I haven't been posting much lately, nor have I been able to take on much repair work due to a house move (more on that later!). However, I've been able to get stuck into a small backlog of board repairs and other minor jobs while I sort out the housing situation.
After the last repair, I thought it would be a good idea to do a short post to remind everyone to check their circuit boards as a part of their regular pinball maintenance regimen. Circuit board parts fail all of the time, but few of these failures will actively damage your machine. Batteries are the most well-known exception and they will certainly damage your circuit boards if they leak. However, fewer people are aware that capacitors are capable of damaging circuit boards in the same way, and should also be checked regularly for signs of damage.
Many people consider Guns N' Roses (Data East, 1994) to be one of Data East's best pinball machines. One of the few rock music machines from the 1990s, it is a really cool game with some interesting design decisions incorporated into it. While a lot of people prefer the more modern music themed games such as AC/DC or Aerosmith or Metallica, I still prefer the older games, so Guns N' Roses scratches that rock theme itch perfectly.
This will be a shorter blog post as this was not a full restoration by any stretch. There was limited disassembly performed and pictures were only taken of the issues I was tasked with fixing. My customer had pulled the machine out of his warehouse for the first time in years and wanted it to brought back to working condition. No cosmetic fixes and no fancy stuff. I just needed to get it back up and playing. So, I won't bother with the standard descriptions of the machine's condition or nitpick the defects. However, I performed some interesting repairs on this machine which warranted writing some of them up. So, let's jump right into the repairs!
Ever since she first saw it, Tales of the Arabian Nights (Williams, 1997) has been Fiona's favourite game. She loves the artwork, the colours, the sounds, and everything else about this game. And I don't blame her. It really is a beautiful game, and really gives you that feeling of being in a "world under glass" when you're playing it. I think Tales of the Arabian Nights has the best unlicensed music of any pinball machine ever made. The end-of-ball bonus music tune is one of my favourites - featuring what I assume is a qanun playing from higher to lower notes as the lamp bonus is counted down - it almost makes me want to lose my ball just so I can hear it!
So, when the opportunity to restore one of these games presented itself, we jumped at the chance! Unfortunately, by the time we finished the restoration, the game had almost killed us, but it was worth it for the chance to bring this beauty back to playing like new.
Christmas sure was a good time for pinball repairs! Several weeks ago, a customer advised me that their Elvira and the Party Monsters (Williams, 1989) was no longer working. They had had the game for a long time and it had always played without issue. However, they did note that sometimes it would take several flicks of the power switch for the game to turn on properly. Now, it would not turn on at all. No lights, no sounds; nothing! When they opened the backbox to inspect the game, they found a lot of green electrolyte from badly leaking batteries on the MPU board. Uh oh! This was likely the source of their problems, so they brought the MPU board in to me for repair.
Let's finish off the year by repairing a classic Bally game! But first, I've got to be honest. I've never been much of a fan of late 70s/early 80s Bally games. I generally find the blips and tunes of the early sound boards grating, which makes them hard to play for any length of time. Some say it adds to the nostalgia, but having no nostalgic connection to these games, I can safely say I prefer the sounds of traditional chimes or modern digital stereo. That said, Bally games are classics in terms of gameplay and artwork, so it was a pleasure to get to work on this one for a customer: Six Million Dollar Man (Bally, 1978). This machine had not been working ever since the customer got it from a relative, and they wanted it up and running for their 60th birthday party in a few weeks. We were on a deadline, and there was lots to do!
Here you will find logs of our pinball machine restorations, repairs, discussion about general pinball topics, and recounts of our random pinball adventures.
Check back regularly for updates!
Running this website is a hobby for me, just like pinball. I like being able to show my restoration work to everyone so that others can learn from it and learn to fix their own machines. If you enjoy reading the content, please consider donating to offset some of the website's operating costs.