Electro-mechanical pinball

shig

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Looking to buy a mid-late 70's pinball machine. Grew up on these, such as Royal Flush and Joker Poker, looking for one in decent shape. Any ideas?
 

snax

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I played the "Playboy" and the "KISS" pinball machines at Funspot tonight. They were right next to each other.
Brought me back to Salisbury Beach circa 1982.
Love to have a few old school pinballs at home.
 

Reptile

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I need to go to an arcade.

I never heard of leasing a machine.

That would be a great idea or else you'll get tired of it after paying a fortune.
 

Individualist

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The EM machines are my favorite. I actually have a super rare Joker Poker EM machine - my one and only machine - so am no expert. I searched for years a couple decades ago to find it as it was the machine I always played at college. There is nothing like the sound of the clicks and clacks of numbers racking up, but they need periodic maintenance. Best to get one in close to 100% working order because the cost to repair an unworking one can be expensive. The contacts are incredibly sensitive and the slightest change can require the need for a cleaning or a tweak here and there. Actually you need to play them routinely to keep the contacts good as they will sort of self clean. Letting them sit unplayed is the worst thing you can do. Sometimes I can get lucky fixing a minor problem, but every couple of years need to call in the cavalry.

You need to have a really good EM machine tech in your back pocket. Make sure they have experience with EM machines. A good tech will also share knowledge about your machine and teach you how to do basic work on it without electrocuting yourself, where to get spare parts, manuals, schematics, etc.

There are likely a some good pinball forums on the web where you can get advice, find local sellers and repair people. I don't belong to any so can't help you there. Wait, here's one Welcome to Pinside! Pinside.com

https://pinside.com/pinball/machine?token=&query=joker+poker

One fully restored EM listed for sale but is very pricey. The solid state versions are more commonly available, but still hard to find.
For sale: Joker Poker EM

They do have a marketplace with other EM machines available. Might be worth joining and getting some advice from other members.

This EM Jungle Queen for $750 looks really interesting. Somewhat similar 4 person play field to JP, made about the same time, and the price is right. Pick up in NY or have it shipped. Jungle Queen, 1977 Gottlieb
 
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Spanz

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i have two of them...not operational at this time.
Realize one thing, they are the pinnacle of RELAY BASED TECHNOLOGY. Banks of 24V relays, and some weird rotor motors with microswitches, that do a rudimentary digital computing function. They are a blast, and a marvel to watch in action...and i love the clickity clack sound coming from them.

BUT like all electromechanical things, they do not work as well as modern digital electronics. The contacts are a weird silver plated flat ball, and once they tarnish up....or the relay is a little misaligned...they stop working. Then you need to trace out the electrical diagram, find the faulty relay, clean the contact....

in other words, they are more likely to end up a non-functioning boat anchor than an actual fun thing to play. And do not even think about putting them into a damp basement....

consider a digital based pinball machine from the 80's....still vintage, but likely to keep running after you get one.

Oh, and don't buy one unlesss it comes with the big schematic diagram, or you can find one for it online.
 

Spanz

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i was going to suggest pinball warehouse in wakefield, but yelp says they are permanently closed now.

There used to be a williams pinball supply house, i believe it was in north dighton, for parts
 
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There was a place in Pelham NH called Pinball Wizard that had a lot of classic arcade and pinball machines. The owner was a retired engineer who restored all the machines herself. She had a great collection of machines going back to the 60's. Unfortunately, she had to close the place down a couple years ago, if you were looking for a machine back then, you probably could have got a great deal on one.
 

Spanz

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You can find them on ebay for $1 broken, and like 5 hundo for shipping
unless you are a masochist, you want to buy a working one.

They ARE heavy. disassembled each piece is a two man lift
 

richc

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I have two in the basement, along with a couple skee ball machines, a Cruising USA driving machine, a slot machine and a pool table. Signs of a misspent youth growing up in the inner city...

I have the Addams Family machine and the Indiana Jones machine.

Love my toys!

When my kids were younger my son had a sleep over bday party. One kid walks over to the skee ball machine and asks what it is. I tell show him how it works and ask him what he thinks? He says it seems rather silly.

So we wander over to the pool table and he asks what is this? I explain what a pool table is and knock a few balls in to show him. He thinks it's rather silly.

About 4 in the morning, when we presume everyone is asleep, I hear noises downstairs. I wander down to make sure everyone is OK. And there is said kid playing game after game of skee ball.

Both parents have their JD and Dad is also an MD. Smart folks and really nice. I tell Mom the story and she explains that they don't generally expose their children to these things. OK... whatever.

Fast forward. Kid has graduate from Harvard with a tough science degree (physics I think). And now he's at Harvard Law. Although he's slightly more social than he used to be, he'll still always be in the running for geek of the week. But he's a nice kid for sure.

:)
 

LuvDog

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I got my 1988 Cyclone pinball machine off eBay many years ago.
If you’re mechanically inclined they can be worked on and repairs by yourself
 

greencobra

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There was a place in Pelham NH called Pinball Wizard that had a lot of classic arcade and pinball machines. The owner was a retired engineer who restored all the machines herself. She had a great collection of machines going back to the 60's. Unfortunately, she had to close the place down a couple years ago, if you were looking for a machine back then, you probably could have got a great deal on one.
invaluable information this on where you could have got a machine 10 years ago. adding it to my database asap! yeah, being snarky. [wink] [laugh]
 

LuvDog

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I've had Dan from Boston Pinball come to my house to take care of something on my pin. He was easy to work with and did a nice job sending my main circuit board out for repair when it died.

The next time I need to do something, I'll give Dr Dave a call... I've heard good things about him.

When I bought mine, one of the flippers wasn't working, but like I said, it's a machine and fairly easy to fix once you get over the mess of wires everywhere. I replaced a solenoid and she was up and running. I had a battery leak and that's what caused my board issues and why it needed to go out for repair.

Some machine are obviously more in demand than others. Addams family, Kiss, etc are big nostalgia items. The prices just keep going up as more and more of them die.
 
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invaluable information this on where you could have got a machine 10 years ago. adding it to my database asap! yeah, being snarky. [wink] [laugh]
I have no problem with snark if that's what you are into BUT... for someone who was serious about acquiring a vintage machine without breaking the bank might be motivated enough to google 'Pinball Wizard Pelham NH' and track down the woman who operated the place (there is plenty of press about it), and find out if she has any inventory left from TWO (not TEN) years ago or to get any contacts she has.

You can lead a horse to water.....
 
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