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Pinball Rehab

pinball repair and restoration

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Premium Pinballs
While a pinball game isn't of much use without pinballs, they are also your playfield's worst enemy. A scratched, pitted pinball is the equivalent of rubbing sandpaper across the playfield. So clearly spending a few bucks on premium pinballs is a wise investment, but which premium pinball is the best and how frequently should they be replaced? The intent of this article is to answer those questions. Unfortunately though you can't accurately examine the condition of a pinball with the naked eye (see Images 1 and 2), so Calico1997 used a Proscope HR microscope...
 
 
Pinball Wax
There is probably no more contentious discussion on the Internet than the best wax to use on a pinball playfield. So before I enter the fray, let me say your choice depends to some degree on your objective. If you're going for a mirror-like finish, you can't beat a carnauba wax. Carnauba is graded by color, purity and where it was grown. The highest grade is yellow carnauba from Northern Brazil. Contrary to all the labeling that states, "Pure Carnauba Wax," the most expensive carnauba waxes only contain about 30% carnauba since the...
 
 
Pinitech WPC Reverse Switch Tester Review
Pinitech just announced a WPC Reverse Switch Tester (see Image 1), which I was able to beta test. I can say definitively that it should be part of the toolkit for anyone who works on pinball games. This simple, inexpensive product (un-assembled $10 and assembled $15) will turn the several hour process of identifying phantom switch closures into a simple 30 minute project. If you opt for the kit it can be assembled in a few minutes as only four connectors need to be soldered onto the board. There are several switch/diode...
 
 
Pinitech 64 Switch Matrix Tester Review
In this article I will be reviewing the Pinitech 64 Switch Matrix Tester (see Image 1). The tester costs $47.50 for the kit and $90 assembled. In addition you will need a wire harness kit for different types of games (the tester will work with almost all games manufactured since 1977--more information at the link above). The un-assembled harness kits run $17.50-$18.50 and the assembled kits are $35-$36. The board is silk-screened with the switch numbering system used by Williams on system 3-11. In addition generic manufacturer charts are available for other systems...
 
 
Comet Pinball New Products
Comet Pinball (my go to led vendor) has recently added several products that are worth writing about. Art has added two led strips; a 3 led 12 volt for flasher circuits and a 6.3 volt (AC/DC) 3 or 7 led strip that comes with a variety of connectors for easy installation. See this post on Pinside to see some examples of how pinballers are using them. Also new is a high-powered spotlight (center led in image) with a wide throw that unlike many spotlights will work in numerous applications, a fluted bullet (bottom-center in...
 
 
Ultra Dust Ultrasonic Cleaner Additive
I recently tried out a new ultrasonic cleaner additive from Comet Pinball. Ultra Dust is a granular concentrate based on a formula that has been used for years in the jewelry and electronics industry. It can safely be used on pinball plastics, hardware and electronic parts. I tried out a batch recently and was extremely impressed with the results. It worked much better than Purple Power, Simple Green or any of the other degreasers I have used in the past. It works best with heated ultrasonic cleaners although you can achieve similar results...
 
 
Replacement Two-Color Wiring
When replacing pinball wiring, or adding wiring for a mod, it's best practice to match the original wire colors.  Unfortunately the combination you need is not always easy to find, so here's a few suggestions. A local electrical distributor will often have a selection of wire sizes and colors. Bay Area Amusements carries a selection of colored wires. You can pick up a playfield wiring harness for just a few bucks and then you'll have a wide selection of choices readily at hand.
 
 
Craftsman Digital Level
The Craftsman Digital Torpedo Level ($32 at Sears) is the best solution I've found for leveling pinball games.  The LCD digital screen gives you an exact measurement for setting the playfield slope and it also has an audible tone every 45 degrees.  This latter feature is nice when leveling your game from side to side without constantly getting up and down. It even comes with a nice carrying case.
 
 
Rustproofing Metal Parts
While we all like nice shiny metal pinball parts when restoring a pinball, once a part has been abraded it will rust faster than a new part. In the case of coated parts (for example, zinc-coated) they will rust fairly quickly once the coating is removed. Of course it 's best to have coated parts re-coated, but in some situations it just doesn't make economical sense. In other cases where the part was not coated from the factory, a rustproofing, or rust prevention, solution will provide protection while maintaining an original look. ...
 
 
Pinball Specific Test Equipment
Here's a few pinball specific pieces of test equipment that come in handy whether you work on a lot of games or prefer something safer than jumpering your boards. These products work well when testing a circuit board in-game, but really shine when testing a board on the bench. Clockwise in the image from the upper left: Solenoid Circuit Tester, Special Solenoid Input Tester, Switch Matrix Tester, Opto Tester and Lamp Matrix Tester. All except the Opto Tester, which is available from Pinbits, are available from Siegecraft. Prices range from $8-$20. ...
 
 
 
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