(Topic ID: 177917)

Learning from mistakes (share your stories)


By Nokoro

2 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 94 posts
  • 58 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 12 days ago by PinRob
  • Topic is favorited by 13 Pinsiders

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    There are 94 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 2 years ago

    I often learn the best from my own mistakes. And, I find there are also a lot of lessons to be learned from the mistakes of others. I thought it would be fun to have a thread about mistakes people have made and lessons they learned from them. I hope a lot of you will contribute.

    Here are a few mistakes I've made and the resulting lessons:

    1. I once failed to realized that I had pulled my playfield out all the way when it was sitting on the service rails. I gave it one more yank, thinking I had to lift it over the usual bump, and the whole thing fell into the cabinet. Luckily, nothing was broken, but my heart nearly stopped. I've learned to always double check the position before I move it again.

    2. Having successfully used a magic eraser to clean up some glue spots on my Special Force, I tried to clean some dirt with it in a different section and rubbed away some of the paint by accident. I learned to be very careful with a magic eraser, to read Vid's guide more closely, and to know that what works in one area will not always work in another.

    3. I was trying to diagnose some weird behavior with my switch matrix where one switch was causing multiple switches in the same column to fire. It took several weeks and many pinsiders help before I realized that I was creating a short to ground with my own body by touching the metal rivet on the stand up target while leaning on the metal cabinet rail. I learned a lot about switch matrices from that whole experience and realized that sometimes you create problems that aren't really there.

    #2 2 years ago

    Never work on the game with the power on, not even chainging bulbs.

    Always check the most simple things first. Re-seat those ribbon cables. I once re-soldered a bunch of connections, changed two transistors on the power board, and wasted a good four hours when it ended up being a ribbon cable re-seat was all I needed. Doh!

    #3 2 years ago

    To check fuses with a multimeter when stuff isnt working. There was a fuse that looked whole and i spent weeks working on my indiana jones taking the mini playfield apart over and over (not an easy task), buying a new motor, spending money on a board. A $2 fix became weeks and $200. My brother came over and fixed it in 2 seconds.

    It was early on before I really knew what i was doing but ive had several lessons that cost me money because i didnt understand how to remove something or check something properly.

    #4 2 years ago
    Quoted from Chisox:

    Never work on the game with the power on, not even chainging bulbs.
    Always check the most simple things first. Re-seat those ribbon cables. I once re-soldered a bunch of connections, changed two transistors on the power board, and wasted a good four hours when it ended up being a ribbon cable re-seat was all I needed. Doh!

    Amen to changing bulbs with power off. Ive actually damaged my mpu by accidental shorts when doing this aside from popping fuses. You always think... Oh, ill be careful, until you drop something or reach for something or hand slip.

    #5 2 years ago

    Don't work on the machine when the game is turned on. Especially with metal tools near connections!

    #6 2 years ago
    Quoted from Chisox:

    Never work on the game with the power on, not even chainging bulbs.

    Im still guilty of always doing this.

    12
    #7 2 years ago

    Don't marry a whore... oh wait.. you mean pinball ?

    #8 2 years ago

    Don't have a blonde moment and adjust a slingshot band while the game is on. It doesn't feel good when it activates with your thumb in the way.

    #9 2 years ago

    A few:

    1) Don't fix things that aren't broken; you often make things worse...

    2) Put a white towel down inside the cabinet when you're working. It makes it much, much easier to find dropped parts.

    3) Use magnetic nut drivers, because as you drop screws, they fall into spots you cannot see, and short out circuits.

    4) Take the balls out of the game when you raise the playfield.

    5) Don't use cheap tools, especially screwdrivers. Good screwdrivers are worth their weight in gold. Cheap screwdrivers strip screw heads.

    6) The answer is usually simpler than you think. Don't make life hard, start with the simple stuff first, rather than shotgunning.

    Marc

    #10 2 years ago

    I learned how to balance an Escalera properly after flipping a machine over and down the stairs.
    I killed two experience-birds with that one idiot stone though..I also got to go through a shattered tempered glass clean up.

    #11 2 years ago
    Quoted from pintechev:

    1) Don't fix things that aren't broken; you often make things worse...

    +1

    My first idea is usually wrong. So I don't try fixing something immediately after noticing it isn't working. I like to think on it for a few days... Look through the manual... Read some Pinside... Think some more. Ideally I like come up with a logical explanation for why the thing stopped working before I dig in.

    #12 2 years ago

    I learned to not just look at a fuse but to check it with a DVOM to make sure it's good.

    #13 2 years ago

    Always take out the balls before lifting the playfield.

    #14 2 years ago
    Quoted from Chisox:

    Never work on the game with the power on, not even chainging bulbs.

    This is a good one. I always get tempted to take that shortcut. I have to remember to resist.

    #15 2 years ago

    I once purchased an NIB game before I had a chance to inspect it or play it.

    I would recommend that others avoid this fiasco.

    #16 2 years ago
    Quoted from pintechev:

    A few:
    1) Don't fix things that aren't broken; you often make things worse...
    2) Put a white towel down inside the cabinet when you're working. It makes it much, much easier to find dropped parts.
    3) Use magnetic nut drivers, because as you drop screws, they fall into spots you cannot see, and short out circuits.
    4) Take the balls out of the game when you raise the playfield.
    5) Don't use cheap tools, especially screwdrivers. Good screwdrivers are worth their weight in gold. Cheap screwdrivers strip screw heads.
    6) The answer is usually simpler than you think. Don't make life hard, start with the simple stuff first, rather than shotgunning.
    Marc

    Lots of good ideas here. Can I ask what are good screwdrivers? Seriously, mine suck.

    #17 2 years ago
    Quoted from lyonsden:

    Always take out the balls before lifting the playfield.

    Always put them back in before putting the glass back on!

    #18 2 years ago
    Quoted from lyonsden:

    Always take out the balls before lifting the playfield.

    Quoted from TimeBandit:

    Always out them back in before putting the glass back on!

    I always forget to do both

    #19 2 years ago
    Quoted from Chisox:

    Lots of good ideas here. Can I ask what are good screwdrivers? Seriously, mine suck.

    I got a set of Dewalts that are killer.

    #20 2 years ago

    I got a bally blackjack when I first got into the hobby...someone had used incorrect clear coat (or perhaps it came from the factory)and it turned a yellowish color...so I stripped the playfield and fired up my palm sander...

    things were going good for the first 5 minutes as I thought I could masterfully remove the ever-so-thin clear without touching the art underneath... then I used a cloth and some alcohol to wipe away the dust so I could admire my brilliance....UGH! I felt sick when I saw what I had done...live and learn

    #21 2 years ago
    Quoted from cosmokramer:

    I got a bally blackjack when I first got into the hobby...someone had used incorrect clear coat (or perhaps it came from the factory)and it turned a yellowish color...so I stripped the playfield and fired up my palm sander...
    things were going good for the first 5 minutes as I thought I could masterfully remove the ever-so-thin clear without touching the art underneath... then I used a cloth and some alcohol to wipe away the dust so I could admire my brilliance....UGH! I felt sick when I saw what I had done...live and learn

    I'm sorry. That sounds awful.

    #22 2 years ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    I once purchased an NIB game before I had a chance to inspect it or play it.
    I would recommend that others avoid this fiasco.

    If no one buys NIB then there are no used ones to buy :-/

    #23 2 years ago
    Quoted from cosmokramer:

    I got a bally blackjack when I first got into the hobby...someone had used incorrect clear coat (or perhaps it came from the factory)and it turned a yellowish color...so I stripped the playfield and fired up my palm sander...
    things were going good for the first 5 minutes as I thought I could masterfully remove the ever-so-thin clear without touching the art underneath... then I used a cloth and some alcohol to wipe away the dust so I could admire my brilliance....UGH! I felt sick when I saw what I had done...live and learn

    #24 2 years ago

    I collected a lot of these stories (usually when people posted something dumb on RGP, but a lot are my own
    the collection is here: http://www.flippers.be/learn.html

    11
    #25 2 years ago

    Of course, after putting the backbox on you realize you forgot to route the power cord...

    #26 2 years ago
    Quoted from Chisox:

    Lots of good ideas here. Can I ask what are good screwdrivers? Seriously, mine suck.

    Kline screw drivers although not cheap, are the best on the market if you ask me.

    #27 2 years ago

    What are the characteristics of a good screwdriver vs a bad one? A sharp and well defined head?

    #28 2 years ago
    Quoted from Nokoro:

    What are the characteristics of a good screwdriver vs a bad one? A sharp and well defined head?

    Sharp, strong and cut with precision.

    #29 2 years ago

    Thanks for the suggestions for the screwdrivers everyone, didn't mean to hijack thread.

    #30 2 years ago

    Magnetic tips on all of your screwdrivers!

    #31 2 years ago
    Quoted from Chisox:

    Thanks for the suggestions for the screwdrivers everyone, didn't mean to hijack thread.

    You didn't. That's what threads like this are for, learning new stuff.

    #32 2 years ago

    I decided to make myself a new translite for my Raven so I stored the original in my basement laying flat. This was during the winter. I was looking for something a few months later & saw that it had basically disintegrated. I'm guessing that the A/C (beside the furnace in the basement) had dried the air so much that the plastic got brittle.

    #33 2 years ago
    Quoted from WackyBrakke:

    If no one buys NIB then there are no used ones to buy

    Then so be it. However there will always be plenty of used games from the past to choose from. With what the industry has shown the last few years, I couldn't care less if another new game ever gets made.

    It's become a total joke since pinball is no longer meant to go on route and make money like it did for almost a century.

    #34 2 years ago
    Quoted from TimeBandit:

    I learned how to balance an Escalera properly after flipping a machine over and down the stairs.
    I killed two experience-birds with that one idiot stone though..I also got to go through a shattered tempered glass clean up.

    I guess I am not the only one. Did the same thing. Luckily in my case nothing broke. Not one thing. It was simply amazing. I thought I had destroyed the whole game. I did have pinball armor on which I believe save me! Not a good experience and I certainly don't recommend it.

    #35 2 years ago

    About 20 years ago I put a new shooter coil on T2 and wired it backwards (diode wrong way). I don't remember if a diode was even needed on the coil. But, it did leave a sizeable burn mark on the driver board. Luckily a friend (electronics genius) fixed the board for me.

    Rob

    #36 2 years ago

    Never plug a connector into something "just because it looks like it should go there."

    Always wear your shoes when working on a machine.

    The only way to truly get good at fixing is to do a lot of breaking!

    #37 2 years ago

    From past mistakes: take lots of pictures if you're unhooking anything.

    I also find if I get stuck on something I can't figure it out, walking away for a while and coming back to it later helps.

    #38 2 years ago

    Not pinball related but...

    Don't clean a parakeet cage with a vacuum cleaner. *floop*

    #39 2 years ago

    1. I did the exact same thing as Nokoro and had the playfield slip while raised and damaged one of the plastic glass channels under the right side rail on my machine. Removing the side rail to replace the plastic glass channel was not fun.

    2. I got careless and left a plastic that I was trying to flatten in the oven just a tiny bit too long and it became a melted, shriveled mess. Had spares, but it still sucked because I had done it a couple times before without issue.

    3. Every now and then the ball improperly exits the wireform above Tommy's VUK so I try to bend it back in shape for better guiding. Got a little too aggressive once and snapped a weak weld. Ended up having to take the thing to a custom Harley shop to get re-welded. It's all shiny and fixed after polishing, but you can certainly spot the re-weld if you're looking for it.

    #40 2 years ago
    Quoted from pin2d:

    From past mistakes: take lots of pictures if you're unhooking anything.
    I also find if I get stuck on something I can't figure it out, walking away for a while and coming back to it later helps.

    Best advice ever, take pics pics and more pics. You can't take too many. The one you don't take will undoubtably be the one you need.

    #41 2 years ago

    Order a few extras of inexpensive parts. Nothing more frustrating than realizing you're one short of something (and having to pay shipping on a .18 cent part), and nothing more satisfying than realizing that you already have the part you need and the work can continue. ("Is it too late to add..." "yes")

    #42 2 years ago
    Quoted from Onevox:

    Order a few extras of inexpensive parts.

    I totally agree! Or one may foul up a part "learning" and then need a replacement for the replacement. Worst case scenario is you end up with a nice parts collection for your next project or a friends project.

    #43 2 years ago

    Re: always switch the machine off when working on it...clearly sensible advice but what do people think about leaving the machine switched on while replacing the batteries...so as not to lose high scores and setting? Is that OK?

    #44 2 years ago

    Bought a Centaur, great deal, and had it shipped by Forward Air. First time I'd used them for shipping and I assumed the game had to be broken down for a pallet. Had the seller remove the legs and fold down the backbox. When I get the game the otherwise perfect backglass had a little scratch from the corner of one of the score displays. The display had one of the factory foam tape strips missing.

    Since learned that for the price I paid Forward Air will ship the game fully assembled.

    #45 2 years ago

    "When reaching for the soldering iron. Do Not Glance up at the TV"

    #46 2 years ago
    Quoted from Darcy:

    "When reaching for the soldering iron. Do Not Glance up at the TV"

    On that note, put the soldering iron back in the holder and don't just balance it precariously on the lockdown bar receiver whilst you do repairs.

    Unless that is you like the smell of burning carpet when it inevitably falls to the floor.

    #47 2 years ago

    Plugs and connectors are keyed for a reason!!!

    Rob Bell
    Robsgameroom.com

    #49 2 years ago
    Quoted from pin2d:

    From past mistakes: take lots of pictures if you're unhooking anything.
    I also find if I get stuck on something I can't figure it out, walking away for a while and coming back to it later helps.

    Quoted from Chisox:

    Best advice ever, take pics pics and more pics. You can't take too many. The one you don't take will undoubtably be the one you need.

    And, make sure you do this even for something that looks incredibly simple and minor! I remember removing a couple of plastics on my Star Trek to replace the mini post rubbers. One plastic was over the other. When I tried to put them back in, I reversed them and couldn't for the life of me figure out why it wasn't fitting. It took me longer than I care to admit to figure it out.

    I did a similar, but more excusable, thing when I disassembled a 3 drop target bank on my Special Force. I couldn't get the pieces to fit back together. Luckily, I had lots of pictures, and after studying them for a while realized that I reversed the position of two plates.

    #50 2 years ago

    Don't do playfield teardowns from two different machines at once and then mix the parts up together on the workbench.

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