So I was given this pinball machine for free from a neighbor. He had it out front with a sign that said free and at first I didn’t think anything of it and ignored it for most of the day but then my curiosity got the best of me and I finally went over and asked about it later that night. He said it was working but then just stopped but no one had messed with it to figure out why. This was the key reason that made me say I’d take it because I didn’t want someone else’s problems.
When I got the machine is was pretty beat up as you can see in the picture to the left. It looked like it was left out somewhere damp like a garage because the wood had swelled up slightly in spots. I was able to get it to turn on by simply cleaning some contacts and since then I have started a full blown project by cleaning the machine and all the little spring switch contacts but it still didn’t play well so I ended up ordered some new parts to get it back going again.
I have ordered and installed new flipper bushings and I cleaned the flipper parts but I think they will likely need to be rebuilt. I ran into several problems which I have been able to fix by cleaning contacts such as playfield lights not advancing or score wheels not advancing and the ball eject button not working. Another curious thing I noticed is since this machine has 2 sets of flippers the buttons on the sides have 2 sets of contacts. Why each set of flippers couldn’t share a single contact is beyond me unless it was intended this way. The reason I found this out was because I noticed if I pressed the button in slightly only one flipper would kick while the other would lay dead until depressing the button all the way. I thought if this was a deliberate feature it would be pretty cool for the pro who wanted to show off his skill by only activating the upper flippers when needed but the switch on the right side is opposite activating the upper flipper first which doesn’t make any sense.
I have noticed some coin mech parts missing and some newer wire going to the ball eject button so it is possible that someone re-wired that switch at one time or maybe this feature isn’t deliberate at all. Anyway I haven’t fully decided where I want to go with this thing just yet, My current options are just cleaning it up a bit and making it fully operational again, fully restoring it like new or as new as I can get it by fully ripping it down and rebuilding it, or doing one of the aforementioned items while converting it over to digital using a few Arduinos, one for the playfield and one for the scoreboard and use something like I2C to communicate.
So those are my four options but at this point with other more important things on the table I am leaning towards the simple restore. Some of my driving force towards going digital was the insane amount of switches, relays and banks of relays linked together with mechanical solenoids and linkages. I will upload some pictures of this stuff next post I make but in the meantime just think about making a complex game that has dozens of mini goals and larger goals with rules and score keeping and then think about not being able to use a single piece of silicon to make that happen and voila you got one of these mechanical beasts on your hands.
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