Striker Xtreme stadium switch replacement

My Stern Striker Xtreme pinball machine is in fairly good condition overall but has a faulty membrane switch in the “stadium”. I managed to track a replacement down but it was one of only two that I could find here in Australia. Importing one from the USA or Europe was silly expensive so I gave that a miss. This switch (part number 181-5001-00) is also used in the Stern Harley Davidson pinball machine, be sure to search for both games when you’re trying to source one.

Righto, on to the fun part, replacing said switch in my machine. This post assumes you know enough about pinball repairs to disconnect the machine, lift the playfield and run a switch test once the replacement is complete. If you’re not sure what to do have a look on youtube, there are many helpful instructional videos.

Step 1 – Disconnect the old switch. With the machine unplugged and playfield up, locate the diode board and connector for the stadium membrane switch.

Picture of diode board and connector

Unplug the blue connector and feed the plug and cable up through the hole in the playfield.

Step 2 – Remove the old switch from the stadium ramp.

Put your playfield down and grab youself a philips screwdriver, sharp knife, a clean rag and some isopropyl alochol or similar cleaning agent. We need to remove ths plastic cover from the stadium to access the switch. The plastic on mine has three screws and a spacer. Be sure to keep track of which goes where as you remove them.

Picture of stadium plastic cover

Once the srews are removed you can wangle the plastic out of the way, take care with the lamp cables while you do this & replace any bad globes while you are at it.

Picture of stadium plastic removed

Now you can start removing the old switch. I used a hobby knife to lift one edge and then just peeled it up off the ramp. Once the switch is free you can slip the cable through the slot in the ramp to remove it. Once removed you will get to spend many happy minutes cleaning the glue & gunk left behind on the ramp. I used a small scraper, isopro and a lot of elbow grease, it needs to be really clean before fitting the new switch.

Step 3 – Fit the new switch. This is pretty straightforward. Do a quick dry run to see how the switch will sit in the ramp before you peel off the backing. Once that glue is exposed you will need to get it in the right spot as it’s not fun to peel it up again. Slip the connecting cable through the slot in the ramp & grab a small screwdriver that can fit through the holes in the switch membrane. You are going to gradually peel off the backing and very carefully adhere the switch back to the ramp, using the holes in the switch and ramp to line things up. I found it easier to start at the front and work my way back to the top of the ramp.

Picture of lining up switch using screwdriver
Use a screwdriver through the alignment holes to line things up.

Step 4 – Reconnect the switch

With your shiny new switch in place now it’s time to connect it. The cable runs through the slot on the playfield below the ramp. Carefully slide the connector through the slot and make sure it’s not kinked or twisted in any way. It sits pretty snugly against the post (see picture below).

Picture of cable and post
The cable runs down beside the post.

The rest is easy, just reverse the order you used for disconnecting the switch. Put the stadium plastic back on the ramp – AFTER you have taken the opportunity to clean everything under there. Lift the playfield, reconnect the cable to the stadium diode board and put your playfield down again. Happy days.

Step 6 – Test the switch

Use switch test mode to test your switch or load four balls into the stadium and see if the game happily ejects them one at a time whilst in attract mode. I also did an in game test by manually loading all four balls into the stadium during multiball. It worked just fine and will hopefully last a while as they are expensive and hard to source.