(Topic ID: 142990)

The Who's TOMMY Club - Can you hear me? Members Only!

By ChadH

4 years ago

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  • 1,155 posts
  • 133 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 13 hours ago by zahner
  • Topic is favorited by 62 Pinsiders


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#874 9 months ago

Just picked up my first Tommy. Great game, and I've always wanted one. This one has a nice playfield, and great action, cabinet needs a bit of TLC, otherwise a really nice starting point. The game is the air ball champ of the world - one even flew through the gap in the apron during multi-ball. Didn't see it, but I heard a thunk, like a ball landing in cabinet bottom, and low and behold - one actually did. Quickly had my suspicion confirmed that a ball found its way to bottom of the cabinet after it went into ball search mode. Funny.

Question - is returning the playfield to the down position from having it propped up on the "support bracket" as difficult for all of you as it was for me? Wrestled with it until a big thump and it went back in place. Seems like it wants to be lifted from back while moving the PF back in place. I've owned dozens of pins over the last few decades, but this one kind of threw me.

Also, any "just too cool to pass on" mods or otherwise that are unique to Tommy?

Looking forward to breaking this in and then on to a Pinball Magic maybe next year.

#877 9 months ago
Quoted from JDub03:

Welcome to the club! The playfield may have some warp from being propped over the years. I usually take the time to make sure mine is lined up straight before I lay it down completely. I just put mirror blades on mine, so I am even more cautious. As for the airball issue, put fresh foam behind the silverball and ramp targets. Major improvement.

On it as to the fresh foam. Thanks.
RE the blades, I ordered mirror blades yesterday. I think they'll be perfect.

#878 9 months ago
Quoted from Catch86:

I’ve had this happen too. Mine was because the blinder mechs were missing. Do you have blinders?

I do have the blinders, which are awesome, but I think the ball flew through the left hand side, which is pretty wide open. Maybe I'll install a target and switch in there and make that the super skill shot.

#880 9 months ago
Quoted from Ive:

Congrats on joining the Tommy club ! One of Data Easts finest.

Have you ever had a Data East / Sega / Stern machine ? - this *is* how they are. It's a horrible system - yes you can bump it over the supports but I hate crashing the playfield around like that so I push it in with my left hand, whilst lifting up the back at the bottom of the backboard with my right hand. You only need a slight lift to get it to slide far more gently over the 'bump'. Like I said ...it's a horrible design.

Absolutely upgrade the Code to Chad's 5.0 Revision - if it hasn't been done already. Huge improvements to score balance, bugs, extra lighting effects, extra dots, revamped modes, more blinder action ...it really lifts the game from very good ! to great !
Upgrade the flat original propellers to superior 3D ones. These in the video are sold by Robert H, sometimes on Ebay, or contact him thru his website

ColorDMD of course is always a good mod !
Tinkering wise - It is worth spending some time ensuring the spinners are spinning optimally. Especially the right hand one - it's a tight shot round there and any resistance from the spinner can stop a good orbit.

Thanks a million for the tips. The only DE I had previously owned was a Phantom of the Opera. It was a long time ago - actually the second pin I owned back in 97'. It may have been bad too, but it's been so long and I was so clueless I would not have noticed. I am glad to hear that I am not missing something.

The propellers look very cool, Thanks!

I'll check on the upgraded firmware tonight. Color DMD for sure.

Really liking this pin more than I thought. Just installed two Cliffy protectors last night - the mirror one is slated to go in tomorrow.

Thanks again...

#882 9 months ago
Quoted from HIPPY:

You gotta get the color dmd, it does wonders . Because of the size of the translight, you can only go with color led. It is still very nice.

Thanks for the size/type info - I was wondering about that. In 20+ years of collecting, I've never pulled the pin on buying a color DMD [I went with a B&W one I bought at a show in TZ which was pretty cool], and I was kind of getting a bit confused as I was pawing through the DMD site - this info helps.

#885 9 months ago

So now that I have my new Tommy, I decided it would be smart to get in over my head and get a pinsound board and speakers. I see the sound samples on the pinsound community, but my wife wants Sir Elton singing and I do not think the samples on the community use that song. Anyone know if there is a file with Elton John's version?

1 week later
#886 9 months ago

I have another question: is it unusual for the screws holding the propellers to be inhumanly tight? Do people use Loctite on them? Before I start applying heat, and/or gorilla force, I thought I would look for some feedback

#888 9 months ago
Quoted from Strohz:

Unfortunately I had the same issue when I replaced mine, they were on really tight!

Pliers and brute force with a screwdriver then?

#890 9 months ago
Quoted from Ive:

And pray the head doesn't snap off

Ugh ...

#896 8 months ago
Quoted from Strohz:

Did you get them off???

Ha, I've chickened out for the moment. But thanks for asking. I thought it a much better investment of my time to blow up an enerGI board I bought. Managed to get that smoking real good- but fortunately no damage to anything other the enerGI board. Still trying to figure out what the heck I did on that one.
I have had lot's of luck with a pinsound board, a lot of repairs, new blinder servo and arm, adding LEDs and some custom lighting, so all in all a positive experience. Going to add my mirror blades last - after I work up the nerve to try removing the propeller screws tonight. I'm going to add a bit of heat to see if someone put on Loctite - these screws are ridiculously tight. If I think I'm getting to the point of breaking off the heads, I'm just gonna offer up the new propellers to someone else.

1 month later
#903 6 months ago
Quoted from pinballjah:

Anyone bringing a Tommy to Allentown for sale? Where can you get the Union Jack decals for the body? Thanks.

If you (or anyone) discovers where to get the Union Jack decals, please let us know!

#907 6 months ago
Quoted from ccbiggsoo7:

is that the red white and blue ones?

Yes. The ones pictured in post #905. I’d love a set.

#908 6 months ago
Quoted from pinballjah:

British flag.
[quoted image]

So, where did both the decal set and alternate translite come from? Are they still available? Inquiring minds want to know

#913 6 months ago
Quoted from Ive:

That machine was restored by a friend of mine for a Who fanatic - that is it at his place a few years ago.
I think the translite was a one off custom made by someone. I'll ask him for the details on the cab decals - I believe they were designed by the customer and custom printed by someone.
Heres another pic I had, it wasn't quite complete at this point - posted on my Tommy Facebook page a few years ago https://www.facebook.com/The-Whos-Tommy-Pinball-Wizard-Pinball-Machine-Data-East-1994-147739828633855/
[quoted image]

Thanks so much for checking. I’ll be curious to hear about its origins. I did run across a company that said the can print custom decals, but just discovered it the other day, so don’t know a lot.

Thanks again

#923 6 months ago
Quoted from ccbiggsoo7:

stern siderails? any modifications needed to substitute these?

I have an NOS set of straight Stern rails that look like the stock Tommy rails [no flipper area protection]. The only difference for me is that they screw in at several points throughout the rail rather than just at both ends.
I was going to swap out my old rails, which are a bit battle-worn, for the new ones, but so far I have not felt comfortable yanking the stock ones off because they are adhered to the cabinet with tape or glue. Tried tapping in a putty knife, but these babies are welded on. So, something to check and contemplate as you think about switching.
Love to hear if others have seen this and how they overcame this obstacle without trashing the cabinet.

#927 6 months ago
Quoted from Psw757:

Didn’t someone recently post of picture of an alternate backglass that featured the band members in the art too?

Think you are thinking of:


Tommy (resized).jpg
#929 6 months ago
Quoted from Psw757:

Yeah - that’s the one I saw. I think it would look great on that Union Jack machine.

Indeed it would. I heard that the person selling this glass didn’t, so it might still be available.
I have not had luck reaching the guys who did the Union Jack decals. I’m going to reach out to a pinball vendor who advertises that the can make any decal set you can provide art for. If I figure that out, I’ll post on it

#933 6 months ago

If anyone is looking - CPR has Tommy plastics listed now [I just ordered mine]. Also, on ebay there is someone selling an NOS set for $308 [OBO] at:

ebay.com link » Tommy Pinball Machine Original Nos Complete Plastic Set Of 33 Items Data East

And I've emailed the folks at https://virtuapin.net/ to check on the viability of making the Union Jack cabinet decals.

Beginning to think I have too much spare time on my hands - which I do not ...

#936 6 months ago
Quoted from LOTR_breath:

I noticed the set comes with an extra plastic that goes above the VUK. If you or anyone else wants to sell this plastic, I will pay a hefty chunk of your plastic set cost for it!

Sorry, already spoken for by a buddy of mine. I will only have an extra one of pumpkin-yellow reproductions that’s been floating around.

#938 6 months ago
Quoted from LOTR_breath:

It's the kinda U-shaped piece that fits right about the VUK. It's busted on most games. Mine has been repaired with epoxy.

Well, if you have no takers on your offer to buy the second plastic from a CPR set, you can have my off-color one for free once the new set arrives. Honestly, it's not too noticeable - unless you notice it... and even then, it's okay. You are welcome to it and it's better than epoxy.

1 week later
#946 6 months ago
Quoted from mavantix:

The one that’s already over $200?

$255 with 5 days and 22 hours left and 25 bids. I can never understand why people get in a bidding war that far out. Baffles me.
And wow! I bet this goes well over $300. Guess I’m just going to stick with my giant silver Christmas ball for now and get a color DMD instead. I guess if you have the cash and want a stock and perfect game, you have to pay to play. Good luck to the bidders.

#950 6 months ago
Quoted from Rascal_H:

Love the Color LED in this game. No modifications to speaker panel and it sits nice!

So nice - that’s next on my list.

#956 6 months ago
Quoted from Dallas_Pin:

No one has ever contacted me back ... I have tried 3 times.

I tried too. Nothing. I emailed and left a message with the company that touted the ability to do custom cabinet decals. Nothing. I plan on trying again this week.

Beginning to feel unloved....

3 weeks later
#979 5 months ago

Do you have the blades in the correct position relative to the throw of the servo? Otherwise, I’d check out the two adjustment screws/pots on the driver. Seems like they might be acting up.

1 week later
#984 5 months ago
Quoted from jewboyflowerhead:

Has anyone used Chad's tommy 5.0 roms with pinsound? Does the new code still work with Pinsound?

Totally works. I used Tommy OST and it works perfectly. It’s here: https://www.pinsound.org/pinballs/data-east-r3/the-whos-tommy-pinball-wizard/
I later modified it by swapping in different versions of a few songs, and it still was fine.

1 week later
#996 4 months ago
Quoted from HIPPY:

I just ordered a full plastics set for mine at CPR. Take a look at all the clear plastics you might be missing, like me. Lots of extra stuff, too. Pinbits has sets of plastics protectors for it, too. Check it out.

I just install both in my Tommy. Very nice. Had a minor issue and the CPR folks totally jumped on it. The protectors are a great addition - especially on the judge VUK plastic that gets slammed from the inside as well as the outside.

1 month later
#1007 3 months ago
Quoted from hank527:

Mine is not working with the code. Any suggestions. I hear the pin sound when powered up. So maybe ribbon cable?

Yeah, I had fits when I was first starting to use the pinsound board. Same exact issue. Lame (me) thing I discovered is that I was using too small a USB thumb drive. It just wouldn’t hold enough to load everything up. And it does take a long time the first time you do it, because it’s basically creating all the files.

A great resource was here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/tantrums-guide-to-pinsound

As I got more comfortable with working with the files, it became apparent how to swap different songs and do things like that. My ultimate discovery was that everything I was having trouble with was easily solved - Nothing I had to resolve has anything to do with anything terribly technical. If you’re going to just run the sound package without trying to change anything, it should be very simple. Really make sure that you have a big enough drive first.

#1009 3 months ago
Quoted from hank527:

Game is awesome. I highly recommend pinsound Tommy alternate mix. The game is awesome with the proper music by The Who.
May buy a few more as I want one for Indiana Jones.

Glad it was simple. The Pinsound board is a great product indeed. Totally agree that Tommy is awesome.

#1012 3 months ago
Quoted from pinmister:

Still loving my Tommy. I have been playing with original ROM and I have the 5.0 ROM ready to install but I really want to get my feet wet with original code first. Can anyone tell me a brief explanation of differences with the new 5.0 v.s. original? Thanks

Wayyyy better. More use of blinders. Don’t wait. Do it now!

Look here:


#1013 3 months ago
Quoted from pinballjah:

Once I can finally track down a decent Tommy, I plan to do a Who orchestration with all their greatest hits. Already bought the Pinsound card, Flipper Fidelity speakers and color DMD for it, before I even have the game lol.

I like the way you think!

1 month later
#1021 72 days ago
Quoted from pinballjah:

Where is the best place to buy the flipper button protectors for a Tommy? Thanks.

I bought a set of nice, but used Stern rails with that feature built in for $40 that look like new. I've not had luck getting the old crappy rails off, which appear to have put on with something beyond Gorilla Glue, but then again, it is one of my "to do" projects when I feel up to attacking the problem. However, I thought this was a good solution that avoided the add on look of the protectors. If you want the add on type, look here at Marco:


Depending if you want plastic peel and stick or metal.

#1025 71 days ago
Quoted from pinmister:

You can install the metal lollipop rails without installing the screws on sides by using low abrasive double sticky tape instead or you can install the clear or black mylar version flipper button protectors...


These are the rails ("lollypop") I was talking about. I got mine for $40 at a show - used but minty... They are $89 new at Marco.

rails (resized).jpg
#1031 66 days ago
Quoted from MurphyPeoples:

Okay - I have been in contact with him too! He's quoted me $245 shipped to my house. I've asked "where to send the money" and if he takes PayPal. Funny that several of us are on the same wavelength. I bought his Alternate "GLASS" from a collector here in SC. I think it was 1 of 3 made.

Me too. I was just getting ready to start the “how do I purchase” dialogue with him.
I think the translite he is including with the decals is different than the one I think you have, which is mostly red, an actual glass and very cool. This looks to be the same as the production translite, but with different TOMMY lettering/accenting that is more Union Jack and goes with the decal scheme.
I did end up with a prototype translite, but it’s actually 2” shorter than the production version. Same width. Figuring out if and how I want to use it.
Decisions, decisions.
If there is a group purchase, please let us know.

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#1037 65 days ago
Quoted from Number41:

This is interesting to me - I picked up a prototype translite on eBay a while back and it's the exact same size as the production one. Seems like parts of the top and bottom are cut off on yours.

Probably. Wouldn’t surprise me.

You have a picture of the entire thing?

#1048 65 days ago

Thanks. Oh well, another wall hanging. One of those good faith purchases. I’m going with the thought that the guy who sold it to me didn’t know. I have faith in my fellow man.

I’m gonna order the decal set with the alt translite.

Between that and the pinsound plus board, their new shaker, the ENERGI board for the LEDs, new plastics and my eventual purchase of a color DMD, I’m running out of things to buy - and we can’t have that.

1 week later
#1083 53 days ago
Quoted from pinballjah:

Here is the sample video of the Pinsound orchestration I did with the Who original tracks. I suggest you watch the full video to get a feel for the songs added. Any suggestions, let me know. I highly recommend upgrading to a Pinsound card and upgraded speakers. Makes a world of difference.

Very well done.

Love the color DMD. LED?

#1085 53 days ago
Quoted from pinballjah:

Thanks, yes colordmd LED. I go a little overboard with my machines.

Oh ... I can sympathize

I too tend to do the same. In fact, for Tommy, other than a color DMD (I’m leaning toward LED), the stencil set to repaint the cabinet (scary), and a Union Jack cup holder, I am out of things to add or upgrade.

Have you added LEDs w/ the EnerGI board or mirror blades? Two of my favorites for this game. The Pinsound upgrade is great.

I await my pinsound shaker.

It’s a sickness....

1 month later
#1132 20 days ago
Quoted from pinballjah:

Anybody want this file for a possible translite, PM your email address and I will send you a Dropbox link. File is 48MB. Thanks.[quoted image]

So, and please excuse my ignorance, how does one go from a file to a translite? Are there firms or businesses one takes a file to and then they print out a translite?

#1141 14 days ago
Quoted from Mr_Tantrum:

They are competitive with others out there for most games, and kind of a pain to make. Even so, I understand they are not for everyone.
The target decals are printed on a photo quality printer using OEM inks and high quality ultra gloss OEM photo paper, coated with a clear gloss vinyl, and I use a thick clear adhesive backing for durability and to absorb the hits. I cut the rectangles by hand and punch the circles for a perfect shape. I have targets made this way on my Getaway for nearly 3 years now and the still look brand new (I’ve put well over 100 plays on them).

Just installed the "flipper toppers" and target decals. Excellent quality. Easy to install, and I did like the attention to detail with the flipper toppers having a hollowed out section to accommodate the "DE" logo on the flippers. Really nice and I'm very pleased.

#1144 14 days ago
Quoted from Mr_Tantrum:Glad you like them. The hollowed out spot design came after I sold my first set to pinballjah without it, only to realize it was an issue (don't worry, I took care of him).

That's how to perfect a product. The divot worked flawlessly on the set you sent my way, so at least two down successfully. Once again, thanks for doing this.

1 week later
#1146 6 days ago
Quoted from pinballjah:

Hot off the press![quoted image][quoted image]


#1148 3 days ago
Quoted from TKDalumni:

Anyone have the Pinsound shaker installed and can comment on it?

I just put mine in two days ago. It is pretty cool, but I programmed it and need to dial it in. The “explosion” setting is very strong, and I used it a bit too much.

I had great luck with the effect whenever the plane roars by. Also, had success with glass shattering, the ramp noise and most everything else.

Ultimately, I’m really happy with it and want to spend more time fiddling with it. Super easy to change shaker effects and to assign to different sounds. Very easy to install.

#1150 3 days ago
Quoted from TKDalumni:

Ok that sounds positive. Is there a file already on it? How is it programmed?

The Pinsound site says there is a Tommy package, but I don't see how to get to it. I'd like to see that package to see how they put it together. My sound package is different than theirs ( exchanged a few songs) so I needed to do the shaker effects myself.

Just download the PinSound Studio, put your thumb drive in your computer, open the file in the studio and go to the sound effects. highlight and click on the shaker effect you want to add - save. Put it back in your game and you are rumbling away. The files have to be in the latest format and your firmware needs to be up to date.

I got it all working and I'm fundamentally a Luddite when it comes to anything too complex with computer stuff - In other words, if I can do it, anyone can.

#1151 3 days ago
Quoted from zahner:

The Pinsound site says there is a Tommy package, but I don't see how to get to it. I'd like to see that package to see how they put it together. My sound package is different than theirs ( exchanged a few songs) so I needed to do the shaker effects myself.
Just download the PinSound Studio, put your thumb drive in your computer, open the file in the studio and go to the sound effects. highlight and click on the shaker effect you want to add - save. Put it back in your game and you are rumbling away. The files have to be in the latest format and your firmware needs to be up to date.
I got it all working and I'm fundamentally a Luddite when it comes to anything too complex with computer stuff - In other words, if I can do it, anyone can.

when I say "thumb drive" I mean the one from your Pinsound board with your current sound package

#1155 13 hours ago

Finished my installation of the PinWoofer set up for my Tommy the other day. The sound is very much improved and does the game justice. I have a pinsound plus board, but was kind of “eh...” with the sound. It was good, just not great in my opinion. I love the versatility of the pinsound product, and I also installed their shaker (which is pretty cool). Thought I’d try PinWoofer set up and I’m really happy with the results. The installation was ultimately pretty straight forward. The best thing of all was the outstanding service from Dan Dean. Since I had the pinsound board, I needed a separate power supply, which was pretty cheap (see it below the sub in the photo). The power supply required a certain draw to work, so I added a string of LEDs, which I incorporated into the back box speakers. I ran the power supply off a 110v switched lead that was already installed in my game that came off the game’s power switch, so that was easy. Just had to add a ground. Dan was super helpful with the installation and would regularly check up on my progress and made sure I didn’t blow anything up or electrocute myself - thanks Dan.
Great product and great service. Very happy with the purchase.

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