Pinball Stories #2: Escape from the Lost World

This is the second installment in a new series I’m doing with the “stories behind the games”. Each owner has his own unique story about how they came to acquire the game. Sometimes the stories are as interesting as the game itself. The first episode was on my first game. This story covers a more recently acquired game and how I saved it from imminent destruction.

Building replacement LED displays (from a kit)

This is a fun series of videos of me trying something new. Let’s replace the old gas plasma displays in a Bally 35 solid state pinball machine with new low-voltage LED displays. This reduces the power consumption of the pinball machine and cuts out the high power portion of the power supply board for the display – a whole area we don’t have to worry about any more by switching over to LEDs. The price for this as a kit is quite reasonable (and cheaper than replacing them with used displays usually). But it takes some time and skill to populate your own circuit boards. I’m going to give it a try. Let’s see how it goes!

Here is a time lapse of me doing the lion’s share of the board work:

And here’s the finished product!

All about connectors: Molex, sizes, tools, pins and crimping

Pinball machines (as well as other arcade games) use a wide variety of wires and connectors. The most popular brand of connectors is called “Molex” which is a specific maker, but also a generic term often referred to as the plug/un-plug style connectors you will find on everything from power supply wiring to board connectors.

In this video, I go over the most common sizes and types of connectors you’re likely to find, what tools are available and how to rebuild and re-pin these connectors.

Inside Dan Ferguson’s “Lone Star Pinball Museum”

A friend and a true legend in the pinball community passed away this week. Dan Ferguson, owner of the “Lone Star Pinball Museum” and one of the iconic enthusiasts in the region. Dan was a fixture at all the Texas pinball shows and had one of the most amazing collections of games and memorabilia anywhere. Eight years ago was one of the first times I got a chance to take a peek inside his infamous private museum, that was typically only open by invitation (and was an inspiration for our own PinChurch facility).

Here’s is a video I shot of a quick walk-thru of his amazing place. We miss you Dan!

Inside the custom pinball machine, “This is Spinal Tap”

In the coming months, in addition to my regular chaotic addition of various repair, gameplay and maintenance videos, I’m going to be undertaking a new creative endeavor: making a custom pinball machine. As part of this process, I took a trip to the Texas Pinball Festival, paying close attention to what other people have done in this area. Here is a video of another enthusiast’s passion: a custom pinball machine themed after the movie, “This is Spinal Tap”. Here’s an impromptu video I shot while having a chat with the developers. I hope you enjoy it.