(Topic ID: 177917)

Learning from mistakes (share your stories)


By Nokoro

2 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 87 posts
  • 55 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 months ago by dothedoo
  • Topic is favorited by 13 Pinsiders

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    There are 87 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.
    #51 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!

    I'm with this.. about a month ago I touched a 5v switch to a 30v coil.. yup.. bad news .. luckily not a meltdown but a tense 5 hours of figuring out what I did .

    Lol

    #52 2 years ago
    Quoted from dasvis:

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

    Been there

    #53 2 years ago
    Quoted from jb3d:

    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?

    One of the few exceptions. Yes, fine to change batteries with power on, so you don't lose settings.
    Don't use batteries from Harbor Freight.

    #54 2 years ago

    Learned via another tech over 30+ years ago:

    "Understand that EM pinball machines high voltage electrical power is ON at all times, unless modified for home use, regardless if there is a toggle style power switch. UNPLUG the machine and give a few minutes for dissipation or pay the price to yourself, machine, or both."

    - TBK

    (If you don't believe me get out a voltmeter, I have seen dozens of people get mildly electrocuted by being incredibly stupid)

    #55 2 years ago

    Whatever you do, when your working above the playfield, don't drop that screw/nut/washer.....They can disappear into never never land! On Sunday I had tore down my Star Trek LE to clean/wax the playfield and switch over to blue titans. I was nearly done putting it back together when i dropped a screw! I couldn't find it (I searched with a flashlight for an hour) and I didnt want to just leave it cause if it ever showed up on the playfield and the ball hit it there would be scratches everywhere. So needless to say I had to tear the machine back down almost all the way before I found it. i yi yi. Hang on to those metal hardware parts!

    #56 2 years ago

    Contact cleaner and EMs do not mix⚡️⚡️

    Biggest mistake of all....Thinking I only want/need one more....!

    #57 2 years ago

    Triple check that fuse you're replacing. On a Data East machine I had instead of 1/2A they used .5A, well I gave a quick glance and thought it said 5 so I stuck a 5A fuse protecting the HV section of the power supply. Found out what was really wrong after that!

    #58 2 years ago

    So, one day I bought this pinball machine....

    #59 2 years ago

    Some older Bally EM games, like 1966 Gold Rush, do not use coil sleeves for pop bumpers/sling shots. I destroyed a coil trying to remove what i thought was a sleeve.

    #60 2 years ago
    Quoted from 5280wzrd:

    Contact cleaner and EMs do not mix⚡️⚡️

    ccfire2.jpg

    #61 2 years ago

    Heck of a way to kill annoying insects though.

    #62 2 years ago

    Never set a time table. Just when you think you're making progress, you'll spend three hours removing a screw.

    #63 2 years ago
    Quoted from Darcy:

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

    stock-image-fail-soldering-iron-bob-byron-1 (resized).jpg

    #64 2 years ago

    Don't novus/windex things like printed pop bumpers bodies & skirts or other plastics with ink on them. It's magic - does a permanent disappearing act. Pinball plastics are okay but I would not advise cleaning the bottom where the art is printed more than lightly.

    #65 2 years ago

    Oh, and use a power strip or a switched outlet for your games. Thankfully I haven't "learned" from this mistake as I have always done it this way (or just unplugged them all in the beginning), but seeing how many pinsiders still use the game's power switch on their 50 year old game makes me shake my head tremendously. It takes $5 and 5 seconds to switch a power strip on and is probably faster than switching the game itself on let alone 4 or 5! And that way you don't end up burning your house down and potentially hurting/killing your family by your laziness. It is best to 100% isolate every game from electricity (it even isolates the cord!) as opposed to 70% or 80% (or less) when you use a game's power switch.

    In any game you would be surprised how much is live when the game is supposed to be "off" - the service outlet needs power when off... but that requires a fuse... and that requires wiring to get to the fuse and back, etc., etc., it's not as quick and simple as you may think. Especially if you're still using the original ancient bump switch system for your mid-60's-or-earlier EM game, that's just incredibly stupid and a fire waiting to happen. I don't even want to open up that jar of safety risks: Half the game is still constantly live with 120V, right down to the potentially misadjusted bare metal blades, even when "off"!

    You can say "oh that'll never happen, I've been through my game, yadda yadda", but every game you get the chance increases two-fold and even if it never does happen, why risk it for the sake of being "right"? It's the simplest thing you can do and one of the cheapest things you can buy. Otherwise it is pure ignorance. The game may be fine for now but if you get a power surge or a simple screw falls off of the playfield and onto some contacts that sure changes.

    #66 2 years ago

    When soldering with the playfield propped up lay something on top of any transformers or parts in the cabinet bottom to catch a drip.

    #67 2 years ago
    Quoted from Otaku:

    Oh, and use a power strip or a switched outlet for your games.
    And that way you don't end up burning your house down and potentially hurting/killing your family by your laziness.

    And how many times have you heard of this actually happening? None? Yeah--me too!!!

    #68 2 years ago
    Quoted from SirScott:

    And how many times have you heard of this actually happening? None? Yeah--me too!!!

    Read the bottom of the post.

    #69 2 years ago

    I also do most of my learning from my mistakes.

    I've done most of what has been mentioned in the thread so far.

    I've worked with screwdrivers everyday for a lot of my life, I have the habit of when I pick them up, I grab right below the handle picking them up by the metal shaft. Well? I seem to keep doing that with the soldering iron too! You would think I would learn after a few times? Nope!

    Working on the older displays plugging them in while the game is on? Yep!! I've been shocked a few times since I like to put my thumb on the back of the board while pushing the connector on. Haven't learned there yet either!

    Not paying attention? Plug a Rom in backwards...I look up in the backbox trying to find the problem..."Hmmmm what's that little light on that Rom? I've never seen tha.......OH SH%% That's not a light! It's backwards!" Yep! The little window will glow if they are plugged in backwards!

    Learning resistors, I replaced all of them in the mpu almost done and realize? I'm figuring the multiplier wrong! I take them out start all over......To only get part way through? And realize? I had it wrong again!!!!! Take them all back out! I have decoding resistors down now from that lesson!!

    Replaced connector pins, the type that mount to the boards. Plug my connectors on! Everything should be good!!!!! Stuff still isn't working right! I checked wires etc.....To realize an hour later....The pins I put on the board were too long, when I was pushing the other end of the connector on, it was pushing all my little wires out of their slots on the connectors I was pushing on!!!!! I didn't notice at first because of the little slide covers on the top connectors. Yep!! Different length pins make a difference!

    Checking continuity on traces? I couldn't figure out what was going on? Most of the traces were connected, pick the board up, look it over, lay it down, check again, Now different traces are connected! WTH!!!! Yep! I was laying the board on a spiral notebook while checking traces!! It finally hit hit me, when I sat back in the chair to take a breath. Looked down and thought..."you freaking idiot!!!! How can you be that stupid" I was ticked when I realized I was that dumb, when I noticed the spiral notebook that I was sitting the board on.

    I can go on and on.....I'm like the fumbling mad scientist of pinball, screwups!!!

    #70 2 years ago

    Don't use one of those big AC powered wet vacs to clean out the bottom of your game. I did it on my Centaur and it worked great, until it sucked up the Manufacturer's Certificate and yellow power supply labels.

    #71 2 years ago

    When learning to both flame polish and do plastic welding on your first pin which has an extremely expensive ramp, do not try to do everything at once...

    #72 2 years ago

    Don't let a Friend drive your vehicle with a couple pinball machines in the back after having a few..

    #73 2 years ago

    i tinker on stuff in my garage , lesson learned yesterday was to lock the F'n dog in his run when using a logic probe or an O-scope. i have hours into an atari AVG board with a wonkey DAC signal , found the issue and was moving to the next section and the dog decided it was ball time and nose nugged the board and the o-scope probe made a short on the DAC releasing magic smoke from 3 (that i saw) IC's.

    4 months later
    #74 2 years ago

    Having just gotten a haircut yesterday and seeing little hairs all over the place, I remembered this one: Never clean your playfield after a haircut unless you have showered first. I did that once. Never again.

    #75 2 years ago

    Take off your wedding ring and watch when working on your pin.

    #76 2 years ago

    Never get married without living with them first!!

    #77 2 years ago

    Learn from others mistakes

    #78 2 years ago
    Quoted from SealClubber:

    ake off your wedding ring and watch when working on your pin.

    Any ring.

    And especially when moving games. A squished ring doesn't unsquish.

    LTG : )

    #79 2 years ago

    What's the problem with rings and watches? Do they snag on wires, or is it a matter of causing a short? I wouldn't do work with the power on.

    #80 2 years ago
    Quoted from Nokoro:

    What's the problem with rings and watches? Do they snag on wires, or is it a matter of causing a short? I wouldn't do work with the power on.

    You don't always need power on if you are going for a Darwin award.

    Makes it easier to short power to ground and arc weld your finger.

    If your arm/hand/finger gets squished when moving a heavy cabinet or two, solid metal bends and when the object is moved, metal doesn't unbend. Cutting off blood flow and circulation. If you get really creative you may even do enough damage to lose an appendage.

    LTG : )

    2 years later
    #81 4 months ago

    I was working on a switch issue with Centaur II where the pop bumper would give multiball. I was activating switches by hand in switch test to see if there were other issues. Most switches would show multiple switch activations. Took me a while to figure out I was doing this with my shoes off and was completing the ground when touching the metal switches. I put my shoes on and no more multiple switch activations with the switches. I eventually found the issue which was a solder splash on a switch was causing a short. But it took much longer than normal to find since I was confused with the multiple switch activations when testing with my shoes off.

    #83 4 months ago

    When moving your first pin, with its newly painted cabinet, into your newly finished (and therefore also freshly painted) basement rec room, be sure to measure the door frame opening before wedging the machine through, just in case you need to remove the doorway trim or casing to ensure a nice and easy fit. It's also a great idea to strap the backbox down in such a fashion that the ratchets on the straps don't gouge deep channels into the door frame when you force the machine through the too-small opening, while also scraping a 2" strip of paint off the side of the cabinet on the strike plate which you should also have removed from the door frame before starting the whole process. Also remember to put a tarp or drop sheet down before doing touch ups on the cabinet, to avoid getting blue and white paint on your new grey carpet.

    An even better approach is to install a 36" doorway when you finish the basement in the first place. Would have made things a lot easier. Sigh...

    #84 4 months ago
    Quoted from djtkach:

    When moving your first pin, with its newly painted cabinet, into your newly finished (and therefore also freshly painted) basement rec room, be sure to measure the door frame opening before wedging the machine through, just in case you need to remove the doorway trim or casing to ensure a nice and easy fit. It's also a great idea to strap the backbox down in such a fashion that the ratchets on the straps don't gouge deep channels into the door frame when you force the machine through the too-small opening, while also scraping a 2" strip of paint off the side of the cabinet on the strike plate which you should also have removed from the door frame before starting the whole process. Also remember to put a tarp or drop sheet down before doing touch ups on the cabinet, to avoid getting blue and white paint on your new grey carpet.
    An even better approach is to install a 36" doorway when you finish the basement in the first place. Would have made things a lot easier. Sigh...

    How do you know all this?

    FuckingPhsyicPunkin

    #85 4 months ago

    I'd like to say it happened to a guy I know...but my wife likes to remind me that this whole misadventure began with her saying "I don't think that is going to work."

    #86 4 months ago

    Patience is a virtue with anything... for example I wanted a Dodge Hellcat Charger but I didn't want to pay full price and I wanted a certain color. I looked for 6 months but my patience paid off and I got one and saved over 10k. With pinball the same thing is true practice patience and you'll eventually get the game you want for the price you want to pay. What I've learned is I'm not going to buy a pinball game from really far away or buy something that has to be shipped to me. Why? I agreed to buy a game from someone in Kansas City hearing about how the game was perfect, only to get there and realize it was a pile of crap. I wasted 10 hours of my time ... unless I can see it with my own two eyes its just not worth it. Eventually one will come up for sale within an hour or so of my house. Maybe I won't get the game exactly when I want it but I will eventually. Heck I might even learn by waiting for one to pop up around here I didn't really want the game after all.

    I haven't done this but I warn everyone to stop buying games from new companies unless you're buying with a credit card where they're shipping on the spot.

    This industry like all others is filled with crooks.

    #87 4 months ago
    Quoted from Darcy:

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

    Quoted from pinsanity:

    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.

    And don’t solder/desolder with bare feet.

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