(Topic ID: 288968)

Playfield swap strategies

By Xenon75

1 year ago


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  • 31 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 months ago by pinzrfun
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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    #1 1 year ago

    Hi all,

    About to do my first EM playfield swap. I have done around 20 so far in the solid state realm. Wanted to hear your approaches/strategies so I don't make a rookie mistake and cost myself a bunch of time, and a headache! Look for things like leave the solenoid harness attach to the mechs, etc? I plan to run the new supply wire for the GI and feature lamps. I have heard of difficulties of resoldering the wire back to the mechs if the harness is removed.

    Thanks!

    #2 1 year ago

    I just completed my fifth pf swap. Typically I leave leave all the coils attached to the wire harness along with the GI and lamps after taking lots of pictures, followed by removing the staples(on the GI wires), and screws, I slide a lanolin board under all of the hardware. Then place the board with the hardware onto the new pf and carefully pull the board away, leaving the hardware behind on the new playfield. No problems.
    Hope this helps.
    -Chris

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    #3 1 year ago

    Any components I want to rebuild I do with everything is on the old playfield. I also use a black thin Sharpie to trace the braided grounding wire. This sometimes come in handy for future references during assembly. Once all the staples are removed and all items unscrewed I do as phergott indicated, I have both playfields side by side and work a thin piece of stencil board under all the hardware and slide it over to the new playfield.

    #4 1 year ago

    I do new lamp sockets along with the ground braid. Some of the new sockets dont solder well so Ive taken to filing the base before installing to allow the solder to take better. After the new sockets braid and rollover wires installed (i use new stainless steal screws in place of the old corroded stuff) and solder to the new braid. I then transfer the old over using the slide technique already mentioned. I bring the old braid as well, helps the keep the sockets organized. Then one by one I move the lamp lead over to the new socket and then cut out the old socket from the old braid

    2 weeks later
    #5 1 year ago

    I was contemplating how to do this for a while. At first, the "slide onto cardboard/wood" idea seemed excellent. Then I thought of a far more precise way to transfer playfields...

    Get some stiff, metal, grid fencing. (Garden fencing). Cut a piece the size of the playfield, unscrew items, zip-tie everything to the fence-grid, photo& trace ground wires to redo from scratch with fresh wire and staple gun.

    Cardboard underlay will get you 80% of the way to getting all the pieces quickly together.
    Zip tie to grid will get you 90+% accuracy with little doubt to placement.

    You can also move the grid quickly and not worry about anything sliding around. Larger components will have to be removed or specially fastened.

    #6 1 year ago

    I use the cardboard method to slide everything over as well. The one thing I have done on my latest swaps is put new lamp sockets in. Nothing drives me more crazy then doing a swap and still have lamps that act flaky. Its worth the $30 dollars to me. Another benefit is I have all the new sockets wired on the new playfield as much as possible before I move everything over. It makes for less stuff and less clutter.

    #7 1 year ago

    I rehabilitate the hardware on the old playfield before doing the swap. Once everything is tuned up and clean, I remove all fasteners and wiggle everything over to the new playfield. Because the two PFs are right next to each other—and at the same level—there is no need for cardboard or some other intermediate layer.

    It’s kind of fun. Lift this heavy thing, drag an inch or so. Damn it, why isn’t it moving?! Oh, it’s caught here. Lift a different heavy thing, drag an inch or so. Takes about five minutes to wiggle-walk it all.

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    #8 1 year ago

    I’ve only done one so far. The best thing that I did was to buy a pneumatic staple gun with the narrow upholstery tip. I should have done the new sockets, lesson learned.

    Dave

    #9 1 year ago

    Ive done about 30 swaps and learn something new every time. My main 'must do' is to always replace the sockets even if the owner doesn't want to. Nothing worse than a brand new PF with dim or flickering lights.

    1 week later
    #10 1 year ago

    Great suggestions, thanks everyone!

    #11 1 year ago
    Quoted from leckmeck:

    I rehabilitate the hardware on the old playfield before doing the swap. Once everything is tuned up and clean, I remove all fasteners and wiggle everything over to the new playfield. Because the two PFs are right next to each other—and at the same level—there is no need for cardboard or some other intermediate layer.
    It’s kind of fun. Lift this heavy thing, drag an inch or so. Damn it, why isn’t it moving?! Oh, it’s caught here. Lift a different heavy thing, drag an inch or so. Takes about five minutes to wiggle-walk it all.
    [quoted image][quoted image]

    Isnt it more fun to have a big tangled mess to sort through? I have a pf harness sitting in a crate waiting 6 months for the surf champ pf to be restored. that will be a fun one to untangle. But having done 15 or so swaps thinngs just seem to fall inplace for me.

    #12 1 year ago
    Quoted from pinhead52:

    Isnt it more fun to have a big tangled mess to sort through? I have a pf harness sitting in a crate waiting 6 months for the surf champ pf to be restored. that will be a fun one to untangle. But having done 15 or so swaps thinngs just seem to fall inplace for me.

    In your sleep, with your eyes closed, and one hand tied behind your back.

    #13 1 year ago

    What are you guys using for new screws on Gottlieb pf’s? Just off the shelf from Home Depot, or do you have a resource. I’d like to avoid flat heads as well if im replacing them all. Those were a bitch.

    #14 1 year ago
    Quoted from ChanceKJ:

    What are you guys using for new screws on Gottlieb pf’s? Just off the shelf from Home Depot, or do you have a resource. I’d like to avoid flat heads as well if im replacing them all. Those were a bitch.

    I buy all my hardware at bolt depot.com. The only screw I can not find is a 1-3/4 which is used on older games like EM's.

    #15 1 year ago

    Cool thanks! I reallly wish there was a parts list for things like the screws and lamp holders. Like how many of each size and part number. This El Dorado is going to take me a lifetime.

    #16 1 year ago

    dmacy does a lot of them and documents almost all of them here. He has a lot of tips and tricks you can find in his posts.

    2 months later
    #17 11 months ago

    I have done many EM playfield swaps. My method is everything works before stripping the pf. I have never had to replace a dim or flickering bulb socket after I used a Pinball Resource bulb socket cleaner. It must be magic. I have never replaced the braid as it is already attached to everything it needs to be attached to. Why make more work and problems for yourself? There are always glitches on first power up after the swap, but I think keeping the sockets and braid where the manufacturers put them minimizes the problems after the swap. Just my lazy man’s method to minimize the hassle and increase the chances for successful swap.

    #18 11 months ago

    I have only done two in my day. What I done was remove as much as I could from the top. Then prop it up and unscrew the lamp sockets and switches. Unsolder the solonoids and label the wires. Then start unscrewing the cable looms and the harness drop into the cabinet. I mark the holes where the looms. Just reverse the process when you install the new one. Screw in the harness first and then re-attach the switches and lamps. It will be easy . The harness will want to go back to its original shape.

    #19 11 months ago

    This thread and the “save those legs” thread are the best on Pinside right now outside of the few restorations being captured. So glad to see people chiming in and sharing tips that relate to the hobby, for a minute I thought this place was just GIFs and arguments anymore.

    5 months later
    #20 6 months ago

    Keeping this thread alive, I would like to know if Wade's play fields require you to pre-drill the finished side holes before attempting to screwing in new hardware. I've read that sometimes the clear coat would crack around the screw hole on some freshly cleared play fields. Not sure if this applies to Wade's or not.

    #21 6 months ago
    Quoted from Playdium:

    Keeping this thread alive, I would like to know if Wade's play fields require you to pre-drill the finished side holes before attempting to screwing in new hardware. I've read that sometimes the clear coat would crack around the screw hole on some freshly cleared play fields. Not sure if this applies to Wade's or not.

    I have only swapped one Wade playfield. I was informed that it is advised to predrill the top side screw holes.

    There have been instances where the diameter of the holes are small enough where screws will break off while installing.

    I predrilled the Quick Draw playfield I swapped and it benefited from predrilling.

    #22 6 months ago
    Quoted from Playdium:

    Keeping this thread alive, I would like to know if Wade's play fields require you to pre-drill the finished side holes before attempting to screwing in new hardware. I've read that sometimes the clear coat would crack around the screw hole on some freshly cleared play fields. Not sure if this applies to Wade's or not.

    Use a socket to drive a hex-head screw for pre-drilling. You get maximum leverage with no risk of your tool slipping off the head and damaging the playfield. Also, these hex-head screws are only threaded as deep as the holes need to be, so they’re stronger—and the shallow threads serve as a perfect indicator when to stop drilling.

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    #23 6 months ago

    Yea pre drill with 7/64ths especially when using old (soft) hardware

    2 months later
    #24 3 months ago
    Quoted from pinhead52:

    Yea pre drill with 7/64ths especially when using old (soft) hardware

    When doing a swap I always try to use new hardware. There are instances where there is a strange size of screw, but then I sand the heads to a shine in that case.

    #25 3 months ago

    I throw the harness in the dishwasher w everything attached, including lamp sockets and original ground braid. I'll replace the ground braid in areas where it's frayed or thinning when it's back in place on the new pf, and replace flickering/dim lamps when the game is back up and running. I'd rather replace 10 of them than 30 or 40. Not a price thing, just less work. My strategies tend to change from swap to swap though.

    #26 3 months ago
    Quoted from pinzrfun:

    I throw the harness in the dishwasher w everything attached, including lamp sockets and original ground braid. I'll replace the ground braid in areas where it's frayed or thinning when it's back in place on the new pf, and replace flickering/dim lamps when the game is back up and running. I'd rather replace 10 of them than 30 or 40. Not a price thing, just less work. My strategies tend to change from swap to swap though.

    How do you dry everything? What do you do about water trapped in the nylon insulator tubes in all of the switch stacks?

    #27 3 months ago
    Quoted from pinzrfun:

    I throw the harness in the dishwasher w everything attached, including lamp sockets and original ground braid. I'll replace the ground braid...

    I throw every thing in as well (although it's not a ground braid )

    Quoted from leckmeck:

    How do you dry everything? What do you do about water trapped in the nylon insulator tubes in all of the switch stacks?

    Honestly, I don't do anything. You could use compressed air if it's around to blow them out but doesn't seem needed.
    I throw it on a towel and when it's warm put it out in the sun, when cold on the basement floor.

    Quoted from pinzrfun:

    .... I'd rather replace 10 of them than 30 or 40...

    I hear you there, although I switched to Yoppsicles and replaced all controlled lamps and it was kind of fun.

    #28 3 months ago
    Quoted from leckmeck:

    How do you dry everything? What do you do about water trapped in the nylon insulator tubes in all of the switch stacks?

    Same as above, throw it on a towel. No problems.

    #29 3 months ago

    I put the harness on a pinbot in a degreaser to clean up. Bad thing is it ruined the lamp sockets(feature) 44 sockets. Made them loose. So I wont be doing that going forward.

    #30 3 months ago
    Quoted from pinzrfun:

    I throw the harness in the dishwasher w everything attached, including lamp sockets and original ground braid. I'll replace the ground braid in areas where it's frayed or thinning when it's back in place on the new pf, and replace flickering/dim lamps when the game is back up and running. I'd rather replace 10 of them than 30 or 40. Not a price thing, just less work. My strategies tend to change from swap to swap though.

    I've never done a playfield swap or a restoration, so as a newbie to this, everything meaning coils and steppers also?

    #31 3 months ago
    Quoted from BubbaK:

    I've never done a playfield swap or a restoration, so as a newbie to this, everything meaning coils and steppers also?

    I've never done or seen anyone do an EM swap w stepper motors, but on the solid state games yes, coils and all, drop target mechs, switches, everything.

    Somewhere on here is a playfield restoration guide that details it. The harness will still retain the shape it's been in for 35 years.

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