(Topic ID: 179489)

"Nic's North American Pinball Tour" (aka I'm coming to fix your games!)

By NicoVolta

4 years ago


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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by pinwiztom
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    #651 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Thanks Shane. Keep cleaning/rebuilding your way through and you'll have it. Check all of the switches in the ball trough on Cross Town and the locations they travel through on the schematic too. Can provide more info after the tour if needed.

    That's what I figured, it seems to go up and down with the first scoring, so I figure that there is a relay not locking in. I'm going to check the schematic and switches this weekend. Drive safe.

    #652 4 years ago

    Visit #27 -> Duane Felt (cpu-slave) and Dave Brennan (brenna98) in Austin, MN (part 1 of 2)

    The subjects: Combat, Atlantis, Solids N’ Stripes

    Minnesota: Third coldest state in the union. Only North Dakota and Alaska have it tougher in the winter. Yet there was no sign of such hardship in late, sunny May. I only encountered some wild turkeys, windmills, and long stretches of farmland along the low horizon. And what a horizon it was… painted end-to-end with dramatic clouds across what must surely be the beginning of “big sky country”.

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    Texas expats often remark the two things they miss most are barbecue and Tex-Mex. My stomach was agreeing with the latter and Duane and Dave were happy to oblige at El Mariachi, a local Mexican restaurant.

    The waiter was impressed with my pronunciation and immediately asked where I was from. My answer pleased everyone, muchos gracias and de nada. And we thus downed three bucket-sized mugs of Dos Equis and Negra Modelo. *hic*

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    Duane initially contacted me for this segment of the tour. However, I would be spending my first day with Dave. Pictured here, the illustrious Dave proudly holds aloft a mighty can of SPAM. All together now: “Wonderful SPAAAM! Fantastical SPAAAM!”

    Yes, Dave works for Hormel (which is headquartered in Austin), and thus whenever you buy a can of SPAM you should think of him affectionately. He works in “packaging science” which is a curious blend of business and scientific skills designed to deliver your favorite products in the most interesting and efficient way possible. Should a food be squeezed? Opened? Unwrapped? Twisted? With what material? How thick should it be? What should it look like? Solid or transparent? What will it cost? Will customers like it? We’ve become accustomed to taking our packaging for granted but there is an awful lot of planning behind the scenes.

    Dave is also one helluva do’er. The motorcycles in the foreground? Yep, both custom… which he built.

    From now on, this will be the do-it-all-Dave thread.

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    Be still, my heart! Dave’s arcave featured a row of classic Ballys, including an eye-poppingly gorgeous Fathom. Dave painted it w/a layer of UV-reactive paint on top. The playfield was professionally touched-up and cleared, too...

    ...also by Dave.

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    All of Bally’s “Class of ‘81” machines were under the roof, except Fireball II. But let's be honest... does that one really count?

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    Zaccaria’s Magic Castle and Time Machine stood side-by-side, looking and playing immaculately. They were the nicest I’d ever seen, period, with beautiful cleared playfields inside.

    Yep, Dave did them too. He also spec'd new neon tubes for the backboxes, including a tri-color for Time Machine.

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    But we can’t gush all day… the fixin’s await! Duane was in the garage putting a Zaccaria Combat through its paces. The ball count wasn’t working at all.

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    An unsoldered wire to the ball count coil indicated an easy fix.

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    Dave stepped in to solder it, and it resumed working again.

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    A now-familiar sight on the tour: Relay class. Dave removes his first to examine and rebuild.

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    The coil stop was physically OK, but a little dirty.

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    A quick swab with alcohol followed with the Magic Brush made it smooth and gleam again.

    Is this technically necessary? Nope. But it is certainly nicer and serves as a good opportunity for basic hands-on practice. It’s also fun, and let's face it, we dig fun.

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    A trickier problem followed: 500 point targets were only scoring 400 points. Similarly, 5000 point targets were only scoring 4000 points. Where was the extra click?

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    Aha! The “index” stack on the motor had been screwed down in the wrong position, causing the cams to advance beyond “the first click”. After moving it back to the proper position, we were no longer getting shortchanged by the reels.

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    Puppy break! Dave’s 8-month old pup is a Goldendoodle (part Golden Retriever and part Poodle). This friendly fellow was unlike any other dog I’ve seen before, almost literally like a living, bouncy Muppet. Kids must go bananas for this doggie! He was unbelievably cute, energetic, smart, affectionate, and didn’t shed. I bet we will see many more like him as the word gets out about this breed.

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    Next up: Atlantis. Apparently, someone was trying to install a speaker here. Not sure what they were hoping to accomplish because the wire was totally redundant. If it had been successful, I'm guessing the speaker brand would have been Phatlantis.

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    A paper clip? Flexy-wire to the rescue here.

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    Someone had taken the time to solder… something… directly to the wiper feet. Again, no idea what they were hoping to accomplish, as the wiper feet were perfectly OK underneath.

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    Dave prepared the ultrasonic cleaner to receive the metal parts from the stepper.

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    Even after cleaning, the parts needed some manual attention. Perhaps the fluid wasn’t warm enough.

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    Uh oh… a riveted axle was coming loose, allowing too much vertical travel in the armature. It reminded me of a similar issue we found at George’s house (JustageFehler) with 4 Roses. However, instead of using a sledgehammer or e-clip this time, we were going to…

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    …DO A BARE-HANDED TIG WELD *BRZAPPPP*

    Yes, do-it-all-Dave can do that too.

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    Next, a high-speed rotary sander whizzed across the underside to smooth out the weld.

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    Not glamorous, but effective. The weld held and dispelled the felled joint.

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    Dave then showed me his Flash Gordon w/snazzy new reproduction apron. I asked if he had bought it from “that guy on Pinside who is making them”. He then smiled because…

    …Dave IS “that guy”. He and merfeldma manufacture them. *mic drop*

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/reproduction-bally-aprons

    I shall never again doubt the power of SPAM. I had some for breakfast the next morning, just in case.

    (part 2 to be continued…)

    #653 4 years ago

    Did you get to ride that awesome Sportster?

    #654 4 years ago

    Visit #27 -> Duane Felt (cpu-slave) and Dave Brennan (brenna98) in Austin, MN (part 2 of 2)

    The subjects: Combat, Atlantis, Solids N’ Stripes

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    When it comes to pinball and collecting, Duane ain’t no slouch either. He has an arcave of his own w/attached workshop under his house. 2200 square feet if I remember correctly… I’m envious! Many standout games were there including Creature From The Black Lagoon, an LE Metallica “Master of Puppets” Edition, a classic Gorgar, Flash Gordon, and many more spanning different eras of pinball.

    Captain Kid was the nicest gun game I’d seen in a long time. It was generally working, but would occasionally halt when shooting bullets.

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    I’ve never rebuilt a gun game before, but EM parts are familiar once you get used to working on them. I managed to locate the issue inside of the head: A spinning control disc was sticking. All it needed was a rebuild and cleaning.

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    Duane had something I’d never seen before: An illuminated speaker panel for Creature From The Black Lagoon. The taillights of the cars would subtly flicker and light up, as well as the STARLIGHT marquee and moon. Very cool mod and rather uncommon to find nowadays.

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    Another of Norm Clark’s unique pinball machines awaited us: Solids N’ Stripes. The lower half of the playfield is designed like a pool table with pockets around the perimeter. Much like his previous billiard-themed (and middle-pop) game, 8-Ball, it is much better suited as a 2-player game. That way, each player has a set of billiard balls to complete before racing to the 8-ball.

    When reading online reviews of multiplayer pinball machines with bad ratings, keep in mind a lot of them are reviewed in 1-player mode only. Solids N' Stripes is a lot of fun as a 2-player!

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    Physically, the ball count stepper appeared to be OK, but it wasn’t counting up.

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    A weak return spring was to blame. It didn’t have enough power to advance the gear.

    Something to note: If a gear is seized up with old grease and gunk, installing a stronger spring is not the solution. When something sticks, you don’t want to “power through the gunk” unless you’d like to be known as a lazy-ass and possibly damage your machine. Do the right thing and rebuild the unit clean.

    In this case, the gear was clean. Only a weak spring to blame.

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    If a spring is weak, you can clip a few turns of the wire to strengthen it. Pull the spring to the desired length and test the mech to gauge how strong it should be after making the adjustment.

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    Instead of shortening the original, we substituted a higher-tension Harbor Freight spring.

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    Another motor issue? Yep. Can you see the problem here? A switch lifter was missing, causing the motor to stop turning before the cycle was complete.

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    We liberated another motor switch from a parts machine…

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    …and replaced the old one with it.

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    Next, it was Duane’s turn for relay class.

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    Dave and local pal Bryan followed his progress as Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” played in the background. What I heard was “More Than A Relay”… which was a clue that I should probably plan a pinball-free vacation sometime in the near future.

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    The motor switches for advancing the score were gapped OK, but they weren’t always counting every click. Duane and Dave hit the affected contacts with the Magic Brush.

    Result? Ping ping ping! Another win for the gleaming contacts.

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    The hold relay is often a crispy mess since it stays energized for the game to work. This one happened to blow a circuit breaker during our other repairs. Since the resistance tested a bit on the low side, it was replaced.

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    You know what else blew a circuit breaker? My winning streak. Duane is supposedly “not good at pinball” yet utterly DEMOLISHED my score and nearly rolled the game! It was brutal, but well-earned. My record on the EM Home Challenge dropped a point to 15-5.

    I thought I’d have a better chance at Dave’s house on his Zaccaria Combat…

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    NOPE! What the…? Again, totally blown away. Dave racked up an incredible near half-million point tally which tripped the Zaccaria bidi-bidi-bidi-bidi alarm just to drive the point home. Ouch… it stung. Nevertheless it was another well-earned win.

    And so, I departed for Minneapolis somewhat humbled but extremely pleased to have met Dave and Duane in person. They’re making this little corner of Austin one helluva productive place when it comes to pinball.

    If you’re local, be sure to make a trek to see these guys… they’re doing some truly fine work here.

    Next stop -> Minneapolis, MN

    #655 4 years ago

    Any repair openings to help a newbie at the Tacoma show? Big Ben needs a little help on start up?

    #656 4 years ago
    Quoted from electricsquirrel:

    Did you get to ride that awesome Sportster?

    I did not... partly because I can't risk my health with so much of the tour left to go. But it was a nice looking ride for sure.

    Quoted from daveyb98126:

    Any repair openings to help a newbie at the Tacoma show? Big Ben needs a little help on start up?

    I can't make any promises because the show will be busy and I need time to organize the tour. But I might be able to sneak away for a look if the timing is good.

    #657 4 years ago

    Thanks again for stopping by Nic! Duane and I had a lot of fun learning. You really have a great way of explaining things so they're easy to understand.

    One thing to note: The repro aprons are done by merfeldma and myself. Just wanted to make sure he gets some credit too.

    #658 4 years ago
    Quoted from brenna98:

    Thanks again for stopping by Nic! Duane and I had a lot of fun learning. You really have a great way of explaining things so they're easy to understand.

    One thing to note: The repro aprons are done by merfeldma and myself. Just wanted to make sure he gets some credit too.

    Cool... thanks for adding his info. I'll update the thread with his Pinsider tag as well. But you're not going to shake your title of do-it-all-Dave anytime soon.

    #659 4 years ago

    Nic, been following this thread and your adventure for a while. Nice of you to do this for folks, even if it is just for food, some publicity, and a good feeling karma thing. Want to put it out there for you, duplicate. Create the Nic-o-Licious tour bus, training center, show traveling adventure yearly in the summer, and take the old school knowledge to a new level with others that can and will do what you do even better. Wishing you the best, and 'Keep Getting EMs-Up'.

    #660 4 years ago

    Is Zaccaria's combat fun to play? I've always loved the theme and art.

    #661 4 years ago
    Quoted from SuperDaveOsbourn:

    Nic, been following this thread and your adventure for a while. Nice of you to do this for folks, even if it is just for food, some publicity, and a good feeling karma thing. Want to put it out there for you, duplicate. Create the Nic-o-Licious tour bus, training center, show traveling adventure yearly in the summer, and take the old school knowledge to a new level with others that can and will do what you do even better. Wishing you the best, and 'Keep Getting EMs-Up'.

    Aloha, fellow Saskatoonian! Shame I missed you at Pokey's the other day.

    I do like the idea of an EM summer camp. Imagine it... group of 5-6 people, classes, food, tools, and a final tournament in an awesome city. Hmmmmm... may have to develop this idea further.

    Quoted from dmbjunky:

    Is Zaccaria's combat fun to play? I've always loved the theme and art.

    It is! Combat is an extremely fast and furious game and it flips well. The only change I'd make would be to bypass the sound card and install a set of Gottlieb chimes. The squeaky/beepy noises don't add much in terms of fun (except for the explosions - those are cool).

    Aerobatics is also a fun one. I have a Queen's Castle which looks beautiful but haven't set it up yet.

    #662 4 years ago

    Forgot to mention my favorite quote:

    While riding in the car with Dave and Duane, I learned that Dave would be needing more pinball storage in the next year or two.

    Duane's answer? "Hire the Amish to build you a pinball barn"

    This needs to be on a t-shirt. Only in Minnesota, aye?

    #663 4 years ago

    It was great having you stop Nic as you certianly demystified the electro-mechanical side of things. Dave and I certainly benefitted from the hands-on approach and feel we are better collectors and hobbiests after your visit than before. While I still have some work ahead to get Solids n' Stripes to be a solidly reliable game, I now have the knowledge to make it happen. Everyone who has stopped and played it since your visit has really enjoyed it - ratings be damned!

    For the record - my playing skills are weak compared against several others in the local area, though they do improve a bit after some beer comsumption...

    #664 4 years ago

    The Minneapolis arcade hunt (part 1 of 2)

    The subjects: Up-Down Minneapolis, Tilt Pinball Bar, Voxel VR Parlour, Can Can Wonderland

    What to do in Minneapolis with a half-day to spend? Go arcade hunting! Let’s see what options the general public has for feasting upon happy blinky distraction.

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    Up-Down Minneapolis is the local “bro choice” for vintage gaming. It skews young, brash, and LOUD. You’re not getting in here without having your ID checked and wrist stamped at the door.

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    The “Up-Down” is so-named because the games are straddled two levels high across the hall. Homages to Pulp Fiction and Beavis and Butt-Head convey the overall vibe here. Crowded, with lots of yelling.

    In Dallas, our local equivalent is known as the Kung Fu Saloon, which is actually more of a bar than an arcade. The selection of games isn't particularly discerning and serve mostly as window dressing. Nevertheless, it attracts hordes of twentysomethings and is one of the most profitable bars in the city. Same story here.

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    The majority of the howls and high-fives came from Killer Queen. It was constantly busy, yet the girls were more interested in sitting outside and sipping drinks. Such is life’s perplexing irony.

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    Down the street and across the way, the Tilt Pinball Bar offered a more focused neighborhood experience.

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    Inside, cute décor, appropriately kitschy, attracted an array of locals of all ages. A jukebox provided appropriate music choices.

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    The fact that two EM’s existed at all got my thumbs-up: Gottlieb Buckaroo and a Dancing Dolls woodrail.

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    Several A-list games (and a couple of Bally "Class of 81's") were present in excellent condition. When I inserted a quarter, my eyes practically popped out…

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    Twenty… five… cents? Per credit?

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    Twenty-five cents for a credit on a brand new Aerosmith?

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    Twenty-five cents for a credit on a beautiful Cactus Canyon w/snazzy custom apron?

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    Twenty-five cents for a credit on a Dutch Pinball Bride of Pinbot 2.0? Yes indeed.

    Needless to say, I stayed a while and had lots of fun. Minnesota pinballers, you had better get yourselves to Tilt while this promotional pricing lasts!

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    A change of pace was in store for the next stop. This time, a look into the future.

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    My first “real job” was in the emerging field of interactive multimedia. Our base of operations was located above an abandoned pawn shop in a downtown industrial district… very similar to this place. A strong sense of déjà vu persisted throughout the echo-y concrete halls.

    Oftentimes, the future approaches from humble origins. New paradigm shifts have a peculiar momentum to them which can be felt if one is listening… and I was definitely feeling it.

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    Voxel gave me a 10-minute demonstration on the latest HTC Vive platform. It was a vast improvement over anything I’d seen before. The days of the Exorex battle tank prototypes with heavy headgear strapped into a “pod” while looking at choppy polygons is long gone. Viva le Vive!

    I don’t think VR will evolve precisely as anticipated as a wearable video game… but the promise that was made 20 years ago is finally being delivered. You gotta try this thing.

    (part 2 to be continued…)

    #665 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Forgot to mention my favorite quote:
    While riding in the car with Dave and Duane, I learned that Dave would be needing more pinball storage in the next year or two.
    Duane's answer? "Hire the Amish to build you a pinball barn"
    This needs to be on a t-shirt. Only in Minnesota, aye?

    Hey when you were in my new garage/game room/mini-barn I must not have mentioned that the Amish out of Lancaster Pennsylvania had just recently completed my building project and as you saw they did a great job at a very reasonable price.

    I do have that extra space now but I'm trying to control myself.

    #666 4 years ago
    Quoted from ckcsm:

    I do have that extra space now but I'm trying to control myself.

    giphy (1) (resized).png

    #667 4 years ago

    Nics North America Tour is the real deal. Nic popped in for a few hours, worked some magic, hopefully had a few laughs, and then was on his way to Banff. Here is the, "picture or it didn't happen"

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    Even cleared up the Scoring issue with the Strange World. Thanks Nic.

    #668 4 years ago
    Quoted from Darcy:

    Nics North America Tour is the real deal. Nic popped in for a few hours, worked some magic, hopefully had a few laughs, and then was on his way to Banff. Here is the, "picture or it didn't happen"

    Even cleared up the Scoring issue with the Strange World. Thanks Nic.

    Was nice meeting you, Darcy. Now the bad news... everyone knows how far behind I am writing the story. Still have update #2 for Minneapolis pending... geez! Should have it up tonight.

    Now staying in the lovely mountain town of Revelstoke. Mountain and wine therapy.

    #669 4 years ago

    I heard you talking about you "tour of Europe" on the podcast. You need to aim for a tour of Australia! Plenty of em's downhere that need loving, and some food and booze (best wine and port in the world) to enjoy. Keep up the good work and remember , it's summer at Christmas down here!

    #670 4 years ago
    Quoted from dendoc:

    I heard you talking about you "tour of Europe" on the podcast. You need to aim for a tour of Australia! Plenty of em's downhere that need loving

    Except doesn't the score motor spin in the opposite direction down there? That complicates things.

    #671 4 years ago
    Quoted from SirScott:

    Except doesn't the score motor spin in the opposite direction down there? That complicates things.

    Nah, but it does spin slower (because of 50hz).

    #672 4 years ago

    The Minneapolis arcade hunt (part 2 of 2)

    The subjects: Up-Down Minneapolis, Tilt Pinball Bar, Voxel VR Parlour, Can Can Wonderland

    If you are around my age, you probably grew up watching re-runs of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, someday hoping to find the real thing and be allowed inside, right?

    Well, I have good news. I found it.

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    A not-so-secret secret entrance beckons you beyond a brewery (yay!) into the unknown of Can Can Wonderland...

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    …past colored pipes and strange doorways…

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    …and a reminder that Canada is not so far away…

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    …through a graffiti-decorated subterranean passage…

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    …into a… a… miniature golf course with giant whirling tornado?

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    Oh, wait, it must be a classic pinball arcade… yes?

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    Or perhaps a music stage for bands and buskers? An adult-sized “cardboard fortress maze” lay beyond it...

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    OK, hang on a second… they sell alcoholic drinks… is this why I am seeing a pink elephant here?

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    A 350 score means I’m a top-rated ASTRONAUT. Now I knew I belonged here.

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    This ball-bowler seemed right at home among the amusements. Nearby, a ping pong table sent balls whizzing everywhere.

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    The tipsy adults struggled to maintain par within the Tower of Horns…

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    …but frequently were bested by the knight guarding the hole under the drum rainbow.

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    I had to pause for an affirmation via the Affirmation Mirror. My height indicated a “creative” disposition.

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    The Liberty Bell was equipped with its real-life namesake. A pull of the string would make it ring.

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    Laurel and Hardy would have been pleased with this custom vintage topper.

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    I had never imagined a topper for Argosy, but darn it, after seeing this one is there anything better?

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    Yes, the aquarium was bubbling and full of actual water. Which probably violates some kind of safety code… but hey… Wonka’s factory was also full of wondrous danger!

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    Big pins and bigger cards for Big Deal and Triple Strike.

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    A bit Hobby Lobby clearance sale-esque here, but nevertheless appropriate for the theme.

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    By the time I reached Spin Out, I was beginning to think every EM should get the ridiculous topper treatment.

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    Shall we take a ride on this one?

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    A plethora of rules were creatively scrawled on the wall. Best one? All minors outta here by 9pm… AND THE ADULTS SHALL PLAY!

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    I… I had to retreat upstairs for a flight. My knees were weak. My hands trembling.

    Too exciting. Too awesome. Where had I just been? What had I just seen?

    And in a flash... the Wonderland was gone. It is now waiting underground for you. Your golden ticket awaits.

    Next stop -> Blaine, MN

    #673 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    argosy (resized).jpg
    I had never imagined a topper for Argosy, but darn it, after seeing this one is there anything better?

    i want that (resized).jpg

    #674 4 years ago

    Visit #28 -> Nick Barker (Barkz), Jason Heiser (leckmeck), and a few more Pinsiders in Blaine, MN

    The subjects: Captain Card, Jungle Princess, Centigrade 37

    I always thought of the word “supper” as an expression of the Deep South (or the Old West), but nearly everyone says it that way north of Chicago. “Time for supper, Nic!”… hee hee. Quite unlike the word “pop” which I did (and do) expect to hear up yonder. No one calls Coke a “soft drink” around here, it's all "pop".

    (I call it "liquid birthday cake")

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    WHO ARE THESE CRAZY PEOPLE? Why, they would be people having a damn good time at Jason’s swanky EM-pinball speakeasy!

    From left to right we have Jason (leckmeck), Mike (fanuminski), a tiny sliver of the elusive Rod (DirtFlipper), Nick Barker (Barkz), and yours truly.

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    If you guessed we’d be in Add-A-Ball pinball country, you’d be right! On the left we can see at least two Add-A-Ball games in the lineup: Pop-A-Card and Blast Off. The rest are King Pin, Jumping Jack, Spin A Card, and a multicade video cabinet.

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    Many more Add-A-Balls in the right row: Gold Strike, Lucky Hand, Neptune, Pin-Up, and Mini Pool. Along with the EM version of Joker Poker and Bally’s original Fireball w/those trademark zipper-flippers.

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    A nearby table offered vintage Atari thrills with vintage tube television to match. Looks like it came right out of the Sears catalog yesterday, doesn't it? It's all about the knobs.

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    We see some serious man-cave finesse near the bow of the pinball submarine. Frankly, there's no better thing in the universe than enjoying snacks, drinks, and pinball among friends like this.

    6 (resized).JPG

    Jason has a well-outfitted workshop upstairs for restoring his games and building new contraptions. A disassembled motor test station sits on this bench, ready to deliver fresh clicks with the press of a button.

    7 (resized).JPG

    We departed for Nick’s place and got to work. Actually, I put Nick and father Dave to work cleaning a few mechs. Polish those plungers, fellas!

    8 (resized).JPG

    And now, at last, we shall cover in painstaking detail the “tip solder fix”.

    As you can see, the circuit is capable of delivering six volts to a good bulb. However, when the bulb is inside the lamp socket, it doesn't light up. We will now remedy this situation.

    9 (resized).JPG

    First, install the bulb. This will make the tip of the lamp socket pop out.

    Then, grab thy Magic Brush and…

    10 (resized).JPG

    …polish the tip until you see smooth, clean metal.

    11 (resized).JPG

    Next, polish a portion of the side of the barrel where it meets the bracket. We want a clean, smooth junction where the two meet at the seam.

    12 (resized).JPG

    With our hot soldering iron (at least 40w), heat the barrel/bracket seam (the area we just polished) and melt some solder in there. Ensure both sides of the seam receive lots of heat before applying the solder.

    Never dribble hot solder onto cold metal. The receiving areas must also be hot!

    13 (resized).JPG

    Next, we will desolder the wire from the tab, tin the polished tip with fresh solder, and solder the wire directly to the tip.

    14 (resized).JPG

    The barrel of the lamp socket should not rotate after the fix. Check if it does. If so, re-solder it.

    15 (resized).JPG

    Give the wire a tug after soldering. It should remain in place. If not, re-solder it. Try giving more heat to the tip next time.

    16 (resized).JPG

    Electricity flows again! Most of your lamp sockets will need this to be fully bright and reliable again.

    17 (resized).JPG

    When finished, clip off the old solder tab as a final farewell to flaky sockets.

    18 (resized).JPG

    I was proud to be present for Nick’s first-ever soldering job.

    19 (resized).JPG

    I think he’s totally got this. Soldering EM-pinballs is nothing to be afraid of. Super easy.

    20 (resized).JPG

    We took a detour and dropped in on Steve’s (MnHotRod) annual pinball shindig to benefit veterans… a good cause by any measure. With a little creativity, we could all use our pinball machines for some kind of community fundraising.

    More pics and info from the event here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/pinball-bbq-2017-veterans-charity-event-minnesota

    I remarked to Steve that I liked Minnesota but was wary of the extreme chill of winter. He said, “Yeah… that’s true… but Texas sure gets hellishly HOT in the summer!”

    To which I replied, “Yeah, but you don’t have to shovel sunshine!”

    *oooo* snap – a good laugh for all

    21 (resized).JPG

    Believe it or not, this was Nick’s first time to play Demolition Man in person. A travesty! We’ve got to do something to help the Millennials know and play all the pinballs!

    22 (resized).JPG

    We returned to Nick's place for more fixes. After diagnosing and repairing a light circuit and a reel brake, we discovered a previous… “fix”… inside one of the score reels.

    Confucius say, “He who sand circuit boards should take up cabinet work instead”

    23 (resized).JPG

    Time for an EM Home Challenge update! Alas… the curse continues. I earned a whopping 10 points with my first ball on Centigrade 37. Balls two and three? No more than 8300 points, total.

    Next we played Jungle Princess. Rather, Nick played Jungle Princess. I watched four out of five balls go straight down the toilet. AAARGH! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?

    24 (resized).JPG

    As a gesture of goodwill, Nick said he’d give me the win if I topped his 320k-ish record on Captain Card. I accepted the challenge and nearly rolled the score twice. Not quite enough to unseat his record, but nevertheless he was genuinely panicked for a little while. The room got dead quiet after the ball count increased to 8... haha.

    The Captain was given the stealth LED recipe before I made my farewell. Nick wasn't sure at first, then was like "dude... ALL IN!". Especially after seeing the improvement with red frosted 1SMD's under the star rollovers.

    Seeing is (usually) believing!

    Next stop -> Walker, MN

    #675 4 years ago

    Nic, I know you will be happy when the tour is over and you can finally rest but damn I am going to miss these updates. By far my favorite Pinside thread and one that is thankfully drama free.

    #676 4 years ago

    Nic
    What days and times will you be at NWPinball show in Tacoma?
    Assuming they let you back into the country.

    #677 4 years ago
    Quoted from Matesamo:

    Nic, I know you will be happy when the tour is over and you can finally rest but damn I am going to miss these updates. By far my favorite Pinside thread and one that is thankfully drama free.

    Hey Matt! Just doing my best to keep it fun and topical. I heard Pinside did a purge of troublesome users a while back... hopefully that helped.

    #678 4 years ago
    Quoted from pinwiztom:

    Nic
    What days and times will you be at NWPinball show in Tacoma?
    Assuming they let you back into the country.

    I'll be there for setup on the 8th (late evening) until the 11th. Then I have a couple of visits afterward, but will be in Portland/Salem on the 14th and early 15th.

    #679 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    And now, at last, we shall cover in painstaking detail the “tip solder fix”.

    I also like to put some flux on the bare metal before soldering to help the solder stick. Just like Brylcreem--a little dab'll do ya. It helps complement my inferior soldering skills.

    #680 4 years ago
    Quoted from SirScott:

    I also like to put some flux on the bare metal before soldering to help the solder stick. Just like Brylcreem--a little dab'll do ya. It helps complement my inferior soldering skills.

    Ooooo good point! Definitely dab on the flux if your solder repertoire isn't fluxy enough.

    #681 4 years ago

    BTW - if you are enjoying the story but do not have a Pinside account (ya lurker!), feel free to send me a friend invite via Facebook if you'd like to keep in touch...

    ...'cause there's no telling what'll come next.

    https://www.facebook.com/nicholas.schell

    #682 4 years ago

    Hey Nick, not sure if I missed this, but was wondering- what is your full time job? (Well, before you took this 3 month roadtrip!!)

    #683 4 years ago

    Any chance for an impromptu EM score reel session sometime during NWpinball? Or perhaps just a group meetup time for this thread? I'm new to EMs and eager to get up to speed with how to diagnose and fix my wedgeheads as well as meet others with similar interests.

    #684 4 years ago
    Quoted from Lefman:

    Hey Nick, not sure if I missed this, but was wondering- what is your full time job? (Well, before you took this 3 month roadtrip!!)

    I had a 25-year career in IT, the last 16 of which were spent at a large financial corporation. On the day Trump was elected, several members of my workgroup were laid off, including myself. Weird timing, no? The layoff was partially expected... we were severely burned out and the workload had become unsustainable. Also, outsourcing and tech consolidation exerted an irresistible financial squeeze on managed web services.

    I figured I could either jump behind a grey cubicle for another 10 years, or do something different and fun. Opted for the latter.

    Quoted from spinal:

    Any chance for an impromptu EM score reel session sometime during NWpinball? Or perhaps just a group meetup time for this thread? I'm new to EMs and eager to get up to speed with how to diagnose and fix my wedgeheads as well as meet others with similar interests.

    Where were you when I was in Edmonton? *chuckle*

    I don't believe I will have time during the show for EM-class. I'll be meeting a lot of folks there and of course I need time for myself to recharge and enjoy playing pinball again. But after the tour I'll be putting together some pinball videos... so stay tuned. Won't be too long.

    #685 4 years ago

    Another tip... go ahead and subscribe to my YouTube channel. I will be posting all of the fix-it videos and fun stuff here:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp4i1YLUr26cDnXT1noxukw?&ab_channel=Nic%27sAmazingPinballChannel

    #686 4 years ago

    Visit #29 -> Tony Murphy (Pinzap) in Walker, MN

    The subject: Picnic

    After Chicago, the Pinball Tour had two potential routes to Seattle: Either drive straight through the upper Midwest, or take a dramatic turn northward through Wisconsin, Minneapolis, and beyond into Canada.

    Obviously, the latter won out, which was largely due to Tony’s influence.

    1 (resized).JPG

    As you can see, Tony was an early responder to the tour. Initially I wasn’t sure I’d be able to travel far enough north to see him, but his enthusiasm won me over. He corralled several other pinballers in the Wisconsin/Minnesota areas to get involved too… so how could I resist?

    Tony is a bright & disciplined guy. He earned a Masters in physics with some electronics knowledge and earned a number of medical certifications to boot. I had a strong feeling he would make incredible progress after a few courses in pinball school.

    2 (resized).JPG

    Tony acquired this 1958 Gottlieb Picnic for the grand total of $100. Overall, despite the sad state of the backglass, it was a very good buy. The cabinet paint was in superb condition. Lockbar not pictured, but it was included.

    3 (resized).JPG

    The playfield artwork, apron, and plastics were all outstanding.

    4 (resized).JPG

    Picnic’s backglass had seen better days. Most of the artwork was missing, but a replacement was already enroute.

    5 (resized).JPG

    The mechs in the backbox appeared to be clean and complete. A great candidate for a restoration indeed!

    6 (resized).JPG

    The ball count stepper wasn’t stepping up correctly. A layer of solidified grease further slowed its movement.

    8 (resized).JPG

    I removed the bakelite for Tony to examine. The springs and wipers were dirty (they always are) and were cleaned thoroughly with alcohol and qtips.

    9 (resized).JPG

    Heavy, nasty-ass grease covered the gear mainspring. It was cleaned and the shaft polished with Mother’s. Always polish the shafts… smooth is good.

    10 (resized).JPG

    Tony noticed a divot in the latching plate of the stepper armature. He was concerned it might cause the arm to get stuck.

    11 (resized).JPG

    It was a good opportunity to utilize the sanding flapwheel.

    12 (resized).JPG

    Smooth is good. No opportunity to get stuck anymore.

    13 (resized).JPG

    While Tony was busy rebuilding relays in the backbox, I did a complete roto-rebuild.

    14 (resized).JPG

    Yet another use for the indispensible Magic Brush: Roto-smoothing! Use it to smooth the metal edges on the back of roto targets. A little less rough = a little more glide.

    15 (resized).JPG

    KER-CHUNK-a-rat-a-tat-a-tat! Spinning like butter again.

    16 (resized).JPG

    A similar victory was achieved with the ball stepper after polishing the rivets and applying/wiping off a micro-thin layer of Super Lube.

    17 (resized).JPG

    A nagging GI issue pervaded the backbox lights. Sadly, we lacked the time to pursue it.

    17a (resized).JPG

    A newly-minted Pinball Jedi confidently wields his brushsaber… no longer afraid of the dark side of dirt, oxidation, or pitted surfaces. Picnic was operational again.

    18 (resized).JPG

    Regrettably, it was a short trip. Life and business demands had altered our original plan to spend several days fixing games and visiting nearby Minnesota sights. But we had fun regardless.

    We ate a lovely dinner with one of Tony’s local pals who was highly skilled with woodwork. He had built a gorgeous canoe for Tony with an unbelievable glossy finish. His next project was to refinish the wooden rails and backbox on Picnic. My only thought was: “You’re in damn good hands, Tony”

    It was my first time to try walleye, a local favorite. “Is it like perch?”, I asked, “I tried some of that back in St. Joseph…”

    Tony’s pal chuckled, “Around here, we usually throw the perch back and keep the walleye!”

    (both were good, honestly)

    Next stop -> Winnipeg, Manitoba – “O Canada!”

    #687 4 years ago

    REGION 4, REGION 4, can there possibly be more? Yes indeedy!

    We're going to kick it off with at least four Seattle pinball venues and the NWPAS (Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show) in Tacoma!

    region 4 (resized).jpg

    #688 4 years ago

    I never saw a Picnic before, that is a great-looking one and it looks fun to play. I would love to see pics of it with the reworked wood and new backglass.

    #689 4 years ago
    Quoted from xsvtoys:

    I never saw a Picnic before, that is a great-looking one and it looks fun to play. I would love to see pics of it with the reworked wood and new backglass.

    *ahem* Pinzap you are hereby summoned to share photos of the newly installed backglass!

    #690 4 years ago

    I will comply without delay as soon as the restored backglass arrives. Thanks again Nic for the great information you imparted during your short stay with me. I have a feeling there will be a few more EM's joining my collection as soon as I'm done getting Picnic up to speed.

    #691 4 years ago

    I'm curious what stops you made in Vancouver? If you're in town tonight we have a leaugue night at the Lamp Lighter downtown at 7pm. No em's only modern Sterns.

    Maybe I'll bump into down in Tacoma this weekend. I've really enjoyed your thread.

    #692 4 years ago

    Its a shame you cant take Hwy 1 thru n cali. Its the most beautiful drive in the country.
    And its closed due to massive mudslide.

    #693 4 years ago
    Quoted from Stubbs:

    I'm curious what stops you made in Vancouver?

    Maybe I'll bump into down in Tacoma this weekend. I've really enjoyed your thread.

    Just here to pick up a pin. Sadly no time for anything else except a brief stroll through the Park & Tilford Gardens.

    THIS CITY IS MUCH BIGGER THAN I EXPECTED... whao!!!

    C'mon over and say hello in Tacoma.

    Quoted from Jjsmooth:

    Its a shame you cant take Hwy 1 thru n cali. Its the most beautiful drive in the country.
    And its closed due to massive mudslide.

    *sigh* yep was hoping to do that... another time...

    #694 4 years ago
    Quoted from xsvtoys:

    I never saw a Picnic before, that is a great-looking one and it looks fun to play. I would love to see pics of it with the reworked wood and new backglass.

    You never see one with a good backglass. Tough one to find. Only seen a couple in person.

    #695 4 years ago

    We need to start a new page, so that leaves five more posts to make (after this one). Wanna guess which pin I'm getting today?

    Hint: It's in my wish list.

    #696 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    We need to start a new page, so that leaves five more posts to make (after this one). Wanna guess which pin I'm getting today?
    Hint: It's in my wish list.

    Cosmos?

    #698 4 years ago

    Four Million B.C.?

    #699 4 years ago

    If you hadn't said that it was in your "wish list" I was definitely going to guess "Sweet Hearts"...

    #700 4 years ago

    Wiggler?

    ..and a comment re an earlier stop. Hey Df!

    There are 2,359 posts in this topic. You are on page 14 of 48.

    Hey there! Got a moment?

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