(Topic ID: 211448)

A Pecos Diary - My Journey to Pinball Operator


By Pecos

1 year ago



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  • 407 posts
  • 84 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 36 days ago by desertT1
  • Topic is favorited by 106 Pinsiders

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There are 407 posts in this topic. You are on page 8 of 9.
#351 5 months ago

The latest haul: Parts be Parts.

I found these three parts pins for sale in Chandler for cheap, so cheap that I couldn't turn them down. I paid more in sweat and tears, from the heat, but fortunately no blood! It was only 104 in Phoenix on Friday. HOT! But I shouldn't complain, it was 114 degrees only two days earlier. I'm getting to old to be doing this with a truck without air conditioning. I bring an ice chest with ice and some sodas. The ice goes onto the head to keep cool.

I was concerned how I was going to get three pinball cabinets into the back of my S-10 Pickup, but the problem was solved when trying to move the Jungle with an appliance hand truck. The cabinet literally fell apart!

I'm not sure what I have here. I know I have a couple of coin doors, a couple of lock down bars, three playfields and three playfield glasses, which I need as spares. BUT, there is an Eight Ball playfield in what looks like a Gottlieb Fast Draw or Quick Draw. I took a peek in the cabinet and saw Williams solenoids on what looks like a Gottlieb chime unit! I won't know for sure what I have until I take them apart - later this year when the weather gets cooler!

There is a Smart Set cabinet and playfield. I don't see these very often, but, strangely enough, there was a Smart Set for sale in Cave Creek, just a few miles away at the same time I picked this one up.

Eventually, I will be looking at the seeking EM parts thread to see if anyone needs what I have. I don't need all of these parts and will be passing them on for decent prices or for free.

Quite a mess! These have been stored outside, but, somewhat surprisingly, the parts under the glass and in the cabinets are in good condition.

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#352 5 months ago

If it helps you keep your business going , then it's worth it!

You are inspiring me with each post !

Keep up the good work!

Darren

#353 5 months ago

id check those for termite damage before dragging them any were close to home having been outside?

#354 5 months ago

Never pass up a cheap parts pin.

#355 5 months ago

I've never written a diary before. Being an analytical thinker, it is not too surprising that my posts have been mostly factual. I've reported what has happened, the good, the bad and the indifferent. But, sometimes it is a good idea to go back and read what you have written.

I recently added a poll to see if the thread had reached it's limit. I was afraid that I was scaring off potential pinball operators because the thread had become mundane and uninteresting to read. I do want to post the facts, but rereading part of the thread, I realized that there is a lot of information that might be misinterpreted. This is a good time to reflect on my Journey to Pinball Operator and let you know more of my feelings rather than just facts.

The first thing that I noticed that to the casual reader I am constantly running out to do maintenance on my routed pins. This is not true, with a few exceptions. I go to Hotrods Old Vail on average once every 1-2 weeks. The Bally HGOT and Williams Black Knight have been solid performers. HGOT has needed no work, and Black Knight has needed only some good waxing and an adjustment of one of the coin switches. Travel Time needed only a flipper fix and a broken solenoid stop that needed to be replaced. It's replacement, a Bally Op was pulled because it wasn't reliable. That and the Bally Wizard! at Hotrods were the only exception to my stellar pinball performers.

Speaking of stellar, Stellar Wars was one of the few solid state games that needed some fixing. It needed a new NVRAM and some header pin resoldering because the outhole switch wasn't registering. I lightly pushed on one of the connectors to discover that it was probably a cracked solder joint on one of the connectors. I should have resoldered all of the header pins when getting Stellar Wars ready for routing, but they looked good at the time and I passed on the work. Big mistake! I had to pull the board and do the bullet-proofing work that I should have already done. Live and learn, I guess.

Resoldering the header pins did fix the switch issue. Replacing the NVRAM fixed the resetting problems that was occurring and Stellar Wars was quickly put back into service. Firepower at D&D also went down, still not fixed, with an MPU problem. It is a good idea to have a few pins in your inventory to replace a pin that goes down that you can't quickly fix.

Most maintenance issues have been broken rubber rings, stuck pinballs, flipper problems, mechs not taking coins and other routine problems that will always come up with pins on route.

More reflections soon! Stay tuned.

Maintenance Log:

I got texts from Buck at Hotrods Old Vail this morning, complete with pics that The Six Million Dollar Man and Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man had problems. The pics really help me know what parts to bring with me. Harlem Globetrotters On Tour was taking coins and not giving credits. He saw a customer put (a) quarter(s) in the left slot without getting a game. I tested both coin slots and, of course, the game coined up as it should. We were discussing what might have happened. Maybe he put one quarter in each slot? Who knows? These weird mysterious problems happen all the time and all I can do is turn the game back on and wait for it to happen again. Most times there is no problem at all.

The picture of Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man that I received from Buck showed the right lower flipper stuck in the up position. The first thing I thought was that the spring had fallen off again, so I brought my stash of springs with me. When I got to Hotrods, I found the spring in place, where it should be. I next thought that the plunger had mushroomed, causing the plunger to stick. I have seen this already on the other pins at Hotrods. I was going to head home. I planned to bring my angle grinder back on another day to fix the diagnosed problem. But I decided to take the flipper apart and take the plunger home with me so I could do the grinding there. I was surprised to find that the coil stop, really a SOLENOID (Pet Peeve!) stop broken! I'm really glad I decided to stay and look further. It saved me a trip. There was a little bit of mushrooming of the plunger which I sanded down, but the problem was clearly the broken solenoid stop. I have a houseful of those, so will bring a replacement with me when I go to collect on Friday.

#356 5 months ago

I believe you have a bad coin switch on your Harlem Globetrotters. Note that the switches on Bally SS game are different than on E's even though they look similar. Your described problem points to the coin switch. There are possible connector issues to look at. Forty years can cause corrosion issues.....

Added 166 days ago:

I believe you have a bad coin switch on your Harlem Globetrotters. Note that the switches on Bally SS game are different than on EM's even though they look similar. The SS machines require gold plated contacts in the coin switches. Your described problem points to the coin switches. There are possible connector issues to look at as well. Forty years can cause corrosion issues.....

#357 5 months ago

@Hgot

I think there are different transition brackets or funnels? for quarters and bigger coins, if they get mixed up sometimes the quarter can slide past the switch without triggering or the bigger coin gets jammed up before it hits the switch.At least it is like that with dutch SS Bally coindoors.
You also want to adjust the switch to make a long sweep, i always try to make the switchclick arm travel or duration? as long as it can during the coinpass.Watch closely what happens when you insert the coin.Also test several coins with the coin door closed, The different angle might change coin path.
This is especially neccesary when you use coin comparators, where a coin is almost making a freefall to the coinswitch because of the electronic testing of the coin and not having it slowed down by a magnet as used in mechanical coin acceptors.
You might want to check if you have the correct switch for the coin you are using, there are differences in weight.
Correct coin handling is very important for operating pins in my opinion for it is a very bad experience when people put in a coin and nothing happens.It can be someones first encounter with a pinball machine and it might be the last because of that.
You really want to minimise that., i want people to have a good time on my machines and not getting a credit for your money is a very bad start.

Btw, if you use the close loop bookkeeping system, which i have, you can tell exactly how many coins are dropped without credits. Are you doing that or are the coinboxes emptied by the staff?

#358 5 months ago
Quoted from Pecos:

[quoted image]
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.
[quoted image]
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!

Circuit breakers are back in! You can go my website or paypal at troxel@troxelrepair.com to place an order.

#359 5 months ago
Quoted from troxel:

Circuit breakers are back in! You can go my website or paypal at troxel@troxelrepair.com to place an order.

Info:

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

Purchase:

https://troxelrepair.com/shop/

"Each set comes with one circuit breaker in the following sizes: 3A, 5A, 7A, 10A, 15A, and 20A."

Same low price - shipped, same convenient set of amperages. If you are looking for circuit breakers, this is the place. Support a Pinsider!

#360 5 months ago
Quoted from dc2010:

If it helps you keep your business going , then it's worth it!

You are inspiring me with each post !

Keep up the good work!

Darren

Thanks Darren! I would like to give most of the spare parts away, but will be selling some off to try to support the business. I would like to be able to afford a Williams System 11 some day, but they are out of reach at the moment and they keep going up in price!

Quoted from cp1610:

id check those for termite damage before dragging them any were close to home having been outside?

I haven't found anything but termite tracks where the wood touched the ground. BUT, it smells like something died in one of the cabinets. Adventure awaits!

Quoted from dasvis:

Never pass up a cheap parts pin.

Absotively! Even if you have to drive 250 miles round trip into the hell on earth known as Phoenix - in August - without air conditioning!!

Quoted from cudabee:

Correct coin handling is very important for operating pins in my opinion for it is a very bad experience when people put in a coin and nothing happens.It can be someones first encounter with a pinball machine and it might be the last because of that.
You really want to minimise that., i want people to have a good time on my machines and not getting a credit for your money is a very bad start.

I played more pinball growing up than I care to admit. Two things that really irked me was putting a quarter in and getting, nothing! Also, if the game starts but plays poorly, I felt like I might as well have thrown that quarter down a dark, deep well!

So, yeah. I work hard to make sure my games work well and don't cheat the customer. All of my clients are advised to give refunds, no questions asked, if a customer loses money in one of my pins.

Quoted from cudabee:

Btw, if you use the close loop bookkeeping system, which i have, you can tell exactly how many coins are dropped without credits. Are you doing that or are the coinboxes emptied by the staff?

I use this spreadsheet to keep track of Total Games Played, Free Games, etc. and count all of my pins with supervision from the location manager or authorized employee.

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Quoted from MrBally:

I believe you have a bad coin switch on your Harlem Globetrotters. Note that the switches on Bally SS game are different than on EM's even though they look similar. The SS machines require gold plated contacts in the coin switches. Your described problem points to the coin switches. There are possible connector issues to look at as well. Forty years can cause corrosion issues.....

Thanks mrbally. I will order another switch on my next PBR order. It hasn't reoccurred.

It was collection time last weekend. Some locations were up and some were down, quarter count-wise. With fall coming, and the snowbirds with it, I expect income to increase.

It has been a long time since I have ordered parts and now is the time. Radio Shack is having a two for one sale on fuses so it is a good time to replenish my stock.

https://www.radioshack.com/pages/search-results?findify_limit=24&findify_q=fuses%201%201%2F4

I have been working on Eight Ball Deluxe Limited Edition and Gorgar. Eight Ball Deluxe LE is blowing the 1A SB fuse under the playfield so I am trying to track down the bad solenoid/diode and going through a lot of fuses in the process. Unfortunately, a 1A circuit breaker wasn't included in the set I bought from Troxel Repair because they are hard to find and more than $10.00 each! Ten bucks will buy a lot of fuses so I am stocking up on those now.

Gorgar has multiple problems. The sound wasn't working and I suddenly noticed after working on the machine for a while that it was missing the speaker! DUH! I had bought some of the Newark speakers so I had some spares. The remote volume potentiometer is bad and, lo and behold, Radio Shack had the 5K Ohm logarithmic pot that I needed, also 2 for 1:

https://www.radioshack.com/products/radioshack-5k-ohm-audio-taper-potentiometer

Maintenance log:

When collecting at Hotrods Old Vail I noticed that the The Six Million Dollar Man had a broken rubber ring - another 2 1/2" rubber ring?! Another serendipitous moment since it must have just recently happened. I found a set screw in Aztec 2's coin box. I put it back in the flipper pawl - another problem avoided. Keep your eyes open when collecting! You will often find a problem before it becomes a problem.

I found Aztec 1 at Galaxy Theatres unplugged. Not a good sign. I plugged the machine in and the score motor was continuously running. The fourth play 10 point score reel was stuck on '10' - an easy fix if only I could get into the machine! The coin door lock had seized and I wasn't looking forward to drilling it out. This lock is one of the super heavy duty locks that was used by Courtesy Coin in Phoenix and kindly handed down to me. However, they are old and this one had jammed. I had given up and was ready to start drilling when I gave it one more try with the key. I was able to get the key in and with a pair of pliers and with a quick, sharp jolt the lock turned and the door opened. Good thing too, because I knew it was going to be a real project to drill out one of these locks.

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After getting the door open, I looked inside the coin box and found, not much! This pin had obviously broken down a long time ago. The manager said that she had lost my phone number and had asked someone to look at the machine for a sticker with my phone number on it. None was found. She looked at me and said, your number is there, isn't it. I showed her my card, with phone number, at the bottom of the playfield. She felt bad about the whole thing and insisted that I take 100% of the coin drop. I was more concerned that my customers couldn't play pinball for weeks rather than the lack of income. I wasn't bummed at all. Stuff happens and it was my fault for not showing the manager(s) how they could contact me. The client is always right and I couldn't have four better clients than the four I have.

Today I got a text that Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man wasn't working. I brought my fuses with me thinking that the F4 solenoid fuse was blown again. It was. I think it is an intermittent sticky flipper. Now that I have a 5A circuit breaker, I won't have to go through a lot of fuses fixing whatever it is that is blowing the fuse. Thanks Troxel Repair!

#361 5 months ago

FYI, Those locks are National Lock Co's, KeSet locks. They can be recombinated in seconds with a specific "Change Key" The route op I worked for had them. WE had two additional key groups (100 operating keys per group) in our count room vault.

One of the strongest keys out there for small locks. Could take a pair of Vise-Grip pliers to them and not break the key.

1 week later
#362 5 months ago

Radio Shack had a 2-for-1 sale on fuses so I picked up some parts from them this week. I got some replacement fuses, some LEDs for testing 6821 PIAs, some remote volume pots for Williams System 3-7 games and some proper solder for board work.

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I also bought some parts from Amazon, Createx Orange that I lost from my set, 100 x .1" male header pins and two toner cartridges for my Canon printer so I can print out some more PR packages. I go through a lot of toner running Pecos Pinball.

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I got a text pic from Hotel McCoy showing that ANOTHER 2 1/2" rubber ring had broken on Super-Flite. I got a PM from a local Pinsider that he needed a part for his Williams EM pin. AND, I had arranged to pick up two collectible mid 60s pins from my Tucson Video Arcade Guy. He collects and sells video arcade games and occasionally ends up with some pins. I was trying to avoid buying any more Project Pin EMs but the price was right and these are two games that would be nice additions to my collection, Surfers and 8 Ball.

I arranged to do all three chores on Tuesday. I replaced the 2 1/2" rubber ring that was no longer on Super-Flite with a 2 3/4 rubber ring in the hope that it will last more than a month. My Pinside friend and I had lunch and he got his part. I ended by picking up two really cool EMs. You can see pics and read more about them here:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/post-project-pins-for-sale-here-cl-ebay-pinside-and-others/page/280#post-5196104

With the addition of two more pins I had to do some pin rearrangin' at Pecos' Palatial Parlour. These games are all working, or mostly working, but will not likely be going on route. My new line-up:

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Yesterday was my birthday and I had a wonderful day with my best friend. I had gotten a really nice birthday birthday present from my Mom and Dad and from my Tucson Video Arcade Guy. Then, this morning, I got some pics sent to me from my Tucson Video Arcade Guy that put the cherry on the hot fudge sundae. It's a surprise, but I will give you a hint, it's pinball related! He will be getting a nice cash bonus for thinking about me and for such a nice birthday present!

Maintenance Log:

Nothing to report except for the broken slingshot rubber ring on Super-Flite.

FYI, Those locks are National Lock Co's, KeSet locks. They can be recombinated in seconds with a specific "Change Key" The route op I worked for had them. WE had two additional key groups (100 operating keys per group) in our count room vault.

One of the strongest keys out there for small locks. Could take a pair of Vise-Grip pliers to them and not break the key.

Good information to have. Thanks mrbally! I assume you approve of my Surfers pick up.

I now have three Zipper Flipper Bally pins and thre billiards-themed pins with the addition of Surfers and 8 Ball. I have been having some fun with 'if fishes were wishes' mind games. If Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour was a pinball museum I would have a row of pins with three billards-themed pins, then three Middle Pop games and finally three Bally Zipper Flipper pinballs. And it would only take eight pins, not nine. How could I do that??

It may sound crazy to start my own pinball museum, especially at my age and with little money, but I have been thinking about my collection and I have enough really great classic pins to start a first-class pinball museum. Hey, if otaku can do it, I can do it! I have a lot of great ideas. Why think little when you can think big!

#363 5 months ago

Happy birthday Pecos!

#364 5 months ago

Of course I like all Bally equipment. After All, You can Bank on Bally.

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#365 5 months ago

I'm guessing the 2 1/2" slingshot rubbers are breaking at the flashing/joint line. If so, I'd consider trying to put a couple staples over the joint. Or, other stiff wire. Hide this on the outline side of the slingshot.

They don't make those rubber rings in China like they used to in Europe or the USA.....

#366 4 months ago
Quoted from Pecos:

I had gotten a really nice birthday birthday present from my Mom and Dad and from my Tucson Video Arcade Guy. Then, this morning, I got some pics sent to me from my Tucson Video Arcade Guy that put the cherry on the hot fudge sundae. It's a surprise, but I will give you a hint, it's pinball related! He will be getting a nice cash bonus for thinking about me and for such a nice birthday present!

The surprise was a nice Flash, the last of the 'Fantastic Four' that I had been looking for:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/what-machine-did-you-bring-home-today-post-your-pictures/page/272#post-5210875

It was even a bigger surprise when I set it up yesterday. Two of the fuses in the backbox were bad - not a good sign! I got a chance to use two of my new circuit breakers that I got from Troxel Repair. I unplugged the connectors from the power supply to the other boards, turned on the machine and tested the voltages. They all tested good so I turned off the machine, plugged the connectors back into the power supply and turned the game back on. SURPRISE! Flash works! I'm just not used to getting a pin that actually works. Unless I find something that I have missed, this game will be on route soon.

I will be doing some bullet-proofing of the boards, new electrolytic capacitors, reflowing header pins, etc. The flippers need some adjusting, but whoever owned this pin treated it with TLC and it shows. It's such a pleasure to buy a classic pinball machine that has been so well maintained.

The playfield is drop-dead gorgeous and the cabinet is super nice. The only issue is with the backglass that has quite a bit of flaking. The artwork on the backglass is such that it hides the missing ink - nothing that would keep me from routing it 'as is.'

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There is another surprise that I will be disclosing next week! Hint: It does not have something to do with pinball.

Maintenance Log:

I got a text from Buck at Hotrods Old Vail that Stellar Wars wasn't taking coins. The left coin mech had two quarters stuck in it. While I was there I waxed two of the more popular pins, Grand Prix and Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man. Looking good!

#367 4 months ago

I won a tournament recently in New Mexico on Flash. It was only my third time playing it and it was quite fun. I’ll be playing yours for sure when it’s out. Great layout.

1 week later
#368 4 months ago

I picked up another pin, a Playmatic Rio, that I hope to route one day.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/what-machine-did-you-bring-home-today-post-your-pictures/page/273#post-5229420

My neighborhood was hit by a microburst Monday evening. More than 10% of the trees in my neighborhood were blown over, walls were damaged and roofs blown off. My neighbor and friend had 90% of her roof blown off and I have been busy all week trying to help her. I was fortunate that my house had no damage. I would have been going crazy if water had gotten in my house, getting my pins off the floor and protecting them from water damage.

All but one of my clients have been collected for September. Income was down. I wasn't expecting that. As snowbirds return to Arizona I am expecting income to increase, but it hasn't happened yet.

Maintenance Log: My pins went two weeks with no maintenance issues! I got a text today that Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man wasn't crediting coins. I found the wire on the left coin switch stuck down. Easy fix, right? It wasn't. It turned out that the switch was loose and had moved. For some reason, shorted?, it wasn't crediting the quarters. After adjusting the switch body, all was well. I tightened down the switch so this wouldn't be happening again any time soon.

Restoration Log: I have been working on Flash since it is the closest to working 100%. The flippers had to be adjusted. The EOS switch on the right flipper was too close to the flipper pawl when the flipper was in the 'up' position. I had to add two spacers to the EOS switch stack to get the EOS switch working correctly. The left drop targets were not resetting. I found a diode that had broken loose - easily fixed. Did the typical bullet-proofing on all of the boards except the MPU that had already been worked on by a professional.

I was unable to get into the diagnostics to configure Flash. pintec saw that one of my connectors on the MPU was on wrong, I hate it when that happens . Then I had problems with the game serving up endless balls. It couldn't go on route like that! The story and answers are here:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/hey-guys-no-system-6-interlock-switch-unable-to-access-diagnostics

One of the flash lamps was burned out. I found these LED replacements for the GE #631 lamps that were used for the bright flash lamps.

https://www.pilotlights.net/ge-303-led-replacement-ba15s-base-g8-sc-bayonet-34

They are pricey at ten bucks each, but they should last 30 times longer and I'm hoping that they will be super bright at 110 lumens.

The previous owner treated this game with TLC and even put decals on the drop targets. I want to put Mylar on them. I have one coin switch that needs to be adjusted. I have the windows on the backglass masked off and will Triple Thick it. I am so close to having this pin working 100% and, unless I find something that I have missed, it will go on route next week.

#369 4 months ago

I really feel like karma owes you a system 11 pin

#370 4 months ago
Quoted from dc2010:

I really feel like karma owes you a system 11 pin

Does Pecos want one though?

#371 4 months ago
Quoted from dc2010:

I really feel like karma owes you a system 11 pin

I like your thinking dc2010!

Quoted from desertT1:

Does Pecos want one though?

Are you kidding? Pecos would love to have a System 11 pin to put on route!

#372 4 months ago
Quoted from Pecos:

I like your thinking dc2010!

Are you kidding? Pecos would love to have a System 11 pin to put on route!

Sooner or later a Pinbot or High speed HAS to pop up close enough to you to grab!

#373 4 months ago

Nice grab on the Flash, bet that will clean up great!

#374 4 months ago

Ah... Flash. The first game where I encountered the true meaning of flow. That should be a good earner.

#375 4 months ago

I hope that was a compliment

#376 4 months ago

It's finally happened. When I was picking up pins from my Tucson Arcade Guy I saw a couple of video games that I really like. One was a Defender and then there was this Williams and Nintendo multicade that brought me back to my youth.

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In the late 80s there was a local arcade where I could play pinball for a quarter and video games for a dime. I wasn't a big video gamer, but I liked Tempest, Centipede and Defender. I owned a Stargate for a while. So this 'Beyond Arcade' 19 in 1 video game was a natural for me. It is working, which is a good thing because I won't know what to do when something breaks!

It is temporarily at D&D Pinball until I can find a client that wants it.

The games, list from https://www.aceamusements.us/multi-williams-19-in-1-arcade-classics-custom-multicade.html:

Williams Classics -

Defender, Williams - 1 player with a 2-way up-down joystick and 5 buttons.
Joust, Williams - 2 players with a 2-way right-left joystick and 1 button each.
Robotron 2084, Williams - 1 player with two 8-way joysticks (one 8-way joystick and 1 button can be substituted).
Bubbles, Williams - 1 player with an 8-way joystick.
Splat!, Williams - 2 players with two 8-way joysticks and 1 button each.
Blaster, Williams - 1 player with an 8-way joystick and 2 buttons.
Stargate, Williams - 1 player with a 2-way up-down joystick and 6 buttons (follow-up game to Defender with an additional button).

Nintendo Classics -

Super Mario Bros., Nintendo - 1 player with an 8-way joystick and 2 buttons, or 2 players with an 8-way joystick and 2 buttons each (game actually plays 2-way right-left).
Battle City, Nintendo - 2 players, controls not known, an NES release.
Mario Bros., Nintendo - 2 players with a 2-way right-left joystick and 1 button each.
Ice Climber, Nintendo - 2 players with a 4-way joystick and 1 button each.

Other Classics -

Solomon's Key, Tecmo - 1 player with an 8-way joystick and 2 buttons.
Ghost 'n Goblins, Capcom - 1 player with an 8-way joystick and 2 buttons.
Do! Run Run, Universal - 1 player with a 4-way joystick and 1 button.
Kick Rider, Universal - 1 player with a 4-way joystick and 1 button.
Gradius, Konami - 1 player with an 8-way joystick and 3 buttons

I want to thank my Tucson Arcade Guy for this great video game classic!

#377 4 months ago

Black Knight out and Flash in.

lst_day_black_knight (resized).jpg

Black Knight's last day at D&D Pinball and my Williams and Nintendo classics 19 in 1 Beyond Arcade video game.

Black Knight was a great performer for an operator. I didn't pay much for it to begin with and it collected a lot of quarters. Black Knight was at D&D Pinball for six months and, except for some waxing, I don't remember having to do any maintenance on it. It is a relief to have a pinball machine on route that doesn't need any maintenance and all I have to do is collect quarters once a month - awesome performance for a pinball machine that is almost 40 years old. I credit a lot of that to the bullet-proofing I did per Vid's guide, thanks vid1900!!

I am also very pleased with the performance of the Titan Competition Silicone rings that I put on Black Knight. They stayed relatively clean compared to regular rubber rings. After six months, I am doing the first cleaning with 91% Isopropyl alcohol. They clean up easily, maintain their shape well and stood up to thousands of games played without breaking. The flipper rings, which always show wear on regular rubber rings, showed no noticeable wear. I plan to start converting my SS pins to Titans.

Flash got the same bullet-proofing treatment. That along with the TLC it got from it's former owner, it's in great shape and plays great.

day_1_flash_a_place_of_honor (resized).jpg

A place of honor, right up front.

day_1_flash_and_Williams_classic_arcade (resized).jpg

day_1_flash_and_Williams_classic_arcade_close_up (resized).jpg

I want to thank Robert and Constance at D&D Pinball for their continued support of Pecos Pinball! Thanks! If you are in Tucson, be sure to stop by and play this classic machine. I hope the many visitors to D&D Pinball will enjoy playing it.

The playfield on this Flash is a 10, and I don't give that rating lightly. Drooling is allowed, but please not on the pin!

1 week later
#378 3 months ago

I didn't want to bring up this subject because it is sensitive, but I feel that I must. It is part of the story.

I had heard that there were some games at a local restaurant/bar and I stopped by to see them. There were some video games, but there was no pinball machine and space for one. I asked the owner if he wanted a pinball machine. He asked if I would go 50/50 instead of the normal 60/40 with him since he wanted to donate the money to a charity. I said I would. He called me back and said that the vending company that put the video games in would be bringing him a pinball. I found out that the owner used the deal I made to get the same deal with the vending company. That's tough, but that's business.

I contacted the sales manager at the vending company and told him what happened and asked if we could do lunch and work out some agreement to work together in situations like this, my treat. We met at Hotrods Old Vail. I tried to make the case that I was only interested in putting pinball machines out on route, only vintage ones, and that his company could have everything else, including newer pinball machines. I told him that a few of my clients might want some video games.

We all know that pinballs do not make a lot of money on route and they are a pain to maintain, costing valuable tech time for companies only looking at the bottom line. I thought a company that size wouldn't try to shut me out of the market. I won't tell you what he said, I don't have his permission, but needless to say, we didn't agree at all. It turned out to be a complete waste of time and money. I did learn something. The food doesn't taste nearly as good when you are having a business lunch that turns sour.

Recently, I was at another pub type restaurant and bar and told my friends that I wanted to check out the front rooms where there were pool tables. What I found was one bowling video game in the corner, not working and unplugged. I also found room for at least four pinball machines. I came back on the following Monday to talk to the owner about putting in some pins. She was very excited about having pinball in her place.

I wanted to avoid the same conflict that I had before so I asked her what vending company they were using and if their contract allowed me to put some of my pins in. Can you guess that it was the same vending company? Well, it was. She said they had put the machines in 16 years ago and didn't know if they even had a contract. She was going to contact the vending company and explain the situation. I thought this best. I don't like stepping on toes and the owner, apparently, didn't want to cause any trouble either.

I got a text that the vending company was going to bring in a pinball machine in a week and a half. That was a week ago. She and I are still waiting to see what, if anything, will happen.

I feel like they are only interested in the customer because I am. They had abandoned their video game and had pulled out a pinball machine that was there at one time because it was too much maintenance. I don't want to compete for any of the vending companies business and I don't see why my vintage pinball machines can't peacefully coexist with their stuff, especially when they had abandoned them in the past.

Just for reference, this a large company with sales in the millions. I don't want more than 20 games on route and my sales are in the hundreds. I understand why they might feel that I am trying to compete for their business, but trying to shut me out instead of working with me is pretty tough business. I can live with that, but I haven't given up on some amenable solution. I may try to talk with the owner. I understand that he is a pinball fan and, hopefully, we can come to some agreement where both parties can be happy.

Parts Be Parts:

I am going to be replacing the flipper EOS switches and flipper cabinet switches on my pins that need them. The most important part of the pinball/player interface is flipper and I want mine to be strong and snappy.

My 'The Pinball Resource order - almost $300 in parts:

DSCF4551 (resized).JPG

Maintenance Log:

It was a Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man week. I got a message that the game wasn't working. When I went in I found that one of the contacts was missing on the left flipper EOS switch. I scavenged one of the EOS switches from Eight Ball Deluxe Limited Edition and installed it on another trip. Then I heard that Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man was having flipper problems again. This time I found that the flipper would occasionally stick. I took the solenoid and plunger off and cleaned them thoroughly. The end of the plunger had a slight bur, so I sanded that down. Problem fixed.

Three of my games were turned off when I went in to fix the Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man flipper problem. The Six Million Dollar Man wasn't crediting quarters. I turned it on and it took quarters in both coin slots and added games. Problem fixed. Aztec was making a loud buzzing sound and they were worried about it. I opened the coin door and unlatched and relatched the coin lockout relay until it buzzed. I asked the hostess if it sounded like that. Then I pressed and held one of the flipper buttons and asked if the noise sounded like that. It sounds like it is the coin lockout relay that is causing the noise and I explained that sound is normal on an old EM like this. Problem solved, I hope! It is great to have a client who looks after your games like the staff at Hotrods Old Vail look after mine! They are very protective of my 'babies', maybe a bit over-protective in this case, but I can live with that.

#379 3 months ago

In my opinion the only person permission you need to operate your machines is the business owner.

#380 3 months ago

Great thread @Pecos! I just read virtually the whole thing top to bottom- I'm not an operator but just a pinhead who finds it fascinating to see how you make this work as a business. And it is a lot of work! Congratulations on keeping pinball in the public eye.

Regarding your rival vending company sales manager: that was gutsy of you to take him to lunch and talk about the market. The fact that he feels threatened by you is a sign that you are gaining traction. You're able to hustle sufficiently to keep your pins working, which is more than he can say for even his video game! You mentioned to him that some of your customers would be interested in video games--I think you were sharing that information for his benefit. But realistically, you could operate video games in your venues far better than he could. And hey, it could really improve your earnings at existing locations--you have put so much work into Hotrods Old Vail that perhaps you could add a crowd-pleaser like Ms. Pac Man or Galaga, and get some nice returns. There could be real value also in providing a game for non-pinball people: if the wife is playing pinball and the husband wants to leave, it benefits you to place another machine there that can occupy his time.

Quoted from Pecos:

We all know that pinballs do not make a lot of money on route and they are a pain to maintain, costing valuable tech time for companies only looking at the bottom line. I thought a company that size wouldn't try to shut me out of the market. I won't tell you what he said, I don't have his permission, but needless to say, we didn't agree at all. It turned out to be a complete waste of time and money. I did learn something. The food doesn't taste nearly as good when you are having a business lunch that turns sour.

FWIW, I don't think you have any actual obligation to keep confidential what your business rival said to you (especially when he was rebuffing your offer). But you are discreet and don't want to overshare, which absolutely makes sense.

Random thought: It is awful that you have to drive out to the location to learn that your machines need maintenance or, worse, are unplugged. It's not actually the 1970's anymore, notwithstanding these great pins. It would be great if there were a cheap coin-tracking device you could put into a game to give you audit data about when people play. You could see how many repeat customers you have, what the hot times are, whether the game is broken or not earning, etc. Theoretically it could just be a simple device piggybacking off the coin mech with some USB storage in it. If it had wifi, it could even send you the data on a daily basis. Perhaps there's an android app that could do this- you could just put an old $40 android phone in the cabinet, powered, wifi connected, with a simple connection to the coin mech, to report audit data to you over the internet. But that's just me daydreaming.

Also interesting about the silicone rings in Black Knight. It would be great to have that reliability in all your games, since broken rubbers are a frequent issue. But they might be too out-of-place on an EM, assuming they're not white.

#381 3 months ago

True route operators are vicious, cut-throat sonsabitches. If you did place a machine at a location like that, it would soon be damaged in way where you'd have to pull it out.
First thing might be a line cord cut flush with the cabinet. Second thing would be ugly. Ex. All/most boards blown out or magically missing. Or the playfield glass blown up with a spring loaded center punch etc.

#382 3 months ago

I think Pecos business nativity is actually rather sweet. To take his business opponents sales manager out to lunch could really only end the way it did, to do otherwise for him probably wouldn't be a good thing. The vending company sounds like a "maximum profit/minimum effort" deal with contacts that they let "slide" until they are called on it. I wouldn't be surprised if they get a monthly payment from the location owners for having entertainment devices on property who never think twice about it, just paying the fee month after month, year after year.

More than likely the owner of the location called and realized that the company had a contract and that is why they are getting to put a pinball machine in. If you did talk to the owner and she honestly had no idea if she had a contact with a company who has had a product in her location for 16 years or not, well I can guess the result. The fact is, you are competition no matter how small and insignificant you are. These company's want exclusive deals with locations and no other machines will be allowed in, they do not want any chance that the location could prefer your product over theirs and perhaps not renew the deal. That is just how it is.

I would be SHOCKED if the owner of the vending company would direct his staff to allow non-company machines on a location they have a contract for or plan to have a contract with. If a location has room for three pinball machines and his commissioned sales team is instructed to give one to someone else, how would that go over? You have to realize at some point that them allowing one of your machines to be put into a location where they have exclusive rights to would result in one immediate indisputable fact; every quarter that goes into your machine potentially could have gone into their machine instead. Your profit is taken from their profit and the chances that they would willingly allow this to happen would be crazy. And if your machine is popular that gives the location leverage when negotiating their next deal. I doubt this company got so big by doing things that are "best for pinball" instead of best for business.

Quoted from MrBally:

True route operators are vicious, cut-throat sonsabitches. If you did place a machine at a location like that, it would soon be damaged in way where you'd have to pull it out.
First thing might be a line cord cut flush with the cabinet. Second thing would be ugly. Ex. All/most boards blown out or magically missing. Or the playfield glass blown up with a spring loaded center punch etc.

I have never seen playfield glass damaged but holding older machines flippers in to burn the coils or items stuck into the coin slots would not be shocking.

#383 3 months ago

I have a feeling it was Eagle Vending. When I got my license stickers last time I asked the guy at city hall if he could tell me how many (if not who) was the biggest license buyer. He said Eagle Vending got about 600 stickers every year. I used to have a contact there that I could text when a pin of theirs was down. That person has moved on, and their games rarely play well.

Here is my own EVA story. I actually have 2 games that say EVA on the bottom, because I either bought it from them, or from somebody else who did. So this isn't a 100% thing, but if the pin says EVA under where the coin box is, guess who owns/owned it. On to the story. I had a location that also had a Big Buck hunter arcade, and a Golden Tee, both older versions. They might have owned the air hockey table, or the location might have, I can't remember. Either way, their events manager told me once that they had to call EVA to have one of the arcades looked at because it was no longer accepting money. EVA's response was that they had no info on having games there in their system. They came out anyway, and sure enough the games were theirs. The game that was having an issue was all caused because the coin box was full. They hadn't been out in years probably, but because the location didn't ask for a split there was none to be paid on a regular basis. And here I am almost once a week at each of my locations fixing stuff. They leave a game for years and it gets played and eventually fills up. We know we are in the wrong business, but pins are more fun.

#384 3 months ago

Pecos, you are a true gentleman! Keep up the good work!

#385 3 months ago

Pecos, what a guy! Killing the competition with class!! haha

#386 3 months ago

Vending outfits like this are partly why pinball was so hard to find for so long they don't want to have to work for there money. Just think they buy a game dump it on route and only come when it breaks. As to you bust your hump and maintain your games deliver a better product then they do i can see why they are worried. Yes you many never be big but you will make them actually work as to sit on their butt. Keep up the work who knows maybe keep up the hustle maybe get to steal one of there locations for your better product.

#387 3 months ago

Indeed- thats sad but seemingly true.

Pecos- keep it up!! Its so awesome to have high quality games in the wild. Wish I was closer and could play yours!

#388 3 months ago

Played flash last night at D&D .
Thanks Pecos

#389 3 months ago

I have a possible new client. They don't want the games now, so I will have to play the waiting game.

Quoted from golfingdad1:

In my opinion the only person permission you need to operate your machines is the business owner.

That would be true if they weren't locked into a contract. Some contracts have exclusive rights for the vendor. The client I am working with got their games from the vendor 16 years ago and don't even remember if they signed a contract. If you consider that they may be getting pressure from the vendor's sales person, and a good salesman will do that - it's his/her job, it is just easier for them to go with their current vendor and not Pecos Pinball.

Quoted from calla76759:

Great thread @Pecos! I just read virtually the whole thing top to bottom- I'm not an operator but just a pinhead who finds it fascinating to see how you make this work as a business. And it is a lot of work! Congratulations on keeping pinball in the public eye.

Regarding your rival vending company sales manager: that was gutsy of you to take him to lunch and talk about the market. The fact that he feels threatened by you is a sign that you are gaining traction. You're able to hustle sufficiently to keep your pins working, which is more than he can say for even his video game! You mentioned to him that some of your customers would be interested in video games--I think you were sharing that information for his benefit. But realistically, you could operate video games in your venues far better than he could. And hey, it could really improve your earnings at existing locations--you have put so much work into Hotrods Old Vail that perhaps you could add a crowd-pleaser like Ms. Pac Man or Galaga, and get some nice returns. There could be real value also in providing a game for non-pinball people: if the wife is playing pinball and the husband wants to leave, it benefits you to place another machine there that can occupy his time.

Thanks @calla76759! I don't know how 'gutsy' it was. I prefer working with my competition than against. Tucson is a big enough city that there should be room for all of us. It makes little sense for a vending company that is in business to make money to restore these older pins. I spend 50 to 100 hours restoring an EM, less for an SS but at $10.00 an hour for, it takes a lot of time for a vending company to break even on ROI at only a quarter per play. Then there is the cost of maintenance - much more than their other games. The only reason for a vending company to operate pins is to keep their clients happy. I do it for a different reason. I love pinball.

Quoted from MrBally:

True route operators are vicious, cut-throat sonsabitches. If you did place a machine at a location like that, it would soon be damaged in way where you'd have to pull it out.
First thing might be a line cord cut flush with the cabinet. Second thing would be ugly. Ex. All/most boards blown out or magically missing. Or the playfield glass blown up with a spring loaded center punch etc.

I'm glad you are here to share your experience, @mrbally. I know the reputation of route operators was cut-throat in the past. I was hoping that things would be different in 2019. A friend of mine knows the vending company I am competing with and tells me that they are business men and decent people. Still, it has crossed my mind that my pins are in the line of fire and I don't like that much, but what can I do?

Quoted from Matesamo:

I think Pecos business nativity is actually rather sweet. To take his business opponents sales manager out to lunch could really only end the way it did, to do otherwise for him probably wouldn't be a good thing. The vending company sounds like a "maximum profit/minimum effort" deal with contacts that they let "slide" until they are called on it. I wouldn't be surprised if they get a monthly payment from the location owners for having entertainment devices on property who never think twice about it, just paying the fee month after month, year after year.

You have pretty much nailed it, @matesamo , but naïveté is not how I would describe my business sense - been around too long and seen too much for that. Does that mean I'm bittersweet?

Quoted from JethroP:

Pecos, you are a true gentleman! Keep up the good work!

Quoted from Philk:

Pecos, what a guy! Killing the competition with class!! haha

Ha ha! Thanks guys. Glad to see you are still hanging around here and appreciate the encouraging feedback.

Quoted from rufessor:

Pecos- keep it up!! Its so awesome to have high quality games in the wild. Wish I was closer and could play yours!

I wish you were too! I can use the business. I am getting older and asked myself a few years back what would happen to my pins if I were to expire my mortal coil. They would probably go to some collector's collection, never getting the chance to entertain more than just a few pinball lovers. Having my collection on route just makes sense to me at this point in my life. I like watching people smile, especially kids, when playing my pins and I am doing my small part to bring a few smiles to Tucson.

Quoted from cp1610:

Vending outfits like this are partly why pinball was so hard to find for so long they don't want to have to work for there money. Just think they buy a game dump it on route and only come when it breaks. As to you bust your hump and maintain your games deliver a better product then they do i can see why they are worried. Yes you many never be big but you will make them actually work as to sit on their butt. Keep up the work who knows maybe keep up the hustle maybe get to steal one of there locations for your better product.

It's always been this way, as long as I can remember. Putting a quarter into a pin on location in the 70s was a crap shoot. Most of the pins played, barely, with weak flippers and pop bumpers and features that didn't work.

Quoted from golfingdad1:

Played flash last night at D&D .
Thanks Pecos

Cool, hope Flash behaved herself for you!

Parts Be Parts:

I got an order from GPE. Just a side-note; it takes me a lot of time getting these orders together. I keep a list of parts I need in a text file until I have enough to place an order, but I still have to go through my stock to determine what I need to order, usually takes two evenings.

DSCF4556 (resized).JPG

Ed at GPE is my favorite pinball parts vendor. His prices are super nice, he is very knowledgeable and answers my questions and always delivers more than expected. His website is pinball oriented so there are helpful notes and I don't have to page through thousands of parts to find the parts I need. I ordered 73 fifteen cent resistors and received 72. I also received a $5.15 credit from GPE. Huh? Ed, you are to generous. He has my business forever.

Included in the order are some parts that I will be experimenting with to try to reduce flipper EOS and flipper cabinet switch arcing.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/reducing-arcing-on-early-ss-pin-flipper-eos-and-cabinet-switches

That makes almost $500 in parts for the month of October and I already need to place another order with GPE! Gee, this hobby, now business, sure is expensive!

Maintenance Log: I had to replace, yet another , slingshot rubber ring, this time on Grand Prix. I've got to order those Titan Competition Silicone rings.

Restoration Log: Black Knight has gotten a tune up and is working 100%! Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a pin, any pin, working 100%? Well, I'll tell you. It's darned hard, especially for these older pins.

I replaced a broken flipper compression spring and got the lamp in the pop bumper working. And that is important because I ordered a 'proper' pop bumper cap. Nothing but the best for Black Knight!

DSCF4568 (resized).JPG

There were a few other issues, that fortunately for you, I forget what they were.

I am making good progress on #eight-ball-deluxe-limited-edition. None of the solenoids were working and the 1A SB fuse under the playfield was blowing. I replaced the eight ball drop target solenoid and that fixed the fuse blowing problem, but the solenoids were still not working. I found that connector A3J3 had been repinned, poorly, with two connector housings instead of one. When pushing slightly on those connectors, the solenoids came back to life. I will need to place another order with GPE to get the 25 pin connector housing and some capacitors and a trimmer for the sound board. I repinned two of the wires and had a heck of a time doing it. Those .1 pins are tiny and my fingers too big. I am dreading repinning it.

One of the displays died and have decided to get one of the blue Pinitech LED display kits. Did I ever tell you that this hobby/business sure is expensive?

https://www.pinitech.com/products/cat_displays.php

There is still a lot to be done, so I won't be putting #eight-ball-deluxe-limited-edition on route anytime soon - sorry @desertt1.

#390 3 months ago

Hey Pecos, here is a kit I heard about from my friend Tommy on This Flippin Podcast. I got an orange set for my Stars and I really like it. It's still a kit, but wasn't a ton of hassle. The first one took a little while, but after that the others went pretty quick using the first as a reference.

https://www.wolffpactech.com/6-digit-display-kits

#391 3 months ago
Quoted from Pecos:

Some contracts have exclusive rights for the vendor.

I guess anything is possible, but I can't imagine why a store looking to host pinball machines would sign a contract giving the pin operator rights of exclusivity. Typically, the store doesn't put up any capital or pay for game maintenance, right? To the store owner it's all no risk. What benefit is there to the business giving the pin operator rights of exclusivity? PS....great thread, Pecos!

#392 3 months ago
Quoted from desertT1:

Hey Pecos, here is a kit I heard about from my friend Tommy on This Flippin Podcast. I got an orange set for my Stars and I really like it. It's still a kit, but wasn't a ton of hassle. The first one took a little while, but after that the others went pretty quick using the first as a reference.
https://www.wolffpactech.com/6-digit-display-kits

Pecos bought an individual Pinitech UNO display kit from me, so I'm hoping he has some input on what he thinks about the Pinitech displays. For someone operating a route like he is and trying to save some $$, the Pinitech led displays should be a welcome addition to the market since they blend so well with plasma displays. You can literally just swap one led display in with a bunch of plasmas (if you only have one bad plasma) and it won't stick out. That way you don't actually have to replace an entire set, unless you're going with a completely different color. You can just replace one failed display and have the game still look nice.

I was disappointed for years with seeing sets advertised as "matching original colors/fonts", when to me, it just wasn't. Of course I also found some sets saying "low current consumption" or "energy efficient", which was also not entirely the case (a few displays with this type of advertising were NOT low current consumption). A big of a pet peeve is when I feel advertising doesn't match the product, so I wanted the Pinitech displays to be DIFFERENT and live up to the hype.

In terms of differences, the Pinitech displays have custom digits which allowed me to match font style, height, color of the original fonts. I was meticulous int he design of the custom digits, and they're literally stamped "PINITECH" and were designed from the ground up to match original fonts/color and offer something unique on the market. The led displays I sell also have a few additional features not found on all aftermarket sets -- brightness control & ability to shift the displays left/right (Pinitech UNO model only). For the slight cost difference, I personally think it's well worth it for the custom digits and additional features, but it just depends what you're looking for. I can't really show the differences through pictures unfortunately.. it's something people would have to see all the aftermarket displays lined up in-person, along with a few plasma displays, to appreciate. Or, they'd have to have already purchased an assortment of aftermarket sets from various vendors to see what makes the Pinitech displays different.

In that sense, any customer feedback on the displays I sell is appreciated! I have a Pinside thread @ https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/new-pinitech-led-displays-for-classic-bally-stern-plasma-contender where I'm trying to have people post pictures/feedback, so if you bought a set or buy a set and don't mind posting what you think, that would be awesome

---
http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
NVRAM, Bally/Stern LED Displays & Mods for pinball machines

#393 3 months ago
Quoted from desertT1:

Hey Pecos, here is a kit I heard about from my friend Tommy on This Flippin Podcast. I got an orange set for my Stars and I really like it. It's still a kit, but wasn't a ton of hassle. The first one took a little while, but after that the others went pretty quick using the first as a reference.
https://www.wolffpactech.com/6-digit-display-kits

Quoted from acebathound:

Pecos bought an individual Pinitech UNO display kit from me, so I'm hoping he has some input on what he thinks about the Pinitech displays. For someone operating a route like he is and trying to save some $$, the Pinitech led displays should be a welcome addition to the market since they blend so well with plasma displays. You can literally just swap one led display in with a bunch of plasmas (if you only have one bad plasma) and it won't stick out. That way you don't actually have to replace an entire set, unless you're going with a completely different color. You can just replace one failed display and have the game still look nice.
I was disappointed for years with seeing sets advertised as "matching original colors/fonts", when to me, it just wasn't. Of course I also found some sets saying "low current consumption" or "energy efficient", which was also not entirely the case (a few displays with this type of advertising were NOT low current consumption). A big of a pet peeve is when I feel advertising doesn't match the product, so I wanted the Pinitech displays to be DIFFERENT and live up to the hype.
In terms of differences, the Pinitech displays have custom digits which allowed me to match font style, height, color of the original fonts. I was meticulous int he design of the custom digits, and they're literally stamped "PINITECH" and were designed from the ground up to match original fonts/color and offer something unique on the market. The led displays I sell also have a few additional features not found on all aftermarket sets -- brightness control & ability to shift the displays left/right (Pinitech UNO model only). For the slight cost difference, I personally think it's well worth it for the custom digits and additional features, but it just depends what you're looking for. I can't really show the differences through pictures unfortunately.. it's something people would have to see all the aftermarket displays lined up in-person, along with a few plasma displays, to appreciate. Or, they'd have to have already purchased an assortment of aftermarket sets from various vendors to see what makes the Pinitech displays different.
In that sense, any customer feedback on the displays I sell is appreciated! I have a Pinside thread @ https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/new-pinitech-led-displays-for-classic-bally-stern-plasma-contender where I'm trying to have people post pictures/feedback, so if you bought a set or buy a set and don't mind posting what you think, that would be awesome
---
http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
NVRAM, Bally/Stern LED Displays & Mods for pinball machines

I've used both the Wolfpac and the Pinitech displays and I recommend both products. Just this week acebathound was kind enough to send me some parts for a display that I assembled incorrectly. They aren't hard to assemble at all especially if you do it with the lights on in the room and not just going off of the ambient light of the television while watching a horror movie. Plus I feel that once I install either of these products I don't have to worry about them ever again.

I like pecos have been operating pins for awhile. I started maybe 4-5 years ago with 4 pins in a board gaming store and then eventually placed 1 (Fish Tales) into my friend's bar/bowling alley...as of last week we are up to 23 pins at that location with mostly modern dmd and lcd stuff, but a few solid state and EM machines as well. Just last night, while I was working on a machine one of the older gentlemen from the bowling league that was going on behind me, came up and asked what I was doing and then how much money I was making off of these machines. He was quite shocked when I told him how much machines cost and how little they make, but again, we do it because we love sharing pinball, and at least for me it lets me expand my collection without having the space at home for all the machines I want.

pecos keep the thread going as I enjoy it as a fellow operator doing this largely as a hobby and not a business enjoy reading about someone else having similar struggles, plus you are just a good writer. Thanks for taking the time to share.

#394 3 months ago
Quoted from JethroP:

I can't imagine why a store looking to host pinball machines would sign a contract giving the pin operator rights of exclusivity. Typically, the store doesn't put up any capital or pay for game maintenance, right? To the store owner it's all no risk. What benefit is there to the business giving the pin operator rights of exclusivity?

If I put 5-30K worth of equipment into a bar, ie. jukebox, pins, pool tables, arcade, etc..,, you can bet there will be a contract. And all standard contracts have exclusive rights to operate in them. If you want the best equipment, and for ME to take all the monetary risk to help YOU make side money and bring in traffic, you can sign the contract.
I would be more than happy to provide Pecos with a copy, PM if you would like to take a look, you can modify.

#395 3 months ago
Quoted from DNO:

If I put 5-30K worth of equipment into a bar, ie. jukebox, pins, pool tables, arcade, etc..,, you can bet there will be a contract. And all standard contracts have exclusive rights to operate in them. If you want the best equipment, and for ME to take all the monetary risk to help YOU make side money and bring in traffic, you can sign the contract.
I would be more than happy to provide Pecos with a copy, PM if you would like to take a look, you can modify.

All true. Plus, if you want to try to compete with the big dogs, you better have a wad of cash to "loan" to the location owner. Especially if the location is a new business. Payback is usually done with the operator taking all of the proceeds until the "loan" is paid off.

#396 3 months ago
Quoted from JethroP:

I guess anything is possible, but I can't imagine why a store looking to host pinball machines would sign a contract giving the pin operator rights of exclusivity. Typically, the store doesn't put up any capital or pay for game maintenance, right? To the store owner it's all no risk. What benefit is there to the business giving the pin operator rights of exclusivity? PS....great thread, Pecos!

Sometimes an Operator gives the location a nice chunk of cash as a signing bonus. This is separate from the all cash loans that also come into play. I loved carrying those lunch bags with $10-15k into locations and handing them to my new friends.
You never forget the name of someone who hands you that kind of cash. Remember, this was the early '80's.

#397 3 months ago
Quoted from MrBally:

Sometimes an Operator gives the location a nice chunk of cash as a signing bonus. This is separate from the all cash loans that also come into play. I loved carrying those lunch bags with $10-15k into locations and handing them to my new friends.
You never forget the name of someone who hands you that kind of cash. Remember, this was the early '80's.

WOW...I had no idea. I can understand having a contract to leave pins on location, but I didn't realize the operator usually would pay the location up front to leave the pins there. Interesting. Thanks all for the education!

#398 3 months ago
Quoted from MrBally:

Sometimes an Operator gives the location a nice chunk of cash as a signing bonus. This is separate from the all cash loans that also come into play. I loved carrying those lunch bags with $10-15k into locations and handing them to my new friends.
You never forget the name of someone who hands you that kind of cash. Remember, this was the early '80's.

I’d love to pick your brain sometime, I’m very interested in local history and of course pinball. I’m in Toledo but go up to Pete’s quite a bit. Have any pictures? Where were these sort of locations?

#399 3 months ago

I collected last week. Income was up slightly.

I am continuing work on Gorgar and Eight Ball Deluxe Limited Edition. Gorgar needs an MPU and Firepower needs to have it's MPU fixed. I have been trying to learn how to fix the Firepower MPU, but time is limited and may ask Kris at Firebird Pinball to fix it for me. I am seriously considering getting the NW7 all-in-one board from Pinball Dreams:

https://www.pinball-dreams.com/flipper-pinball-flipperautomaten-modding-shop/verschiedenes/all-in-one-nw7.html

Alternatively, I would like to buy a couple of System 6 MPUs. One would go in Gorgar and I would have one as a spare. I would like to buy original MPU boards and rebuild them, but only want to buy from a reliable source - not eBay.

I am not interested in the other after-market boards. If I am going to spend almost $300 for an MPU/Driver combo board, I would prefer to spend a little more and get the NW7 MPU/Driver/Sound board. I have a non-working Rottendog MPU/Driver combo board that came with Gorgar - anyone good out there that can fix this?

Quoted from Matesamo:

You have to realize at some point that them allowing one of your machines to be put into a location where they have exclusive rights to would result in one immediate indisputable fact; every quarter that goes into your machine potentially could have gone into their machine instead. Your profit is taken from their profit and the chances that they would willingly allow this to happen would be crazy.

I wanted to discuss this. The location in question has two pool tables and a juke box. If I bring in two or three pins, does this really mean that the 'quarter pie' is only so big and that my machines would take quarters from their machines? Or is it possible that more quarters would be spent overall making little impact on the vending company's gross revenue? I think that it's even possible that the pool tables would get more play if a couple of pinheads who would not normally play pool might decide to play a game just because the pool table is there. And they would drop a quarter or two in the jukebox that they normally wouldn't have because they might want some music while playing pinball.

Quoted from desertT1:

Hey Pecos, here is a kit I heard about from my friend Tommy on This Flippin Podcast. I got an orange set for my Stars and I really like it. It's still a kit, but wasn't a ton of hassle. The first one took a little while, but after that the others went pretty quick using the first as a reference.

Thanks desertt1 for the link. I have already worked with Wayne at Pinitech and I am happy with his products and service.

Quoted from JethroP:

I guess anything is possible, but I can't imagine why a store looking to host pinball machines would sign a contract giving the pin operator rights of exclusivity. Typically, the store doesn't put up any capital or pay for game maintenance, right? To the store owner it's all no risk. What benefit is there to the business giving the pin operator rights of exclusivity?

It's not that there is no benefit to the location, but more that the location doesn't usually care if they give exclusive rights. I doubt if the owners of the business looking for a vendor think twice about an exclusivity clause, but I could be wrong.

Quoted from JethroP:

PS....great thread, Pecos!

Hey, thanks jethrop!

Quoted from acebathound:

Pecos bought an individual Pinitech UNO display kit from me, so I'm hoping he has some input on what he thinks about the Pinitech displays.

I like them. I put one in my Future Spa and when the game is on it is hard to tell the difference from the plasma displays.

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

Quoted from acebathound:

For someone operating a route like he is and trying to save some $$, the Pinitech led displays should be a welcome addition to the market since they blend so well with plasma displays. You can literally just swap one led display in with a bunch of plasmas (if you only have one bad plasma) and it won't stick out. That way you don't actually have to replace an entire set, unless you're going with a completely different color. You can just replace one failed display and have the game still look nice.

You bet. Money is always tight and being able to swap in one when a display dies saves me a lot of money. That way I don't have to keep my money tied up in parts inventory.

Quoted from Tsskinne:

I like pecos have been operating pins for awhile. I started maybe 4-5 years ago with 4 pins in a board gaming store and then eventually placed 1 (Fish Tales) into my friend's bar/bowling alley...as of last week we are up to 23 pins at that location with mostly modern dmd and lcd stuff, but a few solid state and EM machines as well. Just last night, while I was working on a machine one of the older gentlemen from the bowling league that was going on behind me, came up and asked what I was doing and then how much money I was making off of these machines. He was quite shocked when I told him how much machines cost and how little they make, but again, we do it because we love sharing pinball, and at least for me it lets me expand my collection without having the space at home for all the machines I want.

The people of Lafayette, Indiana are really lucky to have you as a resident!! BTW, I used to live in Gas City, Indiana and have been to Lafayette. I have all EMs and SS pins, but would like to be fortunate enough to move into DMDs one day.

Quoted from Tsskinne:

@pecos keep the thread going as I enjoy it as a fellow operator doing this largely as a hobby and not a business enjoy reading about someone else having similar struggles, plus you are just a good writer. Thanks for taking the time to share.

Thanks tsskinne! A good writer? That is very kind of you to say. I never thought when young that I would one day enjoy writing. I have experiences that I want to share with you and every other person who reads my posts.

Quoted from DNO:

If I put 5-30K worth of equipment into a bar, ie. jukebox, pins, pool tables, arcade, etc..,, you can bet there will be a contract. And all standard contracts have exclusive rights to operate in them. If you want the best equipment, and for ME to take all the monetary risk to help YOU make side money and bring in traffic, you can sign the contract.
I would be more than happy to provide Pecos with a copy, PM if you would like to take a look, you can modify.

Yep, I have a contract. It would be interesting to share our contracts and see the similarities and differences. Mine is, roughly, this:

My complete information, Name, Title, Company Name, Address, Cell #, Website and Email address.
The locations complete information, Name, Title, Company Name, Address and Cell #.

How the contract can be cancelled.

Who owns the pinball machines.

The distribution section: Split percentages.

Expectations and responsibilities of Pecos Pinball.

Expectations and responsibilities of the location.

Lines for both parties to date and sign.

Of course, there are a lot of details about the contract that I am not sharing.

I am NOT a lawyer so please use this information at your own risk. Please consult legal advice for developing your own contract.

My contract is fairly simple and can be cancelled by any party at any time for any reason. I call it the non-contract contract! I can do this because I am more interested in sharing the pinball love than the bottom line. You may need additional sections not outlined above, especially if you are trying to make a business of pinball.

Quoted from DennisDodel:

All true. Plus, if you want to try to compete with the big dogs, you better have a wad of cash to "loan" to the location owner. Especially if the location is a new business. Payback is usually done with the operator taking all of the proceeds until the "loan" is paid off.

Quoted from MrBally:

Sometimes an Operator gives the location a nice chunk of cash as a signing bonus. This is separate from the all cash loans that also come into play. I loved carrying those lunch bags with $10-15k into locations and handing them to my new friends.
You never forget the name of someone who hands you that kind of cash. Remember, this was the early '80's.

I have never heard of this particular way to land a big client, but I'm not surprised that it happens.

1 week later
#400 3 months ago

I have put Black Knight back into D&D pinball. Harlem Globetrotters On Tour will be leaving so now is the time to play it. I am moving my Klipsch Belle speakers into D&D pinball. They are awesome speakers and there will be some good music to go with your pinball soon.

Black Knight got a brand new pop bumper cap. These can easily be found with the top design, but not the scrolling on the edges. These were supposed to be hot stamped but they don't look like it. I am still happy with it.

DSCF4568 (resized).JPG

ebay.com link » Williams Black Knight Pinball Machine Pop Bumper Cap New Stamped

I placed another order with GPE. This time I ordered the parts I needed for Eight Ball Deluxe Limited Edition and bought a bunch of connector housings that GPE had on clearance. I now have quite a collection of replacement parts!

DSCF4580 (resized).JPG

Maintenance Log: No issues to report in the past two weeks!

Restoration Log: I have been able to focus on my three SS projects. Warning! Lots of boring board debugging stuff ahead!

Firepower: The MPU died and I have set up a test rig with an old PC to supply the 5V and 12V power supply. I connected the wires to a 9 pin female molex connector so all I have to do is plug it into the 1J2 header to hook it up. I am making progress on testing the board, but my LED tester is not working and need to find out why.

In the meantime, I did some research on the Rottendog MPU327 board that came with my Gorgar. It can be used on any System 3-6 Williams pin so I could use it in Firepower until I was able to get the Firepower MPU fixed. It had three problems - The displays were out, the settings were not being remembered and the board wouldn't boot up. A new battery fixed the last two problems. robcraig posted that the 74HCT154 chip was bad with the same symptoms that I had. I picked up a few here locally at Elliott Electronics at a reasonable price. I removed the old chip, put in a new socket, added the new chip and problem solved! I get so excited when I can fix one of these boards.

I went to put the working board into Firepower and nothing. Dead as a dodo. After messing with the socketed chips, reseating them with no positive results, I pulled the board and tested it on the bench. Whew! It was still working perfectly. So, I focused on the power supply. I was getting no 5V or 12V on the 3J6 connector pins. I tested the Volts coming into the 6A4 diodes and got a low voltage reading. I tested the DC output and got zero volts. I found that the two 4A SB fuses on the backbox were blown. I replaced them and got the right input voltages at the diodes but still no DC output! That shouldn't be. I had replaced the diodes with brand new ones and they tested good. I was stumped. It shouldn't happen like that. After going to bed, I got up in the middle of the night and decided to measure the voltage at the 3J6 pins. I had voltages! I had been using the backbox ground wire as ground when testing the voltages at the diodes. I still don't understand why the AC voltage could be measured and not the DC voltage, but Firepower is working 100%

When you operate your own pins you really need to be able to fix your own boards. The cost and time to send them out for repair is too much when you are only making your money one quarter at a time. Besides, it's a great feeling when you are able to bring a dead board back to life!

Eight Ball Deluxe Limited Edition: None of the larger electrolytic capacitors on the Squawk and Talk board had been replaced. Some I didn't have on hand and had to order from GPE. One of the 1K Ohm trimmers had been replaced but the other was scratchy, right in the middle of the game and also had to be ordered. I've got the parts and have already added the caps and will be replacing the trimmer soon. I also had to order a .1 female connector to repin the 25 pin connector on the solenoid driver/power board.

I had try to repin a couple of these .1 pins and just couldn't do it with my fat fingers. I ordered the HT-225D Full Cycle Ratchet Crimping Tool with interchangeable die set HT-225D from Amazon.

amazon.com link »

I like it because it holds the tiny pin while you put the stripped wire in - just put the pin in the jaws and close the handles until you hear one click. The pin is held in place allowing you to easily put in the stripped wire. This tool also crimps the bare wire and insulated wire at the same time. This will be a lifesaver and I should have that 25 pin connector repinned soon.

I have two possible new clients.

Lots of good stuff going on here at Pecos Pinball!

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