All posts tagged buttons

Continuing on from my previous update, the non working display is first on my hit list for this post. I’ve checked the cables and swapped the displays around to verify that the issue is indeed with the display itself. Last time, I tested the two UDN6118 chips on the display and they were OK. I did this on the chip pins however and not the solder joins on the rear of the board. This time, I flipped the display over and tested the chips using the joins. Both tested OK again. After some further research I decided to modify an old power pack that can refresh the displays by burning off the crap that becomes attached to the filaments. I was hopeful that the issue was simply a very faded display. For this, I found an old powerpack for a 28.8K modem I purchased back in 1995 or something. I’m amazed I still have it. It’s rated at 9V and 500ma. I replaced the connector with two alligator clips. I put some red tape around the positive lead.

Counter Force pinball
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While I haven’t quite finished my previous (or should I say current) project – Pinbot, a new project popped up a few weeks ago that felt like a good opportunity – so I grabbed it. This time, I’ll be looking at a Counterforce machine by Gottlieb. It’s part of the Star 80 series and was released back in 1980. This particular machine started life in Italy, before being imported here to Australia. I was attracted to it as the gameplay looks kind of neat – seems like a mash of missile command and space invaders played out on a pinball playfield. Plus it’s an opportunity to work on a System 80 machine, which is something I’ve not yet done – so it should be an interesting experience. My last few projects have been restorations where I’ve spent a bit of money doing them up. But this project will be a little different. Due to the damage on the playfield, the machine won’t gain much value with everything else restored around it. The detail in the artwork makes it impossible to paint or touch up. Therefore, my plan is to keep spending limited. Any worn or damaged parts considered important will be replaced (globes, rubbers, broken drop targets, coil sleeves, etc). Anything that is still usable will be cleaned up and put back into the machine. So the goal here is to service all parts of the the machine, clean it up (wow does it need a clean) and repair anything broken to make it a fully functional game once again. I’ve set myself a reasonable budget to prevent over capitalising on it, but I may run into some nasty surprises along the way. So we’ll see how that turns out 🙂
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Playing pinball is fun and it’s something people of all ages can partake in and enjoy. For me, learning how the machines work and getting your hands on the parts that make the games tick take it to a whole new level. In fact I spend more time with my hands on parts than I do on the flipper buttons.

When I was working on that first machine back in January and February, I often found the process very stop-start. In part, this was due to my inexperience with pinball machines and not really being able to plan what I was actually going to need (or being aware of what was available). I kept finding myself held up while trying to source random parts. Certain screw types, nuts, plates, frames, wires, housings, bulbs, etc. Some were easy to source while others more obscure and no real part number to reference. I experienced it again (although to a lesser degree) when working on my Fireball Classic. In most cases the part (or a suitable alternative) were sourced thanks to various sellers or through wanted posts on Aussie Arcade. I decided part way through the Fireball I was going to somehow source a pile of random spare parts from different machines which would help aid me with future repairs / rebuilds.

Enter the “crap box” (or boxes now that I’ve picked up a few). I found these boxes irresistible. Like a big box filled with lucky dip prizes. Some will be cool. Others will be.. well.. crap. Who knows what I’ll score – it brings excitement 🙂 In this first example, I have a 15kg box of random parts that cost $6.60.

Pinball spare parts crap box
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