(Topic ID: 211448)

A Pecos Diary - My Journey to Pinball Operator

By Pecos

3 years ago


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  • 420 posts
  • 86 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by Atari_Daze
  • Topic is favorited by 102 Pinsiders

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#172 3 years ago

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

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

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

#176 3 years ago

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

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

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

#192 3 years ago
Quoted from greatwichjohn:

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

Just to add to John's advice.

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

6 months later
#268 2 years ago

Looking at your orange chain to deter theft, do you have your pins insured?

2 months later
#312 2 years 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.

1 month later
#325 2 years 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.

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