Behind the scenes: How much work goes into making the arcade games you enjoy playable?

It’s not easy maintaining a collection of games – there are always things to repair…. I thought I might take a quick walk through our arcade space and discuss what I usually do after a party and what happens to the machines and what needs to be done to the games to get them working for the next event. Some machines hold up; some break down. Take a walk with me and see what work needs to be done?

Repair, don’t replace that broken pinball coil!

Pinball coils (aka solenoids) are windings of insulated copper wire that create electromagnets that make things move on the playfield. If you have a coil that is no longer working, and doesn’t have any obvious signs it has “melted down”, there’s a very good chance you can repair it instead of replacing it. In this video I go over how this is typically done. This works on all types of pinball machines from the EMs to Stern, Bally, Williams, etc.

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!