I've got a bunch of things I need to repair in the arcade which I've been putting off for months. I'm on holidays right now so now's as good a time as any to start doing some work!

Games and known issues:


Scared Stiff
  • Spider goes out of alignment and stops spinning
  • Crate sensor goes out of alignment and stops registering (fixed previously but now not working again)
  • Some lights don't work (dead heads, extra ball)
  • Snapped pop bumper solenoid bracket (solenoid hanging in the cab!)
  • Playfield pivot bolt missing (temporary 'fix' installed for now)
  • Needs a clean!

Whoa Nellie Big Juicy Melons
  • All working, just needs a good clean
  • Cliffy protector on the shooter lane

  • Multiple spots where the ball gets caught (cupped inserts and mylar worn spots)
  • The last bulb needs swapping to an LED
  • Playfield levelling (hasn't been levelled since I got the thing!)
  • Right flipper sags meaning dead bounces are more dead than bounce
  • Cliffy protectors
  • Needs a good clean

Bride of Pinbot
  • All working (for now - it likes to have intermittent issues), but needs a clean


  • Swap current PC over to RetroPie

Mortal Kombat LAI Dedicated
  • Currently has Daimakaimura installed
  • JAMMA harness needs replacing

Mortal Kombat II USA Dedicated
  • Marquee light is USA and needs to be changed to AUS
  • Monitors red gun is a bit off (I restored the monitor from dead previously)
  • Buttons and joysticks on control panel stop working sometimes
  • Replacement side art, but don't really need to do this and probably won't

Outrun LAI standup
  • Marquee light has died
  • Monitor chassis has been replaced (from Nanao to WeiYa ) and the colours are funny, but probably as good as it's going to get

So the first thing (working clockwise) is Scared Stiff!
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Spider up first...


He (she?) fell straight out. That tells me straight away the screw that holds it to the motor has come loose again.


Finding an allen key small enough to fit that tiny bolt thingy is a bit of a challenge. But I found one.


And then getting to that thing behind the motor is another challenge... But the allen key managed to reach (by the way, good idea to turn the power off at this point - poking a metal allen key behind a motor and the backbox lighting is not the safest thing in the world...).


It's fixed!


Next up, the non registering crate:


So this is a pretty common issue in Scared Stiffs, and it's happened plenty of times for mine before. You can see some dodgy fixes I've done on my opto board here - a cable tie to keep the main cable attached to the pins (it slips off with all the vibration of play), and tape on the sensor pot to try and keep it in the right place (this also moves with vibration, and you can adjust it left and right to be more sensitive or less sensitive).


Fiddling with the both of them, the sensor was the issue. It had moved around (even under the tape) enough that it just couldn't see the ball anymore. I moved it back to a more sensitive state (which you can tell when it's at the active state with the LED on the board, it turns on when it's so sensitive that it's just on all the time. So the trick is to adjust it so it's at the point where the LED only just turns off).



Last but not least, the two things I'm not going to fix right now as I don't have the parts - the dodgy pivot nut, and the snapped solenoid bracket with a floating solenoid flapping in the wind.


Lastly I fixed up the LEDs that weren't working. Three were just not connecting properly in their socket, and one was completely dead so I swapped it out with a working one. I also gave the playfield a clean but I'll save you from those thrilling pictures...
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Melons came up nicely after a good clean.

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Thanks for sharing. I love reading stuff like this. Makes me feel like I can tackle some of the issues on my shadow pin.
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Do you have any current issues on your Shadow?
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I've pretty much spent the entire day on Xenon, somehow. I didn't think there was this much work involved, and I'm not even done...

There are 4 spots where the ball gets caught on the playfield mylar or chunks missing from the art:


This is the worst one, it gets stuck here very often as this is a frequently visited area. It takes some real shaking to get it out of there too.


But let's start on the easy stuff - changing the only incandescent globe left in the game to LED (I have no idea why this wasn't done when all the other globes were taken out):


Not an easy spot to get to but not too troublesome. Detach the tube ramp thingy, unscrew the exit chamber ramp thingy, and a holding bracket, and then lift all of that out and there's the globe.


I put a purple one in there and I might change that. Depends what it's like when I play it I guess. Haven't decided.


Time for the hard part: the most common ball stick area. I wasn't actually sure what I was going to do here. Somehow I decided to fold a very small bit of black tape and stick it in the indent, and then put sticky tape over the whole thing. Strangely, it worked. Problem solved!


But oh oh, new problem. Now with that big indent gone and the ball rolling off it, now it's getting stuck between the gate and the rubber.


I tried many many things for a good few hours. I tried changing the star post to something thinner. I tried bending the gate down. As well as all sorts of other things but nothing worked. This spot was like a black hole that attracted the ball and I couldn't work out what to do.

Then I thought about some brackets or hooks that I have lying around and started trying those. Landed on this one and to my surprise, with it at the right angle, the problem is solved! That little bracket saved me (I know, dodgy solution after dodgy solution. I come from the Mark Williams school of pinball repair).


So on to the other 3 spots. They rarely grab the ball and it was easy to shake it out, but I thought I'd give them a try anyway. The first two on the left drain I just used a similar method to the other one - a bit of folded tape in the indent and sticky tape over the top.

The one on the right drain was a different matter. It's a big circle of raised mylar. I ended up deciding to cut it out with an exacto blade.


Sadly, the playfield art came up with the mylar but I wasn't really worried. You couldn't see that art anyway as it was trashed (you might also notice the other dodgy touch ups that have been done to this game - I'll get a new playfield one day). So there was a big circle of white wood.


More dodgy fixes! I coloured that circle in with a black permanent marker. It's a bit rough but still looks better than what it did before even with the mylar!


In normal light you can't even notice that spot unless you look really hard. So it's actually not that bad. I then stuck some tape over the top. The ball travels better over it, but not perfect. As mentioned previously though, it hardly ever actually got stuck there so I'm happy with how that's working right now. A tiny nudge will get that ball moving if it ever gets stuck there again anyway.

So a long day. I cleaned the playfield and levelled it too. Only the sagging right flipper to fix now but that will wait for tomorrow.
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Mar wrote:
Do you have any current issues on your Shadow?

Yes. It has lots of issues.

I'm going to try to list them off the top of my head. I'll have to add some pictures when I get a chance.

The biggest issue is that it resets sometimes when both flippers are pressed at the same time. It seems to only happen with the flippers are actually engaged and flip which makes me thing it might have something to do with the end of stroke or flipper hold lines.

Lots of other small issues.

1. The previous owner has put electrical tape over some of the plastics under the battlefield and next to the sanctum (lock). I'm not sure why exactly, but I think it might have something to do with ball hopping and stopping the ball from getting stuck on top of the plastics. I'm not sure if those plastics are broken because I'm not game to move the tape for now.

2. Left ramp - right return wireform is bent which sometimes results in a slow ball getting stuck on the switch.

3. Right ramp - left return is not secured (missing nut) which rarely results in a ball getting stuck.

4. The sanctum (lock shot) often rejects a locked ball. It seems like the gate is getting jammed sometimes when the ball swings around the bend into the lock trough. Might just need cleaning or some lubrication.

5. The left ramp diverter has a lot of play in it. This sometimes cushions the ball as it hits the ramp and reduces its momentum. It causes rejects and slows the ball - in turn causing the ball to get stuck on the previously mentioned bent wireform. The diverter also sometimes sits inbetween its home positions with its point sitting in the middle of the ramp.

6. Left diverter switch is not working due to a dodgy hack done by a previous owner. The wire had been soldered directly to the connector. So I need a new connector and the tool that will attach the wire to the connector. (need to research to find out what that is).

7. The game has a burn mark in the plastic that sits over the DMD. It looks like it might have been done by a soldering iron. its about 3cm long and 1cm wide. Right over the DMD so very noticeable. I couldn't find a replacement speaker panel anywhere so I'm gonna try cutting it out and replacing it with a thin perspex sheet. 

Apart from those things the game plays great. The playfield is really good, the battlefield and right diverter works great. Really enjoying the game. Best game I've owned!

I will post some pictures so people can see what I'm talking about.
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Sounds like number 1 probably is to try and stop the ball getting stuck on those plastics. I've seen it happen way too often on Shadow. However, a ball search will usually clear it so it's never been a big deal.

So lots of little things to play around with. Might be worth starting a repair log thread!
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Oh, and as for my repair log above. It's been too hot to be in the arcade so I haven't made any further progress. I haven't even played the games since cleaning them!
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Mar wrote:
Sounds like number 1 probably is to try and stop the ball getting stuck on those plastics. I've seen it happen way too often on Shadow. However, a ball search will usually clear it so it's never been a big deal.

So lots of little things to play around with. Might be worth starting a repair log thread!

Yea.. it does need it's own repair log given all the smallish issues. I will get onto that.
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Finally getting back into it. First thing to look at (and probably the only thing today), is the floppy flipper on Xenon.

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I think I've found the problem. The spring on this flipper mech is mangled and lets the solenoid flap about when it's not engaged.


Compare it to the one on the left flipper:


I planned to swap them around and test to ensure it was the spring cause the right flipper to be floppy when not engaged (and killing any dead bounces as a result).


But I fiddled about for a bit with fixing the springs, and then noticed there's another hole for the spring further back. So I did swap them (just for fool proofing the testing later), but also then attached the mangled spring to the left flipper but attached to the further back hole.

The result: Fixed! Had a few games and it plays really nice now. A bit faster as the playfield is clean(er), the dead bounces are working on both flippers, the ball is not getting stuck anywhere, and everything just feels snappier.

Happy days!
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that dead bounce absorption was killing me when I played that game! Glad to see its playing better
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Wow, it was all the way back in January since I've been repairing stuff. That's crazy times.

But yes, I finally started working on things in the arcade again. I think I blame the hot summer more than anything - working on things in there when it's baking hot is just not fun at all.

So with a bolt of motivation appearing from nowhere, I got stuck into... My failing monitor in my dedicated MK1 LAI cab. It's got Ghouls n Ghosts in there at the moment, and you can see it's doing odd stuff (the lines up the top). What you can't see is the constant dimming and brightening going on.

First of all I tried another board in the machine just to rule out any funny issues with the JAMMA connector or power causing these issues. I also wanted to try this first because it's the easy part - I can access the board from the front. After that it gets a little more tricky...

IMG_0881.jpg  IMG_0880.jpg 

Sadly, as I suspected, the issues were still present. So it was time to do the hard part and move the cab out from the wall and get access to the back. It's a pain in the ass because my one car garage arcade is packed as it is. Four pinball machines and four arcade cabs doesn't leave much room... But I moved it out and had a look at the monitor chassis.

The good news is that with it being an LAI cab, they've mounted the chassis on the side of the cab, rather than underneath the monitor tube which is the usual. Working and playing around with a monitor chassis is dangerous enough, but even more dangerous with the tube on top and providing even more cramped space for your hands. Additionally, cabs like my MK2 which has the tube upside down (I don't know why) so the anode cap is basically sitting in the space between the chassis and tube! Stupid idea...

So anyway, I fiddled about with the chassis for a bit, adjusting pots to see if there was any potentially loose bits that was affecting the picture. But no, it didn't seem to make a difference. I'm suspecting this needs the capacitors replaced, or maybe the flyback. On visual inspection though, the flyback looked really clean. You can usually tell if a flyback is dying because it starts oozing brown or white stuff, or has cracks in it. But this one looks great. However, you can never truely tell just be looking at it.

I took a bunch of photos and left it at that. I can't really do anything until I've ordered the parts.

IMG_0894.jpg  IMG_0891.jpg  IMG_0886.jpg 

Next I decided to have a look at the MK2 button issue. Every now and again (and increasingly more regularly, just ask John about our battles...) the buttons and joysticks would just go dead. I have fixed this problem before and it was a loose ground wire on one of the buttons. However, now it's doing it again.

I lifted up the control panel and found the loose connection almost straight away. I've plugged it back in nice and tight and see how long that lasts me this time. But at least I know what the offending wire is (block button on the one player side).


I thought I was done for the day. It was late on a Sunday night, and I had no energy left to spend. However, the Commodore 1701 monitor kept looking at me with this sad look, and I couldn't shake the feeling I've left it with it's back cover off for probably 6 months. I meant to pull the chassis out of it for a very long time but just never got around to it.

So, with another bolt of motivation, I gave it a bash. I thought it was going to be difficult because there's more going on in there than any other monitor I've pulled apart. It's got speakers wired up, a power block as part of the chassis, and all sorts of things I'm not actually familiar with. Having said that though, I found 3 screws at the front under the flap that hides the adjustment knobs, and one screw at the back, and the whole assembly just slid out (after discharging the tube and pulling the anode cap, and ground wire off the neck board, and video cable to chassis, and the speaker wires... but you get the idea).

IMG_0921.jpg  IMG_0920.jpg  IMG_0919.jpg 

So this thing has vertical collapse. I'll have to order a new HOT (Horizontal Output Transistor) which is usually the culprit of this particular issue. However I might also just grab a cap kit and flyback for good measure too.

Took a bunch of photos so I know what to order, and that's where I've left it for now. Pieces scattered about the arcade... Never happened before!
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My gut still feels there’s a simple connector contact or cracked/cold solder joint problem somewhere in your Commodore monitor, perhaps even on the leg of a large cap or the flyback. 
Random item from my Tabletop Games Collection
See it & the rest here:
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