Performing an incorrect or insufficient repair can damage the machine and create serious safety hazards. Always unplug a pinball machine before working on it. You should also consult your manual to properly clean and adjust switches (especially in an EM game). These can be easily over-adjusted.
Lights Aren’t Working
This might seem glaringly obvious, but pinball machines contain potentially lethal voltage. Always turn the machine off and allow it to sit for several minutes before working on it to ensure all power dissipates.
If all the lamps in a column or row aren’t lighting, it’s likely due to a missing or shorted diode on a switch. This can cause the switch to read open instead of closed, and the circuit will never be completed. This can also be the result of a miswiring by a previous owner.
The lamp sockets on older EM games sometimes flicker, dim, or don’t light at all. The reason is usually a loose wire, which can be fixed fairly easily. Most of the time, however, it’s because a solder joint has blown on the connector or the contact points for the bulbs. The step-by-step instructions here will fix this in most cases. The same fixes apply to newer games that use LEDs in the sockets. But remember, it is best to consult an Austin pinball repair professional to gain the knowledge, experience, and parts necessary to perform a particular repair.
The Flippers Aren’t Working
Of all the parts in a pinball machine, the flippers probably get the most use and wear and tear. As a result, they are the most likely to stop working properly. This can be caused by various factors, including dirty coil sleeves and a bad diode (only found in SS machines).
A coil’s diode is essential because it only conducts electricity in one direction. This prevents the magnetic field from creating electricity, which could damage other parts of the game.
According to experts in pinball machine repair in Austin, when a flipper isn’t working, it may be time to rebuild the coil. This can be done using a kit available from many pinball parts suppliers. A word of caution:
- Ensure the machine is completely unplugged and powered off before beginning maintenance or repair work.
- Use a clean work surface and wear appropriate safety gear.
- Read the manual for your machine before attempting any maintenance.
The Playfield Is Damaged
The playfield is the side of a pinball machine you see when playing it. It contains all of the mechanics that make the game work. This includes the slingshot, standup targets, spinner arms, and other parts. These parts require attention, from removing cracked and sunken inserts to cleaning and re-painting the entire playfield. This is a major repair and must be done correctly. In addition to this, all of the switch blades, solder lugs, and missing diodes are cleaned. These switches protrude into the upper cabinet through the playfield, like slingshot activation and standup targets. Over time, these become ugly black from cleaners and waxes, but with a little time, they can be restored to new. Also, all through holes that allow switches, drop targets, and other things to protrude from the playfield are cleaned and polished.
The Electronics Aren’t Working
If your machine’s electronics aren’t working, it is time to call an expert. Pinball machines can have many electrical problems, and doing repairs without the proper knowledge or experience can lead to additional damage to your machine. Fuses are used to protect the internal components of your pinball machine in case of an electrical short circuit. If a fuse is blown, it will need to be replaced. Fuses in the backbox or underneath the playfield are usually easily replaced. Batteries are often used to keep semiconductor memory active in SS pinball machines. If left unattended, these batteries can leak acid, ruining the circuit board. Batteries should be replaced yearly. Always turn off your machine’s power before cleaning or opening any parts. This will prevent an electrical short if the live wire brushes against any screws or metal pieces in your pinball machine.