(Topic ID: 151481)

Stern Lightning club: Welcome to Valhalla


By Jappie

3 years ago



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  • 91 posts
  • 36 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 day ago by Lathroum
  • Topic is favorited by 8 Pinsiders

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There are 91 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 3 years ago

When I posted some pictures of my Stern Lightning in another thread, I realised there wasn't a club for this pin yet. So... here it is.

'Now why does a pin like Lightning deserve a club on Pinside?' one might ask. Well, I like to think of it as one of those under-the-radar-pins'. A machine that's lots of fun, there just aren't a lot of people that actually know how fun it is. And Lightning sure is fun. A beautiful 2 level layout, fast gameplay, refreshingly quirky Classic Stern-rules, awesome artwork, multiball, speech... I could go on.

So, any owners or admirers of the game here on Pinside? Make yourselves known! I'd love to see or hear about your games.

#2 3 years ago

Let me start with my own machine. I bought it in very sorry condition. Lots of warped and loose inserts, mildew on the playfield and even some small dead animals inside. I patiently took the time to do a small budget renovation. Now it's in very nice and very playable condition.

Among other things, I straightened and reseated the inserts, touched up and clearcoated the playfield and repainted the legs and the coin door. Here are some before, during and after pics.

Before
Before: inserts warped and came loose
Before: the coin door and legs in their original, slightly rusted condition
During
During: carefully popping the inserts out of the playfield
During: some nasty mildew around the posts
During: inserts gone
During: a little help
During: drying from a clearcoat. I put some extra clearcoat in the round inserts to deal with the cupping.
After
After: coin door and legs freshly repainted
After: one of the previous problem areas has been dealt with
After: Yay! No more warped blue inserts either

After: the upper playfield
After: the lower playfield
After: the boards, free of battery damage and with all new capacitors
After: the backglass, lightly touched up and sealed with clear varnish
After: the completed machine

I also installed a small mod: I installed a ramp flap underneath the upper playfield outhole. This makes the ball always leave the top playfield through the right side of the horse shoe. Now, the ball never hits the points switch on the left side when it exits the top playfield. This means you actually have to hit the horse shoe to get those points, which in my opinion contributes to the fairness of the game. Didn't take any pictures of the mod yet, but I am happy to do that if anybody is interested.

#3 3 years ago

I'm a member of this club as well. And I completely agree about this being an under the radar game. I had never played it before I bought it, and was surprised at how fast and fun it is. I picked mine up as a non working project; wouldn't boot, lifted and cupped inserts, broken plastics and filthy.
I have fixed the really bad inserts and will go through the rest when I have time. The only issue I struggle with now is getting speech to work. Hopefully i will have thst worked out in the next few,weeks. My cab needs a lot of love and someday I will get around to scanning it in and sending to pinball pimp to get some stencils made.

#4 3 years ago

I like your idea of the ramp gate in the horseshoe. If you want to add a little more speed to the game, take the gates off the ramps.

#5 3 years ago
Quoted from Evilive69:

I like your idea of the ramp gate in the horseshoe.

Thanks! It works really well. Adds a bit of speed too, as the ball comes out of there a bit faster than it would without the mod.

Quoted from Evilive69:

If you want to add a little more speed to the game, take the gates off the ramps.

Cool idea! I think that would make the game too fast for me. It's already lightning fast with the gates on (pun kind of unavoidable).

#6 3 years ago

Well, great club of 2 we got here!

Any other proud owners of this awesome game?

#7 3 years ago

Ex-owner.

It's a fun game, I liked the multi-ball rules. And the art is good

1 month later
#8 3 years ago
Quoted from Evilive69:

I'm a member of this club as well. And I completely agree about this being an under the radar game. I had never played it before I bought it, and was surprised at how fast and fun it is. I picked mine up as a non working project; wouldn't boot, lifted and cupped inserts, broken plastics and filthy.
I have fixed the really bad inserts and will go through the rest when I have time. The only issue I struggle with now is getting speech to work. Hopefully i will have thst worked out in the next few,weeks. My cab needs a lot of love and someday I will get around to scanning it in and sending to pinball pimp to get some stencils made.

I have nice scans and have started stencil design for LIGHTNING. Hang in there and they will be available soon.

Jeff

1 month later
#9 3 years ago

Just joined the club! Game has a couple issues, but should work out fine. Anyone have a link to rule set?

#10 3 years ago

I want to own this game someday. Have some great memories of this game as a kid. Brutally hard game.

#11 3 years ago

I am awaited! Awaited in Valhalla! Witness me!

#12 3 years ago
Quoted from zippydapinhead:

Just joined the club! Game has a couple issues, but should work out fine. Anyone have a link to rule set?

Welcome to our small club!

I don't think there is a ruleset for Lightning available on the internet. Or is there?

Some important rules:
- Hit the 3 drop target banks in the right order (they're numbered) to light Extra Ball.
- After this, the spot where the Extra Ball can be scored switches between the middle target of each drop target bank.
- Hit all the standup targets on the playfield for Multiball.
- During Multiball, playfield multiplier is activated by shooting the horse shoe (2x-4x). This continues during one ball-play, until you loose that ball.
- During multiball, you can re-lock balls. When you do, they stay locked. This means multiball may end by locking 2 balls during multiball. The multiball rules however stay active until you lose your ball.
- Every drop target you hit adds 1000 point to your end of ball bonus.
- Bonus multiplier can be lit in the horse shoe (2x-5x).
- The bonus of your last ball carries over to the next ball. (this might be operator adjustable).
- Valhalla (timed bonus ball) can be played one time each game, after reaching a score set by the operator.
- During Valhalla, you have 30 seconds of unlimited single ball play.
-After 30 seconds of Valhalla time, the flippers die. Unless you scored a multiball during Valhalla time.

Not a complete ruleset by any means, but this should give you an idea.

#13 3 years ago

I'm also in this small club. This Lightning is in superb condition, very low playfield wear and near perfect cabinet.
All early 80's Stern are low production and people don't know much about them.
I also have a very nice Stargazer, a project Freefall, Quicksilver and the more popular F2K.
I like the early Stern rules, pretty unusual rules for that time and unique for Stern pinballs.
Lightning have a super nice detailled artwork and backglass. Definitively a collector item.

IMG_6301_(resized).JPG

#14 3 years ago

I'm in,mine is a project I'm going to touch up and clearcoat. I already have a new CPR plastic set for it. If the pimp comes out with the stencils I'm going to repaint the cab also.

#15 3 years ago

How's the big blue inserts on your games? They tend to warp pretty badly. On my game, some balls even slammed into the plastic above the horse shoe, because the inserts were acting as mini ramps.

You can flatten these inserts by pulling them out of the game (which luckily went very easy on mine), sanding them straight with high grit sanding paper (carefully), polishing them and then glueing them back in the playfield. Afterwards, you might want to add some sort of protection to it. I clearcoated mine, but mylar should work fine as well.

#16 3 years ago

The big blue inserts on mine where so warped when I got the pin they were almost completely out. I baked them in the over for about 20 minutes at 200, flipped them upside down and pressed them flat. It took about 3 times of doing that to get them flat and level. I wet sanded them and they look as good as possible but they have tons of hairline cracks inside. I'm sure there is a technical term for it but no clue what it is. I am going through the rest of the inserts now due to cupping. The ball keeps jumping over the flippers and drains. Still the pin I end up playing the most. It's just so damn much fun.

1 month later
#17 3 years ago

I just entered Valhalla today! I picked up a decent Lightning today for a steal.

It was working well before I moved it but now everything works (including speech) except for the playfield lights. I haven't dug into the schematics yet. Any thoughts on what connections I should verify? They will very occasionally come on in attract mode. This is my first classic Stern so I am a bit unfamiliar with it. On powerup it gives me a five beeps - is that normal or is that an error code?

#18 3 years ago

You need 7 beeps to have a fully booted game. If you go to Pinwiki.com and check there for the how to process with the beeps.

2 months later
#19 3 years ago

Just joined this club - Picked up a Lightning in decent condition yesterday for $100. The upper right flipper is frozen and when I hit the flipper button the coil fuse blows. I am going to rebuild both upper level flippers and go from there. Excited to get this machine working.

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#20 3 years ago

I've had my lightning project stuck on the shelf for a while now. It's almost time to get her out and bring her to life.

1 month later
#22 3 years ago

Anyone interested in a super deal on a new replacement backglass. I have one with two minor scratches near the edge.

#23 3 years ago
Quoted from greatwichjohn:

Anyone interested in a super deal on a new replacement backglass. I have one with two minor scratches near the edge.

Yes

#24 3 years ago

email being sent. i will have some more printed this fall.

#25 3 years ago

I think my coin door is wired wrong . I'm wondering if one of you fine guys can snap a couple of pics of the wiring on back of coin door and where the harness plugs into the man harness as well ????

1 week later
#26 3 years ago

Decided to put my Lightning up for sale to make room for anot her pin.
https://pinside.com/pinball/market/classifieds/ad/40148

#27 3 years ago

Damn. Wish this was closer to my area. Would love to pick one up. Awesome and brutal game.

#28 3 years ago

Hello guys, joining the club, picked up a non working Lightning this weekend without backglass (for $200) This is going to be my first non-EM to fix,so hope it will work out. Boards should hopefully work (as the seller said) but i have to install them, very curious if i can get this on to life. Playfield looks nice but some insert are sunken a bit.

IMG_75212 (resized).jpg

#29 3 years ago

pulling the guts out...and as commented before...the famous warped blue inserts! what do do with them? in the oven seems to cause Craquelé. sand them down flat?

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#30 3 years ago

reading back Jappie already answered my question/.

1 week later
#31 3 years ago

were do i have to connect the green wire? looks like some sort of ground wire. help appreciated!

help_01 (resized).jpg

#32 3 years ago

anyone out there?...where do i soldier this loose connection?

IMG_0002 (resized).JPG

#33 3 years ago

The green wire is supposed to be screwed to the sideplate between the soundboard and speechboard.
You can see the hole in the picture.

#34 3 years ago

thanks, and the last picture?

#35 3 years ago

just a quick question guys: does your Lightning boot without any balls?...

#36 3 years ago

Think so, yeah. Don't have it here to test, though...

2 months later
#37 3 years ago

I also installed a small mod: I installed a ramp flap underneath the upper playfield outhole. This makes the ball always leave the top playfield through the right side of the horse shoe. Now, the ball never hits the points switch on the left side when it exits the top playfield. This means you actually have to hit the horse shoe to get those points, which in my opinion contributes to the fairness of the game. Didn't take any pictures of the mod yet, but I am happy to do that if anybody is interested.

Would love to see a picture of this! What size ramp steel?
Just joined the club on Friday. It's in rough shape but still a fast game. Planning on doing a thorough shop out, maybe addressing some inserts as well as fixing some wiring hacks and rebuilding flippers.

#38 3 years ago
Quoted from Star_Gazer:

thanks, and the last picture?

I just looked at mine and oddly enough I have the exact same loose wire!

#39 2 years ago
Quoted from stepside:

Would love to see a picture of this! What size ramp steel?
Just joined the club on Friday. It's in rough shape but still a fast game. Planning on doing a thorough shop out, maybe addressing some inserts as well as fixing some wiring hacks and rebuilding flippers.

Congratulations! Great title, well worth shopping out.

I'm afraid I can't take a picture of the mod right now. The machine is at my brother's place, a few hours away.

Basically I took the flap from an old Banzai Run-ramp. Cut it to size a bit and fastened it with two screws on the lower side of the upper playfield. The screws are on the left of the hole and make the ball deflect to the right exit of the horse shoe on the lower playfield every time it falls into the hole.

Do you get the idea? If you want a clearer description, I can try to draw it for you.

#40 2 years ago
Quoted from Jappie:

Congratulations! Great title, well worth shopping out.
I'm afraid I can't take a picture of the mod right now. The machine is at my brother's place, a few hours away.
Basically I took the flap from an old Banzai Run-ramp. Cut it to size a bit and fastened it with two screws on the lower side of the upper playfield. The screws are on the left of the hole and make the ball deflect to the right exit of the horse shoe on the lower playfield every time it falls into the hole.
Do you get the idea? If you want a clearer description, I can try to draw it for you.

Think I got it. So you just used screws like you would for a ramp flap?

#41 2 years ago
Quoted from stepside:

Think I got it. So you just used screws like you would for a ramp flap?

I don't remember exactly which screws I used. The most important thing is that the head is as flat as possible. You don't want them to interfere with a ball that's shot into the horse shoe. It's a pretty tight place, since the upper playfield is not that high above the lower playfield.

Could you take pictures once you've done the mod succesfully and post them here for reference? I think it's an interesting mod for more Lightning owners.

#42 2 years ago
Quoted from Jappie:

I don't remember exactly which screws I used. The most important thing is that the head is as flat as possible. You don't want them to interfere with a ball that's shot into the horse shoe. It's a pretty tight place, since the upper playfield is not that high above the lower playfield.
Could you take pictures once you've done the mod succesfully and post them here for reference? I think it's an interesting mod for more Lightning owners.

1 month later
#43 2 years ago

Hello club lightning ; can anyone tell me a fair price to buy one in good condition? Thanks, Josh.

#44 2 years ago
Quoted from josh0203:

Hello club lightning ; can anyone tell me a fair price to buy one in good condition? Thanks, Josh.

Hi Josh, welcome! Could you define 'good condition' a little better? How is the backglass? How is the playfield (including inserts: they tend to warp badly.)? Cabinet? Plastics? Electronics?

et cetera.

1 month later
#45 2 years ago

Hi folks! I'm rather new to the club, but am a proud owner of a Lightning machine in mostly-working shape. (I think I may have bought Josh's machine last month! Grabbed the machine in nice shape for $1k here in Missouri. May be a little high from what I'm seeing here, but I liked the game and wanted to get a machine ready to play locally to put in public play at my bar without breaking the bank)

Great game, lots of fun! So far, I'm still working on getting a few things up to par. Right now, the voice has died but sound effects are working. A few bulbs are out (right side 2x, extra ball are the ones I've noticed). The left flipper is 'weak' and 'fluttery'. And the play field has some 'shrunk' or warped plastics/inserts that definitely affect the game play, and a dimple where the ball drops that occasionally holds the ball.

So any suggestions or updates/upgrades would be welcome as I'm a rookie pinball guy. But so far, the game is getting lots of play and seems to be a hit, even not running at 100%!

#46 2 years ago
Quoted from Murph74:

Right now, the voice has died but sound effects are working. A few bulbs are out (right side 2x, extra ball are the ones I've noticed).

Hey man, welcome to the club! Sounds like your machine might need a serious makeover, but that's part of the fun!

The voice dying could have multiple reasons. The voice IC that Stern used is not the strongest one. But: it might also be a fuse.

Does your General Illumination (GI) work? This is the illumination that is supposed to be on constantly, mostly found underneath plastics and behind the backglass. If none of the GI lights work, the fuse for the GI might be bad. Don't ask me why, but the voice card of these classic Sterns is on the same fuse as the GI is. So if the voice √°nd GI are out, chances are that this fuse is the reason.

The fuse is located inside the cabinet, on the Power Supply board. You can see this board in the 6th photo of the second post in this thread (the one with the cat inside the machine).

If the fuse for the GI is indeed bad, make sure that you use the correct value to replace it. There is a reason that the fuse went bad in the first place, and you don't want to stress components by overfusing. The value that's supposed to be in there is written on the board, next to the fuse. If the new fuse goes bad after turning the machine on again, you probably have a short somewhere.

Good luck!

#47 2 years ago

Great info, Jappie! Thank you! I'll check it out when I get back to the bar. I *think* the GI is working, but could be mistaken.

Is there a direct replacement LED equivalent for the playfield bulbs or is it better to just use the style that's already in there?

#48 2 years ago
Quoted from Murph74:

Great info, Jappie! Thank you! I'll check it out when I get back to the bar. I *think* the GI is working, but could be mistaken.
Is there a direct replacement LED equivalent for the playfield bulbs or is it better to just use the style that's already in there?

That's a matter of personal preference. LED puts less stress on things like connectors and produces less heat. LEDs look different from incandescant lamps, both in appearance and in glow. I'm not a fan of using coloured LED in GI in most cases. It washes out the other colors. But, like I said: personal preference.

The lamp driver board of these classic Bally and Stern machines doesn't 'like' regular leds. They ghost and flicker a lot. Only the computer controlled lights are affected by this. The GI doesn't use the lampdriver board. If you do want to put LEDs in the computer controlled lights, you have 2 choices: use special leds or install an aftermarket lamp driver board from Alltek: http://www.allteksystems.com/products-mpu-replacements.html#lamp

Good luck!

3 weeks later
#49 2 years ago

Just an update... Looks like I'm probably going to have to call in a pro to get this back on track. The machine still plays, but got that left flipper jutter, no GI in the backbox and no voice right now. All fuses check out fine as best as I can tell. Any further suggestions on troubleshooting this fella?

#50 2 years ago

Well, the downhill slide continues...
We were playing last night and in mid game, the enter machine just shut down and off completely in mid play right as I broke a million! Haven't had time to troubleshoot, but hoping it's just a power supply issue. As always, open to suggestions on troubleshooting from those who have been there, done that.

Added over 3 years ago: I glanced inside, all the fuses appear to be ok. Tomorrow I'll likely check a few more things out with a Multimeter. :/

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