Sunday, June 27, 2010

Italian pinball championship

I'm preparing for the Italian Pinball Championship that's in Milan next weekend.
We're going ! Hope to see you there ?!
Heres more info about the italian pinball championship.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

History of Stern Orbitor One

I'm very excited about this new article: the history of Stern Orbitor One.

Orbitor One is a favorite game of mine. It's unique with a 3D playfield, quite rare with its low production run, and very different to play.
Not much was known about this game (only that it was not developed by Stern Electronics themselves). So when I got in touch with someone who worked on the game in its development, I really was excited !
The history of who was behind the game is very interesting - in fact when I first read it, the story sounded too unbelieveable and too fantastic, for a moment I even doubted if it was real or a hoax.. but when I started to dig in the history and could confirm some facts I was even more amazed.

At the same time I've changed my Orbitor One game review, as after all this time it still didn't have any pictures.
So I quickly made some various pictures and added it to the gamereview, hope it's even more interesting now.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

how to open and repair a Tomtom One gps

Our TomTom One GPS broke yesterday.. still worked but because it fell down too much onto the dashboard of the car, the usb-slot just broke off. So I could now charge my gps anymore.

as you can see the usb slot is just gone, there's a hole ?!

The Tomtom One case is secured with hx8 screws. They are star-shaped.
Luckily they are no problem for me to open, a few years ago I bought a set with all types of tamper-proof bits :) It has saved me a few times already and paid back itself because of all the things I was able to fix with it.

The plastic parts click into eachother. Even with the screws removed, they will not come apart. Put a sharp knife between them. Apply some pressure and they come apart.

Now you can open the case. You see the metal part that broke off from the pcb board.

As you can see I also disconnected the wire that comes from the battery.
The GPS unit is powered all the time (and in standby), I really do not like to solder on pcb boards that have power on them. So to be sure I disconnected it.

Soldered the usb thing back in place. It is held in place by 4 small tabs that needed soldering. The data and power is transfered by very small connections that also broke off. Checked the mini -b usb specifics at wikipedia, power and ground are the outer 2 pins of the 5. So I soldered these two (don't need data as it was difficult to solder with my soldering iron and I don't connect the gps to my pc).

Assembled the Tomtom again, tested it and the gps unit started up correct (and charges) ! I've repaired my TomTom One gps ! :-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

more custom pinball machines

A week after the interview with Greg Freres, I have even more custom pinball machine news !

Dominique John has created Galactic Girl, a custom electro-mechanical pinball machine.

I have also added an overview of all custom pinball machine projects. Dozens of pinball collectors have created (or are still busy) making custom pinball machines.

Follow my site/blog, as within a few days I have a really very interesting article !
Don't want to post more yet (people who follow me in facebook will have read what it's about though), but it's really going to be a very interesting article about the history and development of a unique game..

Saturday, June 19, 2010

new flipper rubbers and pinball rings in stock

Got a lot of new pinball rubbers in earlier this week.. almost didn't have any rings anymore in some sizes. Had them at a good price too :-) Let me know if you need a new rubber set for your pinball machine..

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bought a new strobe

Not pinball but photography related (you may see more of these posts here in the future), they're kind of pinball related as my pinball machines are often subjects of what I photograph.

Anyway, I'm happy, bought a new toy :)
Got myself a Metz 48 AF1 strobe. I'm happy with it as it's a great strobe (as far as I've tested). Does full TTL, which I didn't have - up to now I only had a Nikon Sb-26dx which couldn't do ttl with my D90, and two older strobes with a slave flash trigger that only had full power or their own optical eye.

So with the 48AF1 and that SB26 I've got myself two nice flashes with full control in manual mode. Now I have to find some time to play around, but I already have some good ideas :)

I had been considering the Nikon SB-600 too, as that's similar in features. It is a bit more expensive here in Belgium (seems in the USA it's opposite and the Metz unit is more expensive there).
Read a few reviews of both flash units before making my choice.

The main difference between them in my opinion is the number of buttons on them.
The Metz 48 only has 4 (and a power on/off switch).
- Mode (switch between manual/ttl/ttl bl/hi-speed sync/..)
- minus and plus button
- testbutton
that's it !

With the flash on your camera you can select with the mode button between ttl and manual (and then use the + and - buttons to adjust power).
All other settings you have to press + and - together to go into a selection menu.
There you can select several items (again using +- together, and selecting with only + or -). Ie you can set it to use as a slave (and set its channel), adjust the zoom manually, modeling light, ..

The SB600 unit has much more dedicated buttons for each of these functions.

The advantage of the Metz is that it looks easier (less buttons to learn).
The Nikon SB-600 has an advantage for the pro photographer, it's much faster to make an adjustment: just press its specific button. While on the Metz you'll lose a few seconds more because you have to go into the menu, go to the adjustment, change it.
Especially when you're shootin people this is a big advantage, they'll barely notice that one press with the Nikon and the shoot goes on. With the Metz you have to stop for like 2-3 seconds before you can continue.
But as I only shoot static objects in a studio setting, speed of making adjustments it's not my main concern.

One advantage the Metz has and which is why I really like it for, is that the lcd screen lights up automatically. Press any button and the lcd screen lights on.
The SB-600 doesn't have this, it has a dedicated lcd backlight button.
I really do not like this. My older Sb-26dx strobe is similar.
When I take pictures of my pinball machines, it's usually late in the evening, and it's very dark in my gameroom. Dark enough to almost not see anything, at least not see what's on the lcd screen and most of the time even impossible to see where all the small buttons on the flash unit are.

So therefor I really prefer the Metz, just press any button (and because there are less, it's easier to feel which one I need to press), the lcd lights, and I can do the modification I want. With the sb-26dx I had trouble doing this - I wanted to make adjustments, lcd stayed dark, couldn't immediately find the button to light it, ..
Of course now I have TTL it's easier to do this. I don't have to work full manual and adjust settings there, I could use TTL and change the flash strobe power settings on the camera instead of on the flash unit (although working full manual gives me moer control)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Interview with Greg Freres online

Been a while since I posted here. But that's normal wit me - my pinball is a hobby with ups and downs, sometimes I'm very active and sometimes I don't do a lot for months..

I've put a new article online, an interview with Greg Freres about the Whizbang Pinball project he's working on together with pinball designer Dennis Nordman.

Dennis is one of my favorite designers (I really love Whitewater !! and many more of his games) so I really am very interested in their project and ideas.
Whoa Nellie Sweet Juicy Melons is the first game they are customising, it's an electro-mechanical game they provide with a totally new art package and layout.