I like to keep games the way they were released from the factory. I do not want to alter their appearance or gameplay in anyway. It is just a personal preference of mine.
However, with Monopoly I made a couple of exceptions as did the many collectors who helped design the various fixes. The plastic protectors that were created helped to make the machine play like it was intended to. The sound board fix helped to reduce an annoying buzz that could drive you mad. Mixed together, these fixes made Monopoly better without altering the designer's true vision. It also is another example of how pinball collectors stick together and enhance the hobby.
The first thing I added were the ramp flaps/protectors designed by Todd George. The ball had a tendency to fly back off of the center ramp and sometimes soar into the air as a result of very powerful flippers. This could cause ramp breaks, bending of switches, and playfield dimples from the ball hurling through the air at high speed. One of the ramp protectors that were created covers the center ramp preventing these problems from occurring (see photo).
Another ramp problem occurred at the left "free parking" ramp which had a tendency to not accurately shoot up and hit the target. A ramp protector was created to help guide the ball to the "free Parking" target without altering its original intended destination.
Along with these main pieces, the set also includes a "Chance" plastic protector, a mini-DMD protector (to prevent balls from hitting the board behind the mini-DMD), and clear fender washers to place under the slingshot plastics.
If you own a Monopoly, this collection of fixes is perfect for your game. They are all made of lexan and are very durable. You can put them all on in about a half-hour and they screw in using parts already on the game (no drilling or modification of the playfield is required). Thanks for the pic above Todd and for more about this set which is available HERE. A definite must!
Another problem with Monopoly was the annoying "buzz" from the speakers. It's called the "buzz" because in attract mode the game would make a weird noise as the lights pulsed. Although you probably couldn't hear it in a loud arcade or while playing multiple machines at the same time, it became very annoying in a quiet room. While some of the dot matrix screens make a "buzzing" noise that is tolerable, Monopoly was just plain annoying.
A couple of collectors came up with a board "fix" for this buzzing noise. You can view the results and what is needed to perform it at the Paisley Pinball website HERE. It is very detailed and will help you "fix" your Monopoly. It was very easy and required a quick solder job on the CPU/AUDIO board.
I have found, however, more success with a slightly different approach than the one listed. It is suggested that you use two 4.7k Ohm, 1/4 watt, 5% tolerance resisters. While this does reduce the "buzz" to almost nothing (I would have to say an 80% - 85% reduction), it also reduces the amount of bass in the audio. Believe it or not, it makes the audio sound bland and less exciting. You don't realize what the bass adds to the game until it is gone. Multi-ball startup just was not the same.
Therefore, I would suggest (which was originally brought up by Jeff Newton on the pinball newsgroup) that you use one 33k Ohm, 1/4 watt, 5% tolerance resister in parallel on position R110 and stay with one 4.7k Ohm, 1/4 watt, 5% tolerance resister in parallel on position R106. This method will reduce the buzz to around 60% - 65% but retain the bass in the game. To me, this seems like the perfect balance between bass and quiet.
Keep in mind that I am not a professional board operator. I don't do much board repair (most of the time you don't need to). However, I found this project very easy to perform with a little soldering experience and some steady hands. All of the resisters can be purchased at Radio Shack for under a $1.00 for a five pack. The photo at the right shows what one soldered joint looks like from behind the board once completed.
Obviously, your mileage may vary. You may want to try both methods and see which you like better. While the original method defeated a lot of the "buzzing" making it almost non-existent, the removal of any bass in the game really annoyed me (even more than the "buzz" itself). It made the game feel empty.
I would like to thank the guys who collaborated together and came up with these awesome fixes. Between Pat Lawlor keeping up with the various ROM revisions and these individual custom fixes, Monopoly became an even better game. And.....it still stays true to the original intention of its design. Who knew owning property could be this much fun!"