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Pinball Warehouse
1st January 2009, 08:02 PM
What a year just passed. I have worked on over 200 pinball machines this year. Great to see so many non working games now working again. I'm sure all the pinball repairers all over Australia have been also flatout this year.
From minor faults to major jobs, I have seen the lot this year.
I will detail a listing of most types of machines with the most common faults, that I have encountered.
Hopefully it will be of benefit to others who own these machines.
Will start the listing later tonight after dinner.

Fish Tales
1st January 2009, 08:14 PM
Sounds great Tony, it would also be a help to guys looking at buying a as-is machine. Would help them know what to look for, and have an idea of the $$$ it needs to fix.

Pinball Warehouse
1st January 2009, 08:58 PM
Royal Rumble 1994. I have seen this 3 times this year, because of it being a widebody game, I have seen evidence of the whole playfield dropping off its rails into the cabinet while being lifted up, resulting in the flipper board which is positioned underneath on the side of the cabinet being badly damaged also on another, a wire was severed from the transformer which carried the 50v to the ppb board for the high powered solenoids.
Be careful if you own this game when lifting up the playfield.

Data East games in general. A major problem is the fuse holders, they used a very poor holder which quickly lose its tension. Every time I check the fuses on one of these games, I always get one that snaps off.

Jurassic Park, most common fault is the t rex positioning, this is governed by small micro switch underneath, have seen several times the switch arm snapped off or bent out of shape.

Guns and Roses/ Last action Hero. the playfield magnets, these are very troublesome, most times the small magnet board underneath has a blown transistor that has also taken out the fuse beside it. These magnets are really a large coil that can burn out, these can be checked with a multi meter to ensure no dead shorts.
Funhouse/Roadshow Most common faults are inside the heads, there are very small plungers that operate the eyes and lids, they are most times snapped in half. The plastic cogs that drive the jaws are also prone to losing teeth casing the cogs to jam.
Bally/Williams games with the 6 ball trough. What a troublesome design, machine keeps kicking out balls losing track all the time. Most common problem is with the 7 opto switches, switch test will detemine which one is faulty. Finding a lot lately is another trough problem, when the ball is lost and drops into the trough, it just sits and doesn't roll down onto the switch. You have to remove the whole assembly and gently file out any little dents in the ball roll areas to ensure the ball does roll down correctly.

Arcade King
1st January 2009, 09:00 PM
Nice Tony keep em coming :)

Pinball Warehouse
1st January 2009, 09:13 PM
Most types of games. The general lighting, which in tech terms is called the G.I. Nearly every game that I have serviced this year has had some sort of G I fault. Most games have 4 or 5 strings of lighting that stays on most of the time, generally 2 strings are in the headbox and the rest for different sections of the playfield underneath plastics most of the time.
Whether its because we are all using cheaper lamps which tend to burn a lot hotter, I'm not sure but the connectors are getting so hot and evenually burning and melting around the pins causing loss of lights in certain areas.
I just change the connector to the molex type with the most better types of pins, which seem to take the heat a bit better. This heat also is causing a lot of dry solder joints forming on the backs of the circuit boards, these are easily fixed by resoldering the damaged areas, be careful when learning to solder that you don't leave small splashes of solder resting between pins. This can cause problems. Always try and clean up your solder job with a little solvent to remove the flux stain. Shellite with an old toothbrush is handy if you have nothing else to use.

Early Bally solid state games from 1977 to around 1982. Most of the problems with these games of this era, is the power rectifier board which is the small circuit board located beside the actual transformer. Almost every one that I worked on, I had to change every connector as they had become burnt and brittle over the years, most games even had the wires soldered directly onto the pins bypassing any connector. The fuse holders should always be replaced and lastly you may as well change the 3 bridge rectifiers if they are the small original ones. Change them to the larger 35 w type which will do the job much better.
These early Bally's are a pleasure to work on and can be made much more reliable that other games from the same era.

All games, problems with switches not working. Because of the use of a switch matrix, all the switching is done in rows and columns of 8 x 8.
What this means is that each row of switches has 8 switches linked together. Most switch faults are caused by a simple wire dropping off one switch which then causes several others to just go dead. If checking and they all look ok, just give them a gentle touch and make sure that the wires that have the clear plastic tips on the end are not broken inside this small tip making it look like no break, this is very common for them to break there for some reason.

All games, a lot of games coming in from overseas seem to have this fault. Switches just going haywire causing all sorts of other problems, in most cases this has been caused by somebody replacing a switch and wiring the wire back on in the wrong position in relation to the diode. This really freaks out the game play. Always check that the wires go back on in the correct positions.

stuba
2nd January 2009, 07:07 AM
thanks tony. some great tips there. agree 100% re those early SS bally games. they are a pleasure to work on and if the restorer takes the time to do a comprehensive job (on connectors) then they can be made very reliable. Using an alltek board to diagnose is a good trick too. I love playing them too!

best tip i learned this year and had 4 WPC machines with this problem was the J101 connectors from the PDB to the CPU board (both ends). This carries the 5volts for the CPU logic and when it drops low the machine resets. You can measure the drop over these connectors by testing pin 32 on the cpu rom against test point 2 on the PDB. In all 4 cases the drop was .20 or more volts and replacing the connectors fixed this and cleaned up all reset probs.

keep em coming, the info that you guys have that are seeing lots of faults so regularly is gold. cheers and thanks.

ajlaird
2nd January 2009, 07:19 AM
Finding a lot lately is another trough problem, when the ball is lost and drops into the trough, it just sits and doesn't roll down onto the switch. You have to remove the whole assembly and gently file out any little dents in the ball roll areas to ensure the ball does roll down correctly.

Hmm, might have to do this on my Dirty Harry, it's doing this now about 1 in 3 ball drains. Usually can jiggle it on, but occasionally this is causing a tilt. (I have checked playfield with a level.)

Skybeaux
2nd January 2009, 07:34 AM
[QUOTE]What a year just passed. I have worked on over 200 pinball machines this year. Great to see so many non working games now working again. I'm sure all the pinball repairers all over Australia have been also flatout this year.


Great to hear you got so much work this past year Tony.
Over 200 machines is certainly a lot!
Wish i could say as many but i didn't even come close to repairing that amount.
I don't do call-outs so have to rely on people bringing the machines to me.
Around 35 was it for me this year....actually the previous year was better for me.
With so many people bringing container after container into the country ,there's little wonder there's going to be a lot more machines needing repairs.

I'm glad your up there in Queensland and not down here :lol

Savage
2nd January 2009, 07:43 AM
Nice info Tony.
Heading my way anytime soon. I can't figure out a GI prob in my GnR Pinny...

You're right about the fuse holders. I have a bout 3 or 5 that snapped when taking the fuses out to check...

If you sell them let me know!...

GORGAR 1
2nd January 2009, 07:55 AM
Good one Tony great read-next time I'm up your way I'd love to say hello..:D

Peter

Talby
2nd January 2009, 08:15 AM
Good stuff Tony.

There were a fair few fixes in there that I have come across with my machines and I spose it is good to know that in some ways, the problems are consistent amongst all machines and reasonably easy to fix once you know how.

Alot of repairs - I dare say a combination of more machines in the country as well as the age of the machines. They are no doubt getting to the age where bits and pieces are starting to fail. I think the connectors are a prime example - whether you use cheap or expensive globes, they aren't going to last forever. Parts are designed to eventually fail over time. As Mr Ford said, "I don't sell cars to make money, I sell cars to make money from spare parts." or something along those lines.

I would class the last machine I bought as a rescue. If the guy that had it kept it for much longer, it would have taken alot of work and $$$$ to get it back up to scratch. As it is, I am still looking at a fair few dollars to get it 'nice'. My point being - the guy had no idea and with a bit of time and effort, could have kept the machine playing nicely. Just little things like screws missing out of the trough switch bodies which meant they would move and then the balls would not activate the switch. Three screws later and the problem was solved. As you mentioned, 1/2 a column of switches was out......loose wire found, re-soldered and problem solved. Hardest part was finding the loose wire. All simple things that make or break a machine as far as game play goes.

Keep em coming Tony. They are going to be very very helpful to alot of guys in the future.

gottman
2nd January 2009, 10:51 AM
Thanks for taking the time to type that Tony. Much appreciated..

I know of some techs that don't want anybody to 'KNOW' their tricks...

Sad but true..

So again i tip my hat off to you. :023:

silverball
2nd January 2009, 11:11 AM
Nice info Tony.
Heading my way anytime soon. I can't figure out a GI prob in my GnR Pinny...

You're right about the fuse holders. I have a bout 3 or 5 that snapped when taking the fuses out to check...

If you sell them let me know!...

Just rebuilt GI on 2 x GnR lately, if you need some assistance let me know.

Ando77
2nd January 2009, 12:46 PM
Great Post Tony,

Good to hear you are busy :D

The more pins kept in happy running order the better.

Very kind of you to take the time and to share your experiences :)

Maybe there could be a special section dedicated to faults and remedies ?

Anyway great job :023:

Cheers,
Ando

Arcade King
2nd January 2009, 12:54 PM
there already is ;)

http://www.aussiearcade.com/forumdisplay.php?f=75

Pinball Warehouse
2nd January 2009, 09:16 PM
Addams Family, I have worked on 13 of these in the past year. Most common faults were as follows.
1. This game has 5 pop bumpers, over half of the games serviced had either busted yokes underneath or broken rod and rings. Doing your first pop bumper rebuild is always a little tricky but after you have done a couple you will be doing them blindfolded. I always use the thicker and stronger data east type yokes to replace the thinner ones. Always try and gap your bumper contact, not to close and not to far apart, best to adjust watching underneath, while you push down on the shirt around the bumper, which the ball hits.
2. 3 of the games had things hand not picking up the ball, in all cases the small coil magnet in the fingertips had a broken wire, which was easily fixed.
3. 4 of the games had swamp lock switch problems, the ball would be locked behind the bookcase then rolls down into the swamp, ball not registering, then machine starts going into ball search mode kicking out the ball from the swamp. Some just needed one of the 3 switches adjusted, one had a wire off and the other one had a seized up switch which needed replacing.
4. The thing flips had stopped working on 2 games, this was due to a dirty opto switch in the small lane above the small flipper and a dead opto on the other game.
5. 2 of the games each had one magnet out and both had to be replaced.
The fuses were also taken out and replaced.
One of my fab games the Addams, when the flippers are overhauled and everything working well with all new bouncy rubbers, this game is a delight to play. Can easily understand why this is a highly rated game.

Pinball Warehouse
2nd January 2009, 09:38 PM
Theatre of Magic and games around that 1995 Bally/Williams era.
This was a fault that I found in 4 Theatres, a Whodunnit and Indy 500
A very loud buzz humming type noise coming out of the machine somewhere. Very annoying and some games a lot louder then others. The transformer
position was changed in this year, it was mounted onto the rear wall rather then on the floor of the game.
They mounted it onto metal brackets which for some strange reason created this loud hum. Once the transformer is relocated back onto the floor and secured, this buzzing hum disappeared.

1. Theatre of Magic and Roadshow eddy switches. They use these ball detector type switches at the entry point at front of the trunk in Theatre and also at the bulldozer blade in Roadshow. To test that they are working correctly, put in switch test, grab a ball and move the ball over the playfield in those areas, it will register on the screen in the test chart. If not working these must be adjusted underneath the playfield, there is a small circuit board with a led light, you need to turn the adjuster screw with a small screw driver till the red light comes on and then back it back a fraction till the light goes off.
Its common for these to go out of adjustment but they are easily adjusted.

2. Where the balls are locked in Theatre to the right of the trunk underneath, these rollover type switches generally needed to be adjusted in several games.

3. Also another game that seems to be hard on the pop bumpers, check the yokes and don't forget the rod and rings.

Pinball Warehouse
10th January 2009, 11:28 PM
Fish Tales.

Worked on 8 of these in the past year. 4 had a broken belt that drives the ball locking reel on the left handside. You need to remove this assembly from underneath, bit of a tricky one, just take your time. The belts are available here in Aust and are under $10.
The boathouse on the righthand side has a small single drop target that also seems to give a bit of trouble, underneath it drops down onto a switch and has a spring attached to flick it back. Have had to either adjust this switch or in some case replace it, spring also known to snap or jump off.
3 of these games also had the flapping fish topper not working, there is a coil behind the fish that causing the slapping effect. In all cases, a wire had come off the coil.
Overall a good family game, that is fairly reliable with not too many problem areas.

Dr Who.

Also worked on plenty of these in the last year, most common problem is the mini playfield assembly. Replaced 3 motor and gearboxes. No dramas replacing this assembly, pretty straightforward, only 2 wires to solder onto the motor, they don't mark which goes where but if you put on wrong the machine will give you a startup message that the motor is reversed. The 5 grey mushroom button switches at the front of mini playfield are also an area needing repairs in most cases. Behind the buttons are 5 sets of opto switches, these cop a hammering in gameplay, if one stops working, you may as well change the 5 of them, when you have it apart.
The 3 pop bumpers always need attention, I have found on Dr Who and Fish Tales ,the pop bumper bodies are always loose from the playfield, there are 2 screws inside the body that will tighten things back up again. In most cases they will always have one or two broken light sockets inside the bumper. I just remove the old style and replace with the newer type, that is available with the longer and thinner wires that feed down underneath much easier.
The Dr Who game is very popular with Dr Who fans and the game has a good strong following.

ROLLERBALL
11th January 2009, 12:05 AM
GREAT info Tony...please keep it up...will save some of us plenty of time..
Oh and I have had to adjust the eddy sensor for the Roadshow a few times...very easy fix but great info for anyone with the same problems..

screwloose
26th January 2009, 10:46 PM
Some great info there.

My ToM had a severe buzz in it when I bought & shopped it. I eventually discovered that it was jumpered wrong. Marvellous what changing 1 wire did to it.

You would have no doubt encountered the problem of feedback through the speakers. I have that problem with my Jurassic Park. Could you suggest anything to look at there?

pinmike
27th January 2009, 06:50 PM
thanks tony
my theatre has been buggin me with that humm/buzz
:)

LOTR4U
27th January 2009, 06:52 PM
Great info Tony, your an assest to the place! :D

felixthadog
27th January 2009, 07:07 PM
your an assest to the place! :D

:bum::unsure

Matthew

Pinball Warehouse
27th January 2009, 09:14 PM
Theatre of Magic.
Worked on 2 of these today, it was the second time that I have found this problem. The coiled wire harness that fits up inside the truck was severed.
There are 4 wires involved, 2 for the trunk magnet that picks up the ball before dropping it into the locks and the other 2 wires are for the single lamp inside the trunk. Not sure how this would happen, both times they were severed right at the entrance point, a prick of a job rejoining the wires, the whole opto assembly has to be removed.
Another very common fault here is the black plastic opto interrupter that sits under the trunk, this is prone to cracking apart. Easy enough to replace.

Overall a very underrated game, a well set up one plays very nice with excellent gameplay.

Hi Screwloose, great collection you have there, keep up the good work.
With the Data East games, I have had several over the years with that feedback problem, some needed the caps replaced on the sound board and a couple of others had one of the actual speakers on the way out and were replaced. It is easy enough to test the speakers with a good multi meter, set your meter to the oms reading and measure across the speaker terminals, they should read 4 oms.
Its surprising in many games, when I test the speakers, I find dead ones all the time with a zero oms reading. Remember when checking , most of the later games have 2 speakers in the front display panel and a larger speaker on the floor of the cabinet.
Hope this has been of some assistance to you.

screwloose
27th January 2009, 10:54 PM
Thanks Tony I will have a look at the speakers 1st up & go from there.

Yep great game ToM. I cracked 4Billion+ score on it Sunday night, 2 billion more than my previous best. (Playing 5 balls of course!)

litz
28th January 2009, 04:27 PM
Thanks Tony I will have a look at the speakers 1st up & go from there.

Yep great game ToM. I cracked 4Billion+ score on it Sunday night, 2 billion more than my previous best. (Playing 5 balls of course!)


+the extra 4 buy ins:lol

screwloose
28th January 2009, 09:56 PM
+the extra 4 buy ins:lol

I'm running 1 buyin.

You get 1 last chance buddy & thats it!! Is my attitude

However having said that I have my machines set to give an extra ball for replay.
Whats the point of winning a free game when the machine is on "freeplay"
May as well get something for all your hard work!!

nigelicious
28th January 2009, 11:53 PM
Finding a lot lately is another trough problem, when the ball is lost and drops into the trough, it just sits and doesn't roll down onto the switch. You have to remove the whole assembly and gently file out any little dents in the ball roll areas to ensure the ball does roll down correctly.

Too bloody right.. now I'm back in Aus I've gotta get cracking on fixing this one!

Pinball Warehouse
2nd February 2009, 11:22 PM
Circus Voltaire,
Interesting fault in this game today. Ringmaster not working. No 12v at the small motor driver board under playfield. This 12v comes from the flasher lamp circuit.
Checked the flasher fuse, found blown, replaced it, removed connector under playfield on motor board, turned game back on, fuse blew again. Removed both flasher lamp connectors on the power driver board, replaced fuse again and turned game back on, fuse held, slowly put one flasher connector back on, all ok, slowly touched the other flasher connector to the driver board, saw a spark on pin 2, pulled back off. I then checked the flasher running off that pin, located at the right rear of the game, removed the plastic to inspect, found that the previous owner when shopping this game, had placed the wires on top of the metal guide rail and then tightned down the plastic, causing the wire to rub into the steel frame, causing a dead short. This also took out the tip 102 which runs this flasher, tip replaced. Game turned back on and the ringmaster is now working again. I wonder how many guys over the years had purchased the ringmaster motor thinking that it was dead only to find out it was ok and that the flasher fuse was blown.
I hope all these fault reports are of some assistance to any pinball owners out there. I try to keep them simple and easy to understand but if you ever have any questions feel free to send me a message and I will do my best to assist where possible.

ajlaird
3rd February 2009, 08:46 AM
Thanks for all the tips so far, this sort of thing makes the site worthwhile.

domehead
3rd February 2009, 09:22 AM
Circus Voltaire,
Interesting fault in this game today. Ringmaster not working. No 12v at the small motor driver board under playfield. This 12v comes from the flasher lamp circuit.
Checked the flasher fuse, found blown, replaced it, removed connector under playfield on motor board, turned game back on, fuse blew again. Removed both flasher lamp connectors on the power driver board, replaced fuse again and turned game back on, fuse held, slowly put one flasher connector back on, all ok, slowly touched the other flasher connector to the driver board, saw a spark on pin 2, pulled back off. I then checked the flasher running off that pin, located at the right rear of the game, removed the plastic to inspect, found that the previous owner when shopping this game, had placed the wires on top of the metal guide rail and then tightned down the plastic, causing the wire to rub into the steel frame, causing a dead short. This also took out the tip 102 which runs this flasher, tip replaced. Game turned back on and the ringmaster is now working again. I wonder how many guys over the years had purchased the ringmaster motor thinking that it was dead only to find out it was ok and that the flasher fuse was blown.
I hope all these fault reports are of some assistance to any pinball owners out there. I try to keep them simple and easy to understand but if you ever have any questions feel free to send me a message and I will do my best to assist where possible.

Jees that previous owner sounds like a total idiot

Pinball Warehouse
3rd February 2009, 09:43 AM
Sorry no names mentioned here, It should be ok for you to pickup today Nick.

LOTR4U
3rd February 2009, 10:14 AM
Jees that previous owner sounds like a total idiot

LOL sounds like it.

dubby
30th June 2010, 05:10 AM
hi mate hope u are well ,just wondering if u could help me i just bought a black rose and the game plays well but the score was going weird and blury and had extra bits lit up around score so i took it all apart and checked all the ribbon cables fuses and conections then when i put it back together game plays but makes a weird hum and no score just a single line accross bottom of screen ,have u ever seen this problem before thanks mate

Homepin
30th June 2010, 08:21 AM
hi mate hope u are well ,just wondering if u could help me i just bought a black rose and the game plays well but the score was going weird and blury and had extra bits lit up around score so i took it all apart and checked all the ribbon cables fuses and conections then when i put it back together game plays but makes a weird hum and no score just a single line accross bottom of screen ,have u ever seen this problem before thanks mate

It is VERY easy to re-fit the ribbon connector plugs in the wrong position - have a very close look at how you put them back on.

pistolpete78
30th June 2010, 09:04 AM
thanks tony
my theatre has been buggin me with that humm/buzz
:)

Just found this old thread has been resurrected - same problem with mine. I know what I'll be doing on Saturday:)

dubby
6th July 2010, 02:30 AM
cheers mate tryed that over and over but keeps blowing a fuse and going weird so thinking its something much worse ,hope my cpu hasnt died or something am thinking of hiring someone to have a look thanks again Dubby

WOKA
6th July 2010, 07:29 AM
Update your location (Australia is a big place) and someone might come to you..

dubby
6th July 2010, 10:21 AM
thanks will do that