A video tour of the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas

A recent discussion came up on one of the online forums about the Pinball Hall of Fame and I was prompted to dig up some footage I shot in 2009 so here it is.

For those of you who don’t know, the Pinball Hall of Fame is located in Las Vegas, Nevada, just off the main strip, run by an eccentric but brilliant and generous guy named Tim Arnold who is a long-time operator and has one of the most impressive collections of vintage pinball machines in the world.

The PHOF houses at any given moment, several hundred vintage pinball machines, including some extremely rare games you will not likely find anywhere else. Here’s a series of videos where I walked the rows of the place in 2009 not long after it moved into a new building. Enjoy!

How many rare and unusual games can you spot?

Fixing Bally/Williams Pinball Reset Issues

Probably one of the most common problems people experience with the modern Bally/Williams DMD machines are random resets of the game in progress.  Sometimes it appears these resets happen at certain times (like when you hit a flipper or during multiball) and you think it may be directly related to that.  Most of the time, that’s not the case, although heavy activity like firing certain solenoids might cause a drain which exposes a weakness in the game’s power system.  We’re going to go over the standard procedure to deal with this issue.

After the board is removed, I go over the process to desolder and remove components.

Now time to solder the new components on the board. You have to be very careful to not mess up the traces. There are also some recommended jumpers you can run around the bridge rectifiers to double-up on the traces. I don’t go into that in the video but you can look at Clay’s guide for more details on that.

Another thing you might want to do if you do not replace all the caps, is to mark on the top of the cap the month/year you replaced them.  This way in case there’s any confusion, you’ll know which components are newer and which ones may still be original.

And now the moment of truth!

Earthshaker: Working on bad circuit boards

Let’s take a look inside the backbox of the game and see what we see…

Now that we’ve identified some issues with the aux power board, we have to deal with it, first by removing components…  Oh by the way… I’ve rightfully caught a lot of flack from the folks on rec.games.pinball about my “bridge rectifier removal technique”… Let me elaborate on that… Korn and others are 100% right in that it’s always bad to try and “force” any components from the board, and if solder is not properly melting, it’s best to re-flow new solder onto the old joint to help remove stuck pins.

I would like to say in my defense, this board was really messed up beforehand.  The traces and thru-holes were already damaged on the board, and I had carefully loosened most of the pins of the BR before turning on the camera, so it looks like I’m using more of a “gorilla” technique than in reality.  So that’s not a good example of the best way to remove components, but I knew already I was going to have to rebuild all those traces and I was a tad impatient.  My bad.

Now we begin work on the actual circuit board and show how to identify broken traces and find where they go so we can run jumpers. Looking at the schematics helps us double check everything.

Now putting the finishing touches on the jumpers and adding the bridge rectifiers…

Now comes the moment of truth, putting the repaired aux power board in the machine and turning on the power for the first time:

So far so good for my first major Sys11 repair.  While I have a few Sys11 games, I haven’t had to do a whole lot of repair work on them so this was a learning experience for me too.

Fixing a dead dot matrix display board

The other day the DMD just went “poof” on one of my machines.  After doing a little research, and checking connections and things, I realized the DMD board died.  In this installment, I walk through the process of rebuilding the power supply-portion of a Bally/Williams WPC DMD board.  In part 1 I describe what I’m doing and introduce you to the tools I’m using.

 

Next up, let’s talk about using a meter to check circuit board traces as we go along..

Desoldering and replacing components.

Now the moment of truth!  One thing I want to add is pay very close attention to each item you are replacing on these boards.  Two diodes, capacitors or transistors may look alike, but have slightly different values or part #s.  The three power transistors and the diodes are not all the same.  You may have to bust out a magnifying glass to note the different in the markings on each part.  This should also be cross-referenced with the schematics and/or parts list from the game manual.