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


By NicoVolta

1 year ago


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    #1601 3 months ago

    …it’s time for another Friday reveal.

    alliance9 (resized).png

    Whaaaat? No Colorado?!? Now it’s getting serious.

    Yes, Colorado is a beautiful, progressive place. It is no coincidence that “America The Beautiful” was written after a visit to Pikes Peak. It also features more microbreweries than any other state and some of the best skiing anywhere… and I do love to ski (my brother pictured on the left).

    sunshineslopes (resized).jpg

    Sadly, I didn’t have an opportunity to visit Colorado during the pinball tour. Last trip was in 2014 to visit the RMAF (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest)… an incredible all-you-can-hear buffet of exotic audio technology. Before that was 2006 for a summer getaway in Steamboat, and 2001 to earn my MCSE certification (blah blah antiquated IT crap).

    This was a tough state to weed out (*cough*). It may yet be in my future, but for now the mile-high state will have to remain a few more miles away.

    How many miles? Well… we’ll find that out soon enough.

    #1602 3 months ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    What time is it? It's time for this week's installment of the Friday Reveal!
    The next state on the chopping block is... *drumroll*

    Sorry I posted this at the same time as your post, I don't know how to delete it

    #1603 3 months ago

    Okay, I'm a little late to the countdown party, but pshhhh...(!??!)

    comeon.gif

    How did Michigan the Grand not even make the top 12 graphic?

    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Visit #21 -> Ryan Claytor (RyanClaytor) in Lansing, MI

    5e1cb0aa4d774da59a5043e0bc521ae44df73ba1 (resized).jpg

    Oh, right. ...nevermind.

    Regardless, good luck, my man!

    #1604 3 months ago

    The jig was up a while ago, we all know its Washington State for your progressive fix.

    "Microbrewery. A brewery that produces less than 15,000 barrels (17,600 hectoliters) of beer per year with 75 percent or more of its beer sold off-site. "

    I'm pretty sure the Great Repubic of California has more microbreweries than any other state in the USA at nearly 1000 as of last month.

    #1605 3 months ago

    D’oh! Right you are, Super Dave. Seems the statistics I pulled were a bit out of date. Colorado still has a high number of microbreweries (especially per capita), but the story has changed a bit since they claimed the top spot...

    https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/most-craft-breweries-by-state-united-states

    #1607 3 months ago

    It seems the most progressive states in the USA are some of the most drunk and stoned.

    #1609 3 months ago

    You can't be serious about considering New York. As a lifelong resident, I've long realized that it's "The Vampire State"!

    #1610 3 months ago
    Quoted from jrpinball:

    You can't be serious about considering New York. As a lifelong resident, I've long realized that it's "The Vampire State"!

    New York is large though... close to many amenities and parts suppliers...

    #1611 3 months ago

    Crawfish & Gators visit #1 -> James Haag (@JAHpinWizard) in Leesville, LA

    The subjects: Blazer puck bowler, Space Odyssey

    1 (resized).JPG

    Well folks, as you might have heard, the days of NNAPT are coming to an end. It was bittersweet pulling the Pinwagon into James’s driveway knowing it would be the first stop along the last loop of the tour. Yet also exciting to be so close to the “Next Big Thing”! So let’s get rolling one last time and savor the memories…

    2 (resized).JPG

    As you can see, James is not only appropriately teed, but his last name shares the same acronym as the Houston Area Arcade Group… giving him instant cred.

    His United Blazer puck bowler has a perfect backglass with a Chinese-meets-medieval Europe motif. I love how the old machines did things their own way.

    3 (resized).JPG

    A formidable wall of EM hardware greeted us. Fortunately, nearly all of it was in good shape and adjusted correctly.

    James peered in the direction of trouble: One of the score reels wasn’t resetting correctly and another wasn’t rolling over the 10’s digit. Easy peasy! The reel switches just needed a little cleaning and adjusting.

    4 (resized).JPG

    I discovered an issue with the ball count and player lights. One of the wipers wasn’t making good contact on the rivet disc. Can you guess what was done to remedy the situation?

    5 (resized).JPG

    Mother’s Mag Polish to the rescue… followed by isopropyl alcohol and then a micro-thin layer of Finish Line Dry Bike Lube.

    Update: It is not usually necessary to burnish this flat (Bally) style of rivets with the Dremel/443 Magic Brush UNLESS there is physical pitting/wear across the surface (which is uncommon). Most of the time these rivets stay flat and only need the Mother's treatment.

    Gottlieb rivets, on the other hand… polish ‘em! Round rivets tend to take a bit more abuse (and have frequently been victimized by sanding).

    6 (resized).JPG

    James bought a small portable building and turned it into a cool game room out back. Just enough space for pinball, billiards, and a little personality.

    7 (resized).JPG

    Like me (and most of you), James was an arcade kid in the 80’s and his selection of pins reflects this. Coincidence? Not!

    8 (resized).JPG

    Projection-racers like this Chicago Coin Motorcycle might not offer the most depth of gameplay, but you gotta admit they are still really cool to see in person!

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    An Aladdin’s Castle backglass sits in a custom frame which mimics the shape of a pinball head. Nice touch!

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    Wha? Oh, that’s right… I am in Louisiana. Almost forgot.

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    After ironing out the puck bowler, we moved on to Space Odyssey which was suffering from a number of minor issues.

    12 (resized).JPG

    One thing most people miss when playing Space Odyssey (or Space Mission) is the alternating lights. The top lanes should always alternate on/off during play… but this function is commonly stuck on or off.

    13 (resized).JPG

    The match unit in the backbox is responsible for turning the lanes on/off as it spins around (look for an alternating on/off switch on the gear inside).

    14 (resized).JPG

    It is always a good idea to photograph both sides to see where the wipers should be before disassembly/reassembly.

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    Oh! Another misaligned bonus stepper. Time to whip out the polish and socket drivers again…

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    Pincaddy2 tray loaded up, ready for deployment. It’s been very handy for doing EM/soldering work!

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    Final step applying Finish Line Dry Bike Lube to the rivets.

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    Oh boy! Another opportunity to replace those cheap white plastic caps with some shiny nickel hex caps!

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    Spaceships look better with metal than plastic, just sayin’.

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    Yep. Time to cue DEVO’s “Space Junk”.

    » YouTube video

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    And just like that… Space Odyssey was flipping again, lights alternating, ready for orbit. Note the presence of other period games in the background.

    22 (resized).JPG

    Good times & good games at the Haag Haus.

    James is a frequent visitor to the Houston Arcade Expo, so say hello if you see him there. And what about TPF this year? Gonna be a blowout... don’t miss it!

    Next stop -> The PinChurch in NOLA and Jamie Boyd (@kilmarnock1350) in Pensacola, FL

    #1612 3 months ago

    Hawaii Is Calling!

    Aloha Nico, I run the Kauai Island Brewing Co. We have 10 games now- instead of 7.... just updated our profile. My Indiana Jones has been having issues. I just posted on 'You Cheat Dr. Jones Club" page. I could use your help if you made it out this way. I can supply you with beer too!
    Oahu recently got a couple machines, but I don't think they're posted on Pinside yet. We still have more pins than the rest of the state combined (as far as I know), Anyway- Happy Travels, and stop by if you make it to Kauai.

    #1613 3 months ago

    Alaskan airlines has flights from seattle starting at $228 each way right now too- pretty good price.

    #1614 3 months ago

    228 = about 100 gallons of fuel in the southern states right now, and
    with 20-25 MPH that is about 2500 miles on a tail wind. I'm guessing
    flying to Hawaii at this time is about as likely a chance as getting a real
    look at a birth certificate and a quality guy pushing buttons there as well.

    #1615 3 months ago
    Quoted from Thestrangebrewer:

    Hawaii Is Calling!
    Aloha Nico, I run the Kauai Island Brewing Co. We have 10 games now- instead of 7.... just updated our profile. My Indiana Jones has been having issues. I just posted on 'You Cheat Dr. Jones Club" page. I could use your help if you made it out this way. I can supply you with beer too!
    Oahu recently got a couple machines, but I don't think they're posted on Pinside yet. We still have more pins than the rest of the state combined (as far as I know), Anyway- Happy Travels, and stop by if you make it to Kauai.

    Hey strange brewer! You better believe I'll stop by to say "aloha" on the next trip to Kauai. And there WILL be another trip before long, because Kauai (and its abundant wild chickens) is one of my favorite places on earth. Anyone who experiences the Pacific mists roll up Na Pali into rain clouds over Waimea canyon with their own eyes... yep... instantly hooked forever.

    Anyway, on the opto issue, have you tried unplugging it to see if the behavior is the same without it in the circuit? (feel free to reply in the YCDJC thread so we don't go off-topic here... I'm following it now)

    #1616 3 months ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    some shiny nickel hex caps!

    Are these the standard caps that came with the games? They look much nicer. If they are new ones, where did you get them? (I may have missed this).

    Thanks-

    #1617 3 months ago
    Quoted from heatwave:

    Are these the standard caps that came with the games? /blockquote>

    I believe he is replacing the original white plastic caps with the shiny metal caps.

    #1618 3 months ago

    Not saying this is where they were purchased but here is a possible source in quantity:

    https://www.mcmaster.com/#90532a100/=1b6l8ql

    #1619 3 months ago

    Yep, that’s the ‘lil bugger. I usually buy from PBR since I don’t often need many at a time.

    Not original. Better! But still in the spirit... that’s the key.

    #1620 3 months ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Yep, that’s the ‘lil bugger. I usually buy from PBR since I don’t often need many at a time.
    Not original. Better! But still in the spirit... that’s the key.

    If I didn't know better I'd say you are trying to make it look like a Gottlieb method.

    #1621 3 months ago
    Quoted from MikeO:

    If I didn't know better I'd say you are trying to make it look like a Gottlieb method.

    Hey, Gottlieb might have done a few things right.

    #1622 3 months ago

    Oh wow, Friday again? Gotta step up my pinball repairin's for TPF! In the meantime we need to cross off...

    alliance8 (resized).png

    "Taxachusetts", as an old work acquaintance used to call it.

    However, he was an IT pro, not a finance wizard, and obviously missed some important statistics. It's really not that bad.

    In terms of property tax, Massachusetts is squarely in the upper-middle of the pack. About 18th out of the 50 states. Not too terrible. However, the price of property here is about 70% higher than the national average... which means a higher tax bill too.

    Income tax? Massachusetts isn't even in the top 10. Better still, it's a flat tax, which is awesome if you happen to be a high-income individual. You see, unlike most other states with progressive tax policies, everyone here pays the same percentage. Which sounds simple and fair, doesn't it? Yaay! Everyone the same! That is, until one realizes that extra 5% at the gas pump/grocery store/auto garage/home repair/etc. is a whole lot easier for Milton Moneybags to swallow than Joe Blow. D'oh!

    Sales tax? Squarely in the lower half, with neighbor New Hampshire charging none at all. How much you wanna bet those appliance stores near the state line are doing brisk business? Psst... don't try to cheat the system, home improvement rogue. They know what you're doing.

    So... polar vortex aside... I can't blame Massachusetts for not being hospitable. It's close to the massive Funspot Arcade and Burdick Chocolate. Awesome seafood and lobster rolls. Lovely summers. Amenities aplenty. But, alas, it's just not quite a match.

    #1623 3 months ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    lobster rolls

    I think the correct spelling is, "LOBSTAH rolls."

    NicsTourColorCropped2 (resized).jpg

    #1624 3 months ago

    Who has points/money on the PacNW for the contact burnishing nomad?

    #1625 3 months ago

    I'd bet that side of the country.

    #1626 3 months ago

    Looking more and more like Delaware. As I mentioned before, it's right in between several big cities, less then 2 hours away, no tax, and less than an hour away from Pinfest!

    #1627 3 months ago
    Quoted from djreddog:

    Looking more and more like Delaware. As I mentioned before, it's right in between several big cities, less then 2 hours away, no tax, and less than an hour away from Pinfest!

    Its also home to the lowest highest point. Go DE

    #1628 3 months ago
    Quoted from VacFink:

    Its also home to the lowest highest point. Go DE

    I thought that was Florida?
    California has the lowest point.

    #1629 3 months ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    "Taxachusetts"

    They're pikers (no pun intended) compared to the Vampire State!

    #1630 3 months ago

    FL is the US state with the lowest of high points. Islands protected/territories are the real winners for the US.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_elevation

    #1631 3 months ago

    My first guess was wrong, so let’s go for guess #2. So it seems Nic has visited some really cool places and it would be great to see the next big thing somehow EM related. It would be cool to see one of the spots with large collections being able to put him on staff. So how about New York, maybe even in the Poughkeepsie area? Nic working at The Pinball Resource? Could it be? I'm guessing in Nic fashion we will need to wait until Friday to see or Friday's...

    #1632 3 months ago

    One that thinks for a minute that the talent behind the man, which is the phenom and *the* seller of brush tools will work for an arcade open 24/7 or at best really short hours and resulting income all because of midlife crisis which came early... You have me and I suspect quite a few others verklempted.

    #1633 3 months ago
    Quoted from SuperDaveOsbourn:

    One that thinks for a minute that the talent behind the man, which is the phenom, and the seller of brush tools is going to work for an arcade open 24/7 or most likely really short hours and income potential because of midlife crisis come early... You have me and I suspect others extremely verklempted.

    Awwwww.... I'll still tour... but just here and there as time permits. New venture will be getting the lion's share.

    #1634 3 months ago

    Nico I just wanted to mention I found my 443 brush does a really nice job of shaping and smoothing a worn out contact rivet I had filled with solder.

    Thanks for brightening my day!

    #1635 89 days ago
    Quoted from SuperDaveOsbourn:

    Who has points/money on the PacNW for the contact burnishing nomad?

    My money is on the left coast..........

    #1636 89 days ago

    im thinking oregon. tons of pinball here in portland.

    #1637 89 days ago

    If there was ever a desire, a wanton desire and deity of 'EM' pinball it would be the quasi-zen of the Jedi of Tesla fantasy equivalent, or...

    "... pause, 'he' sent us four quavers, a group of five quavers, a group of four semi quavers."

    Its obvious the PacNW and chiefly addicted to the town of Sealth.

    #1638 88 days ago

    yup, could be.

    #1639 87 days ago

    It’s Friday, and that means something’s getting fried…

    alliance7 (resized).png

    Connect-it was-cut.

    Home of Yale University, which I did not attend.

    Home of shad, shadbakes, grinders, and apizza… which I have not tried.

    Home of Bryan Peterson (@1974DeltaQueen) from the pinball tour who “does not give an effin’ crap about the stinkin’ cheatin’ New England Patriots”. Nearby in Rhode Island, however, Patriots fan Matt Szewczyk (@matesamo) must be happier than a clam.

    Speaking of clams, Connecticut sells a lot of ‘em. As well as a lot of booze. Generally, the further north you go, the boozier America gets… which means Connecticut is that overly-articulate manicured lady at the bar sipping a vodka martini and judging everyone. Sure, she looks credible and posh, but is utterly clueless on karaoke night when “For Those About To Rock” spins up.

    We can’t accept that, Ms. Robinson. Pinball is best played at 11. Rolling on... rolling on...

    \mm/

    #1640 87 days ago

    Delaware is hanging in there!

    #1641 87 days ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Home of Bryan Peterson (1974DeltaQueen) from the pinball tour who “does not give an effin’ crap about the stinkin’ cheatin’ New England Patriots”. Nearby in Rhode Island, however, Patriots fan Matt Szewczyk (matesamo) must be happier than a clam.

    Eh, its hard to get to excited for something that happens 50% of the time. Now, back in 2001 it was crazy around here, now its just expected.

    14
    #1642 87 days ago

    IMG_4374 (resized).JPG

    Random history photo... in 1983 my father was pals with the local Williams/Bally/Atari distributor and gave me an "arcade birthday" over the weekend. It was totally awesome & sure did hate to see them get picked up again!

    Games were Star Wars, Crystal Castles, Joust, Ms. Pac Man, and Pengo.

    #1643 87 days ago

    Did the Star Wars stay working through the whole party?

    #1644 87 days ago

    Heck yeah. It was practically brand new.

    #1645 86 days ago

    I was addicted to Pengo! Still like playing it on Mame.

    #1646 86 days ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Heck yeah. It was practically brand new.

    My classmates' dad owned a straw hat pizza back in the early 80s and they had all the latest arcade games. I was invited to his birthday party where all the games, including a brand new Star Wars were on free play. What? I just push the button and don't have to insert a quarter? And all the pizza and soda I wanted? Best birthday party ever.

    #1647 83 days ago

    Hey, is this the droid 'er I mean brush I am looking for?

    Dremel pic (resized).jpg

    #1648 83 days ago
    Quoted from northerndude:

    Hey, is this the droid 'er I mean brush I am looking for?

    The Force of the Gleaming Contacts will be with you.

    #1650 83 days ago
    Quoted from Cheddar:

    amazon.com link »
    10 for 6.49

    May not be up to Dremel brand quality however. That's awfully cheap.

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