(Topic ID: 222566)

VIDs Guide: Re-Populating Playfields

By vid1900

5 years ago

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  • Latest reply 28 days ago by vid1900
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    Topic index (key posts)

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    Display key post list sorted by: Post date | Keypost summary | User name

    Post #4 Pre-Drill Post Holes on Newly Clear Coated Playfields. Posted by vid1900 (5 years ago)

    Post #16 Making New or Replacement Ball Guides. Posted by vid1900 (5 years ago)

    Post #23 Cleaning Wiring Harnesses. Posted by vid1900 (5 years ago)

    Post #25 Re-Pinning Wire Connectors. Posted by vid1900 (5 years ago)

    Post #36 Replacing Disc Capacitors on Classic Bally Switches. Posted by vid1900 (5 years ago)

    Post #45 Testing the lamp sockets with a homemade AC Adaptor. Posted by vid1900 (5 years ago)

    Topic indices are generated from key posts and maintained by Pinside Editors. For more information, or to become an editor yourself read this post!

    There are 221 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 5.
    #1 5 years ago

    So you have finished restoring your Playfield (or have a new CPR playfield), now it's time to repopulate.

    Of course you are anxious to hurry up because you are in the homestretch, but, there are a bunch of small steps (aka: time suckers) that will make sure you don't mess up all your hard work.

    1. You seriously NEED a rotisserie.

    Having one will save you easily 8 hours on the repopulation.

    It will also allow you to gap all the switches with the playfield in the horizontal position.

    Just do it now, it's $100, hangs on the wall flat when you are not using it, it's made of metal, it will never wear out, you will find 100s of other uses for it.



    2. Wax the empty playfield.

    Here is the only chance you will ever get to wax every square inch of the playfield. A good coat of non-silicone wax will repel dust from collecting in hard reach places. A coat of wax will help your monthly vacuuming be more efficient.

    Sure, it's an additional step, but you need to do it.

    (before you ask, I find Blitz One Grand Wax lasts the longest)
    1 (resized).jpg1 (resized).jpg

    #2 5 years ago

    3. Install the wood rails.


    Normally the rails are the first thing you do after waxing the playfield, BUT for this guide I'm going to go out of order for the sake of superior illustrative pictures.

    I'll fix this in the final edit, lol

    #3 5 years ago

    love these guides. thanks vid!


    #4 5 years ago

    4. Pre-drill all your post holes.

    This is the most important step of this entire guide! If you read nothing else, read this section.


    Your new/restored playfield has a protective clearcoat on it.

    The clearcoat has been carefully chosen to be hard enough to be protective, but not so hard as to crack when pressure is applied to it.

    The clearcoat needs to flex with the wood, brittle clearcoat will lift and chip around every post and washer.

    Remember, we want clearcoat that is hard, but not too hard!

    2 (resized).jpg2 (resized).jpg


    The threads on screws do not play nicely with our clearcoat.

    They can lift and chip both the clear and the wood fibers.

    8fd3d05e1919de26c9ffb02026edb2f286f23864 (resized).jpg8fd3d05e1919de26c9ffb02026edb2f286f23864 (resized).jpg

    Here you can see that the clearcoat invades existing holes in the playfield.

    df1448a6f2c9553956b02f282d9ecf706b409a96 (resized).jpgdf1448a6f2c9553956b02f282d9ecf706b409a96 (resized).jpg

    Now when the screw threads hit the clear, they lift it from the surface of the playfield.

    Even with top quality, flexible clear, some small chipping can occur around the hole!

    So we need to cut through the clear with a BRAND NEW drill bit, and bevel the wood around the hole - just a little bit.

    Now when we run the screw in, the screw's threads can't make contact with the clear.

    No lifting no chipping.

    a42d9ecacc8af0fe6ec8df14e80bb0faa34a7eed (resized).jpga42d9ecacc8af0fe6ec8df14e80bb0faa34a7eed (resized).jpg

    #5 5 years ago

    How do you know what size drill bit to enlarge the dimple?

    You know that the threads can't make contact with the clear, so take the screw over to your kit of drill bits, put the screw in the index holes, until you find the bit that is just slightly larger than the screw.

    drill_bit_set_metric_1-6x0 (resized).jpgdrill_bit_set_metric_1-6x0 (resized).jpg

    Note how the holes are larger than the threads:

    3 (resized).jpg3 (resized).jpg

    Normally, when you put a bit into a chuck, you tighten the chuck around the smooth shaft of the drill bit.

    But for this job, we don't want any flexing of the bit, so we "choke up" on the bit, leaving the least amount of metal exposed.

    5 (resized).jpg5 (resized).jpg

    Again, use brand new bits.

    If the bits have been rolling around in the bottom of your tool box, or used for boring metal - they ain't going to cut it for this job.


    Do all your post holes at once. Don't drill a hole, put a post in, drill another hole, put a post in ......be efficient.

    #6 5 years ago

    Can’t wait to follow this thread!

    #7 5 years ago

    Another great thread - thanks for sharing your experience with the pinball world.

    #8 5 years ago

    Now sometimes on a playfield, the hole itself is not hidden by a plastic base or washer.

    For example, Wire Ball Guides.

    This is one of those parts of the playfield that separates the pros from the amateurs.

    If you tap the guides in at an angle, you will dent the hole off-center.

    If you used too hard of clear, you might have cracks spidering around the hole after only a few weeks of ball hits.

    If your playfield prep was sloppy before you cleared, you may have halos in your clear around the holes after you drill, because your clear lost it's adhesion to the playfield.

    We are going to avoid all that mess with a 2 step drilling.

    (If you have never drilled or installed any wire guides before, TEST your hole size choices in a piece of scrap wood, or under the apron! Don't mess up the playfield with your experimentation.

    Just like with the post holes, your first 2mm deep hole is slightly LARGER than the ball guide wire.

    Take the ball guide to your drill set and find the right bit.

    Now, with the drill gun running at top speed, just barely kiss the playfield. Wahlah! You have a perfect hole with no chips, lifts or halos.

    Next find the drill bit that is SMALLER than the ball guide wire, drill all the way through the back of the playfield. You will note that the first hole will center the smaller drill bit, so you won't chip the edges of the larger hole.

    If you have a used, restored playfield, the hole won't need the second step.

    If you have a brand new CPR playfield, you most certainly will need the second step!

    Here you can see our 2 step holes in a black part of the playfield.

    6 (resized).jpg6 (resized).jpg

    #9 5 years ago

    Tap the Wire Guide into the playfield with a plastic face dead blow hammer.

    Tap one leg a little, then do the other, so it goes in straight.

    Every tap should make progress.

    If the guide is not moving, something is very wrong. Stop. Drill the smaller hole again to clear out any wood chips that are clogging the hole.

    If the Wire Guide has any barbs on the legs, file them off. Use a drop of white glue in the hole to secure the Guide, rather than a barb. (don't fill the top of the hole with glue, we want that tiny amount of clearance between the Guide's leg and the clear - the two should never touch).

    1 (resized).jpg1 (resized).jpg
    #10 5 years ago

    Not another Vid's guide...

    ...for the record some of this guide does NOT apply to Spraymax2K playfields, the resins that keep it soft and from cracking are not expected to dry out for 80-100 years, screw away right into it. Unless you're reading this in the future, in that case...PLEASE CLONE ME! lol

    flat,550x550,075,f.u1 (resized).jpgflat,550x550,075,f.u1 (resized).jpg

    #11 5 years ago

    When I replace plastic posts on a new pf I like to have a small washer underneath the post. This way the plastic post is not having its edges dig into the clearcoat when tightened. The washer is taking the stress out of view from the edges of the post.

    #12 5 years ago

    Most Wire Guides should be tapped down until the legs are flush with the bottom of the playfield.

    But if there is any doubt, a ball is a good tool to see that the top rail of the Guide is half the height of the ball.

    If the ball **clicks** as it rolls past the Guide's leg, the rail is too high off the playfield.

    2 (resized).jpg2 (resized).jpg
    #13 5 years ago

    The Biff Bars that go behind the flippers are tapped down until a credit card can just pass under them.

    The ball does not roll along these, they are installed to keep players from performing a Bangback - cheating in league play.

    3 (resized).jpg3 (resized).jpg
    #14 5 years ago

    These precious guides, Todd Tuckey & the Ray Files are what made me the guy I am today...and look at me now, lifestyles of the pinfabulous Biff Bar-ing away! lol

    #15 5 years ago

    Vid is on a roll now!!!

    #16 5 years ago



    On just about every game that has barbs stamped into the WBG's legs, one of the guides will be broken.

    (always remember to circle the hole with the broken leg if you are restoring the playfield. It sucks to be repopulating a perfect playfield, only to remember that you left the leg fragment in the hole, lol. Drive the fragment out the backside with a punch. ) This means the punch enters the face of the playfield, and drives the broken leg fragment out through the backside.

    On this Xenon, the broken guide was at the exit from the Tube. That's not even a high wear part of the playfield.

    4 (resized).jpg4 (resized).jpg

    Do we comb through the 1980 Bally parts catalog?

    Do we post a request on Pinside?

    Do we call Steve at PBR, clenching our buttholes anticipating his response ?

    Hell no, we make a brand new one.

    5 (resized).jpg5 (resized).jpg

    The WBGs are made of Stainless Steel.

    Lucky for us, Stainless Steel Welding Rod comes in the same diameters as most WBGs. .09" or 3/32"

    ER308 Stainless is what to look for, it's $10 a pound, so a handful of rod is not going to cost you much. Buy a bunch of extras.

    6 (resized).jpg6 (resized).jpg

    Don't try to do the math and figure out how long of wire to cut, you won't be able to calculate the radius loss at the bends, so you will end up short.

    Just leave the legs a little long, and trim after you are done bending.

    Above, you can see that I left the leg really long, because obviously the Welding Rod ID Stamp is getting discarded.

    95% of WBGs you bend will have legs the length of the Jig itself.

    7 (resized).jpg7 (resized).jpg

    Hold the old WBG next to the new one to size up your 2nd bend.

    Make the 2nd bend 1/2 the diameter of the rod SHORTER than the original - the radius of the bend will add this back into the final length.

    8 (resized).jpg8 (resized).jpg

    After you have verified that the 2 parts are identical, cut the legs to final length with some big wire cutters - don't kill your little diags.

    The wire bending Jig is $7 at Marco:


    large (resized).jpglarge (resized).jpg

    #17 5 years ago

    I remember using wire coat hanger way back. Worked well.

    #18 5 years ago

    No one will ever know.

    9 (resized).jpg9 (resized).jpg

    #19 5 years ago

    Favoriting. Very solid resource starting here. Thank you, vid, for taking the time to do this!

    #20 5 years ago

    Because Greg Kmiec designed Xenon, there are some actual pins (nails) on the playfield. (kind of a nod to real "pin ball")

    These are installed to avoid 2 ball traps.

    CPR did not drill these, so you have to drill and place them yourself.

    Drill like the Wire Guides, but obviously with smaller bits.
    10 (resized).jpg10 (resized).jpg11 (resized).jpg11 (resized).jpg12 (resized).jpg12 (resized).jpg

    #21 5 years ago

    Yet another guide to add to my favorites...

    #22 5 years ago

    Some reproduction playfields are missing a bunch of holes.

    You could make a template out of thick Mylar film (like the protective sheet that covers a new TV screen) or maybe a piece of drafting polyester.

    BUT often it's much quicker to just pull out the plastic that is installed in that section, center all the existing holes, and drill your missing one.

    `13 (resized).jpg`13 (resized).jpg
    1 week later
    #23 5 years ago



    Cleaning the wiring harness is a step you just can't skip.

    Otherwise your new (restored) playfield will be covered in black coil dust.

    No matter how many times you wash your hands, all your white rubber will be covered in black smudges. No one knows how it gets there.

    Washing all the 40 year old oily plasticizers off the wires will help keep new dust from sticking to it too.

    Washing all the 40 year old Coil Dust off the harness is the only known cure for "ghosting" where the flippers cause a spike making other coils fire through the MPU.


    Use a fine point pencil and circle around all the mechs and GI wiring paths (those stapled bare wires) on the back of the old playfield.

    These tracings will REALLY help you when it comes time to re-populate the new playfield.

    Take a ton of pictures. 3x as many as you think you will ever need.

    The whole wiring harness just goes in the dishwasher, GI paths and all.


    Leave the coils on (throw away the Coil Sleeves), loop a loose zip tie through the switch stacks (you don't want them coming apart), leave the light sockets, everything.

    Don't leave any enclosed switches on the harness. Even if they were waterproof 40 years ago, they won't be now. Xenon had 2 enclosed switches (ramp and ball trough), that had to be removed.
    7 (resized).jpg7 (resized).jpg

    ^ note the red arrow pointing out the switch stacks with blue zip ties.

    #24 5 years ago

    3 hours latter, you get a spotlessly clean, brightly colored, very hot wiring harness.

    All the metal switch blades are shiny clean, muck that would take 20 minutes to scrub with a toothbrush is simply gone.

    Check the strainer at the bottom of the dishwasher for any mystery screws or washers that were inadvertently tangled in the harness. There are always a few.

    Use a folded cardboard platter to slide the harness onto, it will be too hot to simply pick up.

    Note how all the labels on the coils are nice and clean - still stuck on.

    8 (resized).jpg8 (resized).jpg
    #25 5 years ago



    Now that all your wires are clean enough to actually see their colors, it's time for the most hated job of restoring any 70-80s pin, re-pinning the connectors.

    You can't skip this step, no matter what you have read on the internet.

    Many of those connectors were designed for 30 installation cycles, and after 40 years of service, they have probably been cycled 200 times.

    Many of those connectors were spec-ed for too low of an amperage, so they are blackened and pitted.

    I've tried every kind of cleaner, including De-ox-it and all it's cousins. The plating is simply worn off and no amount of cleaning will put it back on.

    There is NO WAY to have a totally reliable 70-80s Bally game without re-pinning the connectors. None.


    The first step is to take a clear picture of each connector's wire colors.

    No matter how careful you are, at some point you will become distracted and forget which are the empty spaces on the connectors (some guys even put black Sharpie on the empty slots). You are going to need those pictures; much quicker than getting out the schematics.
    9 (resized).jpg9 (resized).jpg

    #26 5 years ago

    Get all your new contacts from Great Plain Electronics:


    The 4 amp are better

    Get the larger .156 contacts too:

    Trifurcon are better



    You are going to re-use the plastic housings (many sizes are no longer available or the wrong color), just get the contacts


    You are going to need a ratcheting crimper that does both crimps at the same time $19


    41mYV1ZrFYL (resized).jpg41mYV1ZrFYL (resized).jpg
    #27 5 years ago

    Since we are reusing the now extinct plastic housings, we need to remove the contacts without damaging the plastic.

    If you look carefully at the metal contacts inside the plastic housing, you will note that there is a square spring-tab that keeps the contact from extracting.

    If we were to depress that tab, while gently pulling on the attached wire, the whole contact would come out!

    10 (resized).jpg10 (resized).jpg

    We need yet another tool.

    Oddly enough the tool was invented by Johan Vaaler in 1899 a few decades before modern pinball, and yet we still use it in pinball repair today.

    paperclip (resized).jpgpaperclip (resized).jpg

    #28 5 years ago

    Q: Vid wait!!!! Don't I want to buy an expensive Extraction Tool ???

    11-03-0016 (resized).jpg11-03-0016 (resized).jpg

    A: Nope, for $25, this tool will break all by itself in your tool box

    You can get 28,000 paperclips for $25

    You will never break one removing contacts, I'm certain of this.


    Depress the Spring-Tap while pulling on the wire:

    11 (resized).jpg11 (resized).jpg

    The contact slides right out:

    12 (resized).jpg12 (resized).jpg

    #29 5 years ago

    Does anyone know when Marco's will start selling paper clips

    #30 5 years ago

    If this is your first rodeo, I'd just suggest you crimp one contact at a time. This way you are less likely to mix up the order of things.

    1. Extract the old contact.

    2. Cut it off as close to the old contact as possible.

    3. Strip off about 3mm of wire insulation. You can use a new contact as a strip-guide to see how much insulation needs to be removed.

    13 (resized).jpg13 (resized).jpg
    #31 5 years ago

    Put the new contact in the crimper, click the ratchet handle twice so it's half cocked.

    This will hold the contact in place while you insert the wire.

    14 (resized).jpg14 (resized).jpg

    Put the stripped wire in, there is a little stop in the crimper that will catch the insulation edge - making alignment a breeze

    15 (resized).jpg15 (resized).jpg

    Squeeze untill the crimper releases the contact.

    (if you ever get a part stuck in the jaws, the release mech is that small lever above the lower grip.)

    16 (resized).jpg16 (resized).jpg

    #32 5 years ago

    So now you have your newly crimped wire.

    You can note that the Dual Crimp dies did both the conductor and insulation crimp at the same time. This saves your hand at the end of the day by cutting your crimping in half.

    You can also see that the Trifurcon connectors triple the contact area. This is good for a high vibration location like a pinball machine.

    You can see that the little bit of conductor sticking out past the crimp, matches the factory made one.

    You can also see our locking tab on the bottom - remember the tab goes in the little window when you slip it back in the plastic connector housing.
    17 (resized).jpg17 (resized).jpg

    It's going to take you a hour to redo all those contacts.

    Do it while seated, with a nice alcoholic beverage at your side, and some T Rex on your speakers.

    #33 5 years ago
    Quoted from TreyBo69:

    Does anyone know when Marco's will start selling paper clips

    The tech support would be a nightmare.

    1 week later
    #34 5 years ago



    Switch Stacks have thin, #4 screws that the heads will break off if you try to run them into the dimples on a reproduction playfield.

    Use a drill bit with a Collar Stop to keep you from drilling all the way through the front of the playfield.

    If you use Masking tape (like nubes do), the tape will migrate up the shaft until you finally drill all the way through.

    19 (resized).jpg19 (resized).jpg

    Your switches are probably spotlessly clean from the dishwasher, but you can pull a crisp new $100 bill through the contacts, while gently holding them together, if you want to be sure. If the bill pulls without a black trail, you know the contacts are clean.

    Adjust your switches now, rather than once you have the playfield installed - a big time saver.

    #35 5 years ago

    A whole set of Collar Stops is $3 at HF.

    You will use these everyday once you own them.


    image_17257 (resized).jpgimage_17257 (resized).jpg
    #36 5 years ago



    A problem unique to classic Bally's is that ALL of the old switch disc caps MUST be replaced.

    These always go bad, either locking on, or making a coil go "thump, thump, thump, thump...." once they warm up.

    When you restore a classic Bally, you will often see that 1/2 of the Caps are missing, or one leg is cut (to remove it from the circuit).

    The Kickout mech would block you from the cap once installedThe Kickout mech would block you from the cap once installed

    Often, it is much quicker to replace these caps before you install the switch (like the above photo where the mech blocks you from soldering after installation).

    The replacement caps are tiny compared to the OEM, so don't panic when you buy a bag.

    22 (resized).jpg22 (resized).jpg

    New caps are .01 cent, so buy a few hundred of them, every classic Bally needs a bunch:


    #37 5 years ago

    I will be buying a set of those collar stops and some fresh drill bits for my project! Thank you Vid again for your knowledge!!

    #38 5 years ago

    The Switch Caps help the CPU detect quick ball hits, that it might otherwise miss.

    The game will work without them, but it will not play as well.

    Since many of the caps will be missing, how do you know which switches originally had a cap?

    You look at the Switch Matrix in the manual.

    For Xenon, we see that 8 switches need the caps for best performance (I've added a red dot next to the caps):
    23 (resized).jpg23 (resized).jpg

    Note also, that we can't completely trust the manual.

    On Xenon, the top 4 rollover Button switches originally had caps on them from the factory, but that is not shown in the manual.

    Those can be very quick or slight hits, so it makes sense that Bally added them after the schematics were drawn.

    #39 5 years ago

    So on the diagram, the red dots represent the caps and the coinciding symbol next to it relates to a cap being needed there?
    As I am sure those red dots do not show up on all diagrams.

    #40 5 years ago
    Quoted from heni1977:

    So on the diagram, the red dots represent the caps and the coinciding symbol next to it relates to a cap being needed there?
    As I am sure those red dots do not show up on all diagrams.

    I put the red dots in to highlight the Capacitor symbols next to them.

    So looking at the symbols that Bally used, you can see that the caps are non-polarized (no + sign next to them) and non-variable (no arrow running through them).

    Non-polarized caps means that the caps can be installed with the legs in either direction.

    capacitor-symbol (resized).pngcapacitor-symbol (resized).png
    #41 5 years ago



    [flame suit on]

    If you have been servicing games for a few years, you know that when a General Illumination circuit keeps blowing fuses, it's probably a spring broken from it's socket shorting out, or something is touching all that bare GI wiring stapled everywhere.

    Sure, Bally saved .50 cents by using bare wire, but that does not mean you have to.

    Yeah, if you are trying to restore a game exactly I get it, but let's face it; no one is going to look at this mirror surface Xenon playfield and believe that it is in any way an original.

    No one is going to look at all the tumbled hardware under the playfield and believe that after 40 years, it's not white with corrosion (let alone all you guys that Plate or Powder Coat your hardware).

    So it's OK to use the much more durable, more reliable, insulated wire.

    Now I don't use it everywhere, it's obviously quicker to just leave most of the lamp clusters connected to the bare wire. It runs through the dishwasher all soldered together just fine.

    But the crazy wiring around the pops, where it's zig zaging around every obstacle, just waiting to short out against everything - that's a good place for insulated wire.

    And because the wiring is insulated, you can take a more direct path with it, not having to do any zig-zags, or worrying if one wire crosses over anonther. Much cleaner looking. Much installation time saved.

    Here you can see I used Orange and Green wires, the same color as the GI buss wires that feed it. Color coding it, makes troubleshooting easy for the next tech that works on it:

    24 (resized).jpg24 (resized).jpg

    #42 5 years ago

    There is a whole thread on Pop Bumpers:


    But here we see another time saving opportunity.

    Before the Spoon Switch gets buried in all the wires and mechs, NOW is the time to adjust the centering of the Spoon, and switch gap.

    The top spring arm in this pic needs to be flattened with a pair of Duck-Bill Pliers, before the switch gap is adjusted:

    25 (resized).jpg25 (resized).jpg
    #43 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    New caps are .01 cent, so buy a few hundred of them, every classic Bally needs a bunch

    @vid1900, for this precise purpose, I bought a bunch a while back. Expected flat disc capacitors, instead I got these:

    IMG_2484 (resized).JPGIMG_2484 (resized).JPG

    caps (resized).jpgcaps (resized).jpg

    Will they work the same?

    #44 5 years ago
    Quoted from jsa:

    Will they work the same?

    Yep they are the same thing.

    47 followed by 3 zeros

    Those are 47,000pF, also known as 47nF, also known as 0.047uF - three ways to label the same thing.

    #45 5 years ago



    You always want to test the GI and Lamp Matrix BEFORE you put the playfield back in the game.

    It's easy to find your mistakes while the game is still on the rotisserie, it sucks when the playfield is installed and you are blowing fuses.


    Go into your junk box of old wall warts and find a 6 to 9V adapter.

    The amperage is not too important if you are using LEDs

    6 volts is ideal, but I've used 9v and not burned out any lamps - maybe if you left them on a long time some would be killed.

    Put a Red Alligator Clip on the + wire and a Black Clip on the Neg wire.

    Crimp them, solder them, attach them any way you want.
    28 (resized).jpg28 (resized).jpg

    IMG0807_HDR (resized).jpgIMG0807_HDR (resized).jpg
    #46 5 years ago

    The GI is AC voltage, so it has no polarity, attach the leads to any socket and the whole string of GI should light up. If no lights light up, reverse the leads (because the wall wart is probably DC). When you are plugged into the cabinet, the power supplied is 6V AC, so you never have to worry about the polarity.

    But the Switched Lighting Matrix does have polarity.

    The bare wire that zig zags through the playfield is the Positive wire (everyone online always refers to this as the **ground** wire - it's not).

    Attach the Red clip anywhere on the bare wire.

    Now touch the black clip to any lamp tip, and you should have light. So if you think about it, the game is switching the GROUND on and off to each lamp, not the Positive. (Same with the coils).

    Tap each socket tip, and make sure each lamp works.
    IMG_20180827_205854282 (resized).jpgIMG_20180827_205854282 (resized).jpg

    29 (resized).jpg29 (resized).jpg

    #47 5 years ago

    Seasoned restorers probably caught my error in the above picture.

    You need to touch the Solder Terminal, not the Socket Tip, to actually test the socket.

    When I test the Solder Terminal, I actually get no light:

    27 (resized).jpg27 (resized).jpg

    Old sockets sometimes are no longer making contact between the Socket Tip and the Solder Tab

    #48 5 years ago

    Of course, in a restoration, you would just replace the socket; but in the field, you wrap a solid core wire around the socket tip, then solder it to the tab. Trim off any excess wire.

    31 (resized).jpg31 (resized).jpg

    Usually the tip itself won't take solder very well, so if you try to solder the wire directly to the tip, it often breaks free a few months later from playfield vibration.

    Other common reasons the lamps wont light:

    1. Bad LED - a few out of every batch are bad. That's why I always tell people to order 10 extra of each color. You need spares if some burn out anyway. A Warm White bulb you buy today, likely won't match a WW you buy 6 months from now.

    2. Reverse Wired LED - sometimes an LED is wired backwards internally. Normally when you test a LED with your little wall wart thingy you built, the Body is Positive and the Tip is Negative.

    If you get one that only lights with the Tip Positive, you can use it in the GI, or just throw it away.

    3. Corrosion in the socket - clean the socket with a cylinder stone in your Dremel. Especially if you accidentally sprayed clear coat down the sockets.....

    71CBspA4V-L._SL1500_ (resized).jpg71CBspA4V-L._SL1500_ (resized).jpg

    Bent socket - on #44 sockets, sometimes the little hook tabs are bent that hold the bulb, allowing the bulb to sit crooked. Use some needle nose pliers and reshape the socket into a nice circle.

    Plastic Bally #555 Sockets from the 80s - these are total crap. Experienced restorers replace all of these with #44 sockets. I know, it's a lot of work; but there is no way to fix them. Even when they were new, they sucked.

    All metal pop bumper #44 sockets - again, clean off white corrosion with Dremel. Be sure to get the Collar and the Tip areas back to shiny metal. Pull up on the tab that contacts the bulb Tip; it should have some spring tension to it.

    1 month later
    #49 5 years ago

    Vid, I am doing a FH restore and am repopulating a new Mirco playfield. There is a post hole missing. (Hole should go all the way through with nut on bottom). There is a dimple, but it is in the wrong place.

    What is best way to drill this hole? I saw your post about making sure to use a new bit, etc, but I am still a bit worried about

    a. clearcoat lifting around the bit as i drill. Should I use a higher speed driller like a dremel instead?

    b.drilling straight in - how important is this? Like I know a drill press can make perfectly straight-in holes, but that seems logistically not possible. Should I just be cognizant of trying to drill straight?

    c. Should I start with a very small pilot hole then gradually go up in bit size? Or is this not necessary?

    I am just nervous overall with drilling through. Up to this point in the restore, I did use a dremel on existing holes to clear out the clearcoat around the holes. So having success up to now.

    Thanks for any help.

    #50 5 years ago
    Quoted from Elicash:

    a. clearcoat lifting around the bit as i drill. Should I use a higher speed driller like a dremel instead?

    No need.

    Warm the area with a hair dryer (warm not hot), because those brand playfields tend to have gobs of clear on them.

    Make a dimple with a scratch-awl so the bit does not wander and then drill your hole


    Quoted from Elicash:

    b.drilling straight in - how important is this? Like I know a drill press can make perfectly straight-in holes, but that seems logistically not possible. Should I just be cognizant of trying to drill straight?

    You don't want your post leaning backwards or it will make airballs.

    Drill a hole in a piece of thick scrapwood using a drill press.

    Now clamp this wood to the playfield as your drill guide.

    The wood will keep your bit straight as you drill

    Quoted from Elicash:

    c. Should I start with a very small pilot hole then gradually go up in bit size? Or is this not necessary?

    Every time you bring a drill bit near your playfield you add to the risk.

    The only time I drill a pilot hole, is when I'm using really large bits that might wander on their own.

    There are 221 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 5.


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