Seawitch: What is your definition of "Restored"?

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Seawitch: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby DrDude » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:03 am

Warning: This is a long post! I've been stewing on this topic for a while now, as I go through trying to de-restore my Seawitch, after having paid for it to be restored (by someone who shall remain nameless, in order to avoid the usual he-said/she-said).

We have all seen games advertised as "fully restored" or "professionally restored". Those terms seem pretty sensible (as opposed to the oft abused "mint" or "like new"), but the problem is that we all have our own individual expectations of what a game restoration should include. From my perspective, I'm not expecting the Obsessive Perfection level of restoration: as much as I sit in wonderment reading about folk who completely strip everything off the game and polish/chrome/repaint/replace every part (right down to the transformer!) so that it is likely cleaner than it was when it left the factory, that way lies madness.

Here are my ideas of what a "game restoration" could mean:

Stage 0: Game is Basically Functional (technically not "restored", but just alive)
    - Flippers and other solenoid devices all work fully
    - Controlled lamps all work, but some may be intermittent due to bad sockets
    - Switches all functional, but not completely adjusted to always register (maybe missing caps, or just dirt as well)
    - Displays have all digits functional, but possibly not pristine condition (e.g. slightly cooked segments)
    - Possibly some annoying-but-not-fatal functional flaws (e.g. occasional sling-shot chatter)
    - Possibly some compromises on mechanical parts (e.g. nuts on the back of the machine-screws holding the coil-stop bracket due to a stripped mounting plate), but basically sound (e.g. playfield posts are wiggle-free)
    - No wiring hacks, unless absolutely necessary, and they must be highlighted if present
    - Any high-heat connectors should be at least reflowed, and if possible rebuilt
    - Game should be able to be played for several hours without glitches, but possibly not trusted to be left on overnight
    - Rubbers are clean and stretchy, but not necessarily brand new
    - Legs may be rusty, but at least correct and with working casters
    - Game is not filthy (should pass the white-glove test on the playfield), but cosmetically may have "issues"

Stage 1: Game is Fully Restored (but not "mint")
    - Everything is completely and reliably working, electronically and mechanically, including all controlled lamps, switches, etc.
    - No compromises on functional mechanical parts, and all are original (possibly some "better than original" replacements)
    - Some non-critical items may be missing or substituted with non-original versions (e.g. inspection tags, circuit-board standoffs, etc)
    - Displays are excellent condition (no cooked segments)
    - Any stripped screw-holes should have been repaired so that the screws will not loosen with play
    - No wiring hacks whatsoever
    - Game should be able to be played for several hours without glitches, and can be trusted to be left on overnight
    - All rubbers are new
    - Legs are not rusty or bent, but possibly scratched
    - Game is very clean, including non-playing areas such as the backs of plastics, posts, etc.

Stage 2: Game is Factory Condition, aka "mint"
    - Game is very clean, including non-playing areas such as under plastics.
    - All posts, visible screws, and top-side metal parts are either new or polished
    - All woodwork is either re-stencilled, or at least re-touched to look as new
    - Playfield, Backglass, and all plastics are either minty originals, have been professionally touched-up, or are good-quality reproductions
    - New condition legs and casters
    - Dirt is limited to back of playfield, wiring harness, and other non-functional areas that would require a complete strip-down to clean

Stage 3: Game is Pristine (beyond "mint")
    Everything has been disassembled and put through a polisher, including under-playfield parts
    All woodwork is restored/rebuilt, and repainted in factory colours
    Probably the transformer has been repainted!
    You could eat off of the inside of the cabinet
    Game is better than Factory New condition, and could be in a museum

In the particular case of my Seawitch, I paid for what I was expecting would be a solid Stage 0 restoration (knowing the restorer well, I certainly wasn't expecting a Stage 1!). This was complicated by the game being operated by the restorer for 3 months (this was with my permission, but not with any cut of the proceeds going to me -- another story for another time!). As a result, I can't guarantee that it wasn't cosmetically great at one point, but it certainly was disgustingly dirty when returned to me, and several rubbers were getting ready to let go due to use. One rubber was installed incorrectly so that it was touching a lamp, and was actually cooked. The RipTide ball-guide had two broken angle-brackets, and had been scraping paint off the playfield. One flipper was dragging due to WD40 on the shaft (I mean, come on!)

More egregiously, there were several power-supply connectors wires that were down to one or two strands of wire connected to the spring-clips, which meant that the game stopped booting due to a wire breaking completely off the connector (with more ready to go anytime). Yes, the power-supply pins had been replaced with new: Great! How about going the next 2 inches and fix the wires too! Also, the index pins on the power-supply connectors were not replaced (and in fact the male side on the board had a pin where there should be an index "gap", so you couldn't even put one in!). The result was that the power-supply connectors could be randomly plugged in incorrectly. I consider this last to be the worst violation of Stage 0, since all it would have taken was to jam a toothpick in!

Arguably, all of this was my own fault for having someone else do the work rather than taking care of it myself, but let's just say there were extenuating circumstances as to why it played out the way it did, and it won't be happening again I can assure you!

To finish up with, some final, crusty-old-man, pet peeves:
    - Original mechanical parts should be preserved as much as possible, and substitutions noted
    - I don't like seeing Robertson screws anywhere in a game: NO game ever manufactured used Robertsons!
    - Similarly, deck-screws have NO place anywhere on or under the playfield!
    - Wood-screws in a machine-screw location (e.g. the flipper coil-stop mounting screws) are an abomination!
Last edited by DrDude on Wed May 17, 2017 8:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Bally: Fathom x 2, Centaur
Gottlieb: Black Hole
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby Lowrent » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:10 am

You forgot "new coil wrappers" in Stage 3 :)

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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby DrDude » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:37 am

Lowrent wrote:You forgot "new coil wrappers" in Stage 3 :)


Hah! Good one!
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby monty » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:44 am

a lot of items in your 'Stage 1' would fall into the 'Stage 0/Basically Functional' category for me. when i think "Restored" i mostly think of Stage 2 and beyond. ie. many new parts or meticulously cleaned parts, maybe a playfield swap or cleaned/touched up/cleared playfield, etc. definitely no WD40 :FP:


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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby DrDude » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:21 am

monty wrote:a lot of items in your 'Stage 1' would fall into the 'Stage 0/Basically Functional' category for me. when i think "Restored" i mostly think of Stage 2 and beyond. ie. many new parts or meticulously cleaned parts, maybe a playfield swap or cleaned/touched up/cleared playfield, etc. definitely no WD40 :FP:


Monty, I would agree, but I guess I was trying to be generous as to what I would accept in Stage 0 to make it more clear that the work I paid for on Seawitch was not even up to minimal standards.

Bottom line: If you're picky about what a restoration means, either do it yourself, or be prepared to pay a lot of money to someone (and make sure that someone is reliable!)
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Bally: Fathom x 2, Centaur
Gottlieb: Black Hole
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby Mrhide » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:35 am

wd40 = fire. flame. incendie. do NOT use it in a pinball machine ! EVER!

my experience tells me that the more you do on games for others, the less you will do on yours ... so do NOT do it for others! do it for yourself!


and c'mon, some fixes are better then others!
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby Azatotht » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:10 pm

Mrhide wrote:and c'mon, some fixes are better then others!
!


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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby tombiosis » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:13 pm

lol! Beer cap hack! good one!
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby TwilightZone » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:40 pm

DrDude wrote:In the particular case of my Seawitch, I paid for what I was expecting would be a solid Stage 0 restoration (knowing the restorer well, I certainly wasn't expecting a Stage 1!). This was complicated by the game being operated by the restorer for 3 months (this was with my permission, but not with any cut of the proceeds going to me -- another story for another time!). As a result, I can't guarantee that it wasn't cosmetically great at one point, but it certainly was disgustingly dirty when returned to me, and several rubbers were getting ready to let go due to use. One rubber was installed incorrectly so that it was touching a lamp, and was actually cooked. The RipTide ball-guide had two broken angle-brackets, and had been scraping paint off the playfield. One flipper was dragging due to WD40 on the shaft (I mean, come on!)


Sorry it didn't work out for you. At the very least, the seller should give you a rubber kit, new ball, and maybe some bulbs. Cann't understand why you would let the seller operate the game without compensation. That's asking for problems. You would think the seller would, at least, offer to clean up the game, re-rubber, change lights, etc. before going back to you. One thing you haven't mentioned, did you bring this up with the seller? Perhaps they will compensate you in some manner?

Personally, I always take "working" with a grain of salt, never mind "restored" :lol: I bought a restored game once and it had a ton of issues. I've bought several "working" games that have had issues, some major headaches, other minor. It's all part of the hobby. I've bought games from people I know and had issues they were unaware of. I sold a game one time and didn't realize there was a broken plastic -- it wasn't visible and was brought to my attention when shopped after I sold it. These things happen, best not to dwell on it.

I realize I've gone on a tangent and not answered your question. Guess, I'm thinking focus on the positive side: you have the skills to fix the issues and have a game that doesn't come up for sale every day. Fix it up and enjoy it :-)
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby semicolin » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:45 pm

hrnnnnghhh. I let very few people touch my games, but I think the reasons are half because of trust and half because I really would prefer to get in there myself, and even if I didn't have the skill, I'd learn. If I'm paying or trusting someone else with my stuff I hold other people to the same standards that I apply in my own work... so I understand your disappointment.

To mrhide I'd say that sometimes restoring a game for someone else is doing something for yourself, or for the community. I enjoy the process of restoration and sometimes doing it for another collector gives me an opportunity to play games that I would never be able to find or afford on my own, and it gives me experience with working within other architectures. Right now, I've taken on a reparation of a Bally Spectrum with the understanding that I'll be able to get some face time with it, and then it will go on location for a little while so that the local community will also get to play a rare game. That in itself is worth it to me, at least for now. I don't think I'd take it on though if it was going immediately up for sale or into someone else's collection never to be enjoyed again.
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby DrDude » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:01 pm

TwilightZone wrote:Sorry it didn't work out for you. At the very least, the seller should give you a rubber kit, new ball, and maybe some bulbs. Cann't understand why you would let the seller operate the game without compensation. That's asking for problems. You would think the seller would, at least, offer to clean up the game, re-rubber, change lights, etc. before going back to you. One thing you haven't mentioned, did you bring this up with the seller? Perhaps they will compensate you in some manner?


To be clear: I did not buy Seawitch from the "restorer". It was my game, though I hadn't gone through it since my original purchase, and it had the usual power-supply issues, not to mention being _really_ dirty.

As to "operate the game without compensation..asking for problems": Ding-ding-ding! You win a prize! The deal was supposed to be: "Get the game working for me, and in return, you get to operate it for a month or so", which would have been of mutual benefit to us both (I get a working game, and the operator gets a cool title to attract people to their location). Alas, the operator decided I had to pay for the "restoration", and as I disagreed with that demand, the game ended up being a hostage. After 3 months, and just put an end to it, I caved, paid, and took my game home. No profit-sharing or compensation of any kind (not even a rubber kit) was ever offered. Let's just say the individual under discussion here is not someone I will EVER deal with again.

Anyways, moving on, playing my games, and putting that crap-head behind me!
Last edited by DrDude on Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Bally: Fathom x 2, Centaur
Gottlieb: Black Hole
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby Sparky » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:34 pm

1- condition is ALWAYS a question of interpretation. What is mint to one might be shit to another. Your own eyes don't lie...

2- this discussion is one of many that makes it virtually impossible to sell a machine. People's expectations become unrealistic. Even if someone restores a game beyond level 3, SHIT BREAKS. No matter how polished a game is, if it is 30 years old, then all it's original parts, no matter how shiny, are still 30 years old, on games expected to last 5 years according to design protocols.

Don't sell a game. Just take a sledgehammer to it. Less aggravation. ROTFLMAO
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby Menace » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:40 pm

Sparky wrote:1- condition is ALWAYS a question of interpretation. What is mint to one might be shit to another. Your own eyes don't lie...

2- this discussion is one of many that makes it virtually impossible to sell a machine. People's expectations become unrealistic. Even if someone restores a game beyond level 3, SHIT BREAKS. No matter how polished a game is, if it is 30 years old, then all it's original parts, no matter how shiny, are still 30 years old, on games expected to last 5 years according to design protocols.

Don't sell a game. Just take a sledgehammer to it. Less aggravation. ROTFLMAO


Couldn't agree more with Ian here. Hammer time!

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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby Battlezoneman » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:52 pm

Sparky wrote:Don't sell a game. Just take a sledgehammer to it. Less aggravation. ROTFLMAO


Sounds like you may have had issues selling machines?

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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby steamfitter » Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:08 pm

Sometimes when expect something and don't get it ,I over react and fell REALLY STUPID afterwards :FP: but always manage to apologize

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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby Sparky » Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:15 pm

Battlezoneman wrote:
Sparky wrote:Don't sell a game. Just take a sledgehammer to it. Less aggravation. ROTFLMAO


Sounds like you may have had issues selling machines?

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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby redketchup » Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:01 pm

I did my owe restoration for my game. I will just take the playfeild swap for exemple... because there is a lot of interpretation only for that part

You can do a playfeild swap probably in a week-end. Remove everything on top, turn the playfeild, unscrew the bottom, put it in the new playfeild, and reinstalled the top...

When i did a playfeild swap, after a playfeild touch up and clearcoat, or a new cpr

I remove everything on top, polish all the screw, put all the plastics post in the ultrasonic, replace some broken one, polish all the lane guide, regrain all the metal guide. Change flipper bat, polish all the gate, new rubber, plastics washer in dangerous area to protect plastics sets, new plastic lane guide....

For the bottom... new light socket, new ground braid. Remove, dissasembled and clean all the assembly. Replace worn or broken part including wrong screw, new sleeve everywhere. Plunger in the tumbler, new coil paper everywhere. replace broke pop bumber base and new pop bumper body, new pop bumper spoon. I put the harness in the dishwasher and a clean it with a toothbrush before. Reinstalled everything, new wire clip adjust all the switch. Lane gate actuator tumble and adjust when reinstalled. Flipper rebuilt with new wire, new EOS, new sleeve, new coil stop and i often switch the base plate left-right right-left to have strong hole for the screw.

And there is everything in between this two option... so there is a lot of interpretation between my two scenario... better to be clear what will be done and what not before going on deal like that.
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby redketchup » Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:06 pm

For me a stage 0- 1 is what i do when a game is in my gameroom and i want to try it. I will never considere it a restoration process, it's more like a regular shop job
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby DrDude » Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:09 pm

redketchup wrote:For me a stage 0- 1 is what i do when a game is in my gameroom and i want to try it. I will never considere it a restoration process, it's more like a regular shop job


I would agree that Stage 0 is NOT restoration, just "getting it working to try it out".
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Bally: Fathom x 2, Centaur
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby HPR Pinball » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:07 pm

Restoration is to restore a game to the initial original condition when possible.
It's not a NIB result, it's a result that reflect the age of the machine with minimal wear.
Also there's usually some modifications to do to make them better and more reliable.

There's the ''Pimp this Pinball'' way for the more imaginative people. It's not restoration 100%, it's a Pimpin' process and it's more personnal in a certain percentage.

I use the pimpin' process a little for my restorations but always try to make them look original at first look.
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby DrDude » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:57 am

Found another lovely gem on the "Professional Restoration" of my Seawitch: The mini-post protecting the spinner was installed with no nut on the back of the playfield (and yes, I did look for it in the cabinet in case it had been installed and just fallen off). This resulted in the post gradually digging itself into the playfield from ball-hits, and taking on a distinct angle. Yuck!

I've encountered angled mini-posts before, and the repair is to put a small washer under the mini-post on the playfield side (and of course, to install a proper nut and lock-washer on the back side!). Here's a photo of the result, showing that the mini-post is now perfectly vertical (apologies for the dirt: I've not been playing Seawitch while I try to fix the RipTide ramp, so I haven't done the final clean/wax!)
IMG_20170317_071728.jpg
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby shock_me » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:47 am

That type of mini post looks like the wood screw version, not a machine screw, so no nut on the backside. I could be wrong, but I've seen a lot of them. I would replace it with a machine screw version and a washer on top to prevent any further leaning.

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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby DrDude » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:57 am

shock_me wrote:That type of mini post looks like the wood screw version, not a machine screw, so no nut on the backside. I could be wrong, but I've seen a lot of them. I would replace it with a machine screw version and a washer on top to prevent any further leaning.


It is the machine-screw threaded-version already (from factory). It was just missing the nut and lock-washer on the back-side, which is sheer laziness
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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby shock_me » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:01 am

DrDude wrote:
shock_me wrote:That type of mini post looks like the wood screw version, not a machine screw, so no nut on the backside. I could be wrong, but I've seen a lot of them. I would replace it with a machine screw version and a washer on top to prevent any further leaning.


It is the machine-screw threaded-version already (from factory). It was just missing the nut and lock-washer on the back-side, which is sheer laziness



Yeah, that's unfortunate. I've found that I greatly prefer a total nut and bolt restoration myself, but I certainly wouldn't pay someone to do it for me, or I'd be out of the hobby. Over the years I've taught myself to do my own "high end" restorations, and I'm very pleased with my results so far. They keep getting better and I keep getting fussier/OCD :geek:

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Re: What is your definition of "Restored"?

Postby DrDude » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:55 am

Finally, Seawitch approaches "restored" state. The RipTide ramp remains broken, but the needed rivets and punch are due to arrive any day now. The final fixes were:
    - Removed and washed all plastic shields
    - Removed and washed all posts, and re-threaded all mounting posts (for some reason, every single one had mangled threads)
    - The two outlane "guard" posts were miniposts instead of the correct plastic posts: replaced those, but I ran out of the correct "tall" (1 3/16") posts, and had to use shorty ones
    - The lightning-S drop-targets had all been replaced with PBR repros, but it turns out some of these had manufacturing flaws, and were permanently warped (molding-error I would guess). This gave the banks a nasty snaggle-tooth appearance when the targets were all up (since they didn't align). I was able to redistribute the bent ones all to the top-bank, so now all the banks align properly.
    - Removed the WD-40 from all the plungers
    - Aligned the spinner, and lubed with a couple of drops of graphite to ensure maximum spins-per-hit
    - Made a new spring-steel ball gate for the plunger-lane (the old one snapped off at some point)
Here's what she looks like now:
IMG_20170330_124826.jpg

As soon as I get the rivets, I will repair the RipTide guide, and give the playfield some Novus2 action followed by a good waxing. It already plays amazingly well, and as Dwight can attest (bastard beat my high score!) ball-time can be very long once you figure out the various shots. Great game!
Grant Goodes
Stern: Meteor, Nineball, Seawitch, Lightning, Cheetah
Bally: Fathom x 2, Centaur
Gottlieb: Black Hole
Wanted: Catacomb, Solar Fire, Balls-a-Poppin Seawitch backglass
Lust-worthy: Funhouse, Skateball, Capersville



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