Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pinball: Chapter 2 - Introductions

why yes, that is a homemade poster from the movie Tommy, thanks for asking

This is my pinball machine. There are many others like it, but this one is mine.

I may now add my name to the list of bloggers who have used the training chant of the Marines into a witty phrase. Go me!

Anyway, it's a 1973 Williams OXO. This is a machine that was fun enough to continue being played but not popular enough to be considered worth taking care of. As such, they're exceedingly rare in good condition due to being "out in the wild" longer.

Mine has its fair share of cosmetic flaws but works pretty well. The backglass is in poor shape and there's a long groove that runs out of the plunger lane that makes the first shot kind of a pain.


The groove is worst on the left and right edges, meaning sometimes the pinball will actually get wedged on either side. I tried to fix it with copious amounts of playfield wax, but I think that actually made it worse. I don't mind it normally though, as it actually functions as something of a skill shot. The challenge is to shoot it at the right speed so it loses momentum just at the apex of the playfield arc (where the groove is both shallowest and most susceptible to gravity), thus making it drop towards the center targets.

Aside from the groove, all other flaws are fixable. Some lightbulbs here, some wax there. I'm getting new rubber rings this week and need to clean the contacts on the A/B targets. Its also set up for 5 ball play, which is just dumb as I get at least one replay nearly every time I play. On good days, I can get the scorewheel to turn over (pass 99,999) every time.

Truth is, there's a fair amount of maintenance work I should do, as I doubt its former owner likely ever opened it up and cleaned very much. I haven't yet due to lack of parts, time, and the intimidation factor of all those wires and switches. It's odd to open it up and look at all the things that could possibly go wrong inside of it. Having the manual around is reassuring, but that ease quickly fades when I glance at the schematic and realize I'm in somewhat over my head.

It is in working shape though, and so long as I maintain it, it will likely continue to be. I've found many resources for fixing and maintaining EM machines, so an afternoon spent with the right tools will probably do a world of good. Hopefully that afternoon will occur this weekend.

Recently I sketched out all the functions of each switch in an attempt to figure out how it works on a basic level. This sketch will come in handy both for figuring out the schematic and in a future project, to be announced.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Pinball Machine:

I have a box full of assorted parts for you.

4:02 PM  
Blogger krylonultraflat said...

Ooh! He would love them very much thank you anonymous person!

7:03 PM  

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