(Topic ID: 252252)

Repairing Stern Pinball EM


6 months ago

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  • 11 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 months ago by rolf_martin_062
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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#1 6 months ago

There are at least two of us working on the EM version of Stern's "Pinball"...Greg wanted to see a picture of my 000-900 stepper, so here it is. We can add pics and discussion here as we try to revive "Pinball"!

#2 6 months ago

My Stern Pinball EM...starts and plays, has issues with player count and ball count. Also a lot of sketchy score reel soldering...

#3 6 months ago

At least you have a backglass. Mine is missing that and some other stuff.

1 month later
#4 4 months ago

Been working on Pinball a bit lately. Big thanks to DCP for posting that photo. I've filled in the burnt spots on my stepper board with a conductive epoxy that I got on Amazon. It's not pretty, but it's functional. Tin strip epoxied to the stepper board would be pretty, but that's in the future.

Next problem is the common Chicago Coin score reel connector problem. After 35 years or so, the plastic connectors just wear out and come apart.
I've decided that soldering the wires to the score reel boards is a bad idea. A previous owner did that to a half-dozen of them, and I've got random wires coming loose. The solder joints are failing. I've been soldering them back on so that they don't get mixed up, but that's just a temporary solution. I've decided to go with new connectors on everything. I found some here:


They're also available on Amazon. They work!! However, they're just a little bit long. There's one extra set of connections on one end that you won't use, so you have to be careful when installing them to make sure that everything lines up. The connectors delivery time is about three weeks, so I'm waiting for a few more to finish the job. There will also be a few spares, as the old connectors that remain are going to fail sooner or later.

To simplify things, I soldered 2" pigtails to the new connector on the bench, and then spliced the pigtails into the machine's harness one wire at a time, soldering the splices and going over them with heat-shrink tubing. It's important to check continuity across the pigtails before installation to make sure that there aren't any shorts in your soldering work. I also checked across the connector from the splices to the board before heat-shrinking them (yeah, I'm like that). There wasn't a lot of wire to play with on the harness, so the extra 2" helped. Once finished and installed, a couple of small wire ties spiffs up the job.

I just clipped one wire at a time from either the old connector or the soldered board and then spliced into the pigtail, so I didn't mix things up. I was able to remove almost all of the old solder from the reel board with a soldering gun on high heat, leaving me with a surface smooth enough for the new connector to work.

While waiting for my connectors to arrive, I'm learning how to read the schematic that I was able to find online. Once these connectors are fixed, then the real detective work will begin. In the meantime, I can now play the machine by tripping the reset relay by hand, and I've found that I really like it. The spinner, the pop-ups and the rules make things interesting. It's a blast to play - much better than the old Bally EM that I owned for twenty years. I do miss that tilt-up glass though......

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#5 4 months ago

Thanks Underdog 57. I may give those a try. I probably won't do all of them but there are a couple that only work when they feel like it.

You mentioned that you found a schematic on-line. Do you have a link to that or could you post the schematic? Thank You

#6 4 months ago

Hi edednedy.

Sorry, but I suppose I wasn't clear about that schematic. I bought it from Marco Specialties, from their online catalog. The print is huge, and my little flatbed scanner wouldn't know how to handle it.

#7 4 months ago

Kinkos will scan a schematic for $6 and Staples will scan it for $2.

#8 4 months ago
Quoted from underdog57:

I do miss that tilt-up glass though

You mean the Bally “finger guillotine?” I really like my Nip-It, but I wish the glass just slid out.

2 weeks later
#9 4 months ago
Quoted from HowardR:

Kinkos will scan a schematic for $6 and Staples will scan it for $2.

Why yes, Staples did do that for $1.99. I've just joined that arcade-museum site and made $11 worth of donations in order to get access to their forums - hoping to upload that .pdf so that everyone can access it.

I've had no success yet, though. It will get there, sooner or later, I suppose. This is an incredible amount of hassle just to give something away.

If you pm me with an email, I can send you the .pdf now.

edit: I've got that .pdf file uploaded to the museum site now. Jeez, what a bunch of trouble.....

#10 4 months ago

IPDB uploads are working again. You can upload here

1 week later
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