Sunday, July 19, 2009

First Attempt at a Playfield Teardown

Well this week I finished my first complete playfield teardown. Well.. complete as in the top side only of the playfield... and complete as in leaving the stuff that would have been too much of a hassle :) My Indianapolis 500 game was bought 'as is' where it was in good shape, but would eventually need to be overhauled. 15 months later, I finally get motivated to do it :) I stripped the top of the playfield of all parts except
  • Steel posts which needed to be banged out of the playfield - It just wasn't worth it
  • Targets - they are small enough to clean around
  • Pop-Bumpers - hear its difficult so I just left them
It only took one evening (about 3-4hrs) to carefully strip the game, taking video notes as I went so I would be sure I could piece it back together again. Taking notes of things like order of things, stacking (was the washer above or below this piece??), and visual references since the service manual is normally more concerned with the electronics of the game, not the physical assembly. Once stripped down, I used my Novus polish (#3, then #2, then #1 to clean) to clean up the playfield. Some lines along the mylar I could not get clean, but its still looks pretty good. I did try using my orbital polisher, but that was a waste.. unless the playfield is completely bare, my polishing pads were just way too big. Elbow grease wins again. Some dirt on mylar edges just never seems to go away (see brown line on diagonal here) One stripped, all plastic parts were cleaned in dish soap and water by hand with a rag and toothbrush - including all the little star posts. I was going to use the dish washer, but kept chickening out. I prepped the ramps to go in the dishwasher, but one would not fit, and I let two others in the dishwasher for about 15 minutes before I chickened out and brought them out and finished by hand. I was only cleaning, and did not attempt to 'flame' them or anything to get the last signs of ball trails out. I actually regrained all the metal guides with emery paper. It was a little scary at first, considering how scratched they look, but as long as you get the marks all going the right way, and try to polish a bit with higher grit paper (or in my case, more worn emery paper) the results look pretty good. Certainly good enough as seen from inside the game. I also used metal polish to clean them up afterwards, and to wipe down the metal wireforms. Example of what the metal rails looked like And after... (different rail.. but same effect) After what it seemed like 5 times of finding 'yet another piece that needed to be cleaned' I finally approached assembly. During which, I realized the service manual had no map of screw posts or which screws went where! I had been good about keeping hardware with each piece, but the posts were not kept together. So off to the net to try to find more reference images as I didn't think I took video of every post. After a few 'best guess' attempts that resulted in just a 2-3 times of taking stuff BACK off I had already put on.. Great peeps on sent over some more reference images helping solidify my guesses. Of course at this time, I finally sit down and study more of my video I shot.. and alas.. I find I did take video of nearly all the posts I needed! Check your notes stupid!! So this little diversion meant re-assembly took 1.5 sessions instead of just one. In the end, I only have two pieces I think that are out of place, but I think it's because my game was that way to start, and they are easy to get at so I'll replace them later. At the end.. no extra pieces or screws left over! The re-assembly also means I got to put my Orbitz Plastic Protectors on, my Cliffy hole protector for the turbo VUK, new rubber kit (kept it factory black), two new flipper bats to go back to factory look, and new steel balls. Total time was over about 5 nights.. probably 25+ hrs total. I figure now that I know more what I'm doing.. total time would depend on how long it takes to clean the stuff. Disassembling and reassembly of a game of this complexity level would probably only take me 3hrs on each side (tear down, then build up) And after putting it all back together - it actually works! :) Tho I have since had two resets.. I don't think these are associated with the rebuild since I didn't mess with the electronics really at all and maybe the typical WPC resets are just making their way at home with my Indy500. I guess up next is looking at the driver board for bridge rectifiers! Some images are below. More random pix are in my smugmug gallery here

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