It’s like a bad addiction, but you troll craigslist long enough, you might actually find a good deal. A couple weekends back I found a guy trying to get rid of a Williams Strato Flite. It’s an old EM machine, but the price was so low that I was convinced it was in terrible state. First problem was that the machine was in south eastern NH. That is about 3.5 hours drive, so seemed like it would be doable after work some night. The guy gave me a call the next night, described the machine and even sent some pictures. He said it didn’t work at all. The backglass was perfect. The playfield was excellent. He said everything was there, and when he turned it on, I could hear the motor unit rotating. Well that is probably the most expensive piece, so this might just be an excellent deal.
Last Tuesday we drove over after work (it is pinball night anyway), pulled the machine apart, threw it in the car, and left there in under 20 minutes. Usually I inspect the machine more carefully, but at this price, I didn’t feel right about even trying to talk him down. It was already way below far market price. (One bad thing was we missed the earthquake by 15 minutes. If we would have spent less time at the brewery we could have been at his house during the earthquake where the noise was so loud, he thought his furnace blew up.) Got home around midnight.
Next morning did the two pinball machine mega move before going to work. Olympic hockey to the basement, Strato Flite to the living room so I can work on it at night after kids go to bed. That night I did a quick once over, found a couple small things but nothing major. Nothing was working on the machine, no lights, relays on motor had no electricity, no resetting scores, etc. It was just dead. Went to bed without the big aha moment. Next night looked at it again and realized the guy swapped the backglass connectors with the playfield connectors. No wonder nothing was working. Swapped them, and general illumination immediately started working. Couldn’t get a game to start, and spent a good amount of time looking at the bridge rectifier. It currently doesn’t have any AC voltage going to it. Very likely it could have gotten damaged with the connector swap. Tropic Fun had a blown rectifier, so I wouldn’t be surprised. I should have some time on Sunday to work on it again. I see this machine as a way to get more money into the pinball cashbox to move up to a newer machine. I gotta start selling some of my working machines.
Did a lot of research into the Flash upgrade to multiball project. The closest info I can find is this link. It lists and describes Williams system 7 architecture. This is one generation newer, but I’m going to have to assume it has many similarities. Looks like there is going to be looking through a lot of disassembly. I sent an email in hopes that he might have some info on system 6. Just having the info he has already given let’s me jump ahead in getting this task done. Hopefully more on that next week also.
The display project is also a go at this point. We are going to dummy up a board to make sure that all the pieces work before jumping right into the project. I also started working on the Disaster main controller code.