Hockey With A Silver Ball


A few weeks ago, I was checking the local craigslist for sale section and noticed an entry simply entitled “pinball machine”.  There was no mention of the name of the machine, no pictures and no description other than it needed some work.

I sent an inquiry to the seller and learned that the machine was a Power Play machine manufactured by Bally in 1978.  The seller also gave some additional information on the condition of the machine.  It would power on, and the lights would come on but the rest of the game was essentially dead.  The machine was complete with the exception of the glass, which I discovered I could replace for about $45.

We reached an agreement on price and I picked up the machine on Monday (my Christmas present to myself).  Power Play is a solid state game with a hockey theme featuring then Chicago Blackhawks player Bobby Orr.  While it’s a solid state game, it has the look and feel of an electro-mechanical game.

Cosmetically, the machine is in decent shape but needs a good cleaning.  All of the playfield rubbers need to be replaced and a few bulbs are burnt.  The backglass has some flaking but is in decent shape.  I’ll take some pictures this evening and hopefully have them posted tomorrow.

Once I got the machine in my basement, I began to try and track down some of the issues.  I started by checking the voltages on the various boards in the backbox and got decent readings on all of the test points.  I checked all of the fuses in the backbox and determined they were all good.  I powered on the machine and could start a new game, however, the only thing that worked on the playfield was the rollover buttons and the flippers.  I located a fuse on the underside of the playfield and upon visual inspection, it looked good.

As I looked closer at the fuse holder, I discovered that one of the holder legs was broken and not making contact with the fuse.  I did a continuity check from the wires leading to this holder and confirmed that there was no continuity.  I had a spare fuse holder handy, so I replaced the broken one and powered the machine on.  It sprung to life…with only a few elements now not working.  The left side flippers aren’t working, the left side drop targets aren’t working and the center pop bumper is not working.

I’ve already ordered a batch of parts for the machine, including a new pinball, some playfield cleaner and a new rubber set.  This will be a learning experience for me as pinballs are quite different from arcade machines with all of the coils, switches, etc.  It should be a fun project.

Here are the original marketing flyers for Power Play pinball:

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