from scratch. I have been trying to use schematics to fix my problems, and am willing to put in the extra hours so I can be become proficient with reading schematics. I knew I had to get it working so, after four hours, I finally found and fixed the problem. Then I found 10 more! I noe have one problem left to fix. OXO is playing like it is brand new and is so much fun to play.

#318 46 days ago

I saw a Gorgar mentioned in the AZ What's FS/FT thread and saw it posted on the Phoenix Craigslist, but wasnt't interested. I have been trying to control my buying. And then I realized that this was Gorgar, one of the Fantastic Four, one of the four SS pins that Williams designed in the late 70s that changed forever how pinballs would be designed. I'm not keen on the theme, not very family friendly, but this pin is super special. It is the first talking pinball machine! And the price was right! By the time I came to my senses and contacted the seller, he told me that he already had an offer but I was second in line. The original deal fell through and I worked out a pickup time from the seller. What a great guy and Pinsider!

I am so happy to be getting Gorgar! It will be needing a new MPU. I am considering one of the new all-in-one German boards, the NW7. https://www.pinball-dreams.com Not cheap, but if I am going to be buying a new MPU, I might as well spend a few bucks more and get a brand new board that will last for years.

I now have three of the four Fantastic Four, Gorgar, Firepower and Black Knight! I grew up playing these games and they have a special place in my pinball heart.

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I got a text from Buck at Hotrods Old Vail. One of the ball guides had come loose on Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man and Grand Prix was rejecting quarters. Buck has taken a great interest in how pinballs work and are fixed, to his credit, and he nailed the problems.

Both were easily fixed. But a customer was playing Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man and I noticed that the left flipper was weak. I cleaned and adjusted the EOS switch and got it working better. I also cleaned the right flipper, but something didn't look right. Then the right flipper was weak! The EOS switch was never opening. Two fuses later I found a white spacer in the bottom of the cabinet. Oh! I get it. It had fallen off the switch. I taped it on with masking tape, big hack, but it was back to full power.

Quoted from cudabee:

F4 from Pacman blowing will probably be powerboard related (bridge going out.?), since the coils are separately fused under the playfield.

I'm pretty sure I found out why F4 was blowing, but if there are more problems I will be looking at the bridge rectifiers.

The manual says a 5A FB fuse should be used on games with two flippers and 7A FB for games with four flippers. Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man has three flippers, so I replaced the 5A FB fuse with a 6A FB fuse!

#320 46 days ago
Quoted from desertT1:

What is the 4th one? High Speed?

Flash, the first of the four to be manufactured. I just missed out on one a few weeks ago, but I’m still on the hunt for one.

3 weeks later
#321 25 days ago

Maintenance Log:

I got called out to Hotrods Old Vail for a stuck ball in the Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man last weekend. The left eject hole switch had never been clean or adjusted because it is so hard to get to. I pulled the switch and cleaned and adjusted it. Intermittent problem fixed.

I have been having a terrible time with slingshot rubber rings breaking. Super-Flite has gone through four (!). I replaced one on Grand Prix today. And those aren't the only games. It seems like each of my games has had broken slingshot rings. I rotate the rings each time I do a wax job, but they are still breaking. Fortunately, they have been, somewhat curiously, breaking at the same time I collect so I haven't had to make many trips just for a broken rubber ring. But, I have been lucky so far on that score. I am going to try some Titan slingshot and flipper silicone rings to see if they will last any longer. The extra cost will be far more than worth it if it can save me a service call. The flipper rubber rings haven't broken, but they wear quickly. And I am hoping that, they too, will hold up better than regular rubber rings.

The The Six Million Dollar Man had a spring come off one of the drop targets that I found and fixed today.

It's collection time again. July is a slow month in Tucson. Monthly income should be similar to May though because I have another pin out on route.

I'm picking up a special early Bally SS next week. It's a Pinside favorite, the only reason I am buying it, and am looking forward to cleaning it up, bullet-proofing it and putting it out on route.

I built a Bally RETROFIT LED kit last week. Pics here:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/questions-about-early-bally-ss-displays-plasma-vs-led#post-5106943

And the Pinitech LED display in #Future Spa:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/questions-about-early-bally-ss-displays-plasma-vs-led#post-5108702

I wanted to get my Firepower MPU board fixed by one of the professionals here in Arizona, but decided to learn how to diagnose and fix these boards by myself. I really didn't want to take the time to learn, time that I don't have, but it will be a good investment in the long run. Sometimes you just have to reorder your priorities and do what you gotta do. When you make your money one quarter at a time, you have to learn to do the fixes yourself!!

#322 25 days ago

Pecos did you happen to get either of the full displays assembled (Pinitech UNO / TRADITIONAL single displays)?

Interested in hearing what you think of those when used with the plasma displays

#323 25 days ago
Quoted from acebathound:

Interested in hearing what you think of those when used with the plasma displays

Sorry, no, acebathound. I need to get Firepower back on route. I learned a long time ago that I am not a good multitasker, so I do one project at a time. Learning to fix these Williams MPUs is going to take some time.

I, too am looking forward to seeing how the UNO / TRADITIONAL single displays compare to the original plasma displays. They will be much easier to build than the RETROFIT displays. I won't be doing a video either so the builds should go pretty fast, when I can get to them. Which reminds me, I still have a video to edit.

1 week later
#324 14 days ago

Maintenance Log:

During collection at Galaxy Theatres, I found that the slingshot rubber ring was split almost completely through. Replaced with another, sigh, rubber ring. I plan to order some 2 3/4" Silicone Competition rings from Titan pinball to , hopefully, reduce the number of broken rings.

Grand Prix at Hotrods Old Vail had a flipper that wasn't working. It turned out to be a broken wire on the EOS switch. Easy fix, right? Wrong! After reattaching the wire, the flipper was now 'chattering.' Looking closer, I saw a spark in the solenoid wire that went to the lug. Then it broke off. I scraped off some of the lacquer on the thin solenoid wire and soldered it back onto the lug.

The left spinner was not scoring points. I found a wire that had fallen off the Left Spinner relay. How do wires break and fall off? It's just pinball, I guess.

The Score Motor was running on Op-Pop-Pop at Hotel McCoy. It was an intermittent problem and went away after manually resetting the Start relay. I got an email the next morning that the problem had returned. No surprise there. I want to pull Op-Pop-Pop and replace it with Super-Flite that is now at Galaxy Theatres. Until I can get Op-Pop-Pop bullet-proofed, I don't want it on route. This isn't the first Bally I have pulled for being finicky. I need more experience with these old Ballys.

I like to play 'Musical Chairs' with my pins every three to six months. A new pin on route gets a lot more quarters until the interest dies down.

Aztec-1 at Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour --> Galaxy Theatres
Super-Flite at Gaxaxy Theatres --> Hotel McCoy
Op-Pop-Pop at Hotel McCoy --> Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour

Gorgar, when I get it working at Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour --> D&D Pinball
Black Knight at Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour -> Hotrods Old Vail
Six Million Dollar Man at Hotrods Old Vail --> Galaxy Theatres

Of course, I will need approval before I can move these pins and Galaxy Theatres will need to approve a second pin.

I finally got Capt. Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy working at D&D Pinball. It helped knowing the names of the relays under the playfield! I had been looking at the wrong relay! The relays weren't labeled but I found the info I needed here on Pinside. I labeled those four relays so the next person won't be as clueless as I was. One of the wires on the Targets Down relay has a break in it somewhere - a hard problem to find and fix. I also fixed the finicky Game Over Trip/Latch relay. The Insert Lamps were intermittent. I still have the 'Over the Top Buzzer' and Ka-nocker from pinhead52 to install and a couple of scoring issues to resolve, but it is playable. D&D is on vacation through August 15th.

Picked up this beauty recently. It was supposed to be working but the solenoids are not working. Not a big problem, I am hoping.

I am in the process of bullet-proofing it. I have replaced the electrolytic caps on the Driver/Power board and reflowed the header pins. I will put in a new NVRAM and look at the other boards needing work.

I wasn't that interested in the title but considering it's popularity by Pinsiders, I think it will do well on route. I paid more for this pin than any pin I have purchased - quite a bit more. So I need to get this one out and making money.

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#325 14 days ago

Regarding broken wires off of switch lugs, every so often when the playfield is up just give a slight tug to wires below the playfield. I will do this about every six months or so. You can really catch wires that are just holding on by a strand and it might save you a service call or down machine.

#326 14 days ago

Looking forward to EBD getting out there. Requesting its first stop be Hotrods.

#327 10 days ago

I played musical pinballs on Friday. Op-Pop-Pop at Hotel McCoy was being finicky. The manager said that a person, I think his name was Bob, slammed his fist down on the glass and broke it. He cut his wrists and died and ever since, has haunted the pinball machine! I can't be traipsing 33 miles round-trip to be trying to fix a haunted pinball machine!

I put Aztec 1 in Galaxy Theatres. I pulled Super-Flite from Galaxy Theatres and moved it to Hotel McCoy. It wouldn't start after moving and after resetting the Game Over relay, began starting normally. The Match Unit wasn't advancing and after fiddling with that for a while, got it working.

Super-Flite out and Aztec 1 in (resized).png

Aztec 1 at Galaxy Theatres (resized).png

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Aztec 1 was working fine, for one player. I went in today to work on it. I put on some stronger springs and it will manually advance and reset properly, but only after backing off the nut that holds the snow show disc on the Player Unit. I use rubber cement to keep the nut from falling off and that has worked well. The 1000 and 10,000 score reels weren't stepping up the 10,000 and 100,000 score reels respectively. I might have put the snowshoe disc on backwards. I've said it before and I'll say it again. If there is any way to reassemble something incorrectly, I will find it. Also, sometimes the step-up solenoid wasn't always stepping up the Player Unit from Player 1 to Player 2. I will look at the score motor switches to find the one that controls the Player Unit Step-Up Solenoid.

Maintenance Log:

The left flipper on Aztec 2 at Hotrods Old Vail had a crack in it. Since then, plastic pieces have been falling off the flipper, one at a time, blocking the Outhole. I will replace the flipper the next time I am in Hotrods.

Williams Travel Time was at Hotel McCoy from August 24th, 2018 to until June 7th and was rock solid. I only fixed one flipper problem and replaced the coil stop on the time unit. Williams Super-Flite has also been very reliable which is why I wanted to move it to Hotel McCoy.

On the other hand, I have pulled two Bally pins, Wizard! and Op-Pop-Pop. The Bally's are harder to bullet-proof due to their shorter switch leafs. I am going to have to do a better job at restoring these old Bally's before they can be put on route.

#328 9 days ago

I went over to Galaxy Theatres, with some trepidation, concerned whether or not I was going to be able to get Aztec 1 working. The 1000 and 10,000 score reels were not advancing the 10,000 and 100,000 score reels when going from '9' to '0.' I discovered the solution to that problem easily enough. The nut on the Player Unit, when tightened, made the problem go away. But it created another problem. If the nut holding down the Snowshoe Disc unit is too tight, the player will not advance and the Player Unit will not reset to home position.

The Snowshoe Disc 4 Player Unit is really finicky. Some will work great after a good cleaning and polishing of the rivets and snowshoe contacts on the disc with the 'Magic Brush.' Others require more TLC. Aztec 1's Player Unit is one of the latter. I looked at the schematic and cleaned every contact that was in the circuit to the Player Unit Step-Up Solenoid with a Q-Tip and Isopropyl alcohol. I didn't have my 'Magic Brush' with me but this seemed to help.

There are four points of interest on the Player Unit that need to work in unison, the nut on the Snowshoe Disc, the Clock Spring and the two Regular Springs. Get the nut too tight and the Player Unit will not advance or reset properly. Get the nut too loose and the scoring for each player goes all wonky. Get the Clock spring too tight and the Player Unit will not advance properly. Get it too loose and the Player Unit will not reset to Player 1, home position, properly. Get the two regular springs too tight and the Player Unit will not reset properly. Get it too loose and the Player Unit will not step-up properly to the next player. So, it can be a whole lot of trial and error to get a finicky Snowshoe Player Unit to work 100%. I pulled on the strongest of the two regular springs to loosen it up a little bit. I then put rubber cement on the nut and adjusted it until I could manually step-up the Player Unit through all four players. I then manually tested the Reset Solenoid until it would fully return to home position. I found the 'sweet spot' of the tightness of the nut and the three springs and now the Player Unit is working 100%!

And then I discovered when testing, Aztec 1 wasn't scoring 1000 points on player 1. I found that one of the wires to the 1000 point score reel solenoid had broken off when I was checking the score reel switches. I fired up the soldering iron and this was easily resolved - back to 100%! I even had a double match when testing multiple players. I can't even remember the last time that happened.

One point of note. Be very careful when removing the Clock Spring. I wasn't holding on with two hands and the spring spun once and dug into my middle finger. Not good! It's best to remove and install the Clock Spring with a pair of pliers, thus keeping your fingers out of the line of fire!

Aztec 1 is one of my pride and joy pins. I spent more than two weeks touching-up the playfield.

Before:

DSCF1668 (resized).JPG

DSCF1753 (resized).JPG

After:

DSCF2026 (resized).JPG

DSCF4179 (resized).JPG

I was overjoyed to get Aztec 1 working. I was concerned that I would have to bring in another pin. I treated myself to one of the new dinner specials at Hotrods Old Vail. I deserved it! While I was there, I replaced the left flipper on the Aztec 2 I have on route. As you can see, the old flipper has seen better days.

DSCF4395 (resized).JPG

This is one of the older flipper assemblies, probably the original. I can purchase a new yellow bat and replace the old one by removing the screw on the Flipper Shoe. Newer flippers are molded into one piece, bat, shoe and shaft.

All nine of my games on route are working 100%, such a good feeling. Now I can get back to my Eight Ball Deluxe Limited Edition and Gorgar projects.

#329 9 days ago

Glad to see issues and all you still going at it and not given up. Your even added more games to route. So this a full time gig for you to keep you out of trouble or just another thing on your already crazy life plan?

#330 9 days ago
Quoted from cp1610:

Glad to see issues and all you still going at it and not given up. Your even added more games to route. So this a full time gig for you to keep you out of trouble or just another thing on your already crazy life plan?

Thank you cp1610 for the encouragement. It is a full-time gig to keep me out of trouble and my way of giving back to the pinball community. I remember how much I enjoyed playing pinball as a teenager and want today's kids to experience, even if only a little bit, the joy that I had and maybe create some new, fond memories of their own.

No one in my family had ever run their own business before and this is something I wanted to experience for myself. I had done some IT systems development work as a contractor and then as a self-employed business owner, in a limited capacity, but I wanted to do more. The pins at Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour were mostly sitting around and getting no love. So routing my pins seemed a good way to solve these issues and learn a lot in the process. I might not have started my business were it not for the fact that I wanted to share with you, good Pinsiders, what I have learned along the journey.

Which brings me to this interesting question. I have been wondering recently if this thread continues to serve a purpose and if it currently provides meaningful information to anyone considering becoming a pinball operator. Diary updates of pinball issues found and pinball issues solved is pretty dry reading. And since I am writing about vintage pinball machines, a fairly small niche, I wonder how many of you are interested in the information I am providing.

I will make a poll asking this very question. Please vote and let your voice be heard!

#331 9 days ago

The Aztec touch ups looks great! How did you get the white to blend so well?

#332 9 days ago
Quoted from Matesamo:

The Aztec touch ups looks great! How did you get the white to blend so well?

Thanks matesamo! The plan was to repaint the entire white area and a few other areas, then touch-up the rest. It turned out to be a major repaint of most of the playfield.

You can read about the details here:

http://www.pecospinball.com/aztec_playfield_restoration.shtml

#333 9 days ago

Great looking touch up job pecos!

#334 7 days ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Thank you cp1610 for the encouragement. It is a full-time gig to keep me out of trouble and my way of giving back to the pinball community. I remember how much I enjoyed playing pinball as a teenager and want today's kids to experience, even if only a little bit, the joy that I had and maybe create some new, fond memories of their own.
No one in my family had ever run their own business before and this is something I wanted to experience for myself. I had done some IT systems development work as a contractor and then as a self-employed business owner, in a limited capacity, but I wanted to do more. The pins at Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour were mostly sitting around and getting no love. So routing my pins seemed a good way to solve these issues and learn a lot in the process. I might not have started my business were it not for the fact that I wanted to share with you, good Pinsiders, what I have learned along the journey.
Which brings me to this interesting question. I have been wondering recently if this thread continues to serve a purpose and if it currently provides meaningful information to anyone considering becoming a pinball operator. Diary updates of pinball issues found and pinball issues solved is pretty dry reading. And since I am writing about vintage pinball machines, a fairly small niche, I wonder how many of you are interested in the information I am providing.
I will make a poll asking this very question. Please vote and let your voice be heard!

I certainly enjoy it! It's super interesting to hear others' experience as relatively small time operators. I have three machines at my workplace that I receive a bit of money to keep maintained on free play, and 2-3 more at a given time in a bar nearby that live on coin drop. Mine are all solid state but I'm interested to get the perspective from someone running EMs as I've considered doing so but haven't taken the plunge yet, and it's good to know what to expect.

#335 6 days ago

Keep it going Pecos! I enjoy hearing about the realities of operating as I contemplate it. And with EM's to boot. It's nice to hear the negatives and issues sometimes, instead of just candy-coating it over.

#336 6 days ago

Beautiful play field restoration...and excellent write-up in the link provided. That is just amazing! Thanks for sharing.

#337 5 days ago

pecos

Thank you for doing this thread.loads of good old fashioned information!

I too am looking at opening a pinball operation in the nearish future, I was pretty sure I wanted to just open a location with 20+ pins, but after reading about your journey, I realize having some pins making some money will make it easier to acquire additional pins for my ultimate goal of a pincade!

I'm only at 3 pins currently, however in roughly 2weeks time I'll be looking to acquire several projects to fix and put on route

Your posts are always informative and thoughtful, and I really appreciate reading them thank you!

Darren

#338 5 days ago

As a fellow operator i enjoy this thread. It is informative, positive and enjoyable to read.

#339 3 days ago
Quoted from stumptown:

I certainly enjoy it! It's super interesting to hear others' experience as relatively small time operators. I have three machines at my workplace that I receive a bit of money to keep maintained on free play, and 2-3 more at a given time in a bar nearby that live on coin drop. Mine are all solid state but I'm interested to get the perspective from someone running EMs as I've considered doing so but haven't taken the plunge yet, and it's good to know what to expect.

Quoted from Wmsfan:

Keep it going Pecos! I enjoy hearing about the realities of operating as I contemplate it. And with EM's to boot. It's nice to hear the negatives and issues sometimes, instead of just candy-coating it over.

Quoted from dc2010:

pecos

Thank you for doing this thread.loads of good old fashioned information!

I too am looking at opening a pinball operation in the nearish future, I was pretty sure I wanted to just open a location with 20+ pins, but after reading about your journey, I realize having some pins making some money will make it easier to acquire additional pins for my ultimate goal of a pincade!

I'm only at 3 pins currently, however in roughly 2weeks time I'll be looking to acquire several projects to fix and put on route

Your posts are always informative and thoughtful, and I really appreciate reading them thank you!

Darren

Quoted from cudabee:

As a fellow operator i enjoy this thread. It is informative, positive and enjoyable to read.

Thanks for the feedback guys. I really was wondering if the detailed descriptions of the hum-drum fixing of the broken pins was scaring everybody off. For the sake of the 10 of you who have voted, in the positive, I will not destroy this thread. Not how I planned it, but there is something Biblical there.

stumptown, it's cool to hear that you are an independent operator too. Feel free to share some of your experiences. I, for one, would love to read about them.

Darren, best wishes on your journey. I am excited for you and routing (pun intended) for your success!

cudabee, it's nice to hear from another fellow operator. Like I told stumptown, feel free to join in the conversation. 139 pins?? You could probably write a whole book about how that happened! And I thought 50 was a lot!

Okay, so we move on to the latest in my journey to pinball operator.

I forgot to mention that when I was about to leave Galaxy Theatres, I wanted to give a free game to one of the employees. I like doing this! In my youth, I always hung around the pinball fix-it guy so I could get free games. I tried to open the lock but the lock wouldn't open. Bummer. I might have to drill it out. I might buy some WD-40 and try to work it open, but these locks are old - they were used by Courtesy Coin in Phoenix and passed down to me. They are also super heavy-duty and drilling them out might be tough sledding.

When I am fixing games, I always have people come up to me to see what I am doing and to take a peek inside the pinball machine. They are always full of curiosity and strike up a conversation to find out more. The talk eventually gets to the point where they realize that I might be more than the fix-it guy and ask if these pinball machines are mine. They seem surprised when I tell them that they are. Maybe they expect everything to be corporate and not an independent operator - can't blame 'em for that. It's all good though. I enjoy talking pinball with my customers.

I have had a small handful of people tell me how much they like the rough, 'vintage' look of my EM cabinets. I like to hear that! I don't have the time to repaint old EM cabinets.

I deal with several women managers who know nothing about pinball. I got the impression, originally, that they were only accepting the pinballs because some owners, who happened to be guys, loved pinball. Maybe they weren't thrilled with pinball, but they were willing to give it a chance - can't ask for anything more than that. I think that I have won them over with my fast service, reliable machines and stellar personality. What do you think their biggest complaint is with the pins? It is that they are too loud! I can, and do, turn down the SS pins, but have had to be a little more creative with the EMs. I have been putting duct tape on the bottom of the chimes to 'tone them down a bit.' Gotta keep the clients happy!

#340 2 days ago

Thanks, very interesting read!

Quite a different situation here as I am setting up my pins for the club that will only open one WE a month, but really interesting to get some insights.

#341 2 days ago

I‘m following your thread all the way from Germany. It’s interesting for me because I buy and maintain EM or EE pins for my church. I only put in one pin at a time and change it once a year, so my task is far less challenging than yours. Hats off to you.

#342 4 hours ago
Quoted from Nihonmasa:

Thanks, very interesting read!

Quite a different situation here as I am setting up my pins for the club that will only open one WE a month, but really interesting to get some insights.

It's better to start small than to be completely overwhelmed with maintenance issues. I have found that the first two weeks you put a pin on route should be considered a 'burn-in' period where any issues that you may have missed will show themselves.

Quoted from Pinslot:

I‘m following your thread all the way from Germany. It’s interesting for me because I buy and maintain EM or EE pins for my church. I only put in one pin at a time and change it once a year, so my task is far less challenging than yours. Hats off to you.

Sehr gut! Wie arbeiten deiner EMs? Your English is much better than my German!

It's nice to hear from our European friends and even nicer to hear that you have pins out for play!

My latest haul of parts:

I don't know how useful this dolly will be. I really went to Harbor Freight to get another one of the blue LED flashlights. These come in handy when working on pins in the field. (The one in the picture is the old one, not the new one.) Don't bother getting one of the free headlamps that come up every so often. The light from it is prismatic, like all of the colors of the rainbow and not useful at all.

Harbor Freight Haul (resized).png

I remember seeing these last year in a gift giveaway from Troxel Repair - nice gesture by the way. I should have ordered these circuit breakers then, but I finally broke down and ordered them this week. They come in handy if you have more than a few pins. No more shorts that deplete my stock of fuses! They are very reasonably priced and come in the amperages that you will need for almost every pinball need, 3A, 5A, 7A, 10A, 15A, and 20A.

Troxel Repair Circuit Breakers (resized).png

I just got them and don't know how they will perform, but some of the reviews I have read have been positive.

https://troxelrepair.com/2018/11/for-sale-circuit-breakers-to-troubleshoot-blown-fuses/

Thanks Troxel Repair!

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