(Topic ID: 18292)

VID's Guide to Upgrading/Rebuilding Flippers

By vid1900

7 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 2,364 posts
  • 395 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 hours ago by LGFAutos
  • Topic is favorited by 1,081 Pinsiders
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Topic index (key posts)

14 key posts have been marked in this topic

Post #6 Get the right EOS switch Posted by vid1900 (7 years ago)

Post #8 Make System 11 Flippers Feel Tight Like Fliptronic Posted by vid1900 (7 years ago)

Post #88 Replace Old Series Coils With New Parallel Coils Posted by vid1900 (7 years ago)

Post #140 Udate Old Solid State Flippers Into Fliptronic Style Posted by vid1900 (6 years ago)

Post #292 List of games with longer/shorter flipper travel Posted by vid1900 (6 years ago)

Post #294 Rebuilding 1967-1979 Flippers Posted by vid1900 (6 years ago)

Post #390 Coil stop differences between system 11 and Fliptronic Posted by vid1900 (5 years ago)

Post #520 Rebuilding Bally Linear Flippers Posted by vid1900 (5 years ago)

Post #710 Classic Bally Early Solid State Flippers Posted by vid1900 (4 years ago)

Post #712 Coil Stop Wear Posted by vid1900 (4 years ago)

Post #713 Plunger wear Posted by vid1900 (4 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!

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#194 6 years ago

What's the best solution with Grand Lizard, or other pin without the tall Capacitor Brackets?
(see pic)

Do I need to buy the $36 assembly x4 for that ?


#203 6 years ago

I just did the flipper upgrade and it is amazing. Thank you vid1900. I am really enjoying my WW
again. Took me 90 mins. per flipper... Do it !!!

Only six machines to go...

#217 6 years ago

Vid1900: Wondering what the extra set of switches is on my System 11 - Cyclone, and whether I am to replace those?, or leave them intact when doing my second Vid1900 flipper upgrade.

(see pics)


cyclone-1.jpg cyclone-2.jpg

#223 6 years ago

Just to help motivate anyone still "thinking" about doing this...
Can you tell which one has been cleaned and has shiny new parts?
Thanks Vid1900!
-mof clean_and_dirty_flipper.jpg

#233 6 years ago

After re-doing flippers on my Cyclone, I found quite a gap between the two brackets holding the coil in place. After some loosening, tightening, and re-adjusting, I was not able to close the gap. Not sure the source of the problem. Was the new bracket not angled well from the manufacturer? Not sure. I called MacGyver, and he suggested that I use a toothpick. It sure as hell closed the gap well, only it's not the "perfect" angle. I traded a perfect angle for a closed gap. As far as I can tell it was worth it. I can't speak to long-term value though.

<see 3 pics>

horrible_gap.jpg toothpick.jpg so-tight.jpg

#235 6 years ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

Is that flange part of the flipper bracket where the coil stop attaches bent down toward the playfield?

Great Q, not sure, will take a look when I get home.

#239 6 years ago

I'd like to try replacing both sets of flipper mechs on my BK. I see a few posts on page three about it. Has anyone tried it?

#241 6 years ago

I'm in luck! Can you summarize what is required to do both sets in a BK?

I saw the link on page 3, but not sure what mods (from the external link posted) are required to get the upper brackets in.

I have yet to buy any brackets.


#244 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

That Siegecraft site is great.
I'd pull the whole playfield and put it on a rotisserie (or across 2 sawhorses) because the upper has a few hard to reach screws.

I appreciate that information. My workspace is a little on the smaller side for now. Perhaps I'll just upgrade the two lower PF flippers (what's most critical for ball-saving) until I invest in a rotisserie or build something to support a PF.

I already bought 10+ sets of (flipper arms/bushings/switches) so as long as I am re-using the old coils, am I just grabbing 4 new brackets for ~$9 each? It wasn't clear to me if I should have Terry build out 4 packages, or if someone like me with parts, can just grab 4 brackets. Any links appreciated.


1 month later
#255 6 years ago


1. What are the little black rubber pieces called that cushion the arm when it slams into the plate? (solved!)

2. Can I get replacement brackets that hold the solenoid in place with the little divet at the top that helps keep the plastic housing in the solenoid from rotating? What are they called? (solved!) Use a DREMMEL!

I don't have any of these brackets (see #2 above) -- so I (sadly) had to put my solenoids in with the diodes to the back-plate... (no choice) (please please forgive me!)


#260 6 years ago

Looking for part name.

Can I get a replacement bracket that holds the solenoid in place with the little divet at the top that helps keep the plastic housing in the solenoid from rotating? Otherwise, I have to put my solenoids in backwards =( and that makes me very grumpy.

What is the part called?


#263 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

(of course you could cut the notch with a Dremmel too)

You said the magic word: DREMMEL, I am so there dude...

#271 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

If you are going to switch to newer Parallel Wound Coils:
FL23/600 - 30/2600 would be replaced by FL11630
FL24/600 - 30/2600 would be replaced by FL11722

Does any wiring change if this is done? What's the value? I didn't catch this tip, so I bought four 23/600's for my Sorcerer to future-proof... oh well.


#272 6 years ago

Dear Vid:

I went and replaced the old FL23/600's in my 1985 Sorcerer with new ones. Now I'm wondering if I made a mistake...

1) I am wondering if I should upgrade them to newer parallel coils?

2) I also got some pics from other Sorcerer owners, and I see that they have large black Caps attached to each of their flippers. I do not. Should I be concerned about this?


#274 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

No, wait until you smoke a coil and then upgrade.

Show me a picture of what you are talking about.

1) -- Can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not. =)

2) here's a pic. I do NOT have these two black caps attached to the flippers:



#275 6 years ago

Dear Vid:

Wondering, can you draw up an explanation on how to properly set the flipper buttons, especially when one button triggers TWO flippers like in WW or Sorcerer? I find it rather tricky to set just right.


#278 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I far as I know, F-14 was the first game with circuity that could take advantage of an EOS cap.
I looked at Sorcerer schematic (pg 17) and it does not show the caps.

I'll ask in the Sorcerer Group what's up with that -- I appreciate you checking the spec.

1 week later
#289 6 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

Hi vid. I just upgraded my Black Knight's lower flippers using late model parts, and although it is an excellent, cost effective way to repair this machine with great action, it seems I have lost about a half inch of travel. I know they had two different kit's during the 90's, I'm not sure which ones I used, as I have had them for a while. What exactly is the difference?

Is there any chance you went from a set without grommets to one with? Just had to ask since if you remove the grommets you get much more range of motion.

1 month later
#318 6 years ago

Dear Vid,

Got lucky and picked up a Barracora. Amazing design and PF.

Not accustomed to these flipper switches. Can I swap them out for a newer style so that I can get a better gap? I can't get a gap of 1/8" on them. I want to upgrade the mechs to WPC anyway like I always do, but not a pro on lane-change parts yet. (pls link part in marco if they have it)



#321 6 years ago
Quoted from GListOverflow:

Looks like the EOS and pawl assembly are already new(er than stock).
You don't have to worry about the lane change switch gap, as it is just a normal matrix switch. As long as it registers it is fine. If you replace the rest of the flipper parts just re-use the old lane change switch.

Sure that's what I've been doing with other machines, just leaving in the old lane change switches. In this case, I have no material (right now) on the flipper switch to bend it towards the flipper arm. Perhaps on my switch replacements they are longer, I'll go check real quick. But in this case, I just wanted to create a 1/8" gap and realized I cannot.

#323 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Looking at the scale of your picture, I'd say your gap is already 1/8".
If you need more gap, bend JUST the tip of the switch leaf towards the pawl finger. If this makes the switch leaf too short, bend the pawl finger outwards a small amount (or loosen the 2 switch mount screws and pull the whole assembly towards the pawl).
Clean the Lane Change switch by pulling a crisp $100 bill through it a few times while holding it closed, to clean it.

Yeah -- normally I bend the tip, but in this case, I feel if I bend the tip, then the lane switch thing won't work properly. I was thinking -- maybe I'm supposed to buy a different one, perhaps the one with the triangle shaped end on it, so that I am allowed to bend more of the end... ?

2 weeks later
#329 6 years ago
Quoted from abaxas:

Quick point... "the diodes away from the endstop" is not 100% correct as it is not always possible to do this without either new parts or modification.
Part 01-7596 (http://www.pinballheaven.co.uk/shop/popup_image.php?pID=1269&image=0) may not have the top notch in. So you would have to either buy a new part, install as per manual, ie diodes at endstop or saw the lug off (as you have done).
My Big Guns and bk2k definitely have non notched and the manual confirms the orientation of the flipper coil.
However, away from endstop is best, the guide just needs the addition of info on what to do when you cant do this.

vid1900 suggested dremeling in the hole and that is fun and works fine. I guess sawing off the post would be easier, but any chance I get to use the Dremel is fun times.

1 week later
#342 5 years ago

What's the best flipper upgrade I can do for my 1981 Bally Centaur?


1 month later
#375 5 years ago
Quoted from WOLF:

way to go old man!

It's inspiring when a guy well into his 80's is so integral to a community. Hope I still have that zest for pinball at that age.


2 months later
#399 5 years ago

Just got my first Gottlieb machine, Black Hole. Wondering what the EOS gap should be... Seems like the stock behavior is about a 1/16" gap, if that.


#403 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Once you clean the switch, you might open it up a little bit.
If it's too close it might arc.

I meant to say I put new switches on, and when I compare them to the behavior in all the old ones, it appears the same -- that Gottlieb is set up to only open at 1/16" or less. Does the 1/8" gap rule still apply here? If so, I can try bending something to cause it to happen.


#405 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

The higher the voltage, the more likely the arc.
If you can open your gaps up a little over that 1/16", you should be fine.

Can you say more about the arc and what the goal/concern is?


#409 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

As conductive carbon builds up on a switch, the distance between the contacts grows smaller.
If the gap between the contacts grows too small, electricity will simply arc across the gap, even though the switch is being held open.
If this occurs (lets say by trapping a bunch of balls during multiball), the arc will keep the high power coil engaged, melting the coil.
As coil voltages went up in latter years, the arc could jump across bigger gaps.
That's how your 20,000v Jacobs Ladder can jump a 10" gap....

Ok -- I finally get it, this is about future-proofing against one day holding the flipper button down, and still having a current pass through and frying the coil.

I would say then that I should attempt to bend every single flipper switch I have in this Gottlieb, and try to increase the gap. They sure are tiny in this game -- more like 1/32".


8 months later
#595 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Usually in my bag of sleeves, there are some tighter than others, but you never know.
Try waxing the outside of the sleeve, let it dry and wipe off. Then see if it will go.

I jammed a tight sleeve into a NEW coil the other day, and I fear that it's stuck forever. Is it?


2 months later
#661 4 years ago


I've been looking carefully at the flipper assemblies in few 1980-1981 Williams games lately.

I'm wondering if the flipper grommets belong in those games? I added them to a Firepower, and noticed the range of arm swing is much less to the point that I can't make backhands -- but it makes trapping the ball much more difficult (pros and cons)

Any hard and fast rules as to when the black grommets get introduced to Williams games?


#667 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

The stops are in the service diagram, but obviously that does not mean that every (any?) game went out the door with them installed.
Here is a NIB BK picture and it does not look like the stops are present (although they could have dry rotted out....).

Does that mean that they weren't introduced in a specific year, and we should expect to see them after a specific date?

Just wondering what patterns you've noticed around these grommets existing in a game. I realize as the operator I can try with/without and make my own decisions. Just wanted to see if any rule of thumb existed on these.


#677 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

High Speed is too old to need the capacitor.

Hold up, what's the rule of thumb on adding capacitors to Williams flipper assemblies? Do they begin in a certain year or MPU?

#679 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

F-14 and latter had the cap..

Can you pls explain why it would be incorrect or disadvantageous to add caps to earlier Williams SS machines?

2 weeks later
#702 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Make the EOS Switch gap a little smaller. In your pics, it looks too large.
Each leaf of the switch much be tensioned so they spring towards each other. If they weakly touch, the flippers will be weak.

Vid coached me on this a few times early on...

Next time you rotate a flipper bat to check your EOS gap, go really SLOW -- look to SEE that BOTH leaves move (not just the one you are moving with the lever.) You need to be sure that the TENSION of the two leaves touching together is preventing a LITTLE BIT of motion.

If the other leaf doesn't move at ALL when you lever the other one away, then add a little more tension into the system.


#731 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Like I often recommend for flipper troubleshooting, jumper the leaves of the EOS together with some alligator clips and see if the flippers improve.

Is that to isolate whether "the contact of the pads" is reducing power?

#754 4 years ago

I'm getting different range of motion on two system7 flippers in a game I'm working on.

1. I'm starting by checking the stops. They both measure equal at roughly 8.5mil
2. The sleeves are new
3. I have grommets in both

Q: What else could cause a different range of motion?

A: Different sleeve lengths!


2 weeks later
#770 4 years ago

(okok, I know this isn't a flipper question, but it's only a few inches away...)

I was cleaning/rebuilding my shooter assembly and realized I frequently pull one of these stupid things off the shooter, and replace it with a fresh E-clip -- what the heck is it? It's ugly!

Is it -- someone turning a washer into an e-clip ???



#771 4 years ago

Dear Vid,
I recently got a 1979 Gorgar.
I'm looking at rebuilding the flippers (of course). I see your notes on replacing the old parts with new parts.

Can you explain why we cannot use newer brackets / tech / solenoids in that particular 1979 game?


2 weeks later
#806 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Normally [the spring washer] goes on the plunger side.

I've done 17 flipper upgrades on 80's machines, and I've never installed a "spring washer" -- is this recommended for all coils/titles, or just the ones that had them to start (in my case, maybe 1 game), or...?


#809 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Just on games that had them originally.

Cool - I guess the problem, is how to know when this is the case.

1 month later
#843 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

It's a black art, but you'll get it.
This tool makes it too easy:

Always buy 3 of them:

1. for you
2. for a friend
3. for you when you break the first one.

"Hear me now, thank me later."

#845 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

The old ones used to break daily.
I have one I re-slotted probably 4 times...

Oh, can you take a broken one, and re-slot the material? I would expect that to break again...

#847 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I just use a fine toothed copping saw, eats that soft metal right up.

ok cool. like this guy?
amazon.com link »

4 months later
#1049 4 years ago

So, I replaced the flipper switch in this Getaway. I'm fine for a week. Now, the left flipper frequently sticks in the up position. I finally found the culprit (as I've had this issue on other games) -- the little crank arm is getting stuck on the the switch when the flipper is up all the way.

So I *thought* I had solved it by putting a little black rubber "bootie" on the crank (save the old ones !)... nope.

I'm wondering what's going on here. Is the switch too short?

How does this work for 100+ plays and then not now... (I had no black "bootie" on there for those 100 plays)



#1058 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

There is probably a little play to move the switch up a little.
The "rubber" boot, was it really rubber? Shrink tubing is usually kind of slippery, rubber kind of sticky.....

Are you saying that's just shrink tubing on there, and possibly the reason this is happening is that it's old and dry? Try putting new shrink tubing on there and see if the switch stops catching?

1 month later
#1081 4 years ago

Dear Vid,

I'm installing new flipper assemblies on a 1982 Williams Defender.

I ran into a problem I've come across several times. You are a big proponent of installing all new parts.

Sometimes, I CANNOT get the new sleeves into the old solenoids. Any idea why? When I hold the old and new one end to end touching, I swear I see the newer one is 1/4 of a human hair thicker...

I'm spending 20 minutes cleaning up the old sleeve and re-installing it.


6 months later
#1400 3 years ago


What's the best inner diameter of shrink tubing to use to replace the shrink tubing on flipper mechs? 3/8" ?


6 months later
#1613 2 years ago

I made this map to remind me to avoid creating shorts when installing new Williams WPC-era flipper assemblies on 80's games...

Create a safe spring gap...
20161125_cg1_do-not-short-to-low-power-switches (resized).jpg

1 month later
#1653 2 years ago

Be sure and grab two new flipper button switches as well. They are usually about $10 each.

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