Tales by Duane Wik
You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
Check out and Rate my film “The Whole Nine Meters” on Funny or Die
I first came across Mr. Bloom’s posts over at the Red user forums. Eventually I made it over to Philip Bloom’s site and I love the wealth of information available he has accumulated on everything DSLR, as well as the up and coming cinema digital cameras such as Red Epics, Red Scarlet, Arri Alexa, Cannon C300 and now the BlackMagic Cinema Camera. Not only does Bloom have huge in depth reviews on cameras, but he posts updates on firmware and has comprehensive reviews on accessories. I learn something every time I’ve over there.
I’m excited about the value of the new BlackMagic Cinema Camera as it shoots 2.5k RAW images for 3 grand. Philip emphasizes this in his video in a quite comical way. Yes, the camera is early, and has issues, but it seems like there is a lot of bang for your buck.
Check out his review here.
We bought a classic Mata Hari SS (Solid State vs Electro Mechanical EM) pinball machine back in 2003. It was in pretty bad shape when we picked it up, but we couldn’t resist the awesome artwork and the allure of having a real pinball machine! Also the story of the Mata Hari is pretty awesome to boot. To start with, none of the play-field lights worked. It also had a few broken drop targets and just a lot of general wear. It was definitely on it’s last leg. The power plug was a two prong cord that was badly frayed. The first thing I did was replace the cord with a heavy duty grounded power cord.
Some of the other damage included:
I contacted a pinball repair company and a man came out and replaced the MPU board and did a hack job of re soldering the rectifier board. He did get the machine back up running (sans play-field lights) and it remained in this state for the next decade.
Recently most of the rubber bumper rings had given up the ghost and the game itself was completely unplayable so I decided to give it a thorough going through. I vowed to get the play field lights working again since they had never worked the entire time that we owned the machine.
I started the project by buying a replacement set of bumper parts on Ebay. Luckily Bally made over 16,000 Mata Hari pinball games so parts are pretty easy to find. The original bumper covers were yellowed and ugly. The actual plastic housings that shoot the ball out were all chipped up from the ball as well. Replacing the four bumpers turned out to be quite a complex job. To begin with, you must open the coin door, undo a latch, take the metal cover off the front, slide the glass out, tilt or stand the play-field up and then finally have access to the solenoids and all the other complex machinery from beneath the play-field. The underside of the play-field looks like Apollo space capsule components. It’s got wires, relays, fuses, solenoids and tons of moving parts. Everything was coated in 30+ years of smoke, dust and who knows what else.
Since there are lights inside each bumper, you must remove the metal bulb assembly which are pinned to the bottom of the wood play-field with a staple. This staple also runs the wire to the bulb assembly. It looked like these had been pulled up before and some of them had been poorly soldered back into place. So I had to unsolder them, and pry them loose. Then when I put them back in, i had to re-solder most of them to the lead wires. The game features a self-test and it will display a code when one of the solenoids isn’t working. One of the bumpers had an issue and I was able to tweak the mechanics and get it working again.
I followed up that job with a rebuild kit that included 4 new leveling feet (easy job), new springs for the pinball shot mechanism, some plastic cleaner, and all the replacement rubber rings. To replace the rings, you have to remove all the play-field plastics which have tiny plastic nuts holding them onto posts that screw into the wood. This was a relatively easy job and I cleaned as I went.
I then ordered a set of 8 drop targets. The set in the game was mismatched. Someone had put blue drop targets on the left side and they were totally out of place in this red/orange/black game. Out of the original 8 drop targets, 6 were broken in some way. I had to order new pins and c-clips that held the drop targets to the riser arm from a company back east. All in all I think I used 4 different amusement companies to order parts from. Fixing the drop targets was one of the jobs I enjoyed the most. It was simple mechanical parts replacement. No soldering required and just sheer mechanical precision. That’s what I love about this machine, it has that old school mechanical functionality.
Once I got the drop targets in I decided to tackle the rectifier board. This particular board contains all the fuses in the cabinet and it parses power directly from the outlet to the 3 other boards (display driver, MPU and _______ boards) I was able to do some precision soldering that I’m very proud of. If you are interested, I absolutely loved this guys soldering video. His voice makes the most bland and boring topic infinitely fascinating.
So you can see the all around hack soldering work going on on the original rectifier board. This is the back and the front was even worse. I imagine the original soldering job included exploding solder and drip/painting it into place. A definite amateur. I’m an amateur too, but as you can see in the last photo, you can still be an amateur and learn how to do it properly. Shiny precision soldering points.
Anyway, the rectifier board is back in and low and behold the play-field lights now work as well as many others that didn’t work on the main cabinet (such as match play, player 1-4).
It’s great to see the play field lights up and running. They flash and and add a lot of dimension to a relatively simple pinball game. I’ll get some pictures and video up soon. It was also quite a fun and rewarding project. I’m confident I can fix any issues on the pinball game from here forward.
A word to the wise, never touch the rectifier board while the machine is plugged in and turned on.