Tuesday, December 4, 2007

played Wheel of Fortune

Again some changes in the gameroom.
Diner unfortunately already had to leave.. it looked nice, was great fun to play, but because of personal reasons one pin had to go and this was it. It was my wifes decision to sell it (also to buy it in the first place).

The Bally 8 Ball has also been picked up this weekend so I now have finally room in the gameroom. I even have an empty space with Diner gone :(
Now I only need to clean up a bit again as there's too many things laying on top of the playfield glasses. Whirlwind is still open, need to solder in a new display glass.

I did put in the new LH6 eprom in Whitewater. Bought it from www.thatpinballplace.com
Very good seller - good prices, fast shipping, good communication, eprom was very well packaged (in plastic tube so the legs wouldn't be damaged and in a static bag).

Unfortunately it didn't solve my mysterious opto switch problem, I'll put in the cpu of the BSD and see what this does. I start to think it is related to the cpu as the playfield does look ok and in switch test the opto registers well..

I played Sterns Wheel of Fortune pinball machine this weekend !
It looks great ! Very colorful. I like the music, sounds, playfield layout, flow, ..
Don't know much about the game rules yet and the game wasn't updated to the latest version. It played very smooth though, I like the loop, I like the ramps, ..
Didn't get a high score, I did start a few multiballs. The outlanes and posts between the flippers are something you need to get used to but it plays well. The post between the flippers did save some balls (when I played Spiderman it usually didn't).
I'll try to put some pictures on my site one of the next days.

It's weird, everyone likes Spiderman, but I prefer Family Guy and Wheel of Fortune (and would consider owning them if they weren't so expensive new). Maybe in a few years..

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

gameroom reorganised

The gameroom is reorganised. One side now has all WPC games. Another game we bought is a Williams Diner pinball machine. Friends of us restored it (nos translight, some new insert decals, flamepolished ramps, ..) so it looks and plays very good. It's a nice feeling to buy a pinball game that doesn't need to be shopped, I can just put it in the gameroom and play it.. don't have to put extra time in to clean and adjust it.

In the past I preferred to buy bargains, games from operators and I would repair and clean them myself. But now I don't have any time anymore, so it's nice to buy a game that someone else has done all the work on, so I can just play and enjoy it.

On the other side of the room are all weird-sized games. Wide- and small body games.
Orbitor 1 and Black Hole have wide heads. All other games have regular or smaller then regular heads: Tommy, Little Pro, Outrun and finally Safecracker.

This means there are now 15 games in my gameroom :) It's nice to find space for an extra game in a gameroom of which I always thought it was full..
The heads are really very close together, and this extra game is only possible because Little Pro, Safecracker and Outrun are much smaller.. so I can't replace any of these 3 with a regular pinball machine. Not that I intend to ever sell my Outrun or Safecracker :)

My Fireball project game is sold :( I'll miss it but don't have time to fix it or place to set it up. Some day in the future I'll have room again for an electro-mechanical pinball machine..

The 8 ball project is also sold but still needs to be picked up. Once that's out of the way (it's currently in the middle of the gameroom) I will make some nice pictures of the gameroom, as the ones on my website are 3 years old now.

I also was able to test the Little pro. Good news is that it works on 220 volts and seems to run. You can start a game, a ball gets served and the manikin kicks it away. After 27 hits the game ends, so that part of the game logic also works.
What doesn't work is the switch that registers hole 1 (or the logic that registers a hit at any hole). Still need to troubleshoot this..
I was able to lift the playfield (wasn't very obvious): at both sides of the playfields there are 5 screws. 2 on each side are flatheads, you need to remove them if you want to lift the playfield.
Next step is to clean and shop this game and try to get it completely working..

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Southland Little Pro manikin game added

This weekend we've bought a new game, it's a Southland Little Pro mini golf game, made in 1964.

I already knew it was for sale since Februari. We were a bit interested in it as it's a pretty rare game and from what I read it's fun to play. But it was a long drive, most of our weekends were already filled, and we didn't have space to put it. So I kind of forgot about the game.

Last week we got some magazines (Magische Machines by Henk de Jager) and in one of them the game was described. My wife therefor thought again about this machine and decided she really wanted to buy it. She phoned the seller and it was still for sale. We were just in time as their house was for sale and the machine was still in the basement.

So on saturday we went to buy the game. It's in quite good condition, legs are rusted and the bottom pannel had some moisture spots, but the rest of the cabinet is good, playfield is good, and backglass is perfect.

I haven't tested it (even haven't figured out how to open it) but it looks like it will work without a lot of problems.

We also got a large box of tokens. Not really valuable but we collect all different kinds of tokens and we didn't have this (they're from a company in London), and tokens are always useful (this Little Pro game needs them to start a game).

Problem is storage room.. but with some luck and reorganising the gameroom we can fit an additional game in there. I may also sell some of my project machines, I still have a nice Eight Ball and a Bally Fireball. Also have an Italian wallgame I need to fix up and sell (or sell as is) and two german wall-flipper games that I need to check if I can fix them..

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

dmd driver board repair part 2

OK this is beginning to become a funny story, guess I can add this to my
funny things I learned page soon.

As posted yesterday I had repaired a dmd driver board. Also have one for sale, someone asked about it, I tested it in my Whitewater pinball game, and - big problem: the display came on but was faded at the top. So I emailed the person it wasn't for sale anymore. (as I thought this driver board didn't give enough voltage). Connected the original driverboard in my whitewater pin and it didn't come on anymore. Oops ?!

Anyway, I had tested yesterday the rebuilt driver board in my Dracula. Also didn't come on. Tested it in my whitewater. Didn't work. Put in the original board in the BSD. Display didn't come on and the game even started to reset every 20 seconds. Big problems !
My first guess was that one driver board was bad and maybe had damaged the cpu (and I had killed my BSD and WW testing it).

Now I started to think (finally). 4 driver boards, suddenly all bad ? That can't be happening. Time to take out the manual and double check everything.. DUH - stupid me !!
I had put on the small flatcable that connects to the dmd the other way around.
What I thought was a marking on the pcb for pin 1, was actually pin 14.

Plugged in the flatcable correct and start to test every board and every game again.

Good news and bad news. My whitewater pinball display was a bit faded with my spare and rebuilt boards. The dots in the top line aren't bright and sometimes flicker a bit.
But when the original board is plugged in, it works fine and the dmd looks as new ?!
I'll leave the game as is, and if the display ever is really bad I'll replace it and rebuild that driver board too. (I ordered enough kits from GPE)

The rebuild and spare boards worked perfect in my Dracula pinball machine. I was happy.. my 2 hours of soldering yesterday wasn't wasted. And my spare board was ok.
Final problem then - the original BSD board doesn't work. I have no idea what caused this as it always worked fine (until now when I removed it from the game to test the one I needed to rebuild). I saw the 62 volts was missing, it was a broken fuse.
Replaced the fuse but it blew again after a few seconds..
Bad news :(

Anyway I didn't have any time to check it further, so I put in my spare board and will check the board one day..
at least now my BSD is playable again. Only need to check my Whitewater as it has a strange opto problem..

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

dmd driver board repair

Spent over 2 hours yesterday evening working on a dmd driver board.
DMD didn't work, one of the voltages (don't remember which one) was too low.

Ordered a dmd high voltage rebuilt kit from greatplainselectronics.com, it arrived fast. Nice product for a great price (buying the parts separate at my local electronics shop would probably cost me double).

But the soldering itself.. I really hate soldering these dmd driver boards.
Parts are pretty close to each other. I did start at the top (first did the 4 resistors, then removed the large ceramic resistors, the heat sinks, and moved my way towards the bottom of the board removing parts..
resoldering everything went the other way, first bottom of board and working my way up.

Each time I had soldered in a component I checked with my dmm resistance towards the next component, to make sure they were soldered correctly and I had no cold solder joints.

And still, when I finally tested the board in a pinball machine, the score display did not come on ?!
Aaaargh ! I've been busy for almost 2,5 hour and it doesn't work :(

It was already too late to do any troubleshooting, tonight I'll continue and measure the voltages.. (and test the board in another machine).
I hope it's not a big fault and I can repair this board, because else I would'be been cheaper off buying one of those high-voltage piggy-back boards you just put on top of the original dmd driver board.

Update: seems my soldering isn't as bad as I thought - check tomorrows post.

Monday, October 15, 2007

desktop wallpapers online

On my new site I've added a new category: desktop wallpapers.
There you find nice pinball-related pictures, in different resolutions so they are suitable to use as desktop background wallpaper for your computer.

More will be added when I have time.. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

lock picking guide

I recently saw a documentary about lock picking. It was impressive how fast professionals can open locks.
On my site I also have a page about opening locks
which gives you some information.

When you drill a lock you should first use a thin drill bit and follow up with a slightly larger bit. If you look at the picture on that page of the drilled slotmachine lock, it's drilled open too much. A smaller bit would have worked also.
I've even seen games where people completely drilled out the complete lock !
This takes a long time and is not necessary.. just a small drill through the center should be enough, so you have enough part of the lock left to rotate.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

polish and wax your car

Not a new article but as this is quite popular and interesting it's worth mentioning the existance of it.
Here you can read about car waxes and polishes, and which ones you can use on your playfields.

There are a lot of different opinions, most people swear by Carnauba wax, others use plain Turtle wax, but synthetic waxes also have their use.
There's no scientific research done (as far as I know) to waxing playfields, but there is a lot of research done to waxing cars, and how to polish them, remove small scratches and haze, ..

Thursday, August 30, 2007

new in crate bowling machines found

New article online about a new warehouse found, new in crate bowling machines.

As I posted a few months go, I had a lead on some machines.. finally had time to arrange a meeting. There was nothing interesting of jukeboxes, almost nothing interesting of pinball machines (a friend of mine bought some projects there), but I did buy a few wallgames. One is already restored, in a few days I'll put info about that type of machine online.

What I did find (but they're not for sale) in the warehouse were three still new in the crate bowling arcade machines. Incredible, these machines are 30 to 40 years old, and have never been unpacked and played..

Stonecarpet floor in the gameroom

Visitors of our gameroom often have very positive reactions on our stonecarpet floor.

Stonecarpet is still a relative new type of floor material that you don't see often, although more and more people install it in their (new) houses.
As I explain on the site it was an good solution for us. Because the gameroom is in the back of the garden we had some types of flooring (laminate wood, tiles, carpet) that were not an option..

We wanted something special, and not the default black and white vinyl floor like a lot of gamerooms have.

I designed the whole pattern in the floor, in the beginning it was a real playfield drawn (complete with playfield artwork) but each time it became more and more simplified. Last-minute I even left out some parts as they would be too close to others.

It's quite easy to make your own designs with stonecarpet. You can use the metal frames that you can cut and bend into shapes and glue to the floor. These will remain visible when the stonecarpet floor is put into place. Other shapes like the bumper caps and round circles (light inserts) are cut out of foam, that was removed later.

The only thing you have to take care of, is that with the foam, they can't install adjacent pieces on the same day. As the company that installed it planned to do it in 2 days, we very carefully had to check what color in the bumper caps they would do on the first day, so they could finish everything the second day. That was about the only limit we had choosing different colors and shapes.
When the different colors are seperated with a metal frame, this is not an issue.

If you are thinking about installing a stonecarpet floor and have questions you may always contact me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New site online

The new site is online ! www.Flippers.be is redesigned !

After a lot of evenings/nights work finally all pages are converted to the new page layout.
I hope you all like it. It should be a bit more easy to read and navigate..
and the new site layout allows me also to add new things and quickly change things.
Some minor layout changes may still happen in the next weeks/months..

So if you like or don't like the new layout, let me know..

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

a clean gameroom

Back from holidays :) And I finally had time to clean the gameroom.
Since the beginning of this year it was used as storage room, I hardly had space to play pinball :(

but now I finally had time to organise everything around the house and clean out the gameroom. Everything that shouldn't be there is out. Only thing left is to do is to clean up and organize all the spare parts boxes and put some of it for sale. I have too many parts of parted games that I keep and will probably never use..

I also started working on (another) redesign for the website. As always I have big plans with it, just need time to finish them :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

crappy pinball machines

New article posted about crappy pinball machines.

In the past decade some pinball machines were released that are really crappy. Literally. One starts to think if some pinball designers are sick and obsessed, or they knew the game is going to stink and want to make it obvious for everyone..

Why else would so many pins include toilets or sewers ?
Pinball is supposed to be fun..


Thursday, July 12, 2007

jukebox pictures online

I put almost every picture I have about jukeboxes online at www.paperarcade.com.

As I have room enough at that domain name and want to put more things online then pinball machines, I made a quick index. Looks like I have more pictures than I thought I did.. For some brands there are rare jukeboxes that are hardly documented on other websites with jukebox overviews.

In September and October there are some jukebox shows, then I'll make more pictures of jukeboxes. If enough visitors are interested in jukebox photographs, I may put it on a seperate website and put a database behind it so people can upload their pictures.. trying to get pictures of every jukebox ever made ?

Addams Family Gold article

Put a new article online, about the differences between Addams Family and TAF Gold pinball machines.

Many people only think the gold trim on the cabinet is different. If you inspect the pinball machines closely you'll notice more details are changed.

Hopefully this will help some people to check if a TAFG they want to buy is genuine.

Nothing more to mention.. been busy with non-pinball related things..

Monday, June 25, 2007

Fuji Finepix S9600

I bought a new photo camera last week. It's a Fuji Finepix S9600 (known as S9100 in the usa).
Now I can finally make some 'good' pictures to put on the website, as my previous compact camera had a lot of problems when the lighting was difficult (read: at every show we visit).

Jukebox AMi K

This weekend be bought a jukebox !
It's an Ami K of 1960. Not in perfect condition, some of the cosmetics were badly restored - the 3 metal parts in front of the speaker grille ie have been spray painted with chrome paint, instead of having it actually rechromed.
Looks ok from a distance but you notice it when you look closely.

Most important is that it works right, the mechanics are ok, everything still looks good, no rust. All selections play without any problem. That's the most important for me, as a lot of the cosmetic parts can still be bought new..
we'll have a big shopping list when we go to the jukebox show in Rosmalen in a few months !

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fireball is in the house !

I have a Bally Fireball pinball machine !! (again)

I'm happy :-)
This game was on my wish list for a long time.

I found a project machine for a good price. But it is a serious project.
No backglass or legs. The seller said it was in a garden shed for a while, which can be seen.. rubber rings became brittle and some even melted ! Cabinet is also faded, the blue looks a lot lighter than I remember from other Fireballs.
The good news is that all plastics are ok. Playfield is reasonable, some paint starts to flake off at the bottom, but not much more than I saw on another Fireball.

This is the fourth time I have a Fireball in my house and I hope this one will be a keeper.. that'll probably depend if I find time to repair it or if it'll still be in a corner in the gameroom in a few year from now..

First Fireball I bought was years ago, but it had a broken backglass and didn't play well. I didn't know anything about e-m's, couldn't fix it and I sold it to someone who did have a spare backglass.

Second Fireball wasn't mine, a friend had found one for sale for $100 in my town, so I picked it up for him.

Third Fireball was 2 years ago, but also wasn't really my game. Got it from a friend and I could buy it if I wanted, but the game was also not working and the playfield had a bit too much wear for what I was looking for and considering his price. So after a few weeks he took the game back..

Friday, June 15, 2007

New UK pinball company

A new pinball manufacturing company in the UK has started !


Not much information is known at this time, only that they're real pins (not virtual pinball stuff). Prototypes will be ready for the UK pinball show in September.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Haunted House backglasses available

More reproduction news, today was posted on RGP that Haunted House repro backglasses are available.
Licensed reproductions, perfect quality, exact like the originals were.

More info at the site of classicplayfields

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

New article - DVD ready - BBB delivered

Added a new article yesterday, check the funhouse prototype guide.

It explains the differences on Funhouse pinball machines that were done during the production run, how to recognise a real proto and sample game from a regular production game.

DVD 3 is also ready ! It's of the Collector Fantasies show and the belgian pinball championship.
See site for details and to order.

News: the american Big Bang Bars are ready !
Last year 12 were already delivered to Europe, to be delivered befor ROHS laws became active.
Now the rest of the rerun is finished.
Here is the page of a dutch owner who just received his new BBB earlier this week. He didn't order one 2 years ago (and thus wasn't by the inital 12 european BBBs) but was able to buy a 'left over' one from Gene because someone cancelled his order.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Spiderman pinball machine

The new Spiderman pinball machine by Stern is out on test.
Pictures can be found on sites like pinballnews.com.

With the newest Spiderman film now released and breaking box office records, this looks like a very good license for Stern ! Let's hope the machine goes out of testing phase and is actually released and put on location by operators very soon.
The pinball machines is based on all 3 Spiderman movies btw, and not on the original comic book series (the Gottlieb Spiderman pinball machine made in the early 1980ies is).

I'm looking forward to seeing this on location..
(I still haven't played Stern previous pinball machine, Family Guy)

DVD almost ready ?

I finished editing the dvd yesterday evening and let it render an image in the night.
Will burn a first dvd tonight and watch it on my tv to see if anything has to be changed (probably..).

I cut a few minutes of footage of the semi and final of the belgian pinball championship, when players had one ball in play for several minutes.. but other than that the complete game of almost every player is shown so you can see the progress of the semi finals, how much a player has scored at the end of each ball, so it'll be as thrilling to see on tv as it was in real life.

The last part on the dvd is an explenation about old restored Bally bingo machines from the 1950ies and 1960ies. The problem with the whole dvd is that sound quality is quite bad - my video camera only has an internal microphone and picks up a lot of background noise.. of which there is plenty at a pinball and jukebox show :-(

I even thought about leaving the interviews off, but as I had taped them and they could be interesting to some people I left them on.. people that don't like them must just fastforward to the next part.. I did cut some parts where you almost couldn't understand anything at all that was being said.. interviewing someone in the center of the show hall while there are jukeboxes playing loudly at the booths around us wasn't the best idea I had.
That's also the reason why I don't intend to film any other shows, the sound quality of my camera is just too bad for that (and I filmed all the most important shows now).

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Rosmalen jukebox open air show

Not a lot to post.. been very busy with a lot of non-pinball things the last days.

Visited the Rosmalen Open Air jukeboxshow last sunday. It was great ! Very good weather, really lovely to walk around. Not a lot of pinball machines to see but there were some nice collectibles.
Pictures will be online on my site later this week.

I also worked a few hours on my new dvd about the Belgian Pinball Championship that was held in January. I'm half way now, the show tour is ready, interview with Henk de Jager, and the quarter final of the championship.
I hadn't worked on the dvd for almost 2 months. My goal is to finish it by the end of next week.
I will only make a 'european' version, not converted into NTSC format, not subtitled in english.. my other 2 dvds just don't sell enough for that. And now I have a long interview with Henk de Jager who explains the details about his custom pinball machines and an interview with someone who restores old Bally bingo machines.. it's just too much work to subtitle it all.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

Screen printing

Worked yesterday further on my 'secret' article. Almost done now !
I think I will put it online this weekend and if I get new information I'll just update it.

I've added something important: the difference between process and spot screenprinting.
I knew about it before but didn't really research it. Now I did and it's more important than I first thought..
so a quarter of the article completely changed, some new interesting historic details were added, some new pictures, ..

My domain name www.flippers.be exists for 3 years now, so that article is a nice present to myself :)
The content btw is much older, I think I already started in 2000 or 2001 on my personal webspace with the 'newbie pages to pinball' (now renamed to pinball basics).

Something completely different but also pinball-related if it has to be, our fridge came back from the painter yesterday. It looks cool, identical color of the new kitchen cabinets.
The painter said he also has once clearcoated a pinball playfield and it costs about 75 euro to do. Interesting to know !!
I still have a Bally Eight Ball (with The Fonz on the backglass) in almost perfect condition, so when I restore that game it's a good candidate to have the playfield clearcoated.

Still haven't had time to set up the new Whirlwind. The gameroom is in the winter also being used as storage room. First have to take out our bicycles, get rid of the empty cabinet of a Williams JokerZ I parted, and then I can set it up. Can't wait to play it.. but I have to as other things have priority.

The good news is yesterday a set of SafeCracker antiqued tokens arrived. I ordered them last week from http://www.pinball.com Got them in a week, that's pretty fast.
They really look great.
The bad news is that one of them is wrong !!
Instead of the Getaway truck token that was antiqued in the original set (shows a truck in 3D), the Armor Truck token has been antiqued (shows a truck from the side). This Armor Truck token was not antiqued originally..

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Whirlwind !

This weekend I acquired a Williams Whirlwind pinball machine !

I'm sooo happy ! I got a good deal on it and it's in very good condition.
I had a Whirlwind a few years ago (in 2004) and loved the game..
but as I then also had an Addams Family and a borrowed Monopolyin my gameroom, it was just too much..
I love Pat Lawlor games (also have Twilight Zone, Funhouse and Safe Cracker) but WW, TAF and Monopoly just have a too similar playfield layout.
Monopoly and WW even 'felt' the same, if you could make the shots on one you could make it blindfold on the other game too.
So therefor at that time I sold WW as I needed the room and one game had to go.

Unfortunately the borrowed Monopoly went away after a few months and I sold the TAF too as the playfield was too bad.. I did have a better playfield for it but didn't have time to swap and restore the game.. and TAF just doesn't do it for me. I don't know why but I don't really love that game. But a very good friend of mine loves it, so I sold it to him for what I had into it..
But I love Whirlwind, that was one of the only games I have sold in the past that I really missed..
Welcome home Whirlwind.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Warehouse find.

Been busy the last weeks with a warehouse find.
Technically it was not really a find as we know the operator for many years, and he contacted us. My wife had met him years ago at a distributor when she was there to buy some parts.
He asked for help to sell some machines as he really needs the space and wants to get rid of some machines very fast. He has everything, pinball machines, old and new, but also a lot of old arcade video games. So we made a few phone calls to people who can buy a few dozen games at once..

And by coincidence another operator I know told me last week he will clean out his warehouse in about 3 months.
I'm really curious to visit that warehouse and take pictures. He said there are a lot of old pinball machines but even (broken, incomplete) jukeboxes and even some slotmachines and jukeboxes. You never know what treasures I'll find ?!
I don't have room in my gameroom (or a truck to move everything or the 10.000's of euros needed to buy big lots of machines like this) but just walking through hundreds of old arcade games, hunting for that one special machine, is always nice.

Pictures of a similar warehouse find I had a few years ago can be seen at this page.

The article from my previous post will have to wait for a few weeks. It's almost finished but I want to wait on the feedback of someone and that can take 2 weeks or more..

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

still working on a new article

Hi world,

I've posted to rec.games.pinball and other forums asking for information about pinball companies For a month now I'm working on a new article for my site and it's going to be very interesting.
But it's still not finished, you'll have to wait a little while.. it just became bigger and bigger, it started with a small topic and the more I got to know about the subject, the more I started to dig in pinball history and the article just included more and more information.
Last friday evening I skyped with someone who was involved with the development of Diamondplate playfield clearcoat. Got some very interesting details !
And while I was talking to him, he got a phone call from Mark Sprenger. Art Director for Williams in the past, he did a lot of artwork for pinball machines like Diner, High Speed, Dracula, Space Shuttle, Banzai Run and many more ! He was even on speakerphone so I could ask him some questions, how cool was that !! (I found it pretty cool - for a guy from a small country that Belgium is to be able to talk to someone involved in pinball design - I'm not able to go to Pinball Expo and meet the designers so this was great)