Welcome To thomthetech.com

This is the Residential Page.  Click HERE for my Commercial Page.

How's It Going?

Thank you for viewing my page.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

If you're here you:

Either way, I'm glad you came to look.

How's It Going?

So who the heck am I?

Hi.

My Name is Thom Kirby, and I live in North San Jose.

My Experience:

I started repairing Amusement devices around 1985.  I was employed as a Field Service Technician in New Jersey (City Amusements) for over 2 years.  Although based out of Jersey, my "territory" was New York; mainly around Queens, Yonkers, Staten Island, and occasionally in Jersey, along the Hudson River.

I was also the District Technician for over three years at Namco Cybertainment. (Remember Pac-Man? :) I was based out of Wonderpark, which was located at the Great Mall in Milpitas, California.    (Wonderpark used to be where the Sears Appliance Center (by the Food Court) currently resides.)  I was also responsible for 6 arcades, totaling over 400 games.   The arcades were located at Pier 39 in San Francisco (2), also Concord, Newark, Monterey, Milpitas, and Sunnyvale.  When Wonderpark closed in February of 2000, I stayed on for a few more months, then not having an office anymore, as well a place I could call "Home", I decided it was time to move on.

Lastly, I was the Senior Game Technician (Full Time Game Tech)  for 3 1/2 years at Dave & Busters #24 located at the Great Mall in Milpitas, California.

How's It Going?

I Offer Expert Repairs On:

    Electronic, or Electromechanical (EM))

            (any age or condition)

        Upright, Cocktail, or Cockpit

(Sorry, but I don't work on home Video Consoles because I've never been able to find a reliable source for parts.)

You've Come To The Right Place!

    I have to admit, I'm a little strange when it comes to doing this.  I do all I can to help save you money with regard to repairing your `Amusement Devices.  (No, Really. :)

    If you have a question, I'll always answer it honestly, and not mislead you, or insist you need a service call.  I've helped many residential Amusement Device owners make minor repairs to their games without me having to make a Service Call.  It's not that I'm lazy;  I would be doing you a disservice if I charged you a Walk In (around $120) to simply solder a wire, or change a light bulb.

 

Now if you don't know how to solder (or don't care to :), that's a different story!

 

And lastly, I'm not very good when it comes to telling time.

 

    If you have any questions regarding amusement devices, or would like to have me look at yours, I'd love to hear from you!  Please click Here to send me email.  Please include game name, game type, and a description of the problem you're having.  I'll try my best to reply within 24 hours.

 

Residential Service And Repair Information

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Please Read Everything

The Best Surprise Is NO Surprise :)

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I know it may appear I'm being a meanie with all these rules and regulations, but I promise, I'm not that much of a jerk.   They just need to be in place in case I ever need to use them.  The Walk-In Charge is non-changing, but the hourly rate is rarely adhered to. :)  I'm really easy to get along with.

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All Service and Repair Work will be done at your location.

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Residential Service Rate:  (If it's at your House)

Distance Is Calculated From North San Jose (Junction of 880 & Montague Parkway)

        Plus

    (Remember, I do NOT charge for drive time.   Your hour starts when I start working on your item, not when I get in my vehicle.)

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One Way I Save You Money:

I Do NOT mark up parts I purchase to repair your machine.  A lot of Vendors think I'm nuts!  Some repair people add as much as 50% markup onto the price of parts.  Personally, I'm already charging you a walk in charge, plus $60 an Hour.  I don't see the need to charge you more.  I will prove this by providing you with the original receipt from parts I purchase.   Shipping and Taxes will be your responsibility,  Which will show up on the invoice.)

OR

I can tell you what parts to purchase (part number(s), quantity, and where to get them), and you can buy them yourself, then inform me when they arrive.  Either way, you'll pay the same price for parts.   I do this to save you money.  :)

Another way I save you money is I can't tell time (Ok, I really can), but I'm not that much of a stickler about it.

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Parking:

Any expenditures required for me to park will be added to my walk in.  The only reason I've included this is once I had to pay $30 to park!   (SF is expensive! :)

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Estimates:

    Estimates are a one hour Service Call minimum at regular rates. I will do my best to evaluate the unit you want an estimate on.   From this evaluation, I will tell you what I feel your item needs to be repaired.  I will provide you with a written quote for repairs (which will include parts and labor) after I have looked up the prices of the parts I'll need to make the repair.  Estimates are limited to 30 travel miles.  Additional mileage extra.  Any unit that is quoted, my hourly rate will not apply as the estimate will include all parts and labor.  Also understand that an estimate is just that; an estimate.  There may be a chance that something that was not obvious when the estimate was written may need to be added.  This will be discussed with you fully before any action is taken.

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Shop Jobs:

A Shop Job is like an overhaul for your Pinball Machine.  A Shop Job consists of the following:

(Please note that a Shop Job may or may not repair a problem you're having with your machine - It depends on what problems you're having.)

        (Unforeseen issues can be addressed, and what will be required to correct them.  (IE something that's broken that wasn't noticeable prior to disassembly.))

        - Plunger, Coil, Stop and Sleeve

        - EOS Switch

        - Cams Cranks & Links

        - Bracket, and hardware (for future problems)

PLEASE NOTE:

Shop Jobs are billed at a FLAT RATE and NOT by the hour.

Shop Jobs range from $350 to $600.   The price is dependant on the game.

Parts are NOT included.  I will advise you what parts I'll require and where to purchase them.  You order the parts and have them shipped to your location, and when they arrive, let me know and I'll schedule a time with you to come over and do the job.  Normally, the Rubber kit is usually no more than $30. (again, it varies on the game), and the new Pinball Balls are like $2 each.  Normally, Shop Jobs take a few hours (depending on the game), but may require another visit if additional parts need to be ordered to complete the job, or if additional issues take longer than expected.  Regardless, the labor charge will not change.

For a quote on a Shop Job, just let me know the name and manufacturer of the game, and I can give you a no obligation estimate.

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Payment Requirements:

BEFORE I START.  (Unless other arrangements are made in advance)

(Credit Cards And PayPal Are Subject To A 3% Surcharge of Invoice Total - Credit Card Must Be In your Possession To Use.)

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Special Note:
   
    Children and Pets:
       
    I love, and have both!  But when working on amusement devices, there's hazards that I have to take into account when I work.  One example are the high voltages I work with inside the game.  Another is the loose glass that was taken from the Pinball Machine that's now up against the wall, that although very tough installed in the game, is very delicate, and is easily broken if bumped, or improperly handled.  There's also a certain level of concentration required when working.

    It's situations like these, among others, that make me strongly recommend you keep your pets and small children away from the area where I'll be working.  I've done field service on and off for over 20 years, and my biggest fear was when I was inside a game was to have a small child hurt themselves by running into the playfield glass, and having it break on them.  Knowing that your child(ren) and pet(s) are away from it, I can worry less about the loose glass, and more on fixing your game. :)

    I know it sounds like I'm trying to be a meanie, but I promise I'll pet your Dog and scratch behind it's ears, and answer any basic questions your children have with regard to what I'm doing.  I only make this request with your Children and Pets safety in mind.  I will always take the time to answer any questions you may have, as well as explain fully what I'll be doing to fix your device.

Thank you for your understanding.

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PLEASE NOTE:

    Some  repair calls may, or may not require more than one trip to repair.  Parts may need to be ordered, Etc.  To save you even more money, I only charge the walk in fee on my first visit.  Any visit after that is billed by the normal hourly rate.  The only condition to doing this is I only work on the game I came back for.  If I work on anything else, my full walk in  charge applies.

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Service Warranty:

    Most service and repairs I perform, and new parts that I install, are warranted for 30 days from date of completion of repair. Any warranty work done on your game must be performed by me.

Work done on your game by anyone other than me will void the warranty.

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Important Notes On Monitor Repairs:

    Most of the Monitors in some video games can be in excess of 30 years old.  With that, certain parts in the Monitors do "wear out" with age.  One such component are Capacitors.  Over time, Capacitors dry out internally, causing their physical properties to change.  These changes can and will make the monitors picture do strange things that will not be able to be corrected with adjustments of any knobs.  Some of these problems are pictures that "Bow" either in or out, the picture has shrunk, or curled over on itself.  These are classic symptoms of failed Capacitors.  Any Monitor that's up there in years I will recommend (Ok, insist on) having what's called a "Cap Kit" installed.  A Cap Kit is a collection of all new Capacitors (and other parts) that when installed into a working Monitor will usually correct a lot of problems with the picture quality.

    There will also be times where the Monitor does not come on when plugged in.  At this time, the Monitor will have to be inspected to determine what parts the Monitor will need (usually in addition to a Cap Kit) to get it working again.

    If you have a Monitor issue and would like me to look at it, please provide me the Make and Model Number of it so I can make sure I have all the proper documentation required to service it efficiently.  Otherwise, I'll have to spend time getting the Monitors documentation online while I'm there. 

  A Special Note On X-Y Monitors:

    X-Y Monitors are very different than RGB Raster Scan Monitors.  Some X-Y Monitors all fail similarly.  Some specific brands have the same issues.  Some brands have modifications I can perform on their Deflection Boards to make them more robust and last longer.  Again, we can discuss this as needed.

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Important Notes On Pinball Repairs:

    After repairing your used pinball machine, I cannot guarantee that it will never break down again. All pinball machines have hundreds of moving parts and delicate electronic components that will naturally require maintenance and repair on a periodic basis. And the older, or more used a pinball machine is, the more often it will require repair work to keep it running. After repairing your game, it may work for a day, a month, or a year, without breaking down again; it's impossible to say.

    While the repair work that I perform on your game will bring it back to working condition, (unless otherwise noted) I cannot guarantee that other problems do not already exist, or that another problem will not come up later in the day, the next day, or in a week, etc., that will render the game inoperable again. It is impossible for me to guarantee the operability of any used pinball machine; I can only guarantee the work that I  myself have performed in order to repair it today.

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Future Repair Work - Warranty / Non-Warranty:

    If I repair your game and it breaks down again within the warranty period, I will repair your game again at no charge if the cause of the problem is due to a failure of my workmanship, or failure of any new part(s) that I installed.

    On occasion, I may attempt to repair something that ultimately may need to be replaced in the future.  If this situation arises, I will be sure to inform you.  Purchasing the new part(s) if/when the "repair" fails will be the Customers responsibility.

    If your game breaks down again due to something else in the game that I did not initially repair (i.e. the game has developed a "new problem"), or if the warranty period has expired on something I already repaired (within reason), then a new charge will apply to again repair the game.

    For example, Say your game is not working and I repair the power supply to get it working again. Then the next day, the game stops working.

    If the power supply that I repaired has stopped working due to a failure of my workmanship or failure of a new part that I installed on the unit, then I will repair the game for you at no additional charge.

    However, if I find that the power supply is still working properly after my repair, but that something else in the game has failed (such as a different part on the power supply, the motherboard, game wiring, or anything else), then I will have to charge you to repair the "new problem".  We can work something out.

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In a Nutshell:

    My warranty only covers the repair work I initially perform, and any parts I installed during the course of that repair work.

    This scenario is similar to having your car repaired. Say your car won't start and a new battery is installed to get it working again. Then, the next day, your car won't start again. If it's because the new battery is dead, the mechanic will replace it for free.

    If the car won't start because the fuel pump has failed, then you wouldn't expect the mechanic (who replaced the battery) to replace the fuel pump for free. A new charge will apply to repair the fuel pump.

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I know it sounds like a lot to digest, but 99% of what you see written here is based on experience.  Any questions?   I'll always be more than happy to answer them.  To leave me mail, click HERE.

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