Pinball Repair Service in Your Home -
Southeast Michigan, Mid Michigan, Toledo Ohio.

I get a lot of email asking, "Will you come to my home and fix my pinball or coin-operated arcade game?" The answer is YES! And the price is less than you may think.

I Buy Pinball Machines!
Paying $100 to $5000 for games, broken or working. Please contact me for more details.

In-Home Pinball Repair Service.
If you live anywhere around the lower part of Michigan I can travel to your home and fix your pinball game (EM or Solidstate) in your home or business. This includes the South East Michigan and Detroit metro area like Brighton, Detroit, Novi, Howell, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Grosse Pointe, Taylor, Dearborn, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Shelby, Macomb, Sterling Heights, Troy, Royal Oak, Monroe, Jackson, Ann Arbor, Walled Lake, Pinckney, Chelsea, Roseville, St. Clair Shores, Beverly Hills MI, Grass Lake, Livonia, Westland, Ypsilanti, Belleville, White Lake, Commerce, Franklin, Lansing. Basically from the Port Huron (thumb of Michigan) down to Toledo Ohio, and up to Jackson/Lansing, and across to Detroit Michigan, and all points in between. This includes the Michigan counties of counties including Oakland, Wayne, Monroe, St. Clair, Macomb, Genesee, Livingston, Washtenaw, Jackson county and others. Also Toledo Ohio and surrounding areas in north west Ohio.

I specialize in pinball games from the 1940s to present. That means I can fix an old EM (electro-mechanical) pinball, or the most current solidstate pinball games. I also fix old shuffle alley/puck bowling and ball bowlers, arcade baseball pitch and bat games, arcade mechanical gun games, and other similar arcade games. This includes coin operated games made by Gottlieb, Williams, Bally, DataEast, Midway, Sega, Stern, Chicago Coin (CCM), Genco, Mutoscope, United and many others. Newer Solidstate dot matrix display games to the oldest electro-mechanical pinballs.

I bring all tools and parts for your game with me (I would say less than 5% of the time I have to make a second trip back because I am missing a part). And if I can't fix your game there's no charge (assuming you're not an hour's drive away.)

As part of the service I also clean the playing surface and the rubber bumpers (and replace them if they need it or you want it.) This only take a few minutes, and it's easy to do. I will show you how you can do this in the future too. Because keeping the playing surface clean is the best way to keep your game playing great, lasting longer, and of course looking good.

Note I am animal friendly! That is, if you have a dog or cat or two at your home, that is not a problem. I can fix your pinball game at your home with no worry about pets.

Generally a 75 mile trip (each way) is about as far as I can travel to do a game repair (like 1.5 hours each way). I have traveled up to three hours each way to fix someone's games - I don't like doing it, but sometimes (depending on the current schedule) I'll make the drive. Also travel is more limited during November to March, because the winter Michigan weather is unpredictable. So if you are far away and need a game fixed for Christmas, please let me know if possible by November so I can make the trip before the winter weather comes. Keep in mind that long distance repairs can present problems for warranty work, hence my hessitation to accept really long drives. Because if you have a problem after the repair, it is very difficult for me to support the repair due to long travel distances. Please keep that in mind.

Sometimes do slot machines repair too (email for more details.) I don't do this a lot, and generally won't come out for just a slot repair unless you have a pinball machine that needs some love too. Same applies to Chexx and Super Chexx Hockey games (domed bubble hockey) from 1983 (when introduced) to present. Note I generally do NOT fix video games.

Pinball Repair Cost and Credentials.
I've been repairing pinball games since the early 1990s. In that time I've written and documented more on pinball repair than probably anyone else on the planet. From the pinball repair guides at PinRepair.com, to seminars at all the major pinball shows across the country, to writing for pinball magazines, to the subscription pinball repair site PinballNinja.com (with over 800 game repairs documented including over 300 with HD video), to DVDs on pinball repair (pinrepair.com/TOP), well you get the idea. I am also inducted into the Chicago Pinball Expo Hall of Fame in 2010, and received a pinball lifetime achievement award from the Pacific Pinball Museum in 2011.

Other stuff I'm involved with includes the Ann Arbor Pinball Museum. I own and maintain the 250+ pinball games at that facility. So chances are good I actually own the same game title as you are asking me to repair, and that I've had extensive experience fixing that exact pinball title. Here's an article about the museum from a local news outlet. I also teach at class at the museum on pinball repair.

As for cost, I can also say this with comfidence... I will repair your pinball correctly, and I'll do it for less than anyone else in the area. How can I say that? Since I have many years of experience, I'm pretty quick at doing repairs, and my hourly rate is less than anyone else I know doing home repairs in Michigan. In addition, pinball repair is all I do. That is, it's a hobby spun out of control, and that has taken over my life (to the dismay of my wife!) I wake up at about 5:30am and I'm either fixing games or documenting repairs, and I do this pretty much all day until bed at 11pm. Yea I know, it's sick. But hey that's what I do. (When you own 250+ games, there's always something to fix!) Check out the video of me doing what I do at the bottom of this page.

New Policy on Payment.
It used to be that I would accept nearly any form of payment when doing repairs. I have to say with a sorry heart, I can no longer do this. Until the last year, people were pretty good. But now, not so much. I'm not a collection agency, I don't have the energy or time to track people down about money. A few bad apples have forced me my hand on this.

So the new policy starting January 1, 2014 is this: I please request Cash. Please no checks, and no promises of sending a check. Payment is expected at the time of the repair. Paypal can work, but please tell me ahead if that is your plan.

Check exceptions - if you bank with Dearborn Federal, Chase, or Charter1 (those are my banks too), then a check is OK.

I schedule about one week in advance. So that gives everyone plenty of time to get their funds in order. Most repairs are in the $50 to $300 range, so please have that amount of cash available on the day of the repair.

Thank you in advance for this. And again, I apologize for any inconvenience this causes.

 



Contact Info for In-Home Pinball Service.

Feel free to send me an email at cfh@provide.net as email is the BEST WAY to schedule a repair. You can call but frankly it's difficult for me to answer phone calls during the day because I'm working. Email is better since I can do this in the evening and at odd hours. Please have the make/name of your game handy when you call or email! My number is 248-390-5382.

I ask that you only contact me if you are in the Michigan/NW Ohio area. That is, I really can't help fix your game if you live in California. (Well unless you want to fly me to your location!)

I write and maintain the pinball and arcade game information and repair web pages at Pinrepair.com if you want to check that out before contacting me. Also I have a list of repair credentials at the top right of this web page.

In addition, if you have a broken game you want to get rid of, I do sometimes buy games. This includes pinball machines, gun games, bowling games, and Chexx hockey games. But frankly I would rather fix these games in your home if at all possible.

    9/01/14 Pinball Repair Update.
    I usually book one week in advance. Feel free to email with questions. Holidays get booked quickly, so please plan in advance and email well before your big holiday party. The holdiday seasons of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and then the Super Bowl are super busy. Hence during the months of November and December things can get congested. During these months I'm usually booked two or three weeks in advance.

Bring the Game to Me.
I certainly do not advocate hauling a pinball out of your basement for repair, BUT if you want to do that, sometimes I can accomodate this. If you want to take that approach, contact me. By the way it will only save you $5 to $50 (unless you are far away or in Canada), compared to me coming to your home. But if you want to move your game, we can take that approach. Again I really don't recommend it, takes a lot of time and energy and for little to no cost savings. And it risks hurting yourself and/or the game.

Arcade Video Game Service.
I do NOT repair video arcade games. Sometimes I'll look at classic arcade videos like Pacman, Ms.Pacman, Centipede, Galaga, Defender and other similar era coin operated arcade games if I'm already at a home, but video game repair is not my specialty (pinball repair is my strength.) But sometimes I will check out a Ms Pacman or Centipede if I'm already at your home fixing a pinball. But other than that, I do not repair video arcade games.


Games for Sale.
I get asked a lot, "do you sell games?" The short answer is generally no. But sometimes (when I run out of space!) I get forced into "pinball space-closure", and must sell a game or two. This doesn't happen often, as I am a pinball fanatic, and just hate selling games! Also since I run the Ann Arbor Pinball Museum, we're always looking for games to exhibit there. If I have anything for sale, I put it on the website pinrepair.com/gamesale


Commonly Asked In-Home Pinball Repair Questions:

Q) When do you usually schedule repairs?
A) I generally try and schedule repairs for 10am on weekdays. I sometimes do weekends repairs too (Saturday or Sunday at 11am or so), for those that need it. Basically the only time I generally don't fix games is the evenings. Please email to discuss your situation. I can generally work around your schedule.

Q) How much does it cost to fix a game at my house?
A) This is difficult to determine without seeing the game, but I can give a range of what most games cost to repair (cost based on time). Generally speaking, 95% of all repairs fall in the $50 to $300 price repair range. There are some caveats to this. For example, if you have more than one game obviously this usually takes more time. Older games (1950s/1960s) can also take longer to fix. Shuffle alleys and Ball bowlers from the 1950s and 1960s tend to take the most time. Solidstate pinballs from 1977 to 1985 with batteries on the computer board sometimes cost more to repair. I know now you're asking, "Batteries? Why would my game have batteries, and what does that matter?" Well most solidstate pinballs do use batteries to store high scores and book keeping functions. And the batteries can leak their corrosive fluids and ruin connectors and even eat the computer board (this is why I usually mount remote battery holders on many games I repair to prevent this problem in the future.) If the batteries have leaked, and the computer board must be replaced, this obviously will cost more (I do usually carry spares with me though.) But please keep this in mind - have you called a plumber lately? I know I have, and just to get a plumber to your house is about $100 minimum. So by comparison, in-home pinball repair is a bargain.

Q) How much do you charge per hour?
A) A reasonable question, but difficult to answer. The rate is really variable. I will say this though with confidence, I am less expensive than anyone else doing house calls in Michigan. Now if I'm at your house for just a short period, the hourly rate will be higher than if I'm there all day. Again I really try and keep people in the $50 to $300 range for repairs. So sometimes that means working for minimum wage! (Though I really try to not do that frankly.) Also if the environment is nice (well lit, clean, etc.) this too can influence the hourly rate. I try and give a price range for repairs, as discussed above. And if the repair turns out to be time consuming and takes a long time, I will try and stay in the stated price range. In these cases obviously I'm working a lot cheaper "by the hour" than a standard repair. The point I'm making is that I will put a price ceiling on nearly all repairs, so the budget is not blown, regardless of how long the repair takes. It's best to discuss this for your particular situation, so send an email and we can talk about it.

Q) What forms of payment do you accept?
A) It used to be I would accept nearly any form of payment. But in the last year, this has become a problem. I don't have the time or energy to track people down for payment. So as of now, CASH is the preferred payment (due at the time of the repair.) I apologize for this in advance, but bad checks and broken promises of sending checks just aren't working. I schedule repairs in advance, so this gives everyone plenty of time to get their funds in order for the day of the repair. Exceptions - if you bank with Dearborn Federal, Chase or Charter1 (those are my banks too), a check is OK. Paypal sometimes works too.

Q) Will my pinball repair require multiple trips? What Lead time is needed for an appointment?
A) Ninetyeight percent of the time I can repair your pinball in one trip. No one likes return trips, especially me! I usually book appointments about one week in advance.

Q) Would it be cheaper for me to bring my game to you for repair?
A) The short answer is NO. On the rare occasion it has happened (like people from Canada sometimes bring games to me), but generally it's just not necessary. When moving a game, there are lots of considerations. You have to disassemble the machine, get it out of your house, put it in your vehicle, and drive it. And then do it in reverse after the repair. Yes you can hire someone to do this for you, but that usually costs about $100 each way. And there is a good chance the game will be damaged in the process. Moving a pinball is no easy task. If you break the irreplaceable score glass your valuable pinball is now nothing more than $50 worth of parts. And in the process of moving or setting up the game once it's fixed and back at your house, there is a chance it could be mis-connected or jarred, damaging the machine. Or worse, damaging YOU while moving the 250 pound monster. So in the end, is it really worth it? Wouldn't it just be easier (and cheaper!) to have me come out once and fix it at your home? YES. That said though, if you really want to bring your game to me for repair, I can accomodate this. Just email me and we can discuss the details.

Q) How can I prepare for you coming to fix my pinball?
A) Please have the area around your game clear of stuff. I will need to gain access to all five sides of the game (front, back, left, right, bottom.) Also please make sure the light around the game is working! Though I do bring my own light, having good general light really helps a lot. If you have keys and manuals, please have them available. (Though probably 30% of the games I work on the keys are lost. Not a huge deal usually, but it takes time to get into a lock machine.)

Q) Will you fix my game in my garage?
A) If I will be working on your game in your garage, I need to know that ahead. Especially if it's the winter! Seriously, I am human and I don't like working in a 55 degree or colder garage. (Or 85 degree or higher in the summer.) So please, if the game is in the garage, and that's where it will be staying, I need to know that ahead so I can dress accordingly. Also be aware that games don't like cold weather (especially older electro-mechanical games), and consistent reliability will be compromised in a cold garage.

Q) A local repair shop is asking me to remove a board or to bring the entire game to them. Wouldn't that be cheaper?
A) Again the answer is NO it would not be cheaper. Removing a suspect board and sending it away for repair is a risk. When (if) you get the board back, you have to plug it back in correctly, and there may still be a problem elsewhere in the game, which damages the board again. It makes far more sense to have the whole game to repair. So what about bring it to a local shop? Again, do you really want to move a 250 pound pinball? Or pay them to pick up/deliver it? I can guarentee it won't be cheaper to bring a machine to them! In addition, some local shops use ME as their repair guy! So ultimately I may end up fixing your game anyway, just at their shop. And I can guarentee that will NOT cost you less than just letting me come to your house to fix the game. There is also the time consideration. That is, most shops will have your game a month. Opposed to me coming to your house for a couple hours and fixing the game right then. And you can watch and perhaps learn a thing or two.

Q) A local shop is willing to fix my pinball, but I have to bring it to them. Won't this be cheaper?
A) Heck No! Trust me on this, the shops in the Detroit area that offer that service will NOT cost you less. Besides the fact that you have to disassemble and move your game to AND from their shop, the bills that I have seen reflect much higher repair costs than I do repairing your game at your home. Add to that the cost of a good chiropractor, and the fact that they may have your game for *months*, well, you get the point. And in the case of the local Commerce shop, they usually hire me to do the repair anyway!

Q) How much are parts?
A) In most cases parts are pretty reasonable and not expensive. I generally don't charge a lot for parts. I should say that some custom parts are expensive, like digital orange score displays or a new CPU board, but most everything else is pretty reasonable.

Q) Will you clean my game too?
A) Yes I will. I always make sure the playing surface of any game I work on is clean. It's part of the service I provide, and frankly it only takes a few minutes to do this. I also like to show the customer how to keep their game clean.

Q) Do you warranty your work?
A) Yes. If the same problem that I fixed happens again in a reasonable amount of time, there is no charge for me to come out again and fix it (if you're 30 miles away or less.) Obviously there are some caveats to this. I should state some obvious things first, like pinball is very "mechanical." Meaning you're kicking around a three ounce steel ball, so things DO break. There's no way around that. To expect a pinball game to remain "perfect" indefinitely is frankly not realistic. Also most games I'm fixing are 15+ years old. Sometimes they are 30+ years old! (How many 30 year old devices do you have operating in your house?) Keep in mind that these games were designed for a 5 year life span! My point is, pinballs do break, and they are not designed to last forever. That said, I do try and be as pro-active about repairs as possible. But I can't predict the future and what will happen in one week or one year. Also if you live more than 30 miles from me, it is difficult to offer return warranty service. If you live 60 miles away, and there some issue after the repair, it's often difficult for me to come back out. Again that's why I don't like to drive too far for game service, because it makes after-the-fact support difficult.

That all said, there is one more point I would like to add in regards to my warranty. If the game breaks again shortly after I repair it, you should email/call ASAP. I can't read minds, so if the game breaks again, please email! I *will* take care of issues quickly assuming you're not really far away. But I can't do that if you don't tell me about the problem.

Q) I have lost the key to my game. Do you have a "master key"?
A) There really is no such thing as a master key. But I can usually get into a locked game without too much trouble.

Q) Can I watch when you fix my machine at my home?
A) Yes you can, but frankly I'm not real comfortable with it. To put it in perspective, at your job, do people stand over your shoulder and watch you work? On the other hand a lot of people watch and learn some things about pinball machine care. I'm happy to share this kind of information, just please don't make it too obvious that you're watching, and don't get too close! (Also if you're a real interesting personality with good stories that never hurts.)

Q) Are there any spray lubricants or contact cleaners I should use on my game?
A) NO. Nothing from a spray can should be used in pinball. Chemicals can not fix a mechanical problem. If a repair guy shows up with WD-40 or Contact Cleaner, it's time to find a new repair guy! I fix problems correctly, not by spraying WD-40 (which isn't really a lubricant anyway.) Did I mention spray fluids are flammable too? (Yes you can start your game on fire rather easily with spray fluids.)

Q) Do you have any references?
A) No problem, I can provide references. I have also written extensively about pinball repair in the pinrepair.com web pages, and I write for magazines. I've even done webcasts on pinball repair and history, and some pinball repair videos and blogs. I also speak at pinball conferences across the country from Seattle to San Francisco to Chicago to Pennsylvania.

Q) Do you have any pinball games?
A) Yes of course. In fact, I probably have more games than I'm willing to admit. (I'm just not some yonkel that fixes games yet doesn't own any.) I probably have the largest pinball game collection in Michigan, with games ranging from the 1930s to present. (Ok, I'll admit it, I'm somewhat of a pinball hoarder.) Check out the Credentials section of this web page at the top right.

Q) I have several old broken pinballs from the 1960s and 1970s that have been stored in our barn for 10+ years. Can you fix these?
A) Yes I can. But please have them set up on their legs and the inside vacuumed (especially if stored outside, mouse house!), so I can get right to fixing them. Hopefully water, rust and vermin are not big issues. But games that have sat a long time are usually the challenging to repair.

Q) I have a 1963 Chicago Coin ball bowler. It has not worked for more than 10 years, and we can not find anyone to fix it. I am located in Farmington Hills, can you repair it? Do you carry the parts?
A) Yes I repair ball bowlers and shuffle alley bowlers from this era, and I carry the parts needed.


Detroit Free Press video of yours truly: