Pinball Ownership: Week One

Thu 6/17/2010

I've had the pinball machine for a little over a week now, and let me tell you, it has been a busy week!

Don't get me wrong, when Jon and I got the machine, it was in great shape. We have been able to play it ever since we installed it on the first night, and a lot of the students and alumni have been playing it as well. But I want this machine to be PERFECT, so Jon and I have been making minor repairs all week. Here's a list!

  • Fixed the left slingshot (uncrossing a jammed switch)
  • Removed both ramps, cleaned them AND the entire upper playfield and all areas underneath the ramps
  • Recalibrated the tilt sensor
  • Replaced a bunch of burned out lamps
  • Replaced two blown fuses, which fixed all of the flash lamps!
  • Replaced four cracked red plastic posts
  • Put new rubber on the slingshots
  • Cleaned every lamp under the playfield and all of the clear plastic inserts
  • Dampened the knocker (it was a bit too loud, since the media room is right next to the senior studio space)
  • Replaced the left outbound switch with a new one (my first soldering job on this machine!)
  • Cleaned and waxed the playfield and the balls

The machine now boots with no diagnostic errors, and every single lamp is lighting up! It's pretty exciting. The most satisfying repair of all was replacing the fuses and seeing the other HALF of the lamps on the board light up. The flash lamps make everything much more interactive. They sort of SHOW you where the ball is, or pulse to let you know you've accomplished some goal. Plus, it turns out there is a lamp INSIDE the DRAGON, which is totally rad.

All of these repairs were made possible from an order placed with Marcos Specialties, which allows you to search for parts by their number in the Williams manual. So it's pretty simple. I also made a trip out to Home Depot for some tools, and the other day I found out that the Auto Supply store over by the post office has a pretty remarkable selection of small lightbulbs, including some of the ones in my machine!

Last night Jon and I also watched This Old Pinball volume 3, which was two hours of CRAZY in-depth pinball repair, both in terms of electronics and the mechanical elements. I also got volume 4, which I'll watch this weekend - both episodes show restorations of late 90s era Williams machines, and I definitely learned a lot by watching volume 3, so hopefully I'll learn even more tricks in volume 4.

There are just a few minor things I still want to fix, but all of them are cosmetic. The machine is working perfectly. So now all I have to do is fix stuff when it breaks! I feel like I'm up to the challenge...

I've also been playing a bit each day, and I'm getting pretty good. I currently have a Grand Champ score of 118 million AND the #1 - #4 high scores going down to 80 million. But Jon, Mark, Yoder and a few others are hot on my trail, so I shouldn't get too comfortable!

Anyway, I'm having tons of fun, I'm LEARNING a lot, which is always great and I'm still getting plenty of drawing done as well! This is going to be one awesome summer.

4 comments on this entry


So psyched.

Farhad Jun17

We are taking good care of your baby Farhad! ;)

Alec Jun17

hey alec, maybe max already showed you that french piece of patrimony:

basically it says "and i'm like a pin ball... wich rolls..."

yep. in france we know both how to write good songs AND how to make good videos...

Ha ha ha, that video is the worst, Pierre!

Alec Jun19

Post your comment here:

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