Pinball Shop Out Guide
This is a high-level write-up on how I generally shop out a pinball machine. It’s not intended to be overly explicit with detail but more of a guideline. I’ve been collecting all types of coin-ops, vids and pins since 2000 and don’t pretend to know everything. As a matter of fact I could be in my basement talking to my water heater right now. I do hope you find this little article helpful.
The terms shopping out, refurnishing, rehabbing, and restoring a pin can be a pretty be subjective and are commonly used interchangeably. They can mean different things to enthusiasts and operators. There are also different levels to a restore one can do depending on the time, money, knowledge and effort an individual wants to put into a game. Some collectors prefer to do the work themselves and others have this done as a service or combination of both.
A quick shop job usually means a bare minimum is performed to make the game appear semi-maintained. Generally, only rubbers and burned out bulbs within easy reach are replaced. A quick glance at a machine with a mix of black and white rubbers will give you a hint of this. The playfield is wiped down but not really cleaned or polished. The inside of the cabinet and head are usually untouched and dirty. Cracked and broken plastics and ramps will be evident. Major assemblies aren’t checked and may have issues. Diagnostic errors from switches, optos, etc. are not addressed. Burned connectors or coils aren’t replaced and are signs of something that needs attention. If an assembly isn’t working correctly it can be disabled in the menu so the game bypasses it. This type of game might appear fine to someone new buying a pin for the first time, but a quick look for these kinds of problems reveals some of the work required to improve the game performance.
Professional restorers like Christopher Hutchins and Allen Shope at will fully restore a pin to “like new” condition or collector quality. Expect to minimally spend $3000-$6000 for this type of 5-star service. This doesn’t cover shipping your pin back and forth. The machine is completely gone over in these types of restorations. The playfield is stripped completely including the wiring harness. The assemblies, brackets, screws etc. are polished in tumblers for several days to clean them. Ball guides and wireframes are regrained or just replaced. The playfields are sanded clean on the backside first. They are repaired, touched up, as needed then clearcoated several times. The cabinet and hardware are cleaned. Most of the time, new decals are applied or the game is re-stenciled. The game is reassembled and the wiring harness is neatly installed. After all this the game is tested and tweaked to perfection. In the end these games play as if they came from the factory or better. This would be my definition of a full restoration.
When working for a local retailer, Jay Smith at Funhouse Amusements, I had the chance to learn and do full shop outs on pinball machines and video games. The games we purchased usually had little or no maintenance done in their lifetime and were pretty filthy. With TLC and time they were showroom quality though. We didn’t shop our pins to the degree as the above restorers mentioned but when finished the game was immaculate and played exceptionally. After spending many hours working on pins I can really appreciate the restoration process. Whichever path you choose the best advice I can give is to do a little research first. Have a little patience and enjoy the process.
How much time and money will a full shop job like the one I’m describing below take? A lawyer’s answer might be…”it depends.” It starts with the current condition and level of restoration you’re satisfied with. If I’m redoing a pin myself, I anticipate at least 40-50 hours or more and an average of $500 in replacement parts. This averages to 2-3 hours a night for a month or more. Some pins take more time to tear down and rebuild than others. I took a year to completely go over a Cirqus Voltaire in my collection, one assembly at a time. It truly depends on what is broken or damaged from years of play. Some assemblies will continue to work but just not as well. Even playing or visually inspecting a pin won’t necessarily give insight into what needs attention.
Expect to get dirty! Even if a game has been shopped previously it doesn’t take long to get dirty. If the pin was operated anywhere there will be the usual dust and dirt from the environment. Bars and oversees locations where smoking is prevalent will saturate a pin with cigarette smoke. Pins also perpetually make their own dirt by way of black carbon and iron dust. The dust comes from the metal on metal pounding between the plungers and coil stops where the solenoids and moving assemblies are. If the pin still smells after cleaning you can buy a deodorizer spray to help neutralize any odors.
Tools, Supplies and Things You’ll Need
You need basic and relatively inexpensive tools before you can start. Having the right tools can save you time and can prevent further damaging a ramp, screw, or delicate assembly. I recommend Terry’s Pinball Life and/or Scot’s PinRestore for tools and other handy items. Both sites are easy to navigate in finding exactly what I recommend below.
A couple of must have items are nut drivers, magnetic dish, and a pickup tool. The nut drivers are used routinely especially 1/4" and 5/16” sizes. Without them don’t bother to attempt shopping a pin. If you are like me and most people you will drop screws constantly throughout the shop job. Getting a magnetic dish will hold all the screws removed securely. The pickup tool is a telescoping instrument with a magnet on the tip the size of a pen. It seems a bit much and even laughable until you drop a screw. Dropped screws can fall in the most unusual places so a pickup tool just makes things easier. It will pay for itself with the first use. Trust me.
For this example I’m shopping out my Bram Stoker’s Dracula (BSD) that I bought at the 2011 White Rose pinball show in York, PA. It was a nice example of a BSD that had a few LED mods from Cointaker installed already. The inside of the cabinet needed cleaning and the playfield rubber was a little worn but everything else was nice cosmetically. There was little to no fade of the cabinet colors and the playfield didn’t need any major touch ups. It appeared to be relatively well taken care of but never shopped. Electronically, there were no errors when booting the game so everything was working properly.
BSDs are considered easy or average to redo but where should you start? For BSDs I found that removing buildings, wireframes, ramps, and ball guides in that order generally works. There’s no real guide to tearing down a pin. You can rely on your memory but don’t kid yourself. A good substitute for a guide is to take plenty of pictures at different angles before and during the teardown. Photos will be an invaluable aid when it’s time to reassemble the game. Begin by tearing the playfield down and removing all the ramps, plastics, and rubber. If you have space it’s nice to lay everything out symmetrically on another table aside of the game. I put all the plastic ramps gently in a cardboard box and the same for the wire ramps. I use a magnetic dish tray for nuts, screws, and standoffs. You can even put some parts that are specific to area of the playfield or toy in small zip lock bags labeling them for later. If you don’t have a manual for the pin then you can download one from The Pinball Database or at Pinball Manuals by Parts4Pinballs. The manual will have exploded diagrams of major assemblies with part numbers. Also included are locations for replacing lighting and playfield rubber. Having the manual is invaluable for troubleshooting purposes as well.
As you remove items from the playfield you should be able to tell what is broken or needs replaced by visual inspection. The first items I found broken were a “Rat” scoop hole plastic along with a few chewed up red star posts. I also noticed a circular red target (3 center target banks) was bent and weakened from repeated hits. A full set of BSD plastics can run close to $190 if you can find them. I opted on finding the specific Rat plastic I needed at Marco Specialties for $15 or so. I put this on my list of things to order later along with plastic protectors. All of the other plastics were fine and just needed cleaning and polishing.
With most of the areas of playfield now accessible it can be cleaned. Line the inside of the cabinet with old towels or shop towels. This will keep the cabinet, transformer and speaker dry while we clean. The shop towels I use are usually found in the automotive department and come 10 or more to a bag. For really ground-in playfield dirt and grime I use Westley’s Bleche-wite. Its main use is as a tire whitewall and lettering cleaner but it can be safely used on late model pins that are diamond plated or clear coated. I learned about this from Allen Shope at Treasure Cove. My first experience in using Bleche-wite was in restoring a High Speed 2 where the playfield looked like it had smoke damage in a fire. This was the only method that worked. You can pour a little in a cup and use a toothbrush to apply or just lightly spray an area. The dirt will absolutely melt off, leaving a clean playfield. In my opinion, Bleche-wite is more effective than some of the other commonly used cleaners such as Simple Green. Apply to small portions of a playfield at a time for about 10 seconds then gently brush the area. Once you’re finished, re-wipe the playfield with a damp cloth to make sure the cleaner is entirely off. Finally, vacuum the inside of the cabinet as everything will most likely be covered in a layer of dust.
Lift the playfield up in the service position and begin removing light boards and cellar hole/subways. The screws for the light boards can just be backed out but without entirely removing them, then the board can be pulled free. A preventative maintenance item will be to solder and “re flow” the connectors on each light board. Vibration and heat over time can crack the solder and result in a bulb intermittently lighting. Once the light boards are finished, remove and throw out all the bulbs.
With the playfield still in the service position we will clean the wood grain, wire bundles, and inserts. I use a mild cleaner like Simple Green that is ammonia free. It’s a cleaning solution originally made in the mid-1970s as an environmentally friendly method for cleaning the stains left by roasting coffee. Starting at the bottom of the playfield by the flippers (now top in the raised position) begin applying Simple Green to the bottom. Avoid spraying directly on coils or assemblies as best you can. Your main concern is the wood grain and dirty inserts. I like to use a 1-inch small paint brush or foam brush to clean the inside of the inserts. Work your way to the bottom of the playfield, chasing the dirt. Use a small spray bottle with water in similar fashion as above to remove excess cleaner. With a soft towel or shop towel begin to wipe off excess water and dirt away. NOTE - Use extra caution on newer Stern cabinets with this method. The cabinets are pressure board and any sitting water will make the pressure board and decal swell. High-end restorers will not do the above. They remove all the components from under the playfield, remove the playfield, and re-sand the surface.
I know what you’re probably thinking…you’re spraying liquids around the coils and wiring…are you nuts? The pin will be perfectly fine if left unplugged and turned off while drying. Remember that it will take 40 hours or more to completely finish what we’re doing. By the time you complete the other tasks at hand and reassembling the playfield it will have fully dried. The worst thing that ever happened to me was a coil wrapper around a flipper had gotten too wet and fell off. It was rewrapped with no harm done. You can make replica coil wrappers and warning stickers at Peter "Inkochnito" Koch’s page or they can be purchased in sets at Bay Area Amusements or from Planetary Pinball.
Cleaning the inside and outside of the cabinet is fairly the same. Spray the inside with a mild cleaner and wipe up the loose dirt with your shop towel or sponge. Terry at Pinball Rehab recommends using foam carpet cleaner and a brush. The toughest part will be cleaning the very back of the cabinet. For some games this is the only way to eliminate the stale smoke smell from a game that came from a bar. Additionally, you can spray a deodorizer to neutralize any remaining smoke smell.
Now that the playfield has been initially cleaned it’s time to polish it. Polishing kits are available from different vendors but if you’ve never done this before then I recommend Treasure Cove’s. The biggest selling point is it comes with a 30-minute “how to” video for applying it on your playfield. The kit comes with Allen’s own mix of 3 polishes with several sizes of pads and buffing wheel. Just like Novus, polisher #3 is for really dull areas and mylar. Polish #2 is applied to further bring out the shine and #1 gets a nice glazed look. Mask off the slingshot, pop bumper, and playfield areas to keep from any splatter with painter’s tape. Back out any switches under the playfield to protect them from the buffing process. NOTE - Think of polishing the playfield like polishing your automobile, so use extra care here. You want to be very light-handed and let the drill or orbital buffer do all the work. Just like your automobile paint, the playfield art can be scuffed or burned by applying too much pressure. Novus 3 and 2 will work just as well with an orbital buffer. Wipe any polish residue up with a soft towel.
With the playfield cleaned and polished it can now be protected with a coat of carnauba paste wax. This will add a thin layer of wax to the playfield to reduce ball friction and prevent wear. At this point you might have wax and polish residue dust to vacuum which is normal. As you repopulate the playfield and play the first dozen or so games you’ll still see dust surface from time to time. You can usually find vacuum attachments with narrow tips and brushes for detailing cars, and these will work well for vacuuming the playfield. These are typically found in an automotive department at the usual places.
While stripping the playfield remove and dispose of all the playfield lighting. Even if they are working, bulbs and flashers that are darkened or silver at the tips cause more heat. Heat will diminish the lifespan of rubbers, plastics, and electronics. The manual will list all of the flasher and lighting locations. A little more about lighting will be discussed later.
You can repaint the insides of the cabinets if you choose to. It’s not difficult and adds a nice touch. It’s fairly easy to remove the cabinet parts like coin door and buttons. I use Rust-Oleum satin black with a roller and paint brush. Some people will paint the entire cabinet or from the cabinet rails to about halfway down the cabinet. The other half and bottom of the cabinet is lightly sanded.
Exterior cabinet scrapes can be touched up with gloss paint pens. The most common color you will need is gloss black. Apply to the area then use your finger to lightly “blend.” Larger portions can be masked off then spray painted. Scuffs that leave paint marks on the outside of the cabinet can be removed safely without damaging the artwork underneath. This is common on the cabinet head. Simply use a damp Magic Eraser and lightly wipe gently. I say gently because Magic Eraser type pads are essentially a light 400-grit abrasive. Other marks can be touched up using enamel paint pens with a gloss finish. The outside can also be waxed using a carnauba paste wax then buffed to a high gloss. The very bottom of a cabinet can get fairly dirty moving and handling the game. Using a mild cleaner and shop towel to remove will work or lightly sanding it will do the trick. If the cabinet is faded or beyond touch up then reproduction decals can be purchased for some machines. This is beyond what I’m covering here though. Add an additional 20 to 30 hours to prep the cabinets for applying the decals though. There are instructional videos on Youtube and guide with pictures written by Robert Winter at his site.
The inside of the cabinet head can generally be wiped down with a damp cloth to remove dust and dirt. For really dirty PCBs I use a dry paint brush to lightly dust and possibly canned air. Avoid spraying any cleaners directly in proximity to system boards. Remove the translight from the head for cleaning. The translight will come apart by removing plastic brackets from the backglass. Clean the front and back of the glass thoroughly with glass cleaner of choice. The translight can be cleaned with Novus #2 or #1 to remove brown and yellow dirt. Let the playfield and cabinet open to fully dry.
Plastics Ramps and Wireframes
Playfield plastics, ramps, wireframes and other items can be cleaned while the cabinet is drying. You can even put these into your dishwasher (no heat) on a delicate setting although I’ve never tried this method. Wipe excess water off and let stand to air dry. For plastics, I hand wash with water and dish soap to remove dirt. Apply Novus 3 for removing heavy scratches on plastics. Use Novus 2 for fine scratches, haziness, and abrasions. Finally, use Novus 1 to shine up the plastics and remove finger marks. This should get your ramps in pretty good shape. If your plastic ramps has heavy ball wear then you can “flame polish” them with an acetylene torch. You only need to make 1 or 2 passes with the torch to re melt the plastic. Too much heat can destroy your ramps. The other secret is to get the ramp as clean as possible prior to flame polishing them; otherwise the dirt gets melted into the ramp forever. There are videos on Youtube for this technique and others mentioned.
Metal items like wireframes, ramp flaps, legs etc. can be cleaned using several different products. I clean them initially like I do plastics and ramps with a mild cleaner. Next, for light polishing tasks I use the old operator’s go-to solution Mill Wax and a shop towel. The best metal polishers I’ve used are “Never Dull” and “Xtreme Metal Polish.” These polishes are fine to use on stainless steel, aluminum, chrome, copper, and brass. Both remove surface rust and ground-in grime buildup.
If you want to really make some of the metal items shine they can be polished and regrained. Over time ramps and ball guides start to develop a polished trail from repeated passes by the pinball. Terry at Pinball Rehab has a couple of tips on re-graining metal ramps, ball guides back and scoops to that like-new look. Below are direct links to his articles.
Cleaning all the screws, nuts, spacers, and other items can be accomplished different ways. Some use a vibrating rock tumbler by tossing everything into a rock tumbler for 2 or 3 days with abrasive grit and polish to magically shine everything. Another quick method is to use a Dremel or Grinder with buffer wheel to lightly polish everything. I’ve read that using polishing methods like this can remove the zinc protective coating which prevents corrosion. In a home environment I don’t think corrosion will be an issue; however I thought to at least point it out. I’ll use Mill Wax, Never Dull, or just simply replace any really chewed up screws after quick inspection.
BSD Metal Spacers
While shopping out my BSD I picked up a pair of proto slingshot plastics. These plastics were not included in the final pin because of a contractual snag with Winona Ryder and using her image. After hearing about this I took another look at the back glass since she is featured on it. There is a likeness of Wynona but I don’t think it’s actually her from the movie. I could be wrong. The proto slings require 4 metal hexagonal spacers and 4 nuts. There are always questions that come up on what length of spacer to use. Below are the type and length I used install them.
While on the subject of spacers, sometimes the Carfax Abby Building and Dracula’s Castle are missing or have the wrong size installed. Below are correct sizes for the buildings.
“We have the technology” - On every shop job I replace all the playfield rubber and rebuild the pop bumpers and flippers. Playing a pin with worn rubber and weak flippers and pop bumpers is miserable. BSD has shorter flipper bats so this is especially true. Stores sell exact kits for replacing rubber and rebuilding flippers for your machine. These kits are relatively cheap and a must-do for a shop job. Both left and right kits for BSD run about $35 together with shipping.
The reason for rebuilding your flippers is that over time the plunger striking the coil stop will begin to deform or mushroom from repeated contact. The first symptom is degradation in the strength and movement of the flipper called binding. Eventually, this can cause excess friction and heat inside the nylon tubing. The coil can deform or worse could damage a component on the power driver board.
“Fliptronic II” flipper assembly from the BSD manual
Here is a list of corresponding parts found in a typical rebuild kit with the exception of the nylon bushing (18 in diagram). Just throw out all of the old worn parts and replace them with new ones.
If you see any wear on the bushing or the flipper is not parallel to the playfield then replace this. Worn bushings cause the flipper to drag across the playfield. Loctite will need to be applied to the mounting screw and hex nuts (19 and 20 in diagram) if you decide to replace the bushings.
Playfield damage from flipper drag
A soldering iron as well as an Allen wrench and nut driver are needed to replace the EOS Switch. Pinball News has a short tutorial on soldering here
Here are a few things to remember when rebuilding your flippers. The coil is mounted back into the flipper assembly with the wires/diode side away from the coil stop. The collision of the plunger with the coil stop is enough to break the diodes or even the coil tabs. The coil sleeve is inserted into the coil with its lip away from the diode side. This lip stops the sleeve from going all the way through the coil. NOTE: If you can’t install the nylon sleeve easily into the coil then the coil will have to be replaced. This is result of the flipper assembly partially binding and making the coil work harder. The coil got hot enough to warp the plastic casing and is no longer good.
After you have rebuilt the flippers and reassembled everything you can insert the flipper back into the playfield. The flipper metal shaft will go through the nylon bushing and into the flipper crank assembly. The flipper and nylon bushing should have a clearance of about 7 mm or the size of a credit card between each other. They shouldn’t rub against each other causing friction. There are 2 small holes on the playfield which are used to align the flippers. Gently insert a toothpick into the hole to use as a guide. The bottom of the flipper (without rubber) against the toothpick is where it should be aligned. Now tighten the crank assembly until the flipper doesn’t slip inside it. Don’t over tighten. It takes a bit of finesse to keep the flipper in correct clearance and alignment but take your time.
Rebuilding Pop Bumpers
Pop bumper assembly from the BSD manual
Here is a list of corresponding parts you’ll want to replace in the pop bumper assembly.
To tackle rebuilding your pop bumpers you’ll need a 5/16 nut driver with a 6-inch shaft reach beyond some of the stuff under the playfield. While taking the pop bumper apart it will need to be cleaned and wiped down. Use Millwax or Neverdull to shine up the brackets and bumper ring. All 3 of the metal armature links were broken in my BSD but I didn’t notice this until I removed the assembly. This area takes a beating and the armatures become brittle over time. Both types of armatures are pretty cheap to replace. I’ll inspect the plunger and coil stops for excessive wear and replace them. You can order all the parts to rebuild the coil assembly ala-cart or buy the entire coil assembly for approximately $40 from Terry at Pinball Life. Note the diagram and order and arrangement of parts when reassembling. Place the coil and coil sleeve together in the bracket first. Align the both armatures and spring onto the plunger into the coil bracket. This will fit into the coil and mount onto the bracket.
Inspect all the major assemblies for wear and damage. Check slingshots, eject, and kickout assemblies for bracket weld breaks. Make note of any additional items to order and replace on your list. Go through and retighten all the screws and nuts on the assemblies below the playfield as they may have worked loose over the years. Even if everything appears fine, I’ll take an assembly apart to clean it and replace the nylon sleeves inside the coils as a good measure. If any plungers or coil stops are worn I’ll replace them. Usually, they don’t wear as quickly as flippers and pop-bumpers. Below is a BSD quick reference guide for every coil sleeve and spring used.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula Coil Sleeve and Spring Quick Reference
Vendors have different ways to list their nylon coil sleeves. Some just have the size with no part number and others a part number with nothing else to reference it. Your most common sleeve will likely be 03-7066 so it’s good to have those on hand. I made a quick reference chart for Williams/Bally Coil sleeves below and where they are typically used.
The “Rat” scoop-hole areas were showing slight wear around the edges. Luckily, protectors are made for games to stop further wear from happening or to help hide the area. Both Kerry and Cliffy sell protectors for pins. Kerry’s install inside the scoop area and are hidden whereas Cliffy’s have an outside lip. I picked up a BSD protector set - Rat, Mystery, Ball eject and switch slot to prevent additional wear. I also noticed slight switch slot wear (say that one several times) by the ball return area near the flippers. This is where the ball drops down from the ramps onto the playfield onto the switch slot. You can also dab the area of the playfield with a little clear coat and paint brush but it’s a tough area to protect. Cliffy has made a protector for that area that simply installs by pressing it into the switch cutout.
Like football, pinball is a collision game. The actual pinball doesn’t appear heavy until you hold one in your hand and then you realize wow! The stainless steel pinball has been clocked traveling 6 to 11 miles per hour. It’s ricocheting the playfield impacting on items throughout. It’s a good idea at this point to add plastic protectors. Plastic protectors add an additional lip or bumper around the main plastic for protection. They come in full or partial sets for trouble areas. Pinbits sells great protectors and other pin upgrades. Currently, BSD plastic sets aren’t available but I’m adding protectors and polishing what I have.
Lastly, some areas are especially prone to wear on games. BSD has a spot where the ball is plunged into play off the right ramp near the “VIDEO” inserts. Add a piece of mylar to protect this area and prevent any further wear.
Begin repopulating the playfield by adding new lighting. As stated above it’s just best to replace all your lighting if doing a full shop out. Use #47’s bulbs to replace #44’s if you’re going the “old school” route. #47 bulbs use less current and generate less heat. Over recent years, enthusiasts and collectors have been experimenting with replacing bulbs and flashers with LEDs. LED’s have the benefit of a longer lifespan with extremely low current draw (up to 80% less). Manufacturers are experimenting with the intensity and spread of the light for particular areas. About half of my pins have LEDs and I’m still on the fence about their appearance. Their lighting effect is dramatic and different than the glow of a bulb. A game like Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Scared Stiff loses a bit of the ambiance that was intended with the different lighting effects. Typically, I’ll do flashers and pop bumpers with LEDs then go from there. The last thing you want to do is have to tear apart a portion of a playfield to get to your pop bumper bulbs again.
For BSD I’ve added a few additional LEDs than what was already in there. Cointaker is a reputable source for LEDs. They have a wide variety of types for various lighting effects for different locations of the playfield. I like the Retro Warm White LED line as they are the closest in intensity as a 44/47 light bulb. For those tough spots to light that require that little bit more adjustment I use the “Flex” type of LED that also comes in a warm white.
The manual for your game will have a diagram of all the game’s lighting and type of bulb to use in the back. It will also show you the rubber sizes and location on the playfield.
Not mentioned in the rubber kit above but kind of in the same category is a grommet reference number 23-6420. The tiny rubber grommet, used as a plunger rest for up-kickers, knockers, pop bumpers, and vertical up-kickers (VUKs), can get dry rotted or start getting gummy. This gets overlooked most of the time and is a good way to tune those assemblies.
Remove and replace the batteries. Old batteries can leak acid onto the board and destroy it. Holders are available to mount batteries remotely from the system board in case such an accident occurs. Ideally, batteries should be replaced annually. Once a board has battery acid leak and corrode portions of the main board your game is never the same. Even if you neutralize and remove the acid it will have random errors.
Check to make sure you have the latest ROM for your pinball machine. You can check by going to the Pinball Database. Various vendors have the most current game and audio ROMs.
Replace your crusty old balls. They might look fine but over time from countless collisions pinballs will get scratched and pitted. This acts like sandpaper on your playfield finish. Again, think of the playfield finish like your car’s clearcoat.
Adjustments and burn in
It’s unavoidable. You will most likely have to spend some time debugging and fixing oddball issues after the shop job. Things like switches accidentally get bent or misaligned. Loose wires might need to be re-soldered back in place. Short circuits can occur from touching wires making unwanted connections. Be prepared to spend some time afterward the shop job whatever the problem is. In most cases it will be something simple.
After fully reassembling my BSD I fired it up for the first time. It did its self-tests and attempted to upload a ball into the mist magnet area. I played a game and the mist motor was running constantly under the playfield. It also launched another ball into play probably because it couldn’t account for where the balls were located. I turned off the game and restarted it. The self-test reported “Left Magnet Error” among a few other playfield switch errors. I checked all the small 24 Opto PCBs under the playfield for all the connections as I had removed a few of the optos to clean the playfield. I reseated the connectors and tried the game again but still the same result. I check the board again and noticed this time the green inductor L1 was essentially dangling off of the opto board. I ordered a replacement inductor from Mouser Electronics part number 434-03-103J for $1.28. For good measure I reflowed the solder on the back of all the components and connectors. Another alternative is to buy a replacement board from Homepin. They have redesigned the board since the IC chips are obsolete.
A-15646 – 24-Opto PCB Assembly *Note: Inductor L1 is 10 mH
Test 15 – Magnet Test
The test menu has a “Magnet Test” number 15. I started the Magnet Test to troubleshoot all the mechanisms associated with this cool multiball feature. The DMD will show a mini diagram with all the mechanisms and switches with status. The test first uploads a ball into the holding area on the right side of the playfield. The magnet carries the ball across then back and reports any errors it encounters.
If the magnet drops the ball in the middle of the mist test this usually will be the fault of Magnet switch 82 or the Long beam opto. An alignment problem will report a problem with Opto1. Check connections on your cabling if you receive an Opto2 error. Terry B at Pinball Rehab has a nice write-up and video with explanation of how the test is run here
Links Summary and Reference