Repairs, Restorations, Tweaks and Insights
My wife and I first played White Water at the 2005 Allentown Pinball Wizards convention. We both thought it was an excellent pinball machine, although my wife was particularly fond of it. The White Water pinball machine at Allentown was in perfect condition. It also had a price tag to match. After Allentown, I set out on a quest to find a reasonably priced White Water.
For what it's worth, someone purchased the White Water at Allentown and "flipped" it. By this I mean they simply added $400 to the price and attempted to sell it again. I do not know whether they were successful.
Over a period of two months, I was able to track down two White Water machines. One was going to be imported from outside the U.S.A. sometime in July. While it was expected to have a reasonable price (not shopped), it would need to be shipped. This brought the price to a point higher than I wanted to pay. I found the other one within about a 4 hour drive, but after it was shopped it would have cost the same as the perfect White Water I saw at Allentown. Not only was this more than I wanted to pay, but I wasn't convinced it would look as good as the price would suggest. This same machine was offered in an unshopped condition, but the seller stated the condition was "as-is" and would not provide any information regarding whether it worked "as-is" or not! Given this big unknown and the fact that the price was pretty high, I passed on this unshopped White Water.
Then luck struck! I received an email from someone who had a White Water for sale. The price was right. It needed to be shopped, but it was working 100%. I exchanged a couple of emails and received pictures of the machine on a Saturday morning. I left that Saturday, took a 9 hour drive (each way!) and picked up the machine. Both my wife and I are very happy with it.
Below is an image of the playfield before any cleaning was performed. It looks pretty good. One thing to note, however, is that you absolutely cannot judge the state of a pinball machine from a low resolution image! You simply cannot see the dirt or other small details.
The bottom "R" light from the River targets was intermittent. Some games it would work, other games it would always stay off. After checking the bulb and the bulb's connection to the lamp PCB, I realized there was a problem with one of the pins on the lamp PCB. The solder had cracked around the pin and depending on the phase of the moon, it would make a good connection or not. The first picture below shows the pin with the cracked solder. I resoldered the pin and solved the problem. The light works consistently. The second picture below shows the fixed pin.
My White Water came with the Waterfall topper, but it did not come with either of the two 8-Light PCBs that make the waterfall appear to be flowing! Luckily, the chase light controller board for the two 8-Light PCBs was inside the backbox. After some investigation I determined that in order to make my White Water's waterfall flow, I needed the following.
Two 8-Light PCB boards
Two cables to connect the chase light controller board to the 8-Light PCBs
I was able to locate one NOS 8-Light PCB board. I was unable to locate the appropriate cable, so I ended up making it myself. The cable uses 0.100" connectors and is not wired straight though. I found this out the hard way after assuming it was wired straight though. The appropriate wiring is on page 3-32 of the manual. Be aware that pin 1 is swapped on each end! I used Trifurcon crimp contacts and four 6-circuit connectors (two for each side of the cable). The first picture below shows the chase light controller board inside the backbox. It is mounted on the upper right side. The upper right cable (with all red wires) on this board is the one I built. As you can see in the first picture below, it sticks over the side a little bit. This is because the controller board only needs 11 circuits and I did not have an 11 circuit connector. The second picture below shows my cable connected to the NOS 8-Light PCB board on top of the backbox.
The following two pictures show a full view of the White Water topper (without the light guard) as well an angle view (with the light guard installed).
I'm looking for a second 8-light PCB. However, since the 8-light PCB is pretty simple, I might try and make one myself someday. The waterfall effect, even with one 8-light PCB, is pretty good. Finally, I do not have the plastic topper cover, but I don't see any need to spend $$$ on that.
I found a guy who was parting out a White Water and I purchased the missing second 8-light PCB (see above)! I also got the cables that run from the two light PCBs to the driver in the backbox. For authenticity, I replaced my homemade "red" cable with the official part. The picture below shows both 8-light PCBs installed.
The Lite Lock targets had been replaced with round red targets. A previous owner had clipped the sides from the round targets to make them look somewhat rectangular. I replaced these mutant targets with the original green rectangle targets. The first picture below shows the mutant targets while the second shows the corrected targets.
This sign is connected to a stand by two rivets. The bottom rivet had broken off and the sign would rock back and forth. The first picture below shows the sign, with the faceplate removed. Instead of a rivet, I used a machine screw and nut to hold the sign in place. The second image shows the newly added screw and nut. Now the sign is straight. Finally, the faceplate is attached.
Look! Big Foot has no hair!
I was able to track down a NOS Big Foot head! Steve from Pinball Resource told me it was the last one they had and that it might very well be the last NOS in the world. Lucky me! Below you will see some pictures of a NOS Big Foot head, followed by Big Foot without a head. Finally, Big Foot is shown all together.
Below are pictures of the Mylar removal process. This is the second time I've removed Mylar. One thing I have learned is that the Freeze method works great. I do offer the following tip. Spray the Mylar with the "freeze" and let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes. I've found this to be a lot of effective than simply spraying and then immediately trying to remove the Mylar. Also, if one part of the Mylar does not come off, try another part. For some reason the Mylar down by the flippers did not want to budge. I ended up getting the Mylar by the boulder to come off and worked my way down. Once you have the Mylar coming up, do not forget to keep freeze spraying. If you do not do this enough, the Mylar has a tendency to rip and you might be stuck trying to get an initial part to peel off again.
Before (left image) and after (right image) Mylar removal
The transformer Molex connector was in bad shape. It was burnt. A previous owner had cut and soldered together the two worst wires (and placed masking tape around them). However, several other connectors on the Molex connector were in pretty sad shape. The first two pictures below show the original connector. The 3rd picture shows my repair job. It is the first Molex connector I have built!
My White Water had a strange plunger. It looked old fashion, so I replaced it with the traditional plunger. See the original plunger followed by the new plunger, below.
Some of the plastics were broken and were discolored significantly. Also, one of the plastics appears to be a hand drawn reproduction. You can see the old and new plastics together in the following pictures. As you can tell, in the first picture the plastic on the left is new. In the second picture, the plastic on the right is new.
Here is a picture of the White Water topper.