The Skee-Ball Machine: Part 1, The Beginning

This all started sometime in the early 2000’s. I was either 19 or 20 and someone told me American Adventures was getting rid of their Skee-Ball machines for new ones. They were selling them for $100 a piece or $75 if you took more than one. Of course being young and stupid I convinced my friend Mike to come with me and buy two. So Mike, Brian (Cake), and I took two pickups down to American Adventures and bought two. Mike took one and I took the other. I put mine in my living room in the house I was renting. It was wonderful. It lit up, gave tickets, took coins, was 13ft long, and played awful music. I cut out the speaker almost immediately so I could sleep. That was the first of many modification made to the machine. The second was to replace the coin-op mechanism with a push button. Brian brought me the score poster a couple days later. That was it for many years. Much to everyone’s chagrin I’ve moved it with me ever since. It lived in my parent’s garage for a a while and in my dining room in my first house until I needed a dining room table. Then back to the garage for many years. It finally found it’s new home about four years ago in my basement office of my current house.

The Skee-Ball Machine

The coin-op mechanism replacement was an easy one. I went to Radio Shack and bought a simple momentary push button switch. Put it through the coin return button hole and plugged it in to the existing wiring. Didn’t even have to break out the soldering iron.

Button
Wiring

I taped it up using the only tape I had. Aluminum duct tape. I must have stolen it from my father at some point. Now you could press a button and play Skee-Ball. No need to have tokens laying around. Tokens were hard to keep track of and it didn’t take quaters. Not that I had any extra quarters. I even bought a box of tickets so it could give out tickets. I had grand plans of building a redemption counter to give out things I didn’t have and couldn’t afford. This is how I entertained myself for hours and hours through my 20s. I could sink a 50 every time.

Now in it’s new home I decided to fix some of the burnt out lights and replace some switches. I fixed it up to mostly working and then it sat there for years slowly breaking until the great quarantine of 2020. This blog was created to document the process of refurbishing and modernizing the electronics.

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