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1  General / Tech Corner / Re: Sharp Shooter CPU Issues on: July 19, 2009, 11:58:56 PM
Hi guys. This applies to both the above posts.

There's not much traffic at all here anymore. There are a couple guys who would be an excellent source for advice but I don't know if they even check this page these days.

Your best bet for some answers is to post your questions on the Rec Games Pinball newsgroup (RGP), which you can access via Google if you don't already use a news reader.

Be sure to check Marvin's repair site if you haven't already. It's awesome.

My opinion on your board:
First and foremost, read, understand and follow the Marvin's guide first. This will take a good chunk of time, but depending on your temperament it can be a lot of fun.
Since you're new to it, there's no harm in giving it a shot. I would recommend that you use a good soldering iron. Don't even try it with a Radio Shack junker. A good Hakko or Weller (or the like) with temperature control (not just a wattage rating) makes a huge difference when doing board work. Repairing a board is difficult enough even with good equipment. Don't make it worse by using a cheap iron. I speak from experience - my first game was a Game Plan and I tried rebuilding it with a cheapie iron. I did OK for what I had to work with. My attempt was a failure, which may or may not have been any different if I had a good iron. All I know is that once I got my good soldering equipment, the ease and quality instantly shot up many times over.

The reason there is "no harm" in trying it yourself is that Echo Lake pinball makes a new replacement which you can buy if your luck runs south.,40.0.html

Repairing a board isn't easy, but if you're careful and are good with working on small things, it can certainly be done. If you don't have soldering experience at all, I wouldn't recommend that you start new by trying a board repair. There are tricks and it takes a certain touch and you can almost guarantee dong more harm than good if you haven't done any board soldering before.

What I would say is the bare-bones essential tool kit for board repair:
Good temperature-controlled soldering iron.

rosin paste flux for electronics (not acid flux)

a visor magnifier (awesomely easier to do this stuff with a magnifying visor)

Either desoldering wick (inexpensive but very time-consuming) or a solder sucker (also cheap and somewhat time-consuming, but another option that works) or a desoldering gun (much more expensive but much easier, faster and does higher quality work)

A nice, bright work light

Marvin's repair guide.

A bit of luck.

There ya go. Good luck.
2  General / Open Discussion / Star Trip plastic scan wanted (upper right) on: April 22, 2009, 07:52:12 PM
Hi Folks.
I could use a scan or good front-on photo of the upper-right plastic for a Star Trip machine. It's the one with the girl wearing the big glasses.

Thanks for any help.

Here's a link to a non-front-on picture of the plastic I need to replace, thus the scan request.
3  Classifieds / For Sale / Re: Family fun and startrip for sale on: April 22, 2009, 07:46:57 PM
Hi Brian.
Hey if you haven't sold those machines yet, I really could use a scan or good front-on shot of the upper-right plastic on Star Trip that has the girl on it wearing the big glasses. I picked up a Star Trip project the other day and that plastic is gone.

Thanks in advance if you can help me. In any case, good luck with selling yours.
4  General / Open Discussion / Re: Hello - New Member and Star Trip owner on: March 24, 2008, 12:56:06 AM
One more tip.
If the board is covered in dirt & grime, you should be able to safely clean it using soap & water and maybe a toothbrush or paintbrush or something. The water won't hurt anything. After cleaning it up, rinse it well and let it dry plenty (a day or so) before plugging it into anything and applying power. The dirt alone could even be causing a problem, so cleaning would at least eliminate that possibility, plus there is the added advantage of having a clean board if you have to work on it, or just look at it.

cold solder joints are not foreign to pinball stuff at all, so looking for that could indeed be a good place to start.
Folks don't post pictures much on this forum, but there is certainly nothing against it. Sure might help more than a ton of typing. The pictures have to be hosted somewhere on the net though, like photobucket (what I use) or something.
Just use the standard "forum" code (img.../img, etc.) if this is new to you let me know and I'll walk you through it.

If you're getting zero LED blinks, it very well could be a voltage problem.
Hehe. Here I am acting like I'm giving advice and I can't diagnose my way out of a paper bag. I can agree with the best of 'em though. grin I'll let you know when you're over my head. That should be coming any minute now.

Thought I'd mention this too for what it's worth.
The molex connectors, whether inline or on board headers, are a common possibility for problems too. It might be worth doing some simple continuity checks to make sure that there isn't a flaky connection somewhere. Start with the power supply connections since you're getting no MPU action.
5  General / Open Discussion / Re: Hello - New Member and Star Trip owner on: March 24, 2008, 12:30:53 AM
Welcom to pindom. I got my first game (GP Sharpshooter) this past July and I had an interesting repair adventure of my own. These are pretty fun games and it brings back some good memories.

I'm guessing that if you study the board layouts & schematics for both the cocktails and the standard games, you could figure out where the differences are and find the proper test points. If you're not sharp with schematics, which is my situation too, usually you don't have to look too far to find a guy who's sharp that way to help you figure it out.

Note that about every schematic & manual is available via links from Clay's pinrepair page that you've been looking at. I kept finding stuff I didn't know was there for many weeks.

I came up with playfield from a a few-years-newer vintage GP game than the Sharpshooter I have, and the wire colors and everything were identical, so I bet that your game is similar and the game would be playable even with the wrong roms, though game play and sounds will obviously not be "right" until you get the correct roms in there. John Wart can probably hook you up on those:

Keep reading and decyphering. It's hard to be patient on the first game since you want to just play it, but I've come to enjoy working on them even more than the playing already.
The process of wrapping your noodle around what's going on can be fun too.

In the end, if your efforts keep ending up at dead ends, then Jim's new boards from Echo Lake Pinball will undoubtedly be an instant fix. Jim is great people and the board is a quality piece of engineering.
Echo Lake Pinball Service & Sales
voice: 330-278-2228
925 Marwin Dr.
Hinckley, Ohio 44233
jvbuzzard (at)

rotsa ruck

p.s. I'm not sure, but it may be that if your roms are corrupted or placed in the wrong sockets, the boot-up might not work properly, but in that case you should still at least get a few LED blinks. My Sharpshooter MPU didn't look bad, but it was still corroded enough that I couldn't fix it. Jim's board solved my problem.
You probably already saw this, but the manual will tell you which LED blink is testing what, so check the troubleshooting section out for possibilities. No blinks at all likely means a number of possible problems, but it's a place to start.
6  Classifieds / For Sale / Re: Coney Island backglass on: February 14, 2008, 06:34:35 PM
Here are the pictures Tad sent me:

Reproduction on left - original on right
7  Classifieds / For Sale / Re: Coney Island backglass on: February 12, 2008, 05:37:18 PM
I don't have a Coney Island, but email me some pictures and I'll put them up if you want. Ya gotta show your stuff man! Wink
Sounds like they look great.
8  Classifieds / Wanted / Re: Vegas Cocktail on: February 08, 2008, 01:57:22 AM
You might take a look at the RGP newsgroup. There are a couple guys from your continent that are making their own pinball machine from scratch (search for "Coconut Island"). From talking to them, they are pretty "in the know" about the pinball scene down under and they may be able to point you toward some sources.

Good luck in the search.

Link to RGP:

9  General / Tech Corner / Re: Working with ink for backglass restoring ??'s on: February 08, 2008, 01:52:52 AM
hehe. Yes I will for sure.... if I ever get off my butt and do some work.

I did discover that the cheap HF sprayer is cheaper than I hoped. It would have worked perfectly, but the hole in the nozzle doesn't go through! It's just drilled down a ways and not finished. It was a simple, stupid manufacturing mistake. For me it's not a big deal because I can rework it in my garage machine shop, but most folks don't have that stuff so handy. Maybe different runs from the factory work better (likely). Just maybe inspect it or try it first before blowing money on one.

Since my last post I spent my wad on a Twilight Zone project machine, so my attention has been going there and will for a few more weeks or so. I also spent a day in the hospital and I have no insurance, so the non-insured American statistic has become very real for me and I'll be quite broke for a very long time. Bummer, but at least I'm OK now.

I'll post any more updates as soon as there are any to make, but this project is on the back burner for a while.

10  General / Open Discussion / Re: Need some some help making a decision please on: January 15, 2008, 11:57:30 PM
The only "hot" title on that list is T2, but hot titles are often mostly hype. The main advantage to the hot titles is you can usually find information on them a little easier, though all four of those games are fairly well known so you won't run into the wall of rarity.

I've not played any of those titles in person, but one thing I do a lot of is play the pinmame version of games (Vitrual Pinball program) just to get an idea of how they play. It's not extremely realistic, but the game layout and all the rules & sounds are there so it's very useful, and most of the tables are pretty close. Also, there are TONS of tables available to check out and all four of those games can be tried. Most of the time when folks ask "which game should I buy?" posts you get the standard "play it yourself and buy what YOU like" answer. While this is true, where the hell do you go to play the games? Well Virtual Pinball, that's where. You can download the tables here:

The program is a little tricky to install, but once you do it works well. You have to install pinmame, virtual pinball (VP) and a couple other files. Not too bad really. Download that stuff here:

There is a quick & easy "visual install pack" you can download and install rather than doing it all separately. I haven't tried it so I don't know if it works or not, but it probably does. If you have any issues installing the program or playing individual tables, search the VP forum and you'll find the answer. I have yet to fail finding a solution to any problems I've had - if you have the problem, somebody before you has too and there are posts showing solutions. Most of them play without a hitch though.

It's a really good way to try tables out for free even though it's not quite the real thing. Real tables play extremely differently than VP, so it's best for getting an overall impression of the rules & sounds (which are very important to me). If a VP table tends to drain all the time or you find certain shots hard to make, it will likely be totally different on the real game so don't base a purchase on the way it plays in VP.

Good luck and welcome to the addiction.
Also, here's a couple good pinball sites you need to visit: newsgroup
Internet Pinball Database
Pinball repair reference goldmine. Also good pinball videos you can buy cheap

If you have any questions, come back & ask.

p.s. Many folks buy games, play them for a while, and sell them to buy others all the time. Whatever you get, you can always find a buyer at some price, so the only reason for regret is paying way too much. To me, taking a small loss is no big deal since you get to enjoy it for the time you have it so it's not for nothing. To help you get an idea what games are selling for, here's a great list of eBay sales from the past couple years or so of every pinball game sold (not just listings, but actual sales):
I've noticed that the list is pretty accurate and finding a game for the average price will be a decent deal. If you go to selling a game, selling it clean with reasonably new rubber and 100% working should net a little above the average price on the summary list.
11  General / Tech Corner / Re: Working with ink for backglass restoring ??'s on: January 05, 2008, 07:47:07 PM
Talking of cheap sprayers got me jonesing to drop by Harbor Freight today. They had these, so I picked up 2:

Click here to see it on HF's site

It's just got plastic bottles so it probably won't work with acetate or other aggressive solvents, but I may be wrong about that.
I'll use these sprayers for acrylic and the like. Pretty neat sprayers for $8
12  General / Tech Corner / Re: Working with ink for backglass restoring ??'s on: January 04, 2008, 11:30:14 PM
Alright. Now we're getting somewhere!

I had some sticky-back vinyl and used that for a mask and airbrushed the ink. I tried yellow this time. The color looked pretty good on the white mask but was so translucent on the glass that it looked barely coated. Then I sprayed a light coat of white over it and BAM! Perfect translucent yellow (when viewed from the front), just like the pros.
Ohh yea baby!

The vinyl I have is way too sticky to use on antique backglass art, so I still need to find the right material to mask with. But at least I found that a non-absorbent mask material functions extremely well - nice crisp lines.

I almost wish I had to work tomorrow so I could scrounge some easy-peel sticky back vinyl to bring home. Of course I don't really mean that. I'd much rather take the next six months off that go back to work tomorrow. But I am excited to have covered this kind of ground in just one evening.

I think more than anything else, this is a testament to how easy it will be to successfully heal a peeling backglass. The obvious caveat is that the inks are permanent and it must be done correctly on the first attempt. That's why the mask needs to be easy to work with. Any do-overs must be done with the mask and checked & double checked before committing to spraying ink. A secondary concern is being sure of the color match, but that can be tested on some scrap glass and held up behind the actual art to visually test and adjust until it's satisfactory. You can take as much time doing this as you want, then go watch TV or play with the kids and come back to check it all out again to be sure. This gravure ink with acetate for a thinner dries extremely fast (about five minutes) so once the preparation is done, things can proceed very quickly.

Groovy! afro

By the way:
I have a few really nice Paasche and Iwata airbrushes, but for this project I'm using a cheap Badger external-mix airbrush. I guess it's more accurate to call it a paint sprayer than an air brush. Harbor freight sells something similar and I'm sure it's even cheaper, but the way these things function I'm sure a really cheap one will work about the same as a Badger. It's really pretty cheezy, but is very easy to clean and we don't want this process to require expensive tools. It's got to be easy!

For either sprayer,  you should find a bunch of extra bottles for it with sealing caps to make things easy.

Here's an image of the cheap sprayer I'm using ($20 from the site this picture is from):

Here's a link to the Harbor Freight sprayer:
Actually it looks much nicer than the Badger I'm using. Hard to go wrong for 5 bucks!
13  General / Tech Corner / Re: Working with ink for backglass restoring ??'s on: January 04, 2008, 09:51:52 PM
Tried the airbrush with just masking tape. It looks promising in theory.
I was afraid that the paint would wick up under the tape, but it acts more like a stencil and the ink does not bleed under the tape. Yipee! However, it does soak through. That acetate solvent is pretty aggressive - I use it to clean stuff at work all the time because it dissolves any kind of dirt/grease/grime very fast. Standard paper masking tape won't quite cut the mustard.

So it looks like it might be as simple as finding a masking material that isn't absorbent! Frisket is pretty low-tack and some kind of clear plastic-ish material isn't it? Or maybe I can try some temporary/releasing (whatever it's called) adhesive-backed vinyl from work. I've seen some sticky-backed paper that has a kind of waxy adhesive for multiple repositioning that might work good for this, but I can't remember where I saw that - it was many years ago. It just needs to be something that won't pull existing art off a backglass. I assume that applying triple thick to the art you want to keep should be done first no matter what, but even with that you'd still want to minimize the chance of doing damage when peeling off the mask.

Any ideas welcome.
14  General / Tech Corner / Working with ink for backglass restoring ??'s on: January 04, 2008, 06:51:29 PM
Ok all you printing guys. Seems to be a bunch of you in here, so I'm going to try to stretch your noodle.

The project: Working out a process that the handy DIY guy can follow to restore the translucent colors in a backglass.

I researched a little on backglass restoration. Virtually everybody says DO NOT touch up the translucent areas. Well freakin' yipee! From what I've seen it's always the translucent areas that are peeling while the opaque/masked areas hold tight. I'm a firm believer in the idea that A) people make everything in the first place 2) I am a people and D) I should be able to fix something that was made by other people. It's always worked so far and I hate to be told not to do something. Besides, I'm sure it's just a matter of learning a little bit and figuring out a reliable method for success.

What I've learned so far is that the recommendation away from messing with translucent touch-ups stems from the standard fare of media used for backglass touch-up. Namely, acrylic paints from the craft store. OK, I get it. Acrylic paint repairs can be backed out of if things go wrong. Acrylic is extremely easy to work with relative to ink. But that's not acceptable to me - it's only for opaque, non-backlit areas on backglasses. I refuse to just accept that "you can't repair translucent sections of backglasses". Rubbish!

Another thing I've learned is from ONE SITE that describes their methods of repairing those translucent colors. They use inks instead of paints because they are opaque when front-lit but so thin that they transmit light through. OK, I think we're on to something. Plus, if one guy can do it, then I can too.

So today I brought home a selection of good gravure (solvent) inks - black, white, yellow, rubine red, and cyan. Also some solvent. I'm going to experiment with this stuff and see what I can come up with, but I'm not a printer so I can use any advice from you printer guys if you have any.

I've already tried freehand brushing on some blank glass, which works OK except the brush strokes show a little and is obviously thicker than optimum. I also tried brushing inside a shape made with masking tape, which won't do - the thin ink & solvent wicks under the masking tape easily and leaves a nasty, hairy border. No good. I started with a brush just because it's easy and I didn't figure it would be the right method.

This leads me to two other methods to try next: Rolling the ink on a masked pattern with a soft rubber roller - I'm guessing the edges might not be acceptable since the roller will have to flex over the masking tape, but maybe not. That's why I'm experimenting grin
The other method is to airbrush the ink on a masked pattern, but I'm not sure if I'll have the wicking edge problem with this or not. It might depend on the proper thinning of the ink and/or thickness of each coat if more than one is required. Maybe a different masking media would perform better (frisket film?) to address the wicking problem?

What else might I try? passing the ink through silkscreen with a simple mask on the glass? or a simple mask on the screen? (by simple I mean frisket or masking tape). I think the masking needs to be simple & basic, i.e. creating a "real" silkscreen is much more difficult than would be practical for just repairing a backglass.

Anyways, those are a few of my thoughts. I figure I'll experiment as I can over the next few weeks and see if I can come up with a good process. Thanks for any input.
15  General / Open Discussion / Re: CAN ANYONE TELL ME!!!...... on: December 30, 2007, 08:44:18 PM
"a nice cushy job!"
lol. No kidding. Kind of like early test pilots. And I'm guessing those guys probably complained a lot less after work than I usually do. At least I'm aware that I'm spoiled. tongue

It's kind of funny. Restoring a Bridgeport or the like is mostly a lot of elbow grease applied with primitive technology. For example, one of the best methods for creating a high-precision flat surface just involves some ink, three flat plates and a scraper, and a bunch of sweat & sore muscles. Apply that to a dozen surfaces or so and replace a few parts and "ding", you have a nice machine again.
If you want to get into machining, definitely talk to me off-group and I can help to point you in the right direction. I do it for a living, but it's still also my favorite hobby. I find it very engaging, relaxing (usually) and satisfying. Don't worry too much that you'll need to restore any machines. I have a bunch in my shop and I've luckily had to do very little restoration work on them. Just a little TLC now & then usually suffices, and most of my stuff is 50's & 60's vintage. Getting into it can still be done pretty cheap. You can "jones" for the next machine or tool forever and still not have everything you want, but you can do a lot with just one lathe OR one mill and they don't have to be very large. Anyways, feel free to contact me. I've counseled many in your shoes.

What the hell kind of machine is your buddy working on? .0002" is often the limit on watchmaker's instruments and large machines expand 5X more than that with 1* of Fahrenheit fluctuation in a room! Unless it's some kind of laser measuring instrument in a lab, it may be a case of the customer having no idea that his expectations are totally unrealistic. I often have to hold .0002" tolerance on a bearing fit or the like, but it's more a matter of operating the machine with skill and it's always that way. You can't just twiddle the knobs on a machine and expect it to spit out close tolerances like that. There are too many other variables involved. Even expensive CNC equipment fluctuates and ,0002" over an inch or so of length is difficult to hold, and usually there is an undesirable amount of scrap.

Don't tell me you have a hurdy gurdy. Some old EM with animated back glass would just be too cool. I'm about 1/3 the way through my first EM. I've gone through the lower cabinet so I still have the back box and playfield to do. I just got some super lube in the mail today so I can follow the "Shaggy" method of EM restoration. Have you looked at or considered those TOP videos? I picked them up a couple weeks ago and they are really pretty darn good. For a green hack like myself they are perfect.

Oh, yea. DS, I don't think I need too much luck with that price. That's the average rate these days for an average PinBot (with new plastics & vortex). You do know that the only auction amounts that mean anything are actual selling prices. Auctions that aren't complete yet always have low prices until the end, and some auctions start way higher than anything will ever sell. Neither number means a thing. The significant numbers on eBay are in green. I saw an auction for a local PinBot and it's so beat up that one look at the pictures convinced me not to consider it even for backup parts for my own. Of course that might have been different if I didn't already have one already as well as spread out pretty thin financially right now. I might not sell mine right away, but I don't feel ripped off with it and that's truly what I have into it.

Holy smokes. Another long post from vinito.
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