(Topic ID: 146353)

Ahoy Matey! There be a SEAWITCH a restoring...

By seshpilot

3 years ago

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  • 114 posts
  • 28 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by mof
  • Topic is favorited by 23 Pinsiders


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#1 3 years ago

Another grail pin found. Stern's "Seawitch" from 1980, the year I was born. I love this game so much: the artwork is gorgeous, the theme is incredible, the sound of the waves memorizing, and the gameplay blazing fast! I sold my Funhouse to generate funds to restore this baby, and won't be looking back.

I grabbed this off of a KLOV ad. She has been hanging out in California probably since the day she came off the assembly line. She's definitely seen plenty of arcade action, and some home use as well. I probably overpaid for this example, but these just don't come up for sale very often, and the seller seemed like a cool dude. Shipped her back to the Midwest this past week, and she arrived yesterday (12/9/15) via STI (another happy Michelle customer):

I loved coming home to this site!

Overall, I'm super pleased with what I've purchased. It's not horribly beat and is a great candidate to restore!

Now I have 2 questions to ask myself:
1. Do I restore this playfield, or go with a new John Greatwich one?

#2 3 years ago

And question #2: do I restore the original backglass or buy a Greatwich repro?

There's a number of scratches and flaked areas of the backglass, but it's really not too bad. Would love to hear some thoughts. I haven't done anything to her just yet, but am enjoying playing as is and listening to the sweet sounds of white noise imitating waves crashing in on the share.


#10 3 years ago
Quoted from PappyBoyington:

Dothedoo is right. I've seen it in person and it looks great.

I hear you. I'm just concerned with how many times the playfields have been delayed. Any word on an official release date?

#13 3 years ago
Quoted from nocreditdot:

I wired the post lights to the riptide insert. So when the riptide is lit the spinner is flashing. It is a nice touch.

Awesome idea! Will take you up on this. Think I will try and keep the back glass original.

#15 3 years ago

Not anything sexy being done right now, but last night I managed to get the boards all out, the head off, and the inside of the cab cleared out for restoration. I've got a few pics to update the progress.

Here's the head taken apart:

The inside of the cabinet with 35 years of neglect:

Just an example of how nicely some of this wood will clean up. On the left, you'll see the untouched side; the right shows what it looks like after light sanding:

The inside of the cab with everything cleared out. Man I freaking love the COLORS on this game!

And just for fun...the other Stern that's in the garage getting a full restore as well:

#17 3 years ago

It's been a good week to get some work in on this old girl!

For my standards, the cabinet is pretty much done. Out of all the pieces, the head probably came out the nicest:

I did a full sand of certain areas, repainted any areas that were static colors, used wood filler on spots that had significant damage, and touched up any damaged areas. While not as consistent as a full re-stenciling, I'm very pleased with the results and personally like keeping the original art whenever and wherever possible.

For the inside of the cabinet, I decided to get a little creative after sanding the inside:

I love the contrast of the dark blue against the light wood grain and light blue inside the cab (not that anyone ever looks inside). I still need to clean and refurb many of the components that go in the bottom of the cab, so for now that's about all to show besides the coin door (which needs new plastics) and legs:

All in all, not a bad week's worth of work. Up next I'm going to start pulling everything off the playfield. Very soon I'll need to decide if I want to wait for the new repro playfields or just send in my playfield to HSA for a Stage 1 or Stage 2 restoration. While it might be a bit more expensive, I have a feeling HSA's turnaround time may be quicker, and I love the idea of keeping the original playfield if at all possible. Thoughts/opinions?

#20 3 years ago
Quoted from Tsskinne:

Want me to drop mine off so u can just kill two birds with one stone. Side by side restore!

Tommy, I'm pumped to see your restore as well. You need to start posting stuff as well. Dude's got his playfield at Kruzman's, which will look uh-mazing. If you really want me to do something with yours, let me know. I'm really enjoying working on this classic Stern (vs the classic Gottlieb System 1 from hell previously this year)

Quoted from dothedoo:

Lookin great! HSA will want you to pull out and reglue all of the inserts, they are often loose. That's what I was told when I asked them about classic Stern playfields.

Yeah, Brian already informed of that. Never reglued inserts, but they seem to come out easily enough...

#21 3 years ago

Today's progress:

Now you see it...

Now you don't...

Tore down the entire backside of the playfield. My hands are absolutely disgusting. So much dirt and grime. I've got a few questions about this part:

1. I had to label every cut wire so I know where everything goes. That said, I want to clean the wiring harness. I've heard some folks putting it in the dishwasher, but I can't have my labels/writing falling/smearing off in the wash. Any tips of best way to clean this?
2. The stapled ground braid on the playfield sucks. I'm concerned about redoing this part when I jump back in. It's such a tangled mess right now too. Any tips on handling this part? So far, I haven't cut the braid, but unstapled it and have it all jumbled with the rest of the harness (bonus points for naming the libation on the floor):

Here's where I am with the topside:

Throw any tips my way. This certainly isn't my first playfield tear down and rebuild but I'm getting smarter each time, and welcome advice!

#25 3 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I even put the still attached coils, and leaf switches in the dishwasher.
Anything I need to label I just use one of those Brother labelmakers. Stays stuck through the Pots and Pan cycle.

Why didn't I think of this?? Thanks Vid.

#27 3 years ago
Quoted from Sheprd:

If you need the correct copper staples to put on new ground braid, it would only take a short while to fix you up. Just bring your new braid and playfield up to Kokomo and we could knock it out (assuming you have not already bit the bullet and bought the air stapler and staples).

Mac, PM me. I'd love to get some help with this when the time comes. Plus, I'd love to catch up and see your collection!

#28 3 years ago

Alright, well since I'm probably going to send my playfield off to HSA, I figured that should take priority right now. Within this post, you'll get to see some before and after pics of Magic Eraser. This is in attempt to prepare the playfield for HSA to focus on repainting and fixing, rather than cleaning. Regardless, here's what we've got...

Before I did anything to the playfield:

Here's a side by side comparison (basically, this is me cleaning the left side of the playfield with ME and not touching the right side):

Same thing here (notice especially her hair):

As you can obviously tell, while the ME really does do wonders, it certainly doesn't eliminate ALL ball swirl marks. I'm sure I could have attacked the playfield harder, but I really didn't want to get into the paint and cause more work/headache for the restore.

Here's some final pics from this evening after I cleaning the ME up with some Novus 2 and a clean rag:

#30 3 years ago

Sad to see it go, but PUMPED to get it back!! Playfield is to HSA for a legit restore...

Meanwhile, I've got plenty to restore myself besides the playfield. More after the holidays. Merry Christmas!

#32 3 years ago

So while the playfield is away, I couldn't help myself: I decided to redo some of the artwork on the cabinet. I thought I could live with the planking happening, but I guess I couldn't. Here's what it looked like on the worst side:

After Friskett was applied, here's the 1st coat going down:

By the way, in case anyone is interested, here's the color matched paint for my cab. My guess is that (by now) every Seawitch has aged slightly different, but I brought my cab head in and this is what the darker blue came out to for me (Lowe's Valspar):

In other (but related) news, I cleaned up the drop target mechs to look shiny and new again!

#33 3 years ago

Cap kits performed

#36 3 years ago
Quoted from chrisjens2:

By the way, I own one too...

Very nice Chris! Mine actually spent the majority of its life in California too actually. Now she's back home in the Midwest.

A few more shots:

1. All drop targets and housings cleaned up. All but 3 originals survived (these 3 just didn't make the cut)

2. New buttons and housings

3. The difference between new and the original coin drop plastics. Not incredibly accurate, but look much nicer (purchased from Marco Spec)

4. Finished coin door

#38 3 years ago

More sexy electronic nerdery: rebuilt the rectifier board.

Here's one of the connectors that needed to be replaced. The brown prongs are probably acting more like resistors than conductors at this point!

Now bullet-proofed with new connectors installed, new bridge rectifiers, heat sink, and actually correctly rated fuses:

LOVE the way it's looking inside the cab! Is it wrong that I find this shot incredibly sexy? Take a look at that before and after shot!

#39 3 years ago

Also, I caught myself saying to my wife, "I just love seeing that virgin wood come back." Something may be wrong w me...

#42 3 years ago

Forgot to post the new shots of the cab after the repaint:image_(resized).jpeg
image_(resized).jpeg(Sorry about the difference in lighting but at least you can see how the scratches were filled and painted)

Also installed LED boards. Unless these are installed on classic Bally/Stern games, LEDs flicker like crazy

#44 3 years ago

Busy work week for me. Cleaned and rebuilt the pop bumpers with many new parts today though! I have worked on almost all the pinball brands, and have to say that Classic Stern's way of putting their pops together was the best! I love how you can unscrew 4 screws and the entire unit comes out. Awesome!

1 week later
#47 3 years ago

Nothing sexy to post but did wire up brand new GI light sockets. Didn't do it the quick way as I didn't have any stranded wire, but this will work just fine. Definitely need to get some lead-free solder as the stuff I have stinks and can't be good to breathe in.

In related news, I'm so stoked about this Seawitch that I've started to hunt for a decent Nine Ball...FullSizeRender_(resized).jpg

#51 3 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

It's not the Lead you are smelling.
Lead Free solder sucks ass.
Use a cheap fume extractor, or just a 12v computer fan gently blowing across your work.

Super helpful. Gonna go grab one today!

4 weeks later
#52 3 years ago

Getting giddy about this...Take a look! This is my actual playfield: http://www.hsapinball.com/HSA_PINBALL/hsa020916switch.html#grid

2 weeks later
#59 3 years ago

Overall, I'm very pleased with Brian's work. It's cool to see what they've done and how they've done it. The clearcoat is absolutely gorgeous. Again, if you want to see more pics, you can take a look here: http://www.hsapinball.com/HSA_PINBALL/hsa020916switch.html#44

#60 3 years ago

Starting adding parts back tonight!!

#61 3 years ago

Tonight I was able to get the harness back on. Haven't soldered anything yet but just getting the "rat's nest" back in place where everything needs to go feels like a big accomplishment!image_(resized).jpeg

#65 3 years ago
Quoted from xeneize:

SeaWitch is one of the funnest games to ever roll off an assembly line. Congrats on restore money well spent! I'd love to see video of this baby once she's back together!

Totally agree. It's funny because people go "gaga" over Quicksilver because of it's speed, but I think this Seawitch is going to be brutally fast with an even better layout! I'll throw some video up once she's all buttoned up.

#67 3 years ago

Just posted this as a separate thread, but figured it couldn't hurt here either:

Some pics are needed:

1) Before I tore mine down to rebuild, it had Bally flippers installed. I replaced them all with new Pinball Life ones. I need a pic or 2 of how to wire them up as the old Ballys had double EOS switches installed on some of them (with the wire going to an open circuit when inactive) and the new PBL ones only have a single EOS switch. I'm confused as to how to wire it up and don't want to wire it backwards!

2) I also could use 3 pics of which color wires go to each of the 3 pop bumper switches (the cups where the sensor triggers the solenoids). My handwriting wore off on my labels and while I think I have them wired up correctly, I'd love to be sure before switching the power on.

Thanks Seawitching friends.

#72 3 years ago
Quoted from frunch:

middle pop bumper switch

Thanks man! Anyway you could snap a pic of the wires on the other 2 PBs? Need to see which color wires go with the banded wires. Thx!

#73 3 years ago

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd the backside of the PF is complete (minus the pop bumper wires)! Beautiful...image_(resized).jpeg

Here's the bare top back in the cab. She's home:

Here's a few comparison shots after some work:



#75 3 years ago

That's exactly what I needed! Thanks frunch!

1 week later
#78 3 years ago

Okay! Time for a massive update. So everything is basically put back onto the game. Rewired up a few switches that were wired wrong (thank you Frunch!) and adjusted a few contacts before powering the game on.

I also noticed that I forgot to re-pin one of the toastiest connectors from the rectifier board.

Here's the before:

Here's all done:

Now....the moment of truth....powering the game on. Will it work? Will it catch on fire and explode?

What will happen to our hero??

Upon the first power up, all I got was a loud hum. No lights, no nothing. Uh oh.

Then I noticed that I had one of the ribbon cables to the sound card plugged in backwards. Oh. Let's try now....


Sweet! I haven't played a game yet because there's still more to do, but everything seems to be functioning mostly correct. Here's what I know I need to do still before posting my final post on here:
1. Swap out all the unidirectional, cold white LEDs in the backbox and the GI for warm white frosted LEDs. Also need to swap out the unidirectional blue LEDs in the pop bumpers for blue frosted. All the other lights look fantastic (a custom blend of LED and incandescents)
2. Flippers are not adjusted or attached currently. I need to see how this is supposed to look because right now when I try to attach them, they sit completely on top of my brand new clear coated playfield. That ain't happening, so I need to see how they should sit (I've got a gorgeous Nine Ball coming my way this week via STI so maybe I'll check that! That'll be another forum thread.)
3. Going to Triple Thick the backglass and then touch up the flaking parts via a thread that DoTheDoo turned me onto (thanks bro!). This will be my first backglass touch up wish me luck.
4. The drop targets on the left aren't staying up when the solenoid fires. Thinking it's just a simple adjustment. The other drops work great.
5. The plunger isn't above the playfield for some reason. I've tried to adjust it but it keeps hitting the wood of the shooter lane. I replaced all those parts so not sure if the new parts aren't correct or what. Regardless, that will have to change.
6. Put in #10 t-nuts for apron. I must have left them in when I sent the pf off to HSA and they didn't return them.
7. Fine tuning

I'm going to try mof's suggestion of using Lightning flippers on the top to see how I like it and will report back. So excited to play this game!

Side note: I'm going to have quite a few blue posts (both sizes) after this restore as I overbought. If someone wants some, PM me (I'll give you a good deal).

#82 3 years ago
Quoted from Classic_Stern:

You have got to add the copper washers to the classic stern flipper assembly as per factory. The thickness off sets the depth of the flipper and just a slight rise about the field with the bushing. They are lower then the bally and the flipper shafts are metal with a metal flipper, plastic cover. You have got to watch if the flipper plate that holds the plastic is bent.

Where would I find this information? Mine never had this (which probably explains why there was flipper drag wear to begin with). Is there any special copper washers I should use? Also, I'm not sure that my flipper assemblies have the metal but might be just plastic; haven't checked.

Quoted from vid1900:

There was a bad batch of flipper bushings from PBR that were too short causing the flippers to drag.

Hmmm, you'd think PBL would have informed those of us who bought them. How do you know if yours is in that batch?

#84 3 years ago

Would love to hear from you guys what to do:
1. Here's my flipper bats. No metal:
2. Here's the flipper bushings on the playfield from PBL I got:

#89 3 years ago
Quoted from dothedoo:

Just put a washer between the bushing and the flipper bat to raise it up a little.

Quoted from Classic_Stern:

Correct flipper bushing. You have to add the copper washer.

Okay so on typical B/W games, you gap the flipper (about the thickness of a credit card). Do you gap the flippers on classic Sterns as well, or is it supposed to sit directly on top of this washer? Thanks all.

#95 3 years ago
Quoted from Classic_Stern:

Washer is between the flipper and the bushing on top of the playfield. The Brass washer fits onto the flipper shaft and then onto the bushing of the playfield. His bushings from the pictures are fine.

Do you still gap the flippers a bit though, or does it sit tight against the washer? Thanks friend

1 week later
#98 3 years ago
Quoted from Lovef2k:

Does anyone carry these?

Great questions! I'd love to hear the answer as well (though I'm sure any #10 brass washer would work just fine). Why brass too?

#104 3 years ago
Quoted from Classic_Stern:

Copper would oxidize and turn green. Don't want that around playfield.

Thanks for demystifying these old Sterns for us! I love these games!

#106 3 years ago

Okay, the brass washers did the trick. FYI for anyone working on a classic Stern that the size you need is a #14 washer. They lift the flippers ever so slightly above the field and gives piece of mind.

Got a few games going last night and noticed that the orbit shots were brutally hard to hit. Like not intentionally hard, but like the geometry was off or something. Frustrated, I checked the flipper coils to make sure I had purchased the right ones. Ooops. The bottom 2 flippers were 500s (but are supposed to be 475s -- stronger than what I have) and the tops were 475s (supposed to 600s! Much weaker coils). I'm wondering if that's contributing to the problem. Going to swap all those out, but can't find 600s right now. I'm going to adjust in the meantime by gaping the EOS switch a bit closer so it's not hitting at full force. Anyone have a source for 600 flipper coils?

Really hope this helps the shot geometry to hit the left and right orbits.

3 weeks later
#108 3 years ago

And the restore is complete. Brand new backglass came in yesterday, which was the last piece I was waiting for!

Here's 2 side-by-side shots with the old one on the left:
Honestly, the old one wasn't really all that bad, but because I'm a perfectionist, I decided to order a new one from John Greatwich. I'm selling the old one for $125 shipped if anyone is interested.

Here's some sexy shots of the finished product:



Soooooo....what game is going next to Seawitch in that blank spot? Stern Nine Ball! I'm starting a new restore blog on that baby soon. For now, I've reserved a parking space here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/1980-stern-nine-ball-restore-seshpilot#post-3124449

#109 3 years ago

And now the crazy part: I'm not sure I'm going to keep her. I've really enjoyed restoring the witch! I'm looking at a few other games right now (and just bought a Barracora and Nine Ball). If you're interested in a fully restored Seawitch, PM me. Still not completely sure if I'll sell, but thought I'd throw it out there.

#111 3 years ago
Quoted from dothedoo:

Looks awesome, you did a great job! Gameplay video?

I've never taken a video of pinball before! Perhaps I should do one. Thanks for the idea!

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