Anybody messing with pinball machines will undoubtedly encounter problems with flippers. Often they seem to get “stuck”, will stay up and not go back down or behave weird. We often instantly go to the flipper mechanism to look for a problem, but sometimes it’s not there.
On many pinball machines like early solid state Bally and Stern games, you’ll often see little capacitors on most of the playfield switches. Sometimes they’re there but a leg is cut off. Why are they there? What do they do? And are they important? We’ll talk about that.
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.
This is the next video in my series of work on Paragon. After the first look (http://pinballhelp.com/first-look-bally-paragon-pinball/) I discovered there were still issues with the MPU board that were the result of continued corrosion even after the battery was removed and the board was supposedly cleaned. Whoever did the previous work didn’t clean the board enough and corrosion continued. I’m going to do my best to salvage the board.
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!
As part of the ongoing restoration of a 1979 Stern “Trident” pinball machine, here’s a series of videos outlining how to replace the rectifier board on these games. This varies a bit between Stern and Bally due to wire color codes. References are here.
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.