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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about Pinball Repair

1) Q: Where can I find parts for my pinball machine?
    A: I do not sell or supply parts. Please do not ask. See the list of parts suppliers at the end of my home page. Or place an wanted ad in Mr. Pinball. Post a question on Rec.games.pinball (Google Groups).

2) Q: Can you tell me who can repair my pinball machine? Can you recommend someone where I live?
    A: No, sorry I cannot. Please do not ask. There is no way I could compile a database of repair personnel covering the United States and the world, much less vouch for the quality and honesty of their work. I suggest contacting a local arcade and see who they use for repair. Or contact the nearest pinball seller and find out who they recommend. Stern keeps a list of distributors and you could contact them. There are a few places listed at the bottom of the home page, but not many. Post on Goggle Groups rec.games.pinball. Best of luck to you.

3) Q: How much will it cost to fix my pinball machine?
    A: I cannot estimate that for you. But keep in mind that qualified repair people cost about as much as a plumber or air conditioner repair person. Your minimum charge maybe $90, plus parts. A blown circuit board may run several hundreds of dollars. I would suggest that you check out the value of your pinball machine prior to paying someone to fix it. Note that these prices are average for working and non-working pinball machines.

4) Q: Can you repair my pinball machine?
    A: Not at this time. I do not offer mail-in circuit board repair, either. Maybe someday, but it turns out the cost of liability insurance and travel makes it tough to break even. Most people do not want to pay the cost of pinball repair which is roughly in line with the cost of a plumber or air conditioner / heater repair. Would you pay $100 to just have me walk in the door? Also, please see #2 & 3.

5) Q: Where can I get a schematic?
    A: Some schematics are available on the Internet. Check out the Internet Pinball Database. Others may be available through parts suppliers. Some are not widely available. Gottlieb pin schematics are available only from parts suppliers who are licensed. You could post a question on the Google discussion group. If you post on the group, be certain to start the title of your post with "Tech: [name of pinball machine]" without the quotes. Identify yourself as a "newbie" and that group might be nice to you.

6) Q: My pinball machine is doing.[describe what it is doing here]......... Can you help?
    A: I used to do this, but the number of emails overwhelmed me. So I would suggest asking a group of experts. They can be reached here:

     1) rec.gams.pin - this is a great resource. Go through Googlegroups, or better, download free Thunderbird email client, get yourself a free usergroup account from Eternal September (more info here) and read the postings like regular emails.

    2) Post at Pinside. This is a moderated group and a little tame for my taste, but it works for people.

    3) There are pinball repair groups on Facebook. These are closed groups, so you will have to ask for an invite to post your problem, but the people are quite helpful.

    4) Do your research at Pinwiki and Clays guides.

Note that all advice is for qualified repair people and are at your own risk. See cautions!

7) Q: I have never repaired anything before, but I am handy. Can I repair my own pinball machine?
    A: That is impossible for me to answer. First, be certain to read the caution section at the beginning of the home page. Pinball machines contain high voltages that can kill. I recommend that repair be attempted only by qualify personnel. Are you qualified? I am not responsible for any person injury that may occur. If you decide to attempt your own repair, it is at your own risk. If you are not qualified, do not attempt repair.
If your problem is mechanical, and you are mechanically inclined, then you have a chance. If it is electrical, you know how to solder and have a voltmeter, then you are half way there.