Our Labor Rates. See how other local shops compare
Field Service Labor Rates Non - Code Blue rates.
The minium in our service area field service cost is $210
( $250 for out of service area field service, $230 Code Blue and $260 for out of service area Code Blue service calls. Miniums include first hour of labor and field service fee).
Pinbal Machines and Video Games are serviced and refurbished at the same hourly labor rate.
Arcade Game Repair Labor Rate is $90
per hour with an one hour labor minimum. $22.50
per quarter hour after first hour.
The Field Service Fee is not charged on every round trip unless the destination is far outside of our Service area (60 miles or more from Austin, Texas).
We will charge another in service area field service fee if our gas and milage costs exceed the service fee and we have to do multiple round trips.
Video game Monitors must be removed as field service and repaired at our Austin repair shop - normal field service rates and fees apply.
In Shop Only Rates (Rates Pinball Medic charges if the game is dropped off at our Austin repair shop, no field service fee required for in shop repairs) In Shop repair labor rate is $90/hr. for both video and pinball arcade games.
Field service and game transportation fees are waived if the game is dropped off at our repair Shop. Game parts are not included in our labor rates, bids or quotes.
E-mails are not considered the same as a signed service contract. Quoted/Estimated costs in an E-mail can change without notice due to our labor and part costs during a repair or refurbishment depending on the condition of the machine and the availability/costs of replacement parts. EMERGENCY Arcade Game Repair Service Rates
' Emergency / Priority Game Repair Field Service Rates. $130 per hour
(Inside service area, $260 outside of service area.) - All minium rates include the first hour of labor. Side artwork, monitor capacitor kits and other major parts are not included and will not be done as part of a CODE BLUE
Parties and special events
are what usually require Code Blue
service. Emergency Repair may not be available every day of the week and at all times of the day. Our shop is usually full and we need to keep working on arcade game repair and refurbishments. 'CODE BLUE' EMERGENCY COIN-OP PINBALL, ARCADE OR AMUSEMENT GAME REPAIR
Your game is put ahead of all other field service calls. Additional Fees and increased Labor Rates apply for this Special Service.
Include the words Code Blue
in either the Comments
section of the online Repair Form
or in the Subject line
of an E-mail.
See our Contact
page for other ways to contact us.
Coin Operated Arcade Game Repair and Refurbishment Labor Rates, Travel Fees and Service conditions for in the Home (House Call) Arcade Game Repair. Commercial Arcade Game Room Field Service Costs, in our repair shop Refurbishment and Amusement Game Restoration Labor Times and Rates.
Pinball Medic will not work on, sale or restore the following types of coin-op amusement games:
Skill Slots, Crane games, 8-liners, Money Change machines, "home use only" arcades or Dollar Bill Accepters. Gambling devices and Slots that are newer then 30 years old can't legally be serviced without a special Texas license. We are not aware of any shop in Texas that can fix a gambling device not even one in a home game room.
Pinball Medic can no longer offer insurance damage inspections
or repair games damaged by shipping, water damage or any repair/restoration that is paid for by insurance. We can't get insurance companies to pay us after sending in detail damage reports. They never intended to ever pay either the policy owner or Pinball Medic. We
can no longer afford to offer this service. No local business will do this type of work either. Pinball, Arcade and Gun Game Types: EM
= ELECTROMECHANICAL (score reels, relays) SS = SOLID STATE (digital displays, IC chips)
*Home version arcade
= Game does not have a coin door or is not a full sized coin-op arcade style game.
The "home use" type of game uses impossible to find proprietary parts and cannot be refurbished or repaired.
Labor Rates, Service and Refurbishment Costs Chart
No Major Parts included in typical costs. Inside service area fees and rates. Outside Service Area Milage was not included.
Part costs vary with Game Type (EM/SS) and are Arcade Title Specific. Your final costs for parts and labor may vary from this chart.
|Service Level||Description of Service||Labor Rates||Fees / Minima Charges||Parts Costs |
|Total Costs |
|Field Service |
(non Code Blue)
|In the Home (House Calls), Game Room or Arcade - Video and Pinball Machine Repair.||$90/Hr. |
1 Hour Min.
|$110 Field Service Fee (FSF) - $150 FSF for out of service area game repair. $190 (Min. costs) FSF+1 Hr. Labor.||$40 |
$320 Includes Two Hours of Labor,
parts costs and in our service area FSF.
Field Service Calls
|Priority - Game Repair Field Service Calls and at our shop emergency game repair.||$125/Hr. |
1 Hour Min.
|$120 Field Service Fee |
Game Transportation Fee
$60 Does not include monitor repair parts.
$430 Includes Two Hours of Labor,
typical parts costs and FSF.
|Repair Shop Service||In our shop Repair, Refurbishment and Restoration Service .||$90/Hr. |
$125/Hr Code Blue Shop Repair
|Field Service Fee (FSF) is waived when the game is brought by the customer to our game repair shop.|
$75 More parts are usually replaced in shop due to parts availability and extended game inspection time.
$255 Includes Two Hours of Labor
and typical parts costs.
$325 in shop Code Blue
Minimum to Top Level Cosmetic
This refurbishment level mostly applies to Pinball Machines. Video Games are usually fully refurbished.
or See this Tech Tip
|Minimum level of cleaning and repair. Done either as part of the game's field service* or in the shop repair. |
*Not all Cosmetic Refurbishment can be done as field service.
Gets pinball playfield clean, new playfield rings and game repaired, but not inspected for potential mechanical part defects. Only currently non-working parts and mechanical units are taken apart and repaired.
| Bid/Estimate |
Field Service or in our shop. Very Game Specific on total costs.
Labor and Parts costs can increase with the level of refurbishment (from Basic to Top Level cosmetic refurbishment).
|There are many sub-levels of Cosmetic Refurbishment based on game complexity, if the playfield is dis-assembled before cleaning and if it is to be waxed, if refurbishment is done as field service, etc. |
Grease on game parts removal can not be done as field service.
Fees are the same as Field Service or the Field Service Fee is waived when the game is brought to our shop by its owner.
Parts costs average doesn't include new replacement circuit boards, monitor (new or rebuilt), displays and other major game parts.
|Labor starts at $750 for a top level "Cosmetic" Refurbishment for most arcades. |
Labor can be higher or lower then $750 depending on the amount and level of refurbishment. Labor is included in Bid or Estimate and varies by game complexity, EM/SS game type and the game's starting condition.
Four player EM Pinball Machines require a higher starting price ($850 or more) because they have many hard to refurbish score reels and stepper units that need to be cleaned then an one or two player EM pinball.
In shop only.
|Every mechanical unit in the game is disassembled, cleaned and/or replaced (replaced as needed). |
Playfield is cleaned and waxed (Wax is Optional).
Burnt out bulbs replaced or new number 47 bulb type swap-out for the stock number 44 bulb.
|Grease Removal Fee and other game condition refurbishment fees are added and are game type and condition specific.|
$120-$350 or more if new circuit boards, score board glass, monitor and other major parts are needed and approved by the game's owner.
Bulb swap outs are not included in this estimate.
It usually takes at least 60 bulbs (6 boxes of 10 lamps)
|Labor starts at $950 for most Pinball machines, plus parts. |
Labor is included in Bid or Estimate and varies by number of players on EM arcades, game complexity, EM/SS game type, number of players on EM pins and game's starting condition.
In shop service only.
|Done after the game's Full Refurbishment. |
Cabinet wood and artwork restoration, leg bolt nut plates replaced, coin door repair/replacement and major parts/units replaced or refurbished.
|No fees except for grease and other removal fees. |
Restoration can add 12-20 hours of labor to a Full Refurbishment.
|Full Refurbishment costs + parts + additional labor costs. |
(game parts, paint, replacement wood/cabinet)
|Full Restorations can add major labor time and parts costs. Restoration can add more then $1000 to a typical Full Refurbishment. |
Each major part of a game's restoration must be cleared by the game's owner before the work is started.
Local Competitor Field Service Repair Rate Comparison Chart
|Local Shops||Field Service Fee||Hourly Labor Rate||Qualifiers|
||$110 (waived for shop work)||$90 (1 hour Min.)|| Although we have recently raised our field service fee to cover the raising cost of gas and other expenses, Pinball Medic is still in generally less expensive then our local competition.|
|Shop 1||$150 (Includes First Hour)||$100 (1 hour Min.)|| Pinball Medic used to charge fees to fix what this shop worked on. It takes longer to rework their repairs and refurbishments then any other shop listed on this chart. Using an old pinball playfield rubber ring as a pulley belt for a jukebox doesn't even shock us anymore. It just reveals their workmanship. |
Pinball Medic has stopped charging a shop dependent rework fee, but we have kept the game parts de-greasing fee and most other hack repair rework fees because of this local shop.
|Shop 2||No Rates Listed on web page.||No Rates Listed on their web page.|| No rates listed on their site. This is not a full service shop. They provide only limited game repair and cleaning services. No refurbishment or restoration is offered as ether in-shop or as field service.|
|Shop 3||N/A (no field service offered)||$160|| Pinball board repair only. This shop does not provide Field Service and is a "by appointment only" business.|
Most of the old time good repair shops have gone out of business. Just like Jukebox shops did a few years back. Coin operated games could start to fall in value due to the lack of good repair/refurbishment shops. Arcade refurbishment has become increasingly important because of the recent surge of pinball game worth and the irreplaceable nature of no longer manufactured arcade amusements.
A good refurbishment or restoration increases and preserves the value of any arcade game. This type of work requires a vast amount of experience and is very labor intensive.
Game Restorations and Refurbishments
are now done as estimated bids only,
starting at our minimum labor costs for the type of arcade, it's rarity and condition. Some EM or SS pinballs and arcades are known to be "resurrection nightmares" and we take this into account during the bidding process. EM pinballs (likely four player EMs)
take considerably more labor and potentially more parts to repair or refurbish, the minium for starting the refurbishment on these pinball machines is higher then the normal costs of other types of games.
Additional work or unforeseen part orders will not be done until the game owner signs off on any costs over-runs or bid amendments. Pinball Refurbishment Levels Definition
and other information for the terms Shopped, Refurbished (Cosmetic VS. Full)
A Cosmetic Refurbishment ( C-R )
includes topside playfield disassembling for cleaning and inspection, circuit board trouble shooting, repair and replacement of any defective playfield parts (Limited to consumable game parts. Does not include full mechanical units, displays or other large and expensive game parts, but may include the labor to install them.)
and the repair of the game. This level of refurbishment can sometimes be done as field service depending on the game's condition and playfield complexity. See the Pinball Board Repair
page for labor rates and times for repairing circuit boards.
A Full Refurbishment ( F-R )
includes inspecting and disassembling every playfield, backbox or game cabinet's mechanical part or circuit board. These often dirty or greased units are cleaned, repaired or replace if we consider the part to not meet the original game specifications.
If there are new parts with a longer longevity or are of higher performance available, we will replace these parts. For example, metal coil sleeves do not perform or last as long as the new plastic sleeves. We will replace all metal coil sleeves
during the pinball's full refurbishment. Refurbishment Minimum Labor Costs -
Amusement Game Refurbishment / Restoration. Parts are not included in the minimum labor costs. (Coin operated arcade EM and SS types have the same minimum refurbishment starting costs in most cases.)
Top Level Cosmetic Refurbishment
of a SS (electronic) pinball
will normally start at $750
+ parts. This level of refurbishment includes game repair and playfield cleaning ( Playfield cleaning includes a new rubber ring kit ).
One and Two player EM pinball machines Cosmetic Refurbishment rate starts at $850.
Four player EMs and very old EM pinball Cosmetic Refurbishment will start at $950 because of the increased amount of labor needed to repair and refurbish the score reels and the increased number of stepper units in these types of pinball machines. If a four player EM pinball doesn't need many of the score reels or many mechanical units refurbished, then the minimum labor costs will be set at $850. Full Refurbishment
starts at $950
plus parts for both SS and EM pinball machines. ( This is hundreds less then our local competitor )
Video games and EM arcade machines
use a game specific labor and parts minimum that is in the ball park of what we charge to refurbish an electronic pinball game. Although classic video games including vector monitor games and extremely rare EM arcades can require a high cost on large parts like stenciled side art, replacement control panels, buttons, joysticks, relays, special solenoid coils, monitors (rebuild kits)
We should be able to give refurbishment costs before the work is started. However, with very old and valuable games, we can't guarantee our first quote will be accurate or in the ball park of the final charges. The game's owner will be contacted before we start on something that was not accounted for in a repair or refurbishment cost quote. Expensive Game Parts and Assemblies
requiring shipping/ordering (For example; Pinball MPU/solenoid driver circuit boards, coin doors, pinball legs, new monitors, solenoid coils, etc.)
will be paid for in advance
of being ordered from a third party manufacturer. We will no longer put these parts on our business credit card. We've had too many issues with being reimbursed for expensive and game specific replacement parts. The refurbishment or game service can be stopped for not paying us for these hard to return and expensive parts. We have had to stop all labor on only a very few games for non payment. PINBALL MEDIC'S CONTACT INFO
page for more information or use our CONTACT FORM
We buy coin operated video
and pinball games Game Quote Form
Coin-Op Arcade Game Repair Request Form
- Use for both Video or Pinball Repair.
We work on most arcade machines including these manufacture's games Williams, Bally, Gottlieb, Gameplan, Stern, Data East, Atari, Genco (EM gun games) and Sega
Pinball games and most full sized coin operated arcade video games. Pinball Medic's FIELD SERVICE AREA
Coin Operated Game Full Refurbishments and Restorations can not be performed as Field Service. Cosmetic Refurbishment can be done as a Field Service call on a limited basis
and game type. This service is usually limited to Pinball playfield cleaning and installing new rubber rings to inspection and minor repair of control panel buttons on Video games.
Our Field Service Area
is limited to a 35 mile radius
of the Austin, Texas area.
Only during rare ebbs in our workload can Pinball Medic schedule special service area extensions that have in the past included all or part of the towns listed in the left side panel. Because of the random nature of field service calls and our limited shop space, not all service or refurbishment can be accepted. However, we will put your game on a waiting list and try to find another shop in your area if the list gets too long. Out-side of our service area repair
is very limited by our spare labor time, gas prices and distance to be traveled. We lack the resources to do this kind of service call very often.
Due to the ever increasing price of gas, we will not travel to Dallas, Houston
or other distant places from Austin for field service game repair.
Additional fees and mileage charges apply to outside of our service area game repair. Game warranties do not extend to any game outside of Pinball Medic's service area or for games shipped out of our service area. Fees & Travel Expenses
High gas prices have limited our field service range to central Texas. Diagnostic Fee - $35
Charged if the game or monitor is not repairable. This is in addition to the field service fee and our minimum labor charges.
Field Service Fee $110
This fee is waived if the game or monitor is delivered to our repair shop in South Austin, Texas.
Game Transportation / Travel Fee - $110
- Applies if the game is picked up by Pinball Medic inside of our normal service area. The transportation Fee increases to $150 + Gas + mileage if we have to travel outside of our service area. This fee will need to be paid for in full before we pick up the game. Our total travel distance is limited. We will not drive to Dallas or Houston to pick up a game.
We can not pick up a game that is not on the first floor of a house or building, or if there are obstacles like stairs. Pinball Medic Amusements
charges 61 cents per mile (set by the IRS)
if we have to travel outside our normal service area. Mileage is calculated round trip from our South Austin repair shop. Mileage is in addition to the Field Service or Game Transportation Fees and any other appreciable costs and fees. Grease Removal Fee ($25 and more)
- Pinball Medic
will charge this fee if any plastic game parts have been greased. Never grease plastic
We have to disassemble the mechanical units in a game to search for this problem. This adds to our labor time.
We charge a $35 fee
on top of what the bank charges per check for insufficient funds. Game Storage
Due to too many issues in the past, we have had to adopt a restrictive storage policy on games that are to be stored at our shop after the work has been completed, abandoned games (either paid for or not),
the game's repair/refurbishment was canceled, and/or the game is waiting to be picked up or delivered. Please read the following important information. If you have a game at our shop that must be stored before it can be picked up or delivered.
We are not a storage facility, and have very little space in our shop to store games. After the game is finished, please be courteous and make arrangements to pick up your game, or to have it delivered, as soon as is possible.
- Any game left at our shop for more than four days (96 hours) after being repaired, refurbished, restored, any other service has been completed or after scheduled or estimated pick up or delivery time, will be subject to a storage charge of $50.00 per week, per game, with a one-week minimum charge ($50.00 each game per week). This charge must be paid before the game can be picked up or delivered. See our Payment Methods for more info.
- Any game left or stored at our shop for more than thirty (30) days becomes the property of Pinball Medic, and will be sold to cover any applicable repair, service, and/or storage costs. Any payment or deposit received will not be refunded, and is forfeited along with the game. If the game does not sell, and the original owner returns to claim the game, owner immediately pays any outstanding charges and storage costs, plus additional storage charge of $50.00 per week, per game, with a 1-week minimum charge (per game), for the amount of time the game was stored at our shop beyond the original thirty (30) days.
- Storage fees must be paid IN ADVANCE. Cost is $50.00 per game, per week. Any game that has not had storage paid for it after 30 days becomes property of Pinball Medic, and will be sold. Any payment or deposit received will not be refunded, and is forfeited along with the game.
We are NOT RESPONSIBLE
for any goods left at our shop for more than 30 days that have not been claimed or that have not had storage fees paid on them. Any paid on games or parts that are left at our shop for more than 30 days are the property of Pinball Medic and are completely non-refundable.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us Game Delivery
Games we sell only need a minimum of setup once they have been moved to a location. Usually no setup is required with video games other then plugging the game into a wall outlet. Local Customers
Game delivery and setup is available at additional cost on most games we sell to local customers within our Full Service Area
(see map below). Cost varies depending on the game, your exact location, and other variables, such as complexity of delivery (No stairways, more than 1 person needed for delivery/game moving, etc.) Local customers can pick games up at our shop at no extra charge, or if you are interested in having your game delivered and set up, e-mail us for more info. Out-of-Town Customers
Customers located out-of-town, or outside our Full Service Area
will need to make arrangements to pick up their game at our shop in person, or have it picked up and shipped to them by a freight carrier or moving company. We can prepare a game for shipping for an additional cost. Details on finding a freight company to pick up and transport the packaged game for you can be found on our Game Packing and Shipping
section with additional information available on our arcade Tech Tips
page and on our soon to be updated game shipping
page.. Extra Delivery Charges Will Apply For
We are not responsible for
- More than one (1) person from our shop needed to move game(s) into a bottom floor location. If other related heavy lifting/moving or a game needs to be moved to or from a second or higher floor is required, then a moving company must be hired by the owner of the game. Pinball Medic will not be able to deliver a game to a location that is not on the ground floor and can not move a game up/down a stairway. We are not an arcade game moving company and lack the labor and equipment to do this kind of service.
- Time/labor to remove and re-install any parts of the game in order to get it into your location (or through narrow doorways), and set up.
- Removal of any doors, furniture, or any other items at your location in order to deliver and set up your game.
- Any return trips to deliver or set up your game will be charged a Minimum of $150 (no one home, unsafe delivery conditions, locked gate, etc).
See our gate codes policy
- Doors, handrails, furniture, or any other items at your location that we move or remove to deliver your game.
- Damage to the game or any breakable game parts.
- Damage to concrete, decks or lawns.
- Damage to, or dirtying of, any carpets, floors or dry wall in your location from moving the game.
- Return trip(s) to your location for any additional delivery attempts, or if delivery conditions are not acceptable/safe, or if any payment due at delivery is not ready (cash only).
Safety is our number one concern when delivering and setting up a game. We reserve the right to refuse delivery and/or setup if any hazardous or difficult conditions exist that could cause damage or harm to the game, yourself, your property, our employees, or if other delivery or payment terms or conditions are not met. A return trip can be rescheduled if any of these conditions are present, for an additional fee (see above).
Please be sure to have all preparations made before we arrive to deliver your game. Please understand that we are often on a tight schedule that involves other customers and often other deliveries or appointments on the same day, so we must charge for any additional time that takes away from our schedule and other customer's schedules. Games Pinball Medic Services Coin-Op Arcade Game Repair Request Form Pinball Medic services the following manufacturer's pinball games. Williams, Bally, Gottlieb, Data East, Sega, new and older Stern, and Atari.
We also service most kinds of full sized coin operated video games.
Please check with us to make sure we can repair your game before we start a field service call. No mail-in board repair. We will not fix Arcade game circuit boards by mail, "HOME version" *arcades and pinball machines, Touch Master or any bar top arcade, Shuffle Alley, ball or puck bowling games or any type of gambling device (8 liners,slots).
*Home Version is defined as a game without a coin door made to be played in a private home and not on a commercial site. This type of game can't be repaired
Costs can vary depending on exactly how far back in time you want to take your game, or the starting condition, type and complexity of the arcade game and what new or refurbished parts need to be installed. We charge a competitive hourly rate for our time, plus any part costs that are required. Payment for Outside Service Area and for Pinball Dollies
We except cash, checks and money orders for parts, dollies and game sells ordered on-line with destinations inside the U.S.A.
A waiting period will be imposed of 10 business days on new customers not paying with cash and residing outside of our normal service area. Payment for In-Shop Repairs
For games serviced at our shop, we accept only cash
and local checks. We do not accept checks unless they are drawn on a local bank and received 7 or more business days before the game is picked up or delivered.
We are sorry for any inconvenience, but due to too many past problems with bounced and returned checks, we are forced to no longer accept checks at the time the game is picked up. We add a charge of $35 for any bounced or bad checks we receive.
Game Shipping Methods
Pinball Medic can handle the moving of coin operated pinball and video arcade games within our normal 35 mile radius of Austin, Texas service area
This service is only available to first floor rooms only for both physical and safety reasons. Out-of-state shipping
will be handled by a trucking company or other third party services as this is the least expensive and safest way to ship a 300+ pound Coin-Op game. Customers may have to pick up the game at a nearby terminal. Crating and packaging will be added to the total price of the game. See this game shipping Tech Tips
for more shipping costs and method information.
The game is guaranteed to work 100 percent when it leaves the showroom or repair shop. Because damage can occur that is beyond our ability to foresee during shipping, also, the game maybe shipped beyond our service area, the game has no warranty either expressed or implied once it is delivered to the shipping company for deliveries outside our service area.
Specific warranties will still be in effect if PINBALL MEDIC
delivers a game inside our normal service area. Continental U.S. Game Shipping rates on all Arcade Game, Dolly or Game Parts - (Texas sales tax will be added for in state sales only.)
Shipping Insurance may be available depending on carrier used and must be paid for prior to shipping.
It costs more then $450+crating costs to ship a game to your door by NAVL (North American Van Lines).
$1500 Insurance is included.
Coin Operated Video Arcade games and Pinball Machines are repaired at the same hourly rate. A typical full pinball game refurbishment takes 16 to 20 hours
to complete or more if the game is in bad shape.
Labor starts at $950 for a full refurbishment.
The labor for a 'cosmetic refurbishment' starts at $750.
These quoted costs do not include any new or used game part costs used in the repair or refurbishment.
A full game restoration starts after a full refurbishment and can add many more labor hours to the typical full refurbishment labor time.
Electromechanical pinball games take longer to refurbish then any other type of Arcade game. Four player electromechanical games have more score reels and take many hours of labor to restore. Therefor, the labor costs will be higher. A full and complete arcade game (Video or Pinball) restoration
can increase the amount of shop labor time 10 to 25 hours. Typical Game Refurbishment Labor Intervals
The following varies according to initial game condition and can be game specific.
The following labor intervals are approximate and very game specific. Refurbishment can take 25 or more hours to perform on a complex multi-level playfield that has a lot of mechanical or electrical / electronic issues (For example; a Twilight Zone Pinball).
The customer will be informed before the work is started. Game consumable like playfield game balls are always replaced. Playfield waxing
will usually be done to only none dry cracked EM pinball games unless requested by the game's owner. Waxing and a new set of game balls
are the best way to protect the game from wear.
Typical part costs are between $100-250 per game. New circuit boards and other game specific parts can add another $200-400 to the total cost of a pinball refurbishment. 10 to 20+ Hours: (removing, cleaning, waxing and assembling the playfield can take 12 to 15 hours of labor)
and Cleaning of playfield, playfield plastics, posts, ramps, ball shooter refurbishment or replacement, cabinet cleaning, relay refurbishment, Installing a playfield rubber ring kit, etc. - Inspection
of pinball playfield
and backbox mechanisms (playfield toys)
- All playfield 'toys' and mechanisms are disassembled during inspection and thoroughly cleaned and replaced if necessary. - Inspection
of game electronics
or game relays and mechanical devices other then the game specific playfield toys. 4 to 6 Hours: (Game dependent, battery acid damage can increase this time significantly.) - Repair
of the Game's electronic circuit boards, connectors, light socket replacement,
etc. If the circuit boards have been "hacked" or have extensive battery acid damage, a new replacement circuit board will be used (if available). See our new reproduction Pinball Boards
or Board Repair Work
pages. 2 - 3 hours: (Game dependent) - minor cabinet, coin door, leg detailing and playfield waxing.
New cabinet legs, adjuster feet and leg bolts are recommended to reduce the labor time and improve game's appearance. Pinball Medic
will add a grease or oil removal fee
to any pinball that has had its internal parts greased (heavily greased).
This Fee will start at $20 and go up if extensive use or very heavy amounts (globed on) of grease or oil was used. If there are any animal waste deposits or the game is very corroded or has been sprayed with WD-40, there will either be a very large cleaning fee or we will end the refurbishment. Please DON'T GREASE ANY PART INSIDE, OUTSIDE OR UNDERNEATH A PINBALL GAME!
See Tech Tips
or our second Arcade Game Tech Tips
pages for further information on this dangerous and hard to remove Hacked Repair Pinball Machine Restorations
happen after a game's refurbishment and can add 10 to 15 or more hours of labor (for extensive restoration). This would include major cabinet and backbox reconstruction or replacement and any other major game part rework or cabinet / playfield painting. Any playfield touch-up or major playfield hole repair, scratch removal, extensive cabinet carpentry work or any other work that requires extensive labor hours to perform or special game specific parts such as insert decals is considered a game restoration
and can add 10 to 40 hours or more in labor depending on "how far back in time you want to take your pinball machine".
Game Modification and Upgrades
Adding a sub woofer and amplifier kit to a pinball, such as in a Medieval Madness, would be considered part of a restoration and not part of the refurbishment. Game modifications (Mods or Upgrades) include, but, are not limited to: Adding LED(s), ramp and hole protectors, custom playfield plastics and game ROM and stabilizing backglass artwork. Anything that was not installed on the game at the factory is considered a game modification. The exception to this are game specific modifications that were provided by the game's manufacturer to repair a design flaw on the pinball's playfield. These "issues" will be dealt with on a game by game basis as far as additional costs and part availability are concerned.
A Cautionary Tell:
There seems to be a great amount of difference in quality of work, skill/craftsmanship and reputation between Texas (and in many other states)
Coin Operated arcade game repair/refurbishment shops.
A few shops (even one locally)
will not bother to replace a rusty game ball during a pinball refurbishment or will clean a playfield without disassembly (using only a dirty rag, it seems!).
We've seen bad shop work in the past so often that we used to charge a fee to redo their 'repair'
or 'refurb' work. We have worked on what they sell as shopped out
Examples of some of their hacks are on our hacked repair
Using our own observation, some coin-op shops don't have the experience, mechanical skills or electronic repair education needed to do an arcade refurbishment, restoration or game repair and therefore can't, and should not, work on electromechanical, electronic pinball or any other type of arcade game. To try and preserve as many arcades as we can, we ask you to do some research before handing your game over to a stranger or repair shop. We waste too much of our time fixing what the other shop "repaired", sold to you as "totally refurbished" or games from E*ay and Cra*g's L*st. Coin Operated or Coin-Op game restoration or Refurbishment Request Form
Pinball and Video Game Restoration / Refurbishment process
Pinball Cabinet, Playfield, Backbox and Circuit Board Cleaning and Refurbishing process
The pinball is carefully examined for obvious damage to electrical printed circuit boards, relays or displays. It's inspected mechanically for any burnt coils, stuck plungers, bad end of stroke switches, burned contacts/relay coils, missing parts/paint, playfield wear, flipper problems, etc. This is done long before power is applied to insure that no damage is done when the pinball is powered up. 2.
Very valuable, sometimes irreplaceable parts are removed for long term storage. Backglasses are removed and stored in special made frames so even a dropped tool can not harm them. A broken backglass can turn an expensive pinball into a parts machine unless someone makes a reproduction backglass. 3.
The playfield is stripped of all plastics and hardware, including the pop bumper bodies, ramps, flippers, posts, rubbers and vacuumed out. All that was removed will be cleaned with special cleaning solutions. This step is not always done with as must attention to detail by our competitors and is one of the many reasons why we consider our refurbished games to be superior to the competition. 4.
The playfield itself is now cleaned. The process we use will clean and rejuvenate the wood, paint, metal, etc. The small metal parts (screws mostly) are put in a vibrator polisher using finely grounded walnut shells for a day or more if they very dirty/rusty.
Common playfield wood screws are replaced by stainless steel to provide a playfield screw that will look shinny for the rest of the game's lifespan and never rust again. Playfield plastic support screws can't be bought in stainless steel, so we clean and polish them as much as possible or replace the stripped or bent screws.
The cabinet is thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed inside and out (check out this cabinet yuck!).
A new 15 foot 3 conductor, with #14 gauge wire, power cord is added if the old one has had its ground lug removed or if the condition of the cord or plug has deteriorated.
Warning, a 16 gauge extension cord wire is what some "Joker" may put on a game. This is not expectable as some games, especially Electromechanical pinballs can draw 15 amps or more causing the power cord to become heated.
Sold State (SS) and Electromechanical (EM) pinball games require different steps from this point on. Solid State (SS) will be described first and then Electromechanical (EM), a more complex process will follow.
After refurbishing/restoration, all games are powered on and played occasionally for 24 hours to insure quality of product and workmanship. Solid State Pinball Machines
(SS) Jump to EM Pinball Machines SS1.
First the power supply board is removed. This board usually can be identified by the large capacitors, heat sinked power transistors and full-wave rectifiers onboard. The power supply board usually has the most issues and can be the easiest to troubleshoot. The large (size and value)
filter caps (cap=capacitor)
are usually 20+ years old and are fried and dried out. Replacement or these parts are mandatory. The second weak point is the connectors on this board. Most are over-stressed and can be brown or blackened by the 10 to 20 Amp. loads placed on them. The male and female connectors will be removed and replaced. Removing just one of the pair is just inviting the same annealing and corrosion to take place again. Never use steal wool to clean contacts or any other part of a printed circuit board. They may make the board look clean but leave hazardous metal fragments debris. No spray on chemical contact clears are ever used as these will leave residues and will facilitate corrosion in the long term.
After unplugging the rest of the system boards and displays, the testing of the semiconductors on all the boards take place. The display high voltage (90 to 150 volts) section is checked and repaired if necessary. If the power supply board meets the requirements of the original specifications of the game, the board may be modified to correct any manufacture design defects. For example, older Gottliebs are infamous for having inadequate grounds from board to board, board to backplane or even internally in the form of lacking connector pins on high amperage loads. This is done on a game by game basis as different pinball systems need different modifications. Power is now applied and all voltages either inputted or outputted from the power supply board are measured for compliance. If found not to be correct the power for the game is removed and the problem corrected.
Once the power supply is rebuilt, the MPU or CPU board is inspected, again if there are large electrolytic capacitors on this board they will be replaced. If this board has brown enclosed chip sockets, they will be replaced with new mechanical style chip sockets. These brown colored sockets usually have a 90% failure rate. They were the cheapest sockets on the market at the time and hence were widely use by pinball manufactures. The brown chip sockets tend to work for about five to ten years, tarnish and stop making contact with the chip pins. PINBALL MEDIC
either charges a fee for replacing these chip sockets or will refuse to fix a board with a lot of them on mail-in boards. The sound/voice boards are tested after the game is playable, at this point, they will be disconnected.
The lamp/solenoid driver board is the second weakest component of a pinball electronic control system. The power transistors (or SCRs) on this board take a beating every time a lamp or solenoid is activated, especially if the protective diode across a coil is defective. Therefore, all driver and pre-drive transistors are checked before this board is plugged into a game to check for an open or shorted transistor. Also, inter-board and other connectors are checked for corrosion and cleaned lightly with 400 to 600 grit sandpaper or replaced if found to be burned.
The MPU board is now ready for testing to take place. The MPU board (and the solenoid driver board in the the case of Williams system 6-7 boards) is now connected to the power supply board only, with all other connectors disconnected from the MPU board. This will allow the self-test mechanism and more complex tests to do their thing and will not allow the activation of displays, lights or solenoid to occur. If the board is proven to be defective, it will be put through more diagnostic tests to identify the problem, either by the use of a test ROM, logic probe or multi meter.
The bottom of the playfield is re-inspected for lose or burnt coils, bad diodes, shorted switches, open 'end of stroke' switches (if appropriate)
and any other potential disasters waiting to happen to insure nothing obvious is wrong. The pinball's system boards, with the exception of the sound board(s), are reconnected in preparation for power to be applied. Power is applied to the game while watching the playfield for permanently activated solenoids, as these solenoids will burn up in about 15 seconds or less. Sometimes, a driver chip will be bad causing one or more coils to activate even though both the pre-driver and driver transistors checked OK. Power is immediately removed if this should happen. (The displays will then be plugged back in.) Be careful and check to see if the high voltage section is depleted before plugging in the displays. High voltage stored in a capacitor in the power supply board can cause very expensive display tubes/driver chips to be destroyed. The displays are tested and repaired/replaced. A final check with the built in diagnostics of the MPU board is done. The game should power up and run. The last step is to reconnect the sound card and check it for proper operation.
Electromechanical Pinball Machines
Once the initial cleaning is done, (see steps 1 through 5 above), the pinball is ready for some serious, get down and dirty, cleaning. A conundrum is created at this step with most technicians, whether to start with the relays or the score reels. Its the proverbial chicken and the egg dilemma. While the relays make the game work, the score reels can indicate a properly working game.
always starts with the score reels (the egg). After eons of hard use, these are usually in the most need of cleaning and repair. If you have ever started a game on an electromechanical pinball and have the game produce constant clicking sounds and not start a game, then usually score reels and/or a stepper unit is not returning to zero position. The problem most likely will be inside one or more of the score reels. This happens about 95% of the time on a pre-refurbished game. The typical score reel is composed of eight parts: the plastic score reel, a solenoid and plunger, an anti-reverse movement arm, a printed slide contact circuit board (slide contacts mounted on the plastic score reel),
springs and leaf switches. All of these will have to be dissembled, cleaned and adjusted.
The typical score reel unit is held in place by either a clip or lever and sometimes a hand screw. This makes it easy to pull the whole unit out for disassembling. From now on a Williams score reel will be used to describe the cleaning process, as they are the most common of all and other score wheels can be cleaned in a similar fashion.
After removal of the score unit from it's holder, the plastic score wheel is removed from the unit and cleaned and wiped down with a soft, clean cloth using a special cleaning solution. All springs and clips are removed at this time.
After the plastic score reel has been removed, all other score reel parts can now be removed, cleaned and checked for defects. The solenoid is disassembled and every part is cleaned. This includes the coil sleeve, plunger, coil stop and mounting bracket. All small plastic parts are now cleaned. Both the slide contacts (located under the score reel) and the printed circuit board are now cleaned with a light sanding with 400 to 600 grit "wettable" sand paper. (We do not use any chemical cleaners as this will make the unit not work in the long term and can harm nearby plastic parts. "Wettable" sand paper tends to be stronger and last longer then paper backed sand paper and that's why its used here). It is then sprayed off with a bottle of air to remove the sand and grit from the sand paper.
Now that all the parts are clean, they are reassembled onto the score reel unit. Tested for proper operation by operating the coil plunger by hand and counting up the score past zero. This tests the whole unit including the springs, as springs can wear out. Springs can cause the score unit not to count all the time and sometimes not return to zero when a new game is started. These are replaced as needed.
Now for one of the most important steps, the leaf switches. The leaf switches on a typical Williams EM pinball's score reel have the following functions: one is a carry over switch. A carry over switch is closed (shorted) when the score unit reaches the number nine. If the unit is pulsed again (a score is made on the pinball game) both the score unit that is being cleaned and the next higher value score reel will be advanced by one count. This allows for smooth counting past the 9th digit of the score reels. The function of this switch can be checked by advancing the score unit to the number 9. One of the leaf switches should go from a normally open to a closed condition (opened to shorted) and then be opened back up when the score unit is advanced one position to read zero. If this switch is not adjusted correctly, the score units will not advance properly but the game should start and play. If this switch is normally closed, it can cause the next score unit to advance each time the previous score reel is pulsed. Now for the most important leaf switch on a score reel, at least from a game starting point of view. That's the 'Zero' position leaf switch. This switch " Tells" the pinball when the score reel has returned to zero. If all game score reels indicate they are in the 'zero' position then the game will start a new game when the credit button is pressed, otherwise it will keep pulsing the score reels until they indicate zero. This explains the constant clicking sound and the fact that the game will not eject a ball and start a game when a score reel has not returned to zero upon game reset. If this leaf switch is adjusted normally closed, the game will start but the score reel will read something other then zero. The function of this switch can be shown by advancing the score unit by hand until it reads the digit 9. One of the leaf switches should be closed (carry over) and the other will be opened (zero position switch).
If the score reel is advanced, the switches should reverse their states. This will indicate the opening of the carry over switch and the closing of the zero position switch. The reel should indicate a zero value (this is how you know if the plastic score reel was put on in the right position). Each switch is cleaned with a fine grit paper finger nail file, then adjusted for proper operation one at a time starting with the carry over switch and then the zero position switch. This lengthy, tedious, time consuming process is now repeated for every score reel on the game. On a four player EM game this can take as long as ten hours of work and explains why a four player game costs more to refurbish then a two or single player game does. The last digit score reel on a given player usually activates the greater then 100,000 points light on the score board backglass and is not used for carry over. If you are curious, the slide contacts and printed circuit board traces are used for the "Match" function.
Four player EM pinballs can take hours more labor to refurbish because it takes time to clean and adjust score reels. Gottlieb score reels are the hardest to disassemble, Williams usually are the easiest. Now for the chicken part, the relays. Each relay is mounted with two wood screws though a rubber grommet (noise damper) holding down the relay flange. These screws will have to be removed to check and clean each and every relay one at a time. Believe it or not, the most important part of relay refurbishment is the tightening of the leaf switch mounting screws. The leaf switches use insulator wafers that can either dry out (shrink) or absorb moisture (expand) much like a 20+ year old capacitor. This moister variance causes shrinkage or expansion of the many hundreds of wafers used in a typical pinball game. A well known phenomenon occurs occasionally, a perfectly working and refurbished game may not work when it is delivered to a customer. When the game was worked on, the humidity was low and the wafers shrank. When the pinball was delivered to the customer, it was placed in a humid area. The wafers expanded pushing the switch contacts apart misaligning some relay or other playfield contacts. This is not the fault of the technician who worked on the game. This is one of the only problems that can actually be blamed on the weather. Fortunately, most contacts will stay adjusted, only a few will have to be corrected.
This is why PINBALL MEDIC recommends
we deliver and install a game so we can make these final adjustments. For the extra fees involved in delivery services, it is well worth the additional cost. Usually, after this final adjustment, the pinball will settle into it's new surroundings and work trouble free for many years to come.
Now after the pinball has been checked to see if it has a screw loose. The contacts are checked to see if they need adjustment by hand actuating the relay. If light (or by use of an Ohm meter) can be seen though a set of contacts that are supposed to be closed then the nonmoving contact is adjusted to rectify this condition. The contacts are then lightly cleaned with a business card folded in half and readjusted if necessary. Every relay will get this same treatment as well as the playfield switches. Oil or contact cleaner is never used as these cause more problems then they solve. See our Tech Question 14
on greasing EM game parts for more information.
The index cam motor and leaf switches are next. This can be a very tricky unit to adjust as these leaf switch banks are very complex and have a lot of moving parts (cams). They are treated much like the relays are except the leaf switch banks are seldom removed as this can easily cause switch misalignment. Tighten the mounting screws, lightly file the contacts, oil the motor by unscrewing the whole unit and placing (just) three drops of 3 an 1 (general purpose oil) into the small hole on the side of the motor (should be a piece of felt under this hole). Do not oil anything else as this will only serve to gum up the works later. Remember that oil/grease is just as bad for plastic parts as putting water on the playfield.
Stepper units can be thought of as large, sometimes more complex, score reels. Some can step up or down, some can single step in only one direction. The difference is the addition of just a few more parts and springs. This just makes life more interesting. The refurbishment process is the same. The unit is taken apart, the solenoids cleaned, slide contacts and boards sanded, tension springs checked and adjusted/replaced, etc.
The playfield components are now looked after in the same way as above. The hardest working units (pop bumpers, slingshots, outhole solenoids, flipper units, etc.)
are all fully taken apart and cleaned or replaced, if necessary. The pop bumpers get new "trigger wafers" and the flipper units all get new "end of stroke" switches and coil sleeves, coil stops and if bad enough, complete rebuild kits. Note: metal coil sleeves should be replaced by plastic ones as the metal coil sleeves are obsolete and do not work as well as plastic ones do. They have even been known to "eat" a coil plunger
from time to time. All other units are taken apart and cleaned and checked for proper operation. All playfield contacts are now adjusted to factory specifications. EM12.
In short, All units, score reels, relays, index cams switches, coils, motors, playfield toys, etc. have been taken apart, cleaned, adjusted, replaced if necessary inside and out on every pinball Pinball Medic
sells. Now it's time to put the EM pinball game back into proper working order. This is when the ZEN of EM pinball refurbishment comes into play. A Electromechanical pinball is more like a living entity then an amusement device. It will complain in a whisper if something is amiss. The game almost talks to you.
Because of the severe shortage of Electromechanical pinball game schematics (the games are 20+ years old and are seldom sold to third parties with documentation), operator upkeep and complexity of operation, most Electromechanical pinball machines have a lot to complain about.
Even when all their components have been thoroughly gone through, the game might not function up to par. That's when the highly experienced technicians we have at PINBALL MEDIC
shine through. They can diagnose any random problems and adjust/replace what's wrong.
Only after a refurbishment is complete, if any major rebuilding operation is needed to bring a game up to our high playability and appearance standards, a restoration process will now occur. This may require taking the cabinet apart to replace a bad backboard, extensive backbox repair and other carpentry related activity or art repair/replacement.
Coin doors are sometimes scratched, rusty, dented and have to be replaced / reconditioned. Playfields can be perfect except for small nicks in artwork or are in need of some post hole repair or playfield plastics may be broken and in need of replacement. The customer may request a playfield clear coat to protect both the playfield and the cosmetic touch ups. All of these restorations are very time and labor intensive and can add as much as twenty hours to a pinball's resurrection. Also, some pinball purest consider a complete restoration a win-lose proposition as they can make the game less then original (in mint condition).
After a complete restoration, the game will look and play like new, but the game's value to other pinheads (a term used affectingly to refer to pinball enthusiasts)
could be somewhat reduced. PINBALL MEDIC
tries to strike a balance between game cosmetics / playability and doing anything that would greatly reduce the value of the game. Coin doors, pinball legs, playfield apron artwork, if not in excellent condition will be replaced with ones that are. This we feel does not devalue the game appreciatively. Side-art, massive playfield touch ups, backglass touch ups, can, and will be done only if the customer desires it and if economically feasible. Nothing will be done to a game if it does not increase a game's resell value or playability. Video Game Restoration / Refurbishment process
The arcade game is carefully examined for obvious electrical or electronic damage. Printed circuit boards and their components and monitors are check for any defects. Inspections are made for any mechanically broken / bent control switch contacts, game control panel defects, burned circuit board connectors / wiring harness, bad capacitors, missing parts / paint, cabinet wear, side-art, marquee, video screen damage etc. This is done long before power is applied to insure no damage is done when the video game is powered up.
Very valuable, sometimes irreplaceable parts are removed for long term storage. Video screen and marquee glasses are removed and stored in special made frames so that even a dropped tool can not harm them. Broken monitor CRT's and other glass game parts can turn a $800 arcade into a M.A.M.E. cabinet.
The game is thoroughly vacuumed out. This step is necessary to remove all the dust and hazardous loose metal screws that can cause shorts and other electronic circuit board damage. Plastic parts are now removed and will be cleaned with special cleaning solutions.
The outside of the cabinet is now cleaned. The process we use will clean and rejuvenate the wood, side-art, game controls, plastic and metal parts, etc. This step is not always done with as must attention to detail by our competitors and is one of the many reasons we consider our games to be superior to the competition.
A new 15 foot 3 conductor, with #14 gauge wire, power cord is added. This is one part of a video game that seems to take the most abuse when the game is transported. Often the plug has been modified into a two pronged nightmare. The third prong grounds the game and helps prevent static on the sound system, electrical shock to the player, as well as lightning spike protection (always plug a game into a spike protector, this can save your game.)
After refurbishing / restoration, all games are powered on and played occasionally for 12 hours to insure quality of product.
Power Supply Testing and Repair
First, the power supply board is removed. This board usually can be identified by the large capacitors, heat sinked power transistors and full-wave rectifiers onboard. This board usually has the most "issues" with it and can be the easiest to troubleshoot. Also, because this one board supplies all the operational voltage to every other circuit board, it can often destroy the other game boards because of a faulty voltage regulator. Overvoltage can destroy every logic chip in a game so we check out the power supply before we plug in a new game.
The large (size and value)
filter caps are usually 20+ years old and are dried and fried out. Replacement is mandatory. The second weak point is the connectors on this board. Some usually are over-stressed and can be brown or blackened by the 10 to 20 Amp loads placed on them.
The connector most commonly found burnt are suppling the five volt logic, coin lockout coils or general illumination lights. If there is an obvious problem with one then both the male and female connector will be removed and replaced. Removing just one of the pair is just inviting the same annealing and corrosion to take place again. Never use steel wool to clean contacts or any other part of a printed circuit board. They may make the board look clean but leave hazardous metal fragments. No spray-on chemical contact cleaners are ever used. All contact cleaners leave residues and will facilitate corrosion in the long term.
Fuses and their holders are a weak point in the power supply system which is the source of most problems with game longevity (monitors are a close second). Corrosion, burnt or broken fuse holders are the most common culprit. All of these parts are checked and replaced if needed before power is applied. Also, all power and edge connectors, along with the entire wiring harness is checked.
After unplugging all of the system boards except the power supply board, the game is powered on and the Power Supply system is tested to see if it is within specs. Often an isolation transformer is used to power the monitor. This transformer is checked for proper voltage output. If any component is found not to be within spec, the power for the game is removed and the defective parts are repaired or replaced. Game Electronics Troubleshooting (GET) GET1.
Once the power supply is rebuilt, the MPU or CPU board is inspected. If there are large electrolytic capacitors on this board they will be replaced. If this board has enclosed
chip sockets, they will be replaced with new mechanical style chip sockets. These enclosed sockets usually have a 90% failure rate. They were the cheapest sockets on the market at the time and hence were widely use by video arcade manufacturers. They tend to work for about five to ten years, tarnish and stop making contact with the chip pins. PINBALL MEDIC
either charges a fee for replacing these chip sockets or may refuse to fix a board with them on mail-in boards.
Most problems with the electronics on video games are caused by a bad PROM (programmable read only memory) or ROM (read only memory). All Proms are removed one at a time and checked against a known good set. While this test will indicate most ROM problems, some will pass this test only to be proven defective in game operation. This is due mostly to corroded PROM pins, defective chip sockets or shorted printed circuit traces under chip sockets). This is why it sometimes takes hours to test and repair a game's program PROMs.
All connectors, wires, switches from both the coin door and game control panel are checked and replaced as needed. We pay special attention to components like the coin lockout coils (on the coin door). These coils stay energized during game play and are subject to heat stresses. While they may appear to be functioning properly, most are shorted out. This causes excessive current draw for the power supply. The power supply burns out over a long period of time and sometimes does damage to the rest of the game's electronics. If parts like this are not checked, they cause the game to malfunction, usually right after the warranty expires.
The majority of possible operational failures have been corrected at this point except for the second most problematic part on a Video Arcade Game, the sometimes hazardous to work on, Video Monitor. This repair is discussed in the next section and is performed at this step in the Video arcade game refurbishment process.
After the video monitor is refurbished, the MPU board is now ready for game play testing to take place. The MPU board is now connected to the power supply board, monitor and game controls. This will allow the self-test mechanism and more complex tests to do their function. If the board or other game component is proven to be defective, it will be put through more diagnostic tests to identify the problem, either by the use of a test ROM, logic probe or other specialty testing equipment. Arcade Monitor Repair (AMR)
The monitor is visibly inspected for obvious defects either physical or electrical in nature. For safety reasons, this is a hands free, tool free first inspection.
If the monitor has server burn-in, physical or electrical defects on parts that cannot be replaced with new parts, then a new monitor will be placed in the game. Most monitors cost between $300 and $600 or more depending on size and resolution. They are not made anymore, so only monitors left in parts dealer's inventory can be bought. This has resulted in used monitors that are worth more then a working video arcade game. Some repair shops have started to buy working games just for the monitor inside of them. They throw away every other part of the game.
Spending a lot of expensive labor troubleshooting damaged or server burnt-in tubes and monitors is just not monetarily sound, even with the higher monitor prices. However, some types of monitors cannot be replaced with new ones, such as color X Y vector monitors used in games like Tempest.
The monitor's CRT (cathode ray tube or picture tube)
is discharged in a safe procedure before removal from the game or any other repair is attempted. Many a technician has been burnt, shocked, or has suffered other bodily harm because this was not done before the monitor was removed from the game.
After a monitor is removed from the game, all large monitor capacitors are discharged so they no longer pose a threat.
NOTE: A picture tube is almost the perfect capacitor and can hold a lethal charge (15,000 to 20,000 volts) for four to five days or longer depending on humidity and discharge paths to ground.
This is one of the reasons why we can't repair monitors in the field, only at our shop. We must remove the monitor as field service and discharge them in the field.
All monitors receive a new monitor electrolytic capacitor kit (recap kit
). This can solve many problems with screen size, tracing, brightness, roll, pin cushion, color and other image defects. These recap kits are inexpensive and eliminate extensive labor in the long run. They also increase the longevity of the monitor. Most monitors where designed to operate for three years or less and not the 10 or greater years that they have been in operation. We have Arcade Monitor recap kits on our Arcade game Parts
The monitor's Video / Control input and power supply connectors are checked and replaced if needed. This is a problematic area and is sometimes hard to find during game operation if it is not checked at this time.
The Video input connector is now disconnected so the monitor can be powered on and tested for High Voltage flyback operation, EMI interference, CRT filament heating, etc. The monitor is connected to a known video source to check for proper operation especially if the game operator has indicated that the monitor was the only problem with the game. The monitor is benched tested using color bar / pattern generators, a high voltage probe, oscilloscopes, etc. Each section of the monitor is tested. This will determine if the problem is related to a bad picture tube, high-voltage section, mal-adjusted control mounted on one of the printed circuit boards, a magnetically charged video screen, HV flyback or semiconductor failure, faulty convergence adjustment, etc. All defective components are replaced with new parts and the monitor is retested for correct operation. If the picture tube is found to be at fault, then a new monitor will be installed. The CRT tube in most circumstances cost about as much or sometimes more then a new monitor does, if one can even be purchased. All monitor connectors are reconnected after these tests are made.
If the monitor is deemed reliable and the image is sharp, it is discharged, demagnetize and installed in the game using only hand tools. Electrical tools like drills, electric screw drivers, etc. create the possibility of re-magnitizing the picture tube (CRT).
The monitor is tested in both the built-in video test modes and in game play mode. It is tested and adjusted for color, sharpness, size, sync, etc.
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Video Arcade Game Restoration Processes
Only after a game refurbishment is complete, can any major reconstruction operation be done.
This brings a game up to our high playability and appearance standards. A restoration process may entail taking the cabinet apart to replace rotted wood, extensive cabinet repair and other large carpentry related activates, side-art and control panel art repair/replacement. Coin doors are sometimes scratched, rusty, dented and have to be replaced / reconditioned. Marquee's and screen decals can be perfect except for small nicks in artwork. Joysticks and other control devices may be broken and in need of replacement. All these repairs are very time and labor intensive and can add as much as 20 hours to a video arcade game's resurrection. The game will now look and play like new. If economically feasible, Side-art and video screen insert touch ups will be done at this time. Nothing will be done to a game if it does not increase a game's resale value, longevity or playability. Locked Gates and Entry Key Codes Policy
Texas is full of gated communities, private property gates and area entry security. Gate key codes MUST be provided
to our driver and gate security guards must be informed of our arrival before a delivery or field service is attempted. Our technicians have often driven for 30 or more miles (one way)
just to be blocked by a locked gate. Getting yourself Banned from our Services
A locked gate or non payment can get a customer banned from all of our services and can cause storage fees and other costs to occur. We don't except any excuses for a locked gate. The former customer knew about the gate a long time before we got to it. We except to get paid for our work on the same day it is done. After all, even a cosmetic refurbishment takes more then 12 hours to accomplish per arcade game.
We never want to ban people or businesses from the services we provide. We always keep this 'nuclear option' as the last possible outcome. However, like any other business, Pinball Medic must make a profit on everything we do to survive. When we waste a half a day driving a long distance without any way to complete the job, we will start on the next machine at the shop or the next field service call and all work on your game will be very delayed, canceled with all new parts removed or downgraded to the most basic cosmetic refurbishment level with storage fees added. We can also sale your game as reimbursement for any costs, parts or game storage or other fees you owe after a 30 day waiting period. Why should you care about banning?
Banning lasts a lifetime on any service we provide. Costs and fees will be added to any games we store, have repaired, refurbished, restored or sold and on games with parts and/'or labor costs owed to us. Pinball Medic
is one of only a very few remaining good amusement game repair shops in Texas and in the nation. We do talk to most of our competitors and can find out the game's history relatively quickly. We already offer very competitive rates, but by NOT doing right by us to save a little on a repair or refurbishment through non payment, being unavailable or trying to get free labor or parts, you will be making your game(s)
non-repairable in the future. You could also loose the game as we can sell it to reimburse our costs.
Reasons for being banned.
- Preventing us from completing a delivery, game pick up or completing a service call with a locked gate, very poor driving instructions or any other means (guard dog, etc).
- Not paying Pinball Medic in full after a repair/refurbishment or for new, use or expensive parts, fees and storage prior to starting a repair/refurbishment. If you can't pay us by one of our payment methods then tell us before the work is started, not after it is completed. We will not allow games to leave our shop before all payments have been completed. We reserve the right to downgrade a refurbishment or cancel the work due to lack of payment and transfer game's ownership to Pinball Medic after a waiting period. Unpaid for parts will be removed from the game.
- Not reimbursing us for the labor or for any new/used parts. This includes labor and parts even after a service was terminated before it could be completed.
- If we find past history of bad dealings with other repair shops. Too often, in the past, games would be delivered from well beyond our service area because other shops would not accept a game (customers never indicate this has occurred) or a repair was done incorrectly and has damaged the game. There could be a reason why you are having "trouble with other shops" and have to travel hundreds of miles to get your game refurbished or repaired. We are not the "last chance shop" and will not be held responsible for other repair shops repair, refurbishment or restoration.
We do our best to filter out people who purposely travel from one shop to another to "scam" free labor and parts from each repair shop. This practice can make the game non-repairable and can get the game's owner banned from one of the last and perhaps best coin operated repair shops in Texas, Pinball Medic.
Not all repair shops are what they claim to be. We know that issues might have been caused by previous repair that was done incorrectly In some of these cases, we try and repair the bad repair job, however, many are just too far gone to do anything on the hacked repair job. We reserve the right to decline to work on any game for any customer and for any reason.
- Your check bounces for any reason. There is a 7 business day waiting period on all checks to make sure they are valid before the game can be removed from our repair shop.
If a local bad check is presented to us without any intentional fraud taking place, we will expect cash as the only payment method and will add a $35 fee for each bad check.
- Having us make multiple trips to a location to get paid for previous work. We are willing to work with you during a field service call, however, trying to get free labor each time we arrive at a location because the customer didn't have a way to pay us and didn't tell us before we worked on their games, will get you banned. Even if you have multiple games in need of repair. Gas is expensive and our time is valuable to us. As stated before, we will no longer work for game software design companies. They pull this "stunt" every time.
- Any illegal activity on the part of a customer. Scams and other illegal activity is obviously grounds for being banned for life. Illegal or legal drugs are NOT included as one of our payment methods and are NOT accepted as payment for any services or game parts we provide. Don't try anything illegal with us. You could loose your game and money.
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