More updates on the bench displays

Just a quick FYI on these. I finally got off my lazy duff and un-boxed the existing stock of these, to upgrade the wiring kits.
Instead of a long length of purple wire, they now come with 24 section of pre-cut and pre-stripped orange wire, 200mm long each.
I’m standardizing, kinda, coloring for tester wiring harnesses now too. Orange will be for the ‘standard’ wiring packs that cover System 3-11, and Grey will be for WPC wiring kits. Since the bench displays are for System 3-7 machines, they get orange wire harnesses.

When I get my crimping press into operation, I’ll probably go back and crimp ends on all the wires. But that’s going to be a while as I don’t yet have tooling to do the .156 sized crimps. If sales keep up like this I’ll probably be buying the tooling soon…. so keep buying stuff, that way I can afford to make better stuff for you guys.

Yikes, parts going end-of-life on me!

Hey, this is actually a good news post, but reminds me how fragile the pinball hobby can be.

I’ve run out of RoHS versions of my bench displays. This is a good problem. I originally did a run of 50 of these testers back in 2013 I think, and I knew they would be a slow seller. But this was also back before I went RoHS on my product line, so they were assembled with leaded solder. European orders were pretty slow at the time anyway. I eventually, in early 2014, did exactly 5 more that were RoHS compliant. The last of those 5 just shipped today, and I still have 9 leaded versions left. (Quick math, 9 of 55 remain. So, slow sellers).

I don’t want my European customers left out in the cold, so I went to order more parts today to do another small batch of RoHS compliant bench displays. Glad I did too… as I really came close to never making them again. The original BCD decoder I tried went obsolete, and I had to use a different version on that 5 piece run. Well, THAT part is obsolete now too. Thankfully there were some in stock still. So I ordered enough parts to complete 10 more RoHS sets, and the BCD decoders I ordered enough to finish up the 50 remaining PCB’s that I have.

At the rate they sell, things will be just fine. Probably two years until I run out. At that time I’ll work out a cooler and fancier replacement.

Cool stuff on the way, time to get ready for the holiday seasons

Well, it’s been a busy summer. A few big orders off to re-sellers, lots of smaller orders off to wonderful customers, and me barely having enough time to do it all. The good news is I’m getting caught up at keeping inventory well-stocked. Part of this is coming from doing a better job keeping track of bills of materials, which makes re-ordering parts a lot easier. Improvements in the current version of the Bally/Stern LED adapters also made assembly much easier, as did standardization to a single version.

But I still want things to be better!

The automated cutter/stripper sure made life easier, easy enough I threw my 2015 fiscal plan out the window completely, and started shopping for an automated crimper too. I’m hoping it will be here next week. I’ve come across a good deal on an older Molex machine that conveniently has the necessary tooling installed for the .100 sized contacts I use. Even better…. it comes with three full spools of those contacts! So I’ll be all set on .100 Molex crimping for quite a while. The bad news is that it won’t yet handle the .156 connectors, which I use in larger numbers than the .100’s But the price was right and I couldn’t pass up the deal. If the next couple months do well in sales I’ll get my hands on the tooling needed to handle .156’s. At this point you guys won’t have to worry about crimping any more. I don’t have a plan yet for the interim period when I can only crimp one type of connector, but I’ll think of something.

Speaking of needing a plan, I’m also working on what we’ll be doing for the big holiday shopping season. Not sure yet what sales I’ll be offering. However business is already starting to pick up, as Pinball Magazine Issue #3 just hit shelves, and I’ve got a half page ad in there.

So more fun stuff on the way, can’t wait to get things running