I found this web
that describes a good way to remote mount the three AA batteries that
keep high score on a pinball machine. Normally, they are
right on the CPU board, and if they leak, it could lead to disastrous
The new battery holder. It allows the remote mount of the
without modifying the CPU board.
The idea is to use small wooden dowels cut to size to fit into the
original battery's locations. This removes the need to
permanently alter the CPU board. These dowels are then wired
battery holder. In my case, I could not find triple battery
holders, and used a quad
(for $0.85 ) instead. A jumper on the fourth
location completed the circuit. The wires from the battery
were then connected to wood screws fastened into the end of the cut
The new battery holder
installed. Now if the batteries leak, they will
not cause damage to the CPU board.
I also performed this mod on my other
pinball machines, and discovered to my amazement that the voltage on my
IJ's set was 2.0 Volts! Despite this low state of charge, the
memory's contents was preserved, but it would only have been a few more
months before the high scores would have been lost.
In November 2009, cointaker.com
had a sale on LEDs, and I decided to purchase some to try on this
machine. I decided to focus on the backboard illumination and
experiment a little on the playfield lights.
Backglass lit with filament bulbs.
Backglass lit with mainly LEDs.
Here are the mods on the
- My previously built mod of the illuminated
Shuttle toy causes the illustration on the backglass to look
yellow. So I used 12 cold-white LEDs right behind the
- I used two amber LEDs behind the moon to accentuate its
color on the front-lit artwork.
- Along the top, I tried a line of warm-white LEDs, but this
too white. I then switched to a 50-50 mix of LEDs and
Mods to the playfield lights:
- All white inserts have warm-white LEDs. This
spinner value (3), Stop&Score (2), the outlane inserts (2), and
bonus matrix (15), and hi-power ones in the pop bumpers (3).
result looked extremely nice.
- I tried some LEDs in the colored inserts, but noticed no
difference, so I removed them.
Overall, I am very pleased with the white light from the
The backglass now matches the white Shuttle toy. Other users
the newsgroup report a 'stroboscopic' effect as the ball flies over the
playfield due to the super-fast risetime of the LEDs, and I could see
this too. Overall cost of this project was about $20.
A comparison of a conventional #44 bulb (left), and the LED.
Its extended length made it very difficult to install.
One problem I found is
that the LEDs
are longer from center tip to bayonet pins as shown above.
made them extremely difficult to twist into their sockets, and I even
destroyed one LED by twisting its lens off from its base.
Initially, I used a miniature screwdriver to help push the bayonet pin
into its detent, but this did not work very well. In the end,
decided to file the tip down, and sometimes had to file it near to the
insulator before the LED would fit. However, I am very
with the overall look, and felt it was worth doing this.
I decided to give playfield
renovation a try. See here
NASA Luminaries and this pinball machine.
On September 19, 2005, Gene
came to speak to us. He was flight director on many famous
Missions, including Apollo 13. He was also the Mission
Director for the First Servicing Mission to the Hubble Space
Telescope. I took this opportunity to get his autograph on
Meeting Gene Kranz. It was a thrill to meet one of the greats
the space industry. He graciously autographed some of the
On 11/7/05, I asked Astronaut
(who visits with us at
Hubble very often) to autograph some playfield plastics. He
performed several Shuttle spacewalks to repair Hubble
Photo of Dr. John Grunsfeld (on right) after the fifth day of
Hubble during STS-109 (3/8/02).
On 1/31/06, Astronaut
was gracious enough to autograph one of the
slingshot plastics. He also serviced the Hubble during
We were visited by Mr. Guenter Wendt, who was pad leader
Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and early Shuttle days. His book "The
Unbroken Chain" tells the story of the space program from the point of
view of the many thousands of engineers, technicians and scientists who
worked on the space program. He appeared in the movie Apollo
Mr. Wendt autographing one of the slingshot plastics.
In the foreground is a copy of his book : "The unbroken chain".
The crew of STS-125
Plastic over the ball lock signed by the crew of STS-125.
Top picture is of John Grunsfeld (left), and Scott Altman (right).
John is the lead EVA spacewalker, and Scott is the Commander.
Topper with the signatures of the crew of STS-125, the SM-4
Servicing Mission to Hubble.
The crew signed the header at an Orioles game with the entire Hubble
team. Top row: Mike "Bueno" Good, Mike "Mass" Massimino,
Bottom row: John Grunsfeld, Scott "Scooter" Altman,
Greg " Ray Jay" Johson, and Drew Fuestel.
In June 2014, Joe George met Barry Oursler, the designer of Space
with whom I had previously corresponded about the history of the pin.
Joe was kind enough to have a plastic autographed and is now on the
This backpainted mod to the playfield glass from Larry Hodgson is a
very nice idea. Note the Space Shuttle toy exhaust plume.
I would have
probably not have covered the outlanes so much (May 2019).