Pinball Stories #8: I have to move that from where?

If you’ve been doing this for awhile, you’ll eventually run into your first set of “killer stairs” and vow you never want to go through that again. Also, the next time you ask a friend to help you pick up a game, they’ll suddenly have something much more important to do, like get their back waxed.

WPC game doesn’t boot up? Let’s diagnose this Gilligan’s Island.

You turn on your game and… “BLECH!” that’s what you get? That’s not good. Let’s try to figure out what exactly is happening:

Armed with more information, later on I have some time to pull the driver board and diagnose things further:

Pinball Stories #17 – Random phone call and random pickup

This just happened yesterday so it’s a timely addition to pinball stories. Got a call from a friend who had a bead on a retired guy who had two games in his garage. We’d each take one of the machines. What does he have? We don’t know – mystery game time!!

Upgrading to LED lighting: Bally Mystic

The other day as I was working on my Bally Mystic, I decided to upgrade the lighting in the backbox to LED and document what I consider to be a “tasteful” way to migrate from traditional incandescents to LED lighting. Some people complain about this but I think if you do it right, it’s a dramatic improvement, and in some ways is hard to tell from older style lighting. Let’s take a look!

Here’s the game as it was before work. Traditional bulbs in the playfield and the backglass. You will notice that this is not your typical game. This is an early production/prototype that has a different cabinet color and a special 3-dimensional version of the center eye/pyramid imagery for the crystal ball.
Here’s a close up of the original backglass lit with incandescent 44/47 type lights. Really beautiful artwork. NOTE that there’s more light shining ON the backglass in this picture, when compared with the last one below. This is probably due to the LEDs being brighter and my camera compensating by reducing the aperature or shutter speed.
After removing the backglass I replaced the incandescent bulbs with LEDs. I used a combination of cool and warm white frosted 2SMD LEDs from Comet pinball. I put cool white over areas with the following colors: white, blue, green, and warm white over areas dominated by: red, yellow, amber. In this case I went more heavy on cool because they make the image “pop” a little more as you’ll see…
And here’s the finished product. The whites are much whiter. The blues are bluer. I choose cool white for the crystal ball eye, and warm white for the pyramid (not pictured). NOTE that this is a mirrored glass, so there are only a few non-opaque areas so this isn’t the best example of how vivid and bright these LED-backed images can get. But IMO, a noticeable yet tasteful improvement.

A Pinball Arcade Livestream Studio

Another thing I do in addition to operating and repairing pinball machines is run a special, unique space in the New Orleans area called the “PinChurch” – it’s a long story about how this came to be that you can find out more here if you want. But in short, it’s a unique space that is supported by a small but tight knit community of enthusiasts and creative people.

We do all kinds of things in the club, including occasional outreach projects to help those in the local community. We’ve turned our arcade into a high quality recording and broadcast studio and during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as during the phase outs, we’ve been hosting local artists who need to make a living because the places they normally play at are closed. We live stream the events and help people discover new music and help support local artists.

I made a short video of what that’s like, so share with you all. To find out more, visit www.PinChurch.com – you also can help support our efforts if you like!