Wednesday, July 29, 2015

'Too many problems, oh why am I here?'

Well here is Fix List 1.0. I should print it out and stick it next to my inspirational 'Hang in there baby' cat poster.

Problem: The keys to open the backbox and coin door are M.I.A.
So here's the reason I couldn't clean inside the machine. I know, I know, it’s pure stupidity to take on a machine without seeing ‘under the hood’. And even more foolish to relocate it into the house when it could be full of spiders, rodents, marsupials and chupacabras. I know that... now. 
Solution: The plate surrounding the lock in the backbox is held on with two Torx screws. 

These screws look like part of a Klingon Meccano set.

I don’t have the correct shape in my toolkit, so I’ll get one that fits. It’s either that or drill out the lock. It looks like I’ll have no choice but to do that to the coin door one. Then I’ll need a couple of replacement locks.

Problem: Many lights out. 
Solution: Hopefully just bulbs blown. Even if they had all been working, I would have still replaced them with LEDs. Many places sell a complete kit, so that is what I will get. The purists dislike them, but they are bright and will outlive me and the machine itself. No need for constant replacing globes again.

Problem: The perspex plastic display cover that sits over the speakers and DMD is cloudy.
Solution: Just a lot of dust built up, I’m hoping.

Problem: Lines missing on the dot matrix display.
Solution: Worse case scenario: the display board is dying, but more likely a loose connection, as I'm sure it worked fine before I moved the machine. Whatever the cause,  I’m aiming to replace it with a sparkling new ColorDMD. 
Update: Tapping on the front of the display brings the lines back again. I'm definitely thinking a loose wire. 

Good news that the dot matrix display now seems to be displaying all dots and matrixes.
Bad news that the plastic cover has more fog than an Nintendo 64 game.

Problem: The sound is very quiet. The subwoofer isn't working at all.
Solution: The volume might be at a low setting or perhaps the speakers are old and knackered. When I can get into the machine, I'll check the levels. Whatever the outcome, I’m going to get new, more powerful replacement speakers.

Problem: The balls are tarnished with rust.
Solution: Nobody likes their balls to be rough and speckled – they don't look very good and can damage the playfield. I could try and treat them with rust remedy and buff them shiny, but to be honest, they are cheap to buy so I'll get a complete replacement set.

Rusty Balls is my favourite blues singer.

Problem: Machine reverts back to factory settings each time it is turned on.
Solution: Three AA batteries are used to save the settings and high scores. These are certainly dead, I’m just hoping they haven’t leaked and damaged any boards. I'll check when I can get into the backbox.

Problem: The playfield and flipper rubbers have perished and cracked. 
Solution: I’ll need to buy a full kit for both and replace them. 

Problem: The left flipper button is a lot more stiff to press than the right one. 
Solution: No idea what the problem is at this stage, but I'd like to fix it as it is awkward and uncomfortable whilst playing. 

Problem: Start button is sticky, intermittently works and has no flashing light.

'Broken Start light. Five years in the cubes, punk!'

Solution: Could be rust in the fitting, broken plastic or just gunk build up. I will investigate. Very cheap to get a whole new button and the LED kit comes with ones for the buttons.

Problem: The glass slides up and down a wee bit. 
Solution: the plastic lip that holds it at the top is cracked, so that will be replaced, the lockdown bar at the bottom has a bit of play in it moving up and down. I'm guessing it has teeth to hold it locked in place and that these are bent. I’m hoping if I bend them straight, it will clamp down on the glass better and hold it in place.

Problem: The glass has quite a few scratches.
Solution: Hardly noticeable, but if I can find a locally sourced replacement or a glass cutter that can knock me up a piece to size, I’ll price it up.

Problem: The artwork on both sides and the front of the cabinet is very faded. This happens a lot to pinball machines. Years of sitting by a window in the sun doesn’t do them any favours. Oddly, the backbox sides, whilst a bit scuffed are still bright and colourful.

Artwork fade comparison. The backbox must have been wearing SPF 60.    

Solution: Complete reproduction decal sets are available but they are expensive and to apply them properly is a herculean task. The machine needs completely dissembling with the old graphics sanded off, holes filled, the cabinet repainted, the decals applied without damage and air bubbles and then finally all of the electrical gubbins put back in. I just can’t face doing that I’m afraid. I might try and touch up the artwork with spray paint and marker pens, but I think it is just something I’ll have to live with. I don’t want the machine to look pristine and new anyway, I prefer that it looks like its lived a good busy life, hence why I’m going to keep a few nicks and scratches.

Plenty to keep me busy, time to give the internet and my bank account a sound thrashing.

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