2013 and Prior What's New
I just picked up another World Cup Soccer and realized that the Striker billboard is missing on the game I currently have for sale. This is the billboard shaped plastic wit hthe red lamp to the right of the soccer player. I found a plastic, but I cannot find the original bracket. I found a bracket that is close and will be able to fashion one together.
The Eight Ball Deluxe has been posted. Now back to studying for my PMP.
I am almost done with the Eight Ball Deluxe. I will try to get it done this weekend and photographed.
I have to work on my PMP. Therefore, for the next few weeks or months, this will be my priority. I will NOT fix any pinballs unless I originally sold them during this time. I need to concentrate and study and right now this takes priority over everything else.
I was speaking to someone and shared a pinball story. I thought I had posted it here several years ago, but it looks like back then I was just whining about repairs in people's homes and what I was working on. Here's the story.
This was probably 2005 or 2006. I was not fixing pinballs for very long. I did not have the collection of extra boards that I have today. A person in the Purcellville area asked me to fix a Demolition Man. The flippers were not working correctly. Rather than swap out the fliptronics board, I repaired all 4 TIP36c transistors (or how ever many needed to be replaced) and replaced the coils since they fried. The game was still not working correctly, so I changed some TIP102s on the driver board and replaced some coils that were not working. Something else (don't remember) wasn't working so I needed to place an order and come back. I did not charge the customer since I did not finish the repair.
I came back a few days later after I got whatever part I needed and tried to replace it but that did not solve the problem. So I needed to leave and think about it and come back. I did some research and determined what the issue was and fixed it. The game worked. I played many games and left. The person was not there (his wife was) so I did not collect the fee which was about $450 for like 15 hours of work but I did not feel like I could really charge more since I was "learning".
I told him that I really need to take this game home so I can work on it holistically. I told him what it would cost to fix (something like $700 plus parts). He didn't want to pay it since he thought I could simply swap out parts like he or his company did in the old days. I didn't have the spare parts then.
A day later the customer called and a new issue showed up and I needed to figure it out. I came back and got it working. The person was complaining about my $450 charge so I settled on $250 and left. I had a Christmas Party that evening. He called during the party and another issue came up.
I went back the next day and determined the issue and fixed it but the game was acting up. He was telling me how incompetent I was. I still had the uncashed check in my wallet. I gave him back the check and told him that I am obviously not competent enough to fix the issue and here is your money back and left. I left a lot of my new parts but wanted out of there forever.
In hindsight, I could have probably fixed the game by swapping out the fliptronics board, CPU and driver board. This is what he wanted me to do but also in hindsight he was really cheap and would never have paid for new boards. One or more ribbon cables were probably also causing the intermittent problems.
Sometime at the beginning of last year (2013) his wife called me and said that his game has not been working all these years and asked if I could recommend a competent repair person. I told her that I know a lot more than I did then and I have the spare parts now and could probably fix it really fast. However, I told her that I would NEVER work with her husband again. To add to this insult, I also told her that her husband would never actually spend the money needed to fix it and would expect me to swap out boards to make it work but not pay for them. She asked if I could recommend a competent repair person again. I told her that I would not recommend my worst enemy to come to fix her game.
So the sad truth is this game may never be fixed. If you ever buy a Demolition Man from the Purcellville area (and not from me) and the flippers have wirenuts attaching new coils, this is the game that I could easily fix now but couldn't for whatever reason figure it out back then. I think that him selling the game is the only way it will ever be fixed.
I really wanted to go back there and fix it just for the challenge of finally getting it working. But I would never do that because he would expect it and not appreciate it. A year or so after this fiasco, a customer asked me to fix a Demolition Man. I had anxiety about going there thinking I was incompetent. By that time I had some extra boards and easily fixed his game and felt like I successfully got back on the horse again.
The Grand Prix has been posted for $700. But I will only sell it AS IS without a warranty. I don't like fixing EM games and I will not be resposible for this game. I like it enough to keep in my collection forever. It currently works 100% (as far as I can tell) and I will fix it for me, but I will not fix it for anyone else. I even figured out why the right bonus was scoring but not lighting. The mechanism that lit the lights needed to be sanded to allow the electrical connection. Simple.
I was supposed to get Ultimate MPU boards today but the shipment was rescheduled due to the snow storm. Hopefully replacing the MPU and driver board on the Eight Ball Deluxe will allow it to work 100% and not turn off randomly. I am waiting to hear back from the customer whether they are interested. The restoration will be really nice, but it will still be a used game with a used playfield and a cabinet that is nice but faded on the right back box. I did post pictures and the items that I want to do to fix it up.
As I have stated below, I am not really buying pinballs for speculation and resale. Hopefully the customer will want this, but I am not spending the thousands of dollars on the parts to restore until I have a commitment to purchase. I decided to buy this game because it is a game that I like and would not mind keeping for myself.
The Spiderman is complete. It looks great. I purchased an Eight Ball Deluxe for a potential customer. As I said, I will only buy for myself or for people that actually want a specific game. No more speculation on my part.
I went to a beautiful home in DC today and fixed up a Twilight Zone and an Addams Family. I love seeing these older beautiful homes. Doing pinball repair allows me to meet people and see these types of homes. I stated this sometime below. I always thought I would be in millions of homes. I just didn't think I would do it one home at a time doing pinball repairs. Mild manored manager by day; pinball geek repair man by night.
I made my first 2 forum posts on pinside this weekend. One showing the DMD decal I added, the other showing the figurine modifications. Hopefully they will help the people that created them.
I continue to work on Spiderman. I took off all ramps and cleaned playfield. Most rubbers were new. All LEDs changed. Cliffy protector added under Doc Ock hole and at front of three drop target. I bought 3 modified figurines from Allen Willard (found the link originally on Pinside). They include Goblin, Sandman, and Doc Ock. Currently, Doc Ock is installed and looks great. Tried to unscrew Sandman. I finally had to take the four 3/16" nuts out. Turns out that there is a female screw insert in the plastic that was just spinning. I got it apart with a screwdriver and needle nose pliers. I will post pictures when done. Usually I post as I am working but I don't feel like taking pictures today.
I added about 50 pictures. The game is mostly complete. I need to add a new DMD. The one in it is fine but it has some shadows. I also have a decal to put over the DMD area. Hopefully it will look good.
Today I fixed Ripley's Believe It Or Not I sold a few years ago. Rubbers needed to be replaced. The top magnet was not holding the ball. I did not have an extra magnet. I swapped the two magnets and it worked fine.
I was going to do another repair of an EM but when I got there I remembered that their driveway was just about a shear cliff that my tiny Prius is not happy about dragging over. I will return when I have my truck. A neightbor called with an issue with his Black Knight. I went over there and saw that the 3 balls were in the trough and not moved. This means the coils don't work and the solenoid fruse (2.5 amp sb) needed tobe replaced and I did.
I continue to work on the LEDs for Spiderman. It appears that most of the controlled lights (but not all) were cheap LEDs. They were very dim and half were not even still in the socket due to cheap manufacturing and not fitting snuggly into the sockets. I guess I am an LED snob and only buy the super bright (most expensive) kits from Coin Taker. But boy do they look great.
My son was visiting this weekend. We were supposed to spend more time with him this weekend as a family but my wife was busy with work activities. On Saturday, instead of going to a movie, I asked him if he would like to help me do the final delivery and set up of two games at a customer's house. How many other parents cvan offer this type of opportunity to their children? We dropped him at the Amtrak station in Harper's Ferry this evening so I am able to continue to work on the Spiderman as noted above.
This will also free me up to look at the Star Trek Next Generation mentioned below and possibly do another fix in the same area (to salvage the Saturday and make a little bit of money).
I do not miss preparing pinballs for sale. I enjoy fixing the two up I am currently working on for myself.
I returned from visiting my father and sister in Florida Friday evening. I caught up on some fixes yesterday. I need to order some Ultimate MPU boards for Bally 1977-1985 games but they are all out of stock at the moment.
To the idiot women in the Caravan type of car that crazily turned left onto Rt 7 East without yielding to me at about 4:45pm Saturday evening: I assume we will see you listed on the obituary page soon due to your lack of common sense. Hopefully you will not take anyone else with you on your journey.
I have all the parts for my restoration of my Spiderman. I was told it had LEDs. It has a few sprinkled throughout the game as if they had an extra one of one type and an extra one of another type. I guess my definition of "all LEDs" must be crazy since I assume ALL lamp sockets have LEDs. But to be fair, I probably did not hear what was told to me and I assume I was told it had some LEDs.
My beloved Star Trek Next Generation that I sold around Christmas seems to have an error with the F7 spinner, although I am trying to get the person to test it in test mode before I drive all the way out there to adjust a switch. Since this runs off the fliptronics board it is a pretty straight forward switch. Either a wire came off, a metal tab needs to be adjusted to register a switch hit or (probably not) the fliptronics board needs to be repaired. When I first delivered the game, 4 GI lights at the top did not work and then they did. Since they are part of a large circuit of GI lights, the circuit is good. Maybe there is a loose wire that occurred in the move. I looked and didn't see any when I was there and move some wires and it worked. But he states it is doing it again so I have to go back and find the faulty wire.
This reiterates why I will not sell any more games. If I have to go back to fix it (since it is under warranty), it just wastes another 4 to 5 hours of my time. I need to do it to ensure that the game works 100% but it is not fun to do these simple fixes.
2014 will be the year of repairing other people's problems. As I state below, I look forward to not having a lot of cash flow tied up in games and have to warranty games.
I have some games left to sell but may just wholesale them so don't have to do anything with them after the sale.
Snowstorm today. I have a snowblower so I did my driverway and 5 or 6 other houses on the street.
I took some great pictures of my Elvis Gold. It is now ready to play and invite all my friends over who are Elvis fans.
Now I can start the restoration on my Spiderman...
I delivered the Road Show this past Saturday. I worked on a Twilight Zone for a customer. The clock was broken. Usually, I replace the clock board and everything works. This is still not working. I am continuing to research to figure out why.
I fixed a No Good Gofers I sold 4 years ago. The left flipper was not working. It turned out the plunger broke. A new plunger assembly solved the problem. Someone called with a Fish Tales with a Check fuse F115 and F116. They have been trying to change the fuses. The issue is not the fuse but the board. The fuse is just the symptom. I replaced the driver board and the game worked.
I have had two calls in the past week from people needing to buy new boards because guess who went to their house and took the boards and didn't return them. My wife had an interesting observation. When this repair person dies, we will probably find that he has been hoarding boards and the world supply will increase dramatically.
I have been getting calls for EM machines that I do not want to bother to fix. Not worth my time.
It has been really nice not feeling the urge to buy pinballs to resell. I am no longer tying up large sums of business money to buy a machine that will need even more sums of money to buy parts to restore, only to put a fair price that is too high that no one will pay. This is liberating. I am always on the look out for games that I want. I may even trade some of my games for sale for games that I want for myself/
The Spiderman also has LEDs on order. I will replace the left ramp. I just ordered the decals for the ramps. I have a new Sandman plastic and the protectors from pinball decals. I have the left ramp protector to install. My order from Cliffy was just sent to day for the right ramp protector. This ramp is cracking but can be nicely covered with this new protector. I also have the other 2 protectors that Cliff makes for Spiderman coming.
I ordered a plastic set, decals, and extra figures for the future for Spiderman. Hopefully a good investment. (I have two sets of Elvis plastics for the future and a very nice set of used plastics. I also have one clear upper playfield left for the future.)
I like Elvis but always thought they could have done like 12 songs instead of 6. Oh well, that would have added a few dollars to the license....
I really like the Spiderman. I read the Pinball News review and played a really good game tonight. Look forward to the LEDs and fixed areas as noted above. I also bought some Bandai small figures to add to the play field. I bought a $6 spiderman and he is now hanging off the back webbing behind and to the left of Sandman.
I traded a game. The next day he called and the upper flipper wasn't working. Luckily this person can fix a pinball machine. He said he checked the wires to the coil and they were good. I asked him to check the flipper opto boards in test mode. They were good. I asked him to look at the wires again. He did from a different angle and saw that one was disconnected. Three minutes later he solderd it back and it was fixed.
If I sold this game and the flipper worked. Then the next day it did not, then most people wouldn' want to look and solder back the wire in three minutes. Instead, I would have to cancel any plans I had and get out there ASAP to ensure the customer's game worked 100%. This would usually take 3 to 4 hours to do. This would waste 1/2 of a free day for me and loose any profit I might have made on the game.
The guy I buy wholesale from thinks I am crazy for offering a warranty like I do. I now know 100% that I am crazy. I thought doing so would ensure customers that they have a game that works 100% and will continue to work 100%. But, as everything else in this world (like Walmart), everyone wants a "deal" and it doesn't make sense for me anymore to "buy high and sell low".
So this is just another example of why once the set of games I have for sale are sold, there will be no other games for sale. I joked about it all last year. But I have been keeping detailed spreadsheets on the cost of each game and materials, and the time it takes for each game. With over three years of data it is crystal clear that I need to stop selling games.
I am sad that I won't sell any but relieved that I won't have $3,200 tied up in a game that I can sell for $3,500 or worse yet, have $6,900 tied up in a game that I can sell for $7,100.
Yes, I clearly (very, very clearly) understand that I can do the same s*it job that others do and not add the LEDs and not replace the plastics and not get all the boards replaced that will break and everything else I do to get a machine working 100%. But if I offer a warranty, then I stand behind my work and I thought customers would want a better built product that had someone standing behind it rather than getting the crappy deal on eBay or craigslist with missing parts and broken items and misrepresentations. Obviously I am wrong and the lower priced crappy pinballs wins out.
(This reminds me of a story of when I worked at Navistar. One of the software developers was a former dentist. I asked him why he is not a dentist anymore. He said that he would look at a patient and determine that they needed a certain procedure that would cost $1,000 and last a life time. But the dentist down the street would provide the "same procedure" for less than half. It would not last a lifetime and the quality of the workmanship was not as good as his work. But the patient was too stupid to understand. He could not, and would not compete, with these other dentists and went back to school for software development.)
I had a friend come over with his 4 sons and "test" all my games. I fixed an issue on World Cup Soccer and Star Trek (twisted the top rubber to the left of the top lanes so the ball did not get stuck. Funny that I had the game this long and it just started happening. But I have done this on other games and should have just done it here.
I have to fix Red's eyes in Road Show. They open wide, but they don't open regular. I hope I have the parts to fix it. I can see what the problem is but don't know why.
I am slowly clearing my backlog of repairs from before Christmas. In 2014 I will concentrate on repairs rather than restorations. I will still do many restorations this year, but only for games that I will keep for myself.
Look at my comment from 11/3/2013:
"I do not sell many games through the year, but most are sold at Christmastime. Christmas season usually starts in October. My sales over the past 10 years matched the economy and shopping statistics published after Christmas sales are tallied. Based on my sale of no machines in October, I would lean towards this Christmas's shopping season being more disappointing than usual."
I was looking at the business news and the reports are that the Christmas season was bleak this year. I saw that in my little micro world in November.
I decided to return the GoPro camera. I never opened it. I could not buy the head mount. The more I thought about it, the more time I would spend (that I do not have) trying to edit videos that would not generate any income and take precious minutes out of the remainder of my life. (Boy that sounds sad.... :) )
The newest World Cup Soccer has been posted for sale. I am offering it in 3 price points to fit all needs. $2,500 as is working 100% with no warranty; $3,000 working 100% with 6 month warranty; and $4,200 working 100%, restored with 6 month warranty.
I did my first two fixes of the year today. I have a few more to do to catch up on my backlog due to the holidays and travel.
I created a new What's New page. The other one, referenced above, was too big and getting slower to load.
I bought a GoPro camera and was thinking about creating some videos to post on YouTube. But I have not been able to buy a head strap yet and am thinking about returning it since it was so expensive. Since the videos would not generate money and take time to make and edit, the best bet is to just return the camera.
The current World Cup Soccer is working 100% and I will try to get some pictures posted.
Virginia Sales Tax
Virginia sales tax is currently 6.0%. Sales tax for in-state orders applies to machines and parts. It does not apply to the delivery or repair services.
All pinball machines and antique slot machines are warranted for 6 months if we deliver the machine. We encourage you to call if there are any issues. Usually we can solve the problem over the phone. We will attempt to assist you over the phone, otherwise we will repair the pinball machine within the first 6 months. (If the pinball is located more than 50 miles away, there will be a trip charge of $100 even for warranty work.)
All new video games and other new machines are warranted by the manufacturer. We encourage you to call if there are any issues. Usually we can solve the problem over the phone. We will attempt to assist you over the phone, otherwise we will work with the manufacturer.
Classic video games are warranted for 1 month.
Newer slot machines (if we even bother to sell them anymore) are warranted for 30 days. We encourage you to call if there are any issues. Usually the problem is a stuck coin. We will attempt to assist you over the phone, otherwise we will repair the machine within the first 30 days. You will need to bring back the machine or work with us over the phone to diagnose the problem and bring in the specific part. If you live nearby, we may, at our discretion, come out to your site to diagnose.
Reasons You Should Let Us Deliver Your Pinball (or Another Machine)
- We will NOT provide a warranty for the machine since we cannot be assured that a problem did not happen when you transported the machine.
- We take responsibility for any damage that may occur during the delivery process.
- We professionally set up the machine, connect all the connectors, attach the legs, head, etc. and ensure that the pinball works properly. If anything is out of adjustment due to moving the machine, we can fix it in a few minutes as compared to having to come to your house later and charging you a trip fee and repair charge.
- If anything major is out of adjustment, we can order parts and repair. This hardly ever happens but it could and you and the machine are protected.
We are currently set up for local delivery only within the Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, and North-Eastern West Virginia area. If you are interested in shipping the pinball machine, we will contact a shipper. You will pay all crating and postage costs.
If you would like us to deliver and set up within 50 miles of Purcellville, the charge is $175; within 100 miles $350. The delivery charge includes delivery to a first floor or basement level if walk-out.
We will not sell you a game/deliver the game if the only entrance to your basement is an inside the house staircase. They are too narrow. Plus we have to ensure we don't mess up carpet or wood. It just isn't worth it.
You may also come and pick up the machine from our location.