(Topic ID: 284939)

Will my garage put a chill on my games?

By DazedandConfused

1 year ago


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  • 31 posts
  • 26 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by deeznuts
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

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    #1 1 year ago

    I remember seeing a beautiful Renaissance painting once in a National Gallery tour. The guide said the reason it looked so good was that it had been housed in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg for a few hundred years before coming to America. Alas, my wife does not appreciate the artistic qualities of pinball and she wants me to keep them in the garage. That's fine with me, as I have my little mancave down there now. This time of year, I start thinking about the weather. With apologies for my naivette, I ask if pinballs are like fine art when it comes to temperatures or do you need to keep them warm?
    I live in the Seattle area, where it gets down in the thirties but not much below that. Lots of rain, but the garage is dry. When I purchased the MBr, the seller said that he had put heating in his garage to take care of his pinballs. In my case, the garage is always warmer than the ambient temp since it is beneath the house. Is heating the garage a must?
    How low can you go before the cold becomes a problem?
    One more question, would it be better to leave the pinballs on all the time or turn them off when not playing them? Thanks!

    #2 1 year ago

    In my opinion, keeping them at 30 degrees would not be well. Keep them in a temp you would feel comfortable in.
    As for on/off, turn them on when you want to play them and turn them off when you don’t.

    #3 1 year ago

    You should definitely turn them off when not playing.

    And I would think they'll be just fine in a Seattle-area garage that will virtually never see freezing temps. As I understand it, the thing that'll kill backglasses (and maybe contribute to playfield planking) is repeated freezing and thawing with humidity/moisture in play. You've got the moisture but not the freeze/thaw cycles, so you should be good.

    FWIW, I kept pins in an uninsulated garage for several years in Denver and didn't notice any ill-effects (of course here we've got the cold but not the moisture). But I eventually insulated and added a heater to keep it above freezing in there, both for the potential benefit of the pins and so that I can play on cold winter evenings!

    #4 1 year ago

    I kept mine in my east Bay Area garage for almost 10 years. No problem. Hot as hades in the summer and super cold nights in the winter. I’d cover them religiously. Got em inside now (thanks to an office addition).

    #5 1 year ago

    Personally id get a garage heater, doesnt need to be 70, but 50 would be nice.

    #6 1 year ago
    Quoted from fosaisu:

    You can definitely turn them off when not playing.
    And I would think they'll be just fine in a Seattle-area garage that will virtually never see freezing temps. As I understand it, the thing that'll kill backglasses (and maybe contribute to playfield planking) is repeated freezing and thawing with humidity/moisture in play. You've got the moisture but not the freeze/thaw cycles, so you should be good.
    FWIW, I kept pins in an uninsulated garage for several years in Denver and didn't notice any ill-effects (of course here we've got the cold but not the moisture). But I eventually insulated and added a heater to keep it above freezing in there, both for the potential benefit of the pins and so that I can play on cold winter evenings!

    agreed with the freezing and unfreezing. Not only dangerous to backglass but also dangerous to playfield glass.
    If your garage gets cold at any point in time (winter time, freezing temps, etc) and you were to take off the playfield glass, as soon as it even lightly -touches- cold concrete that glass is going to instantly shatter into a thousand pieces. Storage is one thing, but the garage has got to be insulated if you're going to be doing regular play where there's a high likelihood of removing playfield glass, working on the games, etc. Also recommend having plenty of carpet out in the garage to rest the glass on, etc.
    For what it's worth... I've had two playfield glasses shatter on me this winter by taking off the playfield glass after it has been through freezing/thawing and then resting it on the ground as I had to work on the games. It's very startling! I've learned my lesson.

    #7 1 year ago

    At the least plug into circuit breakers. I unplug after playing, and still use circuit breakers. Im in eastern WA, lots of power surges

    #8 1 year ago

    And a few days ago, this slipped from 4 or 5 inches above the carpet. So be careful if youre on concrete

    20201229_122841 (resized).jpg
    #9 1 year ago

    I would think that not having your pin in a climate controlled environment is *not* a good idea.

    IMHO, temperature changes aren't going to be what is doing the damage but changes in humidity. Wood expands/contracts with changes in humidity.

    #10 1 year ago

    If your collection is the WCS and a Monster Bash in your profile, they’ll be fine in the garage.

    If you had fragile EM back glasses then you would need to think about it.

    #11 1 year ago

    Just tuck them in at night with a warm blankie

    I think they are fine here but personally I like to keep them in a more climate controlled situation unless I’m selling and I’ll move one to the garage for a while for easy in/out . Not sure that constant wood expansion and contraction from temp flux and possibly humidity changes is great

    #12 1 year ago

    I am in the minority here.
    I am in massachusetts. My shop was in an unheated barn. Most of my games passed thru there.
    Six million dollar man stayed there, backglass and all for about 10 years.
    6$ million dollar man survived fine.
    Some other games with or without triple thick had backglasses peel.
    I have not noticed any planking on the games there.

    My game room is at a camp in maine. Also unheated most of the time. Games regularly see temps below freezing. I remove the backglasses in the winter and store them in my house now.
    When they were in the barn they saw temps below zero.

    I keep games much longer than other pinheads. It is not uncommon for me to own a game 5 to 10 years. If there were issues with the cold i would see them. YMMV

    To sum all this up, i think you will be fine in washington.

    #13 1 year ago
    Quoted from DazedandConfused:

    I remember seeing a beautiful Renaissance painting once in a National Gallery tour. The guide said the reason it looked so good was that it had been housed in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg for a few hundred years before coming to America. Alas, my wife does not appreciate the artistic qualities of pinball and she wants me to keep them in the garage. That's fine with me, as I have my little mancave down there now. This time of year, I start thinking about the weather. With apologies for my naivette, I ask if pinballs are like fine art when it comes to temperatures or do you need to keep them warm?
    I live in the Seattle area, where it gets down in the thirties but not much below that. Lots of rain, but the garage is dry. When I purchased the MBr, the seller said that he had put heating in his garage to take care of his pinballs. In my case, the garage is always warmer than the ambient temp since it is beneath the house. Is heating the garage a must?
    How low can you go before the cold becomes a problem?
    One more question, would it be better to leave the pinballs on all the time or turn them off when not playing them? Thanks!

    I just want to commend you on being very well spoken for pinside.

    Words such as alas, and naiveté (even when misspelled) are a rare treat.

    I raise a grey poupon to you good sir.

    P.S. Yes, heat your garage.

    #14 1 year ago

    Heat it.The cost of supplemental heat vs possible damage is worth the peace of mind.Years ago I moved 4 pins to an outbuilding over the winter while remodeling a room.The temp would drop to 50 as I wasn't running heat in this insulated finished building.3 pins came out fine but my DP Funhouse planked pretty bad.Also in the Seattle area.

    #15 1 year ago

    Suggestions for a Stern manual:
    Keep above freezing.

    Screenshot_20210102-194856_Drive (resized).jpg
    #16 1 year ago

    The only real problem with temperature fluctuations is the potential delamination and planking of some playfields and the peeling of the ink on the backglasses.

    The plywood glue fatigues over time anyway, temperature fluctuations can accelerate this wear and tear.

    The ink on the backglasses is notorious for coming off in large chunks or checking and cracking due to humidity and temp changes over time.

    #17 1 year ago

    There are many posts on this topic, definitely look up what has been written.

    That being said, I've done a TON of research on this- last year I had to store a nice WW outside in my garage and was very nervous about it.

    Vid recommended terrarium heating pads, putting them in the cab to keep the games up to a constant temperature to keep them from planking. I tried it last year and it worked better than I thought. Winters are very cold in Upstate New York but after using the heating pad method there was no planking whatsoever.

    #18 1 year ago
    Quoted from Atari_Daze:

    Suggestions for a Stern manual:
    Keep above freezing.
    [quoted image]

    95% humidity seems kinda...nuts.

    Quoted from Elvishasleft:

    I raise a grey poupon to you good sir.

    Don't even ask what the main ingredient is.....

    #19 1 year ago
    Quoted from wesman:

    95% humidity seems kinda...nuts.

    Don't even ask what the main ingredient is.....

    touché.
    Regarding the problem of playfield glass shattering on the concrete, I believe Marco's Specialty website sells slip-on plastic corner covers, but have not found the item yet. I can't do much about the humidity, but sounds like I should do something about the cold. I will start by measuring the garage temps. The terranium heating pad idea sounds good, but I just wonder if those could malfunction and overheat the cab. I'll get circuit breakers right away. Merci.

    #20 1 year ago
    Quoted from DazedandConfused:

    I can't do much about the humidity...

    An ordinary dehumidifier would fix this. Most people seem to recommend having pins in 45-55% humidity to avoid planking of the playfield and rust on metal parts.

    #21 1 year ago

    Playfield glass can shatter at any temperature if you rest it directly on concrete. Never do that, even if you are being careful.

    I have a handful of games in my integral garage this season and recently tapped into a forced air duct in the ceiling to warm it up a little. I have always controlled the humidity in there at around 40-45% year round. So far the temperature in the garage has been holding at right around 50 degrees, even on the coldest days. I'm thinking this will be enough to keep the pins safe, but only time will tell for sure. I know that when I first entered the hobby, the general rule of thumb was that anything over 40 degrees was safe, and the biggest danger actually came from large and sudden temperature and humidity changes (like from opening/closing the garage door in winter).

    #22 1 year ago
    Quoted from DazedandConfused:

    touché.
    Regarding the problem of playfield glass shattering on the concrete, I believe Marco's Specialty website sells slip-on plastic corner covers, but have not found the item yet. I can't do much about the humidity, but sounds like I should do something about the cold. I will start by measuring the garage temps. The terranium heating pad idea sounds good, but I just wonder if those could malfunction and overheat the cab. I'll get circuit breakers right away. Merci.

    pbl has some
    https://www.pinballlife.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=PBL-300-0161-00

    I have those and my friend printed some off thinkverse using some rubbery material that I also use.

    #23 1 year ago

    Any games I have seen in non-temperature and humidity controlled garages have looked like crap in anywhere from a few months to a few years. Flaked out backglasses, surface rust on metal surfaces, mold throughout the game, etc. Not to mention if you turn on a digital game in extreme cold, I have seen board malfunction and damage from the low temperature. I would never consider putting my games in an unheated garage but YMMV.

    #24 1 year ago
    Quoted from northvibe:

    pbl has some
    https://www.pinballlife.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=PBL-300-0161-00
    I have those and my friend printed some off thinkverse using some rubbery material that I also use.

    Got a set as well, love those things! It’s nice you can pop them on once the glass is slid out a little, and then when you put the glass back on they both pop off automatically as the glass slides in

    #25 1 year ago
    Quoted from northvibe:

    pbl has some
    https://www.pinballlife.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=PBL-300-0161-00
    I have those and my friend printed some off thinkverse using some rubbery material that I also use.

    thanks for the link and may your garages always be warm.

    #26 1 year ago
    Quoted from northvibe:

    pbl has some
    https://www.pinballlife.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=PBL-300-0161-00
    I have those and my friend printed some off thinkverse using some rubbery material that I also use.

    This works pretty good too.

    pasted_image (resized).png

    #27 1 year ago
    Quoted from mbwalker:

    This works pretty good too.
    [quoted image]

    Also works good on top front edge of backbox for cushion when following it down.

    #28 1 year ago

    I've been storing my games in a non-heated shop for about 12 years. I'm in Oregon, not to far from Washington. Zero issues with moisture, humidity, cabinets, or the backglass. Hot, cold, and freezing 2-3 times a year. I turn them off 95% of the time when I'm not playing them. You'll be fine, don't overthink it.

    1 week later
    #29 1 year ago
    Quoted from nglayton:

    I've been storing my games in a non-heated shop for about 12 years. I'm in Oregon, not to far from Washington. Zero issues with moisture, humidity, cabinets, or the backglass. Hot, cold, and freezing 2-3 times a year. I turn them off 95% of the time when I'm not playing them. You'll be fine, don't overthink it.

    You make a convincing argument. I have had an older machine, WCS 94, in the garage for 3-4 years w/o any trouble. Just thought maybe the newer MB remake might be more temp sensitive. Still need to do some temperature checks.
    Speaking of the Northwest, no word yet about the 2021 NW pinball and arcade show in Tacoma. Would be a shame if that gets cancelled again.

    2 months later
    #30 1 year ago

    When I was going through a divorce many years ago, I stored some 1970's pins in an unheated, drive-up storage unit. They were there for 2 Winters. Temps got below freezing and Summers had a fair amount of humidity.

    When I retrieved them, I noticed a few pins had bad planking that I did not remember. (The backglasses I had previously removed and kept with me, so they weren't an issue.)

    Lesson learned. I think low humidity and 50F or higher is probably best.

    #31 1 year ago

    .

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