Pinball Wizard Day 5


20 years it slept in a basement in Moline, and today it awoke!  Ladies and gentlemen, I have played pinball, and it was good!

OK, enough gloating, on to the details.  I figured it was strange that the game seemed to stall when it was ready to play, but before lighting up the Ball 1 light.  There’s a reason – the bulb was burned out.  As were 5 more of a type I don’t have.  But I couldn’t get to any of them without taking off the glass, most likely allowing it to completely fall apart.  Instead, I pried a body panel off the back (huge amount of effort) and found a miracle: the glass is held together with a metal frame!  I was able to take it out without any trouble, move functional bulbs from less important areas, and re-assemble.

Next up was more wire-tracing.  I followed the wires from the flippers through the machine for about an hour, eventually leading me to the Hold relay.  For the fun of it (I find some strange things fun) I plugged in the machine, held the relay closed, and hit the flipper button.  It worked!  In fact, everything worked: the score started adding up, the slingshots (the bumpers that smack the ball across the table) and mushroom bumpers worked, the ball counter advanced.  It was wonderful!  So, first order of business: find something plastic to wedge in the relay and get in a few games!

So really, the video above is of a partially working game.  There’s a comb sticking out of the Hold relay.  Actually, I can’t tell why Hold would ever need to be un-held.  I’ll trace down those wires soon, though not until I’ve gotten in a few more games!  I’ll also have to disassemble, clean, and grease all the counter mechanisms (think clocks, but simpler and filled with oily, gritty nastiness from the last 45 years).

And I did it in 8 days.  My apartment can barely contain my ego right now.

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