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.