(Topic ID: 266961)

Restoring My First Pin - Flight 2000

By kpninja12

83 days ago

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  • 36 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 days ago by kpninja12
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5H - cleaned green planet (resized).jpg
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5A - B L A S T (resized).jpg
4 - ME alcohol and Novus 2 (resized).jpg
3 - orange sweep paint splatter removal (resized).jpg

#1 83 days ago

Like every pinball story begins (probably), as soon as I was introduced to the paddle-flipping realm of tangible video games, I was hooked. I started playing pinball at barcades near me, joined a pinball league, started watching pinball tutorials, and kept my eyes glued to pinball sales on the hunt for my first pin. Needless to say, here it is! She's a beaut but needs some TLC, like every other quality pin that's 40 years old and has seen some abuse. So, you're welcome to join me on this adventure! I would appreciate your feedback and cheers; let's see another pin restored to life!

This forum post is meant to:

  1. Help me document my project - the straight facts of the project as well as my thoughts and processes through completion
  2. Give me something I can look back on in the future
  3. Motivate me to push through and complete this project
  4. Open up my project to the community, open the opportunity for shared information as well as interest, and maybe even inspire the next person to play and/or restore pinball machines.

Notes to be mindful of:

  1. I am attempting this project with an "unprofessional" budget. I'm just an average dude with lots of random hobbies. I'd like to complete this job without going financially overboard - I'd like to use the resources I have. If I need to spend money, I'd like to spend it where it really counts.
  2. Though I am no professional, I intend to put a lot of work into this restoration to achieve the most professional result possible, within my personal constraints (family, finances, time, space/workshop area, tools, etc.)

Without further lollygagging, let's get this ball rolling! Here's some quick initial snaps of my F2K.
F2K pinball 1 - blurred (resized).pngF2K pinball 2 - blurred (resized).png
( these images are blurred to protect privacy. I plan to make future images nicer to look at )

#2 83 days ago

Got pics of the boards ?

This will be great to follow

#3 82 days ago


** I started this restoration project about a month ago - I will do my best to cover everything from the starting point up to my current progress **

The previous owners of this F2K had it in their basement, originally purchased in the early 2000's so it was with them for at least 15 years. Prior to them, the machine was in an arcade for an unknown length of time. This, in itself, indicated some upcoming challenges as most pins on location were poorly treated and often hacked when problems arose to get the machine back to earning its keep as soon as possible. I was initially skeptical of purchasing the machine because of this fact but overall thought it was in great condition to buy once I looked at it.

Not abiding by the rules of "generally good practice", my first assessment of the machine was to turn it on and see what happens. It would boot up, run through the normal boot sequence, and then jump to idle mode. Great so far!...but that was about it. You could start a game but none of the coils would fire except for the flippers. Random points would be awarded without a ball in play as well. A run of auto-test mode showed no coils firing but everything else seemed to be in order (displays, speech, lighting). After I got it home, I was able to really get an idea of what kind of condition it was in.


  • Machine starts!
  • All four displays are great
  • Backglass in great shape (9/10) (stamp shows replaced in '96)
  • Artwork on cabinet and playfield is still vibrant with color (it was kept covered by previous owner)
  • Majority of plastics are good
  • Flippers are strong!
  • All boards look good
  • Battery on MPU board looks replaced (not sure with what - I'm new to this!)
  • Sound is working and initial speech tests are positive

Damage Report

  • No momentary solenoids fire (Playfield fuse blown: 1 1/4A SB)
  • Upper-Left Sling coil burned and locked up. Wires to solenoid cut.
  • Drop target decals missing/unoriginal for targets 2, 3, and 4
  • Lower Pop-Bumper skirt chipped
  • Mylar around both Pop-Bumpers will need to be removed
  • Dented metal spinners and worn decals
  • Lower-Left Sling plastic broken in its bottom-right corner
  • Top-middle lane plastic broken where it joins the bottom post
  • Blue paint splatter/overspray at top-right of playfield
  • Very worn and beat up playfield glass
  • Playfield artwork wear down to bare wood
  • Previously touched-up playfield artwork is recessed below adjacent art
  • Cupped inserts
  • Screw near drain to prevent Ball 3 detection switch from getting bent
  • Screw through the center coin slot to prevent coin insertion
  • Original Stern and Credit stickers worn
  • Scuffs and gouges around cabinet
  • Wires cut to Coin-Lockout solenoid
  • No coin mech
  • Several switch capacitors broken off (about 5 found in bottom of cab)
  • Damage to sides of wood rails and playfield due to lifting playfield up/down for maintenance
  • Damage to wood rails which support playfield when lifted for maintenance
  • Damage to underside of playfield where supported by lever arm almost to the point of puncture to its topside
  • Missing headbolt
  • Mismatching legbolts
  • Missing PCB screws to hold boards in place in backbox
  • Some minor scratches to backglass artwork, mostly frame

Backglass (resized).jpgPlayfield (resized).jpgBackbox boards - solenoid connections (resized).jpgBackbox boards - no connections (resized).jpgSolenoid Driver Board (resized).jpgMPU Board (resized).jpgLamp Driver Board (resized).jpgPower Regulator and Bridge Rectifier (resized).jpgPlayfield - Lower-left sling plastic (resized).jpgPlayfield - 5bank drop targets (resized).pngPlayfield - art wear (resized).jpgPlayfield - right spinner (resized).jpgPlayfield - Top-middle lane plastic broken. Paint splatter (resized).jpgFront Cab - coin mech (resized).jpgElectronics - cut wire to UL Sling (resized).jpgPlayfield maintenance support (resized).jpg

Project Intent / Plan of Action
For this project, I'd like to restore the entire machine to "like new" condition. As of now, this will include:

  1. Touch-up backglass artwork
  2. Seal backglass artwork
  3. Repair electronics enough to make the game functional
  4. Tear down playfield
  5. Clean playfield
  6. Restore playfield condition (scrapes and dings)
  7. Restore playfield artwork
  8. Clear-coat playfield
  9. Clean and refurbish mechanics
  10. Clean and service all key electronics
  11. Rebuild playfield support mechanism for when servicing machine
  12. Cabinet restoration
  13. Reassemble playfield electronics and mechs
  14. Upgrade to LEDs using LED lamp driver board
  15. Upgrade ROMs

I won't be able to make it perfect but I'd like to get it most of the way there!

Resources and Inspiration
I've been doing a ton of research on pinball restorations - these have been significant sources of my inspiration

Moving Forward
As mentioned in the beginning of this post, I've been working on this machine for almost a month, now. Bear with me as I try to update this forum to my present-day progress. I do welcome your comments, "tricks of the trade", and cool (but clean!) hacks you've used to solve the same, or similar, problems. I am blessed and thankful to my pinball friends who have helped me get this far - this is a shout out to you! I am thankful for your expertise, experience, and willingness to share your knowledge with me. I'm happy to invite you, Pinsider, to that group and this forum. Pinball on.


#4 82 days ago
Quoted from chas10e:

Got pics of the boards ?

Hey chas10e, pictures are uploaded. My apologies that most of them don't show the playfield jumpers plugged in - I took most of the board pictures just recently after I pulled the playfield out of the cab. So, unfortunately, I won't be able to take pictures of everything plugged in until the end of the project.

#5 81 days ago

Yeah I realized this is a place for you to log the progress of your restoration

The request for pics of the boards were to examine their condition and they all look terrific except maybe one toasty pin on the rectifier board.

The battery on the MPU appears to have been replaced before any alkaline leakage occurred ... but it should be removed & replaced with something that will NEVER corrode (well not naturally anyways )


I went the NVRAM route myself https://nvram.weebly.com/ the "Stern MPU-200 NVRAM adapter" is the one specific to that board should you choose to go that route.

On the SDB (solenoid driver board) those 2 big blue capacitors should probably be replaced http://techniek.flipperwinkel.nl/ballyss/rep/index1.htm#cap

On my Flight 2000 I bought the #'s 1-5 drop targets from Steve at PBR http://www.pbresource.com/ think he has the best prices on them also a good source for the other items you will need

Those pop bumper caps are no longer manufactured anywhere with the ribs (at this posting) you can get 'em without the ribs ...but ...but ... ribs are cool

#6 81 days ago
Quoted from chas10e:

Those pop bumper caps are no longer manufactured anywhere with the ribs (at this posting) you can get 'em without the ribs ...but ...but ... ribs are cool

On my F2K i bought the repros first. Never took them out of the package. Decided i had to have the ribs so bought 2 used complete assemblies off a guy who was parting a game out just for the caps haha.

#7 81 days ago
Quoted from chas10e:

The request for pics of the boards were to examine their condition and they all look terrific except maybe one toasty pin on the rectifier board.

You have quite the eagle eye! I was hoping that would slip by unnoticed for now lol. Yeah, it's A2-J1-8 that's burned up which is the General Illumination Bus. I'll have more info on this later

The battery...should be removed & replaced with something that will NEVER corrode

The battery and MPU board were one of the things I first looked at when inspecting the machine. Because it looked like a clean replacement and it's working fine, I'll be leaving it to the end of my project in the "potential upgrades" section. I appreciate the info and links, thank you. That first one has quite a bit of good info; it's good to know what my options are!

On the SDB (solenoid driver board) those 2 big blue capacitors should probably be replaced

I kinda felt the capacitors were ok because they look fine. I would guess that the last time they were replaced was about 15 years ago though, which does sound scary now that I say it! Is it better to replace the caps before they pop or is it ok if I let it sit for a while? I'm trying to postpone "unnecessary" purchases until the end of the project where I can take care of the "nice-to-have" upgrades/updates.

I bought the #'s 1-5 drop targets from Steve at PBR http://www.pbresource.com/ think he has the best prices on them also a good source for the other items you will need

Nice! I've been favoring Pinball Lifebut they don't have everything I need so I was also looking at the obvious Marco's. I didn't want to split orders due to shipping costs but Marcos is slightly more expensive than other resources. So my plan of action was to get a full list of items I need and then do some price comparisons to see if buying from multiple resources is worth it. I'll add Steve's PBR to the list of places

Those pop bumper caps are no longer manufactured anywhere with the ribs (at this posting) you can get 'em without the ribs ...but ...but ... ribs are cool

Ribs are cool! Thankfully, I shouldn't bneed to replace them - I shouldbe able to wash the paint splatter off. The heads aren't damaged other than the paint, so that's good, but one of the skirts is chipped. I was thinking about buying black skirts so it doesn't show dirt/scrapes. I am also buying black rubbers instead of the original white. Do you think it'd be ok to spray a quick clear gloss on the pop bumper caps when they're all cleaned up, would that better protect them in the future from cracking?

Quoted from Completist:

bought 2 used complete assemblies off a guy who was parting a game out just for the caps haha.

Wow! I didn't realize I had such a hot commodity!

#8 79 days ago

Ok, so, the first step I took in this process was to evaluate my Flight 2000 as much as I could before making my first purchase for parts. There were things I knew I obviously needed, such as fuses and playfield rubbers, but I wanted to make sure I could order as many things as I could up-front and minimize shipping costs.

I couldn't help but turn the machine on, run it through the auto-test, and dream that it fixed itself but that obviously didn't get me anywhere! To the schematics I went! I downloaded the F2K schematics from Internet Pinball Database (ipdb.com) and threw the printed pages into a binder so I could make notes on them. My goals were to try and figure out why the playfield fuse blew and verify that other systems were working properly. Over the course of a couple days, I was looking at all of the mechs under the playfield, following wires, and making sure nothing seemed out of place.

At some point along the way, continuing my to go back and forth between the underside of the playfield and the backbox wiring, I nudged something the wrong way because something wasn't right. When I turned the machine on, a swift noise - it was a solenoid! But which one and why? I propped the playfield up, turned the machine on again, and saw the first Apollo launcher solenoid firing (Top Left Kicker - Sol. 18). But it wasn't a momentary fire, it was staying on. Staring at the kicker investigating what might be the cause, it started to burn up because I didn't turn the machine off in time. Oops! And that's how I fried that solenoid But hey, I'm learning.

I decided to take a break from turning the machine on and off for fear of burning more things. Learning more about solenoids sounded good since I seemed good at damaging them. Why not take one apart? Since the wires were already cut to the Upper Left Sling(Sol. 2) I figured it was safe to take it off the playfield. I desoldered the yellow ground wires and removed the rest of the sling (this comes to nip me in the butt later). I've never taken one of these things apart before so I was really curious - but found there was really not much to it

Ok, I thought, I still have a playfield fuse problem. What caused the U.L. Sling to burn up in the first place and what caused the Apollo Top Left Kicker to burn up when I turned the machine on? Since both of those solenoids are near the same area under the playfield, I figured something must be wrong with the wiring. Wires to the switches seemed fine, wires to the remaining coil seemed fine, and nothing fishy was going on with the wiring. I started to check the lamps around these two solenoids as well for fear of the lamps crossing paths with the coils. Ah ha! Lo' and behold I found a General Illumination lamp socket pushed up against the switch for the U.L. Sling. This may be what caused the A2-J1-8 pin to burn up on the Bridge Rectifier Board. I speculated it may have been what caused the U.L. Sling to burn up - theoretically, it was constantly enabling the switch (No. 9) and therefore constantly supplying power to the solenoid, burning it up.
GI lamp on Sw9 (resized).jpg
This exciting find didn't really explain the reason for the Top Left Kicker (Apollo Ball Kicker 1) solenoid to fire and burn up - it seemed unlikely that the GI lamp issue somehow ran all the way to the Ball Kicker solenoid. I was encouraged to investigate more to figure out the kicker issue but I was out of ideas and didn't really have the knowledge of what to do next. I reached out to a friend who actually owns and operates a pinball repair shop - he gave me some helpful advice to check all of the diodes and transistors. Brilliant! Why didn't I think of that? All you experience people out there are probably cringing right now but, being a newbie, I needed a boost of ideas. I started to check every single diode on the bridge rectifier board, playfield coils, and Solenoid Driver Board. I checked out the transistors on the SDB as well (including the transistor chips U1, U3, U4)...everything checked out fine. There was one transistor that was pretty badly corroded (Q10 for #3 Drop Target) but passed the diode test (I will be replacing this one anyway due to the corrosion).

I decided to stop here and put in an order for parts because I was getting antsy and hoping that plugging a fuse in would solve all my problems. Here's a list of things I put on order:

  • Two coils (to replace the U.L. Sling and Apollo Ball Kicker 1)(AE-26-1500)
  • Set of coil sleeves
  • 10 playfield fuses (1 1/4A SB) and a couple of each other type of F2K fuse
  • A few capacitors for the switches (0.05 Mfd, 25V)
  • 8-pin connector (male & female) to replace A2-J1-8 (although I think I ended up buying the wrong thing on accident)
  • Complete set of black rubbers for playfield
  • Red flipper rubbers
  • Plastic protector washers
  • Set of Novus (3, 2, 1)

Now I had to wait for shipping

#9 76 days ago

Lucky for you, I did that a few weeks ago

While I was waiting for the shipment to come in, I broke a couple more things! Let me show you

Sometimes you just need to see something work in order to boost your confidence in a project. In my case, I needed to see those flippers working again so I could hit something. I turned the machine on, rolled a couple credits, started a game (no momentary solenoids firing still, waiting on fuses!), and....no flippers. Wwwwhaahaat!?!? They were working last time I had the machine on, what happened? Nothing changed with the flipper coils or playfield wiring, I hadn't messed with that. It must have come from the Solenoid Driver Board because I did take it out of the backbox to look at it a day or so prior. Flipper wires were all plugged in (J1-8, J1-9, J2-1, J2-2) - what the heck is going on? This was a good learning moment for me because I started looking up how flipper mechanisms worked, especially in conjunction with the Flipper Enable Relay ( here's a good resource). I figured neither of the flippers would fire because something was wrong with the Flipper Enable Relay (FER) since it controls both flippers. The Flipper Enable Relay looked fine on the board, though, and it was working just a day or two before. Going back to the Solenoid Driver Board, I checked the transistor for the relay (Q15). If you want to know how you can check your transistors, I find PinballHelp on YouTube as a great resource (see below).

Per the PinballHelp video, I was testing transistor Q15 by putting the black lead on the transistor tab and red lead on other pins (base/emitter) - everything checked out good. "Well that's weird," I thought. Firing up the machine again still showed the same problem, no flippers. Still convinced it had something to do with the FER, I decided I should trace continuity to it from the Q15 transistor. As I went to do this and got a closer look at the board, I noticed the C-pin (collector) of Q15 was broken in two. That'l do it! I must have broken the pin on accident by accidentally bending the transistor when messing with the board. Because I don't have any transistors lying around, I soldered a bridge between the gap of the broken pin - it's not great and it's a temporary solution as I will be replacing this TIP102 in the future.
IMG_20200404_150409 (resized).jpgIMG_20200404_153326 (resized).jpg
I decided to run some voltage tests on the Transformer/Rectifier Board (A2) to make sure the output voltages were correct. I had never seen the "TP" labels on a circuit board before but after a quick google search I found that it stood for Test Point - the schematics make a little more sense now. Using this fine knowledge in conjunction with the schematic, I could test the desired voltages at each section of the Transformer Board. Genius! Be careful to switch between DC and AC voltage checks, obviously, to keep your DMM lasting long. That's not the problem I had, however; what I did was make an electrician's mistake of the woodworker's motto, "measure twice, cut once." As I was measuring voltages across test points, I followed the fuse numbers with the test point numbers: testing TP1 for F1, TP2 for F2, TP3 for F3, TP4 for-ZAP! Oops! If you take a closer look at the schematic, TP4 is for F5 and TP5 is for F4! Instead of double-checking the schematic (and the labels literally written on the PCB), I was attempting to measure DC voltage at F5 instead of AC and so I blew F5 Don't be like me! Double check before you throw your DMM on something! It's a good thing I added a couple of each fuse type to the order I placed.
Transformer Schematic Test Points - marked (resized).jpg

#10 76 days ago
Quoted from chas10e:

On the SDB (solenoid driver board) those 2 big blue capacitors should probably be replaced http://techniek.flipperwinkel.nl/ballyss/rep/index1.htm#cap

I finally had a chance to read this article the other day - it has great information! It pretty much answered my question about the caps - I should most definitely replace them so I'll be adding them to my parts list. Thanks for looking outI have yet to read the entirety of the article about replacing my battery but I'll likely end up doing that as well. I'll keep you updated with which route I take.

#11 75 days ago

I don't think spraying clear on pop bumper caps is "a thing" .... I'd prolly just get rid of the overspray & call it good.

My F2k had black rubbers when I got it and I liked the way it looked so a stayed with it. Some thought it made it look to dark. I think there is some difference in the elasticity from the white & the black. but with 4 slingshots on the game the ball zips around pretty good with what I have.

I use an el-cheapo meter & will generally have it set to the correct scale to what I'm measuring (DC or AC) .... not sure how it blew a fuse having it set to wrong scale. I will usually see some kind of error message on the digital screen.

Interesting the test point numbers do not correspond to the fuse numbers, I hadn't noticed that before so I guess I lernt something

I think it pretty common that after you place a parts order you discover you need something else ... welcome to the pinball community

#12 69 days ago

My shipment came in and for the sake of this post, the items that particularly mattered for me to more forward with electronics were:

  1. Playfield fuses
  2. Two new coils

First thing I did when I received my shipment was plug in my previously blown F5 fuse (see post #9). I could then test the voltages off the Transformer Board to make the voltages at each Test Point were good, being sure to not make the same mistake as last time. Things checked out ok there. I ended up doing a diode test again on all of my playfield solenoid diodes, SDB through-hole diodes, SDB through-hole transistors (TIP102), and SDB chip transistors (SE9302). Everything seemed ok there (dun dun dun! "seemed" ).

Everything was in order and it was time! I threw a playfield fuse (1 1/4A SB) in and gave the power switch a flip! ...and I was sorely put in my place when the fuse blew immediately after the startup sequence. Back to where I started - no momentary solenoids because something keeps blowing the playfield fuse. Alright, "last resort" I said to myself, and I unplugged all of the solenoid pins from their connectors on the SDB. I knew the flippers were good so I left those connectors in but I pulled all other connectors (A3-J1-5, A3-J2-4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, and A3-J5-3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15). Then, I was going to go through each solenoid, plug it in to the SDB, and run the auto-test to see if the solenoid fires or blows the playfield fuse again. I started with J1 and J2, working my way from lowest pin to highest pin. Note that I didn't do J2-4 because it fires Sol.2 which I hadn't replaced yet and I also didn't do J2-8 because the Coin Lockout wires were cut and not really necessary. All other solenoids worked well during the auto-test: 5-Bank Drop Target Reset, Bottom Pop Bumper, Top Pop Bumper, Top-Right Slingshot, Bottom-Left Slingshot, and Bottom-Right Slingshot. Moving to the next jumper, J5, I skipped J5-3 (Sol.18 Top-Left Kicker) and plugged in the other pins one by one, testing as I went.

While testing at this point, my 5-Bank Drop Target Reset stopped, well, resetting. This was a really frustrating moment for me because I thought I was making some real progress and then I felt like something backfired. It was just working minutes before. The following day (I needed to come at it with a refreshed mind), I ran some continuity tests with the 5-Bank Drop Target Reset solenoid to discover it wasn't connected to ground. If you go back to Post #8, you'll remember that I removed the Top-Left Slingshot coil and left its wires just chilling since they were already cut. However, in my testing of the solenoids and lifting the playfield up and down several times, I eventually bumped the two yellow ground wires where the Top-Left Slingshot coil was removed - dislodging them enough to no longer be touching. This caused the Drop Target Reset to no longer work since its ground wire was in series with the Top-Left Sling ground. Another valuable lesson for me, a single wire means it's terminating, and multiple wires means it's traveling. Duh!

Moving back to J5 of the SDB, I continued to plug in each solenoid pin one by one and test along the way to find the culprit of the playfield fuse. I left out J5-3, Sol.18 Top-Left Ball Kicker, because the coil needed to be replaced. Everything in J5 tested out fine. That narrowed the problem down to J2-4 (Sol.2 Top-Left Slingshot) and/or J5-3 (Sol.18 Top-Left Ball Kicker). I replaced the two bad coils (Sol.2, Sol.18) with new ones (AE-26-1500). I threw in J2-4 and it tested fine. I then threw in J5-3 and-BAM! Playfield fuse blown which means I finally found the culprit, the Top-Left Kicker (Sol.18). I went back to the SDB to figure out what was throwing everything off. I made another discovery of user-error - it seems I like to get in the way of my own progress When testing the transistors on the SDB, I was using the diode mode on my DMM. The problem was that I wasn't actually looking at the voltage readings, I was just listening for my DMM to beep and assuming that meant "all good". Wrong! The beep from the DMM indicates continuity, electricity can travel from A to B. Which it should beep for all diodes because that makes sense. So my Q18 transistor was shorted on one of the pins...and it took me way too long to figure that out The reason the playfield fuse blew immediately after the startup sequence is because if the game doesn't detect 3 balls in the drain, it fires Sol.13 Ball Launcher (AKA Ball Walker) and both of the kickers (Sol.17 & 18) to release any locked balls. I was not aware of this feature, otherwise I may have narrowed this down sooner.

I didn't have any TIP102 transistors lying around so I desoldered Q19, which is for the Coin Lockout, and replaced Q18 with it. Fired everything up and everything is functional to play pinball! Woohooo!

After running up full credits (40) and playing through them all, the game tested out great! Everything was functional and fast!

#13 69 days ago
Quoted from kpninja12:

After running up full credits (40) and playing through them all, the game tested out great! Everything was functional and fast!

lol .... 3 ball or 5 ball? & were extra balls turned on or off .... we need an accurate ball count

I have mine set for 3 ball & no extra balls with the "f'''s awarded individually to simulate competition play.

#14 69 days ago
Quoted from chas10e:

lol .... 3 ball or 5 ball? & were extra balls turned on or off .... we need an accurate ball count
I have mine set for 3 ball & no extra balls with the "f'''s awarded individually to simulate competition play.

Fair questions! It was set to 5 ball by the previous owner but I switched it to 3 ball after a few games or so. I'm used to 3 ball because of a pinball league I joined at the end of last year so had to get rid of that 5 ball play. I don't think extra balls were on but... I'm also not the best pinball player so I probably didn't do well enough to earn it if it's enabled! Never said I was good at pinball, those 40 credits went fast! Mine was set to award both "F"s but I'll change that switch when I put the machine back together (I'm working on playfield restoration right now so everything is taken apart at the moment).

I should've said everything was functional with the machine but not perfect. Both of my spinners need to be tweaked and juiced because they were sticking in an up position so you could shoot a ball straight through and it wouldn't hit the plate so no spins. When it occasionally does hit the plate, it's not spinning well. Some of the drop targets on the 5-bank don't stay up when the bank resets. I'm hoping to clean up these kinds of things when I go through and clean all of the mechanics.

#15 69 days ago

It's a fun and challenging game and "burning through" 40 credits is easy to do !

So lets say 5 games @ 5 ball & 35 games @ 3 ball .... that's -a- 130 balls of satisfaction for the work you put in so far.

#16 63 days ago

That's why we buy these things instead of dropping quarters, right? haha but yeah I love this machine! I respect the old school aspect of the game; it's challenging and kicks out some serious speed. I feel like the biggest flaw, though, is how it re-locks balls after you start multiball. If you haven't already checked it out, some people are working on creating a new ROM set for Flight 2000 and the ideas are brilliant! I'm hoping to update my ROMs with their changes when I get my machine back up and running.

I haven't thought of my work that way, but yes! And there will be many more games to come in the future!

What does a good high score look like for this game? The current high score on my machine is about 7.5 million but I'm positive it's from a 5-ball game and even then I'm not sure of its legitimacy. Is it possible for me to reset the high score without resetting other saved information, such as number of machine plays, extra balls awarded, etc.?

#17 63 days ago

Damaging the playfield, plastics, and mechs further started to concern me as I played my newly running machine - and I had to call it quits eventually to get the ball rolling on the restoration. Needless to say, I had to shut 'er down and start the makeover process. Before I get to that, though, I wanted to log some of my findings/notes of the schematics. As a side note, I've thought about redrawing the schematics digitally to clean things up, make things legible, and correct some mistakes...I may add this to my list of items at the end of the project.

My findings are pretty minor, and I thought I had more items, but either way I figured I'd share to see if anyone had any differences or found similar things with their machine. Here we go:

    Solenoid 13 B-W (resized).png

  1. Solenoid 13 for the Ball Launcher (aka Apollo Walker) is in the schematics (all page references) as wire coloring B-Y for Black-Yellow. However it was B-W (Black-White) for my machine.
  2. Continuous Solenoid notes (resized).png

  3. There's a typo for the Flipper Enable Relay (stemming from Q15) on the Continuous Solenoid schematic. It's indicated to go to A2-J3-8 but it's actually going to A2-J3-9. This typo appears to only be on this page - it's correct on the Wiring Diagram.
  4. My Sol.18 (Left Ball Kicker) was wired to A3-J5-3 instead of the schematic-noted A3-J2-15 (Solenoid Driver Board Schematic). How are other people's physical Sol. 18 wired, which jumper does it connect to?
  5. It's a lot easier to see digitally but on my printed schematic I couldn't read what the last jumper was on the Continuous Solenoids section so I wrote it aside. Large, clear print for the tiny-illegible-text-impaired.
#18 58 days ago

Let the destruction begin! Teardown of the playfield was extremely tedious and kind of nerve-racking! I had to strip a working machine, which I just finished repairing, of all its parts...but, it had to be done! I started with the topside, removing plastics, rubbers, posts, and rails.
Plastics removed (resized).jpgRemoving posts (resized).jpg
Next, I removed the drop target banks and the ball walker- what a reduction in playfield weight! Wow! I was surprised by how heavy those things were.
Most topside components removed (resized).jpg
During the teardown, I was desolding all of the solenoids and switches. I may have made more work for myself but at the same time I decided I want to clean all of the components. I do not have a tumbler but I do have some wire wheels and metal polish. My plan is to work on cleaning up all of the larger metal parts/pieces when I get to the point of waiting for a clearcoat to cure on the finalized playfield.

I took one section at a time, removing one set of items and putting it into its own labelled bag. I'm not sure how others organize their parted pins; if you have a better idea, please let me know! I now have 3 boxes full of bagged pinball parts I tried to take pictures of every single item: a couple pictures of it in place and a couple pictures during disassembly to better understand when it's time for reassembly. That said, I didn't take many good "big picture" ( ) pictures so I don't have many photos of the playfield as a whole during the middle stages of disassembly.
Underside electronics (resized).jpg
I have a few questions for you Flight 2000 folks. What is the wire rail below the flippers for? It is very close to playfield-level so doesn't fully guide the ball like other metal wire rails on the playfiled. It appears to have been made that way because the pegs going into the playfield are much shorter than the other metal wire rails. I'm just not sure what its purpose is. If you know more info about this, let me know! Also, does anyone else have a partially drilled screw near the drain to prevent the ball detection switch from getting bent?
Below flippers (resized).jpg
Does anyone else have random nails under their playfield? I won't be adding these during re-assembly because they don't seem to have a purpose.
Underside - random nail (resized).jpg
At this point, I removed every functional component from the playfield except the lights- I left all GI lamps and controlled lamps. The playfield was finally free!
Topside everything removed (resized).jpgEmpty cab (resized).jpgUnderside playfield GI (resized).jpg
Next task was to remove the lighting. Before removing anything I traced all of the stapled GI wire on the playfield with a marker for later reference. Next was to remove the lamp sockets- some of them had so much solder on them that the screw holding it down was soldered into place. I had to remove all of the staples along the GI lines as well. This was an extremely tedious process- there are probably close to 100 staples holding the GI lines that needed prying with a flathead screwdriver and/or ripping with needlenose pliers. In my frustration and impatience of the slow process, I snapped the GI wire track in a few places
GI wire snap2 (resized).jpgGI wire snap1 (resized).jpg
I need to make a decision to repair the areas I shredded or use all new wiring for the track when I reassemble. I think I have spools of copper wire lying around somewhere but I think what I have is solid, not stranded (existing GI is stranded). The above picture gives you a little glimpse into how messy and dirty the underside of my playfield is from a close up perspective. There's flux and solder randomly splattered all over the underside of the playfield and some areas of application were heavily applied. With all of the lighting removed, you can really see the dirt, grime, and the obvious burns.
Underside - removed GI (resized).jpg
Last step to free this puppy is to remove the remaining wood rails and metal brackets. And there she is, free as a year-2000 rocketship imagined from the year 1980! (except extra dirty)
Topside - removed rails (resized).jpg

#19 58 days ago

First I thought the rail you were speaking of were just ABOVE the flippers .... so I went on this hunt

The rails under the inlane plastics were added to help prevent plastic breakage. They were issued in a service bulletin #23

Was difficult to find but I knew I saw it someplace: http://www.pbresource.com/special.html image copied from there.

The trough screw some discussion here https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/ball-trough-on-flight-2000

I can only speculate that the rail just above the apron would assist in a left lane drain. after looking at the ball trails from a pic in my link above.

Stern Flight 2000 Service bulletin 23 (resized).jpg
#20 58 days ago
Quoted from kpninja12:

Also, does anyone else have a partially drilled screw near the drain to prevent the ball detection switch from getting bent?

One of my classic Stern had a screw coming through the bottom of the PF, with a metal spacer and a bolt on top. I replaced the whole thing with HW from Ace for ~$1, nice and shinny

2" screw with 1" metal spacer with 2 washer, 1 lock washer and a nut (head of screw is under the PF going through it, no T-nut).

86f50aad065cff59dd3d470dbfeb081b0a39f8f2 (resized).jpg
#21 58 days ago

Do you happen to know the width of flight 2000? May be picking one up and want to make sure i can fit it and my family before i go. Coming along great by tje way! Following this!

#22 57 days ago

The nail if it comes up behind the flipper bat is likely someone's replacement for the location pin that is supposed to be there.

Stern widebodies are slightly wider than a normal machine - 24" IIRC so the cabinet is only a couple inches wider than a normal game. At most 6" but likely less.

#23 57 days ago
Quoted from amkoepfer:

Do you happen to know the width of flight 2000? May be picking one up and want to make sure i can fit it and my family before i go. Coming along great by tje way! Following this!


a popular wide-body game, has a 25" wide cabinet/playfield, while other games of that period have a 22 1/2" wide cabinet/playfield.

I don't have my machine near me but I recall it is also a bit longer than my other Bally machines.

#24 57 days ago
Quoted from chas10e:

a popular wide-body game, has a 25" wide cabinet/playfield, while other games of that period have a 22 1/2" wide cabinet/playfield.
I don't have my machine near me but I recall it is also a bit longer than my other Bally machines.

Thank you. 25" was what i was thinking

#25 57 days ago
Quoted from amkoepfer:

Do you happen to know the width of flight 2000? May be picking one up and want to make sure i can fit it and my family before i go.

I measured my pin this morning and drew it in Sketchup. As others have said, yes it's a nominal 25" wide playfield. Here are the full dimensions you'll probably want to consider when attempting to fit in a vehicle and/or home. I picked up this machine with my hatchback and it BARELY fit (with no other passengers). I was lucky my friend, who helped me pick up the pin, drove separate because my car couldn't fit the dolly with the pin.

F2K Full dimensions (resized).pngF2K Cab dimensions (resized).pngF2K Backbox dimensions (resized).png
(NOTE: I was measuring with rough 1/8" precision so my dimensions could be slightly off)

#26 57 days ago
Quoted from chas10e:

The rails under the inlane plastics were added to help prevent plastic breakage. They were issued in a service bulletin #23

Interesting find. My pin has the rails underneath the inlane plastics - it makes sense to help protect those plastics a bit because they're so thin.

I can only speculate that the rail just above the apron would assist in a left lane drain.

I'm actually wondering if maybe it was put there to prevent and/or discourage bangback nudges to get a drained ball back in play?

Quoted from hisokajp:

I replaced the whole thing with HW from Ace for ~$1, nice and shiny

Oooh, nice and shiny indeed! Thanks for including the exact parts you used. It looks very clean, like it's meant to be there, rather than a random wood screw I have. I'll be adding this to my parts list.

Quoted from slochar:

The nail if it comes up behind the flipper bat is likely someone's replacement for the location pin that is supposed to be there.

No, both of my flipper location pins are present (although one is bent out of shape). The nails under the playfield don't penetrate through the topside...I really have no idea why they were added.

#27 57 days ago
Quoted from kpninja12:

I measured my pin this morning and drew it in Sketchup. As others have said, yes it's a 25" playfield but here are the full dimensions you're going to want to know for fitting it in a vehicle. I picked up this machine with my 2014 Ford Focus Hatchback and it BARELY fit (with no other passengers). I was lucky my friend who helped me pick it up drove separate because I wasn't able to fit the dolly in my car with the pin.
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]
(NOTE: I was measuring with rough 1/8" precision so my dimensions could be slightly off)

Thanks for that. Not sure im getting the game now, looks like someone beat me to it and the seller didnt keep his word and hold it for a day. Oh well!

#28 53 days ago
Quoted from amkoepfer:

Thanks for that. Not sure im getting the game now

Ah no, what a bummer! Maybe another opportunity will present itself in the future

#29 53 days ago

On with the playfield restoration! We're almost caught up to my present-day progress so hopefully I can start talking in the present tense soon

Before getting to the top side of the playfield, I really couldn't bare the mess of the underside. Besides the largely obvious discoloration and burn marks, there's crusty flux, random solder, and dirt all over the place. I decided the first step to restoring the playfield would be to clean up the underside - at least enough so it's not making a mess on my desk as I work on it. I also wanted to repair some damage to the wood and this was a prime opportunity to do it. I have several problems with the support arm mechanism used to prop the playfield up for maintenance, one of them being how little it accounts for protecting the playfield from harm. At the "hinge" point, if you can call it that, at the top of the playfield, there was a huge gouge out of the top-right corner of the playfield (both top and bottom). The support arm that props the playfield up is also extremely sharp metal which has shown to really destroy the wood at the "port". Toward the end of this project, I would like to figure out a better, safer way to hinge and prop the playfield - I'll likely do some design iterations in Sketchup.

BEFORE-top gouge (resized).jpgcab playfield support stabby (resized).jpgBEFORE-support hole stabs (resized).jpg

What a mess! My goal here was to sand and repaint the underside of the playfield- nothing too fancy, just nice enough for me to live with. I first grabbed some painter's tape to cover all through-holes on the topside of the playfield - covering anything larger than a screw hole. Maybe a little paranoid, I really didn't want mess up the topside of the playfield so I sliced up a plastic garbage bag and covered the topside of the playfield with it. The garbage bag size was actually a perfect width, I only had to trim a bit off the ends. Using painter's tape again, I adhered the plastic bag to the front of the playfield while wrapping the painter's tape up vertically around the perimeter. This was perfect because the excess tape formed a nice "mold" for the corner gouges I needed to repair. I filled the gouges with regular, all-purpose bondo putty. I also filled the stabbed up "port" hole which held the playfield support arm in place.

Side, bonus story. I wanted to get the wood filler bondo but, for those of you who don't know, some products were restricted from purchase in Michigan during the Covid-19 government restrictions. So, although the store had the wood filler bondo in stock, I wasn't able to get to it because it was in the paint aisle I managed to at least snag the all-purpose bondo from an end cap, luckily. So, I'm not sure what other people use but I hope the all-purpose bondo is good enough!

BEFORE-topside taped (resized).jpg

After the bondo cured I fired up the sander to level the bondo repairs and to clean up the rest of the mess on the underside. Next task was the paint. I had some extra grey spray paint lying around that I decided to use. All the playfield inserts gave quite the scare at this point, I really didn't want to cut painter's tape to cover every single insert. Thankfully, my wife being nearby, promptly had a great idea to fill all of the inserts with cotton. Brilliant! This worked out great! I would caution you, however, if you plan to use cotton to cover your inserts, here are a few tips:

  • Don't skimp on the cotton, make sure you fill the hole enough to cover every surface and make it dense enough to be able to absorb some paint without "soaking" to the opposite side (which is protecting the insert)
  • Your cotton can potentiall (and will) fly away if it's windy in the area you decide to do your spray painting
  • Doing touch-up sanding to your playfield while there's cotton in the insert holes will strip the cotton right out and you'll have to do it over again

BEFORE-cotton to fill inserts (resized).jpgBEFORE-bottomside sanded (resized).jpg

Playfield was all ready for a makeover! Two thin spray paint coats was good enough for me and it was all I could do with my leftover spray paint can - win win for me! The paint turned out rather perfect, actually, because I can still see (barely) the lines I drew for the GI wires. I probably won't redraw them on there since I have enough reference between the existing lines and my pictures. I topped off the underside with a quick coat of triple thick - maybe overkill but whatevs.

BEFORE AND AFTER-bottomside (resized).jpgAFTER-profile bottomside (resized).jpg

Next up was to clean out the dirt (or soot?) from the inserts that had built up over the years (you can see how black they are a couple pictures up). I just used some generic glass cleaner and some cotton swabs - they cleaned up really well! I will use this final picture as a reference for buying colored LEDs. Until cleaning the inserts, I didn't realize the earned "BLASTOFF" letters all have off-white inserts - I initially thought they were yellow. I haven't decided what color I'll buy for those ones yet My understanding is you buy white LEDs for yellow inserts....does that mean buying yellow LEDs is not good for white inserts? Idk, maybe I'll skip all that and go to purple

AFTER-clean inserts front view (resized).jpg

2 weeks later
#30 38 days ago

Today, we move to the topside of the playfield!

I'd like to reiterate that I've never touched a playfield before so I have no idea what I'm doing Some things you can only research and read so much of in attempt to understand, it takes experiencing to really solidify understanding.

Let's look at some pictures.

1B - bottom right playfield (resized).jpg1C - top shooter lane (resized).jpg1D - corner gouge (resized).jpg1E - L A S T top lanes (resized).jpg1F - orange sweep (resized).jpg1G - splattered planets (resized).jpg1H - Special and Spot (resized).jpg1I - recessed paint (resized).jpg1J - green planet (resized).jpg

Despite being covered, the playfield collected a lot of dust and debris over the years; it probably hasn't been cleaned in 10 years. For the first phase of cleaning the topside, I started with just a cloth and isopropyl alcohol (thankfully I bought this bottle long before the Covid-19 pandemic because now you can't find alcohol anywhere). With the dampened cloth, I dabbed it across the playfield to lift the major, more abrasive debris. It didn't pick up much but it was a good start to get familiar with the playfield. I then took a microfiber cloth, dampened that with alcohol, and started to softly scrub dirt off. This worked ok but a lot of noticible dirt and ball swirls remained. After scrubbing in certain areas, it appears the playfield has some sort of protective clearcoat on it...but I'm not sure what it is. It seems that the clearcoat is covering existing dirt as well as ball swirls (therefore sealing these impurities into the playfield), or it could be that whatever clearcoat was used has weathered to the point of absorbing/retaining accumulated dirt and ball swirls. It's been really difficult for me to be sure. Again, I don't have much knowledge in this area. Were playfields clearcoated during manufacturing back in 1980? If so, I would imagine the coating they used wasn't as good as the automotive clearcoat used today. I'm kind of stuck at these crossroads trying to decide if I should attempt to strip the existing coat or if I should leave the existing coat, clean it up as much as I can, do my touch-ups, and then clearcoat on top of it. One way or another, by the wear we see on the playfield now, we know that the old clear is not sufficient enough to protect the playfield.

I knew I could at least start the playfield restoration with mylar removal and cleaning up the splatter paint. Mylar removal was extremely easy, thankfully, and I think that's due to whatever clear is on the playfield. I've never even held a Duster can before so I was really not familiar with the "freeze" feature of these air cans. For those who haven't used it before, it's just a can of pressurized air (often used to clean dust from hard-to-reach places like electronics/keyboards). If you hold the can upside down, however, it shoots freezing air and fluid (not really sure what kind of liquid). The freezing cold air is supposed to seize up the mylar glue which in turn releases the mylar from the glue. Again, this method worked great on my playfield! It was rather terrifying at first when I shot the mylar - I wasn't expecting any liquid to be shot out of the can so that was surprise. When it released onto the mylar and started bubling into a white foam, I was terrified that it was eating away at the playfield. Nope! No worries! It just foams up and can later be wiped off with a damp cloth. Whew! Scared me at first - I thought I ruined everything! When you use the freezing air method, make sure you keep your hands away from the spray by holding the mylar with tweezers or something. Also, don't pry or lift the mylar with force - all you need is a small, constant, taut grip. When the glue freezes, it will release the mylar.

2A - duster can (resized).jpg2B - mylar removal process (resized).jpg

You can see from the pictures that the overspray blue paint was on top of the mylar. This means the clearcoat was added first, then the mylar, then overspray paint. The blue overspray could very well have been from the manufacturing process - if it was, it means the clearcoat was applied during manufacturing as well which means the clear (whatever that may be) on my playfield is 40 years old. If the overspray paint is not from the manufacturer, well that just means someone had careless excecution of cabinet touch-ups lol.

2C - released mylar (resized).jpg

With the glue left behind, I used the classic alcohol + flour technique to remove it. I really feel bad for the folks who have full-playfield mylar - how tedious it must be to remove that glue! I was getting impatient with just my two small pop bumper mylar rings. Due to my impatience, I grabbed a thin, blunt piece of metal to scrape the glue off. I used the back, blunt end of the metal shaft of an X-Acto blade. I'm not recommending you do this because I don't know how other playfields are. I think the only reason I could get away with using this is because the existing clear on my playfield and the mylar was applied on top of it. Regardless, it worked really well to remove the glue after applying alcohol and flour. I did nick the playfield in a couple areas, though, so I'll need to do some extra touch-ups later.

2E - mylar glue scrape (resized).jpg

You can also really see the color varyation between the mylar-covered playfield areas and the surrounding areas. I'm having a difficult time deducing if the coloration difference is due to playfield color fade, clearcoat discoloration/fade, or accumulated dirt (or a combination).

2F - mylar removed (resized).jpg

My next task was to remove the overspray blue paint from, well, everything. The excess paint was all over the upper playfield. Most of the spots were at the top-right of the playfield but I found traces of it all the way down to the far left areas by the upper-left slingshot. To remove the paint, I took a cotton swab dampened with alcohol to prep the target spot. I then used the sharp end of my flat-head X-Acto blade to lightly scrape the paint off. I sure hope you don't have to do this to your playfield! The blade worked rather well to remove the paint, it was just tedious (as you can probably imagine) to scan the entire playfield for every single, tiniest blue spec of paint and then try to scrape it off without accidentally cutting into the playfield. I made another few nicks in the playfield during this process as well that I'll need to touch up later...but I have so much to do already, what are a few more spots?

3 - orange sweep paint splatter removal (resized).jpg

Once I cleaned up those particular surface spots, I decided to do a complete topside playfield scrub. What could clean up the playfield the most without destroying it? I tested out the common tools I've heard about: Novus 2, Novus 1, and off-brand Magic Erasers (w/alcohol). Basically what I found was the Magic Eraser did a decent job at scrubbing off dirt/grime and the Novus 2 did a decend job at hiding the cracks in the clear. I ended up scrubbing the entire topside of the playfield with an alcohol-dampened Magic Eraser plus Novus 2.

4 - ME alcohol and Novus 2 (resized).jpg

Again, I'm not recommending my methods because my playfield may be different than others'. I've heard Magic Eraser and Novus 2 are quite abrasive and yes, they will completely destroy exposed paint. Using this method stripped all paint touch-ups currently on my playfield. The true colors of my playfield, or lack thereof, now show! I don't see this as a step backwards in my progess, though. With the touch-up paint removed, I can really see what needs to get re-leveled and painted. I previously planned that whatever touch-up paint I would do, I would try to bring it up to the same level as the adjacent paint to minimize visible divots in the artwork. My main scare in touch-up work is going to be matching colors, lettering ("2000" and "PLUS"), and the dot matrix fade in the green parts of the planet.

Here are some before and after pictures summing up my work so far. Sorry for the inconsistent lighting of the pictures.

5A - B L A S T (resized).jpg5B - cleaned bottom right playfield (resized).jpg5C - cleaned top shooter lane (resized).jpg5D - cleaned L A S T top lanes (resized).jpg5E - cleaned top center playfield (resized).jpg5F - cleaned orange sweep (resized).jpg5G - cleaned special spot blast (resized).jpg5H - cleaned green planet (resized).jpg5Ib - cleaned full playfield (resized).jpg

At this point, we're caught up to my current progress!

Right now I don't have a clear plan for artwork restoration. I'm mulling over ideas of stripping the existing clear vs leaving the old clear and starting restoration now. I'm also mulling over methods for painting and what equipment to use (and potentially buy) to reach that end. To sum up, I'm sorting out my thoughts and tools for the job. Any input you might have as I contemplate the next steps, feel free to share!

#31 38 days ago

Some really good progress. Check out this massive post for direction on equipment and techniques


#32 37 days ago

Yeah I've read Vid's guide before but it's been a while. I need to go back and read through it again. Although I'm trying not to spend a fortune on tools and materials and I know his guide suggests some professional grade stuff. For instance, I planned to hand brush paint touch-ups because I don't have an airbrush kit.

3 weeks later
#33 16 days ago

Hey gang, it's been a while. Don't fret, I am still alive and I am still working on this project. My dad was generous to give me his old airbrushing kit so I have been playing around with that. I never realized how much skill and control is needed to operate an airbrush effectively! I'll spare you pictures of my practice work since I have a ways to go yet but I thought I'd show you at least some progress I've been making - color mixing! I'm prepping colors for artwork touchups - I'll honestly probably spend quite a bit of time here because I want to get the colors right. It'll never be perfect, I know that because there are varying amounts of color wear across the playfield, but I'd like to hit a solid median in a color match before proceeding.

airbrush (resized).jpgpaints (resized).jpg

I got these little glass containers at Dollar Tree, 5 for $1. They fit just the right amount of paint!

So far I think I have the off-white locked in and I'm pretty happy with it! The off-white color is mainly unseen except for two critical areas on my playfield that need attention:

  1. The green planet's orbital ring/rim, and
  2. The Bonus Multiplier "Plus" background.

You can see my purple is still very far off

off-white (resized).jpgpurple (resized).jpg

Note that I swabbed the paint on top of the existing clear and let it dry for a better comparison. It will all come off with a quick dose of alcohol and a scrub. No harm done!

#34 16 days ago

That blue splatter is really strange. Not present on my game at all. As to the svrrw as the drain it isn't too prevent damage to the switch it is to make sure the ball doesn't skip the switch. As originally designed once in a while the ball would drain and jump right over the wire. This would really confused the machine as it uses that first switch to know the ball has ended and also to know how many balls are in the trough. Once that count is wrong the game gets very weird and glitchy. The screw was the recommended fix from Stern. These games were only supposed to last a couple years on route before you bought the next one to replace it. They didn't really care if a screw looked ugly. Most players would never notice. Just keep it up and running and making money for 12 more months before you replaced it with newer game. Mine did not have the screw and it caused lots of problems. I didn't want to add one either as it looks janky. I did come up with another better looking solution. I will try to get a photo today.

#35 14 days ago

Not the best pic through the glass but here is the what I did instead of the screw. I made a black card that essentially extends the metal of the apron. It is literally card stock with electrical tape on it if I recall correctly. I was going to make something nicer but it looks great and works. Hard to tell it apart from the metal of the apron and looks way better than a drywall screw!

#36 8 days ago
Quoted from ArcadeRaid:

As to the screw as the drain it isn't too prevent damage to the switch it is to make sure the ball doesn't skip the switch.

Ahhh, that makes much more sense! My switch is bent so I thought the screw was to prevent further damage to it. Preserving game state is a seriously important matter so I understand the quick fix to make sure games were working on site.

I made a black card that essentially extends the metal of the apron.

Nice! I'm not sure if you are considered lucky that you didn't have a screw in your playfield or unlucky The cardstock looks good, I'm surprised it holds up against a metal pinball. How is it secured? Although I guess the ball can't have too much momentum by the time it gets to that position of the drain. My playfield already has a hole from the screw so I'll probably do a solution similar to hisokajp (post 20). You're right though, most players aren't going to take the effort to look at the drain from the playfield-angle.

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