In the 50s and 60s, many pinball machines were turned off by hitting the bottom board with your palm or your foot. This would lift a pin in the "kick-off" switch, and the game's lights would go out. Pressing a flipper button turned the lights back on, so the machine's power wasn't really off until you unplugged it.
The kick-off switch in my Full House (1966) doesn't work. There's supposed to be a pin that pushes through that plastic base.
But a previous owner drilled a hole in the bottom board and removed the kick-off switch's pin.
I'm guessing they used a pencil or something like that to activate the switch. That's better than beating the bottom of the machine, but you'd have to get on your knees to make it work.
By the 1970's, it was standard practice to have a toggle switch located under the front right corner. This switch is flush with the bottom board. That way it can't be crushed when the cabinet is placed on the ground.
Some collectors won't install a 70's style switch in a 60's cabinet. They want to keep the cabinet as original as possible. I'm not that hard core, and I like knowing the machine is really off when I go to bed. So, I installed a switch.
The first step was to mark the center on a 3" x "5 block of wood and drill a small hole through it. I smeared a thin layer wood glue on both the block and the spot where I wanted the switch. Once the block is in place, I drilled the hole all the way through the cabinet. I used a screw to "clamp" the block of wood in place.
I used a hole saw to drill through the block and the cabinet the following day. To keep the hole neat, I drilled up from the bottom for a bit, and then drill all the way down from the top. Looking at it now, I can see that my plate isn't going to be perfectly centered over the hole. Hindsight is always 20/20.
The toggle switch and switch plate came from Pinball Resource. The four wood screws and wire came from Ace Hardware. I soldered the wires to the switch, and then attached the switch plate with the screws. I'll leave the wood plug for the next owner. They can take the switch out and glue the wood back in if they don't like this modification.
I desoldered the power wire from the fuse block, and soldered it to a switch wire. The other switch wire was soldered to the fuse block. Now the switch can interrupt the flow of electricity to the machine.
Here's the view from the bottom. The plate is a off-centered, but I can fix that if it bothers me. Nah, it doesn't really bother me.
Fixing the weak flippers with this rebuild kit from Pinball Resource was next. Most of the parts were easy to install.
I was intimidated to tackle the flipper switches. The right flipper switch was okay. I was using a jump wire in place of a broken wire. That was enough to test the machine.
The left flipper switch was a mess. Solder joints were broken. The two left switch blades were bent permanently closed, and the constant current caused them to burn and break. This also made the flipper coil overheat. The contacts on the right switch blades were facing the wrong direction, and one blade was missing the plastic blade lifter.
I had to buy new blades, contacts, separators, and a lifter to create a new switch from scratch. After that, I had to solder it together. This new switch looks and works much better. Whew.
The right flipper switch is also done.
Hitting the ball to the top of the play field is no longer a problem, but both flippers are a tad "buzzy." That's just an adjustment issue, though. It will get figured out.
Since I could play my Full House, it was now time to set the points needed to earn free games. All you have to do is decide on the score, and then connect the corresponding colored wire to the right connection slot.
There's a guide inside the backbox to help you.
Setting the scores was a snap once Daphne helped me mark the red, blue, yellow, and green wires.
Hey! I've got functional pinball machine! It's a lot more fun to play than I anticipated, too.
I could call it good, and go looking for another project, but I don't like the plain cabinet. It needs graphics.
I haven't painted a pinball machine before, so this is uncharted territory. But there's a first time for everything.
Step one is to take everything apart, again.