Thursday, March 11, 2010

Supplies and the first collaborative shop night

Chad and I make a habit of getting together on Wednesday nights. I needed some supplies to continue work and we thought it would be a good field trip to www.pinballlife.com. The world headquarters is 10 minutes from my house.

Before I go on, I want to say that I really wish I had gotten into this hobby sooner, but there's nothing to be done about that now. I have been involved in a lot of things and I always wished that I lived in the mecca of those places.

Silicon valley in the 80's or Missouri / Arkansas during the 90's (bass fishing man!). It seems that I finally hit on something. It's 7 minutes from my desk at work to GameWorks in Schaumburg where I get to play the new Stern games. A good parts distributor is 10 minutes from my house. Chicago was the epicenter of pinball.

The last pinball manufacturer is nearby. Last Wednesday at GameWorks, Gary Stern watched me and Chad play big buck hunter for a couple of minutes. We didn't know who he was at the time or we would have said hi.

I'm in the right place just not at the best time.

But I digress.

I learned a lesson tonight. Know what you need before you go to get it. I bought a new multi-meter the other night and I quickly checked the coil resistance on the bad flipper. I thought I had done the whole machine, but in my haste to play with the new multi-meter, I just wasn't at all thorough.

I ordered rebuild kits for the 4 flippers, a new top glass, Novus 1 - 3, and a switch tool from Pinball life. Chad and I went after work.

Terry is the owner and he seems like a good guy. He showed us around and gave me some tips on how to fix my flippers. He welcomed us to the hobby and we went on our way.



[Here's the flipper assembly off the board. The rebuild kit comes iwth everything except the coil and that really grugy white grommet at the top. I'm going to have to order both. Should I replace the wires with bright new green ones? I think I'll do that too.]

After going to dinner, we pulled the bad flipper off the board and dismantled it. I tested the coil again and... it's bad. It looks burnt and the resistance is .9 ohms. It should be closer to 5. The end of swing switch was bent badly and there was no way it was closing. I'm sure that's what did the flipper in.





[The leaf closest to the edge. The one with that 45 degree bend in it? That should be straight. That bend kept the contact from working correctly.]

I really wanted to get that flipper working, but it was too late to get a new coil, so work stopped on the flipper. We took the time to methodically test all of the coils.

The upper right flipper coil was measuring 90 ohms, so something is wrong there. The lower left coil is measuring (Insert). So that one needs to be addressed too. I wish I had gotten new coils tonight instead of the glass.

All of the other coils measured OK.

It's funny how one thing can lead to another and next thing you know it's midnight.

We found that one of the targets had a broken wire.

One of the coils that closes the "launch" gates was stuck. Whoever put the retaining clip on, put it on funny and it was causing the plunger to bind.

We ran through the switch test and found the right spinner is stuck closed. We did what we could to adjust it, but even with the switch forced open, the problem wasn't going away so we moved on.

The "ball popper" turned out to be a contact that wasn't closing. We adjusted that and now it works perfectly.

Under the apron in the ball trough area, there was a piece of metal underneath that was loose and badly rattling around so we tightened that down.

I found that there's a plastic grommet that the flipper post goes through that does not come with the rebuild kit. I was going to clean it all up but new ones are less than a dollar, so I'll just buy four new ones.

There is more to say about the number display, but I'll save that for another post.

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