Fixing “weak” pinball flippers

What happens when one of your flippers seems “weak?” What could cause that? I investigate on m y 1979 Bally “Paragon” pinball. But the cause of this could happen on any game regardless of era. Let’s take a look at how the flipper works and the different things that can cause “weak” flippers.

Fixing / Rebuilding Stuck Pinball Flippers on Early Ball/Stern Solid State Games

This is a short video going over the steps to repair/rebuilt/refurbish early solid state pinball flipper assemblies, such as those on Stern and Bally games (but this also basically applies to most pinball machines). I go over the process specifically on a Stern Trident and show the specific style of plunger and assembly they’re using, but most games use similar parts. You can use these techniques to rebuild/refurbish pinball flippers on most games.

Also, there’s another thing I don’t cover on the video that may also be a cause for stuck/sticky flippers, and that’s crud around the flipper button. Sometimes the flipper button assembly can be dirty and the button may stick – that can also cause the flippers to not behave properly, so be sure to check and clean the flipper button regularly too!

Rebuilding Drop Target Assemblies on Early Stern/Bally Solid State Games

Here is a series of three short videos covering the process of removing and refurbishing the drop target assembly on early Stern/Bally games. This is done on the Trident I’m working on restoring.

After unscrewing the switch stack and the reset coil, you can remove the drop target assembly from the game. Then you an remove the individual drop target coils from the assembly by unscrewing four small screws.
Note the inner plate behind the drop targets that has slid down – this is what the switch stacks screwed into, so you’ll want to connect them back to the assembly first, before putting the individual drop coil bank back in place.
Since I wasn’t replacing the targets, I simply soaked the assembly in hot soapy water, then made sure to dry it completely before applying some dry spray lubricant. I also shortened the springs by just a tiny amount to make them work better. If you have replacement targets, they should be removed and replaced, which is done by removing the retaining clip and axle holding the assembly together at the bottom.

EM Pinball 101: Strange Buzz and Scoring Problems?

This is a common problem that happens with old electro-mechanical pinball machines. One minute it’s playing fine, then the next there’s a loud buzz and/or the scoring runs continuously or doesn’t score properly. What’s the deal with that? I’m going to show you one of the most common causes.

How to work on electro-mechanical switch stacks on pinball machines

Switch stacks are the primary parts of electro-mechanical pinball machines, triggering game activity. I go over in this video, how they work, the different types of switch configurations, and how to clean and maintain them so they work reliably.

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How to replace or repair EM pinball latch relay parts/articulating arm/rollers

Ok, that’s a mouthful huh? This is a continuation of a previous series of videos I’ve done on fixing deep ruleset issues in EM games, and now that we’ve found what’s wrong, let’s fix it!

First, here’s a video on how to replace the latch relay – there’s another post where I demonstrate how to remove the backplane from the game so it’s easier to work on.

And in this next video, if you don’t have a replacement part, I show how with a little ingenuity and a #4 tap, you can fabricate your own roller for the articulating arm.

Now that it’s fixed… let’s see how the game plays!