(Topic ID: 249881)

Have you done a playfield swap?


By Alan_L

60 days ago



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  • 50 posts
  • 27 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 53 days ago by mof
  • Topic is favorited by 15 Pinsiders

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#1 60 days ago

I am about to do my first playfield swap and I'm looking for tips and suggestions. The machine is an '81 Bally Eight Ball Deluxe. It has the unique lamp sockets that take a 555 bulb so I am going to have to use all the old lamp sockets.

Should I try and remove the hundreds of old staples on the old pf and save the braid, or put down new wire braid and solder in the old sockets? I looks like I may need about a 5/16" stapler, which one do you recommend? The replacement pf has a new overlay on it. Do overlays have dents or dots or holes to indicate where the screws go?

This is going to be a real learning process. Thanks for your help.

Alan

11
#2 60 days ago

If it were me I would ditch the 555 sockets, buy new 44 sockets and put down new braid. But if you plan on keeping the 555 sockets I would just reuse the old braid.

#3 60 days ago

Alan, I’d really appreciate it if you’d post pics showing your progress as you go. I’ve never done a playfield swap either.

#4 60 days ago
Quoted from Alan_L:

Should I try and remove the hundreds of old staples on the old pf and save the braid...

IF you go this way, just use a snipper and cut the old staples and move the braid out from them...don't wast time pulling.

#5 60 days ago

I’ve done several swaps. I always pull all the staples regardless if I’m reusing the braid or not. Taking the hardware off with the braid kind of keeps everything where it should be making it easyier to move to the new playfield. After you get it moved over you can replace it if it didn’t survive the staple pulling process. Because of this I never have to label any connections. I just take photos for reference and then go to town. I’ve seen people label everything. Kind of a wasted step in my opinion. The key for moving the harness from one playfield to the other is a nice working space. I put the old and new playfields face down on the same work area after all the screws, nuts, bolts and staples have been removed and then just move it over. Works great.

#6 60 days ago

It's up to you and how far you want to take the restoration, budget, etc.

If this is something that you are just looking to get done as cheap as possible, then re-using the braid and sockets is the way to go. A small flat head screwdriver will pull out most staples without a lot of effort. If this is going to be a nicer restoration and you plan to keep this in your collection then I would definitely replace the braid and sockets with new.

In my recent pf swap I used this braid (bare wire by the foot). It is very high quality:
http://www.pinrestore.com/Supplies.html

For the staples I used this gun and these staples from Amazon:
Gun- amazon.com link »
Staples- amazon.com link »

44 lamp sockets are available from all of the major suppliers.

There are a lot of threads on Pinside to help with the swap. Good luck!

#7 60 days ago

Pictuers = labels if they are good and have nice colors that you can see the wires. Although with the braid laid down, most things will sort of pnly sit in their spots and wires reach.

You can also use wire instead of braid if replacing.

#8 60 days ago
Quoted from dothedoo:

If it were me I would ditch the 555 sockets, buy new 44 sockets and put down new braid. But if you plan on keeping the 555 sockets I would just reuse the old braid.

I'm going for "easy" rather than using new 44 sockets, which I would use if I were keeping it, but I'm planning on bringing it to York in October to sell. {probably shouldn't have said that out loud} And I do like TheLaw's idea of just clipping the staples.

Still wondering about dots, spots, whatever for the screws on the overlay.

#9 60 days ago
Quoted from Alan_L:

Still wondering about dots, spots, whatever for the screws on the overlay.

I would compare with the old playfield and cut holes as necessary.

#10 60 days ago

I reused the old braid and just soldered new flush mount lamp
sockets (44) one at a time to the braid while still on the old playfield. Trace the braid with a pencil so you remember how to place it on the new playfield. I used a standard staple gun with 1/4" staples. My PPS repro playfield had dimples of where to drill for most holes. Some were missing though. I did have a problem with pop bumper stack switch holes not being in the exact correct location and had to epoxy hole and re
drill. This can happen, so patience is required. There will be a lot of tweaking afterward. An iPad works great for taking pics and lots of pics from different angles. And I did label and bag everything! And glad I did.

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#11 60 days ago

I completed a playfield swap on a PinBot earlier this year. Take LOTS of high quality photos and make sure you use a camera that you can easily scroll thru the photos on a laptop. Phone screens are just too small. Take you time and have fun!

#12 60 days ago
Quoted from Alan_L:

I'm going for "easy" rather than using new 44 sockets, which I would use if I were keeping it, but I'm planning on bringing it to York in October to sell. {probably shouldn't have said that out loud} And I do like TheLaw's idea of just clipping the staples.
Still wondering about dots, spots, whatever for the screws on the overlay.

I never met an overlay I liked. That being said, i’m guessing you’re going to need to use your original board a lot for reference points on where to drill on the new board.

#13 60 days ago

I have always reused the existing braid wire. I took a marker and marked the exact layout of the wire on the old playfield, along with misc notes and more pictures then needed.

#14 60 days ago

Personally I don't reuse (or even use) braid. I've found it's better to just use wire. Less chance of a short.

Pictures, pictures and more pictures. On my first couple swaps I took a thousand pictures from every angle. Later I realized I actually had to look back on about 3.

It's actually much easier than it looks. Things come off in layers and the harness keeps the shape. Lift it off the old playfield and lay it on the new.

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#15 59 days ago

I've never done a play field swap, but I am an self proclaimed expert when it comes to staplers.

When I built my theater, I went through about 20,000 staples for the fabric walls and velvet panels. Anyway, I used this stapler with the B&C Eagle Staples and it worked flawlessly.

amazon.com link »

#16 59 days ago

I've got a few CPR playfields and an NOS Strikes and Spares that I plan on swapping. For a restoration/keeper/something you might sell someday and someone be concerned about quality of work, I suggest
-get proper stapler and staples, same gauge as original
-use same wire as original
-install all new #44 type sockets (I'll be using these instead of 555 on my Fathom swap)
-install braid over sockets, same as it was done originally and solder to sockets

Another change I'll make though is to use all regular sockets instead of the big grid lamp holder board on KISS. I thought about using the PCB with #555 twist in holders, but that's more expensive than going all new sockets for that area.

#17 59 days ago

I just got an Alien playfield and was going to do a swap, but was strongly advised against it.. so I wont.. but at least I have it just in case

#18 59 days ago
Quoted from Oneangrymo:

I just got an Alien playfield...

Have you removed the Novus 3 from the house?

#19 59 days ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

Have you removed the Novus 3 from the house?

Fuck yeah. Novus gone completely. REturned in 1 hour.

#20 59 days ago

I did a Bally Eight Ball with a new CPR playfield. Its not that bad....just take your time. I moved the ground braid over and re-stapled it as it was in great shape. Take tons of photos....and when you are done taking them.....take more.

I actually thought a playfield swap was easier than a HardTop installation I recently did on a Taxi.

#21 59 days ago

I bag each mech's hardware seperately and lavel them. I use 1 bag for the gi lighting screws, since they are the same. I bag all the switch screws in another. I bag the posts with the plastics associated and label everything. And as others have said, lots of pics and expect there to be that 1 pic that you somehow missed.

#22 59 days ago
Quoted from dothedoo:

I would compare with the old playfield and cut holes as necessary.

That is what I did. I kept the 555's in mine (Fireball II), but I did lay down new braid. I didn't know what I was doing, but was blessed with having two beat up old play fields to use as an example. Made life much easier. Even using the old stuff (lights in particular), I have only had to replace three lamp sockets. They are old sockets (40 years) and as they need replacing, I may swap out to 44 sockets.

The old harness was in pretty good shape, considering what this game had been through. It did not have a good life.

#23 59 days ago

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#24 54 days ago
Quoted from wolverinetuner:

Alan, I’d really appreciate it if you’d post pics showing your progress as you go. I’ve never done a playfield swap either.

You bet, glad to do it.

The replacement playfield arrived today, I got a very good price on it and I can sort of see why: it has a lot of small bubbles (see pics). Should I prick the bubbles with a pin, heat them up a little with a heat gun and roll them with a wallpaper seam roller? Or should I just install a playfield protector, or both?

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#25 54 days ago

Ugh man that sucks. If you prick or cut the bubbles, you will probably want to do a clear coat or at least Mylar that thing

Is this some sort of adhesive playfield sticker, like that hardtop product?

#26 54 days ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

Is this some sort of adhesive playfield sticker, like that hardtop product?

It's an overlay, just one giant decal that covers the whole pf except the inserts and pop bumper holes, etc.

#27 54 days ago

Oooff...thats a lot of work to do, its a shame to start with such a crappy playfield

#28 54 days ago

Actually, except for the bubbles, the overlay looks great, and it's a heck of a lot better than the original which was trashed, even with the bubbles.

Basically, I'm trying to minimize the appearance of the bubbles with by some method. Has anyone had any experience with bubbles on an overlay?

#29 54 days ago

I used a protector on a f14 that had raised/lower inserts and it went from unplayable to completely smooth. I know there is debate on how the surface plays differently, but as would be the case for you, taking it from unplayable to function is pretty big step.
The protector is easy to install as well..
Havent used for bubbles but bumps are bumps?

#30 54 days ago
Quoted from topkat:

but as would be the case for you, taking it from unplayable to function is pretty big step.

Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. I'm not going to be selling this machine as collector condition, just a player's game, but I want it to look nice.

#31 54 days ago
Quoted from Alan_L:

Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. I'm not going to be selling this machine as collector condition, just a player's game, but I want it to look nice.

Thats how my f14 is. I wanted it to to look good and play well, which the protector helps it do. I would think if the bubbles are small the protector will work for what you want. They arent that expensive if it doesnt work and you could prob resell for something..

#32 54 days ago

That overlay is bad. Are you sure you want to spend the time doing a playfield swap with that? You are talking 40 hours of labor to do the swap. If it isn't a keeper I would just sell it "as is" and include the bad overlay in the sale. Find a different project that will be more satisfying.

#33 54 days ago

Make sure to get an electronic driver and not use a drill.

#34 54 days ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

Make sure to get an electronic driver and not use a drill.

Maybe it's a little late at night or I'm just being dense, but you've lost me. What's an electronic driver and what will I have to drill? This is a used playfield with an overlay, all the original holes for screws, posts, etc. are still there.

BTW, I just ordered a playfield protector from Der Fatherland, supposed to be here in five days.

#35 54 days ago
Quoted from Alan_L:

Maybe it's a little late at night or I'm just being dense, but you've lost me. What's an electronic driver and what will I have to drill? This is a used playfield with an overlay, all the original holes for screws, posts, etc. are still there.
BTW, I just ordered a playfield protector from Der Fatherland, supposed to be here in five days.

Removing the wire harness and hardware is a lot of unscrewing. You want a power driver for that and not a big heavy (and powerful) drill. Handy to put it back together also. Doing it by hand is a pain it the butt.

#36 54 days ago

Working on a STTNG swap now, well have been for years! I'll finally get it done before the decade is over, kinda like landing on the moon lol. What a game to pick as my first playfield swap, damn haha. Tumbling / polishing all parts, cleaning boards, cleaning wiring harness, etc.

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I picked up a Mata Hari this weekend that has a CPR gold playfield in it. There's just something awesome about a new looking playfield in an older pin.

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#37 54 days ago

Alan, like mad dog said I just mean an electronic screwdriver.
Grab that and a 6in1 screwdriver and you're set

amazon.com link »

#38 54 days ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

I just mean an electronic screwdriver. Grab that and a 6in1 screwdriver and you're set.

Or don't...and you're screwed.

#39 54 days ago

Right in the middle of my Harlem swap over as we speak. I support the use of a good electronic screwdriver - my hands shot from using a manual one.

Keeping the original braid - as stated helps with the “memory” location of all the light sockets.

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#40 54 days ago
Quoted from Alan_L:

You bet, glad to do it.
The replacement playfield arrived today, I got a very good price on it and I can sort of see why: it has a lot of small bubbles (see pics). Should I prick the bubbles with a pin, heat them up a little with a heat gun and roll them with a wallpaper seam roller? Or should I just install a playfield protector, or both?[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

The overlay does not appear to line up with the inserts? some are way out?? or am I not seeing this correctly?

#41 54 days ago

Swapping a playfield is very satisfying and does make a huge difference in look and play of the game. I just finished a Playboy. I did the cabinet also.

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#42 54 days ago
Quoted from russdx:

The overlay does not appear to line up with the inserts? some are way out?? or am I not seeing this correctly?

Sadly this is typical on many overlays.

#43 54 days ago
Quoted from Mad_Dog_Coin_Op:

Sadly this is typical on many overlays.

That sucks, I would understand a few mm out but like half the insert out is quite bad, how do they designed so wrong?

#44 53 days ago
Quoted from russdx:

The overlay does not appear to line up with the inserts? some are way out?? or am I not seeing this correctly?

The seller did say that he "stretched" it during installation. The Shoot Again insert is the worst. I read on some other Pinside threads that the bubbles are usually caused by having the overlay installed too soon after the clearcoat. Apparently you should let the playfield sit and cure for a number of weeks to let out minute amounts of air or gas that would form bubbles.

I've already disconnected the entire lower wiring harness and components, it took about four hours with a flat screw driver for the staples and a ratchet driver for screws.

#45 53 days ago

Still chugging along on mine. Also fixing up my Star and just got a JP pro in so not a lot of time to get to it
Use no bit to get those posts in on the PF side too.
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I took around 150 pictures probably when breaking down...totoally lost them. Can;t find them anywhere Luckily I know another machine where I could get some refresher pics

#46 53 days ago

I've never done a playfield swap either. Pondering doing one on my Bally KISS. I have the playfield already. Nice to see what is needed ahead of time. This will be a good challenge. Cold winter project maybe for me. I'm thinking of building a rotisserie to make things easier.

#48 53 days ago

Doing an Elvira swap soon(tm), I have no clue what I'm doing and it's my first. Thanks for the tips and guides.

#49 53 days ago

I would NOT put that playfield in the game. Sorry but that's a complete waste of time and money. Hardtop is making the hardtop overlay for it next year and CPR will have them available again. Don't do it. Just sell the game as is.

#50 53 days ago

IF you like the cabinet a lot, then I would spend all my time PREPPING for the next playfield swap.
You can spend 40-60 hours on that alone -- without touching the paint on the cabinet.

There's a checklist for that too:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/shop-job-master-checklist

Before am upcoming swap, I do everything I can from this list, so that when the swap is done, there's nothing else left to do for optimum play, reliability, and appearance. Also, it means that anything wrong after the swap came from the swap, not from a leftover issue.

-mof

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