About This Site

Welcome to Pinball Intrigue, where I indulge my fascination with the silver ball. Here you will find posts regarding my pinball experiences, pinball machine repairs and mods, a virtual pinball build, and links to other pinball sites.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Scared Stiff - Shooter Lane Kickout Not Working

With my White Water down for a shop job and the Creature receiving limited plays due to a multitude of issues, Scared Stiff gets all the game play in my game room right now. Last week I turned on the machine only to find that the ball kickout for the shooter lane was not ejecting a ball to start the game. This weekend I had a little free time and decided to "pop the hood." The nice thing about the kickout coil is that its right up front and easy to get to, so I didn't even have to lift the playfield, I just rested the rails up on the cabinet front. Fortunately this was easy to troubleshoot, as I immediately spotted a broken wire:

This happens every now and then on pinball machines, as over time heat and vibration will take a toll on the game, and since the solder joint is (usually) strong and the wire is the weak point, the wire breaks off. The required fix is to re-solder the wire back to the post. Normally the wire is soldered to the underside of the post, but I decided to solder it to the top because it was easier and more visible, it really doesn't make a difference either way as long as there's no danger of shorting, which in this case will not be an issue:

It only took a couple minutes to remove the old solder (which still had the remainder of the wire mixed in), strip the wire back, and re-solder it to the post. I fired up the game and the ball kicked out perfectly. I love easy repairs!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Link Profile: Credit Dot

Great pinball blogs are tough to find. It's a lot of work to maintain a blog, let alone have the knowledge and time to thoroughly research a topic and score interviews with people in the industry. Credit Dot refers to itself as "mapping trends for the casual enthusiast" and despite only being around since April of 2014, is a treasure trove of information. Featuring discussions about people in the industry, mods, interviews, and tackling controversial topics, Credit Dot is a superb read. My favorite posts are:

Clay Harrell (The Pinball Ninja)

Creature From the Black Lagoon Lighted Speaker Panel

Pinball Circus To Be Produced

I highly recommend checking out Credit Dot, and have added a link in the sidebar...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Creature From The Black Lagoon - Funeral For A Hologram

As black clouds cloak the funeral procession with an oppressive pall, somewhere a baby's cry breaks the silence. The procession stops and the clergyman steps forward to administer last rites. His voice, a lament against the Creature's early demise, talks about how green and bright Creech used to be, and although he was reclusive, was always welcomed by players new and old. Though his brilliant green faded to blue (and then violet-purple) as he grew older, Creech still functioned as though nothing was wrong. When the players turned to cosmetic surgery in an attempt to restore his color, it was only then that the tumor was spotted - a black smudge that although did not affect the Creature's performance, signaled his demise. As the eulogy ends, the haunting opening refrain of Elton John's "Funeral For A Friend" begins to play...but then the clouds part and the sun streams through, reflecting off of a shiny new TV screen playing video, and the players' spirits lift in hope...

There is nothing more dramatic, more traumatizing to a CFTBL owner, than the death of the machine's hologram. It is the most prominent feature that uniquely sets this pinball machine apart from all others. Having the hologram turn blue might be the worst the owner sees...or it may not. With replacement holograms either impossible to find or exhorbatently priced, I had swapped out the hologram mirror and bulb with the green-up kit, which featured a green tinted mirror and a green LED, to try to change the appearance of the hologram from blue to green. The old mirror was in bad shape, with some kind of rippled damage on the surface, along with residue and scratches:

For some reason I was unable to see the hologram after installing the green up kit. I'm not sure whether not enough light was reaching the mirror or if I had changed the angle of the mirror somehow. Fed up with the whole system, I decided to install my PinballMikeD video mod to replace the hologram. When I pulled the hologram out, this is what I found:

I stared in disbelief at what appears to be a burn mark on the hologram, possibly from a nearby bulb, or maybe just a degradation from temperature, humidty, and age. Not to mention the large scratch across the left side of the screen. I was not pleased.

I downloaded PinballMikeD's YouTube installation videos to a flash drive, which I then plugged into my virtual pinball machine and played the videos as I followed them step by step. It was fairly easy to remove all the hologram assembly parts and install the TV and board mod, it took maybe a couple of hours. I powered on the machine afterwards and everything worked on the first try, which was a huge relief. I was a little concerned as it took my mod over a minute to come to life, but when it did, I completely forgot about the hologram and enjoyed one of my best games on the machine, getting to creature multiball and an extra ball, which allowed me to see several different video modes. I'll try to capture some of what I've seen in a later post.

I'm really happy with the new mod, it has breathed some life back into the machine!

...and they lived happily ever after. The end.