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Pinball Rehab

pinball repair and restoration

Solid State Pinball Repair

 
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Micro-Blasting Circuit Boards
The two primary reasons for micro-abrasive blasting a pinball circuit board are to remove the green solder mask (commonly, but mistakenly, called the conformal coating) or clean-up oxidation (see Images 1 and 2). In the past this would have been done with chemicals, but due to regulatory and cost issues, micro-abrasive blasting has now become the standard solution. The problem with a mechanical approach is that ESD (electrostatic discharge) is created, which can damage board components. In production environments specifically designed micro-abrasive blasters are used that minimize ESD. Unfortunately with a price tag...
 
 
Electronics Tutorial - Reading Schematics
This is part six of a seven part series intended to provide a basic knowledge of electronics, test equipment, service manuals and troubleshooting in order to allow the reader to effectively repair pinball games. Whether you're troubleshooting a circuit or testing your work after replacing an IC, knowing how to read a schematic is a necessity. While you don't need to become a EE, you should be able to walk through a circuit and understand what components are involved and what connects to what. In addition, you should also be able to look at a...
 
 
Electronic Component Substitution
Some of the electronic components for repairing pinball games are getting hard to find. This article provides information on using replacement parts when the original is not available. I have also listed some components where you can still purchase the original part, but it is best to upgrade to a beefier component. The following Stern document, Component Cross Reference, provides NTG, ECG and Radio Shack part numbers for commonly used components. These are not recommended replacements but direct replacements. In some cases, as noted below, a more robust solution is recommended. ...
 
 
WPC Board Versions
The purpose of this document is to provide info on all of the WPC board versions manufactured by Williams and used in Bally/Williams games. There are three generations of WPC boards: WPC-89, WPC-S (security) and WPC-95. The following versions are subsets of the WPC-89 family: WPC Alphanumeric, WPC Dot Matrix, WPC Fliptronics and WPC DCS. All boards within the WPC-95 generation are interchangeable. Some, but not all WPC-89 boards are interchangeable (details provided below). WPC-89 boards and WPC-95 boards are not interchangeable. The A-XXXXX numbers provided for boards in this article...
 
 
Testing WPC CPU on the Bench
With a little knowledge and equipment it's possible to test just about every circuit on a WPC-89, WPC-S or WPC-95 board on the bench. This article will walk you through setting up a simple test fixture and testing the CPU board. Keep in mind that replacing circuit board components requires advanced soldering skills and proper equipment. While this article is intended to cover all WPC era CPU boards (WPC-89, WPC-S and WPC-95), there may be some minor differences between generations. For example, position of the component/connector on the board or different...
 
 
Repairing Plated Through-Holes
It is not uncommon to find damaged plated through-holes when repairing a pinball circuit board. There are two techniques commonly used to repair this type of damage: solder stitch or eyelets. First we'll look at analyzing the damage and then review the repair options. Analyzing the Damage Image 1 provides a side view of the plated through-hole. The through-hole is actually one physical part and the board trace a second physical part. They are electrically connected once the board is wave-soldered. It is fairly common for the connection to break right...
 
 
Repairing Alkaline Battery Damage
I see a lot of CPU boards where battery damage is not being treated properly and as a result the alkali continues to eat away at the traces on the board. Eventually it eats through a trace, the board fails and it's sent out for repair (often after being damaged further in an attempt to repair it). This is a preventable issue which has been turned into a major issue. It is important to note that a lot of board repair guys won't take boards with major alkaline damage since it takes more time to repair...
 
 
Addams Family Power Magnets
Depending on your perspective, the power magnets (see Image 1) on Addams Family are either a cool toy or a pain in the ass (like when the ball is heading towards your right flipper and the magnet shoots it into the outlane). While it's fairly simple compared to most toys there are a couple of things to watch out for. The biggest problem with the magnets is an electronics failure can cause them to lock them, and overheat, which will do serious damage to the playfield. Note the discoloration around the left magnet in Image...
 
 
Dracula Mist Multiball
While a very cool toy, the magnet mechanism on Bram Stoker's Dracula can be a challenge to troubleshoot. The first step is to run through the magnet diagnostics (the attached video provides an overview of the Mist Multiball system and the magnet diagnostics). This info combined with your observations during game play should get you pointed in the right direction most of the time. Download mist multiball schematics here. There are a few problems though that can provide erroneous error messages in the magnet test or display themselves in bizarre ways. For example, failure of...
 
 
Pinball Lubrication
Whenever you shop out your pinball game it's a good idea to clean and lubricate any metal to metal pivot points. Contrary to some popular pinball myths, modern lubricants are not flammable and will not gunk up and freeze the joint. The problem in the latter case isn't the grease anyways but the fact it typically hasn't been changed in twenty years. It's still a good idea though to use a high quality lubricant like the Super Lube PTFE products that will not gunk up and in fact repel dirt (see references). Do not...
 
 
 
36 results - showing 11 - 20 1 2 3 4