In Progress Night Moves Long term refresh

saladman

Site Supporter
Mar 16, 2020
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Farsley West Yorkshire
Hello all, I'm reasonably new here and very happy to receive input / feedback / criticism on this my first major restoration.

I have to say a big thanks (I think!) to @Ronsplooter (not sure if I added the link to user properly there) for the inspiration to make this into a full blown resot instead of just 'getting it running'. Saw his Night Moves restoration youtube videos and gave me a shove in the right direction to go for it.

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I received this NM a couple of years ago - after a quick check over, it powered up, display illuminated, but super weak flippers, no sound or music, and some signs of water ingress / moisture towards the bottom of the cabinet. Playfield in probalby 6/10 condition - but certainly not a disaster. Given the relative rarity of these, the fact that I should be able to convince the better half that I can fit this into our small house, and the great music, I knew that I wanted to get it working. But... time and other commitments (and machines)... meant that it has taken until now before I am getting stuck in.

Fast forward to now(ish), and a decision that a more thorough than originally intended restoration is happening, the strip down has commenced.

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First, I took a lot of photos of the inside of the cab, and stripped out all the boards and parts in the lower cabinet. Boards seem to be in fairly good condition, I removed the battery from the MPU board, vinegar-d / IPA-d and soldered on some fly wires for a remote AA battery pack

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I cleaned up all PCB edge connect 'pads' with a fibreglass 'pen' and contact cleaner spray as there was some general grot there.

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Some more photos of playfield wear. Also interesting to see the where I think was originally a painted 'CREDIT' has been replaced by a sticker. I think that this machine got a fair amount of use (more than Ron's!)

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The coin door is showing a fair amount of rust - plan is to wire brush / strip all the paint off, use rust convertor to reduce chance of anything coming back, then use some crackle effect black spray paint to finish it. Hinge is stiff but hoping a bit of elbow and literal greasing will free it up a bit.

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After clearing the base box / unit, I removed all of the plastics / rubbers and other parts from the top of playfield (photo is an 'in progress' shot).

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With this done, the playfield was removed and I unscrewed all of the components underneath. I found a set of nut drivers very handy to do this - but still it took a while! A lot of the self tapping screws / hardware seem lightly corroded / have a dull surface - I am planning on cleaning these up in an ultrasonic cleaner, am still unsure of the best way to prevent future corrosion. Some screws that had been soldered to / very close to solder showed worse signs of corrosion. I ummed and ahhd about best way to deal with the lamp holders common ground wire that is stapled to the underside of the playfield - between lifting all of the staples and de-soldering all of the lamp holders. Seemed like desoldering would be easier and only took about 15 minutes or so to complete this.

With everything disconnected from the playfield, I slid a board of MDF between the playfield and all components, and used a few pieces of papertape to secure the lot to the board before lifting off. The hope is that all the parts will stay in a similar position to where they need to go back onto the playfield - and that along with plenty of photos should help when reassembling. Fingers crossed!

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Next the remaining posts were removed, and staples / guide rails removed. I was not looking forward to removing the staples at all, as I have seen nightmares of the crimped ends lifting the top surface of the playfield. I first use a drift tool and hammer, with the playfield resting on some blocks of wood with a protective felt covering. This wasn't too bad - but I got a bit of playfield lifting.

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Next I tried gently prising the staples out with a crowbar - note the photo shows the crowbar used, but I also used a another flatter bar with my other hand in order to spread the load on the staples and reduce chance of damage. Found it too hard to take a photo without any hands.. so you'll have to take my word for it! Overall the process of removing the staples was in fact a lot less stressful, and went a lot better than I expected with only seemingly minimal damage to the playfield. Given that NM seems to have a lot more of these staples than other machines I've come across, it was a huge relief.

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Not the best photo but shows what happened to several of the staples - to me looks like the chrome plating cracking and coming away from the staple, but I am not sure about this. The metal was shiny underneath - I'm not sure of the best solution for this right now.

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In an attempt to keep some semblance of organisation, I used a cardboard box (granted a lot smaller than the playfield) and poked the staples into a rough layout onto the box. Check out the big chunky staples toward the bottom! I was super nervous about getting those out but they came out as easily as the thinner gauge ones.

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Now the playfield is fully stripped. Current thinking is that I will take this to get professionally restored and most likely clearcoated too. In my opinion worth it as the machine will be a keeper. I'm apprehensive about how the clearcoating will work with the large plastic screen in the centre of the playfield, but will have to see what Chris thinks. Before going for restoration, the plan is to scan the playfield in for sake of prosperity. To do this, I have a standard A4 flatbed scanner that I have removed the bezel / casing from, which can be placed face down flat onto the playfield, and a series of images saved and later stitched together. I also need to get another machine stripped down that will be receiving a similar treatment - but that's for another thread.

Hopefully posting this log on here will help keep momentum on the project and prevent me from leaving it all in bits for too long!

Summary of next imminent steps:

  • Strip other machine playfield so the two PFs are ready to go to Chris (whenever the covid19 situation allows... :/ )
  • Scan PF
  • Sort out ground mods recommended for this machine (despite the common GND PCBs looking OK)
  • Clean up all screws / other hardware
  • Probably get rebuild kits for flipper, bumper and other solenoids
  • New rubber kit
  • Order other various bits that need replacing
  • Tempted to order LED bulbs - I've not used LED bulbs before, but think that they may suit this machine
  • Clean up the coin door and paint
  • remove top part of cabinet, then restore / paint the lower part
  • Clean all plastics
  • Work out what to do about the staple de-chroming (if that's what it is)
  • Probably other things that I have forgotten
 

replicas

Site Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
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I've never seen a Nightmoves with as much wear as your machine has.
As your close by send your playfield to Chris Platt in Marsden , he can't restore it to its former glory and he is not to for from yourself. Good to see you are doing a complete strip down and once done it's going to look as good as it once was.
 

domlouis

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May 28, 2014
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Derby
Keep up the good thread. Love a restore thread with lots of pictures and explanations. Thank you.
 

Moonraker

Site Supporter
Aug 18, 2011
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www.specialwhenlit.co.uk
The second photo shows quite a few components with green and dull grey legs thanks to that battery. Despite the vinegar and IPA, they all should be replaced if you want the MPU to continue to work without issues in the future.

Oh and the big metal staples are known as metal lane or ball guides.

Great work though, no easy task. :clap:
 
OP
saladman

saladman

Site Supporter
Mar 16, 2020
31
36
18
Farsley West Yorkshire
Thanks all for the encouragement and tips / input.

I had a bit more time this week and managed to get a couple of jobs done...

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First of all scanning the playfield as it is. For this, I am using a 'standard' A4 scanner with the top plastic casing removed. This allows for the scanning bed to be placed directly on top of the playfield. I made about 16 scans in total, with plenty of overlap between each scan to avoid missed bits later. Then I can stitch the images together later in software.

I started out on another playfield project a few years ago on a different machine, and had thought that I could use photos of the playfield instead of scanning. This proved troublesome due to some distortion in the image (perspective ? I am not a photography expert...). I even built a rig to hold a decent DSLR camera with a fancy lens perfectly perpendicular to the playfield in an attempt to reduce this problem, but sadly the images still proved unusable. The scanning method seems to give much better results. It does mean however that the playfield needs to be totally stripped.

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An example of one of the scans. Note that I have not yet cleaned the playfield and want to avoid doing so in case I get contaminants / something on there that will cause problems down the line with the restoration and possible clearcoating.

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Next up, all of the metal mechanisms and screws went in the ultrasonic cleaner. First time I've used this machine - what a terrible racket it makes! I used a concentrate 'rust removing' solvent, water and a drop of fairy liquid. It is noted in the instructions (I know, but I thought I should read them at least once) that items should be prevented from touching the bottom / main metal bowl. The screws were all far too small for the mesh basket provided so I chucked them into a metal tin lid from a coffee tin. It is also advised that parts are not touching / all bunched together, but I decided to ignore that (there are a -lot- of screws) and see how it went. I ran the machine for 60 minutes, checked the parts, and ran for another 60 minutes.

I don't have any before/after shots, but most parts seemed to clean up pretty well. I occasionally stirred the pile of screws with a screwdriver and lots of bubble / grot came off, so I wasn't too concerned. Still thinking of the best thing to do with all parts after this cleaning to reduce future corrosion.

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I struggled to get both legs in focus but this was the biggest heartbreak of the day. Looks as though this pop bumper part (frame?) has been wearing itself into a bit of a state. Interestingly the other pop bumper had no such issue. Could be that one gets a lot more action than the other in gameplay? I believe that this will need replacing, have not rebuilt pop bumpers before but would also imagine that the corresponding parts that caused this wear will also need further inspection and replacing.

Onwards!
 
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