What's New

2013 and Prior What's New

Check List When Buying A Pinball

Games I am looking for:

Flintstones
Ripley's Believe It Or Not
Shadow
Apollo 13 - Maybe since their GI lighting is so hard to replace.
Twister - Maybe since their GI lighting is so hard to replace
Blue Avengers LE
Transfomers Combo LE
Cirqus Voltaire - May be expensive and pretty but not sure
Spiderman Vault
Theatre of Magic
Ghostbusters Premium or LE

08/21/2016

Mirror blades added to Monster Bash. The look really good and easy to install. I bought these from PinballDecals. As they note in their FAQs, these are really big ground plates, so before I turned the game on, I ensured that no wires were drifting outside the boundaries of the play field. I also replaced the flipper bats. I did not rebuild the flippers since they looked nice and clean and they are working perfectly.

08/18/2016

My comment at work, especially to people that are unsure of their abilities is "fake it 'til you make it". I tell them that I am not asking them to lie. I am asking them to believe in themselves and their ability to get the job done. You wouldn't be in the position you are in if you were not capable of doing the tasks delegated. It is a way to build up confidence and see yourself successfully doing the task and believe that it can be done.

I purchased a Road Show a few weeks ago. I didn't want to restore it but I got it fully working. I thought I found someone that wanted it. They were supposed to come tomorrow. They still may, but I have not received a confirmation. (they backed out.) I held off posting for sale since I wanted to give this person the first right of refusal. But I should know better and giving someone two weeks to think about it would allow them to have second thoughts. This is absolutely fine since you should never rush into buying or doing anything. But I should have simply posted it immediately to get a two week jump on when the person changed their mind. I have posted it with an as is price fully working and a more expensive fully restored price. This way if someone wants a great Williams 1990s pinball they can get it at a great price. If they want a fully restored great Williams 1990s machine they can get it a bit below other retail places.

Other places have it for $500 more than my fully restored price. One place has a signed version. Cool. Mine will have (if fully restored) full LEDs, new rubbers (not just the ones that "need" to be changed), new posts, fully taken apart and cleaned.

08/13/2016

338 photos of the Monster Bash restoration uploaded.

08/12/2016

Here is a video of the progression of the Monster Bash Decal repainting (there is no sound).

08/02/2016

I returned from vacation (visiting family) yesterday. So now back to work. The artist is coming tomorrow. Hopefully we are in the home stretch on Monster Bash to finish the art work. I did install a color dmd.

I got a call from Yelp to update my entry. I did. I will hold off on advertising but if anyone would like to provide a review, you can do so here.

I wrote up a long discussion of things I learned after 15 years at my current job. It was all true and nothing bad was written. But I still took it down to separate work and work. It will be part of my autobiography someday. (When I cut it out of here and pasted into word, it was 6 pages long....)

The main points are:

* No one will look out for you but you. Take care of yourself first. Do what is best for you and the company. Not what is best for the company and you. Either way, your actions do what is best, but do not sacrifice yourself thinking that the company will care and reward you. They will not. You will help someone else be rewarded.

* Do not expect promises to ever be fulfilled. There were situations where promises were provided in writing. Promises mean nothing in a business setting. When you take a new job or move to a new job, you get what you get. If you don't ask, you definitely will not get it. Once you are in the job, the company has no reason to give you anything more. In some places, you may be locked into the position for 6 months or a year, so you cannot move or be promoted within this time frame.

* Although you know you are doing a great job and deserve to be promoted, do not assume that others in a position to do so will do so. Do not stay in the position out of honor or a sense of duty if there are other posted positions that you would qualify for and provide you with a promotion. I stayed in a position doing a great job and getting great reviews, but the friend of the manager was moved into the group and took the job that would have been a promotion for me. I passed by interviewing for other positions (and I know I may not have got them) because I **thought** I would be promoted.

* Many job postings in a company are earmarked for someone. In our company, we can now ask if there is a "leading candidate". You should still interview if they ask, for practice, but recognize that you will probably not get the job. More importantly, do not take the excuse they give you to heart since the answer is that it is basically a promotion or lateral for a specified individual but due to state and/or federal laws, the job must be posted.

07/20/2016

I added more pictures to Monster Bash. Here are some leg photos:

The above is the first coat; not done yet. The pictures below are the front right with the second coat but no varnish yet.

07/16/2016

Lessons for the day:

* When figuring out hours to bill, look at your clock instead of a clock at the customer's house that has not been changed for the summer.

* Do not ever think I can fix a Baby Pac Man. What do I say, "Nice guys finish last." Assumed if the game was not working when it came to the pinball portion that it could be the MPU if the video game is playing. Changed the board and the same number of LED flashes. But then the video display/video game no longer worked. Put back the old board and it still didn't work. Customer stated that the game was having problems. They were given the game. So I wasted time (and tolls) going there since I don't want to charge and be beholden to anyone if I don't fix a game. So I simply won't ever bother to try again.

* The Monster Bash cabinet looks really good. The artist is doing a great job. I am working on the black areas since that is hard to screw up. But you can't just do a tiny area, you need to do it all. I hate painting. He is doing a great job but it takes a long time. So fixing up cabinets for the legs may not be viable (except for this game only). Touching up a cabinet or play field may be a more appropriate use of this skill.

07/12/2016

I added 13 pictures to Monster Bash for the left sling and the Creature area.

07/08/2016

Back right leg on Monster Bash (although still a work in progress).

Before

Current

07/05/2016

I updated my Boards For Sale page. I have been getting several calls for an MPU327 that I had but no longer have. If a board is listed in RED then I do not have it in stock at the moment.

07/04/2016

I guess it is technically July 4 since it is 12:10am.... Saturday evening I was going to go and work on changing controlled lights to LEDs. I realized that the Dracula motor was in the way. Then I realized that several plastics, metal guides and other items would need to be moved. So I worked on this on Sunday in between other errands. Just finished and about to add 65 photos to the Monster Bash page.

So now it is 11:51am and back to working on Monster Bash. Got my stuff ready for work. I bought two gumball machines to fill with gum and donate to silent auctions for Christmas. One for church and one for work. I finally went through my locks to find locks to work for the tops of the gumball machines. I went to look for FL-11629 coils for the flippers for Monster Bash. But only had one. I will be ordering more parts and LEDs as well.

07/02/2016

Monster Bash: I worked on removing the area around the decal that was coming up. I sanded it. The artist came and applied a layer of white acrylic paint. He came back the next day and did some touch up work. He is also fixing all areas of the cabinet. He will also fix up the area behind the Dracula track.

Yesterday and this morning I took off all the ramps and documented it. In some cases I did the wrong steps first, but will correct them in my instructions :)

06/28/2016

Austin Powers is restored and ready for sale.

06/16/2016

The unrestored but completely working Star Trek Next Generation sold rather fast.

I got most of the parts I need to work on my Bally Star Trek (new power rectifier board and displays), Austin Powers (all parts but the most important Cliffy protector), and Monster Bash.

I found a really good artist that I will have him fix up the cabinet. I took off the bad parts of the decal and sanded down.

 

06/08/2016

I put an Unpopulated Monster Bash play field up for sale. I thought I would swap my play field. But this is not better than my play field. It is similar. Another regret. I knew I should no have bought it. My gut was telling me it was not better than my play field but similar. But the track area was better and the person was really pushing me to buy it and I was stupid enough to let him. Totally my fault. I should have done what I wanted to and gone back and looked at my play field again to compare but I made a rash decision. It is not a bad play field, it is just as good as the one currently in my game so why bother swapping? But it will never be a collector quality play field without a lot of money and time. So as a good player's play field, it would be good for someone that needs one. I have the patience to let it sit around until it sells. (As I said above,i it is totally my fault that I bought the play field when the better part of me told me not to.

06/07/2016

I put the Demolition Man up for sale. I want to buy new displays for the Bally Star Trek and a new switch for the saucer and then I will take photos and put this up for sale. I'll start buying the parts I need for the Austin Powers restoration. I have someone looking at the unrestored but completely working Star Trek Next Generation.

I just came back from visiting my son in Indiana. Before I left, One Drive stopped working and messed up my uploads to this page. One Drive is great but it never fails to screw up the day before a trip. I fixed this web site just now.

On the way home yesterday, my Prius reached 200,000 miles in Louisville, KY. We celebrated by stopping at McDonald's for lunch.

 

05/30/2016

I replaced all burnt out controlled lights on Star Trek Next Generation. I also tightened the flipper to the flipper pawl assembly for the upper right flipper.

05/29/2016

I played the unrestored Star Trek Next Generation. It mostly worked great. The phaser switch spring was broken. I fixed that and documented the fix on the above page and my repair page. I also documented the fix to the left launcher. A few lights are out but I will put new lights in to ensure they work, which I expect. The top right flipper needs to be adjusted to align with the lane better. But I played a long game and all functions worked.

I may have this Star Trek Next Generation sold. But the person has another game they are considering that costs about the same with no problem plastics and a couple of mods. I have never seen a game with no broken plastics unless they were replaced and protected with plastic protectors. Which means that the game was restored to some extent in the past. My game has 5 broken plastics. I have an extra set of slings that I will provide with the game. I have some used plastics that may be better than one or two on there. I have a full unused set for sale for $200.

Maybe I am just cynical, but I spent all day yesterday and some time this evening fixing all the problems on the game. If I do not sell the game and decide to restore it, then the rest of the work is cosmetic or preventative (new total flippers, new bumpers, replaced boards to ensure the integrity of the game). So I know that my game is great in terms of working 100% and being as reliable as possible being used.

I have to order some parts, but will wait to see if this sells or not since I will try to place all my parts orders at once. So if the person has another game in sight, I will assume, the other game will be his choice. I was going to spend $20 to advertise this game on FaceBook. I'll wait a few days before wasting $20.

05/28/2016

I got in an unrestored Star Trek Next Generation but got it fully working today and posted for sale as is. I will also restore it if no one wants it in the next few weeks as is unrestored but working.

05/23/2016

I was updating my repair page for a new entry for Austin Powers to adjust the diverter magnet to the laser beam. I corrected the spelling of "servicer bulletin" to "service bulletin." If you know where I work, you will know why I had "servicer" on the mind.

 

The coil magnet was not pulling the ball to the left. If you look at the screws at the left you will see the indents where they were originally all the way to the left. I moved them all the way to the right but then the ball did not go through. So I placed the ball there and moved the coil as far to the right as a could to get the ball through. The ball has diverted every time.

05/21/2016

Sadly, I had to update my links page to remove Mike Chestnut, who has done great work for me over the years in plating parts for slot machines and pinball machines. There was a note on Pinside that he passed away due to a motorcycle accident a few weeks ago.

Here is a sampling of the games he did my chroming for:

05/20/2016

Austin Powers is for sale. Finally have a pinball machine for sale.

05/19/2016

I purchased what I hope will be a nicer play field for my Monster Bash trophy piece. I am talking to someone now about sending it to be clear coated after the mylar is all removed and cleaned and the play field is touched up. Hopefully this and fixing the art on the cabinet will make this a collector's item.

Here is the new play field:

Here is a close up of the new track area:

Here is the current track wear:

05/17/2016

A few years ago, I bought Pinbits auto eddy boards and new cables. I installed them in the Monster Bash and the Phantom flip works well. The proximity sensors are correctly and consistently picking up the ball in the switch test.

I ordered the parts. I have just added over $800 in parts to the game. I will try to work with someone to fix up the artwork on the cabinet. I may get a color DMD. There is a replacement play field available near me I will probably look at on Thursday. But I am not sure I want to swap out an entire play field.

05/16/2016

Added initial pictures for Monster Bash. As soon as I finish this web site entry, I'll order the parts to restore.

05/15/2016

I restored a Monster Bash in 2008. I do not plan to sell it. Someone came buy and wanted it. I sold it but told them I wanted it back someday if they decided to sell it. Six months or so ago, he called up with an issue. The problem was he needed to change the batteries. We fixed the issue over the phone. He said it was not getting much use since his kids went to college. I offered to buy it back. He said he'd think about it. He has been thinking about it for a while and finally decided to sell back to me. I did a good job restoring 8 years ago but only put in a few LEDs based on the cost then. It has had very little use. It needs to be cleaned. But it works 100%. I enjoyed a few games on it today. I did change the LEDs in the back box.

The decal on the cabinet has some issues that I hope to hire an artist to fix up since I do not want to re-decal the game.

The right side can be mostly covered with the pincab protector.

I can't really cover the left side.

05/06/2016

I left off one random thought yesterday.

Someday I am going to discover or identify or do something very interesting and/or different and it will be known as "The Belofsky Effect." I don't know what it is. I have spent over 50 years searching. I hope to discover it soon.

However, sometimes I think "The Belofsky Effect" will come to represent wanting to discover or identify or do something interesting and wonderful and never fulfilling that dream.

Hope springs eternal and I still plan on at least another 50 years to fulfill this dream.

05/05/2016

I don't have much to say, so I will provide some random thoughts.

I like the sauna at the gym, I suggested to the gym they add the following sign:

"This is not a refrigerator. You do not need to open the door and stare.

This is not a conversation spot. Walk in and talk and shut the door. Stand outside and talk and shut the door.

You are not as wide as you think. The door does not need to be flung open as wide as it can. Try to squeeze through a smaller opening to keep the hot air in the sauna."

I applied for a position at work that would have been a promotion. Since it was a level up and more strategic, I guess I stressed my leadership abilities and I thought my abilities to get the job done whether I delegated or did parts myself. I did not get the job, They said I delegate too much and too hands off. This is so funny since I am one of the most hands on people there is. I know how to delegate and lead. But I also know the jobs/tasks that I lead so if there is a need, I can assist and do the work as good as anyone else. I guess they had a better candidate. They will never know how good I could be. :)

I still have no pinballs for sale. Although I am thinking about Demolition Man and Bally Star Trek. Maybe... Someone came over to look at these two games and slots. The Bally Star Trek stopped playing. The saucer hole switch was slightly out of adjustment. I fixed it while he was here. It is just amazing that games work fine until I show them off. One of the slot machines stopped working. After he left, I looked at the slot machine and a spring was stretched. I fixed it and it worked fine. I have just been playing my pinballs for the past few weeks. Thankfully they did not need to be fixed; just played.

I have only been fixing pinballs on the weekends. Part of the reason last summer was because my new building at work did not have covered parking. The car just got too hot to keep tools, parts, and boards in the car all day. Then I have been very busy at work. Since July 27, 2015, I bought a home spin bike (Peloton) and want to get home to spin. It is fun and a feel better and healthier. I have to start working in DC. This adds 2 hours to my commute; $5 extra in tolls and 2 gallons in gas (since I have a Prius).

My Prius turned 10 years old on May 2, 2016. Today, my miles are over 197,200. i thought I would hit 200,000 in July or August. With having to go to DC, I'll hit it sooner.

04/12/2016

I finally fixed the Theatre of Magic I mentioned in the note below. It needed a new trunk opto board. I also had the owner buy the aluminum interrupter. The wires do not get tangled. It seems to be working. He also bought the PInbits eddy boards and the Saw mod which I helped him install.

I also fixed a High Speed this weekend. Luckily the battery corrosion was limited to the battery holder which I replaced. His solenoid fuse was blown. We replaced it and everything worked. The left switch on the back black ramp was not working. We took apart the ramp. We needed to use a metal file to clean the leafs of the switch. I did some other small repairs and got the game working.

I have been looking for some games to buy for myself. But prices are just too high to commit to any games at the moment. I will live with 5 empty spaces and think of it as future expansion space.

03/19/2016

For the first time since 2004, I have no pinballs for sale. I have had the opportunity to buy a few but either passed or flipped them immediately. I realize (it only took 12 years) that I can't buy a pinball machine, lovingly restore it and get back any of my time and hardly any of my additional expenses. I bought a Funhouse yesterday. I was thinking of restoring it, enjoying it for a while, and then selling it. But I really do not want the game so I did not care to restore. I tried to sell it (flip it) on Pinside but no one was really interested. I decided the best thing to do was flip it to my wholesaler who promptly posted it and sold it in less than 1 hour.

My basement has room for 5 more games. But they will be games I want. It may stay empty for a while.

I will go back and work on the Theatre of Magic I mentioned below. With Easter coming, we will need to finish afterwards. Based on all my research, I asked him to buy a new aluminum interrupter (rather than plastic) and a new trunk opto board. Hopefully this will do the trick. If this game were in my house I could have done all the analysis without all the driving :) .

03/11/2016

Every day, every week I inch closer to not wanting to repair pinballs in people's homes. Last week I fixed an opto switch on a Theatre of Magic. I had to take apart the whole trunk. I had to cut wires and put it back. Time consuming but simple. This was Saturday. Monday I get an email that the trunk has an error. I spend the week trying different things (by email and phone) to ensure the wires are connected, etc. Tonight I asked him to take off the trunk rubber. The wires were twisted tightly. I have to go back tomorrow (1 hour each way) and see if the set screw fell off or broke off the magic trunk motor stop assembly (A-19933). Hopefully the part is somewhere in the game and I can reattach. Hopefully it is not broken. Did I cause the problem? I do not know but since I took off the trunk, I am responsible for fixing this. This fix is now no longer profitable. It is important that I get it working for the customer.

But I think I am losing my desire to waste a weekend day or the entire weekend fixing games and then having to fix up issues afterwards (either related or not related to my fix). With the time I wasted on the EM machine as I describe below and this, I may limit my work to my existing customers and start to enjoy my life.

I have been building up my "trophy" collection. I enjoy fixing pinballs in my house, with my lighting and tools.

03/06/2016

I went back for 4 hours and fixed the Tommy game. See the write up here. I took many pictures and I think I explained it well. It was a pain in the neck to do. Makes me never want to buy a Tommy.

Once it was fixed and a ball would shoot correctly but bounce back to the plunger (since it was lifting into the air and hitting the wire ramp above), the customer would say "It was working correctly before you came." I think this is a response to blame me and not have to pay (although this particular customer has no problem with paying - this was a general comment). I replied that the game was not working correctly (Otherwise why am I here?) because the manual plunger was hitting the auto plunger and barely enough momentum to hit one ball. It could not move two. Now with the fix it can move two or three.

Although I may actually introduce an issue (and I will say so and accept full responsibility), I would prefer if the comment was more on the line that the new fix exposed another issue.

I was supposed to get the Black Hole today. The owner decided to keep it and will send me a check for the service call. I did provide him with a nice list of the parts he would need. He appears capable of changing the coils now that I have showed him. I am actually glad he kept it. It really just needed one coil fixed to make it playable.

02/29/2016

I modified my repair page. I added the following note for my EM Pinball repairs:

New for 2016, since I am a fool and help people but do not charge them for the very valuable help I provide, especially on EM games I am changing my policy: If the EM game is totally not working, it will take 10s to 100s of hours to restore. I will come and help you. I will teach you valuable information, such as using a Digital Multi-Meter and Reading Schematics. I will help to isolate the issue so you can go forward on your journey and do the rest of the repairs. Or even bring me back at a later point when you are further along. BUT I WILL CHARGE FOR MY TIME.

I enjoyed helping someone this past weekend with an EM machine. But I spent 3 hours and did not charge them. They gave me a little money for my time but nowhere near what I should have charged. It is my fault. I devalued my training skills, knowledge, and experience. Since I did not "fix" the game, I did not charge for the repair. But I knew I would not fix it in one 2 or 3 hour session. These games take time.

I helped him learn to use a digital multi meter. I explained how the schematics worked and what a normally closed and a normally open switch meant. We found a few wires that were not connected. Most importantly, we found that two of the back box connectors were connected backwards. We narrowed it down to a short on the middle back box connector. Now he can continue the search. I provided the path to go forward.

Next time, I am charging for my time or I am not going to do another EM machine. (After 13 years of doing I feel the spine starting to develop.)

I also worked on a Black Hole this weekend. Gottlieb's are not my favorite class of machine to work on. But I really do love the fact that each coil is fused separately. I really do hate the pop bumpers on these monsters. I told the person that I would buy the game as is if they do not want to put a lot into the game. I started doing the repair. I spent 2 hours ($250) and $30 worth of parts. We made a list of the parts that I would need to buy to continue to fix up the game (including the manual). I estimated the parts would cost another $100 and it would take about 2 hours ($200) to add. This may or may not get some of the pop bumpers working since it could be a coil or something else. I did get the entire main play field working except two pop bumpers that hopefully just need new coils. The lower play field VUK coil is burnt to a crisp. I will also need the new coil for this and two pop bumpers down there. A drip target is broken as well. After I get the game basically working, I could expose other issues.

So when it came time to charge the $280 and get a commitment to come back and order the parts, the person decided to sell me the game. Ok.... The good thing is I would have spent this time in my house diagnosing the issues and he did help me which I would not have the help available. So on Sunday I will be the proud owner of a Black Hole. I may just keep it and put it next to my Star Trek Next Generation, Bally Star Trek, and Star Trek LE. (I just realized I never really photographed my Bally Star Trek. I will need to do so.)

02/25/2016

I ordered some of the parts I may or may not need for the Tommy fix. (In other words, I will have spare parts for some future fix but I am spending more money than I will receive for the repairs. Kind of doesn't make sense.)

The old auto plunger assembly is made of two pieces. One part is not available. The other still is from Marcospec.com. I bought 3 for spares for some future fix or I can hoard them. (515-5991-00 old part number; 515-6213-00 new part replacement number.)

I continue to play World Cup Soccer since someone is coming to look at this weekend. I noticed that one of the roll over targets that starts the goal mode, was only engaging when the ball rolled down rather than up. I lifted the play field yesterday and adjusted all 4 switches to be closer and more sensitive. I like it better.

02/21/2016

Last week I worked on a Tommy. I was hoping I fixed the auto launch problem. But I got an email during the week and had to go back today (and was there for 2 hours and did not charge because of all the complexities). Basically, it appears that what I did caused the issues when in truth, what I did fixed up the game for the first time so that the next problem can surface. See the write up here.

02/12/2016

World Cup Soccer works! Here is the final chapter:

I finally got my opto board back and I was able to buy a replacement board.

I put the opto board in last night and it blew the F116 fuse again when the play field was in position.

I tried the other opto board and it also blew the F116 fuse when the play field was in position.

I unplugged J3 from the board and the F116 fuse did not blow.

Now is when I started to think.

I plugged in J1 and J3 and DID NOT plug the connectors that went to the opto switches. I was hoping I would get lucky and be able to isolate the issue.

With only J1 and J3 connected and play field in position, the fuse did not blow.

With J1, J3 and J6 connected the fuse blew! (We'll get back to this.)

I disconnected J6.

I then added J5, then J4 and finally J2 and the fuse did not blow.

In switch test, the 10 opto board controls:
#41 Goal trough - works
#42 Goal popper opto - works
#43 Goalie is left - works
#44 Goalie is right - works
#45 TV ball popper - works

The following switches are not plugged in (So I believe these are controlled by J6.)
#51 Skill shot front
#52 Skill shot Center
#53 Skill shot rear

The short would have to be between J6 and these switches. There is a connector under the play field that I can remove to isolate the problem to the strand of wires coming through the board and going to the left side of the skill shot. I plugged in J6 and unplugged the connector that takes the wire above the play field

By disconnecting the connector I labeled "19" and testing that the fuse did not blow, I was able to isolate the short to the connector leading to the top of the play field

The optos that are causing the short are the three optos in the coin toss. I need to remove the lower part of the right ramp, the lights, and then the metal enclosure.

The above ramp will be removed.

The right side ramp has been removed.

Next I disconnect the connector for these three lights and remove the board with the two nuts.

Nuts removed.

Disconnect the connector.

Remove the light board.

Finally I take off these posts to take off the metal casing. I did not take a picture but the three opto boards share the same 12 volt wire. It looks like the wire solder joints were touching the metal enclosure. It is just interesting that this game worked for years at the customer's house and then at my house for months. I may have shifted something or tightened something when working on the game.

Note that the inside of the enclosure looks like it had some adhesive that probably separated the opto transmitters from the enclosure.

I added electrical tape and the game now works 100%.

02/09/2016

I received 8 of my boards back from being repaired. I was also able to get an extra 10 opto board. The funny thing is years ago I gave him a 10 opto broken board since I was able to buy them from Great Lakes Modular. Right now you cannot buy replacement 10 opto boards. So I was able to "buy back" my board repaired. So now I have an extra. I am still waiting for the return of my WPC-95 driver board that needs to be tested.

I am about to replace the MPU on my Star Trek Next Generation.... It works. It should but it is always nice to plug in the connectors correctly.

I need to put the 10 opto board into World Cup Soccer, but it is approaching 10pm and I can't go to sleep with disappointment if it doesn't work.

02/02/2016

A few weeks ago (around January 7, 2016) I mentioned that I did some minor adjustments on my World Cup Soccer. Here is the rest of the story.

When I replaced the right sling plastic with a new one, the metal guide that is riveted to the plastic needs to come off of the old plastic. I used #4-40 1/4" Phillips bolt and nut to re-attach the metal guide. But the right bolt was blocking the ball in the plunger lane from shooting properly. I took the right bolt out and needed to figure out a solution since eventually it would not work well with just one bolt.

The free kick hole was kicking the ball to the right and not straight to the goalie (which usually goes into the goal on the left side). My game was shooting the ball to the right side and it needed to do a funky rebound off the right goal post. I was not happy with this.

I realized what the solution was to both items above. One evening, I reinserted the right bolt into the plastic and metal guide from the bottom and put the nut on the top. With the curvature of the ball, the bolt did not affect the movement of the ball. One problem solved.

For the free kick, I realized that the Cliffy protector could be shifting the direction of the ball to the right. So I carefully dremeled the protector to allow the ball to kick out straight like it was supposed to. But then the ball was whacking up against the metal hood and losing momentum and not making it into the goal. I carefully lifted the hood with a pliers and the ball went exactly where it is supposed to go.

And, since nothing ever works easily, here is when the problems began.....

It was 10:15pm. I usually go to bed by 10pm. I thought I would play a game to test it all out. I played a quick game and it worked. But I wanted to do more testing on the two items I fixed. I adjusted the play field hooks into the cabinet and started another game...

The first ball worked fine. I was shaking the game a little and then the second ball went to the plunger and I plunged it. All of a sudden, all the balls started coming out of the trough. (This is always an opto problem and I thought maybe I shook the opto connector out of the ball trough opto board.) I started smelling burning circuit boards and turned off the game and disconnected the power. I could not find the smell but it smelled like it came from under the play field

I turned on the game and got the "Check Fuse F115, F116, J112 and Opto 12 Volt" error. Fuse F116 was blown. I replaced the driver board and still F116 blew. At first it would not while testing with the play field on the sliders (and I came to realize) touching the wood. When I put the play field down, the sliders were touching the metal of the cabinet and grounded. This was a good thing to figure out.

The picture below shows the play field up on the slides on the wood.

The picture below shows the metal guides touching the grounded metal of the cabinet.

I finally realized that the 10 Opto board under the play field had a diode that burned up and an LM339 transistor that burnt. But the optos it controlled still worked. This was strange and I don't really know why yet.

This pictures shows the burnt diode from the back side. I thought I took pictures of the front but can't find any. The burnt diode is at the lower left corner above the left most pin.

I also realized that a wire inside the cabinet leading to the left flipper button opto board had a bare area that was tucked into a group of wires but was now exposed. This bare area would touch the left slide (Ground) when the play field was put into position. This wire is the 12 volt wire that goes to the opto board and the 10 opto board. I believe this caused the issue. I used electrical tape to cover the bare area.

Here is a picture of the exposed wire that touched the glider. It is the gray/yellow 12 volt wire that goes to the 10 opto board through the above diode that burnt.

Here is a picture with the exposed wire covered with electrical tape.

I am glad I found the issue before I sold this game.

When the play field was down, I was checking continuity to different areas of the game and getting what I though were strange results. (I don't remember exactly what I tested.) But I tested the exact same areas on my other Bally/Williams games and got the same results so I believe the World Cup Soccer is working okay.

I did not have an extra 10 opto board and no one sells it. I sent my board to be repaired. I am still waiting for it to come back. I hope by finding the root cause of the bare wire (and hopefully it is the root cause), I will have solved the issue and it will work fine. It should work. I hope it works but will be testing it out when I get the board back... I will keep you all posted when I get the board back. The board will have all the LM339 chips socketed so I can hopefully fix the board myself if it happens again.

I also did a fix for a person that needed a new Addams Family MPU and used the MPU out of my STTNG. So I am also waiting for a repaired board to come back for this game too. But this should (knock on wood) be a simple replace.

01/25/2016

I finally gave in and updated Dreamweaver CS5 to Dreamweaver CC. It is basically the same but a little different. I know I can make this site better if I use more robust features but I just don't have the time. Adobe is retiring an application called Revel which I used to share my 8,000 or so photos with my family. So I had to buy the photography package ($9.99 a month) which includes Lightroom and Photoshop, and Dreamweaver ($19.99 a month). If only I could do something with this site to earn some money :)

I am now attempting to use Lightroom (rather than Photo Elements) to simply take my large pictures and scale them down in size for this web site. I was able to create a preset and save all photos after I had the application auto-correct (and I did a little touch up) and save all files as a group and it saved A LOT of time. I think I will like this.

Above picture was taken at 8:30am on Saturday 1/23/2016. The picture below was taken at 4:30pm.

The above picture shows a plow stuck on our street. He was driving through without plowing. If he had the plow down, it may have helped him... The town brought in the back hoe to move him.

01/01/2016

Happy New Year! I posted the World Cup Soccer for sale. I am still doing minor adjustments but it looks great and plays great! I added 151 photos this evening for a total of 193 photos

Here was the initial comment I added that is kind of funny but has been moved to this "editorial page":

World Cup Soccer: Always a great family game. In Virginia, every family is forced to take all their kids to soccer games. Not a bad thing but it makes it a great theme for families and kids. (I remember Thanksgiving Soccer tournaments. It would be the whole weekend. It would be cold and usually raining. If they win their first game on Saturday, we were trapped at the field until they play the second game. If they won the second game, we were forced to come back Sunday. How many parents secretly hoped their kid's team would lose so they can go home and enjoy the rest of the weekend? And don't get me started on these silly participation trophies.... When our son was taking stuff from the house to move away, we lined up his trophies and he only took the ones he actually earned. The rest were thrown away. They are good for trophy manufacturing companies; bad for landfills....)

12/27/2015

Left flipper on World Cup Soccer replaced and working. Working on the lower play field area. Hopefully will have most of the lower play field back together later today. I need to remove rivets from existing right sling and use #4-40 bolts and nuts to reattach. I don't do rivets.

12/26/2015

Back to working on World Cup Soccer. Although it looks like the flipper bats may have been changed, I don't know when. So I will replace the entire assemblies so I can be sure they are new and strong. The flipper coils should be FL-11629 on both flippers. On the game, the left flipper is FL-11630. So I will correct them to factory specs. Right flipper replaced and rebuilt. Off to spin.

12/24/2015

Merry Christmas! I fixed two pinballs after work last week 3 on Saturday and one on Sunday. I did not feel like fixing any pinballs this week so I did not. I tried to fix another after the first fix on Sunday but could not connect with the person so went to the Gem and Jewelry show with my wife. :) Then I came back and tried again. So maybe next week for him.

We are seeing Star Wars tomorrow. We have spent the last few days watching them in numerical order. #4 (Original) is the best. The first three (I - III) are not as good as the original three. Hopefully number 7 is a winner.

Here is what I am working on today.

1. Demolition Man instruction cards. I found some on the internet and printed them in color on glossy paper. Will "borrow" the church's paper cutter when there later to attend Christmas Eve services.

2. Star Trek Next Generation. The customer that purchased my other Star Trek (JV's Star Trek Next Generation) was having issues with the single drop target "latching" in the up position. The finger that pushes it up was bent down. I bent it up, but is is still bending down. He reinforced with toothpicks and is working. The new lever came today and I will install on my machine for future protection and to practice to do his. I needed to adjust the height of the drop target when down so it is flush with the play field using the set screw at the bottom of the bracket. I then needed to adjust switch 57 since it needed to be "unadjusted" to handle the existing slack.

3. World Cup Soccer: Continue restoration. I thought I could simply add the Cliffy protector at the trough. But the metal guide in front needs to be removed. In order to do so I need to remove the ramps. So it is a major undertaking. Luckily I planned to do so anyway.

I just posted the following on my Facebook page:

What is wrong with this flipper assembly? The coil has been removed for a clear shot. Hint: the coil was fried when I removed it to take this picture.

The extended part of the lower leaf of the end of stroke (EOS) switch at the bottom of the picture has broken off. This means that when the flipper is fully engaged and the player holds the flipper button in, the EOS switch cannot open to remove the high power. The coil gets hot and fries and melts the plastic shaft lining. On this game (Whirlwind), the fuse did its job and blew and protected the transistor on the driver board.

12/14/2015

Started adding LEDs to play field controlled lamps for World Cup Soccer.

12/13/2015

Just back from the Rodeo and visiting family in Las Vegas. Here is my impression of a Cowboy with my wife, Suzanne.

Was just watching 60 Minutes and a story on JJ Abrams and Star Wars. As they panned through his office area, there was a Star Wars Trilogy pinball machine.

I will start the restoration of the World Cup Soccer tonight.

We stayed at the Luxor. I walked over to the Excalibur arcade and found the following 4 pinballs. This gave me the opportunity to play Avengers. I like it but not sure I love it. I would like the Avengers LE Hulk. I think it is pretty but also want it to be fun to play. I really liked the Transformers.

12/6/2015

Cleaned up web site tonight. Fun.

I was looking at my Checklist when buying a pinball. We no longer offer a warranty since it makes no sense to charge more. In reality, I stand behind the games when they get delivered and a few days or weeks later. If the pinball is "close" to my home or work, I can eat the time and not charge during the first few days. If really far away then I do need to charge something. Usually switches need to be adjusted or wires reconnected. I tell the people when I sell the game that if a board breaks or something that will cost money, I need them to pay for it otherwise the price would have been higher. I have not had any problem with this approach.

11/29/3015

Finally removed Stargate since I sold it last Sunday.

11/28/2015

The Demolition Man is complete and all pictures posted.

11/26/2015

The Demolition Man is complete and tested. I have taken an additional 108 pictures plus the 16 glamor shots that will be posted over the next few days.

With the coming holidays, I have been fixing many pinballs. I sold and delivered two pinballs this past weekend. One was my neighbor's that I did a favor and sold it for him. And.... No Good Deed goes unpunished. It was only a slight punishment, thank goodness. I delivered the game on Sunday. Before I delivered I checked everything. While they were looking at the game, I noticed the left flipper was fluttering. A wire needed to be better soldered onto the coil. Tuesday morning I received an email that the left flipper was weak. They found a wire off of the EOS switch. I sent them an email and said I could fix it and brought my tools. It took just a few minutes to fix. So basically two wires needed fixing. I noticed one but not the other.

On 11/27/2015, the people emailed again with an issue with the right sling. Luckily he is mechanically inclined and learns quickly. I explained that one or both of the leaf switches needed to be adjusted to stop the machine gunning effect. The coil also stops running. Looking up in Clay's guides, we found that System 3 games would shut off a coil if it rapidly and continuously engaged. This explained why it worked and then stopped working. Turn off the game and back on and it would work and stop. Thank goodness for Facetime to work with them over the phone.

The next game I will restore is the World Cup Soccer.

11/3/2015

I added 5 pictures to Demolition Man. I had fixes on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday so I did not get anything done on my machines.

The solder hole in my right thigh is healing nicely thanks to time and antibiotics.

The good thing about this pinball hobby is that I am now more handy around the house than I ever was. My wife's expensive professional hair dryer stopped working due to the wire breaking right at the end of the rubber extension. Rather than doing a hatchet job on the repair, I actually found a set of bits that had the correct security tip (spanner tip aka snake eyes tip). I carefully opened the wire area, moved the rubber cover down, cut the wire at the break and re-soldered and carefully taped with electrical tape and covered it with the rubber cover and it works.

Here is something I posted on Facebook and I added to my repair page:

If you are thinking about buying a pinball machine and you are looking for a house to put them in here are some tips:
1. Buy a house with a basement.
2. Ensure it is a walk out or walk up. (Outdoor entrance.)
3. Ensure the door is at least 32". 36" is better.
4. Ensure landing at the bottom allows the game to be moved straight in. If a 90 degree turn is necessary, try to have a pad bigger than 3 feet by 3 feet at the bottom.
5. Ensure bottom landing does not have obstructions like pipes
6. Top landing should have enough space to stage a pinball. The picture below is an example of what NOT to have. This needs a deck area or bricks or something flush with the lip of the stairs.
7. Staircase should be wider than 32" after taking the banister into account.

 

10/29/2015

On Sunday, while working on the Demolition Man, I was reversing the wires on the test switches so the right red button went up and the left red button went down. I put the soldering iron down. I ensured the wires were tightly connected and tested the game. I picked up the soldering iron to turn it off and a drop of solder flicked onto my right thigh. I brushed it off right away but it burned. (I usually wear jeans when working on the pinballs but was wearing gym shorts for some unexplained reason. This is why I will never drive without a seatbelt. I always do. But I can guarantee you the one time ever will be the time that a drunk driver hits me.)

My wife made me go to the doctor yesterday. I thought it was healing but the doctor said it was a deep infection and provided an RX for antibiotics.

This will add $50 to the cost of the Demolition Man for my pain and suffering.

10/28/2015

I removed all the ramps and took 60 photos and posted for Demolition Man. I still have to fill in the captions but will do so in a few days.

10/23-25/2015

The last time I mentioned the Demolition Man was 5/31/2015. I started working on it tonight. I replaced all LEDs in the back box and the controlled lights and under play field flashers. I replaced the flipper buttons and eject shield in the left hole.

I purchased a new LX4 game ROM a few months ago and dutifully dropped it on the floor and broke it. So I just ordered a replacement tonight. I also bought a claw opto board for $32 from GLM like I did on the other game for protection. It appears to work but since I am taking apart the game, a $32 insurance policy would be nice. I thought I had the ball eject Cliffy protector. I did not and needed to order on 10/24.

Checklist for the weekend:

* clean under apron - cleaned but waiting for Cliffy eject ball protector.

* replace complete flippers and coils - right flipper complete.

* correct red buttons on test switch. The bozo that previously fixed it attached the "move left" wire to the "move right" button and vice versa. - Fixed

10/20/2015

My plastics arrived today for World Cup Soccer. Waiting for the Cliffy protectors and then I can get started on the restoration.

The latest issue of Pinball Magazine just arrived. My small ad is on p. 67. My picture is on p. 239. The picture was taken for his book and he posted it on the web site. It was nice to see it in the magazine. I should have taken it downstairs with all my pinballs. Oh well. Next time.

10/17/2015

I delivered JV's Star Trek Next Generation today. Sad to see it go but still have my own.

I thought I could work on World Cup Soccer this weekend but realize I am still waiting for the Cliffy protectors and the plastics from Australia or someplace.

Last Saturday, Suzanne and I went to dinner with friends from church. I ruined communion for them. We were discussing the wine. I pretend to dip the wafer into the wine but don't actually do so. I told them I watched all the children and adults put their fingers into the wine. Then they said, actually drinking from the common cup is more hygienic then dipping. I disagreed. I told them that the wine in the common cup is thrown out but the wine for dipping (or intinction) is poured back into the wine bottle for future use. So we contaminate the common cup wine and the wine for intinction. What does your church do?

10/13/2015

When i posted the World Cup Soccer yesterday, I added the following information:

(I remember Thanksgiving Soccer tournaments. It would be the whole weekend. It would be cold and usually raining. If they win their first game on Saturday, we were trapped at the field until they play the second game. If they won the second game, we were forced to come back Sunday. How many parents secretly hoped their kid's team would lose so they can go home and enjoy the rest of the weekend? And don't get me started on these silly participation trophies.... When our son was taking stuff from the house to move away, we lined up his trophies and he only took the ones he actually earned. The rest were thrown away. They are good for trophy manufacturing companies; bad for landfills....)

I was thinking about the "participation trophies". The analogy in life is our tombstone. You get a tombstone for simply showing up and living. (Go with the analogy - I realize you can be cremated, so your urn can be your participation trophy.) It's what you do in life that earns you "trophies" (here or in heaven). Anyone can show up and live (participate). How you treat others, what you do, and what you contribute to society in large and small ways earns the trophies that really matter. I will now step off my soap box. Thank you.

10/12/2015

I picked up a World Cup Soccer yesterday. It is a great game. I always enjoy restoring it and playing it.

10/10/2015

Posted Johnny Mnemonic for sale for $2,800.

9/17/2015

I received the new relay board for Hurricane. It did not work. I thought I tested the 12 volts from J116-2. I guess I tested the 12v AC from J104 pins 1 and 2. The wire from J116-2 to the relay board was broken. I replaced and it worked. I did put in the new relay board. I added a video. It is complete. The game thankfully came with a replacement gate for the juggler. I originally did not install and the ball kept popping back. I added it and the ball nicely stays in the juggler hole.

Sea Island Bingo "For sale by Neighbor" - Actually it is a friend that has this for sale if you are interested.

9/14/2015

All pictures added for Hurricane. Once I get the Ferris Wheel working, I will make a quick movie.

9/13/2015

I worked on the Hurricane all weekend. I replaced the Ferris wheel motor. I actually tested both motors and they worked. I still replaced it so it is new. The J104 connector was connected to J129 for some reason. I put it on the correct pins at J104. But the relay board is not working so I ordered a new one. I did finish the game. I will post photos tomorrow.

9/10/2015

I swapped two bad connectors on J120 and J121 for the GI on Hurricane. This did not fix the non working orange GI strand. I rebuilt connector J115 and the GI works perfectly. Look at the last few pictures. (Of course if you look at this a few days from now they will not be the last pictures anymore since I will have added others.)

9/7/2015

I replaced the flipper assemblies on Hurricane.

I bought a mostly restored Johnny Mnemonic.

9/4/2015

I posted the initial photos for Hurricane.

I get to see a Stern KISS tomorrow.

9/3/2015

I bought a Hurricane and then had second thoughts and tried to flip it at my cost unrestored. I had some people interested in me packing it up and sending across the country. No thank you. Not worth my time. Others wanted to trade for crappy video games. No thank you. So if you read this, I do not want video games. I do not like video games. They are definitely not worth anywhere near a pinball machine of any quality to me. Thank you.

So I will restore it. I bought $700 in parts. This included $250 in LEDs and $40 in postage. I bought a flipper rebuild kit ($30) and new flipper coil ($28) and flipper bats ($12), posts ($30), new pop bumpers [ring, body, cap, light and wires, wafer] ($20), locks ($10), rubber kit and belt ($22), Ferris wheel motor ($70), fuses ($10), lane guide ($8), and other stuff.

If I did not have to catch up on emails and writing this, I would have started working on replacing the flippers. I'll start this long holiday weekend. I will create the page and start taking photos this weekend. I already have 5 hours into this restoration.

I also bought the WPC Power Fix Daughter board from Kahr.US Circuits. They are great. I will now add one to every Bally/Williams 1990s game I own or sell. Bill, you should buy a bunch. Or when I place a large order get them from me. :)

I will be getting a Johnny Mnemonic and a Bally 1979 Star Trek.

9/1/2015

Added new video of the final restoration for JV's Star Trek Next Generation. Go to this page and watch it.

8/31/2015

JV's Star Trek Next Generation is done, with spot lights and photographed with glamor shots.

8/30/2015

JV's Star Trek Next Generation is done. I just need to add the two spot lights on the slings. I'll do that tomorrow. The game started to reset. I bought the power daughter board to take 5 volts from a different source. I cleaned the power connectors and reseated and have not had the problem all day. But this game will be delivered far away and must work. So I will test more extensively when the daughter board arrives.

I bought a Hurricane a few weeks ago and do not want to restore. Since I will want to do a full restore, I know I will not get back the money I spend. I did price out the stuff I need to get the same to work. This will come to $200. I put it up for sale as a project pin so I will hold off a few days before buying the minimum among of parts.

8/24/2015

I have been busy at my full time job. I have been busy going to the gym in the morning (mostly to beat traffic). I purchased a Peloton Spinner. I love it. If you get down to Tyson's Corner contact tysonscorner@pelotoncycle.com, 703-872-7288. They have a store near that Sushi restaurant with the conveyor belt. I have used it almost every day and much better than spinning at the gym. There is a monthly fee ($39) but well worth it. If you do get one, then I will shamelessly ask you to use me as a reference. You will get 2 months of free subscription ($78) [after the first year] and so will I. My user name is MichaelPinball and it is associated to my email address mbelofsky@comcast.net.

My wife and I just returned from a long weekend of visiting our son in Evansville, IN. It was nice to get away. In my down time, I added 116 photos to JV's Star Trek Next Generation. I am working on it tonight and taking more photos and trying to get it done so I can look at the Hurricane I bought last week but have not looked at yet. I do know that the coils do not work so probably an issue with the driver board, a fuse (I should be so lucky) or a shorted coil.

As usual, I try not to mix work with this hobby but I need to mention a funny story. Our group is helping out on a "special project". Our manager has done a great job in finding the work and getting up to speed and then getting some of the team up to speed to assist. (Some people had to remain on current tasks to ensure they are completed.) In an email from one of the VPs, we were thanked for our efforts on moving this along. My manager sent out an email stating that the entire group was thanked and this will be great visibility. This is the funny part. Yes, my manager got thanked and it will be great visibility for the manager. But the sentence stated "I would like to thank Sally Smith and the ABC group for a great job...." My analogy is: Can you name even one Season who is part of Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons? Can you name any Pip who is part of Gladys Knight and the Pips? Can you name any Supreme who is part of Diana Ross and the Supremes? Case closed. Our careers will not be helped much. :)

This is how smart I am. I put the delta ramp back together and everything worked but I had an extra connector. I kept reading the letters and couldn't find a match. I was reading the connector as "ZC". I finally put it in the orientation I usually do when I write and it said "NU" which is my way of marking a connector that is not used as "Not Used".

Now back to adding the Delta ramp to the JV's Star Trek Next Generation.

8/2/2015

Jurassic Park was picked up today. It is working perfectly with a great cabinet, play field, LEDs, Cliffy protector and sleeves, nice plastics and ramps.

8/1/2015

Completed the controlled light LEDs and all flashers under the play field. Took off the subway, cleaned, added protectors and reinstalled. I also installed the Neutral Zone Cliffy protector. Tomorrow, I will start to take off the wire ramps then the plastic ramps. I am not replating this game so it will be faster. I am still waiting for the phaser to come back.

7/26/2015

I have been in Florida helping my father set up a Will, Power of Attorney and Living Will. Unlike all the alarmists that spoke to my father, I did not ask him to sign the paperwork and immediately commit him to a home. We put the documents in a drawer. I guaranteed him one day my sister and/or I would need the will. Hopefully we will never need the other two documents but they are prepared according to his wishes if needed. I took my father to Key West. The drive was fantastic. We took a picture on Key West to show that we were there and headed back to Key Largo for the evening.

My son visited this weekend. The Prius battery I changed at the beginning of May died again on Thursday morning. The repair place will look at it tomorrow. It is supposed to have a 3 year warranty and should definitely last more than 2.5 months and 3,000 miles. Hopefully it will not cost me anything to repair (it did not cost anything) or the choice of a re-manufactured battery would have proven to be a mistake. (I will go on PriusChat.com and report the results as soon as I have them. - Then people can say I told you so.)

We looked at new Prius this weekend. Nothing in new cars excites me except for the Tesla Model S and I just cannot afford that. I want to keep my license which allows me to use the HOV lanes so I will probably get another Hybrid. Although the VW TDI cars using diesel look good. (10/18/2015 - In hindsight, I am glad I did not get a TDI...)

I started working on JV's Star Trek Next Generation since my son left a few hours ago. Starting under the play field with the LEDs.

7/13/2015

Continue to put plastic protectors on Star Trek LE. I should have done them when I added the Klingon Bird of Prey and the Cliffy protectors. Most are not difficult. Just awkward positioning. It appears that I have a choice of two separate protectors under Vengeance or one that also covers the drop target. I put the one that also covers the drop target. I hope when the drop target raises and the ball is there it will pop it out rather than break the drop target. It came with 2 protectors on the explosion plastic above the drop target. I put one on. I assume the other is a spare if this breaks. There is one plastic protector that goes to the left and beneath the Alpha quadrant ramp. This protects the 1" of area between the Alpha Quadrant ramp and the Warp ramp. I am not going to put this on right now. Too much work. I am hoping that the ramp protectors I added and the existing protection will protect this area. Tomorrow I will get the right sling and the Light Lock target plastic to the right of the spinner protected. This looks like a pain in the neck plastic to get up.

I spoke with Chas at Stern today about the Vengeance issue below. He said another customer had this issue and they fixed it by bending the lane guide out. This did not work at all. I have an email to see if we can get parts to replace the black box with the plastic track in it.

7/12/2015

I tightened the right flipper on my Star Trek Next Generation. The EOS switch on the top right flipper had a disconnected wire. Both are fixed and got to enjoy the game tonight.

I almost have all the parts I need for JV's Star Trek Next Generation. I did some preliminary work on the game this weekend, but will start on it soon.

I am finally getting around to start adding the plastic protectors on my Star Trek LE. I was at a customer's house that has one as well. Their Vengeance ship crashes correctly. But when the game goes to reset the crash, the ship does not move. We traced it down to everything working electrically. The issue was the plastic track on the box. The ship travels on a track cut into the side of the box that the mechanism rests on. There is a sharp turn down at the end to provide the appearance that the ship is nosediving into the play field. His plastic track has white scratches in it where the ship is not traveling smoothly on it. We tried to sand down the track a bit with a file. It worked but did not solve the problem. I sent an email to Stern.

7/10/2015

I tried lit Romulan ships and they did not work on my Star Trek Next Generation. I decided to send them back and keep the original. I tried an Enterprise ornament but it connected to the 12 volt circuit and was just getting too hot. I decided to go with an unlit Enterprise. The Color DMD has been added. The game is complete. I need to adjust the right flipper and fix the EOS switch on the top right flipper based on finally playing it tonight. But these are minor modifications. I will now do the glamor shots of the machine and be done posting.

Finally, the completed STTNG.

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7/7/2015

Here is a video comparing this almost completely finished STTNG to one I just got working 100% but have not restored.

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7/6/2015

Just finished ordering parts for JV's Star Trek Next Generation.

7/5/2015

Last minute effort to finish up all pinball tasks before the work week begins.

* Added the bent plastic on my Star Trek Next Generation to stop the glare on the glass from the DMD.

* New black legs, black bolts and levelers on my Star Trek Next Generation.

* New LX-7 game ROM on JV's Star Trek Next Generation.

* Removed Elvis Gold from current items for sale. Added the Stargate. Added the Bram Stroker's Dracula. This is still linking to Pinside since I have not yet created the page on my own web site since I was hoping for a quick sale.

7/4/2015

Elvis Gold is leaving the building tomorrow morning. We just got home from a Fourth of July party and my wife helped me shrink wrap it. Tomorrow morning I will bring it upstairs.

For JV's Star Trek Next Generation, Switch 57 on the single drop target at the top right was not working. Upon further inspection, it was missing the diode. Once added, the switch worked perfectly. Opto Switch 43 is also now working due to cleaning the opto. I continue to test and it functions correctly. I will have the opportunity to continue to test over the next few weeks as I restore it.

7/3/2015

I haven't posted the page and pictures on my web site yet for Bram Stroker's Dracula. But you can find it on Pinside. I bought it last Sunday and posted it on Pinside and thought i had it sold for tomorrow. But the person found a game closer to their home in PA. So it is back up for sale. This gives me a chance to actually play it and decide whether I want to keep it. The right flipper sticks a little. It looks like a spring or need to clean the plunger. Otherwise it all works. I fixed the test buttons. A wire came off the UP red button. Re-soldered and it now works. By not selling it tomorrow, it also means I do not need to get up at 6am!

I added the Hallmark Klingon Bird of Prey to Star Trek Next Generation and it works and looks great. I chose red LEDs to shine on the field rather than violet. Violet probably went well with the LEDs on the game, but red was more "correct" in my mind. I'll hold off on any more photos or movies until I get the last two ships and the color DMD. Then it will be complete. I finally got to play a game on it last night and was happy to have a fully functioning STTNG back.

I am working on second STTNG for a customer, JV. So this game will be referred to as JV's Star Trek Next Generation. I created a page but I have not added pictures yet. The game was resetting. I replaced the driver board and the reset issue is fixed. There are two switches I need to work on next. Then the game will be working 100%.

7/02/2015

Star Trek Next Generation is almost done. I got the Klingon Bird of Prey lighted ornament and carefully unpacked the tips and one was broken. I fixed it with gorilla glue.

Although I still have a few ships to replace and the Color DMD to add, here is an almost final movie:

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Here is another movie with the plastic ramps added:

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6/27/2015

Sixty six additional photos for Star Trek Next Generation are now available as well as the video below. Please tell me if the video is useful or not. This video does not have the ramps since I am waiting for them to be returned.

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6/25/2015

I asked a friend about the slot machine. He came up with the obvious answer. Bend the lever so it reaches the spokes of the escalator wheel. It could break, but it doesn't work now. The goal is to get the customer to agree that if it breaks I am not responsible.

I set up 66 photos for Star Trek Next Generation but will add them to the page by the weekend. I got to replace the 3 pop bumpers next and am stalling. As you will see in the photos, I replaced the Klingon ship with a larger, non-lighted version and decided to pay $129 for a modded Hallmark Klingon Bird of Prey. The larger ship was held in place very poorly. I lifted the play field and it fell off and broke off a plastic piece on the metal Klingon. I glued it back on and t looks good but not happy with it.

6/21/2015

Yesterday, I spent the day fixing games. The first was an antique slot machine. I usually can fix issues with stuck coins, adjustments, or broken springs. This was a Pace slot where the lever that turned the escalator wheel was worn away such that the lever did not touch the wheel spokes. I could diagnose the problem but I did not have the parts to fix it. I sent an email to the company that I buy slot machine parts from. Hopefully they have the parts or reproduction parts to fix this.

The second fix was a pair of Gottlieb Sinbad games. I could fix all the issues on this game. But I did not have the correct flipper coil. Luckily the owner is comfortable soldering and can order the part and replace. The issue was the right bottom flipper would sputter when the flipper button was pressed. When testing the good flipper and opening the EOS switch, the high power would be disabled but the low power would try to lift up the flipper. When testing the bad flipper and opening the EOS switch, the high power would be disabled but the low power was not working since the flipper would not move. This would imply that the low power was not working. I checked all the traces to ensure that the small wires on the coil to the lugs were not broken. Therefore, it sounds like a new coil is needed.

The final fix was a Data East Last Action Hero. The person told me that another repair person came a few years ago and stated it was a power issue. I brought a new power board and PPB board. I opened the back box and, surprise, the power board was missing. Guess who was there? They bought the game 4 years ago and it worked. It broke two years ago and the other repair person came, charged them, but did not fix anything. He even took the power board. (The owners did not know he took the power board.) They have been trying to call him for the past two years to finish the repair and gave up and found me. I replaced the power driver and the game worked. The display was fuzzy and just stopped working. I smelled a burning plastic smell and the game was still resetting. I checked out the PPB board and connector 5 which was input power was burning the plastic connector. I replaced the PPB board and rebuilt the connector. The game worked except for the display. The left flipper was sluggish and then stopped working.

I will come back after I receive a new flipper board, display driver board and display.

I should not be surprised when I go to someone's house and after I fix a problem, several other problems show up. This is happening right now on the Star Trek Next Generation and every game I ever restored in my house. Most of the issues with Star Trek Next Generation are broken cosmetic parts that I need to buy. But often I find problem after problem.

Today, I invited a friend from work that wants to learn to fix pinballs. We worked on Star Trek Next Generation. Before we started working, I explained the workings of the switch matrix, lamp matrix, coils and daisy chaining to different fuses, flipper theory and basic maintenance. We got most of the game cleaned. I have to post more pictures but tired and will do so this week. I have 4 plastics to replace, 3 bumpers to replace, and the 3 new ramps to move all hardware onto and reinstall. Then I can wait for the ramps to come back re-plated. Finally I can spend the $425 to buy a color DMD and I should be done.

6/17/2015

I spoke to Joey at pinballdecals.com yesterday and told him my sob story below. I bought a complete decals set which I will use on this restoration since I want quality decals. He sent me replacements for the Ferengi and the shuttle (since they are his design anyway). I will use this decal set as spares in case my targets ever break.

6/15/2015

I interrupt this enjoyable restoration of my Star Trek Next Generation to remind myself why nice guys finish last. A few years ago a customer was doing a restoration on a Star Trek and needed target decals. I had some that I lent to the person. I bought them from pinballdecals.com. He returned a set from littleshopofgames.com. They were mostly the same but the shuttle square decals were red and said "ALERT" rather than a picture of the shuttle. (WHICH MEANS IN MY OPINION YOU SHOULD BUY THE ORIGINAL, HIGHER QUALITY DECALS FROM PinballDecals.com.) I did not count them to ensure they were all there. He was a customer and he said he ordered them but they just didn't come yet. I went to use them tonight and two Frenegi decals are missing. Yes, I should have checked them when I was given them. Yes, I shouldn't trust anyone. However, I expect to be treated the same way I treat everyone, with honesty and respect. So I will buy a new kit and basically have given the person the kit for free. (I looked through my email and notes and cannot find the person I did this with or I would have sent him an email.)

6/14/2015

I tried to find screws and bolts typically used on the game. I try to clean the visible portions. New hardware just looks nicer. I bought some new stuff albanycountyfasteners.com. It looks like something spilled on the play field or an overzealous cleaning occurred on the Star Trek Next Generation. I took the subway off and will clean but it really is not as dirty as the other subways I have cleaned. I will wait until I get the protectors to do the cleaning. I hope to finish the controlled lights and GI replacement of LEDs today.

6/13/2015

More pictures for Star Trek Next Generation. I have taken all the wire ramps and phase off for re-plating.

6/12/2015

I ordered a LOT of parts for Star Trek Next Generation. I replaced J120 for the GI on the driver board to fix all the general illumination. The flashers did not work. LED5 was out on the driver board. This meant that F111, BR4, C11 could be bad. F111 was good. So I replaced BR4 and C1. The flashers now work. I cleaned the back of the translite and installed LEDs in the back box.

Tomorrow I have two fixes in the area and then will continue to work on Star Trek Next Generation.

5/31/2015

I was able to remove two games from my wanted list above. Last week, I picked up a Demolition Man. The game was in nice condition. I fixed up the minor problems and bought the parts.

I sold the Stargate. I thought I was going to pick up a Ripley's Believe It Or Not. But the person did not provide his address or confirm. This was a find on Craigslist. I am starting to be weary of finding people on Craigslist and may not buy from this person since I am not sure. This morning, I found my wholesaler had a Star Trek Next Generation available. I bought it this morning. I got it at two. I went through and found all the problems. I fixed them. Now to work on the cosmetics and bling.

I now have my neighbor's Stargate and available for sale. I've always wanted to say "For Sale by Neighbor."

I basically moved 3 games this weekend. I am getting too old for moving games. :)

5/21/2015

Since my Star Trek LE and Lord of the Rings are not for sale, I added them to my Archives Page so I can find them easily as well as reference them when needed.

5/3/2015

It only took half the afternoon, but I finally figured out how to add a video without spending a lot of money. I already own a video converter program. I created two videos of a before and after of the Stargate top flipper. I combined them together in iMovies. I then converted to every movie type. I finally converted to a flash movie (FLV) and it worked. I didn't want to use flash since it does not work on an iphone but it was all that I had. The movie is on the Gottlieb Repair Page. I will repeat the video here:

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5/2/2015

I continue to play and enjoy and tweak the Stargate. The left pivot would engage and then turn off and lower as expected with the glass off. I put the glass on. The left pivot would raise but not lower. I finally looked up on PINSIDE and realized that the figures were reversed on the pivots. This makes sense since the right pivot is further back so there would be more head room for the horns. The plunger had a flat rubber on it. I put a regular tip and the auto plunger did not have clearance. I put the old tip back. Today I replaced the plunger with the correct one which is a little smaller. I also used a barrel spring that is a little longer and a new tip can fit nicely and not affect the auto-plunger. It is amazing how games in general and this game had a lot of things wrong. Working with the prior owner to buy this, I would assume they did nothing to the game. So that means that the "reputable" place they bought this from sold it to them without the light rope, with the figures reversed, and the wrong size plunger. I continue to find things to tweak. It is getting better.

The Mystery Castle has been picked up today. I added the front lock to the game. While admiring the lights in the dark, I realized that a post was missing from the front of the right side of the right ramp. I made sure I told the new owner so that he can simply add a yellow post to protect the ramp.

4/26/2015

I completed the Stargate. I replaced the two IRL540 transistors on the driver board that controlled the left sling and top left VUK. I replaced the coils for these as well. I installed a light rope. I adjusted switches for the drop targets and repaired the broken wire on the glider motor stop switch.

4/23/2015

On Tuesday, there was an accident on Rt 7 East before 6:30am. The cars were pulled over on the right. As I passed in the left lane, I heard a large pop coming from the back. I did not think of it since the car was driving normally. As I was getting onto the Greenway, I noticed my tire light was on. I got off at Battlefield and headed to Merchant Tire. My back driver tire was half flat and my front tire was not looking good. They don't open until 7:30. I thought about changing my tire but realized that I did not have two spares. I walked down to Starbucks. Bought a coffee and waited.

When they opened at 7:30am, the person checking my tires put a gage on the tread and said I need new tires. Red flags went off. I just got my car inspected the week before. I explicitly asked about the tires. Purcellville Tire told me I had about 25,000 to 30,000 miles remaining.

I thought I would simply get the tires fixed and leave.... But I remembered that Purcellville Tire told me the lock for the lugs was stripped and I would need to replace the locks the next time. Merchant Tire told me it would cost $40 a tire to get them off plus the cost of repairs ($35 each tire). [About $150 total.] {Plus their tire person did not show up so there would be a 1.5 to 2 hour delay before they even got to it.}

I called AAA to get the car towed to Purcellville Tire. I got the two tires repaired ($50 for both), the lock nuts replaced with normal lugs ($28 for the set of 4) and an oil change ($30) [$109 total plus the $41 to tow the car above the 3 miles AAA provides.]

Purcellville Tire told me when the tires were new, they had 11/32" of tread. They were down to 6/32" of tread.

Thought of the day.... The sauna at the gym in DC has room for 3 people, unless I am the 3rd person....

4/22/2015

I purchased a Gottlieb Stargate. When the person bought the game, it came without a light rope. This makes the nice effect in the back box. I can't believe (well actually I can since it appears that many pinball retailers are not honest) that he would be sold a machine from a dealer (in PA) without it. Oh well. More stuff for me to buy. The top left VUK was not working. I replaced the transistor and I had a coil. I stupidly replaced the wires and I blew the fuse, transistor and coil. This implies that the power was not connected to the banded side of the coil. I should have tested this before. I just tested this and confirmed that the wire with the fuse (since each coil is individually fused on a Gottlieb) is the 50 volt line. This should have been connected to the banded side of the diode. It was not. I replaced the transistor and fuse. I placed an order for new coils. I should have known that this would not fix the problem since the owner stated he paid for a repair person to come out 2 years ago and he could not fix it. In hindsight, he simply connected it backwards. Oh well. I ordered a bunch of parts from pbresource.com and hopefully the new coil (connected correctly) will fix the VUK problem.

4/12/2015

I just have a few slots and the Elvis Gold left to sell. Then I will be in mostly the repair business. As I said many times, a quality restoration done right is not appreciated anymore. The only people left doing these will be the very high end restorers and people doing it for themselves. So you should be lucky in the future when one of these games becomes available if you want to purchase that particular game.

I have been putting together a stockpile of boards. If you live locally, I will sell locally for pick up. But if you need to order, then use an existing company to buy over the internet. This service is to help local people. Here are the boards I currently have.

4/8/2015

I put the Elvis Gold on Facebook and did an advertisement. $20 got me 8 likes on my Facebook page; 59 likes on the pinball; 1984 paid viewers; 291 viewers who viewed it based on their friends liking it, 17 shares, and 56 clicks into the posting. two people actually clicked on the link to my web site. Was it worth it? Who knows.

4/5/2015

The Data East Secret Service will take more money and time than it is worth. I will not fix it.

I lowered the price of the Riverboat Gambler and Elvis Gold.

4/4/2015

The Mystery Castle is working. Row 1 of the lamp matrix is out. I ordered a new CPU/driver board from Australia. I also ordered a replacement transistor for Q12 which should fix the problem. I have the game sold. But it will sit in my house until the person can get it. A drop target is also broken. I have that part on order as well.

I put the Earthshaker together last night. Except for the known issue with the corroded battery holder and a few broken plastics, the game works 100%. I posted it at midnight last night for sale on Pinside. I used a new for sale feature of posting a minimum price and accepting offers. People do not like this. Boy were they mad. I posted a message this morning stating that I paid $1200 for the game and wanted $1300. I also stated that if the price was too high I would appreciate the comments and simply keep the game. I probably could have asked more but wanted to sell it quickly and locally. I started getting many, many emails, texts and calls. Someone said this price was a bargain. The game had the sinking institute so I knew it was worth more but wanted to flip it fast. Many people wanted me to meet them in Allentown (which I can't due to family commitments), or meet them half way, or wait a while to get it. I wanted it gone today. Someone in Richmond called and came and got it. He was very happy with it. I am glad I sold him the game.

I picked up a Data East Secret Service game today. I got it working but left flipper is sticking and needs to be rebuilt. Once of the flashers in the topper stays on and needs to be fixed. Some switches need to be adjusted.

3/31/2015

I went to pick up two pinballs from a large home in Middleburg. I asked a friend to help take down the machines. I got them ready to move. I brought my dolly to the sliding door and.... it had an opening of 27". A home probably 4 times larger than my home has three sliding glass doors where only one side opens and only to 27". Amazing. The owner suggested we take it out a window but a bush was there and I am not lifting games out in a weird angle. I would not take it up the inside staircase since you all my that I will not move pinballs inside the house. The wooden stairs were just too expensive for me to mess up with my dolly. Plus I think the edge of the stairs would break with the weight. It also had a 90 degree turn. (I was there from 1pm to 3:30pm)

The owner was moving. She called the movers and they were coming back. It 7:30pm on Sunday she called for me to drive back. I got there at 8pm. They got there at 8:30pm. The movers said they can "hook" the game sideways. I told them that the game would not fit even if I took the heads off since the game was 28" wide. They didn't believe me. We unpacked and we definitively came to the conclusion that a 28" rectangle cannot fit through a 27" hole. We repacked the game. The 3 of them did an excellent job lifting it up the stairs. I could not do this. I got home at 10pm and unpacked by 10:30pm.

I just moved both games into my basement. I bought a Mystery Castle and Earthshaker. The Earthshaker is rough with some broken plastics. The Mystery Castle looks nice but does not work. Now that it is in my basement I will try to diagnose. I set up the Mystery Castle. I'll work on the Earthshaker later. I know that the batteries are corroded and it gets an adjust failure.

The Mystery Castle is working! The catapult isn't working but the wire is disconnected. So hopefully this is the issue. All other tests pass! It is working.

3/28/2015

I continue to play Star Trek LE and it continues to be amazing. Someone dropped of a Star Wars for me to fix. He enjoyed the Star Trek LE.

This morning I finished a restoration of a Riverboat Gambler at a customer's house. It looks good. It wasn't the 40 or so hours I spend on a game at my house but the restoration brought it back to life.

Although I said I wasn't going to buy games that I did not want for myself, I am buying two pinball machines tomorrow. I have never owned these before so will enjoy them for a while and see if I want to keep them or not.

3/21/2015

Downloaded Star Trek LE Code 1.61 and installed. Played a few games. The medal system is interesting. The lights seem more alive. I will read the README file. I loved the game before and it continues to be great. It is so much more fun when I can enjoy the hobby by playing my games rather than just always fixing my games. I am reading the comments on PINSIDE to see if I can glean anything interesting about the update. I see I need to adjust my play field so the ball feeds to the right flipper from the Vengeance lock.

Helped a friend trouble shoot his Judge Dredd while downloading and verifying Star Trek LE code. In switch test mode no optos were registering. He said he plugged in a opto connector backwards. We looked at the driver board and the LED7 (+12 volts) secondary was not lit. I had him test F116 right next to it. Visually he thought it looked good. I told him he must take it out and test It was bad. Replaced with a new 3amp SB and the optos showed up in test mode and everything worked.

I worked on a Data East Lethal Weapon this morning at a customer's place. Main issue was the drop target closest to the flippers on the middle drop target set was broken. I had a replacement assembly and tried it out. Within 3 minutes, I broke the same drop target. While his drop target assembly was out of the game, I replaced all three drop targets and then replaced back in the game. It is working fine.

3/11/2015 Sense of Urgency

I normally do not mix my real job with this hobby. I was in need of a contractor at work. A person I originally brought in to help me 5 or so years ago and has recently finished a contract was available. I needed a person fast. I knew the person's abilities. I also knew that one of my colleagues did not care for this person as a contractor. I was not going to mention this person. But this person texted at the correct time while speaking with my manager. He called the person and the person impressed. I spoke to my colleague and the person mentioned that the contractor had "no sense of urgency". I saw that when the person was working for me. I had a heart to heart talk with the person. This person was junior at the time but I saw potential. This person rose to the occasion and performed for me on a project and the next program I asked the person to join. My colleague's opinion is well respected so I did not pursue this contractor since they would not pass any test because they were pre-judged. Which is really sad that something that happened over 5 years ago cannot be in the past.

The main part of this story jumps to my son. He would frustrate me when I would ask him to walk faster and he would walk slower. He is a paramedic now. When he was an EMT, I mentioned to him that sometimes he doesn't seem to work with a sense of urgency. He responded to me with several insightful comments. First, if he ran onto the site and fell and got hurt he would be of no use to the person in need. He also explained that as he enters an accident scene, he carefully accesses the area for safety. He doesn't just run in to help. What if the scene is not secure? What if a shooter or criminal is still on scene? What if a car is about to explode? When he is working with the patient, he doesn't rush. He thinks through everything he is about to do because in some cases what he is doing is a matter of life or death. He even mentioned that if you were watching this or filming it (which is funny since we discussed this years ago before everyone was filming everything you do), one would think he was not working with a sense of urgency. Would they be more impressed, he asked, if he were to rush and look frantic and actually make a mistake?

(These comments from my paramedic son are so appropriate today. We watch news broadcasts where the people in the story or the newscaster mentions that the police, firefighters, or paramedics hesitated and did not enter the scene immediately. My wife and I yell at the TV and ask the stupid people stating this if they would rush into a hazardous scene with no protection.)

3/8/2015

Now that I am back from vacation, I spent yesterday catching up on some of my fixes. I did a tour of the area, starting at home in Purcellville at 8am going to Sterling, then McLean, Alexandria, then Woodbridge. I got home after 9pm yesterday. I decided to do no fixes today to catch up on paying bills and such and doing work for my full time job (since I am an idiot and work way too much).

I posted a repair tip for Stern Monopoly about fuse #21 blowing when in multi-ball. It is a known issue that Stern has a Service Bulletin #139 about.

I posted on Facebook to remind you to change your batteries if you have not done so in the past 3 to 5 years.

I am about to update my repair page to state that I will only fix EM pinballs if they are working and a components is no longer working. It makes no sense to go to someone's house (like I did yesterday but I promised I would) to look at an EM game that has not been working in years. The amount of corrosion and switches that needs to be adjusted is just more work than I want to do at a person's house. Plus actually figuring out the first problem, leads to others which leads to others and is not manageable.

2/14/2015

I received my Star Trek LE last Sunday and finally got the Cliffy protectors and Bird of Prey (from FlashyMods.com) installed. Finally played it last night and today and it is great. I still have a lot to learn. I did not have the legs leveled and the play field was not sitting in the game correctly. I finally leveled the game and the play field rests in the front lock bar area correctly. The ball in the Vengeance lock was sometimes draining. I think I solved it for most of the time.

1/30/2015

My list of pinballs for sale has gone down to two. My basement is starting to look bare. It will take several years to build up my personal collection.

1/25/2015

I added the Cliffy protector to the Lord of the Rings. It is so nice to have this game back again. I may add some paper inserts to the apron and decals. But this game is perfect for me and I am enjoying playing it.

I did not fix any pinballs this weekend. I have other obligations over the next few weeks and then will pick back up on fixing games. My gift to myself is a NIB Star Trek LE (#481). I will hopefully get it the first week or early second week of February. I will need to pick it up and do the final mile move. I already have the Cliffy protectors. I bought a Bird of Prey to go over the left VUK. Hopefully it will not need much else.

My main page is starting to look bare. I only have two pinballs left to sell and a few slots. Then I really will concentrate on fixing games and buying what I want to own.

1/18/2015

I fixed three games yesterday. I have been so busy with vacation, holidays, changing my full time job, that I have not done any repairs in several weeks. I needed to start catching up. I just returned the call from someone who emailed me at the end of last year and I said I needed a few weeks to catch up on repairs. But he just found another repair person. Which is actually good since he lived in Lorton and I really didn't want to drive all the way out there. Hopefully he found the person in Manassas. Well, if nothing else, my backlog just got one person shorter.

I am really trying this year to get the pinballs I want. I found a Star Trek Next Generation. I was interested in it. I asked about it. When I had the funds to buy it, the person was currently no longer interested in selling it. I moved on to my second choice. I bought a Home Use Only (HUO) Lord of the Rings. It is beautiful with many upgrades. I do not have to do much. I did buy Cliffy protectors and added removable flipper button protectors to the cabinet. In hindsight, I should have thought of this first since it was the opportunity to buy HUO. With a Star Trek Next Generation I will probably never have the opportunity to buy HUO. As I wrote some time below, I owned a HUO Lord of the Rings and sold it. I regret selling it. (Which I only regretted selling a few games.) So I now have a HUO game back and I am pleased.

1/1/2015

Happy New Year!

I went over to fix a Data East Batman on Tuesday. I didn't really want to fix it and not this fast. But it was a Christmas gift and he wanted it working. I was hoping it was a switch or wire. It was the blanking circuit on the MPU. I knew I couldn't fix it without changing the MPU board and maybe even the PPB board. We called Stern and Chas confirmed this. He said you could spend several hours to try to fix it but the key word is "try". I told the person to buy a Rottendog MPU (MPU004) and labeled all the connectors. As usual, I did not charge since I did not fix the game. I know very well that the analysis and the information I provided will be valuable in actually fixing the game. But as usual, I am not on the hook to ensure that this works. I did not sell the game. It is not my responsibility to get it working. Another few hours I wasted in terms of my time. In terms of helping the person, it was very valuable. Another example of someone buying a Christmas gift and not getting what they deserved or paid for...

[Update: 1/18/2015: The person emailed me and found a person to fix games that knows Data East. He came in and immediately knew it was the bridge rectifiers on the power board. Nice! I even called Stern about this and they suggested rebuilding the blanking circuit, as I wrote above. I did not have an extra power supply board, but will now know to buy one or to spend the time to replace the two bridge rectifiers on the board.... But I don't fix these games enough to really care.]

I am in the process of placing a large order to buy Rottendog boards. If I have them, then it may be worth it to try to fix some of the games. If I have the boards, then it will be a large up front expense. But it will mean that I can actually perform the replacement of the board. The trick is to figure out the right mix of boards to buy.

I will not buy replacement Gottlieb System 80 boards. The design of the games is so poor that a bad display or diode can take out an entire board. No reason for me to buy a board, try to help fix a game, have my board ruined, and not be able to fix the game and not only be out the repair cost and my valuable time, but the cost of the board.

I also tried to be nice (which I have said many times before, Nice guys finish last) and look at a cocktail video game. They lived only a few miles from me so I thought I could help. They had a custom built cocktail multicade game built around 2007. The person no longer lives in the area (how convenient). The display doesn't work due to a lightning strike. They had a replacement Dell monitor that was 19". I came over and was thinking 1980s technology ad was not thinking VGA connector. I emailed with www.twobits.com who I highly recommend to buy boards and displays from. He was a little ticked that I was bugging him too much about this issue. I apologized for doing so and was trying to get him the sale of a monitor.

I went back the next evening and continued to take apart the Dell monitor and it was smaller than the monitor in the game. I looked at the tag on the CRT which said Samsung (which it seems they all are) and the display was 18". It would not fit. This is where I actually called www.twobits.com and he was a bit ticked. Oh well. I was trying to figure out the right display for her to buy. I told her to try to find a 19" CRT display or take a chance on a LCD display.

After speaking with www.twobits.com and realizing I should have tried this when I was there, I asked her to find any monitor with a VGA connector and plug into the JAMMA board and simply plug into the wall. We changed dip switch 4 to on on the JAMMA board to signify VGA output. The display did not work. She also said the sound was not working. Whereas before she could start a game blind and hear the sounds. We did not touch anything that would affect this. Since a stand alone display is not working, I cannot guarantee that a display in the game will work.

But so far I went over there twice to help and did not charge (and I am not responsible for this issue which is not my issue). But if she buys something then I may have to come over and help her install it. What if it doesn't work? Especially since a stand alone only display does not work.

New resolution for 2015, I will no longer even try to be nice to repair Electro Mechanical pinballs, Electro Mechanical Slots, Newer computer based slots (based on proprietary chips), most Gottlieb pinballs, any pinball I do not have a replacement board set to limit me wasting time, and video games. (On 7/11/2015, I did go and work on an EM machine. It took an hour to find the switch issue but I was able to resolve it. EMs will just be a case by case decision.)

2015 will be the year that I purchase all the games I want for myself and no longer have games for sale. Once I sell out the few games I have left, I do not plan to have any for sale until (and if) I decide to swap out games in my personal collection. My desired games are Star Trek Next Generation, Stern Star Trek LE, Avengers Hulk LE, Demolition Man, Lord of the Rings, Theatre of Magic, Flintstones, Ripley's Believe it or not, and Monster Bash. (I go back to this once in a while and hyper link the games when I get them.)

12/27/2014

The X-MEN Magneto LE went to good home today. They are close so I have visitation rights. I will miss it. But will need to move on. I need to find other games to fix. But I just started a new job and need time to get comfortable.

12/19/2014

The Pirates of the Caribbean was sold and delivered to a good home today. I will miss it but enjoyed owning it again. I now have space for more games to restore.

Someone called today asking about my Riverboat Gambler. He mentioned that I no longer offer a warranty, which is correct. He asked how long the game would last. I prefaced the conversion that I didn't want to sound like a jerk, but if I fix the game, it should work fine. Of course, they are mechanical and such. But in the end, even with minor hiccups (and every one has been posted here), my games work fine.... (Knock on wood.) I basically told him that it was the same game that was warranted for 6 months when I had it priced at $3000. Since I did not expect it to break at $3000, it should not break at $2500. The only difference is the initial savings to the buyer (and me aligning my prices to be lower to sell faster).

I was looking at my post from Christmas 2013. I stated that I would now focus on fixing games and making more money. I did do this and it actually worked. I have less money tied up in games and parts in games and make more money per hour than fixing up and selling games. Don't get me wrong. I will always have a few games for sale. I need to move inventory to free up space. I assume that I will find a few games that will remain. But others will come and go. These games will be real bargains for people. (Like the POTC I just sold and made a whopping $350 for about 40 hours of work. That is less than $10 an hour.)

I just updated my Linked In account since I have been promoted at work to a director. I am now a director for Common Securitization Platform Integration (CSPi) Business Requirements. I am back to an area of specialty that I do very well and am very comfortable with. I appreciate this recognition at work and will continue to do the best job possible. This attention to detail on analysis follows nicely into fixing pinballs. I think I use a lot of the skills I learned at work to diagnose and fix issues and fix the root cause not a symptom. I also realized that a few people were congratulating me on a work anniversary. I realize that I started Purcellville Pinball and Slots 10 years ago (12/6/2004 to be exact). It is great that I have been able to do this for 10 years. I have been fixing pinballs for 15 years. It took me 5 years to get up the courage to fix other people's pinballs.

11/28/2014

It is the day after Thanksgiving and I have played all my pinballs today. I did a quick adjustment on Xmen to get the left sling to be more sensitive. It is strange having all my games in my house ready and nothing to work on.

11/10/2014

As we approach Christmas 2014, I am in the position of not having much of an inventory to sell out for Christmas. I have a couple of games for sale, but do not really care if I sell them or not this season. I feel so much better not being in a position of feeling like I need to sell all the games. I should have stopped selling games years ago...

I will not have much time this Christmas season to fix games before Christmas. For the first time in 10 years, family is coming first.

11/7/2014

I purchased the parts to do a full restoration on Pirates of the Caribbean. So I probably will price it out of the market since people seem to want the game at a price lower than I paid for it (not working may I remind you) rather than at the price after the restoration which includes almost $800 in additional parts and 40 or so hours of my time to restore.

11/2/2014

I cleaned up the game. I replaced all burnt lights. I posted Pirates of the Caribbean today. It is a beautiful machine and works 100%.

10/31/2014

I purchased a really nice looking Pirates of the Caribbean today. I bought it from my wholesaler. The game was posted last night but no one purchased it. As I have told you all, I have to make split second decisions on whether to buy a game based on a one sentence description and usually not a very good photo. The description this morning said "Nice condition Pirates of the Caribbean pinball". The description of the Monopoly that was sold said "Monopoly pinball working in good condition".

I received the game this afternoon. It was on a route (you can tell by the missing front door lock) but in almost new condition. It really does look great.

I turned on the game and went into test mode. I tested the ship. It raised and lowered correctly with the sails working as expected.

I checked the switches. They all worked except for the plunger switch. The diode is broken. I attached manually and it works. So I will fix this switch after I write this up.

I next checked the coils and flashers. They all worked except #23. I checked the manual and it was the plunder coil at the top left that stops the ball from leaving the spinning plunder disk. I lifted the play field and noticed that the coil plunger was simply stuck to the rubber grommet. I loosened it and it worked fine.

I next checked the controlled lights. Nothing. Bingo. There is the smoking gun. The above description didn't say it was working. I checked the manual and F9 (8amp slow blow) fuse controls the controlled lights. I checked the IO Driver board and the fuse was missing. I put one in and it did exactly what I expected: it immediately blew. I checked the manual and J12 and J13 on the IO Driver board controlled the lamp columns and rows. I removed these connectors, replaced the fuse, and turned on the game. The fuse blew. This means that there is not a short on the play field It is a problem with the IO driver board. I looked at the manual again and Bridge 4 is connected to the F9 fuse and to the controlled lamp circuit. This is probably the problem. I took the IO driver board out and tested the bridge rectifier. It was bad. I unsoldered* the bridge rectifier, put in a few one and ensured all connectors had continuity appropriately (by checking the circuit diagram and marking all continuity with the original bridge rectifier). I had to add solder to the top of the board to one lug. I put the board back in and the game came alive. All controlled lamps worked and it looked great.

* The statement "I unsoldered the bridge rectifier" sounds like I did it in 5 minutes. It took over 2 hours to get the bridge rectifier out of the board. I could not un-solder the lugs. I needed to carefully and slowly cut the lugs and remove the bridge rectifier. It was not a pretty site but it worked.

The display looks good. A little tiny bit weak in the lower left corner but not enough to change out and add another $250 to the cost of the game.

I just fixed the diode on the switch. I played a game and everything works great. I am very pleased with this game. Since it is 2am on Saturday, I can now go to sleep.

10/16/2014

Caution: Whining Ahead. I went to fix an antique Mills nickel slot machine yesterday evening. It was on a piece of furniture with a towel protecting the top of the stand. In order to work on a slot machine, I needed to remove the back plate and top portion. So I rotated the game 180 degrees and removed the back. I asked the customer for a towel to put the mechanism on the floor. I fixed the slot machine and put the mechanism back in the game. I rotated the game back and tested the game. It worked fine. The handle did not always pull back and 2 times in the 30 or so times it paid off (which was the problem - it wasn't paying), it would pay off a few coins and the rest when the handle was slightly touched. (The customer said "Oh. It has never done that before" as if I caused the issue - which I did not since I was working on another part of the game.) I stated that she needs to keep playing it to ensure it continues to work. So if I need to come back, I can after it has been used a long time since I was playing for a while with no issues. (I also mentioned that someday the slot needs to be cleaned and re-oiled.)

She walks up to the stand to adjust the towel and sees a 6" scratch in the top left side of the cabinet which starts about 3/4 of the way back and moves forward towards the front of the stand. She says, "Oh my. The cabinet is scratched." I stated that a wood pen could probably fix it with no issues. But I was upset that I did it. I continued to test and ensure it works. She was behind me acting upset. (I didn't realize it at the time.) I said it looks like it is working.

She then says, "I hate to say this, but that scratch is deeper and will require 'furniture medic' to fix." My response was, then I will not charge for this repair. And she went on about how much it could cost to fix.

I packed up my tools. She said, okay I will play it and then you can come back. At this point, I never want to come back to fix this game and I fully expect a bigger bill to fix this slight scratch. I stated that if anything I worked on does not work, I will stand behind what I did. But I am really not working on games anymore. I realized I confused her based on what I told her when I first got there. I just did not want to come right out and say, "really, do you expect me ever to come back and work on your game again? I can't afford it." I explained that I work full time and this is a hobby.

As I was going to sleep last night, this event was playing over and over in my head. I finally realized a few things:

1. I did not inspect the top of the stand before I started working.

2. I never slid the game forwards and backwards. This is the direction of the scratch. If I did slide the slot machine, it would have fallen off the stand.

3. I turned the game 180 degrees. If I scratched the wood, it should have been in a circle.

So I am not sure that I did scratch the game. I am sure I am out the fee of 2 hours for the fix.

Now, I want to tell her if I come back that the game needs to be removed from the stand before I will work on it. But I know full well that she cannot lift the slot machine. Maybe I should have this policy for every slot machine I work on or inspect the stand before I work on it with the customer watching, have them sign a waiver, and then work. But all this is just too much of a pain and I get back to the position that I simply should not fix them anymore since it doesn't make sense to spend my evenings fixing a game to cover the cost of a repair that may not have been my fault.

10/12/2014

I went to the York show for a few hours on Friday. I was very, very glad that I was not selling in the flea market area. It rained a bit on Friday and on Saturday. Never again will I go to the show as an outside vendor. There were not many newer pinballs. I enjoyed visiting with friends.

10/08/2014

I helped a customer, Sean Underwood, replace the 128 x 16 DMD display on his Data East Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He gave me permission to use his photos so I posted what needs to be done with as much of the information I had helping him remotely and his pictures. Take a look at this. Thanks Sean for the use of your pictures.

10/05/2014

I changed the battery on the Gottlieb Solid State Sinbad and showed how to reset the audits. Click here for the pictures.

10/04/2014

I finished up the final work on the Demolition Man. A few days ago I put on the reinforced yellow targets as I stated below. I just added the gray rubber cover to the switch missing the cover and replaced the launch button in the front of the cabinet. It now looks absolutely great.

Next weekend I go to the White Rose Game Room Show in York, PA. I am so happy that I am not selling anything in the flea market area. I will not even bring a truck so I will not be tempted to buy anything. It will be nice to be a spectator.

I updated by delivery charges: $300 within 50 miles and $475 within 100 miles. I used to deliver for less money. But I am now just selling games that I am wholesaling. They work 100% but I am selling close to the cost of the game plus parts so there is no profit in the game. I will no longer lose money on a 5 hour delivery. The goal is for people to take the machines themselves.

09/28/2014

I picked up a Gottlieb Solid State Sinbad today. A few years when I was younger and less experienced, I tried to fix this game and could not. I often thought about it since I drive by the house a few days a week based on traffic. I thought about stopping at the house since I did not have the contact information and see if they still needed the game fixed. I never got the nerve to do so. The person called a few days ago and was retiring and downsizing. I bought the machine since I have learned a lot about Gottlieb System 1 games over the past few years.

I brought the game home. Turned it on and it showed 1s in some displays and did nothing. I thought about wholesaling it and sent an email to people that I usually deal with. I had no response. So I decided to try to fix the problem since that is what I originally wanted to do.

I opened the back box and immediately found the problem (which was the same problem on the Cleopatra I bought a few years ago). J6 connector which connects to the coin door was disconnected. Two wires were also not connected to the connector but luckily there was enough wire to solder them back together. I fixed the two wires and plugged in the connector and the game came to life.

Everything worked but the back set of drop targets did not reset. I checked the 2 AMP SB fuse and it was blown. I replaced the fuse and the game now works 100%. Cool.

I will clean it up, replace lights and rubbers and invite the former owner over to see the game again.

09/12/2014

I added $100 worth of parts (plus my time which is valued at $0 per hour). I raised the price of the Demolition Man by $100 to $3,300. The three reinforced yellow targets (which I suggested to Marco Specialties that they add the link to these reinforced targets to their Demolition Man parts page) and a new -19 switch for the center lane at the top now work perfectly. I adjusted one of the switches on the cryo claw. But if the ball falls at one specific angle it gets stuck and a wiggle releases the ball, so I am not going to adjust the switch anymore since if I break it, I need to take the game apart. I ordered one more switch cover vinyl - gray for the switch on the ramp that is missing one. I also ordered a new push button launch ball for the front of the game.

09/11/2014

I took vacation from my real job to catch up on things around the house and needed to deliver two slot machines to the wholesaler who resold them for me. I am getting rid of the games I do not want and do not want to sell. He said, you are finally listening to me after 15 years. You can't make any money restoring pinball machines. You can do it as a hobby and not to make money. I told him I just restored the Demolition Man. I have 50 hours into it and the price gives me a $500 profit. He said if he spent 50 hours, he would expect to make $10,000. Point taken. He also told me I was crazy for offering a warranty. I told him that as of August 1, I no longer do. He stated that he sold games for years without a warranty and asked me how I could sell a game and not know what my profit was if I had to go back and fix something. Point taken.

When I think about this, I am sad. I thought I was providing a valuable service of restoring a game to almost new condition and working 100% so people can buy older games and know they work. People did not value this and complained that my prices were too high (and people will probably complain that the Demolition Man is too high). There are still companies that restore games, so there will still be quality machines to buy. As soon as I get rid of Addams Family, Riverboat Gambler, and Elvis Gold, I will not actively sell pinballs. I will concentrate on repairs only.

I have been playing and enjoying the Demolition Man. The three narrow yellow targets take a beating on this game. They are the same yellow target size as the slot switch on Twilight Zone. I have 4 extra reinforced slot switches that I can use 3 on Demolition Man. The switches attach the same, so I will be able to replace and they should stand straighter.

09/10/2014

The Ripley's Believe It Or Not I sold several months ago (about 2 hours away) is resetting. The customer is capable of testing voltages. I posted this information to help him test and hopefully easily fix the issue. It is amazing how a game can work in my house for almost 2 years and not work soon after delivered to a customer.

I thought I fixed the Eight Ball Deluxe I wrote about on 9/06. But the customer called and the same problem re-occurred. I finally figured it out and posted the symptom and resolution here.

09/06/2014

Well it is 11:16pm and I remembered to update the church's web site to state there are two services tomorrow. Luckily I had the good sense at the beginning of the summer to note that the summer schedules ends September 7 because I knew I would forgot to change it in a timely manner.

Today I did a tour of Virginia and Maryland. The day started in beautiful Sterling Virginia where I fixed a Twilight Zone. This was an interesting fix because the auto kicker plunger would just stop working. The switch worked fine. When the Play field was up it worked. Then I put the play field down and it wouldn't work. There was continuity between all the coils on the violet yellow power line (coils 1 to 8). There was continuity from the drive wire to the driver board. I changed out the coil and put the coil in the correct direction with the lugs away from the end. The coil was much stronger but the issue continued. I would move wires and it would stop working and then work. I used a ratchet tie to add tension to the wires leading to the auto kicker coil and also to keep the wires away from the edge of the game. I was able to get it consistently to work, but I am not exactly sure why. This bothers me. I asked the owner to try to continue to search it it happens again. Maybe a wire is broken and we just did not find it yet.

The display was showing lines. I reinserted all connectors to the DMD and display driver (with the power off) and the lines went away. I then noticed that the bolts holding the DMD to the box were loose. We tightened them all. This may have been the cause of the vibrations.

I then drove to Rockville, MD to I thought to fix a Star Trek Stern game that was not kicking out the ball to the plunger. This game worked fine. It was actually the AC/DC next to it that was not working. Went into test mode to clear out the balls and the problem was obvious. The ball was not registering above the coil. It was clearly there but the opto switch did not see it. The connector was loose to the opto board. I pulled it out and reinserted it and then it worked fine.

I then drove to beautiful Bethesda to fix an Eight Ball Deluxe. The ball was not kicking out to the plunger. In test mode some coils were not working. (I did not check but I believe it matches to the connector I will speak about next.) I opened the back box. I ensured all connectors were connected to the driver board. One was loose and I reinserted it. All coils worked and continued to work as I played and played and turned off the game and then played again. I showed the customer how to do this just in case it happens again.

I finally drove to McLean Virginia to fix a Mr and Mrs Pac Man. I was originally told that it turned on and just needed many rubbers replaced. As usual, I bring all my parts. I turned on the game and amazingly it did boot up correctly, the first time. I opened the game and took off all the broken rubbers and started a game. The flippers did not works. I turned off the game and tested the flipper buttons. They needed to be adjusted but still not not work. Then I turned it on and the game did not boot. (I found out later when I got it done that it hasn't been played in 25 years.)

I guess I should start the story with the fact that the owner could not find the key. He said the last time he played the game he had it. (As I state above, I realize now that was 25 years ago....) I brought my drill and my box of 1000s of keys that I have accumulated over the years. I tried many of them and then I opened the game. Amazing. What was even more amazing was that once I opened the door, the key never worked again. I just replaced the lock and key.

When I went to open the back box, there was a key but it didn't work. I started testing my keys and they didn't work. I finally gently used a pliers to turn the original key (which amazingly still attached inside the game) and it finally opened the back box.

The MPU was a bit corroded (25 years worth) and the driver board was in sorry state. I replaced both and the game came alive. The left flipper was fluttering so I replaced the coil and everything worked perfectly. I then went around the game changing rubbers and lights and cleaned the play field. It looks great. Not perfect but great.

There was a storm so I stayed at the house until it stopped raining and came how about 9pm. Poor kitty cat needed to wait all day to be fed again. She was happy to see me. it was also good to eat. Of course, no day is complete without writing here.

09/02/2014

Fixed typos and added more descriptions to the Demolition Man restoration.

09/01/2014

Demolition Man is complete and listed for sale: $3,200.

08/31/2014

I added more pictures to Demolition Man. I added another 51 pictures. I am done with the game. I have some adjustments to make like the left hole switch thinks a ball is still in the hole. I will add leg protectors, new legs and levelers. I will take the glamor shots tomorrow. I will post this game for $3,200. I will also post a comment on the Pinside forum that I photographed the restoration if it can help anyone. Hopefully no one will whine about the price. I want to keep it for a while but the price is the price.

08/30/2014

I added more pictures to Demolition Man. I added another 48 pictures. I replaced the two bumpers, upper flipper, cleaned the subway ramp and replaced the eject shield. Was emailing with someone this evening about the price of this game. It will probably be about $3000, which is higher than he wants to pay. This just justifies why I am only fixing up games for myself. No one appreciates the time and work and money involved in getting these looking nice. Pinside states that this game should be between $1600 and $2000. After all this work, if I sold for $2000, I would lose over $200 on parts and my current 50 hours of time would not be compensated. This is why I only fix pinballs for myself now.

08/29/2014

I added more pictures to Demolition Man. I worked on cleaning the back area, replacing posts, rubbers, LEDs. I cleaned the small ramp at the back. I correctly attached the switch to the small ramp. I will need to replace the light socket in the left bumper. I may replace the entire bumper and may even do both.

08/27/2014

I added more pictures to Demolition Man. I worked on the slings and in/out lane guide. I also replaced the GI in the back box.

Monday evening I helped a customer with their clock on the Twilight Zone. I was there a few weeks ago but it didn't work and suggested that he buy a Rottendog clock board replacement. The board came. I took out the other board I replaced it with and put in the Rottendog. It worked. His clock now works correctly.

Tuesday I did a warranty repair on the Eight Ball Deluxe I sold a few months ago. The ball was getting stuck in the B lane. The switch was not in position correctly and did not easily go down. I put it in position and it worked wonderfully. He also stated that the trough coil was not kicking the ball to the plunger. It was working fine. I cleaned it and it seems to work.

So I finally got back to my game this evening.

08/24/2014

I added more pictures to Demolition Man. Yesterday evening I took off all the plastic ramps. Will post in a few minutes and then clean them. Then I will try to figure out how to remove the claw assembly.

Yesterday I helped do a final delivery on a World Cup Soccer that I sold a few years ago (and that was the machine that fell on my leg) and his 9 foot bowler. Thankfully he hired 3 other people to help. I handled the logistics of taking apart the games, they did most of the moving.

Today I helped replace the magnets, in line fuses, and Tip36c transistors on the Addams Family Magnets. He bought the game 5 years ago and they never worked. This was the first time they worked on this game for him. He also stated that the Thing hand was not working all the time and dropping the ball. I went into test mode and with the hand in the down position, the down position opto was closed (as it should be) but the up position opto was flickering. I suggested that before we replace the opto, we take it out and see if it is dirty. We took out the assembly and I put a q-tip with alcohol on the good opto and no dirt came out. I did the same on the other opto and it was very dirty. We replaced the hand assembly and the hand worked perfectly.

08/22/2014

I added more pictures to Demolition Man. I am taking off the ramps and trying to remove the claw and elevator assemblies. The claw stops working after 2 or 3 games. I think that the optos should be replaced on the claw board.

I spoke with the person I buy wholesale from. I gave him my cost for each game that I wanted to wholesale. He will probably try to sell most of them for me. Since he has more followers and a good reputation, he will probably move them all for me. This will free up space in my shop for games I want and get my cash flow in a happier place.

08/20/2014

Nice guys finish last and No good deed goes unpunished. If I ever have an autobiography written this will be the title. My wife told me not to do it. But I did. No sense in being nice. I put the Addams Family back for sale. The person came on June 10th and wanted to buy this game. They gave me a down payment and asked me not to cash it until they said so, This was the first warning signal that I ignored and my wife said not to do it. If they can't pay now or at least give a check that can cash, no reason to believe they can pay for the game. I waited and waited and was finally told to cash it. It actually cashed. The payment plan was for another check in July and a check in August. I did tell him that when he came in August, I expected cash since I did not trust him (well I didn't tell him I didn't trust him - but I guess he can infer that). July came and went and no check. Was busy with work and didn't think about it. I sent him an email and he did not respond. I sent another and waited. The response back was he sent the check. (I didn't believe it.) I asked him to check to see if the check cashed. I didn't hear back. A few people were sort of interested in the game but it was committed. I sent him an email stating that I may have a buyer (who ended up not being interested) and asking him what his plans were. I offered his deposit back since I don't want to be tied to him in any way. I waited and waited for a response. He finally responded that his plans were to buy the game. I wrote him back and stated then I expect a check. I waited and waited and waited. I finally got an email from him that his business is not doing well and he is really, really, really sorry but will not be able to get the game. And can I send him back the check immediately or he can come and get it. (I should have waited 3 or 4 weeks to respond to him, but that would have been petty.) I don't have the cash flow at this time of year. He will just have to wait until I have cash flow. I may even need to wait until I actually sell it. Who knows if I could have sold it in the past few months but it really annoys me that he did this to me.

New policy. No layaway. Deposit when you decide to buy the game and the remainder when you come in a few days to pick it up or I deliver. If you don't have the money to buy a game then it will just be for sale and you just take a small chance that it could be sold in the interim.

This isn't the first time I have given back a deposit. So why bother taking a deposit? I know technically I could keep the deposit. But I know he needs it more than I do. And I refuse to run my business any way but the way I do, which means I give it back. Nice guys finish last.

I continue to play Demolition Man and enjoy it. I bought the protectors, clear plastics, LEDs and some other parts for the game. No plastic sets are available, but really only need the one over the top flipper. I will try to flame polish the car tunnel to make the cars visible. If I set the tunnel on fire, I can buy a replacement from Australia.

08/18/2014

More pictures of the flipper replacement have been added to the bottom of the page for Demolition Man. Both lower flippers are strong. The ball goes smoothly up to the steep right ramp. The entire game places. (Still need to find the flasher short but will do so when I start taking apart the ramps.) I will replace the top left flipper when I buy more flipper bats. The game is starting to look nice. I believe I will keep it for a while.

08/17/2014

I purchased a Demolition Man on Wednesday evening. I posted the initial pictures. I like the game and want to restore, but also want to sell to see if anyone wants to buy it to restore themselves before I start.

I found the problem with the weaker left flipper: wrong flipper was installed. It should be a 11629 rather than a 11630.

Does everyone have a friend on Facebook whose sole job it seems is to be the first person to post:

<so and so> RIP!

I swear, some of my friends on Facebook have direct connections. Before each major celebrity dies, they probably say, "before I die, I must call <insert friend's name here> and tell them so they can post it on Facebook a few seconds after the fact."

Of course, these may be some of the same people that post pictures of their dinner and cups of coffee....

I thought about posting this on Facebook, but I may offend someone...

08/09/2014

I moved my web site on my local machine. Hopefully this all still works.

07/31/2014

I updated all pages on my website:

As of August 1, 2014, we will no longer provide a warranty with our pinballs unless you purchase a separate warranty from us. A 1 year warranty is $500 or pay as you go if you even need it. If you buy it directly from us and take it home yourself, you will be inspecting it to ensure it works. If we deliver, we will ensure that it works 100% when delivered.

Since I have lowered the remaining pinballs for sale to my cost, I have no profit to cover a warranty repair if I have to make a separate trip out. Once I sell off the few games I have (or trade if anyone is interested in Elvis Gold, Riverboat Gambler, or World Cup Soccer), I will not waste my time restoring pinballs to give 100s of hours of my time away when I sell a machine. I will enjoy repairing and restoring the games I wish to purchase for myself.

I was in Las Vegas and stopped by the Pinball Hal of Fame to help fix pinballs. But Tim was not there that day so I couldn't help. I had a chance to try some of the games that I was thinking of buying:

Iron Man: Pretty. Tim says it is reliable but just not a $5000 (new game) for me. I will not buy one unless I can get it in excellent shape wholesale.

Wizard of Oz: Pretty. Flippers weak, but I think that is how they are. They just feel spongy. Since the GI is daisy chained like a Christmas tree, many GI lights were out on the game. Since it was a dollar for 3 balls, I never got a good ball. I tried playing about 10 times and nothing happens, so I guess until I can try it some more, this game is off my list.

Transformers LE Combo: Nice toys, but a dark and depressing game. I thought I could like it and kept playing it and liking it less and less.

Metallica: I am not in the market for one, but it is colorful and it was rather fun to play.

AC/DC: I have been fixing a pro version with the ugly face on the play field. I guess the LE (or whatever the more expensive edition is) has the lower play field. and more things to do. It is a more interesting game but I do not care for the theme.

Star Trek: I did not play since I had the chance to play a game I fixed for a customer. He has the pro version and I still like the Star Trek Next Generation better.

Avengers Hulk LE: They didn't have one but I am still interested in one. (I think this is the only one I want.)

Pirates of the Caribbean: I didn't play it but I remembered how much I like the game. Maybe I will try to find a pretty example for myself.

XMEN Magneto LE: I didn't play since I own this. But I watched the person play. When I was there, the Villain hole switch did not work so the Villain modes never happened. When I went back a few days later, Tim said he fixed an opto. He also said this was not a very good machine. I did not ask if mechanically or game play wise. My game has been mechanically great and I think it has a great rule set.

Spider-man: I did not play since I own it, but mine is cooler (and cleaner) with all LEDs and all my mods.

Simpsons Pinball Party: I did not play either, but mine was also cooler and cleaner.

Medieval Madness: I keep playing it and it is good but not $9000 good.

Cactus Canyon: I keep playing it and it is okay but not worth the money to buy one.

Monster Bash: One of my favorite games and I wish I never sold mine.

Theatre of Magic: I didn't play but I really like the game. I wish I never sold mine either. But if I never sold my games, I would have a lot of games and no space and no money.

Maybe I should just move close to a major pinball arcade and sell all my pinballs so I can move into a smaller home and not have to fix my own games.

I think my wish list remains as

* Star Trek Next Generation

* Lord of the Rings

* Theatre of Magic

* Avengers Hulk LE

* Pirates of the Caribbean

* Monopoly (maybe, my wife likes it)

07/18/2014

What do you think of these new pinballs?

Now look at them in their surroundings:

These are "Cool Miniature Pinball Machine Models" by Adriaan at tinypin.nl. When we got the Pinball book by Santiago Ciuffo, my advertisement in the accompanying magazine was on the opposite page of Adriaan's advertisement. My wife contacted Adriaan and had the Star Trek Next Generation made for me for our anniversary a few weeks ago, since it is my favorite machine. Adriaan says I have the first one he has made of Star Trek Next Gen. I contacted him and then decided to do The Simpson's Pinball Party. He also bought one. I had him use his images for everything but the play field. Since I customized my play field. with the 3D printed signs, I wanted my exact play field. In this version, he also added sounds from the game. Cute but useless. :) (So I think I have the second TSPP, but the first with my customized play field.)

I also took all the photos of my XMEN Magneto LE and sent them to him and a recording of about 16 minutes of playing the game. I now the first version of this game using my photos and sound. Pretty cool.

07/14/2014

I purchased a Swap Box from John Robison on Pinside. I bought an XMEN Pro translite and purchased tempered glass today. Here is what it looks like. I can display as art and swap out my XMEN Magneto back glass with this when I wish to.

Above photo with flash on.

Above photo with flash off.

Above photo is the same as the second photo using the Enhance All menu selection.

06/28/2014

The Thing Box on The Addams Family I have sold is not closing totally. It appears that the back metal guide is a bit in the way. I could take the game apart and realign the box by 1/16" of an inch. But since this play field does not pull out, it is just easier to use a dremel and remove a tiny amount of metal from the guide. The box opens and closes correctly now.

I purchased switch hole protectors from Cliffy. I had some for future games so I put one on the left inner lane X-MEN Magneto LE where the ball drops. I did not need to put on the right side since the Iceman ramp drops the ball further down below the switches.

The spotlight (reflector) at the right sling would vibrate when the ball came out of the Iceman ramp. I tried to use thread-lock. Although better, it did not work great. I spoke with Patrick at Stern yesterday and he suggested using a hot glue gun. I took the reflector out of position so I can get a better angle and carefully added the glue. It is now solid.

I have two more switch hole protectors for the left and right inlane on Simpson's Pinball Party. (I already added the switch hole protectors to Spiderman.)

I had the chance to buy a Monster Bash. I love this game and it would have been great for my collection. But the fact that Medieval Madness is being redone scared me. I know that a pre-owned, routed game is going to need a lot of TLC, usually about $1,500-$2,000 to be exact. Based on the "wholesale" price to me plus my projected cost of repairs, the final price would be over $9,000. Assuming that Monster Bash is remade, and assuming it is also $9,000, there is no need to buy an original game that will need all this work, when I can simply buy new and get that "new pinball smell" and no work to be done.

I have been thinking about buying myself a Wizard of Oz. But I am not sure what version to get and just feeling the price is too high. I want one, but am afraid to jump in. With the newly announced "Vault Edition" if Iron Man, this is more intriguing. I heard good thing about it and would really like it. Rather than buying a pre-owned game and spending hundreds or thousands on improvements, it is easier to buy a new NIB game with LEDs, and improved components.

(I wrote a letter to Stern about the pegs or legs on the bottom of the play fields of newer games. I had to repair a brand new Star Trek and AC/DC and these pegs are useless for repair. I need the sliders to get to the back part of the game to easily work. I needed to find someone (in a retail location) to stand there and hold the game while I worked on the games. Not cool. Hopefully if I buy one for myself, I can replace the legs with slides. If I work on one at a customer's house, they may have to hold the play field. for me.)

I am reading the posts about the pros and cons of the "vault" editions. People state that it could affect the value of older games. True. But they also comment on the older games selling above MSRP. From my perspective, it is the "value add" of the work I do to the game to get it back to original and even improve it (with LEDs, ramp protectors, plastic protectors, hole protectors, add on parts, etc).

So I think I am very glad about my decision at the beginning of this year to focus on just repairing people's games and buying the games that I want for myself.

06/18/2014

On April 7, 2014, I was informed that I would need to get a PMP certification as a goal for my full time job. After studying and worrying and studying some more, I passed today. I am a PMP. It is a Project Management Professional but I am also a Pinball Machine Professional.

Now that I put my personal life mostly on hold for the past few months, I can catch up on some repairs I have not got a chance to get to.

I continue to play X-MEN Magneto LE. I just love the game! I find myself playing X-MEN Magneto LE, Simpson's Pinball Party, and Spiderman. I bought a Pro version of the X-MEN translite and a swap box to display the back glass and swap out.

I purchased a $14 Wolverine (would like to find a Magneto) bank off Amazon and a Spiderman bank when visiting my son in Evansville, Indiana at a Comic Book shop. I used them as toppers. Here they are:

06/10/2014

Just drove back from Indiana. Fun. Last week was in my PMP Boot Camp class. In this page, we discussed

1. How eBay has been very, very good to me since you buy a "working" game for less money than you can buy from me and then pay me to fix it.
2. That I will not often work on EM games since not worth my time to try to repair them and usually the cost to repair is greater than the value.
3. I will not buy an EM machine for more than $100 wholesale from anyone. (Ok maybe $150 if working and a great game.)
4. Do not buy an EM slot machine. They cannot be fixed. They are 200 pound paperweights.
5. Japanese slot machines are not slot machines. They are toys. They are great if you have children. Do not get upset when there is no one to repair them (since I don't read Japanese) and the cost to repair is greater than buying another toy.

Let's discuss video games. They are great for you. I do not like them. I do not like playing them, fixing them, or moving them. My only exception is a Pac Man or Galaga cocktail table.

Somebody emailed that had a non working Pac Man cocktail that they wanted to sell. Since I can buy these all the time from my wholesaler for $200 or so not working, I offered $200 at most. I think I upset the person. They stated they see these selling for $1,000-$3,000.

Like Pawn Stars, if you go on the silly show and you want $10,000 for your item. They bring in the expert and he/she states it is worth $1,000. It frustrates me to no end when they ask what they want now and they say "$1,000". If the item is worth $1,000 and you want a $1,000, then you shouldn't be selling to a pawn shop. They have overhead. They have to make a profit, They have to fix it up if necessary. They have to sit on the cash flow until it sells. You should be lucky to get $400.

Back to the video game. I have seen some 20th, 25th and 30th anniversary games sell between $1,800 and $2,400. These games have been updated to the 60 in 1 board. Their monitors are much newer than an original 1980s game. Oh yeah, and one more little itsy, bitsy fact: IT WORKS!

So back to the non working 1980s cocktail Pac man.

A. It doesn't work.
B. Since it is an original Pac man cabinet it has a joystick that goes up, down, left and right and no fire button. So you can't add a 60 in 1 board.
C. You can add a 16 in 1 board for about $290 plus shipping both ways ($325).
D. If it still has an original monitor, the monitor is over 30 years old. How many 30 year old TVs do you have in your house? Replacement is $389 ($400 with shipping).

I have seen some cocktail games with 60 in 1 boards sell for $1,400. So what is a cocktail with 16 games worth? Maybe $800? $1,000? maybe $1,100?

Let's work backwards. Maybe I can sell this 16 in 1 cocktail with a new monitor for $1,100-$1,200. (Say $1,200.)

I buy it from the guy for $200. This assumes the cabinet is pristine and the glass is in excellent condition. (If not we can add some more money here.) Then I add the 16 in 1 board for $325 and the monitor for $400. Hmmm.. I now have $925 invested in this game, plus my time. I think based on this analysis, I will no longer buy any video games....

05/25/2014

Here is the new Pinball book by Santiago Ciuffo, published by Pinball Magazine.
Here is the link to this great book and magazine: http://www.pinball-magazine.com/

05/24/2014

I picked up a Bobby Orr Power Play. I tried to quickly change out the CPU but got the same 5 LED flashes as the original board. I noticed the F4 fuse for the solenoids was blown. I posted this as a project pinball on Pinside for a quick sale since I don't want to waste any more time on the game. It will probably need a new driver board (or fixed driver board) and determine which coil is causing the problem. I don't want to deal with it. A few people are interested. Hopefully it will sell. Otherwise, I will simply fix it by

I had some friends over to see my collection. I noticed that the X-MEN Magneto LE magnets were not working. I didn't think about it until after they left. The F7 4am slow blow fuse was blown and needed to be replaced and it worked fine. I noticed this happened a few times on my beloved Lord of the Rings (that I don't have any more).

05/16/2014

I sold The Addams Family. But while displaying it, the swamp kick out did not work. After the person left, I thought I would need to change the plunger. But it turned out that the plunger was magnetized to the bracket. The swamp sickout always worked the first time and then not right away. I needed to add electrical tape to the bracket so that the coil would reset and be ready for the next kick out.

I posted the problem and solution 1 article above the reference below. So scroll up one article to see. http://purcellvillepinball.com/BallyWilliamsRepairs.html#AlienPoker

The picture below shows the coil magnetized to the brass bracket. This photo was taken when the game was off so no power in the game.

This photos shows the electrical tape added to the bracket.

05/14/2014

Yesterday, I adjusted the Eight Ball Deluxe I sold a few weeks ago. A bumper light went out. But since it was an LED (all LEDs actually), I simply needed to show the owner how to take out the LED and adjust the metal tips. Two switches needed adjusting. Since I put in a new Ultimate MPU, I forgot to move the dip switches to set up the DELUXE on the back box to register all the time when the sequence is made rather than just when the special is lit (I think dip switch 21 and 22 needed to be on). I also had the settings through the front door #16 and #17 set to 0 rather than 2 which awards extra balls for certain events. I did manage to short the switch matrix to the coils. That was easily fixed with a new 6821 chip in U6 on the MPU board which is thankfully socketed.

I also had a chance to fix a switch on the owner's Lord of the Rings. Luckily I had the correct switch to do the repair. I really miss this game. If you want to sell your Lord of the Rings, I would like to buy it.

Today I replaced the auxiliary driver board on my X-MEN Magneto LE. I keep playing the game and loving it.

05/12/2014

I finished the controlled lights and added all the signs and space ships. I changed out the chips to the current version and posted new photos of The Simpson's Pinball Party.

05/11/2014

Was sent a new DMD for the X-MEN Magneto LE. But it looks like Stern has gone to an LED display with a different set of connectors. Sent pictures to distributor to get the correct part. The LED probably uses less power but I have also noticed that the DMD is built in sections from blocks of LEDS like 8 x 6 or so. They look like they do not line up exactly and make the display a little less perfect than a regular DMD. (In other words, for the "better" DMD I would expect the quality and build to be better than before.)

I am replacing the LEDs on The Simpson's Pinball Party. I got all the Flashers completed. I am fighting with the upper play field. It is not difficult but would rather not unplug everything. Just got in most of the orange GI and the 6 controlled lights. One is not in right and not working, so I have to take off the play field. again to adjust. Be right back....Fixed. All controlled lights work on the upper play field. Now to take off the back left orange ramp to get to the two GI lights I can't get any other way... Also replaced the one white GI light under the TV... Reconnected the orange flasher and TV.... PITA but finished.

Added Itchy and Scratchy hole protector. Adding decals now... Done with decals. Adding paper inserts which is a 2 second job. Now to work on the rest of the GI on the main play field. All the GI lamps are done except for a lamp under the right orange ramp and also under the left min play field. Instead of using a 1/4" screw to hold in the light, they stapled it in under another assembly which is impossible to reach without taking the game apart. I will live without the one light bulb until/if I need to get there to fix something else. Now onto controlled lights.

05/07/2014

I have been playing the X-MEN Magneto LE. I like it a lot. It is funny to read all the reviews both positive and negative. I enjoy the game. Someday I would like to get a Wizard of Oz, but they are much more expensive.

05/06/2014

I purchased a brand new X-MEN Magneto LE pinball. It is #43 of 250. If it were 1 less, it would have been the Meaning of Life.

I posted initial pictures of The Simpson's Pinball Party that I just purchased. It is home use only and beautiful. As the last photo shows, I bought $600 of additional parts to make a great game better.

05/04/2014

I sold one of my World Cup Soccers wholesale. I had to deliver the game. Based on this delivery and other similar experiences with games I have wholesaled, here is my new policy on delivery charges for wholesaled games:

If we are doing a promotion on a game and wholesaling at our cost, then we expect the buyer to have the capacity to move their own game. If we deliver it for you, the delivery fee is $295 within 50 miles of Purcellville; within 100 miles $370. It takes over 5 hours total to deliver which includes prepare a delivery on our end, drive to you, pay tolls (usually and usually $17), pay gas (average about $33), move the game to your basement with all the issues that come up, set up the game, ensure it works (since even though a wholesaled game does not have a warranty, we will ensure it works as advertised before we leave), pack up, drive home, and unpack. We would rather not deliver wholesaled games, but if we do we will no longer lose money on the transaction.

This policy is now at the bottom of every new page including the current games I am wholesaling at my cost: Addams Family, World Cup Soccer, Riverboat Gambler, and Grand Prix.

Also,

Pinball Magazine has just published Pinball by Santiago Ciuffo. The price is $42.71 plus shipping. Here is information about the book. It looks like a great addition to any pinball enthusiast's collection. http://www.pinball-magazine.com/?p=1886
Don't forget to also subscribe to the magazine: Here is their main page: http://www.pinball-magazine.com

04/27/2014

I delivered the Ripley's Believe It or Not yesterday and the beautiful Eight Ball Deluxe today. I was asked to move an AC/DC to another location. The person did not like the game and was going to share at his job. The game came with a stand of controlled lights not working (yellow/blue column). The person that he bought the game from replaced the driver board and the lights still did not work. I visually checked the the yellow/blue wire was connected but did not do a continuity test. The person also bought a new Star Trek and the opto switch at the Vengeance magnet wasn't working. I lifted the play field. an saw that the opto board (Board 1) only had 1 light lit rather than two. This person bought 3 new Stern games and two were not working. I didn't have time to thoroughly look them over (nor would I want to since it was not my responsibility to warranty new games that I didn't sell). I actually told this person to buy the games on the internet since the prices were far less than I could sell them for. Plus I stated that if I sold them I would warranty them but only if I raised the price. So it was cheaper to buy on the internet and deal with the out of the area people. The AC/DC game looks bare under the play field. It may be a great game but looks like it has nothing on it.

Someone asked me a very valid question today on Pinside. They wanted to buy locally but my prices were way higher than Pinside states they should be. I wish I could buy some of the non working games I get at the price Pinside states that they should be. I explained that Pinside doesn't seem to take regional cost differences into account, makes no distinction between a non working, working or beautifully restored machine. I also told the person to read my whining posts here about me no longer buying games to restore and resell for this very reason that the market is limited for the people willing to pay my prices for the restorations I do.

I have put some specials on Facebook. But I am simply going to lower prices AND NOT OFFER WARRANTIES on the following items to free up space and sell at my cost:

Grand Prix $450 rather than $700

Addams Family $5,200 rather than $5,995 with NO WARRANTY

Riverboat Gambler $2,500 rather than $2,995 with NO WARRANTY

World Cup Soccer $1,700 (missing striker billboard but ordered one) with NO WARRANTY.

04/25/2014

I placed several orders for parts I needed for my new The Simpson's Party.

04/24/2014

Debbie

Several years ago I bought I beautiful Elvis Pinball for restoration. I knew one of my co-workers was an Elvis fan. I found out that two of our friends from Church were also Elvis fans. One of them was Debbie. I mentioned to Debbie and Jim (her husband) that I just bought an Elvis pinball and was about to restore it. Debbie wanted to come over right that second and see it and play it. It wasn't ready. It was in pieces. I promised her that as soon as it was finished, we would invite them over for dinner. Debbie and Jim came over and Debbie had a great time playing the game and was reluctant to leave.

I would see Debbie every week at church and my wife would see her more often. Debbie always asked about the Elvis until one day in July of 2010 I sold it. She was upset. Like a family member left her. I told her that I would get another someday and invite her over to play.

Since July 2010 I was looking for another Elvis for me, but also so Debbie could play it again. On Saturday, January 18, 2014. I picked up an Elvis Gold. At church that Sunday I told Debbie and Jim that I just bought the Elvis Gold and would invite them over to play as soon as it was ready.

On Tuesday, January 21 Debbie got very sick and was in the ICU. I continued to work on the restoration. It took awhile until Debbie was awake and aware again. Debbie was still very sick but looking potentially like she was getting better. She was at a facility that was far away from here. I completed the restoration in February but did not see Jim for a few weeks. I told him it was done and ensured that he told Debbie that she can come over and play once she gets better.

Debbie will never get to play the Elvis pinball. Debbie passed away today. Suzanne and I are so sorry for this. Elvis is a nice game. But I realize now that I bought it to enjoy watching Debbie play the game. I think it may need to find a home with an Elvis fan once I can let go of the game.

04/15/2014

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 with the 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.

04/12/2014

The Eight Ball Deluxe has been posted. Now back to studying for my PMP.

04/07/2014

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 wire nuts 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. [Update 5/7/2016: I have beautifully restored 2 Demolition Man pinball machines. I currently own and really enjoy the game play on the second one. I regretted selling the first one so when I had the chance to buy the second one, I bought it for myself.]

03/17/2014

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 responsible 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 play field 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.

03/16/2014

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.

03/08/2014

I continue to work on Spiderman. I took off all ramps and cleaned play field 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 neighbor 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 fuse (2.5 amp sb) needed to be replaced and I did.

03/02/2014

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 can 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.

02/23/2014

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.

02/13/2014

Snowstorm today. I have a snowblower so I did my driveway 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...

02/11/2014

Almost done putting the LEDs into the Elvis Gold. I have all the parts for the Spiderman. Maybe I will even get the two slot machines in the basement re-chromed that I bought a few years ago.

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/

01/26/2014

My new pinballs include an Elvis Gold and a Spiderman (Stern). The Elvis Gold is 100% working now and just needs LEDs from cointaker. They have been ordered.

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 play field 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.

01/20/2014

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 soldered 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't 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.

01/14/2014

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.

01/09/2014

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.... :) )

01/03/2014

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.

01/02/2014

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.

 

2013 and Prior What's New

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.

Warranty

As of August 1, 2014, we will no longer provide a warranty with our pinballs unless you purchase a separate warranty from us. A 1 year warranty is $500 or pay as you go if you even need it. If you buy it directly from us and take it home yourself, you will be inspecting it to ensure it works. If we deliver, we will ensure that it works 100% when delivered.

Reasons You Should Let Us Deliver Your Pinball (or Another Machine)

  1. 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. (As of August 1, 2014, we will no longer provide a warranty with our pinballs unless you purchase a separate warranty from us. A 1 year warranty is $500 or pay as you go if you even need it. If you buy it directly from us and take it home yourself, you will be inspecting it to ensure it works. If we deliver, we will ensure that it works 100% when delivered.)
  2. We take responsibility for any damage that may occur during the delivery process.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Delivery Options

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 $300; within 100 miles $475. 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.