Pinball newbie got a TftC

(Topic ID: 581)

Pinball newbie got a TftC

By TmC

8 years ago

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  • 14 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 years ago by SealClubber
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#1 8 years ago

I finally took the plunge and bought a pinball. Being no stranger to electrical and mechanical systems (working in chemistry, I repair analysis instruments sometimes), I decided I do have the skills to keep it operational.

So, what machine to buy? My favorite pin is TZ (like many) but it is too expensive for a first pin and also, I understood, pretty difficult to maintain. Since I am new, I have no pro-this or anti-that attitude: I just have to see what brand I like or not.
Having played just around 20 different pins in real life and double that in VPinMAME, I chose Tales from the Crypt, by Data East.

It’s just a great game to play. I bought it as a project for my brother and myself (he just plays it). Good for his reactions and hand-eye coordination: he has a mental handicap, and was just blown away by this gift, he likes the TV-series very much! It’s rules are deep enough for me, and getting multiball and other achievements are easy enough for him. This will keep us both interested for a long, long time.

So now it sits in the livingroom, (almost) fully functional and plays wonderfully. At 900 euro's, I thought it was a reasonable deal.
I do have a few questions, though. I've made a few pics, but I see I can just upload 6. Ah well.. Questions are in the description. If anyone can answer any of them, it'd be greatly appreciated!

The Good:
- Not much playfield-wear, other than by the scoop. It looks like all
that there is will be dealt with by cleaning and waxing. Is Mill-
Wax really all I need, or should I use Novus 2 as well? Do I need a
separate wax-paste?

- The backbox electronics are very nice indeed. In fact, this is what
has put me off from buying a pinball machine for a long time: all
those horror-pictures of burnt connectors, damaged PCB’s and loose
solder-joints got to me. Luckily this one looks virtually new. I’m a
happy camper! Also, all four PCB’s in the BB have the same serial
number (98981) as inside the cabinet, so I guess it’s not been
replaced before.

- It works! My bro, the friend who helped me carry it into the house,
myself, we all had a blast playing it for the first hours. And we still do!

The Bad:
- There is nothing really bad. Except maybe for the amount of work ahead of me, and the 150+ euro's it'll cost to get it into the shape I want it to be in.

The Ugly
Of course I inspected it before I parted with the money. Did a full diagnostic etc. etc. It looked fine. But boy, when you get home and really put your nose into every crevice of the machine, what a lot of work to be done:

- The left flipper-trigger looks distinctly different from the right
one: The right one has a plastic notch as the last ‘contact’, which
seems to give the contacts more ‘spring’ to it. The left flipper
coil also feels reluctant when releasing and less feisty when
activating. The left contact has three wires going to it, the right
one more (4 or 5, can’t make it out well.). The left flipper coil-
assembly also seems to wobble slightly, compared to the right one.
Play is no really hindered with all this though.

- Left flipper sometimes hangs in activated position(5% of the time)
and so does the right-upper flipper (20%). Also, right-upper
sometimes does not fire. The LED’s on the flipper board seem fine

- All spinners do not run very smoothly. Posts and axles look
oxidized. (pic3)

- The right ramps’ micro-switch has lost its blade, and no longer
registers an entry (no more ‘trick-shot’, whaaaaaa). I feel a
previous owner has assembled it wrong. What kind of small bolt is
that, that goes into a threaded hole to secure a metal strip where
the micro switch goes onto? What size do I need? (pic3)

- Virtually all screws and bolts look ugly and oxidised, when
inspected closely. (pic3)

- A dozen or two of the lamps are busted, or their sockets are. Both
#44 and #89’s.

- All rubbers need replacing.

- The captive ball’s target needs a lot of force to activate. Though
in playing, the difficulty does not feel bad: one needs skill,
which is the point me thinks.

- P-E-R targets are not symmetrical: two of them almost touch.

- The right guillotine drop-target sometimes hangs halfway when a
slow ball touches it. The registers though.

- The enter-shooterlane-kicker fires a second or even a third time
90% of the time, even if the ball enters the shooter in one go,
which it always does. When inspecting its functioning, the coil and
micro switch assembly can be seen to ‘wobble’ a bit.

- One of the bolts securing the right playfield rail is missing on
the right side. I am too scared to lift the playfield now.

- One ‘screw-eye’ securing the large wire form to the right-middle
playfield, scratches into the cabinet’s inside leaving an ugly
arched scratch. It doesn’t look like I can nudge it a little more
to the left, because it’s all pretty taut and the next connection
is to the right keeper target’s top plastic. (pic4)

- The left lane-divider has had it’s top section cracked at the bend,
probably from catching fastballs on the left flipper. The right one
is on the verge of going there too. Perhaps replacements can be
ordered? (pic5)

- The orange plastic behind the drop targets is completely smashed.
And the rubber there has lost almost all flexibility, so this is a
progressive thing. This needs to be addressed first! (pic6)

- The large top-plastic over the vault and the crypt is smashed, and
repaired by an owner with duck-tape(!). I can see how the ball got
stuck once between the top and bottom plastic, just behind the
scoop. Maybe I should block that gap with a post or some such? (pic1)

- Typical PF wear on the right-side of the scoop. A Cliffy-protector
has been ordered. Question: will this flat piece of metal not
damage the balls, or is it too flat for that to happen? Should I
fill up that missing chunk beforehand, so as to not let balls put
dents in the protector at that empty area? (pic2)

- There seem to be two small bolts protruding into the scoop from
below the PF at the right side. What do I do with that? It looks
like it’ll happily chop away at the balls’ surfaces whenever they
enter or leave the scoop. (pic2)

- There is a small nail-hole on the chin of the large Keeper at the
bottom of the playfield, below the line of draining. It seems to
have no purpose, now or before.

- One of the threads for one leg-bolt is ground up. Are those metal
back plates which can be had from parts-dealers universal?

- There is a (blue) lamp on top of the Guillotine drop-target plastic
which does not appear in the lamp location schematic. It doesn’t
work, and I haven’t tried a spare (yet). Also, there is a ‘left-
lamp-enter #62’ light in the schematic which isn’t there anymore. I
can see some snipped wires under the PF next to that ramp, but I
can’t for the world see where that lamp would go. Someone must have
lost a part in the machines history?!

- There is a lot of buzz, crackle and hum from the speakers,
especially when attract-lights go on and off. I know: I should plug
it in a grounded socket, but I have none available where it is now.
Maybe there is more going on besides the missing grounding?

- I’ve read that the ball-launcher should deliver the ball at the
guillotine drop-targets. This machine puts it everywhere: mostly at
the scoop and sometimes higher(vault) or lower(left ramp) and
anything in between. Is my coil or its sleeve bad?

To Do:
All the above, plus:
Replacing all lights, except backbox lights, with LED coloured
lights. Youtube-footage and pictures of machines done with this
look really nice. It’ll cost in excess of 150 Euro’s, but it looks
worth it. Does anyone feel different about this? Does anyone have
experience with the difference with ‘white’ as opposed to ‘bright-
white’ LED’s? Will my electricity-bill be significantly lower?

A lot of touching up on the cabinet. It’ll be a hoot (not!) trying
to find the correct colours for it. Luckily, I have an artist-
acquaintance who will prolly be able to help me a bit with this.

It has Display ROM 1.03 and CPU ROM Belgium 1.02. Needs V3.0x.

I really want to install new speakers, as the standard ones sound
pretty bad and muffled to my ears. Also: the diagnostics just say
left-both-right. No bottom/bass/centre/cabinet speaker is listed.
It does work, however. Maybe this is for V3.0x ROMS’s?

And finally, the question that's been on my mind ever since I peered into the cabinet:
Do I remove the backglass and open the door with lamp when I lift the playfield totally up? And is there *anything* I should know or do before I lift it up?

Any help, comments, flames, kudo's etc. are greatly appreciated!

The Netherlands

PlasticsDamage.JPG ScoopDamage.JPG RgtRmpSpnr.JPG CabinetScratch.JPG LaneDivDamage.JPG DropTgtBankDamage.JPG

#2 8 years ago

Of course, after all those horror-pics, a few ones that show the *good* side of the machine as well:

BBElectr.JPG BBDetail.JPG UnderPF.JPG LegBoltPlate.JPG

#3 8 years ago

I remember seeing that movie about 3 times when it came out "Creep Show"
then of course they did the TV thing, odd that I never came across one to play yet.
looks like most of your work is in the playfield plus a few flipper issues.
once you strip that playfield down and get the parts I bet it will go easy,
good thing your taking photos before the overhaul begins .
a lot of cleaning you can do with fine sandpaper, steel wool, & wire wheels can bring most of the metal back to day one or close to it.
-good luck

#4 8 years ago

Wow! You are a fast reader. Moderator's forte, I guess .
Stripping down the playfield... erm... topside, I hope you mean? I hope to leave as much attached to the bottom side as possible, apart from the odd slingshot or kicker here and there.. Thank for the Good Luck!

#5 8 years ago

Welcome and congratulations on your first machine. It looks like it spent some time in a somewhat "hostile" environment (possibly outside). This is just from seeing the oxidation and bit of rust on the metal parts. Be sure to clean all the electrical connectors to avoid intermittent problems down the road. It's probably what's causing your crackle.

With some tender loving care I'm sure you will have it working 100% in not time. Those posts in pic 3 look like standard hex posts I see on much of the test equipment at work.

I know I haven't addressed all of your issues but you seem to have them well in hand. It's alot to comment on all at once. Maybe we can take them one at a time as you decide what to do first, second, third, etc.

If you don't have access to an eprom burner to get them to version 3 maybe you can talk to Robin who is in the Netherlands. He has a burner too. I have one but I'm on the other side of the big pond.

Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.

#6 8 years ago

Looks like a good pin TmC.Ive never played TFTC but I sure came close to buying it a few weeks ago because I like the TV series,went with Champion Pub.To lift the playfields up on pins you just remove the glass,lift the front of the playfield up and pull gently towards you until it stops then lift the front of the playfield and place it vertically against the backbox.With the apron and flippers facing the backglass.

#7 8 years ago

Hey TmC. Leuke kast de Tales From The Cript

Tales From The Cript is getting populair in the Netherlands.

I tried to read everything and i could suggest a couple of things.
If you are going to clean the machine put all nuts and bolts in to a tubler (you could borrow mine if you life nearby).
An TFTC without burned connectors is almost impossible. And some damage at the scoop is not more then normal.

The Data-East machines can be equipped with a FM-1608 Ferroram availble at of You can than remove your batteries and never have to worry about that again.

An other "problem" with Data East pinballs is the CN1 connector on the powersupply.
If you are having troubles with game-restarts this is the place to check.

#8 8 years ago

Thats what i forgot...

The BUZZ is pretty normal on DE flippers. There is not much to do about it.

#9 8 years ago

Thank you for all your kind replies, BrokeDad, sb80 and Ben!
The V3.0x I'll just order from Flipperwinkel, it's not expensive.
I have already ordered the FerroRam. Since TftC doesn't use kind of time-of-day stuff, it'll be the safest bet (hated the pics of leaked batteries!).

Ben, you have a tumbler you could have me put my small metals in? Wow! I've been looking into it, but since I have just one pin and none in the kitty any time soon, I deemed it too large an investment for now. I live in Heemskerk, not far from the Koog Gamerooms, where I've often pondered on going, but never got around to. I get a feeling, though, that most pinfans live in the SE of the Netherlands. That's where the most shops are situated, anyway Let me know, please? Thank you!

I've also had a reply from someone who had most of her lamp fittings under PF oxidised. I looked through the holes, and I have a lot of that as well, seeing how even some screws inside the cabinet are rusty as well... Ah well, it;s not the most expensive item on a pin...

Sb80, because I am missing a bolt on the right inside rail closest to the flippers, I am a little scared to lift it up. I've inserted a strong metal prong into the hole from the outside, but I'm not sure I can see that 'stop' you mention. I'll get an extra set of eyes (i.e. a friend) to try it all out for the first time, and install a fresh bolt immediately!

I've got a tip from Dan S on USEnet that I should not, repeat not, use MillWax. People don't seem to like SuperFlipp, which I can understand since they describe a ball mostly skitting around on the PF, instead of rolling. Dan S, however, suggested Novus 2 (check!) and a 'paste carnauba wax in a tin'. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Do I apply and polish by hand or are those inexpensive automotive buffers safe?
As a sidenote, I get a feeling that there are at least half a dozen of different ways of doing things when it comes to PF care and maintenance, and each has an equal share of devout followers....... bummer.....

'Till next time, frightfans!

#10 8 years ago

Dear TmC

I live in Weesp so its a half hour drive. I am coming to the Koog somewhare in Januari. You can barrow my tumbler that is no problem. Yust have to figuere out how we get it to your place. The lampfittings are repairable with some patiance and a fiberglass pen. We have only 2 real shops in the Netherlands. Thank god we have the Flipperwinkel. He realy has a lot on stock! But there are a lot of pinball lovers all over the Netherlands, you just have to know whare to find them. If you want to meet some more pinball lovers you could get a subscripton at the Nederlandse Flipper Vereniging. With over 1000 members it's a realy big community. 2 friends of mine als have a Tftc pinball. I am a new mechanic of the NFV. If you realy like pinball (of all generatoins) you should come by in Ederveen whare the Funhouse is. 80 Pinballs machines awaite you

I use the Turtle wax (but dont put is on your post, the best way is to remove all parts from your playfield) the stuff in a little jar. not the liquid one. You can use Superflipp on your playfield. But Tftc is alraidy a realy fast machine. Putting superflip on your playfield would make it somewhat un playable....

How about an other eyeball


#11 8 years ago

Progress report:

The playfield has been lifted, which was a breeze.Thanks, sb80. Pushing it back is a different story, however: one has to push (and push hard) to get the metal protector past the rounded stop at the back of the rail, and push far enough for the rollers to come perpendicular to the rails, and clear the bottom of the PF from the coindoor end in order to be able to drop it down. I'm so gentle with machines, but a pin needs a bit of 'coercing'.

Found out why the ball isn't delivered at the drop targets on launch. It catches the edge of the top flipper. Will fix, but still no English-measures tools available Just a few more days...

Been screwing around with the flippers: Someone shorted the EOS switch. I remember that being one possible fix for the TY-FFASI flipperboard, but it looks awful, and if I.m not careful, will smell awful too after a while.

Replaced all return-springs on all flippers: someone made a mess of ALL the springs: wrong types, stretched, double springs.. Aaargh, and the machine plays fine with the right ones.

I will have to get a complete flipper rebuild-kit, cause every flipper feels, sounds and behaves slightly different.

Got a can of Mother's California Gold Carnauba Wax, which is pretty good stuff I'm told. I just love it's smell. When I muster the courage to strip the top playfield I'll get down to buffing... gotta pump some iron first

See you next time, frightfans!

IMG_1305.JPG IMG_1309.JPG IMG_1310.JPG IMG_1311.JPG

#12 8 years ago

TFTC is a very overlooked and underrated machine. I ended up w/one while making a bulk purchase of pins @ a warehouse. Machine looked spotless and he offered it up cheap so I took it too. I absolutely love this pin, It's got it all ! ! ! ! Never the same game,fast,Great for the experienced players- the levels keep you in the game( when your not trying to keep 6 balls going ), I've never got tired of it and I've had it for 13 years now.It's one of the few along with TAXI & High Speed that have never made my game room rotation.

1 week later
#13 8 years ago

Congrats TmC! TFTC is a nice pickup for a first pin. I've been searching for my first pin too. Looking to see pics when you finish up the refurb.

#14 8 years ago

Flipper rebuild kits are expensive and in your case, probably unneccesary. From the pictures, the coils and switches look good. Though the one switch needs some adjustment. I would just purchase new coil sleeves and springs. $5 will likely get them all working real nice.

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