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 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.

Before you turn a new game on: checking coils

Since we picked up this Williams Earthshaker in such horrible condition and have never seen it powered up, before we even attempt to turn it on, we need to go over some areas of the game to make sure that applying power doesn’t cause more harm.  In this article, I go over one check, which is making sure all the coils/solenoids are in good condition.  A burned-out coil can cause damage in other areas of the machine, or even a fire.

Earthshaker looks to have been in an actual earthquake


This week I pulled a Williams Earthshaker pinball game out of a guy’s apartment.  It had been sitting in the corner for a long time, not operating.  He got it off eBay more than a year earlier, paid a lot of money and I’m not sure he ever got it working, so it sat around collecting dust.  As usual, the description described to me on the phone verses what I saw in person were two different things, but he appeared to be flexible enough on the price to motivate me to go take a look at it.  We made a deal and I threw it into my car.  Here’s a first look…

Later on, I moved the machine inside and took a closer look.  I’m posting this video which was done before I attended the Houston Arcade Expo, and I managed to find a complete set of sideart for the machine from Gene at Illinois Pinball, so there is hope for the cabinet!

In the next video I pull up the playfield and take a look inside the cabinet.  I’m just getting this new web site going so I don’t have much traffic, but I envision in the future with more people visiting, after I post a video like this, other owners of the game might comment and we can collectively ruminate over the status and future of this pinball game.