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


By NicoVolta

1 year ago


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    #1401 7 months ago
    Quoted from Boise_D:

    Next time you disassemble a ladder, will you post some pics? There seems to be so little room to get in on those relays.

    Gottlieb relays in particular are very tight and the switch stacks require removal to hit them with the 443. In general never force the brush anywhere. Was there a specific issue you'd like to examine?

    Quoted from desertT1:

    Is there a “So you just got an EM, do these things” write up that Nic has done? I’m struggling to get the outhole to register in my Doodle Bug and I think it’s related to the score motor, but don’t know the best way to clean the switch stack. It seems to be making extra turns due to the “stop” switch not making a good connection.

    I don't have an A-Z summary as of yet. Main thing is to gently clean and polish every contact (I use alcohol w/qtips and the "magic brush")... then ensure every switch opens and closes with a little over-wiping action (contacts pushing a bit further than just touching... the wiping action makes a better connection).

    In your case, you'd need to clean and check every switch in the circuit for the outhole relay. That's what tells the hole kicker coil to fire. Sounds like you are on the right track with dirty score motor switches. Same logic applies here... gently "swab, polish, swab" every contact.

    While on tour I can't answer tech questions here very well, so fire me a PM or start a thread in the EM Hangout to (literally) get things rolling more quickly.

    #1402 7 months ago

    Thanks. I’m fairly concerned about taking apart switch stacks, but I’ll read up and do as you instruct.

    #1403 7 months ago
    Quoted from desertT1:

    Thanks. I’m fairly concerned about taking apart switch stacks, but I’ll read up and do as you instruct.

    Ok just be sure you aren't literally "taking apart" the switch stacks... nay nay. Only unscrew them enough to slip out of the relay bracket. The stacks should stay in one piece for cleaning and inspection before re-installing them.

    Watch for loose spacers ("biscuits") when handling the stacks... sometimes one will fall off... just put it back if it does.

    Some stacks are bridged together with a wire... in which case they must be removed together and re-installed together.

    I'll post a relay rebuilding video after the tour... stay tuned.

    #1405 7 months ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    I'll post a relay rebuilding video after the tour... stay tuned.

    Yay - I am looking forward to that! Thanks in advance.

    #1406 7 months ago

    Yes agree ^^^^^^!!!

    Can't wait Nic! Thanks.

    #1407 6 months ago

    Also looking forward to said video! Thanks for what you do Nic!!

    #1408 6 months ago

    Nic dropped by my place yesterday for some EM crash course and training, as well as going through some things on my Gottlieb El Dorado. He was awesome and a very knowledgeable and great teacher! Anyone who needs EM help or would like to learn more about these games should absolutely make sure they get a spot on his next tour when they can. Thank you again for the help, Nic, it was a pleasure meeting you! My brother and I played a lot of games on El Dorado in the garage last night over a few Pilsner Urquells

    #1409 6 months ago

    Thanks Herr Director... pinball is all about social time & brews. But what was the "one little thing" you worked on today?

    #1410 6 months ago

    Some original post stated you were asking about 200 bucks for a stop and shop experience for the customer you were going to. Has anyone actually given you 200 bucks?

    #1411 6 months ago

    $200 was my suggested donation amount for making a stop based upon the calculations for the original tour. It was a rough estimate which wasn't quite enough to break even but worked out regardless. I got to meet lots of cool people and see the country.

    Obviously, as a straight-up business plan for a cross-country traveling tech/trainer making all-day house calls and doing photojournalism, there is no way that figure works out after gas, maintenance, insurance, occasional hotel stays and food, etc... just not viable (might as well drive all day for LYFT instead). Which is why I turned this into more of a "sharing economy adventure" than a business.

    Going forward, I've tweaked the recipe a little because I do need to eat... but it's still quite affordable. Just doing my best to keep it fun for everyone and get the EM knowledge out there until I get settled on the west coast.

    If you are trying to gauge prices for pinball techs, in general the going rate I've seen tends to be somewhere in the $60-$100 per hour range (often with 2-hour minimums) possibly with additional mileage/trip charges and any parts incurred.

    #1412 6 months ago
    Quoted from SuperDaveOsbourn:

    Some original post stated you were asking about 200 bucks for a stop and shop experience for the customer you were going to. Has anyone actually given you 200 bucks?

    worth every bit

    #1413 6 months ago

    If Nic-da-nomadic-EM-guy does a video series, I hope its not partially or even mostly a duplicate of what is already out there on the UBoob, or done on Wiki, or Clay's TOPS/Ninja/Documents efforts, or Randy Fromms videos and books (just about the most boring on the planet), etc. Yes the fresh faced update has and is fun, but there is everything (nearly) you need to learn online to augment with a simple Google search. Agreed if a new teacher brings you more understanding, and thus more fun, its great. Thus the tour and the cost.

    #1414 6 months ago
    Quoted from Cheddar:

    worth every bit

    Amen to that. We'd schedule it again in a heartbeat !
    (Covering all identifiable expenses, too.)

    1 week later
    #1415 6 months ago

    'Lil Carolina Run visit #1 -> Encore visit with Bill Hanson in Madison, AL

    The subjects: The Wiggler, 4 Aces

    2017 ain’t over yet, folks! Tour three will be in the bag before the Thanksgiving turkey gets stuffed… so let’s get this show on the road again!

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    We begin the ‘Lil Carolina Run with another encore visit. Let us descend into the Inner Sanctum of the Silverball to recall who it is…

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    Why, it’s Bill Hanson of “Super Skill Shot Shooters” fame! I brought a bottle of Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara Winery to celebrate the occasion in the Fathom tribute room. We’ll have a better look at that fabulous mural in a moment…

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    Bill’s demonstration wall of custom shooters had grown since my original visit. Might you have seen his wares at one of your local pinball shows? His Lord of the Rings “One Ring” shooter continues to be a hot seller because it looks as good as it feels. The custom resin-coating process imparts a luxurious finish to all of his shooter rods.

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    OK. Stop. Check please. This is how every game from the “Class of ’81” deserves to be treated. Can you imagine a room with all of them themed this way? Heck yeah!

    Speaking of which, can you recall the eight games from Bally’s “Class of ‘81”? Take a moment to refresh your memory and vote on your favorite in my poll: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/poll-your-favorite-class-of-81-bally

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    Hello, Spirit of ’76… we meet again. You were the most difficult game to fix during my original tour but I’m glad to see you are still in good working order. Who is your new friend over here? Why, that would be one of Williams’ best System 11 games: Diner!

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    Naturally, Spirit of ’76 was outfitted with one of Bill’s custom shooters featuring a brassy patriotic medallion. Good choice, aye?

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    Diner had been similarly outfitted, this time with a jukebox shooter.

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    Another new acquisition beckoned from the spare bedroom around the corner. We needed only to follow the vintage 70’s arrow to the vintage 70’s splendor of…

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    Eros One! My personal favorite cocktail pinball machine. It is a simple but fun game with classic style and real chimes.

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    Some of the lamp sockets were flaky so I put Bill to work implementing the “tip solder” trick. We installed ten warm white non-ghosting LED’s under the bonus inserts. Unfortunately, we couldn’t use them everywhere because some ghosting was still present in the noisier areas of the circuit. Something which could have been solved by re-routing the wiring harness… but that is a project for another day.

    Have a look at the action in glorious 60fps (before the LED’s were installed) and don't forget to subscribe to get future updates:

    » YouTube video

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    Wiggler wasn’t wiggling, so Bill removed Bally’s trademark all-in-one glass + rails apparatus to have a look inside. BTW, if you have a Bally with this setup and want to replace the glass, order a 21” x 41.5” tempered no marks 3/16” thick piece from your local glass shop and pop it in there. Cost should be somewhere around $25-$40.

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    The problem was somewhere between Matchland and Wigglesville. Alligator clips quickly revealed the issue via process of elimination.

    I love alligator clips. Love, love, love! Have you ordered a set yet?

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    A few other tweaks wiggled Wiggler into wiggling again, so let’s move on and review a couple of basics with...

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    …4 Aces, a game with a closer resemblance to those target-shooting horse/car racing games (Nags, Flying Turns) than most typical pinball machines.

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    Let us examine the flipper bushing. It is of the older, thinner variety which tend to crack.

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    We shall replace it with the newer, thicker variety which does not tend to crack.

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    Do you have a can of Mother’s Mag Polish yet? This stuff is essential to EM pinball owners. Not only for brightening up cosmetic elements like metal ball guides and side ramps, but also for improving functionality.

    First rule of Mother’s: Polish the plungers. Flipper plungers, pop plungers, coil plungers... polish ‘em all.

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    Lo and behold, a rebuilt flipper with new bushing, polished flipper plunger, and EOS switch polished with the Magic Brush… “swab, polish, swab”.

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    But wait… why stop with plungers? That flipper shaft looks clean enough with alcohol, but…

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    …it’s gonna move a whole lot better after polishing it!

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    Speaking of flippers, have you ever wanted to raise the height to prevent flipper dragging on the playfield? M6 flat washers are the size you need. Slip one onto the flipper shaft (shiny side down facing the bushing - not as pictured which is flat side down) before reinstalling it, and voila! No more flipper drag.

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    A rebuilt stepper is a thing of beauty and ticks like a Swiss watch. Two of them is even better.

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    Before we depart, let’s discuss the other part of pinball maintenance: Keeping the maintainer fueled! Or in this case, Huel-ed!

    Huel is similar to Soylent. It’s an instant meal-in-a-bag… just add water and shake. But this is no Frankenfood. It’s actually a complete source of amino acids, vitamins, fiber, protein, and calories at a bargain $2-ish per meal.

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    After a workout, I usually treat myself to a Huel shake. 37g of plant protein on the spot and it tastes like oatmeal cookies without any added sugar (uses stevia and sucralose).

    Living as a pinball nomad often requires a good bit of flexibility and creative thinking. Cheers to the challenge… *gulp*

    Next stop -> Charlotte, NC with Chris (@paragon21), Dave (@oldskooldave), and Jim (@Dkjimbo)

    #1416 6 months ago

    Curious about those washers under the flipper bat - won't they just chew through the bushing, creating the very flipper drag you are trying to prevent?

    #1417 6 months ago
    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    Curious about those washers under the flipper bat - won't they just chew through the bushing, creating the very flipper drag you are trying to prevent?

    Haven't seen it occur as of yet. In the photo the washer is flat side down, but I recommend shiny side down (against the bushing) for smoother travel. It fits the shaft almost perfectly so there should be little difference between the metal of the shaft itself wearing down the bushing vs. the washer. Actually, the washer is smoother so it should be better than original.

    #1418 6 months ago

    That Wiggler looks curiously like the one at the Chattanooga Pinball auction this past May. The blue and orange basketball cabinet paint job gives it away. It would have been mine if I had not been tipped off that the backglass had a crack in it and I decided to pass. Glad to see it is up and running.

    #1419 6 months ago

    I would love to see a tutorial on alligator clip diagnosis. I have heard of this many times, but without knowing the principals behind it and how to put it into practice it feels like an urban pinball myth (though I know it's not)!

    #1420 6 months ago

    Beware of low cost Alligator clip sets! They are typically made of extremely thin, low strand count wire which is "attached" to the clip by simply bending the striped end back over the insulation. They make very poor connections and cannot carry the current of a playfield or stepper coil.

    Buy the heavy duty ones. And then dissect them to actually solder the wire to the clip.

    #1421 6 months ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    Buy the heavy duty ones. And then dissect them to actually solder the wire to the clip.

    Thanks CJ... wanna Amazon a link to a good set you'd recommend?

    #1422 6 months ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    Buy the heavy duty ones. And then dissect them to actually solder the wire to the clip.

    Better yet, make a test lamp!

    #1423 6 months ago
    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    Better yet, make a test lamp!

    Huh?

    #1424 6 months ago
    Quoted from pinheadpierre:

    Huh?

    Take an alligator clip and do some light soldering and taping and you can test circuits without some of the irritation of using a test lead. Putting a fuse or breaker in line helps you track down shorts (even ones you accidentally create with the probe).

    The easiest example I've seen is in the United bingo manuals. https://bingo.cdyn.com/machines/united/caravan/

    Click the manual and scroll to page 10 (according to the manual - pg 12 or 13 in the PDF. ). Couple of illustrations to give you an idea. Bingo paperwork is fantastic.

    This probe is used for testing 6V and 30V. But it can be modified, as I mention above, to test for 50V, 17V, 110V, etc.

    This is better than a continuity test as it will power the integrated lamp with the source voltage instead of 9V from a meter. Helps you quickly find a weak switch or switches.

    Hope that makes sense.

    #1425 6 months ago

    https://ibb.co/cjoynb
    https://bingo.cdyn.com/machines/united/caravan/resources/manual-caravan.pdf

    These two links may be of some use, first is just the page on how to build a test prod.
    The other is the manual with that page.

    #1426 6 months ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Thanks CJ... wanna Amazon a link to a good set you'd recommend?

    Not sure about Amazon. Many and most descriptions are either vague or non-existent.

    Here is a pair on eBay that specifies wire guage is 16AWG (some of the cheap ones are 26AWG).

    ebay.com link » Pair Of Dual Red Black Test Leads With Alligator Clips Jumper Cable

    #1427 6 months ago

    ‘Lil Carolina Run visit #2 -> Chris (@paragon21), Dave (@oldskooldave), Jim (@Dkjimbo), and Matthew Mandarano in Charlotte, NC

    The subjects: Pro-Football, Skylab, El Dorado

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    Yo Chris! If you were hoping to hide your arcade ambitions… too late. The Ataricar reveals all in sunny Charlotte - no geek can hide from its iconic power. And who would want to anyway? Old school is still cool.

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    Inside, the subject awaits: Pro-Football. Doesn’t reset. Doesn’t start. Doesn’t track runs properly. Too many touchdowns. NO PROBLEM! I’ve got one of my own and fully rebuilt it. AS relay, prepare to be boarded!

    Also gracing the room: A ’79 Bally Star Trek and a ’49 K. C. Jones Gottlieb woodrail. Truth be told, I’m not much of a woodrail person, but the layout on KC is like an early Majorettes with reverse-flippers… and I like Majorettes and reverse-flippers.

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    Interlock relays are often an issue in Gottlieb games. Ah, those fussy Gottliebs… like the Alfa Romeos of 80’s cars. Great looking, stylish, yet always in need of a little extra finessing.

    If the start/game over latches won’t trip/lock properly, the game will never work. Sometimes the issue is the angle of the coil bracket. Too much pressure and the latch won’t release. Too little and it will never lock. Beware of any residual WD-40 too… it can gunk up the movement.

    Latches were cleaned and adjusted and all were clicking happily once more.

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    Again, we meet, oh infamous AS relay. For you, the standard one-finger salute will do.

    If your Pro-Football is not counting yards correctly or scoring too many touchdowns… the AS relay is your culprit. As always, the only prescription is to totally rebuild it.

    I will cover the AS rebuild process in a future episode. If you can rebuild these perfectly, you can do anything in EM-pinballville.

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    Well well well… as expected, the underside of the AS relay latch has that trademark half-moon indentation. Time to sand it smooth with the Dremel flapwheel to prevent sticking.

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    And just like that… Football season is on again. Joining us for the photo is fellow Pinsider Dave (@oldskooldave) but we’re not done with Charlotte yet!

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    On the other side of the city, Jim (@Dkjimbo) stands next to his non-functioning Skylab w/confounding schematic in hand. As a youngster, Jim played Skylab in his uncle’s basement and always thought it was the coolest thing ever. Now that he has procured one himself, it’s time to reconnect with the past.

    Let’s not disappoint him, shall we?

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    First, we need to examine the relay which… um… wait a minute…

    Someone repainted the bottom board. Repainted, without replacing any of the relay labels. This should be fun.

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    Hmmmm… for some reason a pair of Molex connectors were installed here. A time-consuming task which only makes things worse. Did they not realize the jones connectors were removable?

    Luckily, nothing functionally amiss here.

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    Jim’s cat nonchalantly plopped himself in my studio light bag and observed our progress. “Whatever, man… just don’t ask me to move, ‘cause I ain’t!”

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    When pop bumpers stick, they fry. Not good. Always press down along every edge of the skirt to see if there are any sticky points.

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    Underneath, we can see the reason why this is happening. Good heavens!

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    After removing the switch, we can see what is going on. The spoon switch is bent all to hell. Nope… this won’t do at all. Gotta be flat or it ain’t all that.

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    After flattening the spoon switch with the switch adjuster, it lies flat again. The spoon should have a minimal amount of downward pressure at rest. Just enough to gently snap with a finger flick.

    Next step is to gap the smaller switch on top of the spoon so that it doesn’t quite touch. After doing the “swab, polish, swab” routine with the magic brush, of course.

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    Bag Cat grew increasingly pensive about not being allowed near the machine. He unearthed Bill’s Spirit of ’76 shooter rod in protest. “You wanna see this again, you better let me play!”

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    The bonus stepper has overstepped its boundaries. As you can see the fingers are straddling two of the rivets at a time. Which won’t do at all. A bit too much Teflon lube was applied as well. It should be smooth, not smeared-on thick like Vaseline jelly.

    The bonus stepper, pops, and some suspect relays were rebuilt and adjusted…

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    …and the telltale perpetually coil-dusted finger reveals good news: Skylab is ready for launch!

    Witness our glee which is as universal as it is unselfconscious.

    This is my… what is it… fourth Skylab by now? Fifth? I think I’ll own this one someday.

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    Finally, a stop to see Matt Mandarano. Great guy with lots of terrific solid-state pins in his collection. We spent all of our time talking pinball and reviewing the basics of EM cleaning and adjustment. His El Dorado was already in good shape… it only needed one adjustment to get the game rolling.

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    One last question persisted however: What were these red arrow markings supposed to indicate? All of these lights are GI lights… they stay lit all the time. Was someone planning to make a… waterfall of lights? A pinball version of “Road To Nowhere” by Talking Heads?

    Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

    Next stop -> The encore visits continue w/Orin Day (@Lobster) in Durham, NC

    #1428 6 months ago

    Thanks to the knowledge from Nic's visit I was able to turn this cold lump of copper and wood into a fun pinball machine.
    This one had a replay adjustment pin stuck in the 5 ball selector that made it very hard to troubleshoot. The wire colors were very faded making it even harder!

    Thanks again Nic!

    IMG_20171106_173414522 (resized).jpg

    #1429 6 months ago

    Good job Cheddar! Spanish Eyes is really cool once you get it dialed in. Some hate the artwork but it reminds me of being a kid in the 70's... crazy wallpaper and happy memories.

    #1430 6 months ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Good job Cheddar! Spanish Eyes is really cool once you get it dialed in. Some hate the artwork but it reminds me of being a kid in the 70's... crazy wallpaper and happy memories.

    It's hard to pay attention to the art for all of the drop targets and spinners your not hitting. It's amazing a pin without them is so fun but that middle pop lit for 100 makes up for it!

    #1431 6 months ago

    Nic, I'm relatively new to pinball repair and have been using the (your?) alchohol-swab, Dremel polish, alchohol-swab (lightsaber) method used on this tour and it works great.

    Learning all I can from pinside lately and came across this post:

    Quoted from vid1900:

    Remember there are 2 types of switches.
    Low Voltage - clean with just a crisp $100 bill drawn between the contacts, until the bill comes out clean.
    High Voltage - like an EOS Switch, clean with a file.
    No need for any cleaning chemicals.

    For me, so much black crud is removed from the alchohol swabbing, I just don't get why vid, who expertly advocates such detailed use of so many chems in such detailed ways, would be against some alcohol when cleaning switch contacts.

    What are your thoughts on this other approach? (Not trying to be controversial just for the sake of it but rather to understand differing viewpoints - thanks). What have you heard others in the other camp say say about dremelsaber approach?

    #1432 6 months ago

    Not speaking for Vid, but the only exposed portion of the switch that carries any current is the contact face. Weather or not the Blade is nice and shinny really doesn't matter other than esthetics. However, one could argue that by leaving the crud that was already there, and the new crud produced by filing the points, this crud can migrate and foul the contact face again.

    Vid's comment may also be directed at those that think using Contact Cleaner (a chemical), is necessary. The fact is, it should never be used on a Pinball machine!

    #1433 6 months ago
    Quoted from spinal:

    What have you heard others in the other camp say say about dremelsaber approach?

    Generally, the longer a person has been a pinball tech and the longer they've used files/sandpaper on switch contacts... the more likely they will not like the Dremelsaber "swab, polish, swab" approach because it isn't what they're used to doing.

    Granted, once they see the technique in person and/or give it a try themselves, most tend to get hooked on it. Most, but not all.

    I like the Dremel 443 "magic brush" polishing method because it is part of a larger "methodical method" of taking everything apart and putting it back together as well as can be. However, the tradeoff is time. It is quicker to zip a piece of abrasive material in and out of there and be done with it.

    Some would argue that disassembling a relay, polishing the contacts, sanding the plate smooth, introducing switch bias and regapping everything et cetera has the potential to make things worse and isn't necessary. Perhaps. But my rationale is that these machines are 40-50 years old and need the odometer reset to zero. The best way to do this (and learn everything as you go) is to methodically rebuild everything yourself. Repetition and practice is what transforms beginners into experts... which is the main point behind all of this.

    So, "swab, polish, swab" isn't merely a technique... it is a "way". A sort of mindfulness via pinball. The vibration of the Dremel, the gleaming contacts left behind, the manual process of assembly/disassembly... all of it part of a process I find to be quite enjoyable and effective.

    A good portion of EM knowledge is "touch knowledge", which isn't something Google will give you. You must learn what a switch with the correct rebound tension should feel like, the correct spring tension -not too much not too little-, all of those little clickety-clacks and what they are aiming to do. All of this is hands-on stuff... so do a little every day and eventually you won't need to ask "is the spring tension good?". You'll just know. And you'll know how to make it right if it isn't. And the best way to get it done. And then perhaps even a better way that no one else had thought of yet...

    #1434 6 months ago

    Bottom line is clean on, all surfaces, and around, and at the base of a switch contact. The games came from factory set, and if they were out of adjustment the notice given to new owner/operator was simply (go through game and adjust). If time has played a roll, then clean and adjust to factory specifications. Shipping is a bitch, so is time, and so is time/plays. Get it back by taking the entire game apart and doing it all back to factory, and believe it or not you will likely have a game in your game room with love playing for decades.

    #1435 6 months ago
    Quoted from SuperDaveOsbourn:

    Bottom line is clean on, all surfaces, and around, and at the base of a switch contact.

    Agree. Techniques can vary but the core advice is to ensure connectivity. Nic's method is more invasive but harkens to a specific 'zen'. Vid's is less invasive. Both have merits.

    I'd also add that each is targeted a bit more to a different audience. Vid's advice is sound for a very wide range of experience because its not likely to produce damage if done wrong and maintenance focused. Nicks advice is more holistic and about a strategy to rehabilitate a machine.

    I think each can share a place in any one person's arsenal. A contact can only has so much surface area to sacrifice before it looses integrity. On the flip side, getting it clean and removing grit that can transfer from other parts also has long term value.

    Pinball people are resourceful. By the time we polish out the last button contact away technology and new ingenuity will come along to extend these machines even further.

    1 week later
    #1436 6 months ago

    I still have some really cool updates to post from the 'Lil Carolina Run... but have been busy making a smaller "maintenance run" to Milwaukee over the past few days. I am an insane road warrior... and love it!

    Last night I stopped in Kansas City to visit Dennis and Tony of Eclectic Gamers Podcast. We had a mike to share... so we turned it into an EM-pinball rap session. Have a listen here: https://soundcloud.com/user-465086826/episode-49

    #1437 6 months ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Last night I stopped in Kansas City to visit Dennis and Tony of Eclectic Gamers Podcast. We had a mike to share... so we turned it into an EM-pinball rap session.

    Possible summary of the discussion?

    NazgulGottlieb (resized).jpg

    18
    #1438 6 months ago

    Happy Thanksgiving, y'all. May your turkeys (or tofu) be moist and your pinballs ever-shiny.

    I have a lot to be thankful for. Although last year began with a surprise layoff on Election Day, it was the spark which began a whole new adventure. I've since traveled over 20,000 miles across North America meeting new people, sharing stories, teaching, and exploring the diversity of the USA and Canada too. Never a dull moment!

    Right now I've got a new plan brewing, and yes, it involves pinball. If everything lines up as expected, look for another surprise from yours truly soon.

    In the meantime, cheers & wishing you well via this virtual electronic window... would rather be there in person!

    #1439 6 months ago

    Same to you and your Family, Nic!

    Many of us have enjoyed your personal adventure this past year and appreciate your taking the time and effort to document it publically here on Pinside.

    #1440 5 months ago

    You have accomplished something that is completely unique in the world. Amazing. I also have enjoyed it immensely from the sidelines. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

    #1441 5 months ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Right now I've got a new plan brewing, and yes, it involves pinball. If everything lines up as expected, look for another surprise from yours truly soon

    You decided to forego SoCal for the NW???
    Deb says you are more than welcome to visit anytime.

    #1442 5 months ago
    Quoted from pinwiztom:

    You decided to forego SoCal for the NW???
    Deb says you are more than welcome to visit anytime.

    I have something interesting up my sleeve. We will do a countdown on March 1st ruling out places which have been discussed... and do the final reveal just after TPF. It'll be fun.

    #1443 5 months ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    I have something interesting up my sleeve. We will do a countdown on March 1st ruling out places which have been discussed... and do the final reveal just after TPF. It'll be fun.

    You gotta come to the first state.

    #1444 5 months ago
    Quoted from djreddog:

    You gotta come to the first state.

    It is a distinct possibility! My new destination will be one of the states in the US Climate Alliance...

    IMG_4183 (resized).JPG

    #1445 5 months ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    It is a distinct possibility! My new destination will be one of the states in the US Climate Alliance...

    I do have to say, good choice on staying OUT of Illinois, as much as we'd love to have you.

    #1446 5 months ago

    Since you are leaving Tejas, the logical choice seems to be Washington State.
    Your hard leaning liberalism, and being used to no state income tax makes this a simple choice.
    Weather (or not) is TBD, stay a winter there, you can decide.
    The glow-in-the-dark three headed turtles, radiated (for free) sea food and nuclear wind is a plenty since Fukushima.
    Oh, and the 6 dollar espressos, never forget them.
    Anyone making odds on where NicV lands next? (a poll might make sense too).

    #1447 5 months ago

    OK ENOUGH TURKEY LET'S GET THE 'LIL CAROLINA RUN UPDATES DONE ALREADY...

    ‘Lil Carolina Run visit #3 -> Family time again & an encore visit w/Orin Day (@Lobster) in Durham, NC

    The subject: Gridiron

    1 (resized).JPG

    Hey EM-sters… if you’d like to do something positive for our older friends & neighbors, why not place a pinball machine at your local retirement center? For about a year, Cover Girl has been serving up good times for residents and visiting families at my father’s community.

    Classic EM pinball is the ideal game for grandma and grandpa to play with the kiddies. Everyone loves it! Notice the high score board in the background… it has been steadily gaining new entries. The presence of pinball has brought out the competitive side of several folks around here... ha!

    2 (resized).JPG

    As you can see, my father is no slouch at billiards. As for that ungainly thing in the background with the sticks running through it? Hate it.

    Foosball is a TERRIBLE game for a retirement community! Management politely accepted the donation from one of the residents (“our kids don’t play it anymore”), and now it sits against the wall collecting dust.

    I’m doing my best to get it Craigslisted to make room for another pin. Want one? It's near Durham, NC.

    After bulletproofing Cover Girl and fixing all of the lamp sockets, it was time for the second encore of the ‘Lil Carolina Run with…

    3 (resized).JPG

    Orin! He’s back! And ouch… that forehead band-aid was provided courtesy of a rapidly-descending playfield which jumped the prop rod. Careful folks!

    Gridiron is Gottlieb’s 2-player version of Pro-Football, which is thus an improvement. Art package looks nicer too. It was briefly examined during the original tour, but it’s time to get serious now.

    4 (resized).JPG

    Meanwhile, somewhere in Maryland, George Arfken (@justagefehler) was given a homework assignment as El Tigre supervised. He was to rank his existing EM collection from most to least favorite. Here’s what was scribbled on those scraps of paper (name, year, manufacturer, artist):

    Top Tier:

    4 Roses – 1962 Williams – George Molentin
    Bazaar – 1966 Bally – George Molentin
    Magic Circle – 1965 Bally – George Molentin (unconfirmed)
    Grand Tour – 1964 Bally – George Molentin (unconfirmed)
    Surfers – 1967 Bally – Jerry Kelley
    Beat The Clock – 1963 Williams – George Molentin

    Second Tier:

    Rancho – 1977 Williams – artist unknown
    Tropic Fun – 1973 Williams – Christian Marche
    Sound Stage – 1976 Chicago Coin – artist unknown

    Third Tier:

    Skipper – 1969 Gottlieb – Art Stenholm
    Wild Wild West – 1969 Gottlieb – Art Stenholm
    Scuba – 1970 Gottlieb – Art Stenholm
    Solar City – 1977 – Gordon Morison
    Gold Rush – 1971 Williams – Christian Marche

    Bringing up the rear:

    Buccaneer – 1976 Gottlieb – Gordon Morison
    Time Zone – 1973 Bally – Christian Marche
    Grand Slam – 1972 Gottlieb – Gordon Morison

    What can we derive from this grouping? George is a seeker of functional pinball art. Only the games which are as mesmerizing to gaze upon as they are to flip will join his ranks.

    It is interesting to note that not a single Gottlieb occupies his ranking until the third tier. And, of them, none are by Roy Parker. Which implies only one thing: George heavily favors fine art/commercial art to folk art.

    I love Roy Parker’s artwork, but his specialty was clearly folk art. Regardless of year, nearly all of Parker’s work looks like it was drawn in the 1930’s. Most telling: Female hairstyles and hands. Compare them with Molentin’s drawings which always kept up with current styles and fashions (and his characters were proportional). Not so with Parker. However, what he lacked in strict commercial finesse, he more than made up for it with imagination and whimsy. I see Parker and Molentin as two complementary sides of the same coin.

    As such, if Molentin is heads, George always calls heads on the toss.

    5 (resized).JPG

    We begin our fixes with the mandatory rebuild of the AS relay. In Gridiron, it is responsible for tracking the yardage and touchdowns. A smidge of Mother’s Mag Polish buffed into the circuit traces followed by some Finish Line Dry Bike Lubricant made it shine and slide like new again.

    6 (resized).JPG

    For good measure, Orin wielded his Dremelsaber and smoothed the backside of the AS relay latching plate. Always a good idea if worn… and it often is!

    7 (resized).JPG

    Why not clean the jones plugs with the sanding flapwheel too? Allrighty then.

    8 (resized).JPG

    Did Gottlieb intend for this playfield bracket to serve as a tool hanger? Dunno… but it works so we’re going with it.

    9 (resized).JPG

    Further north again, another homework assignment: El Tigre yanks an Aztec down the sidewalk (bought from our very own @boilerman). It slowly made its way south for a rendezvous in Madison, VA – the upcoming third encore this trip. I think poor Tigre needs an energy biscuit.

    9_a (resized).JPG

    Lunchtime at a nearby Mediterranean café led to a meetup with John (@robotronjohn). Always nice to meet a fellow Pinsider!

    10 (resized).JPG

    Remember that Neewer CN-216 light I mentioned earlier? One is nice, but twice is thrice-nice for busting up those annoying shadows. Especially with the included warm white lenses.

    Worth the splurge! I use ‘em all the time. All. The. Time. Get a pair if you’re stumped for a last-minute Christmas gift to yourself.

    11 (resized).JPG

    Inside the box, Orin takes charge when a fussy score reel refuses to click upon command.

    12 (resized).JPG

    The removal of one screw from the EOS switch stack facilitates easy servicing. Turn 90 degrees, tighten the other screw, and the stack will swivel out of the way and stay put.

    13 (resized).JPG

    Let’s have a closer look at those smooth polished contacts, shall we? Oh yeah. Electricity be doing the jumpin’ jive from now on.

    14 (resized).JPG

    Before reassembling the reel, Orin gives it a gentle sudsing and rinse. Carefully… just barely glide those fingers across… gently now…

    15 (resized).JPG

    All tasks completed and Gridiron is gunning for the goalposts! The moment is celebrated with another kingly goblet of Erdinger, this time in dark weiss. Hey… what do I hear… a familiar voice… mee meeo meeoww…

    16 (resized).JPG

    Missy moon-eyes returns! Right on cue.

    17 (resized).JPG

    Awwwwww.

    18 (resized).JPG

    Such a sweet ‘lil fluffball.

    19 (resized).JPG

    To the north, a much more serious-minded Pallina flexed her Bengal stripes to guard Aztec… which had successfully made its way back to George’s place. Poor Tigre was pooped.

    20 (resized).JPG

    We said goodbye but not farewell after a mandatory game of Demolition Man. Still likely to be the finest living example of the game left in the world. Looks amazing and plays like butter.

    (and I lost, again)

    Next stop -> Madison calleth once more w/Jeff Green (@wolftownjeff) and George Arfken (@justagefehler)

    #1448 5 months ago
    Quoted from SuperDaveOsbourn:

    Since you are leaving Tejas, the logical choice seems to be Washington State.
    Your hard leaning liberalism, and being used to no state income tax makes this a simple choice.
    Weather (or not) is TBD, stay a winter there, you can decide.
    The glow-in-the-dark three headed turtles, radiated (for free) sea food and nuclear wind is a plenty since Fukushima.
    Oh, and the 6 dollar espressos, never forget them.
    Anyone making odds on where NicV lands next? (a poll might make sense too).

    Good deductions all-round, Super Dave. Looks like I'll have to make my own coffee or go broke!

    Let's delay speculation for the moment until we get caught up with the entries and latest news. I've got a few fun things up coming soon... including a run through New Orleans to Tampa Bay starting this Thursday.

    Did I mention I just returned from a St. Louis -> Milwaukee -> Kansas City -> Dallas loop? Hoo boy. Already needing new tires!

    #1449 5 months ago

    Why did post#1447 not be highlighted in blue like most other OP posted by Nic?

    #1450 5 months ago
    Quoted from pinwiztom:

    Why did post#1447 not be highlighted in blue like most other OP posted by Nic?

    It's a key post. I've gone back and key-highlighted all important topics for the thread (which turns them yellow). Now you can see everything from the first page table of contents and access everything more easily.

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