Stapled Space Shuttle Pinball Playfield General Illumination Wiring

I made a bit more progress on the Space Shuttle playfield swap today, and had fun using a new tool! It was time to tackle the General Illumination wiring. General Illumination is a term in pinball that refers to lamps that light up the game (as opposed to lamps for targets/scoring). Since they aren’t controlled individually, multiple lights can be wired together on a common circuit. Here’s a photo of one section of general illumination wiring on the old playfield. As you can see, Williams (and I’m sure others) used bare exposed wire for these circuits!

StapledGI-2

Notice the staples holding down both the lamp sockets and the wires themselves. This is my first playfield swap, so I had to investigate which stapler to get to transfer this over to the new playfield. From what I gathered online, it wasn’t even worth trying with a manual or electric stapler, so I went straight to the big boy tools and got an air-powered one. It shoots 22-gauge fine wire staples which are 3/8″ wide, and I’m using the 1/4″ long (deep) ones for the playfield. 

StapledGI-3

Notice the tool has a long nose, which makes it possible to reach through mechanisms and wiring harnesses if needed. I started transferring some of the circuits over and the stapler works like a charm – it fires staples into the new playfield like it’s not even trying. I even had to dial back the pressure after a staple sliced right through one of my wires! Here’s my progress so far. The biggest GI circuits are done, but there’s a few more smaller ones still left to do.

StapledGI-1

Except for the new shiny copper wire segments, I transferred all the wires over from the old playfield and re-used them. I was also able to test and re-used most of the lamp sockets – only two needed to be replaced.

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