Restored – Williams (1980) Firepower Pinball

Here we have an original 1980 Williams Firepower pinball.  This machine was the pinnacle of technology, even for Williams at that time.  This system used the full potential of the System 3-6 MPU board, with extended memory addressing.  Also, this is the first pinball machine to use real time speech synthesis.

Firepower also introduced 3- ball MultiBall, incorporates lane shifting (with the right flipper) and auto-save kickback on the left out lane.

All of these features are now standard on modern games.   This machine is highly regarded in the pinball collector world – and the first pinball machine I ever played when I was growing up.



This machine gave us some problems alright.  It was passed among many owners before we plucked it up.  It didn’t work at all and the cabinet was pretty bad.  The backglass was mostly intact, but one of the priors used black sharpie to fill in where the paint was flaking off.  The only redeming quality of this machine was it’s pretty good condition playfield and coin door.  Everything else needed serious help.

This was a custom order, so we had a budget to stick to.  So using our standards for restoration – where the machine retains or gains it’s value in the future, we decided to concentrate heavily on the cabinet and appearance. It’s quite a simple machine (by today’s standards), so we didnt feel that too much  money needed to be spent on the hardware components.  Additionally, we originally felt that the main MPU and driver boards could be re-used as they were in really good condition.


Well, after about 2 weeks of fussing with them, we determined that a better and more reliable route was to go with all new MPU/Driver board option.  That way, the owner will never have to worry about reliability and flaky operations that this machine is well known for.  That stretched the budget a little, but in the end, it was totally worth it for peace of mind.


In the end, here’s the final tally on what this machine went through.  We are really happy with the result, and so is the new home owner.

  • Rebuilt original coin door, new locks
  • New shooter
  • New legs and hardware
  • Stripped head and cabinet.  Repaired, repainted, stencil and hand paint.  Better than new.
  • Repainted backglass and sealed
  • Replaced dead displays
  • Reflowed all circuit boards, new caps.
  • New MPU and Driver combo board (for longevity and reliability)
  • LEDs in backglass and game (except pop-bumpers).
  • Repaired dead coils, linkages, diodes etc
  • Touched up playfield.  Disassmbled, cleaned and waxed many times over
  • New star posts with more modern versions
  • New lanes with more modern versions
  • new plumb-bob assy
  • new flippers
  • full rubber kit
  • firepower target stickers








Credit: thank you for all your documentation and tips.  What a great site.

Tags: , , ,

One Response to “Restored – Williams (1980) Firepower Pinball”

  1. Suman 19. May, 2012 at 2:38 am #

    Most people haven’t seen one of these since there were only 402 of them made. I was fotatnure enough to play one of these in 1984 due to a local arcade having one. And, yes, it was a BLAST! Apparently, one sold on eBay during the summer of 2010 for around $3000.I think the reason it didn’t catch on is that arcade owners had a hard time physically placing a machine where two people had to stand facing each other.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.