(Topic ID: 102944)

Operators can use some help Manufactures are you listening?


By Eddie

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 32 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by gstellenberg
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    #1 5 years ago

    Pinball machines are fantastically fun things but when you are operating them on location they are simply tools to earn money.

    If they go down or a feature does not work the customer/player is not happy and an unhappy customer inserts no quarters its that simple.

    Pinball machines of the future really have to be designed with this in mind. This is where Pinball has lacked in a huge way.

    LCD Displays, Stereo Sound, Multiball, Toys, Smoke machines, Shaker motors, LEDs , Licensed Themes,
    Incredible Art packages, Bubble fountains, Extra Balls , Credit Awards, Tube Dancers, Ball Swallowing Carnies
    Touch Sensitive Buttons, 5 level play fields, Ball elevators, Cannons, Coffee dispensers , Holograms and anything you can think of in the new modern age and future of pinball means nothing once the machine is down and It becomes nothing but a large wooden crate taking up floor space.

    Pinball machines of the future need to be designed with accessibility for the tech to make repairs as fast as possible.

    With this in mind I would like to make suggestions from a techs point of view as to how things can be designed to help us repair the machines as timely as possible.

    I would like other techs and operators to add suggestions too.

    Access holes in plastics for screw or nut drivers.

    Pinball machines like cars are assembled in such a way as once put together many things cannot be reached without the disassembly of too many parts.

    Dzus fasteners to hold as many components as possible.

    Built in cabinet and Backbox work lights.

    Remember these machines are located in very dark Bars for the most part and many times the power must be off to accomplish a task so GI or back box lighting doesn't cut it and they cast more shadows than light for working anyway,

    Many cars have work lights under the hood. The type that is hand held by wire and have clips to mount them anywhere over the engine why can't Pin cabinets have the same?

    Modular components or assemblies that can just be clipped into place for swap out,

    You ask what about the coil wires you still need to solder them so where do you save time with a clip on assembly?

    I say you don't have to waste time with screws and the repair of playfield holes from the same screws being removed over and over again and the looking in the dark for errant or lost screws all of which consumes valuable time. Not to mention the looking for the correct driver in the dark.

    A few seconds saved here and there add up quickly.

    Popbumper assemblies that can be removed along with the lamp socket as a unit for repair without the lamp socket
    mounting issues, Huge waste of time for an operator or tech.

    All machines should use the new synthetic Flipper rubbers and rings.

    Rings should be replaceable with as little access issues as can be designed ,a few of those can be addressed with my prior suggestions.

    In software all features should be able to be turned off and still allow the same gameplay or a very close proximity such as multiball or scoring all goals would still be possible.

    An opto or some other reason a particular devise fails and a huge part of the game is lost. Basically the game is down and again a down game makes for a down customer a down customer inserts no quarters.

    When the design team is going over a game and evaluating a new part they must discuss this problem and ask these questions.

    How can I get to it how can I repair it quickly?

    Then they must try to figure the best possible solution to how it can be achieved even if its not the part itself that might need altering maybe the location of the wire harness around that part etc.

    Instead of having to remove three parts for access to that part of fastener maybe just two, etc

    Im not talking about engineering and impossibly costly miracles here. Simple steps that are taken to expedite the repair of a downed business tool are all that is needed.

    Just think the spill off would also help the Homeowner too.

    These are my suggestions please make some of yours and please make suggestions not wasteful comments

    such as (Work light why not just bring your own or use a flashlight) Flashlight batteries could fail and they cast many shadows, Try lugging a work light around from location to location along with a ton of other tools and scrambling in the dark with crowds of people around. etc

    This is why I say please no negative comments unless you have actually worked in the field for years not just on occasion to help out a friend with a machine on location once in a blue moon.

    In your homes none of these ideas are really needed as you have all of the time in the world to repair your down machine. To an operator these suggestions could be huge improvements to the bottom line and wether or not having machines on location could be sustainable.

    #2 5 years ago

    I think you hit on a number of good points. On the financial side I think the cost of buying/operating is getting way to high.

    #3 5 years ago

    On a technical sense I completely agree, but from a business point of view operators won't truly care about much of that if they are making lots of money with the machines. If they began making crazy amounts of money (figure out some stupid way to tie it to Facebook and people will play them all the time) then operators will put up with alot.

    #4 5 years ago

    I don't care about new frills, make the current stuff reliable. I have worked on stern eos systems and ball trough optics so much it's crazy. If those 2 things were updated to a more reliable system my pinball service would drop dramatically. The eos system has been a problem since tspp or so. But I guess it's only been a decade... In that time prices have doubled but the same chronic problems persist. One reason lots of operators won't place pinballs is maintenance. How bout an LE pinball that trades out the mirror backglass for more durable parts. If people want more pins on location, addressing reliability would be a large step forward.

    #5 5 years ago
    Quoted from Eddie:

    Access holes in plastics for screw or nut drivers.
    Dzus fasteners to hold as many components as possible.
    Modular components or assemblies that can just be clipped into place for swap out,
    Popbumper assemblies that can be removed along with the lamp socket as a unit for repair without the lamp socket
    mounting issues,

    Agree 100% with these. Dzus would be great and they could handle the job I think - expensive though compared to existing hardware. The removable pop bumpers thought might be the most important. I'm willing to bet that the difficulty in rebuilding these is why they are so poor at many places in the wild.

    I have noticed that Multimorphic has worked harder to make the P3 more serviceable with things like modular assemblies, hopefully that gives them an edge once they are into production and others follow suit.

    #6 5 years ago

    Amen and thumbs up Eddie.

    I hope manufactures read this thread thoroughly. That hope is why I'm posting this comment.

    This is huge for operators, of which I am not, but would like to be.

    Time is money! Make things easier to repair. It's a no brainer. The side benefit would be more pinball machines being sold. Most people are afraid to own them because they can't fix them. That's why I never owned a machine when I was younger. I knew I couldn't fix it back then and sure as heck knew I couldn't afford to have it fixed. So I never bought one. If you make them a hundred times easier to repair, lots more people would become buyers and enter the ownership market. That means more money in your pockets.

    I hope this isn't looked at as a wasteful comment. But I just agree 1000% on this one.

    #7 5 years ago
    Quoted from Eddie:

    You ask what about the coil wires you still need to solder them so where do you save time with a clip on assembly?

    I talked to a JJP staff member about this during a factory tour. He said they started out using clips for easy swaps, but found that they would shake loose sooner or later, making things unreliable. Also, clips cost slightly more than just soldering the wires. So, because of those two reasons, they ended up abandoning clips and just going with soldering.

    #8 5 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    I talked to a JJP staff member about this during a factory tour. He said they started out using clips for easy swaps, but found that they would shake loose sooner or later, making things unreliable. Also, clips cost slightly more than just soldering the wires. So, because of those two reasons, they ended up abandoning clips and just going with soldering.

    I was not referring to the coil wires being clipped on but the assembles that the coils were attached too.

    A system such as what is used to hold EM Score reel assemblies in place for instance.

    #9 5 years ago

    a modular pop bumper Assembly would be a cool thing to have. what a pain to take in and out.
    EATPM had a setup like that, not sure if there were others

    #10 5 years ago

    How about an easy simple way to remove the entire PF? PK2K was really on to something there. I mean, remove 5 plugs and out she comes. And the best thing it that it has it's own built in stand with it's full length rails.

    No matter what game you look at, there is NO reason why they cant take the massive strands of wires and cut them right in half. Add a nice heavy duty connector, and DONE! You need to take your PF out? Fine, Just take apart the 2 big wire connectors under the PF and you're done.

    #11 5 years ago
    Quoted from Pinfidel:

    How about an easy simple way to remove the entire PF? PK2K was really on to something there. I mean, remove 5 plugs and out she comes. And the best thing it that it has it's own built in stand with it's full length rails.
    No matter what game you look at, there is NO reason why they cant take the massive strands of wires and cut them right in half. Add a nice heavy duty connector, and DONE! You need to take your PF out? Fine, Just take apart the 2 big wire connectors under the PF and you're done.

    Bringing up JJP again, WOZ has some pin2000 elements in the playfield removal. Similar rails, and all the cables are connected to the electronics chassis down at the bottom of the cabinet. It's not quick like a single cable, or at the base of the playfield, but they can still be unplugged fairly quickly in succession.

    #12 5 years ago

    I love this stuff. Real talk - some of those changes there is no excuse except lazy design and engineering at this point. Same old same old, don't rock the boat, if it aint broke don't fix it. But come on...having to take off entire ramp assemblies just to get to a bulb or screw? We should be past that. They know what and where we pinheads will want access.

    Stop blocking our holes! Feels like pins come with chastity belts...

    Great suggestions - I vote for more organization in this thread and STICKY at the top. Would love to see CFH chime in along with LTG and VID and Rob and Taro and the list goes on

    #13 5 years ago

    In my experience, the biggest hurdle Operators face is finding decent Technicians.

    A Technician who... Is honest, organized, listens and has a good driving record. Able to work nights, weekends and Holidays. They need to be able to deal with the public ( kids, drunks, business owners etc.) and work cheap until they've proven themselves... And even then they might be working cheap since there's so much competition out there (other operators, smart phones, drunk driving laws etc. etc. etc.)

    Otherwise, it would be nice to have a folding stepstool that slides out of the game for kids and short technicians that need to change a flipper part!

    #14 5 years ago

    Only one thing you need to do. Get them earning better and the rest will take care of itself.

    LTG : )™

    #15 5 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Get them earning better and the rest will take care of itself.

    Never thought LTG was an economist!

    #16 5 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Only one thing you need to do. Get them earning better and the rest will take care of itself.
    LTG : )™

    This is true but they can't earn when they are down so even designing in a small amount of ease of maintenance would be part of the earning better philosophy.

    #17 5 years ago

    Great thought Ed. I hope they listen. Thx

    #18 5 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Bringing up JJP again, WOZ has some pin2000 elements in the playfield removal. Similar rails, and all the cables are connected to the electronics chassis down at the bottom of the cabinet. It's not quick like a single cable, or at the base of the playfield, but they can still be unplugged fairly quickly in succession.

    Yes, I saw that on the tour as well. You know this since we did it together. JJP is really doing some innovative things to make their machines easier to assemble from a marketing stand point, which in turn will make it easier for the owner/OP. So that is really great to see.

    I love their use of PF board design. They are making all their under PF boards (among other things) to be interchangeable between all their machines. What's great about that, is that you'll always be able to acquire those parts.

    Team JJP is really thinking ahead.

    #21 5 years ago

    A mechanic must want to fix a problem or must be pressed to do so. If he doesn't like pinballs he'll only repair things absolutely neccesary to keep them running. Simplifying repairs won't change that much i think. I always liked pins so i went out of my way to keep them running properly and clean.
    Because i enjoyed playing them i knew exactly what was wrong with them and as a mechanic i knew what
    was needed to keep it that way. Unfortunately moneywise pinballs are often of very little importance, so my work was only cheered by the players, not so much by my employer. In the 80's pins were pretty simple to maintain and they were hated by 90 percent of the mechanics and it didn't get worse in the nineties when pins got more complicated to service.

    #22 5 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    I talked to a JJP staff member about this during a factory tour. He said they started out using clips for easy swaps, but found that they would shake loose sooner or later, making things unreliable. Also, clips cost slightly more than just soldering the wires. So, because of those two reasons, they ended up abandoning clips and just going with soldering.

    So are the wires to the coils on WoZ playfields now soldered in place or are blade connectors being used?

    #23 5 years ago
    Quoted from MrBally:

    So are the wires to the coils on WoZ playfields now soldered in place or are blade connectors being used?

    Yup, soldered in place. No blade connectors.

    #24 5 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Yup, soldered in place. No blade connectors.

    Thanks for that. If that is true, it looks like JJP either ran out of blade terminals and wants to ship games or Absocountry2 and I were right when we posted this in November, 2012 but were dismissed:

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/footage-of-the-guys-of-wizard-of-oz-pinball-at-iaapa

    #25 5 years ago

    OP, check my profile, I know a little something about pin repair and operating games on a route.

    #26 5 years ago

    Also, I believe there is a benefit to a more user friendly OS for pinball machines. Just as the DMD was a huge stride forward for diagnostics, an LCD screen that could show you exactly what switch isn't registering with a complete interactive wiring diagram pulled up on screen would be amazing.

    I can't imagine trying to read schematics and troubleshoot a machine in a dimly lit bar.

    #27 5 years ago
    Quoted from MrBally:

    Thanks for that. If that is true, it looks like JJP either ran out of blade terminals and wants to ship games or Absocountry2 and I were right when we posted this in November, 2012 but were dismissed:
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/footage-of-the-guys-of-wizard-of-oz-pinball-at-iaapa

    Like I mentioned earlier, according to JJP staff I talked to, the problem was that they eventually shook loose, which made things unreliable. So, they switched to soldering, which was more reliable and cheaper.

    #28 5 years ago

    design games where the ball cannot get stuck
    Batman, I am looking at you here

    #29 5 years ago

    Eddie, I wonder if you have found that the changes which were made to P2K helped. I thought they were trying to address this exact issue with their design.

    #30 5 years ago
    Quoted from DnDPins:

    Eddie, I wonder if you have found that the changes which were made to P2K helped. I thought they were trying to address this exact issue with their design.

    Pin2k solved a few issues but As I said the issues of soldering lugs isn't one of them.

    A completely removable assembly held to a playfeild like EM score reels are held would be an advance

    Assemblies that can be reached without obstructions such as what I will post in my What failed thread

    later on tonight.

    Simple design decisions can make a huge difference for operators on location.

    AC/DC another design mistake the Plexi insert over the lower playfeild should have been screwed to the playfeild ala Haunted House and Black Hole not to mention Space Time etc.

    #31 5 years ago

    It takes only 10 minutes to repair a machine on location in most cases , but an hour to get there .

    #32 5 years ago

    Great topic. I agree with many of your suggestions.

    Quoted from Eddie:

    Simple design decisions can make a huge difference for operators on location.

    There's a common call for innovations and for machines that improve the owner/operator's experience, and there's an even bigger call for less expensive machines. Unfortunately, you can't have it both ways.

    You say they're "simple design decisions", but there's a lot more to it than that. While some ideas might not appear to increase the BOM much, they certainly impact R&D expenses, sometimes significantly (even for little changes). There are good reasons why certain MFG's are choosing not to (and don't need to) invest in innovative design iterations (yet)... the biggest is that they're still selling out their machines (and at record high prices).

    If you'll be at Expo, be sure to attend my seminar "Innovations in Pinball - moving the industry forward". I'll explain a lot more about the thought process behind innovations, and why innovating is (and will be) left to 'startups' like us. I'll also show how and why we've addressed many of your concerns in the design of the P3, and how other manufacturers can make use of our innovations to move the entire industry forward without breaking their banks and cost models.

    A couple examples:

    Quoted from Eddie:

    A completely removable assembly held to a playfeild like EM score reels are held would be an advance
    Assemblies that can be reached without obstructions such as what I will post in my What failed thread
    later on tonight.

    Every single mechanical assembly on the P3 can be removed easily for quick repairs or replacement, no soldering involved, and in many cases, no tools involved.

    Quoted from Eddie:

    AC/DC another design mistake the Plexi insert over the lower playfeild should have been screwed to the playfeild ala Haunted House and Black Hole not to mention Space Time etc.

    Our plastic playfield insert (covering the playfield LCD) can be removed in 5s, no tools required. Take it out, clean/replace it, and put it back it without tools and even without removing anything else. Further, there are no issues with seams.

    LTG asked about this in our seminar at last year's TPF, and we made it even easier that our answer back then. Then we applied the same technology and design approach to practically everything else on the machine. The goals you listed in the original post drove many of our design decisions.

    The seminar is at 9am on Friday 10/17. We'll see about recording it so we can share it with everybody.

    - Gerry
    http://www.multimorphic.com

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