Midway's Rotation VIII
This site is dedicated to the repair, preservation, restoration and maintenance of Midway's ROTATION VIII. Intended to be a repository of information as well as a resource to owners, I hope this site will be of value to those interested in making one of history’s most unique pinball games operational and fun to play.
December 30, 2016
New Service Provider
John Robertson of John's Jukes has taken on my stock of parts and board servicing. John can be reached at https://www.flippers.com/.
January 7, 2015
Common failures on factory logic board
I've put together some main board and motor driver board troubleshooting information here.
January 13, 2014
New Integrated Logic Board is Available!
Note: no longer available.The new logic board I have been working on is complete! I have integrated the daughter board onto the mainboard and have updated the power on reset and clock circuit. It is basically a re-do of the original board with a few modifications. The prototype board has been stable and reliable. The photo to the left is the first production board. All boards will only have sockets for the memory, Z-80, 8156 and audio generator. Check out New Boards for details including price and production status.
New Solenoid Driver Board
One client asked if I could produce a replacement solenoid driver board. At the time of production I had a few extra boards prrepared. If anyone needs a solenoid board, let me know.
New Display Boards
Like most items on a Rotation VIII, the display board is absolutly unobtainable. On one machine I was working on, all but one of the displays had burned segments and warped red lenses. I found a conventional 7 segment display that worked on the signals available and had a replacement PC board etched. The result is not an exact appearing replacement, but is functionally identical and actually has a slightly larger display. These require a slight bit of filing on the apron opening, but otherwise are a plug and play replacement. Check out New Boards for detailed information.
I've had a few inquiries for Motor Drivers. I have done the design, but have not ordered any bare boards yet. E-mail me if your interested.
June 10, 2013
The Gallery has a new series of detailed photos. They were taken of Chris Welsh's machines. One machine was like new. These were the machines used in the recent Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show.
A supply of replacement daughter (Characterization) boards are on hand.
Rotation VIII Value:
Value and sale price of a Rotation VIII has come up on a number of forums. I know of a few working Rotation VIIIs that have been sold. The first was late fall of 2012 on E-bay at just under $2000 US near Chicago. A second was during the summer of 2013 in the Seattle area at $2500. Several others in the same area sold during 2014 in the range of $1500 $1700. All but one of these machines used my replacement daughter board. Most of the non-working but complete machines I know of seem to sell between $500 to $800. European prices for non-working machines seem to be considerably more. Condition and completeness are always deciding factors.
Original US Patent for Rotation VIII
Designed in the infancy of solid state pinball machines, Rotation VIII is unique in that it is a cocktail table game with an automatic rotating playfield. Up to four players can sit around the table with the playfield turning sequentially to their position to play.
Known serial numbers range from 0216 to 0432 in North America and serial numbers from 0635 to 0737 appearing in Europe. 0696 appears in South America. It now seems likely that the lower number serials from 0200 to 0499 may be North American and the range from 0600 to 0799 represent machines exported out of North America. The difference noted so far between the North American machines and the ROW (Rest of World) machines seems to be in the power transformers with ROW machines having windings supporting 220 volts.
To date, there is no definitive number of how many ROTATION VIII's were produced. Guesses have placed the production run in the range of several hundred to 1000. The serial numbers found so far suggests that the number may be in approximately 400. Rumours also stated that some of the games may have been taken back by the manufacturer due to reliability problems. Production commenced in 1978, but we don’t know how long production continued. Many of the surviving games are now sitting in garages, basements and warehouses because they don't work. Only a handful are now operational.
Where is my Serial Number?
The serial number is usually printed on a small light cardboard tag stapled to the inside of one of the coin doors. On some machines, the serial number may also be stamped into the horizontal shelf near the coin door. I have never found any serial number information on the playfield or anywhere else on the cabinet or frame.
Summary of Issues
One of the primary causes of non-operating Rotation VIIIs is the original Characterization Board (daughter board). This board was subject to considerable corrosion from the memory battery. Further problems resulted from dirty or worn connector contacts also on the characterization board. As well, the characterization board used tri-power eproms which were touchy and had sockets that were prone to failure. In severe cases, the logic board has also been corroded from the Characterization board. Replacement of the Characterization board, updating the reset circuit and re-pinning connectors, especially the power supply lines on the logic board may bring a machine back to life. Unfortunately, many logic boards also have failed components and corroded traces.
As is the case with 35 year old technology, many if not most of the active components on these boards are obsolete and may at times be difficult to find exact replacements. To date, some "drop in" substitutions have been found for several difficult to find components. This information is contained in the Technical page.
The rotating circuitry and equipment is robust but needs to be calibrated to work properly. The playfield will not rotate if a ball is not in the outhole. There are also several mechanical issues related to moving parts that will cause instability. Playfield parts are mostly stock and can be purchased from suppliers.
Northwest Arcade and Pinball Show - Tacoma
Two machines belonging to Chris Welsh
Below are three YouTube videos showing a fully operational machine in three different modes.
Boot and Attract Mode
Service Positions (first from SE then NW Coin Doors)
Simple two player game
The information contained on this site has been collected in many ways. Much of it has been collected by word of mouth or gleaned from forums or other sources. Some information was gained from first hand experience in repairing a number of these machines. If you find any of the information is incorrect or can be improved, please e-mail me with the information and I will update the site.