(Topic ID: 3517)

I can play the game but...

By The_Gorilla

8 years ago

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  • 20 posts
  • 15 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 years ago by wesperron
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    #1 8 years ago

    I don't have much of a clue on how to do the repair work. How did you all get started and what hints can you give me on trying to teach myself?

    Thanks to all in advance.

    JB TG

    #2 8 years ago

    Key is to ask questions here, do research online via u tube and other resources (http://www.pinrepair.com) to learn basics like soldering & fixing ect.. Get tools that make the job easier like magnetic nut drivers along with solder iron and sucker/desolder iron. Try not to work on the machine while it is powered on until you get experience and know what you are doing. Unless you are running things in test mode obviously. TAKE YOUR TIME especially when fixing something for the first time rushing through things will likely cause more problems then you were originally trying to fix.

    If you are taking parts off take pictures so you know the order in which they get put back on. Hope some of this helps you. I like to work with my hands (opening the door for BD here) and found that while sometimes fixing things on a pin can be frustrating I actually enjoy the process especially when the problem is fixed.

    #3 8 years ago

    Start with the manual. From there, locate the information for fuses (number one thing you'll find as an indicator of a problem). The manual will help find more common issues.

    The best rule of thumb is to logically isolate areas that could potentially be a problem (if you have a specific symptom). i.e. if you have a fuse blowing, try to isolate parts of the circuit it is powering to locate the problem area. Deduce by process of elimination.

    Certain problems are pretty obvious and don't require a lot of troubleshooting skills. Burned coils will pretty much always mean a new coil and replacement transistor(s) at minimum. Unless it's a flipper coil.

    If you have advanced problems (board level, CPU, etc...) the best suggestion is to be patient, take your time and do lots of reading. I took 2+ years of electronics training and worked in the field on Pinballs for a living for almost 5 years before leaving the profesion. You're not going to pick up advanced electronics skills overnight. But, there's nothing in a pinball that anyone can't figure out either.

    Hope this helps (at least a little).


    #4 8 years ago

    I would also suggest finding an old radio or something with electronic components on it, and practice soldering, removing and installing components. Use something you don't care if it gets ruined to practice on, so when you have to do it for real, you have some experience. If you don't know what your doing with a soldering iron, you can mess things up in a hurry. Practice with wires also, putting on/off of a switch/coil.


    #5 8 years ago

    My first tip is "No Fear". I'm a 50 year old office worker with zero mechanical apptitude. Before i got into pinball, my tool chest consisted of a couple screwdrivers and a hammer in the junk drawer in the kitchen. One year and 5 machines later (all non-working brought to life)...well, sometimes I still get a little apprehensive when approaching a new problem...but like most things, once I dive in I find the worrying was worse than the fixing.

    Quoted from glilly-BOA:

    The best rule of thumb is to logically isolate areas

    I really think this is the key, and is probably somewhat related to the "success" I have enjoyed so far. My style of thinking is heavily analytical, somewhat linear - and that really helps in this hobby. Every machine has a logic - and too many people spend too much time chasing problems with methods that are, for lack of a better word, illogical. Keep it simple, isolate the problem down to the basics and go from there. Simple things like "this XXX needs voltage to work...am I actually seeing the voltage there?"

    Finally, when stumped (I know squat about diagnosing board level problems, but I can replace components), turn to places like these for help. But again, the best help will come when you can clearly describe the problem and you have already isolated it down to the most basic level possible.

    But ultimately, you just gotta jump in. In the best Rob Schneider voice from "Waterboy"...."You can do it"!

    #6 8 years ago
    Quoted from examiner:

    My first tip is "No Fear".

    I did have to point out that, ironically or not, that is the pin that I currently own...it must be destiny that I reach out and give it a try!

    #7 8 years ago

    Do you have a VOM ? .. It's the first thing to have when troubleshooting. Pick one up cheap if you don't or if you want one cheap I can get a real nice one for you.

    #8 8 years ago
    Quoted from Brokedad:

    Do you have a VOM ? .. It's the first thing to have when troubleshooting. Pick one up cheap if you don't or if you want one cheap I can get a real nice one for you.

    Volt/Ohm Meter? Yes, I actually do have one...

    #9 8 years ago

    Two years ago I didn't know anything about electronics other than you don't want to be the thing which closes a circuit. ZZZAAAPPP! Now, after reading pinrepair and asking/reading the forums, I've brought 5 pins back from the dead and repaired many others.

    #10 8 years ago

    This is the BEST forum for learning and getting help. If it wasn't for one of the mods on here I'd not know near what I do about EM's. I've been doing electronic repair to component level for 25 years but his knowledge (and others should be noted too) has taught me more than any web page or document on the electro-mechanical side. No matter how smart you think you are never think someone can't teach you something no matter if they are a newbie or an "oldie".

    #11 8 years ago

    When i get a machine, the first thing i do, is to download the operational manuals and game rule sheet. It is true, that some people who own machines, don't actually know how to play them.
    Take the time to learn on the machine, clean the machine, dissasemble the playfield structures, to actually get to the hard to reach areas.
    After a while, you automatically become more confident.
    Build up a stockpile of spare parts, rubbers, balls, fuses, plastics, cleaning agents etc.
    Have a dedicated toolbox, specifically filled with the tooling required for pinball machines.
    Search the web for mods that will add value and fun to your machine, learn how to tinker and change settings via the machine diagnostics.
    And at the end of the day, ask questions and have fun.

    #12 8 years ago

    I want to thank everyone here for sharing your knowledge and experiences and to Robin for making Pinside the best. I need a VOM and Brokedad, I am going to PM you and ask. Hope I said that right. Leigh...great words of wisdom.

    #13 8 years ago

    Ditto that...great words of wisdom! Gives me some hope that I might be able to actually do this....at some point I will want to venture into some of the older machines......for the time being I'm so glad I went NIB, at least those problems are minor and easy to fix so far!

    #14 8 years ago

    Gorilla, I'm in the same boat as you. I still get timid because all my games generally work well, so I toil over do I want to dive into one just because the right side GI lighting isn't working and I can see where the J-connector has melted...but in time.

    I'm not up to that level just yet, but I have fixed several bad switches, replaced some old rubber, and put LEDs in my T2. I hound the tech that works on our games in league play, look at the manuals from ipdb.org and the pinrepair documents, and I print all this stuff if I can.

    Next challenge is the right flippers on my FG just stopped working, so finally a game I can't play unless I fix it. I think we're in good hands here, and give us some time and we'll become more confident.

    I think testing my soldering skills on a board I don't care about will be the next step after fixing these flippers. We'll get there.

    #15 8 years ago

    Keep at it,you will all get it before long,I am mechanical,not so much technical,This is my first forum interaction,I learned how to upload pics here,still do not get how you do all the other guys quotes or parts of quotes?
    I really like my trigger controlled soldering iron,Weller-Heavy Duty-140/100 Watts,when you pull in the trigger all the way,watch out because it gets hot fast,It's a whole soldering kit with different tips and solder included,I got it at Lowes or Home Depot.

    #16 8 years ago

    The key to successful repairs is to get the right tools. Don't go cheap here. Rat Shack is not your friend unless you need a 12V linear for your brand new power supply board that you just blew up


    #17 8 years ago

    My advice is take up another hobby.The more you learn the more you get sucked in.You will go through your life savings for that one more pin to fix up,searching for that high you got from fixing the first one .You will wreck your car to get home and get on pinside,and when your not on this site you will be searching the net for the next pin deal.I'm BRZ,and I'm a pinball addict.

    #18 8 years ago

    Nah, my other hobby is classic cars. Pinball is much cheaper!!!! And BRZ, I rate your collection as "awesome!"

    #19 8 years ago

    Thanks Gorilla

    #20 8 years ago

    Everyone here has given you great advice. I would like to add one more thing that I learned when I was new to this hobby.

    LOOK! Use the eyes god gave you. I can't tell you how many times when I was new that I let something stay unfixed only to find it was an easy fix if I had only taken the time to look at it.

    Many Many times your problem will be visable....if you just look.
    A bag full of tools is nice but your eyes are the best tool you got.

    Someone gave me this advice early on and it has been invaluable.

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