04/28/2019 at 1:41 pm #60903
I stumbled on a full size pinball machine while out garage saleing and the deal was too good to pass up….. I think. It is complete but non working, guy has had it for 25 years and it worked up until about a year ago. He has no idea whats wrong but it does power up. $100 later and I’m the proud new owner of a 1980 “GALAXY” machine by Stern. A couple of questions if you’d be so kind.
– I’d like to restore, is it doable by a jack-of-all kind of guy like me or would you have a pro do it? It is one of the early solid state machines, any ball park estimate on cost for a refurb/restore? Should I just part it out to make some money?
– Moving the machine; I’m going to remove the head and legs, and leave top glass on, Can it be stood up (after removing anything loose) and moved with a hand truck or better off getting help and muscling it where it needs to go? Any other advice? I appreciate any and all info.
04/28/2019 at 2:54 pm #60905AmatinoParticipant
- Location: Texas
Here’s a complete beginner’s guide to pinball machines, including how to move one, repair and maintenance information, and online resources.
Not helpful, per se, but an interesting read is this article on pinball doctors.
Lastly, here’s an entire website dedicated to DIY Pinball repair.
Hope these help with some bedtime reading until Retro weighs in.
04/28/2019 at 8:03 pm #60907
Thanks Amatino, interesting links. I’m a sucker for coin operated games, always fun to find them in the wild.
04/29/2019 at 8:18 am #60910Retro Treasures WVParticipant
That is not a very valuable machine. About $800 working and decent condition.
I personally do NOT enjoy working on Stern or Bally of that era. Stern pirated Ballys technology, so they are basically the same electronically. They used .100 connectors and it predated lamp and switch matrices, so every single switch and lamp has dedicated wires and drivers. You have to resolder every pin header and replace every molex connector in the machine before you can even start to troubleshoot if the machine is a total basketcase.
I’d bet there is severe battery leakage damage too if I had to guess. That will be evident if you take out the backglass and look at the boards – if you see a ton of corrosion then you are in for either a major board level repair or replacing the main CPU board with an aftermarket board.
This is the go-to document for repairing this era of machine:
But if you have zero experience, you should start here:
If you want to do this for fun, learn a TON about electronics and mechanical repair, and in the end have a cool machine that you can be proud of then have at it. The knowledge you will gain is transferable to so many other applications. So my answer is yes – you absolutely can do this. Be prepared to spend several hundred dollars if it is not an easy fix though.
If you are only wanting to make money then you should just sell it as-is for a couple hundred.
You really shouldn’t part out a pinball unless the cabinet is severely damaged beyond repair. It’s just bad karma.
As for removing the head, I highly recommend you avoid that if at all possible. If you must, then thoroughly mark each connector and their orientation.
Take the pinball out and remove all loose items from inside the machine if turning it up on its end.
04/29/2019 at 12:07 pm #60920
Retro – thanks for the information and advice. I’ll likely keep it and take on restoring it at a later date. I’m reasonably handy with a soldering iron and will enjoy the challenge.
04/29/2019 at 1:23 pm #60922Retro Treasures WVParticipant
Oh and for paying someone to do it, You would pay $200-500 for labor to get it working good with no cosmetic repairs. You could do some basic troubleshooting of the boards and then send of the main board for repair for $150-250 parts and labor. There’s only ever been one pinball machine and one arcade monitor each I tapped out on and sent off for repair. It was worth it each time as the issues were above my skill level.
I’ve always worked cheap…but “cheap” is $40 an hour labor rate. Pro repair folks are $80-120 an hour with a minimum call out fee.
There’s also several pinball forums out there where folks will happily assist you when you hit a wall.
Pinside.com is one I used to frequent.
Oh and one more resource that just gets better with age:
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.