Do you do your own repairs?

(Topic ID: 230411)

Do you do your own repairs?


By Atari_Daze

85 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 70 posts
  • 49 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 days ago by Oliver47
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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There are 70 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 85 days ago

Not wanting to miss out on the DIY topics of late, where do YOU draw the line of working on your collection? Is turning it on the most you do or are you confident in your skill set to take on a full blown restore? There may be a similar topic already but a cursory search did not reveal one.

I'll start by saying that I am rather frugal, and as such attempt to do most things myself. Often, in the end, I pay more for the learning experience, but I have fun doing it!

10
#2 85 days ago

I do 90% of of my own repairs. I do send out my cpu, sound, and ps boards. I will change a bad transistor if need be.
But most of the work I do myself. Learning to trace down issues is fun and a good learning experience. And pinside is a most awesome place for info.
I work on heavy mining equipment so the small tedious stuff seems fun to me. Matter of fact I just removed a couple diodes, resistors, and caps from a snubber board for F-14. Cleaning and updating those boards for my F-14 restore.

#3 85 days ago

A complete restore of anything, pinball machines, cars, is going to be more expensive than outright purchasing it original, mainly because average Joe doesn't have the economies of scale and buys parts at market prices. If you are frugal this is not the best option. Obvious comments I know but that's what it is. For restoring objects that are no longer in production, that might be the only option, to restore.

#4 85 days ago

Do as much as I can which includes board work. Luckily I got friends that can do the rest.

I mean...I COULD do it all...I'll get around to finishing them at some point.

#5 85 days ago

I do all my repairs on EM machines but have others do the board repairs on any SS games I have had. I have yet to do any art related restorations such as painting play fields or cabinets.

#6 85 days ago

Nobody else in my neighborhood seems to know how.

#7 85 days ago

When I first started collecting I searched everywhere for a pinball tech to maintain my games and couldn't find anybody willing to do anything more than a single repair months in advance, so I said screw it- I'll do it myself.

Probably the best thing to have happened to me in pinball, because now I repair all my pins myself and know these machines far better than a lot of people. However, I don't have the patience or organization for a full playfield swap.

#8 85 days ago

I buy what I can and want to work on. There are titles that I have not purchased or sold because of bad experiences in the past w their boardset/systems (Gottlieb sys80 I’m looking at you)

#9 85 days ago

Either I do it or it doesn't get done

#10 85 days ago

Absolutely.

#11 85 days ago

I do all mine and it seems like everyone else's in a 50 mile radius from me.

#12 85 days ago

I wouldn't want to be in the pinball hobby if I had to outsource all the work; way to expensive.

That said; I do everything. Board work; painting; debug; clearcoating... here in my garage'cade. Nothing is safe from my tinkering.

When it comes to house work (plumbing, furnace, ac, ect) I generally outsource as I lack the tools / experience / desire.

#13 85 days ago

I very rarely *play* pinball at all, it doesnt interest me much...however repairing and restoring is something that I do and absolutely love it

#14 85 days ago

I do all my ss work, em work I need help with for some reason.

#15 85 days ago
Quoted from Phat_Jay:

...em work I need help with for some reason.

Yes it apparently makes more sense and is easier to diagnose they say...but just baffling to me.

#16 85 days ago

We do all our own maintenance except for PCB work. Luckily we have a fantastic board guy that lives close to us and he helps us out every time.

If we get stuck with a repair or a rebuild, fellow Pinsiders have always gladly provided info to help us get a machine going. The knowledge available on Pinside from fantastic Pinsiders is amazing. Thank you to all of you.

#17 85 days ago

I don't do all my repairs but I at least attempt to repair or identify the issue before calling in a tech

#18 85 days ago

I only have one machine, but I like to do all of my repairs myself. The guides on Pinside here make that possible.

Plus friends helping me.

#19 85 days ago

I can do all the physical, mechanical, electrical, and electronic repairs. However, I don't do welding or significant wood working.

I can do some minor touch-ups. Mainly just the black key lines (and yes, I color match the black--it irks me when people just take the black straight out of the bottle). I'm not good at color matching, so that's pretty much the extent of what I do with paint. I sometimes make waterslide decals instead for wear spots or inserts. I don't do clear coating.

I can repair backglasses to a certain degree (gluing delaminated pieces) and seal seal them.

I also do a good amount of research, hunting for parts, and documentation on pinwiki.

#20 85 days ago

No. The pinball repair fairies come by at night and fix stuff for me when I'm sleeping.

LTG : )

#22 85 days ago

Are you guys saying that you have had your games break down? That never happens in pinball.
Anyway, if one of my games ever did need repairs, I would do pretty much anything besides board work myself. I'm not confident enough to tackle that yet.

#23 85 days ago
Quoted from RCA1:

I would do pretty much anything besides board work myself. I'm not confident enough to tackle that yet.

I think the vast majority of it is very simple stuff, you'd be amazed how easy it is replacing caps/BRs etc.

#24 85 days ago

Pinball would not be as interesting to me if I did not get to work on and maintain my machines.

Sort of like my cars. . . only its easier to keep the pins in the house.

#25 85 days ago

I will do anything at this point other than clearcoating. I sent my AFM pf to Kruzman for that.

Board work i became more comfortable with - especially after i invested in the right equipment. Amazing how a proper soldering and desoldering station makes you instantly better at rework!

What i do know is i could never make any money doing this as a job. I’m waaaay to slow and maticulous. I’ll leave that to the pros!

#26 85 days ago

I help maintain a route of about a dozen games as a volunteer and also shop games from time to time. It's fun, I think of it like a jigsaw puzzle that keeps my mind sharp. "Ok, to remove this ramp I need to undo this plastic, but I can't fully remove the plastic because that habitrail is in the way. So maybe I can loosen it enough to rotate it out of the way so the ramp can slip by." Etc...

#27 85 days ago

I repair other peoples games all the time. My games that I own are missing parts and not working

#28 85 days ago
Quoted from cosmokramer:

I very rarely *play* pinball at all, it doesnt interest me much...however repairing and restoring is something that I do and absolutely love it

Ditto, a big +1

#29 85 days ago

I do as much as I can. Where I draw the line is boardwork, major soldering, or refurb (major cab or playfield). I agree that part of the fun is lifting the playfield to fix what I can. I feel bad for the people who don’t feel comfortable except occasionally removing the glass. I’ve seen pins with tons of burned out bulbs, and poorly adjusted fields...nobody plays those games because they are “broken”. Playing pinball is one facet of the hobby, but there is so much more.

#30 85 days ago

Restoration dude over here as well. I play here and there, but restoring machines is my passion. They are so complex I love learning how they work, and better how to fix them to keep these classics around for us to enjoy.

#31 85 days ago

I occasionally get board repair done by others. But 95% plus I have always done myself... not rocket science just electronics!

#32 85 days ago

I now do all my own work with the help of the manuals and Pinside members.

#33 85 days ago

When I first started collecting 20 years ago I'd send out pinball boards for repair and use a local guy for arcade boards. I still use a local guy for arcade board repairs, but I haven't hired anyone to do a pinball repair in 15 years. I mostly repair stuff myself, but we also do repair parties in the Seattle area and help each other out, there are people that are much more knowledgeable than me that help me figure out my harder problems and mentor me how to repair it myself. Our local pinball list-serv, FB groups and Pinside are also invaluable for advice when working through problems.

I don't do much wood repair, cab repainting or playfield painting and clear coating, I just don't care about having fully restored games and if the playfield or backglass is bad enough, I'll order a reproduction.

#34 85 days ago

I came at the hobby from the angle of just wanting to play, without knowing a damn thing about fixing pinball machines or anything else for that matter. It’s surprised me how much I’ve enjoyed learning about fixing stuff and how the games work. With the help of Pinsiders and Google, so far I’ve been able to fix every issue that’s come up, although sometimes it takes a long time to get it figured out. When the day comes that I have to call someone, I’ll try to get them to teach me as much as possible while they’re here... I’m actually kind of looking forward to it for that reason!

#35 85 days ago

I bought all my machines many years ago just to play them and aside from bulb replacements and fixing some burnt connectors I left them as is until this year. It was funny things that were broken and I didn't realize it on a couple that made a world of difference. What spurred it was I wanted a new machine and it didn't make sense to drop that much money on something I couldn't work on. So with the help of people here and many many hours of reading I've done all sorts of repairs and got them all up to 100% working. Space Station in particular is a completely different game when things work like they are supposed to

What I am not comfortable doing though is paint touchups or big cabinet work. I've tried my hand at woodworking and it just never works out. I have no issues with circuit board work though.

#36 85 days ago

I grew up working on cars. It was because of shop classes that I managed to graduate high school. I think I took all of the shop classes.

Sheet metal, wood shop, general metals, printing, drafting, auto shop, basic electricity, plastics class.

The military taught me how to weld, rebuild auto engines, etc.

I don't like working on cars anymore. Pinball has been a great replacement hobby.

I have restored my first pin a few months ago. I took a play field I stripped to the play field restore guy for the restore of the artwork. But I laid down the clear coat. And soldered all of the play field wiring. I have rebuilt and restored a cab and learned how to replace a cabinet floor.

I can repair boards. I can fabricate many kinds of parts from wood, sheet metal, and plastic.

My Achilles heel is that I am not the best at troubleshooting board problems. You point and tell me what needs to be repaired or replaced and I can do that. Currently my solution for board problems is to install an Alltek board. I need to start spending some time on learning board troubleshooting.

No EMs, though I would need to have the opportunity to work along side of someone with much experience to teach me how to work on EMs.

#37 84 days ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

I don't like working on cars anymore. Pinball has been a great replacement hobby.

+1

No oil, no filter, no coolant, no brakes, no gasoline, no insurance, no registration.

#38 84 days ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

Pinball has been a great replacement hobby.

And it's cheaper!! Wife asked me what I would do if I did not have pinball. I said we would have 5 times the amount wrapped up in hot rods!!

I was born in 77, what a great year for the Firebird and Smokey!

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Thats my wish list of cars!

#39 84 days ago

I do all my own work.

#40 84 days ago
Quoted from RCA1:

Are you guys saying that you have had your games break down? That never happens in pinball.
Anyway, if one of my games ever did need repairs, I would do pretty much anything besides board work myself. I'm not confident enough to tackle that yet.

Quoted from TheLaw:

I think the vast majority of it is very simple stuff, you'd be amazed how easy it is replacing caps/BRs etc.

I was also terrified the first time I did anything with a board, but now it's no sweat. What really helped me get comfortable was a bit of practice. Go pull a junk PCB from somewhere or see if someone has one laying around, it doesn't even need to be a pinball board. Practice pulling of and soldering on a few parts, you'd be amazed how quick you get a feel for it and get wayyyyy more confident.

#41 84 days ago

20 years of self teaching. I do all my own repairs (and a lot of other peoples'). Everything from simple flipper repairs up to complex board work. It's challenging and fun. I haven't had to put a repro board in a game yet.

Having good equipment is key.

#42 84 days ago
Quoted from wxforecaster:

Having good equipment is key.

I'll second that, in my short 46 years on this planet I've found having the proper tools make almost any job do-able by me.

When it comes to pins, there are multiple things I enjoy. Restoring them is a joy, I like seeing the end result of countless hours of work. Then comes troubleshooting, some days I like the challenge, others it peeves me. So far in all my cases and in most times, with help from Pinside, I've been able to solve my issues. I really enjoy board work, using the tools on PS to narrow down issues then swapping out questionable components, eagerly turning the pin back on after a job and having it power up and work it normally is a thrill.

Thanks for these great posts, keep 'em coming.

#43 84 days ago
Quoted from Atari_Daze:

proper tools make almost any job do-able

Guess I better get a de soldering gun then!

#44 84 days ago
Quoted from heni1977:

Guess I better get a de soldering gun then

Yea, that's on my wish list, I'm still using my old Radio Shack de-soldering iron with the sucker bulb. I did not get in on the secret Santa list this year so no Hakko for me again.

#45 84 days ago

My first job out of high school (FAR too long ago) was at an arcade, fixing _everything_: pins, pool tables, air hockey, foosball, jukebox, even the change machine.

I've done _small_ board repairs, and board swaps are no problem. I restored a friend's #EB a few years back.

#46 84 days ago

It really is all about having the right tool these days. Tools are awesome.

#47 84 days ago

LTG fairies hit my place once
there done with his....seems like they never make it her. weird huh

#48 84 days ago
Quoted from Azmodeus:

It really is all about having the right tool these days.

and proper use?

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#49 84 days ago

I do about 90-95% of my own repairs. The one thing that I absolutely cannot do is test boards after repairs as I have no test fixtures. Everything else is a piece of cake.

#50 84 days ago

Nothing like a little 3rd degree burn with your soldering iron. Pain is weakness leaving the body!

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