Do I need electricity to play my machine?

Note:  Follow all safety precautions when working with electricity and if you don’t know what you are doing, get help from someone who does.

Almost all vintage pachinko machines do not need electricity.  To play the game all you need is gravity.  If you see wires, it is probably for a few lights which are optional as your machine is playable without these lights.   The lights serve 2 purposes:

1) When you get a jackpot, the lights will flash to add a little excitement to the game.
2) When the supply tray is out of balls a light will come on until the tray is refilled. 

What size fuse do I need? 

If you are wiring your lights to a battery, then you can use any size fuse you want because the lights won’t draw enough power to cause the fuse to blow.  If you are wiring your lights to a transformer, for the U.S. the fuse should be rated at 1Amp.  If your machine also has other electrical components such as motors, coils or cylinders check with an electrician for the proper size fuse.

What size light bulbs do I need?

We have used the following and they both work fine with a battery or a transformer.

  • 14.4V .1Amp (100mA) Incandescent Flashlight Bulb – from radioshack.com, but not as bright as the next bulb
  • 7.5 V .22 Amp (220mA) Screw Base Miniature Light Bulb – from VintagePachinko.com

What size battery or transformer do I use? 

The lights were originally powered by a 10 volt transformer.  This transformer was not included when the pachinko machines imported from Japan.  You can hook up your lights to a 6 volt  or 9 volt battery or a 6 volt, 9 volt or 10 volt transformer (see section on motors below).   

Where can I get electronics parts for my machine? 

You can get them at Radio Shack or similar stores, online electronics stores and VintagePachinko.com.

Where can I get schematics for my machine?

The wiring diagram for the lights is very simple.  The basic concept is this: 

  • run the negative to each bulb. 
  • run the positive through the supply tray switch to one bulb.
  • run the positive through the jackpot switch to the other bulbs.
  • If using a transformer instead of a battery, run both positives through a fuse before running through the switches.
  • Here are some pachinko schematics, wiring diagrams.

How do I check to see if my lights work? 

The following steps are a general guide.  Because there are hundreds of manufacturers of pachinko machines and unknown modifications to the electronics by previous owners, it is impossible to have an exact step by step procedure.  

  • Make sure your supply tray is empty of balls (the top tray in back). 
  • Your machine may have loose wires, a plug, or posts to the right of the supply tray.    
  • If you have loose wires, strip off some of the insulating plastic for each wire.
  • If you have a plug, cut the plug off and strip the wires as above.
  • If you have posts, connect a wire to each post and strip the wires as above; for Nishijin you probably need the two posts on the right.
  • There may be two to four different wires or posts on your machine; you will only need two; the extras were used by the pachinko parlor.
  • Take any two wires from the pachinko machine and touch them to the posts of your 9 volt battery.  It doesn’t matter which wires go to the positive or negative posts. 
  • If at least one light doesn’t come on, try a different combination of wires until you find the two wires needed to make a light bulb come on.

What do I do if my lights don’t work?

Assuming that you can play your machine and jackpots are paid out normally, there are many things that could be wrong: a weak solder joint, a broken or cut wire, a bad microswitch, a dirty or bent leaf/reed switch, a bad bulb, or a bad fuse. 

The problem could also be missing, damaged or miss-aligned parts that activate the lights.  Finally a previous owner may have modified the electronics trying to get them to work but actually hooked something up incorrectly.   

Naturally the problem could be a combination of any of the above.  Check the following and if your lights still don’t work, you may want to purchase an electronics manual and/or new parts. 

  • Make sure the fuse and bulbs are good.
  • Make sure the contact points of any leaf/reed switches are clean by sanding them lightly.
  • Make sure that the leafs are either separated and then touch, or they are touching and then separate when you add balls to the supply tray or get a jackpot.
  • Make sure the actuator of any microswitch is depressed or released when you add balls to the supply tray or get a jackpot.

What if my machine has motors? 

There are a few machines from the 1970s (probably less than 5%)  that have motors, coils or cylinders that do require electricity in order to operate those electrical components.  It appears that most of these components operate off a 24 volt transformer but you should have an electrician determine what you need.  Here are some notes about a few of those machines.

  • Nishijin Power Flash and Nishijin Kan-Less pachinko machines require electricity.
  • Pachinko machines with a round shooter knob instead of a flipper require electricity.
  • Some Kyoraku pachinko machines have a coil in the shooter assembly.  Without power to the coil, a part will block the flow of balls through the shooter assembly.  You can either 1) wire the machine to electricity, or 2) remove/rig the part so it doesn’t block the flow of balls.
  • Some pachinko machines have electrical components that ‘move’ something on the playfield.  Sometimes this movement is necessary for the machine to function properly and other times the movement is only to attract attention.