(Topic ID: 92481)

tech: Playfield Swap Advice


By mof

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 30 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by dmacy
  • Topic is favorited by 14 Pinsiders

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#1 5 years ago

I'm just about to do my first playfield swap on a High Speed.

(background) I've been prepping for the PF swap in this thread: http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/high-speed-restoration/
My goal has just been to get a beater of a machine into more of a "known working quantity" before starting the swap. I'm very close to starting. I will build 2 rotisseries this weekend.

Tools I have: air compressor, staple gun (from pin restore), ground braid, and the under PF wire, ultrasonic cleaner, vibratory tumbler

I'm wondering about:
* What's your favorite order to remove things?
* What's your favorite order to install things?
* How do you prepare the old playfield?
* How do you prepare the new playfield?
* What's the best way to clean larger parts that won't tumble (drop target assemblies)
* What's the hardest thing to do, and how do you overcome it?

Please fire away! I'm looking forward to hearing your best advice on how to have a successful playfield swap...

thanks!
-mof

#2 5 years ago

I'd do like a major shop job. Lots of pictures and notes. Remove the top side, then the bottom.

Reinstall the reverse, bottom side then top.

LTG : )™

#3 5 years ago

Well... I do the basement first...playfield last. I have gotten in the habit of putting Molex Plugs on the major components (Sling Shots, pop bumpers, kickers, etc...basically everything with a coil) so they can be removed. I replace all wire braid on the bottom of the playfield with 1/8" flat braid...similar to the heavier 1/4" ground braid that runs through the cabinet. For High Speed, it's a good time to add some simple modifications. The roll overs were never illuminated, however, the GI lighting braid are conveniently right there...so add sockets and connect to the GI circuit. Also a good time to add a light under the Escape Hole. While the playfield is pre-drilled for the most part, I generally re-drill with a slightly larger bit that fits the screws much better...avoids mushrooming, especially on the top of the playfield.

Check fit everything before you trust the "dimpling" on the playfield. You will often find they can be off a little.

Now here's a big one... The roll overs undoubtedly got some clear coat in them and on the CPR website are recommendations for clearing them....HOWEVER.. just clearing the vanes is not enough. You should have received three new stars with your game. Once the stars are inserted into the roll over they cannot be removed without doing damage to the insert. So, on your old playfield, on the underside of the roll over, take a pair of cutters and cut off the nub on the end of the star. This will allow you to remove it out the top of the playfield. You can now use this star to check the fit into the new roll over. Getting the vanes clear is a no brainer as the star must freely move up and down. There is a serious issue with whether or not the star, when depressed, goes down far enough not to interfere with ball travel. There could also be clear down in the insert on the shoulder that the star will come to rest on when depressed. On my game I did clean that out a little, but it was still insufficient to get the star to go down far enough. So, what I had to do was to modify the star itself. Where the star comes into contact with the shoulder down in the insert, I removed about 1/16" of material on the underside of the star around the shaft. You can experiment with the test star until you find out how much to remove to insure the star will go down even with the playfield. If you don't get the stars right, especially the right one, your orbit shots simply will not work as the ball will hit the star and fly upward... Whew...hate to rant on about this one but, it is a huge issue.

Beyond that, take lots of photos. If you run into anything you are unsure of I am glad to help. I did my HS swap just a few weeks ago.

#4 5 years ago

As always, LTG provides great advice. The big thing for me was having the tools to do it right ready. Do you have a rotisserie(s)/method to hold the PF and the room for putting both playfields side by side? Have most of the parts ready (And be prepared to make many more orders of parts when you find things broken or forgotten and you will!) to go. And a large enough clean area/space away from the spouse/SO, kids, pets, etc.?

Hardest thing although not really is usually the pop bumpers. Once you get through it once it's not bad at all. I used vid's info on here for that.

Patience, and not rush it. Best advice: if you're questioning if you think you should replace something, do it now. The end results are usually well worth the effort.

#5 5 years ago

Send it to me. Ill swap it for $800.

#6 5 years ago
Quoted from dmacy:

As always, LTG provides great advice. The big thing for me was having the tools to do it right ready. Do you have a rotisserie(s)/method to hold the PF and the room for putting both playfields side by side? Have most of the parts ready (And be prepared to make many more orders of parts when you find things broken or forgotten and you will!) to go. And a large enough clean area/space away from the spouse/SO, kids, pets, etc.?
Hardest thing although not really is usually the pop bumpers. Once you get through it once it's not bad at all. I used vid's info on here for that.
Patience, and not rush it. Best advice: if you're questioning if you think you should replace something, do it now. The end results are usually well worth the effort.

1. I'll check to make sure I have enough space for 2 playfields -- good thing to check for...
2. Pets can't go downstairs to mess with parts.
3. I'm comfortable with pop assemblies. I use the Ed Cheung method, and I use a screw/washer on all pop bumper bulb leads -- all and avoid soldering for easy in/out to make changes to bulb sockets/skirts/etc.
4. I'm replacing flipper assemblies 100% (new all), but I'm planning to wash/re-label the 10 solenoids, but definitely install new sleeves. 15 new targets to make them look and act new and crisp. new plastics. new playfield. new rubbers. Likely leave ALL switches in place as is...

-mof

#7 5 years ago
Quoted from Freeplay40:

Well... I do the basement first...playfield last. I have gotten in the habit of putting Molex Plugs on the major components (Sling Shots, pop bumpers, kickers, etc...basically everything with a coil) so they can be removed. I replace all wire braid on the bottom of the playfield with 1/8" flat braid...similar to the heavier 1/4" ground braid that runs through the cabinet. For High Speed, it's a good time to add some simple modifications. The roll overs were never illuminated, however, the GI lighting braid are conveniently right there...so add sockets and connect to the GI circuit. Also a good time to add a light under the Escape Hole. While the playfield is pre-drilled for the most part, I generally re-drill with a slightly larger bit that fits the screws much better...avoids mushrooming, especially on the top of the playfield.
Check fit everything before you trust the "dimpling" on the playfield. You will often find they can be off a little.
Now here's a big one... The roll overs undoubtedly got some clear coat in them and on the CPR website are recommendations for clearing them....HOWEVER.. just clearing the vanes is not enough. You should have received three new stars with your game. Once the stars are inserted into the roll over they cannot be removed without doing damage to the insert. So, on your old playfield, on the underside of the roll over, take a pair of cutters and cut off the nub on the end of the star. This will allow you to remove it out the top of the playfield. You can now use this star to check the fit into the new roll over. Getting the vanes clear is a no brainer as the star must freely move up and down. There is a serious issue with whether or not the star, when depressed, goes down far enough not to interfere with ball travel. There could also be clear down in the insert on the shoulder that the star will come to rest on when depressed. On my game I did clean that out a little, but it was still insufficient to get the star to go down far enough. So, what I had to do was to modify the star itself. Where the star comes into contact with the shoulder down in the insert, I removed about 1/16" of material on the underside of the star around the shaft. You can experiment with the test star until you find out how much to remove to insure the star will go down even with the playfield. If you don't get the stars right, especially the right one, your orbit shots simply will not work as the ball will hit the star and fly upward... Whew...hate to rant on about this one but, it is a huge issue.
Beyond that, take lots of photos. If you run into anything you are unsure of I am glad to help. I did my HS swap just a few weeks ago.

1. I really like the idea of doing molex plugs. Can you point a few links for the parts/tools required?
2. I'll add sockets to the old PF and see where I want to install things.

Quoted from Freeplay40:

Check fit everything before you trust the "dimpling" on the playfield. You will often find they can be off a little.

3. What do you do when things are off a little?
4. AMAZING advice on the rollover stars. That's something I can do ahead of time.

5. Why do you do the bottom side first?
-mof

#8 5 years ago
Quoted from LTG:

I'd do like a major shop job. Lots of pictures and notes. Remove the top side, then the bottom.
Reinstall the reverse, bottom side then top.
LTG : )™

I thought the more common advice is to remove part A from the old PF and then install part A on the new playfield right away?

What's the advantage to doing things in this order?

-mof

#9 5 years ago
Quoted from mof:

I thought the more common advice is to remove part A from the old PF and then install part A on the new playfield right away?

If you have room and can do them side by side. Yes, by all means.

Not everybody has that and have to disassemble and reassemble whole playfields at different times.

Me, I just throw everything in a box. If can only go back together one way.

LTG : )™

#10 5 years ago

It doesn't always work that way. Sometimes you have to take apart the practically the whole thing and reassemble it. The bottom of the playfield has to pretty much come totally off and transfer it to the new one.

#11 5 years ago
Quoted from mof:

3. I'm comfortable with pop assemblies. I use the Ed Cheung method, and I use a screw/washer on all pop bumper bulb leads -- all and avoid soldering for easy in/out to make changes to bulb sockets/skirts/etc.

So what is the "Ed Cheung method"?

#12 5 years ago

Hey mof, I tried to detail my Space Shuttle playfield swap as best as possible on http://abpinball.com, maybe that can be of some help - ping me if you have questions about anything I posted.

Re: order - I unscrewed everything on the old one bit by bit, and on the new one did the things first that would otherwise be a pain with the wiring harness in place - the tee nuts and solenoid brackets mainly. The dimples were way off on mine and for the most part I ignored them - just place them where they need to be to function correctly. I also transferred the wire holders very early on as I couldn't see a good reason not to, and it would have been a pain to catalogue them all otherwise.

As for what's the hardest thing, not really anything actually - it's more a challenge in scale... It's a large number of easy tasks that when put together amount to a really big one The one task I was most unsure about was probably the pop bumper bracket screws that need to be flush on the top side, but they turned out great too and it wasn't really hard in the end - see this post: http://abpinball.com/2014/02/23/installed-pop-bumper-bracket-screws-on-space-shuttle-pinball/

regards,
Andre

#13 5 years ago
Quoted from RoyF:

So what is the "Ed Cheung method"?

Scroll down to the pop bumper section.

http://www.edcheung.com/album/album08/pinball/tz.htm

#14 5 years ago
Quoted from andre060:

Hey mof, I tried to detail my Space Shuttle playfield swap as best as possible on http://abpinball.com

Nice blog, I'll read it tonight.
-mof

6 months later
#15 4 years ago

(Finally) I'm about to begin...

Would it be easier to remove the old PF from the game and pop it in the rotiss, and put the CPR in the cabinet now?

Or will it be easier to leave the old PF in the game and keep the new CPR PF in the rotiss?

thanks!
-mof

#16 4 years ago

mof- I personally would have them both out to do the swap. Than you're not limited for room. That's just me though and I only use one rotisserie with the old one in it until it's stripped. Than yank it and put in the new one and install. Others may have better methods that work good for them.

#17 4 years ago

@mof... i find it difficult to do anything except for minor work with the pf still in the cabinet, so i would be mightily tempted just to throw together another rotisserie so i could work on both of them easily... wouldn't really even need the 2nd one to rotate (although it would make life easier), even a basic stand would make life MUCH easier than attempting to do the swap with one of the pf's in a cabinet...

either that or lloyd's method... just strip the old one first then rebuild the new one... take lots of pictures and detailed notes...

#18 4 years ago

i hadn't seen this before, but i LIKE it!

#19 4 years ago
Quoted from mof:

Or will it be easier to leave the old PF in the game and keep the new CPR PF in the rotiss?

If you don't have 2 rotisseries, then new one on rotisserie and the old one across 2 saw horses.

Don't leave either PF in a game to work on it.

#20 4 years ago

I did an entire PF swap on AFM with no rotisserie, so it can be done. I would of course not recommend it if you have one. I stripped top side first, then bottom side with playfield in the cabinet. Then I laid new PF face down on a table and transferred the bottom side first, then did top side some with PF leaning against a wall, some with PF in cabinet. Far from ideal, but it will work.

#21 4 years ago

My Sorcerer tear down process is coming back to me now (thanks to the interwebs) -- topside in the game, so that I could flip it over onto the counter top, then bottom side. Fair enough, I'll hit up HF for a few steel saw horses. Thanks!

-mof

#22 4 years ago
Quoted from Freeplay40:

There is a serious issue with whether or not the star, when depressed, goes down far enough not to interfere with ball travel. There could also be clear down in the insert on the shoulder that the star will come to rest on when depressed. On my game I did clean that out a little, but it was still insufficient to get the star to go down far enough. So, what I had to do was to modify the star itself. Where the star comes into contact with the shoulder down in the insert, I removed about 1/16" of material on the underside of the star around the shaft. You can experiment with the test star until you find out how much to remove to insure the star will go down even with the playfield. If you don't get the stars right, especially the right one, your orbit shots simply will not work as the ball will hit the star and fly upward... Whew...hate to rant on about this one but, it is a huge issue.

I have the same problem with my HS PF.

I have an extra pack of stars that I picked up once, so I will try shaving material off the bottom as you have suggested. I already took my .62 molex tool and did a little light scraping, but I am too concerned about breaking the red plastic insert for the star.

-mof

#23 4 years ago

It would be nice if there was some sort of centralized database for playfield swaps. I appreciate the efforts of those that took the time to painstakingly document their swaps, and it would be nice to have a single destination to find these ala IPDB.

1 month later
#24 4 years ago

Here's a great tip:

Watch the videos from pinballmiked

-mof

#25 4 years ago

Does anyone know of a comprehensive written guide (with steps and things to look out for) for doing a playfield swap?
-mof

#26 4 years ago
Quoted from mof:

Does anyone know of a comprehensive written guide (with steps and things to look out for) for doing a playfield swap?
-mof

unscrew/bolt, move, rescrew/bolt. anything beyond that is cleaning not swapping.

3 months later
#28 4 years ago

The hardest part of a swap is removing the first screw and your guide should get more people taking that leap.

well done.

#29 4 years ago

This is interesting. Are there any other threads or pictures that you know of?

7 months later
#30 3 years ago
Quoted from Boise_D:

This is interesting. Are there any other threads or pictures that you know of?

Sorry for the way too long response. No, this is all I know of but a solution for those that don't want to make the investment or time of an upholstery stapler and use the regular wire versions.

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