Out of Contact… a pinball sayonara story

Contact image from ipdb.org

Well, my Williams Contact went to find a new home this weekend. I turned it on to play a few farewell games and enjoyed it exactly as I expected. This is the first working pinball machine that I had repaired that I’ve parted with. I had found a beautiful playfield and built a shockingly pristine playing and looking machine.

I think for most pinball machines (with the obvious glaring exception of Raven) if you come to it knowing what the game offers and aren’t wishing it was something else that there is fun to be had. This game is not a complex “Deep” game. It is a fun beat the ball around and score points game.  I find the multiple lines of bonus building to be fun and interesting.  And to try to keep the highest line your actual bonus score should the ball drain.

Took the head off. Removed the legs.  Carted the who thing up to the BMW and got the pin (a widebody) in, along with the dolly to get it positioned once it got to Alexe’s .  The head of the machine was laid on top of the playfield glass on top of a blanket.  I drove with the fear that someone would rear-end me, and the head of the game would come flying forward as a missile and decapitate me.  I kept making sure it was lined up over the empty passenger seat at every stop.

So, after the fortunately uneventful drive to Alex’s house we got it carted successfully into the newly designated game room. We put on the legs, we attached the head – then unattached it and fed the power cord through the slot and bolted the head back into place.

We pulled the wire bundles and plugged them into the appropriate connectors. Careful to not mis-connect anything we turned it on – and Nothing.

It appears to be having separation anxiety though as when I went to set it up at it’s new home it decided to start sulking.

Well, that wasn’t what I hoped nor expected to happen.

Disconnected everything.  Plugged them all back in including reseating the connector between the driver and MPU boards – found one playfield to driver board bundle that hadn’t been connected and hoped that was the problem – but alas not.

So, after running out of time – I abandoned the game to the whims of fate and hope to figure out what could have happened in the moving process as nothing is coming to mind.

I was so distracted I left the moving dolly sitting in his game room and drove home.

If anything stands out to you as a likely cause for this on a previously working Williams System 3 pinball machine I’d love your input.


Dolly – There she is

Prior to any committed pinball machine repair I finished the first initial cleaning to get an idea of how the game will look.  The amount of grime that came off was pretty impressive.

I still need to decide if I want to do any touch-ups at this point cosmetically or not.  I’m inclined to just apply wax to it at this point and let it be, and come back to this in the future.  The cosmetic issues on the playfield are not as important as dealing with the switch and battery issues.



I’ve been considering migrating my games at least partially to LEDs

The technology has improved greatly over the last few years since they were initially introduced for use in pinball machines. Particularly where older pins not designed for them are concerned.

My thoughts fall into the following catagories:


  • The introduction of Frosted dome bulbs helps with the hot glare points.
  • Much lower power consumption – GI and playfield lighting can be your biggest power draw.
  • Less heat output – protects valuable game resources.
  • Colors – Colored LEDs below playfield inserts can really brighten up a game and enhance the feel


  • The bright light points can be VERY annoying – particularly on playfield GI where the bulb is visible to the naked eye.
  • Old LEDs didn’t have the same light dispersion directional control as bulbs.
  • Light can be very harsh – bulbs are a softer yellow light that our eyes are accustomed to seeing

Hello Dolly

Dolly Parton Backglass

Today a friend sent me some information on a Dolly Parton pinball machine.  Of course I had to call and find out more about the opportunity.

It resulted in my purchasing the game.  I’ve started a dedicated page for Dolly Parton along with the associated Task List tracking for things that I need to do, and have accomplished.

Jeremy and I have an agreement to max the Pin collect at 8 machines as that fits comfortably in the space allocated.  With this change I now have 9 – must resolve the overage soon.