(Topic ID: 35359)

Dirty pinball machines, why?


By rlslick

7 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 29 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 years ago by welder74
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 7 years ago

Played some Indy and SM at the movie theaters tonight and was blown away by how dirty the interior playfield was on both machines. Is it the grease/oil on the moving parts that collect on the ball to the upper playfield or old black rubber bands that begin to brittle away eventually turning into micro dust particals? I suppose I wax and wiped down my machines often that I never notice them getting bad at all. With the glass and the pin being covered from outside dust, I don't truly understand why all the dirt. Could it be from wax used on the playfield?

#2 7 years ago

coin op people dont give a crap most of the time. as long as it will keep taking quarters, that is all they really care about. seen so many crappy "fixes" on routed machines that it is a shame to people who collect. nature of the beast i guess. as long as it accepts coins is what they care about

#3 7 years ago

It was truly a sad sight to see. Had I had the keys I probably would have cleaned the pins on sight. I would think the theory would be, clean, bright looking game means more players = more money.

#4 7 years ago

they dont care alot of times... as long as you can put your money in and it still "works", thats all that matters. eh.....

#5 7 years ago

Most folks don't see what we pinheads see. I doubt that most of my friends would even realize the red flipper rubbers are dirty when there is black on them.

#6 7 years ago

I think most of the black dust you see comes from things making metal to metal contact, like from all the coils in the flippers, pop bumpers, slingshots, upckickers, etc. When you're shopping an old machine and lift the playfield, you'll find a lot of black dust around all these objects. It seems to migrate around with convection, and it gets on the underside of inserts, into subways, onto the top side of the playfield, onto the rubber, everywhere.

I think a machine with a lot of metal ball guides may make more as well from the action of the ball on the ball guides, in places where you see ball trails on stainless steel and the like.

I doubt that the black rubber on any machine plays a big part in it. My machines with white rubber seem to generate dust at pretty much the same rate as machines with black.

That's what I think. You can find a lot more discussion on the in the RGP archives.

#7 7 years ago
Quoted from rlslick:

It was truly a sad sight to see. Had I had the keys I probably would have cleaned the pins on sight. I would think the theory would be, clean, bright looking game means more players = more money.

I don't know how many times now I have gone to the mgr/owner of a location with pins and asked if I could clean their machines for them (for free). Only one location had keys and they still wouldn't let me. Or they say that the OP usually comes through every couple of weeks and they will take care of it.... Yeah.. they take care of collecting the earnings. Not to bash any OPs out there because their are plenty of great OPS in NE Ohio...ie (Bell Music, Ellum Music, Cadillac Music, Nicks Amusements and plenty of others) I feel a major part of the problem is that the owners or managers of the locations are the ones not caring or noticing the need for maintenance.

#8 7 years ago
Quoted from corvair61:

I don't know how many times now I have gone to the mgr/owner of a location with pins and asked if I could clean their machines for them (for free). Only one location had keys and they still wouldn't let me. Or they say that the OP usually comes through every couple of weeks and they will take care of it.... Yeah.. they take care of collecting the earnings. Not to bash any OPs out there because their are plenty of great OPS in NE Ohio...ie (Bell Music, Ellum Music, Cadillac Music, Nicks Amusements and plenty of others) I feel a major part of the problem is that the owners or managers of the locations are the ones not caring or noticing the need for maintenance.

I know exactly what you mean, I was at chuck e cheese on the strip in canton and the repair guy was walking around repairing machines and I told him their NASCAR pin wasn't working. He walked over and turned it off. That was his solution. I was so frustrated I wanted to ask him, if I could look at it but I know my wife would have killed me if I was working on a pin at my sons birthday party. All it needs is fresh rubbers and a good wipe down.

#9 7 years ago
Quoted from crashnt20:

I know exactly what you mean, I was at chuck e cheese on the strip in canton and the repair guy was walking around repairing machines and I told him their Nascar pin wasn't working. He walked over and turned it off. That was his solution. I was so frustrated I wanted to ask him, if I could look at it but I know my wife would have killed me if I was working on a pin at my sons birthday party. All it needs is fresh rubbers and a good wipe down.

My point exactly. Ive never been to that CEC but knew they had a Nascar pin. I could have guessed it was a mess.

#10 7 years ago
Quoted from crashnt20:

I know exactly what you mean, I was at chuck e cheese on the strip in canton and the repair guy was walking around repairing machines and I told him their Nascar pin wasn't working. He walked over and turned it off. That was his solution. I was so frustrated I wanted to ask him, if I could look at it but I know my wife would have killed me if I was working on a pin at my sons birthday party. All it needs is fresh rubbers and a good wipe down.

I did a service call on a NASCAR at our local bowling alley, needed a mosfet for the trough kicker.
The game was filthy and I asked the guy if he wanted me to clean it up and put on some fresh rubber.

Nope, just get it working.
I went ahead and wiped it off and rotated the flipper rubbers, the car was glitchy but he didn't want to fix that either or replace any burnt out bulbs.
I put a few games on it to make sure it was working and added a few credits and asked if anyone wanted to play it.
Nobody did, all the credits were on it when I left.
Last time I was in there the game was gone, no pins just ticket spitters.

#11 7 years ago

You guys in ohio are just playing in the wrong places. Kidforce collectibles has 9 games, all clean and fully working. Located in berea. Also stonehenge has a great lineup of clean working pins. Between the 2 locations there are 16-18 clean fully working pins

#12 7 years ago
Quoted from ilovegames007:

You guys in ohio are just playing in the wrong places. Kidforce collectibles has 9 games, all clean and fully working. Located in berea. Also stonehenge has a great lineup of clean working pins. Between the 2 locations there are 16-18 clean fully working pins

Agreed. Marvin has some great pins! Love Kid Force and Stonehedge. I heard he is bringing WOZ to the Ohio show..

#13 7 years ago

Plus we clean and service the pins at the bottlehouse in Cleveland Heights almost weekly. Don't assume every operator doesn't care, just because some don't.

#14 7 years ago
Quoted from CadillacMusic:

Plus we clean and service the pins at the bottlehouse in Cleveland Heights almost weekly. Don't assume every operator doesn't care, just because some don't.

You guys do a great job.. I mentioned you in a previous post, among others. The Bottlehouse pins are great!!! And they are all set for quarter play.

#15 7 years ago

Which came first, the chicken or the egg ?

Dirty broken games on location, often comes up here. From the operator side they take in the same amount working or not. So why waste resources maintaining them. When they die just pull them off route and replace with something that does earn.

It's a crazy world out there for operating. And I for one wish it was better, at least to keep maintenance up.

LTG : )

#16 7 years ago
Quoted from CadillacMusic:

Plus we clean and service the pins at the bottlehouse in Cleveland Heights almost weekly. Don't assume every operator doesn't care, just because some don't.

I played at Bottlehouse over the weekend, just a few notes for your next maintenance visit...

Fish Tales - Left flipper not working at all, so I turned it off.
South Park - Was already shut off. Unsure what the issue is.
WCS - Randomly skips to the next ball / next player in the middle of a ball. Very confusing. Left flipper is too weak to make the right ramp 95% of the time.
Creature -Snack bar doesn't recognize the ball until it goes into search. Makes it impossible to restart multiball. Very frustrating!

Games are definitely clean and play well other than the issues listed though. Thanks for putting them out for a quarter per play.

Quoted from ilovegames007:

You guys in ohio are just playing in the wrong places. Kidforce collectibles has 9 games, all clean and fully working. Located in berea. Also stonehenge has a great lineup of clean working pins. Between the 2 locations there are 16-18 clean fully working pins

Kidforce and Stonehedge are both great places to play! Thanks Don and Marvin for doing what you do.

We're definitely fortunate in NE Ohio to have so many nice games on location. Now if we could just catch up to Portland...

#17 7 years ago

The only games worth playing on route are either brand new just put out or put out by a good collector operator like myself. Some collector operators out there slack and their games slide to operator class of condition and working order so beware.

#18 7 years ago

It takes skill and effort to keep a game in working order.
Games tend to earn more when in better condition as well.
Maybe there will be more people inspired to become collector operators like myself, time will tell.

#19 7 years ago

I can relate to what you are saying here. I own a vending machine business as a side business for extra $ every month, and I keep those babies as clean and restocked as my pinball machines. Clean machines and fresh product makes my business look more reputable, reliable, and in the end makes more money because customers feel more certain that they are getting good quality products from a cleanly machine that is maintained. Nothing saddens me more than walking by a pinball full of burnt light bulbs, dried out rubbers, shotty DMD, and a filthy playfield. For instance, I put $.50 into a Roller Coaster Tycoon machine on location a few months back just to realize that the drop targets were jammed, the left flipper was so weak and the right one did not even work! ...and they wonder why the public has no interest in Pinball?

#20 7 years ago

Cointaker rotates all of the new stern LE's through our local movie theater arcade and also throws some oldies in (current lineup, Blue Avengers LE, Tron, South Park) and they keep them clean and working (and LED'd) Theres another op nearby who keeps dirty machines on site, hes a great guy but I offered to shop the games for free (well in exchange for deals) and he said no! He still gave deals though.

#21 7 years ago
Quoted from sleethering:

I played at Bottlehouse over the weekend, just a few notes for your next maintenance visit... (snip)

Thank you!! We always get stuff like "someone said the fishtales was broken", and then we go there, and it's generally working, and we have no clue what the complaint was about. On my way there this afternoon to fix it.

#22 7 years ago
Quoted from CadillacMusic:

Thank you!! We always get stuff like "someone said the fishtales was broken", and then we go there, and it's generally working, and we have no clue what the complaint was about. On my way there this afternoon to fix it.

Should check on the 2 pinballs at Cloverleaf lanes that have been turned off for about a year also......

#23 7 years ago
Quoted from LTG:

It's a crazy world out there for operating. And I for one wish it was better, at least to keep maintenance up.

That's the thing. Everyone on here with games in your basement is in a different world. If your game starts getting a little dirty, it maybe takes you a minute to find the keys, 30 seconds to open the door and another four to wipe down the game and get it visually clean again. Cost in time and actually cost, almost nothing.

For an operator, you need to send a guy out to the machine, let's say it is 20 minutes away. Takes them a couple minutes to gather stuff, walk in, set up around the machines, clean, do a coin collection, note what the machine is currently earning if you're a decent operator, and close it back up. Then it takes you 20 minutes to drive back. You're talking minimum of an hour there, and if you have someone who probably knows how to do this, you're talking a minimum of probably $15 to make it happen.

God forbid something is broken on the machine. The tech needs to come back, locate the part somewhere, order the part, and then either go back to the field to replace it, or go into the field to drag the game back - replacing it with another - and then fix it in the shop.

If you are finding something broken, even something easy, you're talking about probably a minimum of three more hours, perhaps driving a truck back and forth, and whatever parts costs are.

If these games are out there making $50 a week, which is pretty generous, either of these situations are going to cut into your profits enough that it might not be worth it to operate pins. If it is a dirty, cope. I personally like playing route games with little issues to try to overcome them. If it's clean, know exactly how much extra work that operator is putting into keeping those games in tip top operating condition, and reward them with your play. Again, I know that I do.

#24 7 years ago
Quoted from LTG:

Which came first, the chicken or the egg ?

A: The Duck!

Now that I've Quacked you up, I agree, it's a lot easier for us collectors to fix and clean than it is an operator. That's usually the argument why not to route Pins and instead route vids. I alway support a pinball on location, even if it does have issues.

#26 7 years ago
Quoted from CadillacMusic:

Thank you!! We always get stuff like "someone said the fishtales was broken", and then we go there, and it's generally working, and we have no clue what the complaint was about. On my way there this afternoon to fix it.

Has anyone ever seen an operator leave a phone number to text for maintenance issues? It seems like that'd be a good job for Google Voice.

#27 7 years ago

I've printed out a playfield layout from a manual, circled the broken switches, and highlighted part numbers. Then handed it to the operator's repairman only to see him look for a sec then toss it in the trash.

The pin still has those same messed up switches more than 2 years after that incident.

#28 7 years ago

Launch those ducks... er... geese!

#29 7 years ago

Guys like us love and respect the game thus notice when one is not working correctly or dirty. But most of the time I say something to bowling alley manager etc and next time the family and I are back there its better! most of the time.

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