Things I learned this week

Even I still learn something new about pins every (few) weeks. Sometimes things I know but still I mess up something because I'm in a hurry or just don't think before I act, when I want to clean or repair something. Or sometimes you can get some funny/weird/.. situations when dealing with people who are not 'into pins'.
Do you have a funny story or something interesting related to pinball or arcade machines ? Please submit it.

2012-05-15: Tilt anyone ? by Alan.
When looking inside the coin door of my first pin (Indianpolis 500), I noticed that on the left side of the cabinet was a little rack for an extra set of balls. But there was only one in it.

2012-04-15: Wire harness mess
Since I did not have any zip ties to replace the old yellow ones I started cleaning all the wires in my backbox and removing the zip ties as I went to get everything extra clean. After about twenty minutes it was the worse wiring nightmare I had ever seen. All the nice work done by the harness makers at the factory had been undone and I now had about 200 wires all tangled and knotted. Long story short I wish I just cleaned the wires a couple inches, removed the old zip tie, replaced, move down the wire.

2012-04-01: no balls ? by JunkBaron
I have been working on a Gottlieb Baseball Wedgehead off and on over the past couple days. Someone got into this one and really made a mess of a lot of the leaf switches and stuff. Anyway I went through every switch and got everything straightened out. Then I put the machine back together and no matter what I did I couldn't get the machine to start.
Four hours later, after checking over everything four or five times I decided to come down and see if I could find anything that would help me online. I found some info that got me thinking - I never put a ball back into the machine after having the playfield out of it. Guess what - tossed a ball in and everything works great!
Just goes to show you how easy you can mess up with something so simple. Most people would not admit to doing something so dumb but I figure by posting this it might help someone else down the road. Sometimes it doesn't pay to be in a rush when trying something after you made some repairs.
Anyway, hope some of you have a good laugh on me. And I also hope someday down the road this post might save someone a little time.

2012-03-15: always power off
Oh, I've done the 'working with power thing once too'. Got a Mata Hari several months back that literally burst into flames when I got it home and plugged it in. Did all kinds of board work, including replacing the HV and LV components on the solenoid board. Fire it up, works great. Long story short, figiting with the displays, unplugging and plugging back in. Zap! There goes all the HV stuff again. And a display. Crap! All that work for like 3 days. Power is always off now!

2012-03-01: power bar..
Spent about 2 hours on a mystery tilt problem for a Spin Out.... it would tilt at random, bizarre times... went through every circuit every potential problem.
Was the power bar switch gently touching the back leg of the machine getting rocked back and forth, turning it on and off. I felt very stupid. :)

2012-02-15: flaking backglass.. by Phil.
Ok I picked up a Gorgar today from an operator that has had it stored for around 18 years. Truly hasn't been touched in that long. So I take the backglass off to keep it same inside the SUV and man it looks sweet with one little place that has flaked. I was so glad the backglass was in really nice shape as most aren't. I get the Gorgar and a KISS loaded on the trailer and start home.
10 minutes down the road my friend says man there is something wrong with your backglass. So I pull over and it now has 2 dozen places flaking off of it and as we stand there looking at it more of it starts to flake.
With nothing else to do I run in dollar tree and get a roll of clear packing tape. By the time I get back it is even worse. I tape the whole thing to try and save it. It actually turned out looking ok. I have seen a lot worse. Anyway in 20 years of pulling games out of places I have never seen a backglass do this.

2012-02-01: Entertaining shot.. by Bob.
Bought a Roy Clark the Entertainer. The stupidity does not end there.
I discovered a whole big bunch of hacks, one of which was the coil stop was missing on one of the flipper coils and it had been replaced with...wait for coasters.
Basically disassembled the flipper mechanism and made a list of parts to search for. I had an Allied Leisure parts game at the time, so there was hope. Didn't do anything with the machine for a while, and completely forgot about the flipper disassembly.
I got the game to boot up a week or two later, and was playing a test ball while kneeling in front of the game. The coin door was open. Can you guess what's coming? Yep, hit the flipper button, and the coil shot the disconnected plunger through the open door, right into the jewels.

2012-01-15: Wire colors
Okay, so I was repinning some of the back box connectors on a 70's Bally and even after I thought NOT to do this... I just went straight to removing wires from the molex connector without any regard to what order they were in.
Not a huge deal, as I have another machine to refer to, and didn't get far, but it gave me a thought for some fun here.

2012-01-01: Instant multiball
My uncle and I had a Space Invaders pin and a Gottlieb Dragon way back when; and decided to take the ball out of Dragon and make Space Invaders 'multiball'. For reference: games not set up for it CAN'T handle it. Besides causing the ball to end after just ONE ball drained anyway; the game began to make a 'squealing' noise as if it was saying 'I can't handle multiple target hits you're killing me'. My uncle said he smelled smoke so we too the ball out.

2011-12-01: Always check for misplaced parts by Michel
Moved my ST:TNG. Removed the powerdriver board, as the wires for GI had been soldered onto the pcb. Soldered new pins in. Then started to make a new connector. Whilst working on it I lost the plastic housing. Didn't find it and took another one. Tested everything, GI worked..
I start a game later, and no pinballs leave one of the upkickers. Through the coindoor I notice all pinballs go towards the same upkicker, instead of being diverted to all 3. Somehow they get stuck in the plastic ramp underneath the playfield.
I start to check everything - is the playfield steep enough, is there a problem with the opto switches ? Finally I disassemble the upkicker and what do I find in it ? my missing plastic GI connector housing..

2011-11-15: No more power by John
Cleaning up the ramps and playfield on Judge Dredd. Move the game over about a foot for better access. After about an hour or two of cleaning (and drinking beer), I put it back together and fire it up. Nothing, it's dead. I start to freak out...what did I do? Check the fuses, look at the batteries, pull the glass again, put the playfield up, look for something disconnected....oh S**T what is going on!! Look on RGP, get ready to post a HELP ME on RGP. I turn around from the computer and look behind the machine, power cord from the game is laying on the floor!!

2011-11-01: Bloody cocktail by Ron
Someone gave me a cocktail table pinball (non-working of course).
I got involved and spent HOURS trying to get it going.
In the basement at 2:30 AM, bent over at the waist with the playfield up. These types raise the playfield on a pivoting point and it stays up via gravity. I leaned against the lower 1/2 of the raised playfield without realizing it and pushed it far enough for the top 1/2 to fall on my head.
DAMN, that hurt. Put my hand on my head and came away with about a pint of blood. Had to go wake up my wife and admit I was a moron. She hauled my ass to the emergency room where we spent the rest of the night until I got the 8 stitches needed to close the gap... No damage whatsoever to the machine.....
She was not real happy about my addiction in the first place, and this incident did NOT help...

2011-10-15: Where's my key ? by Michel O.
I had replaced a broken connector on my Twilight Zone and suddenly the clock stopped working. Checked back what I had done. Replaced connector J207 of the switch matrix that connects to the cpu board. Pin 8 is key and pin 9 is the last for the whole row of switches that control the clock. And where had I connected the wire ? Right, on pin 8 (key) instead of on pin 9.

2011-10-01: Pinball repair 101 by Andy B.
My first EM given to me 25 years ago, when it needed a repair I kept trying to fix it by working through the coin door ! I didn't know the playfield came up ! On top of that the problem was the simple score reel not closing the switch when resetting to zero. I didn't even need to go into the cabinet.

2011-09-01: Female parts..
Firepower was my first repair. Read to change out the 40 pin connector, put the females on the wrong side of the board :P Still worked but took a few minutes to comprehend why the driver board was on an angle once reinstalled. Corrected it purely for esthetics.

2011-08-15: silent pin..
Bought a NASCAR that had no sound. After a month, bought a manual and read how to turn up the volume!

2011-08-01: Capacitor fireworks.. by Dan L.
I just installed a new electrolytic capacitor in the high voltage display section even though it was working ok - old electrolytics make me nervous.
The problem was that I installed it in backwards. Power up and I hear a funny sizzling sound. Gee, thinks I, there must be a short somewhere. I get my ear really close to the board in order to suss out where the sound was coming from. Really close. Then *POW*, the cap blows up next to my ear and boils off sounding like a jumping jack firework, leaving me scared sh**less and breathing the resulting foul smelling sulfurous cloud that resulted. I really wish I hadn't fixed that.

2011-07-15: Airbrushing..
I had a fully loaded paintbrush with yellow enamel in my right hand a decided the magnifier/ lamp needed to be repositioned. After moving it back and forth 6 or 7 times I realized I had just creamed a 10 inch swath of my playfield.
Luckily it cleaned up.

2011-07-01: Always unplug it..
Was restoring a 1976 Williams Aztec and someone had hacked in a sound card that had its own 120v power supply. A friend was helping me re-wire the chimes unit, and I was and removing the card which was spliced into the on/off switch at the bottom of the cab. Had the machine turned off (but not unplugged) and snipped the 120v wire to the card with a pair of wire cutters (no rubber on the handles).
Got a nice jolt of 120v through my hand and the wire cutters went flying. Friend ducked, but was not hurt. Lesson learned - unplug the flippin' machine!

2011-06-15: Fuse power..
With machine on, I tried to remove the 6volt glass fuse from the machine with my hand, but instead, reached for the 120v fuse. Luckily, I was wearing shoes and my other hand was not touching the machine. Felt like ZZZzzZZZ though. Dumb, very dumb.

2011-06-01: What a goof.. by Luke
I was cleaning up some glue residue after taking off my speaker panel on a CFTBL. I had read of the correct product to use many times here on RGP but for some reason I grabbed the Goof Off instead of Goo-gone and proceeded to wipe away the graphics and totally destroyed the panel. This was before CPR had produced the repro panel. Thankfully a fellow RGPer had a scan they sent and I made a replacement. Nearly gave the hobby away that day!

2011-05-15: always power off by Mike
I already had my first 'oops' working on Iron Man. I was replacing the bulbs with LEDs, and didn't power down the table because I wanted to see the lighting as it went in. I promptly placed the playfield on the metal crossbar in the front... right on the flipper coils. Kiss two fuses goodbye. I'm lucky it wasn't worse.

2011-05-01: obvious problems first by Ken
Ok my buddy picked up a Batman Forever over the weekend, we started working on some basic fixes, adjusting switches - re-pinned GI lights, fixed diodes etc.
Everything was working except that every other ball it would kick two balls into the shooter lane, hmmm thats odd. I checked every switch opto etc. 10x...only thing that was weird was when I first looked at the trough the balls were all a bit off of the switches. Cleared the ball trough made some adjustments - everything is lined up perfect and working.. start game still kicks two balls out every other time. (this is really weird think there is a software bug? how does it do it every other time, its like it knows WTF)
2 hours later, and we knew we checked everything a zillion times, my buddy hands me the ball and says 'DUDE, this ball is the wrong size, WTF!!!' put the right sized ball in and works perfect.. So for anyone buying a game from someone else and they say oh yeh it just stopped working or whatever they say... dont forget to check for the most basic things that could be wrong.

2011-04-15: leaking batteries by Jon
I just screwed up big time 3 days ago. I replaced the batteries (AA Alkaline) in my Firepower. Tonight, it was acting funny - The left lock hole and the switch for the ball when it drains were not registering.
After a few minutes of futzing under the hood, it started turning on into test mode, and it dawned on me that things don't break all together link that. Put 2 and two together, and came up with... oh shit.
Sure enough, I open up the backglass, and the batteries are bubbling, and they've dripped down to all of the components.
I just quickly wiped them off (and the components off) and removed them. ... And ran to the computer to ask for help.

2011-04-01: Time for bed by Rob
I decided to go downstairs and went over to play a game on my newly aquired Special Force....
Had a great game going, got multiball going and was really in a zone when I was in the middle of multiball I swore I shot one up the playfield that didnt return.... eventually my other 2 multiballs drained and it was staring at me like 'you still got one left dummy'.
Gave it a good shake and nothing came out from any stuck hole... looked EVERYWHERE and couldnt find a ball to save my life. I pulled the glass off and looked in every possible place to find the 3rd ball and still nothing. Pulled up the playfield, its not in the cabinet, it's nowhere... so then i got to thinking that maybe im on crack and it only has a 2 ball multiball but IPDB says 3 so I KNOW its in there somewhere but I seriously cant find it... On top of it all when i put the playfield back I now have no GI or solenoids working......
I mean really.... It's time for bed.

2011-03-15: Ghosts in pins by Troy
Ever have ghosts play tricks on you with your machines?
Yesterday, my wife told me that she turned on the Batman Forever and it started up with the initial voice two face voice call 'suppose we...', but then did nothing further and nothing was on the display and game would not start.
I was like uh oh, big problem. So tonight I open up the the machine and I'm looking at fuses, etc., for anything obviously fried. Everything looks ok, then I realize that a 4 wire ground connector on the CPU board is just hanging free... not even remotely still on the connector.
You'd swear that someone had to pull it off for it to be hanging in mid-air 2 inches from the female connector... yet there is no way my wife would pull this kind of trick on me - not her style to mess with the pins. I suppose it must have just barely been on there from when some prior work was done on it and 'popped off' but it was a very weird feeling nonetheless that it gave me.

2011-03-01: Headless led by Kim
So I’m playing TOTAN last Friday while enjoying an adult beverage or two..or six. Whatever. When I get the crafty idea that I should exchange the bulb at the top of the skill ramp with a color changing LED. This will only take a second to do as I'm missing the decorative Snake plastic that goes on top.
So I slide the glass off and reach in. Now the bulb is angled down as it should be as it’s very close to hitting the glass when it’s installed. To remove and replace it, I bent the bulb and socket holder up to give me a better angle. In goes the LED and it looks fantastic. I’m intoxicated with delight at the flashing, changing colors and marvel at my inebriated genius.
Excited to get back to playing, I grab the playfield glass and slide it into the beginning part of the channel holders. I then give the glass a tipsy, albeit aggressive shove when I hear a sickening crunch. I forgot to bend the light socket / LED back down, shearing off and busting both.

2011-02-15: Pimp your Avatar by Chris
So I decided to start working on my Avatar yesterday (pimping it out even more). I grabbed my pinball dolly to pull it out a bit and CRUNCH!!!!
I forgot I had those Pinball Life neon tubes under the cabinet.

2010-12-15: Keep your head
I almost had my head chopped off by my TZ yesterday. I usually use a pole to hold my playfield 3/4 of the way up so I have good access from beneath and from the top. As I started to lift up the playfield yesterday I realized that I hadn't blocked the balls from flying out so I decided to use the pole at an angle and only hold the playfield up half way.
A second later I stuck my head into the body of the machine and whack the hole playfield came crashing down on the top of my head, The bracket ripped my head open and I had blood going every where, It hit me so hard that I strained muscles in my back and in my thighs. Luckily I did not need stiches just a lesson well learned. I scared the crap out of my wife and myself big time.

2010-12-01: double check wiring
I blew up a flipper board today. Put a different coil in, I swear I double checked it, but still wired it wrong..... ordering new transistors from gpe. I was pretty mad at myself. Oh well.

2010-11-15: What did you break now ?
I was playing a few games and noticing a few little things I've been meaning to change/tweak under the glass. I finally decided to pull the glass and take care of them. With the game on, I started working, and thought to myself 'You should really turn the game off....remember that time you were just changing a bulb and fried that board?.....nah....I'll be fine.'
So I'm taking off a few plastics to get to stuff, and just getting comfortable, whenit happened. Just as I loosened a nut and had my face right down next to the ramp, the shaker and strobe went off in attract mode. I thought I blew something up. Scared me to death, and my 3 year old said 'What did you break now, daddy?'
I think it was the game's way of scaring me into turning it off like I should have in the first place.I don't know why I feel like it's such a chore to turn the game off, but sometimes I catch myself "sneaking" in little repairs with the power on. No real point here, just thought it was funny.

2010-11-01: Connect it
A picture says a thousand words..
I have to admit I've used these terminal blocks in the past when I didn't have the right tools with me and had to hack together something to get a board working again..
But when I saw this cpu board in a Gottlieb Time Line, I really was amazed..
All these terminal blocks ?! On each connector pin of the cpu there's a short wire soldered with a block on it to connect it to the regular game wiring (of which all connectors had been cut off).

Gottlieb Sys80 cpu

2010-10-15: Breaking wires
A few months ago I added a set of protectors to my WCS94. Consider you have to remove a ridiculous amount of stuff to get them installed it didn't suprise me that something didn't work when I was done. One of the goalie net optos had BOTH wires broke off of it. I soldered the wires back on and it still didn't work. Yep - wires were backwards doh!
Anyways jump forward to today. I noticed two bulbs were out on this machine. One happened to be one of two bulbs in the goalie net. I replaced the two needed bulbs and battened down the hatch again. I start playing and I'll be damned if the opto's in the goalie net weren't working AGAIN. GAH! Opened it back up and low and behold one of the wires on the OTHER opto had broke loose. This is what I would consider to be no where near the bulb I had to change. Unreal. Does anyone else experience these anomolies ?

2010-10-01: Don't hurry by Dan.
Don't hurry. I soldered in an electrolytic cap backwards, on a System 80 power supply, and because I was in a hurry it blew up right in front of me. Thankfully none of the hot goo from the cap struck me seriously...

2010-09-15: Find a short.. by John.
When working in the backbox of your game, if you trim a tiny little piece off the end of a wire, don't carelessly flick it aside. I spent an hour looking for the short that was blowing the fuse, and finally had to bring out the air gun and blow out the whole backbox. Oh, and while I was doing this I inhaled a bug.

2010-09-01: Stencil repaint.. by Izzy.
Doing a cabinet repaint with a Pinball Pal stencil. Usually make my own, but I thought I'd give theirs a try for my Capt. Fantastic. All was going well until I put the blue coat on over the red and base coats. Apparently Krylon doesn't stick to well to Rustoleum.
Never even thought about which I was using on previous repaints, went for best color match. Even did a test (no stencil) with no problems. What I thought was bleeding under the stencil was actually the paint tearing and coming up when I remove the stencil. Of course the worst happened on the last panel, otherwise I might have started over. Going to try to touch up, fill in, etc. and hope my clear coat doesn't make it worse.

2010-08-15: Check the amps.. by Sam.
So since yesterday, I had been trying to figure out why a GI fuse in a Dr Dude was blowing. I had redone the GI headers on the interconnect board to remove previous hacks and replaced one of the original GI fuses too.
So my new fuse would blow after awhile even in attract mode. I'm checking through wires, possible shorts, taking the interconnect board out for repeated inspections. So finally this morning, after printed the schematics and ready to go at it again, I finally decide to check the current rating of the fuses I have been blowing and they're 3A instead of 5A.
I swear they came out of a 5A bag but I'm a noob. lol. Knock on wood the 5A fuse don't blow on me too! Fingers crossed.

2010-08-01: Tech tip learned the hard way.. by Shredso.
Williams coils have the diode backward from a stern coil, at least in the case of the one I just replaced.
I wired up the new one just like the old one not thinking, blew a fuse instantly, replaced the fuse and blew a different one, looks like I fried at least a tip36c too. I hope nothing else.

2010-07-15: Don't hurry.. by Jar155.
When I shopped my Jackbot, I got it all put back together and realized that I left a ball guide out that goes under the spiral skill shot ramp. To get down there I had to take off pretty much the entire upper playfield again. I didn't break anything, so it wasn't disastrous, but when you're ready to play and you do something like that, you just want to lay down next the machine and weep for a few minutes.

2010-07-01: Things don't always go better with coke by Tony H.
Found something worse than WD40 - Coca Cola !
Finishing off this DW and the test switches were screwy. They were sticky and on close examination you could see a coca cola trail from the playfield glass to the switch bank.
It was so bad I couldn't clean it and had to replace the entire bank- a first for me.

2010-06-15: Stupidity leads to Broken Blackout by BlackoutFan
If I didnt have bad luck I would have no luck. I put a temporary remote battery holder on my Blackout with a battery pack and never hooked it up permanently or mounted it securely. Just had it tucked up under some of the wiring about in the middle of the back box.
Well last night after I popped 6 credits on 1 game. (rarely happens). I was playing another game and half the game went dead. I pulled the back glass and noticed the 20 amp fuse was blown , replaced the fuse, still the same , then I started looking around and was like somethings missing...where is the remote battery pack ?
The wires from the old pack were going straight down under/behind the lower board on the left of the head. It didnt even look like there was enough room for the pack to fit in there and drop down but it did....

2010-06-01: stiff flippers by Stan
Got a sluggish feeling flipper? All been rebuilt or looks cherry new and theres nothing wrong with it yet still it wont make that ramp? Even with brand new flipper rubber it still feels slow ?
Wait a flipper rubber? Was it really stiff so you stretched it with your index finders a bit to make it easier to put on the flipper? Oh!
Dont do that.
I stretched a brand new flipper rubber too much today, and it didnt seem like I stretched it all that much but from now on I won't bother to stretch them to apply anymore. I took off the brand new rubber and matched it with another new one not yet applied and yup, it was slightly larger, stretched out and no matter how I tried, there was a bit of loose flap when the rubber was on, takes all the momentum out of the shot.
Soooooooooo...I went to another pin that I have that has a sluggish shot up a ramp...previously, I thought maybe I had the slope too high. Nope, replaced that flipper rubber with a new one and didnt stretch it)...and the old one wasnt shot or split but it looked just the tiniest bit loose and sure enough...wham...super strong shots.
So, now I know...dont stretch that flipper rubber too, I'm not going to stretch it at all. Makes a difference in how snappy that flipper will shoot.

2010-05-15: Delayed explosion by Mike
I had the playfield glass off my Eight Ball in the garage this afternoon, leaning against the cabinet while I was trying to troubleshoot a non-working lamp.
Stupidly, I forgot the glass was there and moved the machine to a better position under the light source, and it fell toward the floor, even banging against the pinball skate as it fell.
Did it shatter? Nope. Pfew I thought, and went around to lift it up and place it somewhere more safe. As I was lifting it up, the freaking thing exploded in my hands. Argh...

2010-05-01: Fine Tuning of Pinball Machines by PapaJohn
Well, being a self employed precision machinest for 30 years I can say that pinball machines as simple as they seem mechanically really must be treated as precision machines that should be kept in tune for best performance. Example, the Comet ramp on my Cyclone has a very steep entrance with the gate switch right at the apex of the steep rise at the beginning of the ramp.
Normally you would expect the switch wireform to rest vertically as gravity would dictate. Well it took a little bit of observing that the pinball was having a hard time getting up the ramp and to figure out why.
As the pinball pushed the wire-gate upward it was actually being pinched down towards the plastic ramp thus slowing its speed. This because the wire at the vertical position was not at its lowest point in relation to the bottom of the ramp.
So, I bent the wire-gate so at its resting point it is now perpendicular to the rise of the ramp which means the wire-gate is resting slightly up or forward of the vertical position. The ball flyes up the ramp now.
Tweaking and adjusting these machines is more than half the fun.

2010-04-15: Wasting time by Rick S.
Last evening I was in my workshop repopulating the playfield of a Medieval Madness pinball machine that I'm shopping out for buddy. I was reinstalling the black rubber covered metal posts. All of the posts had a round base except for one which had a hex base.
I scoured and scoured my dozens of tear down pictures trying to discern where that hex base post was supposed to go. I even went to the IPDB to see if the MM pictures there would be of help. After 30 minutes of having absolutely no luck I decided to call it a day.
After turning off the workshop lights I walked through my gameroom to head for the stairs. While walking through my gameroom I noticed that I too own a Medieval Madness pinball machine and that by simply looking at my own machine it could quickly tell me exactly where that hex base post goes. I did... and it did. Took about 5 seconds.

2010-04-01: Locking playfield by Mark
When I was restoring my TZ, I accidentally put the playfield support guides on the wrong sides/backwards. Installed the playfield into the cabinet and it essentially got locked in the down position but couldn't be moved all the back or forward.
I used all my skills learned from 6 years at engineering school plus a broom handle to unlock it.
Scared the crap out of me and I definitely won't do that again.

2010-03-15: Pinball hot pocket by Howie
I don't know if this has happened to anyone else here before, but I was changing out the batteries in some of my pinballs the other day and stuck the old batteries in my pockets. I also had quite a bit of change in there too.
A few hours later I was sitting at the computer and noticed that my leg was hot and reached into my pocket and found that the batteries were too hot to pick up and they had melted a small hole and were burning my leg.

2010-03-01: popbumper rebuild by Jack J.
So I put nice new sockets in all 3 pops. Use my new stapler to secure all the leads. Re-solder all the wires.
Now to put the pop rings in.
Notes to self:
Be sure to align the skirts when re-installing the pops.
Turn down the air pressure on the new stapler because the new staples are submerged 2mm below the surface. 2 out of 3 were wrong.

2010-02-15: Most obvious place first by Kyle W.
I am going through all my games to give them a tune-up before I host the OPL next weekend. I was ready to reinstall the playfield glass on CFTBL when I went looking for the pinballs to drop back into the game before doing so.
I looked all around the game area, checked the ground to see if I had dropped them on the floor. I even started to walk into my workroom - to find them before I realized they were in the one obvious place I hadn't looked ---- my right hand! Yikes!!

2010-02-01: Always be careful by Rick.
Because after carefully moving my Pinbot pinball machine across 4 states, with the topper lens riding in the passenger seat of my truck, I somehow dropped it while carrying it into my new house. Broke right in the middle, along with several other small breaks.

2010-01-15: Dumb move of the day by Frank.
I just pulled a bad 5101 chip off of my Bone Busters machine. Then, I soldered a socket in place.
When I went to put the chip in, I noticed that I'd soldered the socket to the wrong side of the board ! What a moron I am. The chips are all on the same side of the board !
To make matters worse, I'm out of sockets. No more pinball today.

2010-01-01: paper screws by Eric E.
A real tip to learn from, not a horror story (let's start the new year well):
When you have to insert hex screws in difficult to reach places and don't have a magnetic tip (or it doesn't work well), you can insert a small piece of paper in the tip of your hex nut driver. Insert the screw and it'll be kept in place. Once the screw is in the wood and you pull back the nut driver, the paper will come lose and you can blow it towards a place where you can remove it. This small tip makes shop jobs much easier..

Older stories can be found in the archive 2005 - 2006, archive 2007, archive 2008 and archive 2009.