OT - Pinball Machines - are they always breaking?
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  1. #1
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    Default OT - Pinball Machines - are they always breaking?

    I mean, I know the ones that take a beating in public places break a lot, but assuming a machine is used in the home and not abused, can I expect it to be fairly reliable?

    I'm speaking in particular about an early 90's Bally machine.

    Anyone here tangle with pinball machines?

  2. #2
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    I used to work in an arcade. The stuff breaks constantly. Video games go on forever ski ball cranes and pinball break hourly. The complicated pinballs are truly a nightmare. They make juke boxes look easy.

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    Only serviced one, I was told it was very reliable. I know Cedar Point in Ohio had a fairly large collection of them in operation for many decades in their grand arcade. I have had decent luck with Happ for parts. Pinball Parts - Pinball Supplies - SuzoHapp

    Edit: I'm sure KPotters experience is much more realistic. The one I fixed was a breeze.

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    When they break, are they hard to fix?


    I want to buy one but not if it becomes a PITA.

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    My brother-in-law bought a spanking new AC/DC pinball 3-4 years ago, to put in his man cave in the basement.
    It's not 20-25 years old, but there have been no errors on it.
    I think he paid around 10000 US$ for it?

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    I used to collect pinball and bowling machines mostly from the 1950's to the late 1980's models. In total I had a couple dozen, and by in large they survived fine for home use. They didn't get used much until the nieces and nephews came over. Then they got a day long workout. I rarely had problems with them, but I made sure I had repair and parts manuals for all of them.

    As time went on and the nieces and nephews grew up the machines sat and gathered dust. I sold about half the machines to collectors and gave the other half to relatives.

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    I'd give my left nut to have an original Gorgar pinball machine.

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    Over the years, I've owned 30-40 of all vintages. The old electromechanicals were a snap to fix. I'm ignorant on electronics, but I've found that many of the small problems on these newer machines are usually just wires coming loose. I've got a mid-90's Bally 'Attack From Mars' that gave me no serious problems over 15 or more years. Short answer: Buy one, have it fully shopped by an expert, and you can expect it to be quite reliable.

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    Over the holidays I go to look inside a friends 'Aztec' machine from the 70's. Electro-mechanical machine. There were wires and relays EVERYWHERE. The score 'computer' was fun to watch, with the rotating wheels adding up the points. Plenty of contacts to keep clean, lots of wires to check if there is a problem. The score display wheels (on this one) also had a habit of sticking.

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    I have a Chicago Coin "Hollywood" that I bought
    used in the early 90's. My kids played it often
    and now the grandkids play it often. I still play
    it too. I think it's from the 60's I bought all new
    bumper and flipper rubber off e-bay a few years ago.
    She only scores player one and sometimes that messes
    up other than that it works fine. I've replaced some
    bulbs and made a couple micarta gizzmos too. Paid
    300.00 no regrets.
    spaeth

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    I have a Gottlieb King Of Diamonds electro-mechanical and a Stern Stars solid state machine and both have been trouble free for ten years. I get replacement parts (light bulbs and rubber rings) from Pinball Resource in Poughkeepsie, NY
    Keith

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    Thanks all. I'm looking at an Addams Family machine....think I might go ahead on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtndew View Post
    I'd give my left nut to have an original Gorgar pinball machine.
    Please spare us on what your saving the right one for.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregSY View Post
    Thanks all. I'm looking at an Addams Family machine....think I might go ahead on it.
    GregSY,
    "Addams Family" is one of the most popular of all time. I never owned one, but my friends who run machines on location never griped about them. Hope you get one for a good price. From what I see on the webs, a clean copy is worth far more than it cost new.

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    yeah....they are a popular table. I was living in Chicago in 1992/93 when they came out and they've been popular ever since. I played them a lot back then and always wanted one. Anyway, I found one locally and made 'reasonably' good deal on it so by this weekend I should be in action. I've always liked pinball...always despised electronic games.

    Laugh all you want but one of the reasons I wanted it is that I think it will help keep my 'skills' up....hand/eye coordination etc.

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    I fixed them for several years as a summer job along with other amusement equipment. An arcade with about 150 slots kept me busy during the peak summer periods when the machines were worked hard (65-70 hours a week worth of busy--loved the OT!). I have an electromechanical Gottlieb machine--a Sing Along, for the curious--made in the mid 1970's, and other that rubbers and light bulbs I have never had to fix anything since it came out of the arcade where I worked despite several moves and (for several years) pretty heavy use during parties and such. Even the coin mechs still work fine.

    Pinball machines were made only for a few weeks per model back then, and expected to last a few seasons in arcade use without too much repair. For home use, they ought to be pretty bulletproof, but YMMV.

    John


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