Pinball Repair Classes at the Museum

At the Ann Arbor Pinball Museum we sometimes run pinball repair classes, though currently we are on hold for any more classes. The classes were mostly designed for those that help at the museum, but sometimes there’s room for others to attend. The class we’ve been running lately is “Introduction to Solid State Pinball Repair”, and is two hours long. We cap the class at 8 to 10 people max. It’s a hands-on class too. We show how to use a DMM (digital multi meter), how to solder, how to test electronic components, pinball repair do’s and don’ts, and most common pinball repairs.

Bring a DMM. You need one if you don’t have one. Flukes are great but heck even Radio Shack and Home Depot sells a decent digital multi-meter (DMM) for a reasonable price. Get auto ranging (easier to use for beginners.) Make sure it has a continuity buzz tone. Make sure it has a diode function. Otherwise all test DC and AC voltages and resistance. There are other bells but those are the big ones. Also remember you get what you pay for, so if you buy a $10 meter at Harbor Freight, don’t expect a lot (actually don’t buy a cheap meter, they really don’t work well.) Usually you need to spend $40 to $60 to get a “decent” meter. Again Fluke is king, but they are expensive. I use Tenma myself available from but I will have a couple DMMs for people to borrow. However you really need your own meter so you can “get used to it”, as every meter operates a little differently.

Class scope.
Introduction to solidstate pinball repair. Basically what you guys need to know
about solidstate games so you can effectively diagnose and possibly fix problems quickly.

What is covered.
Do’s and don’t of pinball repair.
Diagnostics. We’ll be using the diagnostics on all the different types of games at the museum.
How to run a lamp test, coil test and switch test.
How to check voltages.
How to check fuses.
How to check light bulbs.
How to check diodes and why they are so important.
How to check coils.
Flipper coils and the EOS switch.
What is a transistor?
How to Solder. I see guys struggle with this, and it’s easy if you know the tricks, difficult if you don’t. We’ll be doing practice soldering on coils, since that is the most common pinball repair (broken wires.)