Saturday, May 6, 2017

5 Must Have Tools For EM Pinball Repair

Here are 5 tools I consider a must have if you are serious about EM pinball repair

That is on top of the regular complement of tools you usually find in a toolkit.

1. Switch blade adjustment tool

The essential must have tool when adjusting switch blades. Accept no substitute. Also note there are different quality adjusters out there. I recommend the ones with narrow ends. The ones with flared ends don't work very well especially on short switch blades, and kkn "G" type relays.

2. Flexstone

Flexstones are used to clean switch balde points or contacts. They sand off the dirt, and oxidization on the points. They come in a variety of grit sizes, some more abrasive than others.

3. Chapman miniature Ratchet kit

Very useful all around. Quality bits, The ratchet is excellent in tight spots. Also the ratchet is just the right size for hex head post screws. The chapman tool sets are expensive, but they are well built and manufactured in the USA. Well worth the money.

4. Split blade screwdriver

A must have when working in EM Gottliebs or older games with flat blade screws. The Split blade and wedge system allows you to lock the screw on the tip of the screwdriver for easy threading.

Note that the screwdriver is next to useless for removing screws of tightening screws. It is solely an aid to start the screw. Saves you a lot of time and aggravation. Avoids the old dangling the screw at the end of the blade act.

5. Hemostats

The can lock tightly in closed position. Excellent as a third hand. Saves you from burning your fingers while soldering, their long and thin shape  allows them to go places where Needle nose pliers can't. Also very handy for inserting and removing springs in score reels, mixers and steppers.

Honourable mentions

Self explanatory. Strap to your head and light up wherever you look. Ideal for repairs on location.

Small precision file set
Although controversial (More controversial than Oolon Coluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters). Sometimes it's necessary to file down a switch point when it's excessively pitted, conducts poorly. and it's not convenient to change the whole blade. Proceed with care, you can easily do more harm than good.

Dentist tools
Excellent for cleaning and scraping. Also, the hooked ones are very useful as a spring removal tool.

Telescopic magnet
Eventually, it has to happen, you drop a part in a tight spot. Here comes the telescopic magnet to the rescue. Also very useful as an aid for threading or removing screws in tight spots.

JIS screwdriver set
JIS screws are used in zaccaria pins. The head of the JIS screw looks almost exactly like a phillips screw, except for a small dot close to the +. Using a phillips screwdriver with a JIS screw results in stripping the head, frustration and swearing. Look like a pro when working on foreign games.

Always remember that for tools, you get what you pay for. Better tools allow you to work more efficiently. Less frustration, more enjoyment.

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