I have a Sentinel Flying Aces, and to be honest I love the thing. I can't use a full size cabinet because I'm a full time wheelchair user. This sucks for a few reasons. I just don't have the room upstairs for a full size cabinet, and I would have to modify the cabinet's legs to play it. However, the Sentinel Flying Aces is small enough to fit in my "game room" and short enough for me to play it in a wheelchair!!
First photo was taken by my wife. My wife bought it off a friend for like $50 because it was broken and had sat in their garage for years. She and a friend of hers brought it home and snuck it into the basement where she knew I wouldn't see it and that my daughter wouldn't see it. Later that night, she couldn't stand it any longer and told me about it. I immediately had my daughter help my wife get it upstairs.
Second photo is first play. At first, it worked. I played maybe 2 games on it and the display was messed up. The display worked mostly at first. After a few plays, the flipper buttons quit working and the start button quit working. Mr. Ken Layton's excellent information allowed me to track down that it was the transistors for the drivers and pre-drivers. I know a little bit about PCB soldering, but I'm not the greatest at it. Without a secondary board, I decided to replace these transistors.
The third photo is me with the driver TIP102 and pre-driver transistors out of the PCB successfully without lifting or ruining traces!
The fourth photo is after I got the new transistors soldered in. I was certainly proud of myself at this point but hesitant to call it solved until I plugged it in and it worked. So I plugged it in and tested it out. It worked!! The display was now basically tanked, so I sent it out to a local electronics repair shop who charged me a whopping $6 each to replace the IC chips, plus the cost of the IC chips. Ken was not wrong when he said that these IC chips are kind of hard to find. Unfortunately I don't have photos of this either.
I ordered a rubber kit and a new ball. While that was shipping out, I decided I would take care of the playfield. The metal rings around the bop bumpers had started lifting, so I grabbed my heat gun and used that to heat the original glue on them. They didn't use glue, they used some stupid kind of like, double sided tape. So, not wanting to remove that (the metal is FLIMSY!!) I decided to use some two-part epoxy to glue it down. Being very careful, I mixed up a small amount and smeared it on the metal ring I already removed. I then placed it back down and held it down for a few minutes. Then I stuck a bunch of small heavy objects on it to hold it down over night. It worked, but that takes forever. So I got out the good old Super Glue. Where it had pulled up, I glued it back down carefully. Don't use a lot of it. But that worked amazingly well, actually.
Next, I decided to tackle the slingshot pads. These hadn't pulled as much, so I glued down what had. The contacts looked tarnished for the rollover switches so I went at them with piece of emery cloth and that cleaned them up. I thought the rings around the bumpers and the pads for the slingshots were pretty clean, but when I played the game both the slingshots and most of the bumpers were kind of spotty. So, I went at those with some emery cloth too. Next I wiped them down with some electrical cleaner on a rag. Then, I went hard at the playfield with a vacuum and some mild temperature water. I felt pretty confident that this was OK because most of the clearcoat on my playfield was in good shape. Also, I didn't use a boatload of water. Just enough to dampen a rag.
Next I went out and got some good carnuba wax. I waxed that thing like 4 times, each time rubbing excess wax off. The playfield shines like new now. Ok, time to give this thing a try with all the cleaning I did. And guess what? Holy crap, the slingshots and bumpers work EVERY time now!! The wax had the added benefit of giving the ball a bit less "traction" making it easier to get the weak flippers to play the game.
I've added a cheap "spring saver" I made. I'll be honest, I saw this mod elsewhere on the forums and the other user did a much better mod, but I used his to modify mine in almost the same way. The other user here on the boards did this mod so that about 30% of the time, the saver would bounce the ball back into the field of play and save it from just being a dead ball. I figured that because this game has no other purpose than to bounce the ball off as many things as possible before play ends, having a massive dead zone and a 30% chance of save isn't enough. So I held a ball so that about 50% of the lane passages will be dead and 50% will be saved. Eventually I'll get a nicer one and replace it. But at least it keeps the ball in play more.
I don't mind the dual flipper action, because I'll be honest... I was one of those pinball players that flipped both flippers all the time anyway lol. What does bother me is how weak they are. I saw on the PinWiki that Ken suggests that Sentinel/Phillips/Wonder Wizard should have used Gottlieb 2" flat top flippers. Has anyone done this? Is it a direct replacement? Can I seriously just buy the flat-top white 2" flippers, the thin shoe/shaft, and the panhead screws and get genuine flipper action? I'd assume you also get more power because the flipper's would no longer be offset? I've taken some measurements and doing the 2" flipper conversion will add 1/8" to the ball drain size. Can anyone confirm more flipper power with 2" flippers and was the mod worth doing?
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