Basic Stuff

These pages are made especially for beginners.

An Introduction To Pinball Basics

Backglass of a EM

This is the page for those just starting out with pinball.   Everything a new owner needs to start out.

Don’t Blow Up That Pinball Machine!

Bally backbox power

Just purchased a new pinball machine?  Before  you turn it on, run these simple tests to make certain that the voltages are right.

Have a machine that does not boot?  First thing to test are the voltages.

Cleaning those Sticky Shoot Rods

If your shooting rod is sticking, binding or not moving smoothly, follow this quick 15 minute procedure.

Learn How to Solder

soldering
Image 13

How to solder from an expert.  Step-by-step on the way to make you an expert.   More information….

Lamp Socket Repair

Lamps
Lamp Sockets

Lamp sockets driving you crazy?  Flickering, lamps don’t work?  They are expensive to replace and a lot of work.  Here is how to fix them so they work like new.  More information….

Fixing Switches

switch parts identification

If the switches do not work, your pinball game won’t either.  Here is how to adjust switches  like the experts do.

Testing Fuses

No, you cannot be certain that a fuse works by just looking at them.  There are two ways to make sure that a fuse is OK and here is how to do it.

Replacing the Batteries

WPC AA Batteries

Replace those batteries annually, or they might leak and ruin a circuit board.  This is a costly and easy to avoid mistake.  Even better is to get rid of those batteries forever, but this requires more advanced skills.

Convert the Lamps to LEDs – And Do It So It Looks Great

From PinballLife

LED lamps in pinball machines can look great.  Or terrible.  Learn what the pro’s know about LED bulbs.

 

Open The Pinball Machine

Bally / Williams

For those who just got a pinball machine and are trying to figure out how to open the thing up.

Remove the Pinballs

Eject mechanism

Prior to lifting up the playfield, it is important to remove the pinballs.  If you don’t, they will go flying when tilting up the playfield and might break stuff.  Easy to do.  
And don’t forget to put them back in.

Replacing Those Old Displays with New LED Displays

Just pop out those old plasma displays and put in new LED displays.  It is smart to replace all of them, and then remove the fuse from the high voltage section.

Which Digital Volt Meter to Purchase – A Cheap One From a Big Box Store Or Something Else?

Klein MM300

There are fancy pro meters out there that cost hundreds of dollars.  And cheap analog ones at big box stores.  Is auto-ranging really worth it?

 

Comments

Comments, including suggestions, improvements, errors, etc. are welcome (see below).

If you have a specific question about your game, please see our FAQ section.

4 thoughts on “Basic Stuff”

  1. How to replace the rubber bumpers on a 1976 “Space Mission” pinball machine. Can it be done by someone with limited pinball repair skills??

    1. Hello Dave.

      What you are referring to, I think, is often called rubber rings. Replacing them is a good place for a new person to start. And a 1976 machine is relatively open compared to the later ones that have ramps plus other playfield toys.
      It is impossible for us to just say, ‘yes’ as everyone has different skill levels. But you should be able to do it. Purchase a ring kit (https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/RK1679-1). You also might want to get some spare bulbs as taking off the plastic makes them easy to get to.
      As a backup, take pictures of the entire playfield, one area at a time. Then, take a photo of the specific area you are working on. When taking parts off, place them in a tin or cup to hold them. We use old muffin tins, but you should not have many parts at a time.
      Take off the caps holding one plastic in place. A good place to start are those slingshots on either side of the flipper. Sometimes, when removing the cap, the cap does not come off, but the entire screw comes out of the playfield. That is not a big deal. Just separate those two when it is out, and then put the screw back into the playfield first.
      Before removing the rubber ring, note how it holds the switches in place. But leafs of the switch should be inside the ring when replacing. Remove the old ring, put the new one on, put the plastic back on and you are done there. Move onto the next one.
      If you want to, you can clean the plastic with Novus #1 or just a damp rag. And you can wax that area prior to putting the plastic back on.
      Sometimes putting in a new ring will throw a switch out of adjustment. Buy a switch adjustment tool and read up the section on adjusting switches prior to starting this.
      Good luck, take your time, and we think by the time you are half way through, you will be an expert.

  2. I have a World Cup Soccer 1994 pinball. I have had it for 25 years. It hasn’t been played in about 6 years.
    It has been sitting in my garage during this time. I went to turn it on & no power. I bought an 8 amp fuse & tried that. No luck. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Joe from Chicago

    1. Hello Joe. There is a lot of things that could cause no power. Most of the testing involves using a volt meter and working around dangerous voltages.
      First step is to get a copy of the circuit diagram / user manual for the game. The next step would be to use that voltmeter to check for voltages coming out of the transformer and through the power supply. It could be something as simple as a broken wire, problem with the power cord or the switch. But it could be far more complex with an issue with the DC power supplies, especially the 12V and 5V supplies. This is something that a qualified technician needs to look at. Because of the hazards involved, if you are not qualified to work with dangerous voltages, we highly recommend you not try to repair it.

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