After spending the last two days "dialing in" a friends fully restored Fathom I have a few things to get off my chest. Mostly I only do restorations for myself, but I have one friend that pays reasonably, covers all parts cost and never squawks about what it takes to do it right.
That said, this Fathom that I have been working on really demonstrates the quality of work an individual performs. While at first view this game looks wonderful (mostly because of a nice paint job) I found many things that are just shoddy repairs. So..just want to list a few things that should never be missed when doing a restoration...
First off, for a game like Fathom with a $5k price tag I would expect all the score displays to be perfect... Put a new NOS score glass in the Match/Credit display.
When stapling ground braid to the underside of a playfield use a pneumatic stapler....hand staplers just do not penetrate the hard playfield well and you end up with bent and loose stapling.
Make sure all braid is routed so as there is no chance of shorting...Took me most of a day to find a braid buried under the main harness that was shorting to a leaf switch because it was not routed around the switch..
Follow up to the situation in the last paragraph... If you are doing a nice restore for someone, you need to test the hell out of everything to insure proper function. Initially when I got the machine it was to get the roll overs working, fix a bad pop bumper and generally just make sure everything was working. This is where the fun began... The roll overs were never adjusted by the person who restored and clearly not functioning. All of them had about a 1/2" gap in the points... So I adjusted them and got them working and lo and behold I now have a switch matrix issue. As most of you know when the matrix is compromised, the switch tests just don't work as you get phantom closed switches. I found I had GI voltage on the matrix which initiated the hunt....that's when I found the leaf switch with the braid under it shorting to the leaf....and not shorting all the time!!! So I was chasing my tail.
And how could this person have missed a non working Pop bumper??? That turned out to be a broken trace on the Solenoid Driver board right at the drive transistor. I did appreciate that the guy rebuilt many plugs and pins, but on the Solenoid driver board, only rebuilt the plugs....pathetic.
The saddest thing was something I can't fix...at least not without charging my friend another couple hundred bucks. He had told me that the playfield did not fit well down into the cabinet. I figured this was likely due to inaccurate placement of the playfield pivot hinges but in fact was due to the lower cabinet not being square. The restorer took the time to put a new bottom in the lower cabinet, but neglected to make sure the cabinet was square before securing the bottom...Note that the bottom board of a cabinet is the means to insure the lower cabinet is square....food for thought...how do you check to see if the cabinet is square before securing the bottom panel??? Very simple...with the cabinet upside down, you measure diagonally from corner to corner...It's square when these 2 measurements are the same. This will not affect game play, but with the lock bar off, you can see a gap between the playfield and the lock down mechanism that is tight on one side and has a 1/4" gap on the other side.... Even a framing square shows it's out of square.
And a good deal of poor soldering under the playfield...
So if you are doing your own playfield swap, I hope there are some points in here for you to be aware of...If someone else is doing you swap, be sure they know what the hell they are doing. I am presently doing a Flash Gordon full restore for my friend and just completed the playfield swap...everything perfect!...next is the full restore on the cabinet. In the garage I have a Xenon of his that will just be a playfield swap and electronics upgrading. Waiting in the wings will be a top to bottom restoration on a Bally Viking...
God I hope that's all he has for me for a while!