(Topic ID: 225862)

The reanimation of Gen. Yagov - An F-14 Tomcat restoration

By cletus14

1 year ago

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  • 242 posts
  • 27 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 day ago by cletus
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#1 1 year ago

I've been following heni1977's F-14 Tomcat restoration thread and it seems that we are pretty much neck and neck with our restorations. I've made some different choices throughout my restoration so I thought I'd share my progress so far and do my best to update my restoration here on Pinside over what might be the next decade at the rate I am progressing.

F-14 is my second machine in what I hope will someday be a massive collection. I'm enjoying the thrill of bringing a near-dead mechanical work of art back to life.

Here's a link to Heni's inspirational thread if you're interested: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/f-14-resto

#3 1 year ago

Holy Crap! It's been almost two years since I picked her up all broken and sad.

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#4 1 year ago

This machine was originally an export only machine and spent a bunch of time in what I imagine was a dirty FIAT repair garage. Every moving part was covered in sticky oil. All of the coils were nearly seized-up with black lube. I removed and cleaned every moving part and checked for any disastrous wiring issues.
I started by rebuilding my power supply, the snubber boards, and the flasher resistor boards.

Check out that sweet piggyback capacitor hack that somebody thought was a good idea!
Those old resistors on the snubber boards were all fried.

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#5 1 year ago

A friend of mine repairs medical equipment and was able to restore and recreate a few of the beat-up stainless parts.

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#6 1 year ago

New flipper assemblies all around from http://www.thepinballwizard.net/

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#7 1 year ago

A little confession here... I actually put my name on a list in March of 2016 to get a new playfield from Peter @buthamburg at https://perfectplayfields.com/ before I bought this wreck of a machine in September of that year. Once I saw progress from him on his topic: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/demand-check-f14-tom-cat , I got lucky to find a poor condition machine local to me. That new playfield was pretty sweet when it arrived in December of 2016, but I still drove it over to @kruzman 's house about a year later for a perfect clearcoat treatment.

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#8 1 year ago

Kruzman worked his magic over the course of a few months and I met him out at http://www.pinballatthezoo.com/ to pick it up in person and play a day of pinball. I didn't have him ship my playfield, but I still purchased one of his awesome playfield crates for possible future restoration needs.
Much Shiny!!!

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#9 1 year ago

Alright, my timeline is a little off now, but after getting all of the mechanical stuff working, I focused on the lights and flashers. I went with a full LED upgrade from www.cometpinball.com and it looked and played amazingly.

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#10 1 year ago

I spent a lot of time that year trying to get the sound working consistently. I tore it down for my cabinet restoration before I got it working so maybe when this thing is powered back on grumpy will be willing to step me through some sound debug.

Here are some pictures of my "fell out of a moving truck a couple of times" cabinet as I tore it down.

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#11 1 year ago

Cabinet prep begins. I used a lot of wood filler, epoxy, and sandpaper to get that cabinet clean and squared up again. I'm not sure why I didn't take any pictures of the process though. Weird.

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#12 1 year ago

It's pretty cool how that original artwork stained right through.

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#13 1 year ago

Cabinet primed and sanded and primed and sanded and primed and...

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#14 1 year ago

Here's a little sampling of the sweet stencils that I picked up from pinballpimp at http://pinballpimpstencils.com/?page_id=4063

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#15 1 year ago

I painted everything black and prepped for the first color. The stencil went on rather easily.. and then white!

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#16 1 year ago

Peeling those big sticky vinyl stickers off is nerve-wracking. So many little pieces of vinyl to remove.

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#17 1 year ago

I lightly sanded the white paint after it dried to knock down the edges a little. The red layer of paint was next!
Beautiful!!! This is going very well.

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#19 1 year ago

Yellow was next. It was getting late and I was anxious to see all of the colors on the cabinet so I didn’t sand the red.
Big mistake. The light sanding roughs up the paint and keeps the vinyl mask from sticking as much. As you can see, some of my red paint came off with the yellow mask. SON OF A MOTHER!!!

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#20 1 year ago

I spent the rest of the next day doing touch-ups. It didn't come out as perfect as I had wished, but it's not terrible.

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#21 1 year ago

Same process on the other four sides. Now I'm a semi-pro stencil guy.

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#24 1 year ago
Quoted from Travish:

Oh good a new playfield.

Yep. I'm trying to spare no expense on this restore while also trying to do everything myself. Everything I'm doing is a first time effort. I've done my homework here on Pinside.
I'm pretty close to having my cabinet put back together and then I'll start with the playfield swap. I'll try to take more detailed pictures of the process from now on. I swear I took more pictures of the cabinet restore, but I only get to do hobby stuff between all the other work and family needs. I get into a zone and I'm done with everything before I remember to snap any shots.

#25 1 year ago

Here's the paint I used for the cabinet. It worked out pretty well, but I ended up needing twice as many cans of paint as I thought I would. I estimate that I used 8 cans of filler+primer, 8-10 cans of black, 4 cans of white, 2 cans of red and 1 can of yellow. I also went through about 10 cans of clear for a top coat.

It takes about a can and a half of paint to get one solid coat on the main cabinet.

I sanded with 600 grit paper and an orbital sander with a vacuum attachment between coats of primer, black and clear.

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#27 1 year ago

Thanks, travish!!!. During the winter months when I couldn't paint in the garage and my machine was completely torn down I bought a set of IDC connectors from www.pinballlife.comn and replaced almost all of them. You'll see a big difference in a few posts from now. I also replaced nearly every single socket on my MPU. Some previous owner socketed every chip on the MPU and did it poorly. Hopefully, at powerup, those sound issues I was having before teardown will be remedied.

#28 1 year ago

The cabinet has moved back into the basement dungeon workshop. It now stands on a brand new set of era-proper chrome legs from Pinball Life.

System 11 Legs - https://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=1939
Levelers - https://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=921
Bolts - https://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=1792
Brackets - https://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=144
Cabinet Protectors - https://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=2711
Castors - amazon.com link »

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#29 1 year ago

I decided to bling-up the armor. I started with a 320 grit sandpaper on my orbital sander to cut the grain out of the stainless steel rails and then moved to 600-grit and 2000 grit. I finished up with a felt wheel and then a buffing wheel on a die grinder using green rouge to get this spectacular shine. Hours of polishing were worth it.

Orbital sander - amazon.com link »
Sand Paper - amazon.com link »
Angle Grinder - amazon.com link »
Felt Discs - amazon.com link »
Buffing wheel - amazon.com link »
Green Rouge - amazon.com link »

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#30 1 year ago

I put a round of new ground braid throughout the cabinet and cleaned up all of the internal parts as much as possible. More polishing on the service box. LOL, why not?

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#31 1 year ago

Here are the stapler and staples I used to attach the ground braid. They are a perfect match for the original and what I'll also use when I get to the playfield swap.

Stapler - amazon.com link »
Staples - amazon.com link »
1/4" ground braid - https://www.pinrestore.com/Supplies.html

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#32 1 year ago

Why not also polish up the back plate for the back box. Before and After.

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#33 1 year ago

I put the back box wiring harnesses in the dishwasher, as learned somewhere here on Pinside. I can tell the white wires from the yellow wires now! Haha!

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#34 1 year ago

A little reassembly in the backbox. It is definitely not easy wrangling all of those harnesses back into place.

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#35 1 year ago

A NOS translite and some new domes really make the new paint pop.

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#36 1 year ago

Heads Up!

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#37 1 year ago

I really like these lockbar decals that titan_pinball sells.

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#38 1 year ago

Getting close to done on the cabinet. I still need to refinish the backbox lightboard. Maybe, this week.

This post brings us up to where I am today.

I still need to purchase a new set of speakers. The original cones are all smashed and torn.

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#40 1 year ago
Quoted from pintechev:

Wow - this is a great thread.


When I'm all done I think I'm going to have a "Name That Leftover Screw" challenge!

#42 1 year ago

I just found this picture. The first thing I cleaned and repaired when I got the machine was the display. The plastic front was loose and the displays were all smoked over. You can see the difference between the clean and smoked side of the displays. I cleaned and Novus polished the plastic front. I washed the speaker grills and used 3M - Super 77 spray adhesive to put it all back together. I painted the H-rails a semi-gloss black and it looked as good as new. The display board came on and off so many times during my initial debug phase. I'm glad I repaired it first.

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Edit: I also reflowed/resoldered all of the broken and loose solder joints on the display board.

#43 1 year ago
Quoted from AUKraut:

Only one leftover screw??? That's fantastic, I usually have dozens.....lol
Looking fantastic, played an F14 the other night for the first time, not a bad game at all!!

Haha. Oh, there'll be more I'm sure. I've got a handful of the same screw and I have no idea what they're for. So far it doesn't seem to matter.

Funny thing. I picked both of my games after having played a ton of different games on Pinball Arcade on the PlayStation. Apparently, I'm a big Steve Ritchie fan. Speed and brutal play are what really draws me into a game. I also like when a machine directly taunts me while I play.

I had no idea about this fantastic place (Pinside) or that I would ever own a real pinball machine before I fell in love with the arcade version of #black-knight-2000. I bought that one in really good condition so I thought it would be fun to pull a machine out of the dumpster and transform it into a show stopper.

#F-14-Tomcat was it. My F-14 ball times average about 35 seconds on a good day and I love/hate it.

1 week later
#46 1 year ago
Quoted from kruzman:

When it is done I will give you 1600 for it.

Thanks, Ron. I really do wish I wasn’t so underwater this one. I’ll probably never get to sell it for a profit, but that was never the plan.

I’ll be starting on the playfield next. I’ll make sure to post plenty of pictures. Hopefully, I’ll have it done by the time Pinball at the Zoo rolls around and I can bring it out for the weekend to break in in.

#47 1 year ago

I ordered some mirror blades to finish off the cabinet, and I thought it might be a good idea to CAD up a mirrored panel for the back of the playfield to finish off the look. I put the order in with a laser cutting place in town. I should have them in a few weeks. I ordered eight extra panels to sell. I’ll put a link here when I get them. I’m thinking $25 a piece plus shipping.

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#48 1 year ago

The light board is all cleaned up and reinstalled. I sanded front and back and sealed the back with some polyurethane.

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#49 1 year ago

I found this coin lodged in the inside back corner of the cabinet when I was tearing down last year. This F-14 looks to have spent some time on route in Yugoslavia.

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#50 1 year ago

I was just thinking about that coin and how this Tomcat probably spent a couple of years in a Communist Yugoslavia where Gen. Yagov was probably seen as the good guy. Weird and cool.

#51 12 months ago

The stainless mirror panels came back from the shop. Perfect!

I made one for my Black Knight 2000 as well.

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For sale here, while they last:

UPDATE: Gone! These only lasted a couple of hours. I was only intending on selling six, but I sold all eight.

#52 12 months ago

Here’s a couple of pictures to give an idea about how this will turn out. This could potentially nearly double the flash lamp count. Mirrors baby! Haha!

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#54 12 months ago
Quoted from heni1977:

How are you planning to clean pf wire harness? I am thinking of throwing the whole thing in the dishwasher but afraid my wife might kill me
How bad is it on the washer?

The dish washer handled it easily. The only thing to be careful of is to only put things in the dishwasher that can survive it. You’ll need to clip off any relays or relay boards that could retain moisture. Coils and circuit boards are fine.

The other thing is to make sure that you top off your Jet-Dry fluid. I just put the little harness for the back panel flashers in the washer last week. The Jet-Dry tank was empty and the lamp sockets came out a little damp and rusty.

#57 12 months ago

A bunch of you are getting your mirrored back panels today. I can't wait to see some of these installed. I'm very jealous to be the last one to get mine installed. I will work quickly to get my playfield swapped out.

#59 12 months ago


1 week later
#60 11 months ago

I cleaned up the basement storage and pinball dungeon and rearranged the furniture a little.

Let the playfield swap begin!

I'm starting by cleaning up the recessed edges on the playfield where clear has pooled with the diamond-tipped Dremel bits that Kruzman sells in his "so you had Kruzman clear your playfield with the hardest clear ever" kit.
I put some thin felt on the bottom of my Dremel press so it slides around easily without scratching and turned the press off to the side so I can see what I'm doing. With the press, I can set a depth to mill out the recessed areas. I'll need to be very careful not to let the edges of the press fall into the holes on the playfield.

1 week later
#61 11 months ago

New t-nuts all around.

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1 week later
#62 11 months ago

I got all of the holes on the top side of the playfield opened up with the dremel and super-glued the clear down to the wood around the cuts as instructed by kruzman. The fear is that the clear will separate from the wood and/or crack when driving the screws.
The hypodermic needles in the kit I got with my newly coated playfield push really easy. I had a couple of scary glue shooting moments, but I was able to wipe it up quickly. Ugh.

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#63 11 months ago

The hole positions that @buthamburg marked were spot on for the most part. I took things off of the old playfield before I drilled so I could verify the hole positions. I only had to adjust for one hole near the right big-kick.
Now to will polish all of the stainless parts to a mirror shine before mounting them to the new deck.
All of the side-rails and some of the wire guides are already transferred over and i’ve officially moved to the rotisserie workbench.

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#65 10 months ago

All of the little metal parts are now newly shiny. I’m starting to get them mounted top-side.

#67 10 months ago
#70 10 months ago
Quoted from bobukcat:

Does your game have light boards or individual sockets for all the inserts? If I remember correctly he used the dimple pattern for the individual sockets and the light boards don't align to those.

I’ve got one of the early production machines with the individual light sockets. It looks like all of the dimples are going to be really close. I’m still checking everything before I make permanent holes anywhere.

4 weeks later
#73 9 months ago

It’s been a busy month, but I’m back at it.
I love me some mirror polished stainless steel!


#75 9 months ago

Those back panels I had produced at a shop in town. I spent hours getting the original ball guides polished last night.

#77 9 months ago

Deck the halls with mirrored balls! Fa-la-la-la-la!

Merry Christmas, 2018!!!

#78 9 months ago

Nearly all of the top-side hardware is transferred. Time to flip her over.

I’m not too sure about those new plastics. I only installed the right outlane to see what it looked like and the blue seems a little too blue.


#79 9 months ago

The old playfield is completely cleared.
Mmm... Toasty!

#80 9 months ago

So many screws and so much left to screw up.

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#81 9 months ago

Welcome to the church of Tomcat

#82 9 months ago

All of the wiring is transferred and loose. Time to start getting everything mounted. I put an order in with pinballlife for some light sockets. All of the sockets that mounted through holes in the wood of the playfield had a thick white powdery corrosion on them. I also ordered two new switches for the center kickouts. The wire actuators were a little wonky and had obviously been soldered to mismatched switches.

#83 9 months ago

It looks like I was okay with keeping an old set of flasher resistors on one of the boards when I last repaired them all. I am not okay with that now.

3 weeks later
#85 8 months ago
Quoted from kruzman:

Its a big commitment to do right.

Thanks for kind words and the wisdom, Ron.
I've been at this one for over two years. Hundreds of hours. I try to put at least 6-8 hours a week into it. Now, most of that is me being ridiculous about polishing every single screw individually with a Dremel tool, polishing anything else that might take a shine, drinking coffee, adjusting and lining up every single switch, hand cleaning contacts and wires and whatever, and replacing anything that can't be restored.

I'm weeks (4-6 depending on how much time I make) away from possibly powering this thing on. I'd love to have it finished in time for The Kalamazoo show so I can bring it out and let you (and everyone else ) play it. I'm terrified to move it now that it's so pretty. Do they make Kevlar reinforced bubble wrap?

#86 8 months ago
Quoted from cletus:

All of the sockets that mounted through holes in the wood of the playfield had a thick white powdery corrosion on them. I also ordered two new switches for the center kickouts. The wire actuators were a little wonky and had obviously been soldered to mismatched switches.
[quoted image]

Here's a picture of that white residue on the through-playfield lamp sockets.

The center eject switches, by the way, do not exist anymore. The ones I ordered had the wrong wire actuator. I was able to reuse the old actuators on new switches by gently prying the switch bodies apart. All good now.

I'm going to rewire the general illumination on the top/back part of the playfield with insulated wire once I get some yellow #18 wire. The original bare wire got a little beat up when I was removing staples.

I also fumbled one of the new center eject coils and broke the solder tab off of it. It's all fixed now. 90% complete on the underside.

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#91 8 months ago

I bought 28v LED bulbs from Cointaker for my beacons.

#94 8 months ago

I spent today getting all of the through-playfield flash-lamps and solenoids soldered up. I mounted some more of the repro plastics. I also got the diverter assembly polished, reassembled, and mounted.


#96 8 months ago
Quoted from GRUMPY:

I see your going to run flasher #7. Nice.

Yessir! I'm really just putting it back together the way it was. The previous owner(s) never removed that flasher circuit as recommended in the operator's service update.

I'm also installing a clear diverter ramp from @freeplay40 and I'm going to add an LED strip under it that will flash red, white and blue with the current flasher circuits.

More flashers are always better in my opinion. I view the spots in my eyes as a challenge.

#99 8 months ago

I could probably scatter the old incandescent bulbs all over this pile of replaced F-14 scrap and have it made into a thousand piece puzzle.

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#101 8 months ago
Quoted from heni1977:

Did you replace the big capacitor in the head or just remove it?

I replaced the big blue capacitor. I had no idea that there was an upgrade. I guess I don't really need it, but where is the upgrade information?

#104 8 months ago

I got the new ramp all riveted together. This clear ramp from freeplay40 is fantastic looking. Of course, I polished all of the metal parts first.

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1 week later
#105 8 months ago

I used an Exact-o knife to cut away all of the blue parts of the sticker that dreg604 makes. I really like the added artwork and lamp labels, but I also want much of the clear ramp and colored flash strips that I’m going to add under the ramp to shine through.

#106 8 months ago

All of the new GI lamp sockets are wired up and tested. I also added four lamps between the TOMCAT targets on the upper playfield. Now the upper targets will match the lower targets.

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#108 8 months ago
Quoted from heni1977:

Looking good, you are way ahead of me now!


Actually, I might never finish if I keep modding and re-redoing things.

How long until you get your playfield back from the clearcoat process? Who did you send it to?

I'm going through some options right now for speakers. I'll add an external amp and upgraded speakers all around and rebuild the speaker panel to accommodate two 6.5 " speakers.

Also, I think I fried my MPU. I was having problems with the sound cutting out and other random issues before I tore down. I replaced some suspect chip sockets and tried to power up a while back and it didn't start up. I started to debug the traces for each of the sockets I replaced and everything looks okay so far. It's not the original MPU and it looks like it was repaired a few times before I hacked it up, so I'm kind of just ready to go for the no-future-hassle option of a new a Rottendog board.

#112 8 months ago
Quoted from GRUMPY:

Why external? There is plenty of room in the cab.

I guess external isn’t the best description. I’ll add it inside the cab. 8” sub probably. We’ll see how it sounds. I can always keep upgrading.

#114 8 months ago

Got one of the more complicated plastics put together. The more plastic I put on the more the brighter blue is growing on me. I know the flasher domes aren’t the same style as the original. I wanted to hide the somewhat ugly LEDs flash lamps.
Also, got my custom plastic model F-14 with custom light up jets mounted. I wired the jets to light with the left Bonus X light.
I have a Top Gun “Soviet MiG”(F-5E Tiger II) as well.

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#115 8 months ago

GI light test.

I added a spot light pointed at Yagov’s head. What a difference! I’ll definitely have to add some more. The rest of the controlled playfield lights will light up some of the dark spots, obviously, but this is one dark game.


#116 8 months ago

I added a piece of Mylar at the business end of the Yagov kicker and attached a piece of black extruded aluminum led strip holder. You can barely tell it’s there with the cover on.

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#119 8 months ago
Quoted from GRUMPY:

Can you see the Yagov coil because of the clear ramp? If so are you going to cover it up with something, like a black piece of plastic or cardstock?

I’ve been trying to figure something out for that. It won’t be too visible because I’ve got sticker over most of the clear plastic cover for the ramp. There is an extra plastic piece in the CPR plastics set that might look good under there, but it’s mostly clear with the paper backing removed.

I’m not sure. It looks funky.

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#120 8 months ago

Slight upgrade on the woofer in the bottom of the cabinet.

Pic: Old vs New

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#122 8 months ago

I can’t bring myself to potentially destroy the original speaker panel so I’m going to create a new one with two 6.5” speaker holes in it.

A5C720A8-5DA7-45EA-8365-55D047C76DF7 (resized).jpeg
#123 8 months ago

I have a new found respect for the people that had to build these speaker panels on the Williams factory. Mine turned out pretty nice though, I must say.

631FE540-F151-4E6C-B32E-8F142D33C437 (resized).jpeg

#124 8 months ago

The new speaker panel is put together. I had a leftover piece of plastic glass trim that I cut up to block light from the new led strip that now lights up the Williams sign on the speaker panel. It looks pretty sweet. The little controller can even be set to RGB dance with the music.

145515CF-E2E8-46D9-9D56-CC59EEFDA57D (resized).jpegB5C64DC7-345A-4A5A-9AE1-0E825A9F6448 (resized).jpegDA508D19-BBDA-49CD-9C0C-25B26C96ED30 (resized).jpeg

#127 7 months ago
Quoted from heni1977:

Awesome, I was thinking the same thing, but using just white. I have a blue display coming so maybe I will use red instead. Show us a pic of it lit up in the dark.

I’ll take a dark room shot tonight. Even with the plastic baffle, there is still a little light bleed into the score displays. It is very minor. White and red light is the brightest.

#129 7 months ago

Here’s the lights at full bright in white and red. That looks like a lot of light bleed, but it’s not really that bad in person. I probably add some weather stripping anyway.

A692220B-AA10-47BE-AD1D-30E576D3B727 (resized).jpegC3DA2C09-E939-4283-AC0A-2A18D8AE2A4C (resized).jpeg

1 week later
#130 7 months ago

I couldn’t find anything else to fix so I removed the playfield from the rotisserie and dropped it in the cabinet.

#132 7 months ago
Quoted from heni1977:

That looks so Awesome!!!!!

It was a very exciting moment for sure!

Now I need to sit and ohm out the MPU and see if I can figure out why it won’t boot.

#135 7 months ago
Quoted from GRUMPY:

Is this something that just happened?

I was having issues with the sound not working before I tore it down. I noticed that if I pressed on the chips at U42 and U51 the sound would either start working or random solenoids would fire.
I replaced every IC socket on the board and now it doesn’t work at all. My soldering skills are pretty good, but I did have a hard time removing U51’s socket.
Right now, at power on, LED1 is solid, LED2 blinks three times, and LED3 is off.

#137 7 months ago

I was getting the wireforms cleaned up and installed and got a little aggressive with the big one. The ball was rubbing at the launch end. I tried to pry it open a little at the top and this happened.
Luckily, I’ve got a buddy that specializes in precision welding. He said he could repair it easily.

3E999C6E-9E3E-4B02-B0CE-18EAE78315C6 (resized).jpeg
#138 7 months ago

Here’s another shot of the freshly mated cabinet and playfield. I can’t stop staring at it.

I’ll wait until I get everything working before pulling the protective film off of the side mirror blades. I’m expecting to have to lift the playfield a million more times before completely debugging everything.

#140 7 months ago

Welcoming a new member to the family today!
A near barn find Paragon. I still can’t believe the find. It needs some cleaning up, of course, but she’s in fantastic condition. I love this game!

#143 7 months ago
Quoted from Waderade812:

Cletus, when you reinstalled your wiring harnesses on the play field, which of the three did you start with? After looking mine over it seems like I need to start with the lights. But I can see benefits to starting with the switchs also.

Honestly, I moved everything over in one shot. I hand cleaned my playfield harness, because I already spent a bunch of time debugging the wiring when I first got the machine.
I would say a good order is lighting, then switches, then the high power stuff.
But yes, both lighting and switches are tighter to the deck.

#144 7 months ago

Here’s a decent pic that shows the harness order. It’s lights, then switches, and solenoids and flashers last.

53250103-23EC-4188-AEB8-B88BB77AAF87 (resized).jpeg
#145 7 months ago

Here’s my completed sound system install. I’m pretty sure that I used the same amp that’s in #TNA. If you’ve played that, you’ll have an idea of how loud this is going to play the crap quality system 11 sounds that are waiting for it!


#147 7 months ago

The new apron from merfeldma is nice and shiny to match everything else. It’s a #HS apron, but it’s practically the same. The rescue kickback hole and the part number are the only differences. Whatever, it looks amazing!

Edit: I made some black rule cards printed on high gloss photo paper to finish off the shiny theme.

0BF245D8-C92B-4DEE-891D-3001BE794498.jpegE4DCCC09-B299-4642-9909-0760740F9F91.jpeg088CAD8F-68D9-4A4C-A1D0-10CCB6FAEF9A (resized).jpeg
#148 7 months ago

Every visible screwhead gets a heavy polish from the dremel.

3306E81C-2EEF-4B25-AB74-4565FAFA363E (resized).jpeg
#150 7 months ago

I rang out the pins between U51 and U10 and found that I had a couple of not quite good enough solder joints on U51. The MPU booted and I actually played a few games. Perma-grin engaged!!!
The only issue I have now is the match sound number 15 doesn't play. I'm not sure where to start looking on that one.
I also need to adjust the spinner switch so it isn't as tight. The spinner really slows down the ball in the top orbit.
It's unbelievable how smooth this thing plays. It's a beautiful thing.

#151 7 months ago
#153 7 months ago

Thanks! grumpy. I’ll look at that and reply.

Here’s some more pictures with everything installed on the completed and powered playfield.


#156 7 months ago
Quoted from DKong:

Wow looks amazing, are the mirrored back panels available?

I'm going to make a second set for the newer machines with the circuit board back panel connectors. There are two more holes for the board mounting screws that I didn't design for in the original batch. I'll contact you when I send out the order for laser cutting.

#157 7 months ago
Quoted from GRUMPY:

Start by checking ohms from pin 1 to the rest of the pins on SRC1 and SRC3, should be @ 4.7 k ohms. Pin one is marked be a dot on the board.
[quoted image]

SRC1 - Pins 2, 3 and 8 show 2.01-2.58 k ohms. The rest show 4.67 k ohms.
SRC3 - shows 2.3 k ohms down the line.

I forgot to mention. There is never and has never been a startup tone on this machine

#159 7 months ago

I installed an LED OCD board and It really classes up the controlled lamp look.
Super easy to install and highly recommended if you’re going full LED.


9077457B-9750-463E-9B15-21BB0B11C1AF (resized).jpegFEA6C871-F286-433B-861F-3A361AEB04B1 (resized).jpeg
#161 7 months ago
#163 7 months ago

My wife says she doesn’t see a difference...

#167 7 months ago

That doesn’t go there!

#168 7 months ago

I had to rewire the flasher socket next to the Yagov kicker. Those LEDs flashlamps don’t like it when the wires are backwards.

#169 7 months ago

The SRC resistor network parts are on order and should be here this week.

Hopefully, replacing them gets me a step closer to fully working sounds.

#170 6 months ago

My SRC resistor network parts came in so I pulled the MPU and rechecked each of the SRCs. A few of the pins had high ohm readings so I pulled U41 and U42 and checked them again. All of the ohm readings on every SRC checked out. I continued to verify the sound circuitry to the prints with my meter and everything looks great. I put everything back together and the booted up with a U42 error and a memprot. error. It rebooted a few times then it booted without error. There was still a missing sound at #15.

I pulled the soundboard and checked that as well, but I remembered that I replaced the original board when I first bought the machine because the sound wasn't working. The original board looked hacked with some resistors on the back. I dug it out of a box and figured It couldn't hurt to try installing it now that I pretty much ruled out the MPU and...

It worked. All of the #$%#&%* sounds work!!!

Now I know it's on the background soundboard somewhere and I can stop pulling out the MPU. I completely rebuilt the soundboard that doesn't work, so it's most likely something I did. The original board produces a little more buzz, but it also works 100% so I'm not complaining. I'll order some more capacitors and at least get that much of the old board rebuilt.

There are a couple of sounds (the fly-by sound when you launch and orbit and the match explosions) that didn't work before. It's like a new new game now!!!

#171 6 months ago

It only took me one retry to get a game that lasted over 2 minutes.

#173 6 months ago
Quoted from Waderade812:

"Daddy are you playing?"

Yeah, that little turd interrupts every game I play.
The first thing he wants to do every morning is go play pinball. Just like his daddy!

#174 6 months ago

Here’s a little fun. I switched out the balls for a set of Glo-balls. These are a couple of grams lighter and make for some pretty crazy ball action. It was impossible for me to get three balls locked. I could barely keep track of the ball.

Edit: Here’s the link - http://shop.modmypin.com/

1 week later
#178 6 months ago

I had lighted flipper buttons in red, but I thought I’d customize it a little more. Now my #F-14 Tomcat has port and starboard lights.

I thought about putting a Stern sticker on the coin door, but that’d just be wrong.
07BC8978-864C-44EA-A448-E490F2CE3BED (resized).jpeg099C402F-7D6B-47CB-8AF9-D4F2B7524984 (resized).jpeg64E097B9-D934-4411-9CD2-C65254197289 (resized).jpeg

#180 6 months ago
Quoted from GnarLee:

Thats one sexy mod that I would have never thought of. Now if you away for too long and you coming home you can see from a distance if someone turned your machine around.


It's still weird to me that the front of the machine is the back of the plane, but I'm piloting this bird so I wanted them to my perspective. I'm trying to get ahead of any discussion about what is port and what is starboard on a pinball machine before it starts.

2 weeks later
#183 5 months ago

I’ve been trying to tune everything as perfectly as possible. My right center eject occasionally shoots directly at the post instead of directly into the orbit, and I’m finding it difficult to tune this shot in just right.
Too much adjustment to the right, and the ball rattles slowly around the orbit. Too much to the left, and the ball nails the post. I’m thinking that I’ll just need to move the post a little.

I’m hauling this out to PATZ 2019 this week so I want to make sure everyone walks away from it equally defeated.

#186 5 months ago
Quoted from Chitownpinball:

Damn you.
You think you want a game, then you come into a thread like this and you GOTTA HAVE IT NOW.
What a beautiful restore, well done. I hope I can get one half that nice.

The fun is in making it that nice.

#187 5 months ago

Sittin’ pretty at PATZ 2019.
If you’re close, come out get humiliated.

3AF9F29E-42FA-43D6-B7D5-FBBA6F1ACA61 (resized).jpeg
#191 5 months ago

My beacons apparently didn’t like the ride in the van. I’ll have to debug that one tomorrow morning.

Also, I have the sound turned down as much as possible and I can still hear that subwoofer over all of the other games. Oops.

#192 5 months ago

Pretty cool to have Keith Elwin stop over to play a game on the Tomcat.

#194 5 months ago
Quoted from heni1977:

For a second there, I thought that was a for sale sign.

That’s actually a very clear (circled many times) NOT FOR SALE sign.

It’s been holding up very well to all of the play it’s getting. Today’s full-house Saturday play will be a different story.

#195 5 months ago

I won best in show at PATZ! Awesome!

4B6B374D-E46D-4D1C-A247-71619250DC64 (resized).jpeg
#199 5 months ago

Thanks guys!
Over three days and 25 hours of public play it held up very well. 376 games in total.
On the very last game before I packed it up the lower right flipper stopped flipping. A little nudge would help it get there. I cleaned the EOS contact and she’s good as new.
The aftermarket translucent flipper bats did not fare so well. That lower right flipper bat is only held together by the rubber.
Every single flipper bat has stress cracks in that same place.


#201 5 months ago

The beacon thing was just an unplugged connector in the cabinet. I tied the harnesses a little too tight and when the head was folded down for shipping it pulled loose. Easy fix.

Edit: I found that on Friday morning so most of the show got to experience the full Tomcat.

#203 5 months ago
Quoted from heni1977:

Don’t know if you watch the HEP thread. But he is doing a F-14 restore next.

I am now.

#205 5 months ago
Quoted from ss-pinball:

Saw this at PATZ and it was beautiful.
Looked like a NIB.
Stunning. Remarkable. Unequaled....those words only scratch at the surface.

Thanks! I really enjoyed showing it off and talking to everyone at the show. I go to these shows all the time and hardly ever speak to anyone for more than a few seconds, but having a nice game to share really gets people talking.

I’m honestly thinking about bringing it out to MGC next year as well as the PATZ show. Sharing a prized game and being able to see everyone enjoy it was is an awesome experience.

#206 5 months ago

Just a couple of plays at home and this happened. These just barely made it through the Kalamazoo show.

These are licensed Williams logo flippers that I think I bought from Bay Area Amusements, in case anyone was wondering.

8B07D267-A876-4CA8-A5A1-FFDD5E6884F9 (resized).jpeg
#209 5 months ago
Quoted from heni1977:

To thin! I would go with a more original flipper. Might be less prone to breaking. Just my opinion.

Yeah, I have a set of original style flippers that will go on next. I honestly thought these would have held up to more than a few hundred games.

#212 5 months ago

I got a question at the show as to why I didn’t have the flight insurance enabled when the Yagov kicker was activated. I honestly had no idea that there was a setting for this. It’s Ad-45 in the manual and apparently only available if you have L-1 roms installed, but I had a new set of L-4 roms installed which had something else in that spot. I swapped out my game roms with the set that came with my machine. I ordered the L-4 ones because I’m a stickler for updates on everything. Those say that they are L-5 which isn’t listed as a version anywhere I’ve seen and are similar in adjustment content to the L-4 roms.

Here’s the interesting and still confusing answer to my question from a quick google on the topic:


1 month later
#214 4 months ago
Quoted from Waderade812:

So did you get some different flipper bats after the show? Are you still running the translucent blue?

I just stuck with the classic white. I might eventually get lighted flippers from buthamburg. We’ll see.

My little black Yagov plane took a beating and is missing a tail fin that I haven’t been able to locate. It’s probably hiding in the cabinet somewhere.

#215 4 months ago

I did this a while ago, but forgot to share. A little under-cabinet Red, White and Blue.

#216 4 months ago

Here’s a picture of how the under-ramp light strip looks. It flashes with the under-cabinet lights. All are hooked up to the right bank of Red White and Blue flashers.
7AD4CCC0-3C00-497C-944C-0382C8469059 (resized).jpeg

#220 4 months ago
Quoted from Snux:

I've bought a set of red aluminium bats for my F14, but didn't get around to fitting them yet. From this place....

Those are awesome. Expensive, but awesome. I like the idea of angle adjustment from the top. The flipper length adjust would be nice as well. I could easily adjust between lightning flipper length (1/8” shorter) and standard length based on how much I hate myself that day.

#221 4 months ago

Rumor is that CPR will have a backglass version of the translite soon. I’m definitely saving for that upgrade.

#222 4 months ago

Another cool thing I’ve been playing with this week was to install and Amazon Echo Input on the auxiliary port of the Lepai amp. The machine sound is lowered by half, but I can tell Alexa to play any song that comes to mind as I play pinball and it then cuts the F-14 sounds completely and plays loud music beautifully through the new sound system. I tried a couple of bass-heavy songs and that 8” sub I installed caused the ball to skip around the playfield like crazy.

8FD1C4BE-B729-496B-8001-6D2EEB5E1F6D (resized).jpeg
#223 4 months ago
Quoted from Waderade812:

I am imagining Clark Griswold's electric meter. Man that game is the tits.
So when your guests play it how many times do you have to remind them of the upper flippers?

Honestly, none of our normal visitors have much interest in pinball. It’s my “weird” hobby, apparently. Everyone nicely asks how my projects are coming and then forgets to pay attention as I excitedly start going into detail. Oh well.

Mostly they just ask how much things cost.

1 month later
#224 80 days ago

I love this game, but I still suck at it. I still haven’t made it on the high score board.

#228 77 days ago
Quoted from Waderade812:

I found some inspiration. Start at 1:20:00

Those Sharpe brothers are fun to watch. Watching Elwin play mine was a similar treat. The problem is now I know it’s me that’s bad and not my game’s setup.

#231 76 days ago
Quoted from Waderade812:

What kind of score did he put up? Was he shooting for bonus loops non-stop?
On another note, I will be starting a new project. An Eight Ball Deluxe that came out of a barn. It is full of mud dobbers and spider webs. I will try to get the thread up tonight with some pictures.

Nope. He was doing the same as Josh Sharpe and just nailing the landings for fighter jackpots. My right outkicker threw a curve ball into the loop post and drained a ball on him, but he scored around 3 million. The trick with the multiball is to be able to capture balls with the right flipper and feed the left flipper for landings. I’ve tried this and I fail at hitting the VUK lane. Someday, with enough practice, I’ll figure it out.

#232 76 days ago
Quoted from Pinball_Gizzard:

Enjoying your thread, about to start on an F-14 resto myself here in another month or two.

Good to hear and good luck!
Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to go into detail about whatever.

1 month later
#233 20 days ago

My cpr mirrored backglass Came in today!
It is glorious! The glass is a little shorter than the original so I might need to shim it to prevent it from falling out.
Anyway, here’s the before and after pictures. I purposefully took them with reflections so the mirroring shows through.

#235 19 days ago
Quoted from bobukcat:

That looks better than expected!

The mirrored front edge of the wings really makes the artwork pop. It’s very impressive in person.

#236 19 days ago

The new backglass needed some brighter cool white Comet SMDs. It really pops now.
5D2F4D76-ACF9-471A-BDA2-32FC9F2C6C18 (resized).jpeg

If you look closely, you can see some light bleed in the mirroring. There are also some rather prominent raster lines from the printing process that the brighter lights highlight. Even with those issues it still looks better than the translite.
ED9783F4-A8D7-41D4-AF39-F6BD7F8F7D2C (resized).jpeg9A9AC7E5-5FE4-4DB0-B1DA-4DE5A10FC89E (resized).jpeg

#238 18 days ago
Quoted from AUKraut:

Looks like a 10/10....i.e. looks like a 10 from 10 feet away, but those raster lines up close......I'd be on the horn with CPR and ask about that!

Yeah, not a bad idea. I will contact CPR.

I honestly think the raster lines are from overlapping rows of white ink that the whole back of glass is covered with. the artwork looks great with the backlighting off.

1 week later
#240 5 days ago

Kevin from CPR contacted me about getting the backglass issues taken care of. I missed the call so I’ll need to reach out again. Hopefully, things work out.
I did confirm that the “raster” lines are actually showing because of how the back white layer was applied. The overlap of each row of white ink causes the pattern.

#241 5 days ago

On a cooler note, I was finally able to get my initials on the board! Yay!

#242 1 day ago

Good news!
Kevin from CPR called me this morning about the backglass defects. On Canada’s Thanksgiving, no less! Kevin took time out on his holiday to explain that I was one of two unfortunate people that accidentally received test prints that should have never been shipped out.
CPR is going to immediately send out a replacement.
When I get my new one, I will need to destroy the defect piece. Mine doesn’t meet the license holder‘s (Planetary Pinball) quality standards and can’t remain in the wild.
That’ll be fun, and I’ll make sure to post the hammer to glass festivities here for everyone’s pinball destruction fix.

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