It ain't broke. Still fixing it.

April 28, 2018

Some people say, "If it ain't broke... Don't fix it." Those people aren't pinball hobbyists. I bought a perfectly working Apollo 13 a few weeks back. Now, it's got a bunch of open projects. Here's what it looked like before I started messing with it. It's a great survivor Apollo 13 machine. One of the earlier ones from after Sega took over Data East. 

 

I am not a purist, but I have some thoughts about how newer technology should be added to older machines. I am not a fan of the overuse of super bright colored LEDs to create what is sometimes referred to as "rainbow puke."  So, I am changing out most of the LEDs from cool white to warm white, with the exception of anything visible, which will get an incandescent bulb. That's about 3 orders from Titan Pinball until I get it counted correctly.

 

I also didn't like the dent and scuff on the lockdown bar, which means a 

repaint, which means that it won't match the rails, which means it won't match the legs. This means it won't match the hinges. I guess that means you send out all nine pieces to get powder coated. When you're at the painter, you wind up ordering custom powder to get some blue and silver space-looking flecks. So, that'll be done in another week or two. I found this crazy ghost and star glitter in the rails when I removed them.

 

Well, the lockdown bar receiver is also a mess. That's been removed and it it soaking in some rust remover as I write this. 23 years of air exposure hasn't been kind.

 

Also, I tried to replace the RAM with NVRAM to eliminate the battery, which is a common source of board corrosion. This is only good on games without a midnight madness mode, and Apollo 13 does not have one. But, I didn't have a proper chip puller, so I messed up 2 sets of NVRAM chips, and wound up replacing the original RAM with a new old stock one. It has a battery relocator, so I am fine. This isn't a problem worth solving for me.

 

It has three mechanical/electronic issue that I have to sort out. It has a loose connection on the start button caused by a weird resistor soldered near the start button. I am not going to mess with that. It isn't recognizing the 5 balls that are there and ready to shoot, so this might be a problem to solve pretty soon. It also has a weird electrical hack that I am afraid to touch. A previous owner put heavier gauge wire in there, like really heavy. I'll probably call Pinball Phil from Arcades at Home to resolve that for me.

 

So, it now looks like this. It's got some incorrect shiny Williams legs, no rails. Some tape residue on the top of the cabinet from where the rails were stuck on. No Hinges. No lockdown bar. No lockdown receiver.  Half warm/half cool LEDs. 

 

I didn't even get into the fun stuff, like putting on a Color DMD. 

 

 

 

 

 

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