Pinball Physics

This website deals with the physics of "electromechanical" pinball games only. Although much of what is found here may also apply to solid state games, I have no intention of covering the physics found in those games. But since I am a high school physics teacher, if you have some bit of physics that is unique to solid state games such as some of the uniques "toys", I'd certainly be glad to hear about it.

The name ELECTROMECHANICAL just screams PHYSICS! Initially I will make very few attempts to explain physics in these pages. Rather, I simply wish to point out the physics concepts involved in the various aspects of the game. Any physics teacher will see the rest of the picture. This will probably be an evolving and dynamic collection of pages which explore the physics that makes these games work. As time permits I will eventually provide detailed explanations of physics for the casual observer or student's benefit. This includes the physics contained in the design and hardware of the game as well as laws of physics which dictate what the ball will do while in play. Feel free to provide suggestions for improvements, additions, corrections, clarifications, etc. Just contact me at:

woodrails @

Have A Look Under The Hood - It's just a lot of wire, switches, relays and coils!



Circuits and Ohm's Law

Coils, Relays and Solenoids

Switches and Relays

Component Tune-up



Force, Impulse and Momentum Changes - The Ball Is WILD!!!!!

Ball Control Tricks





For a great collection of online repair guides, this site can't be beat! Also has solid state guides

Russ Jensen's Pinball Troubleshooting Guide - good book on electrical theory and troubleshooting of EM pinball games

The Pinball Pasture - lots of great stuff here, including the Internet Pinball Database (searchable database with pictures and information on virtually every pinball game ever made)

The Internet Pinball Database - a newer, more updated and complete database than that found at the Pinball Pasture.

Mr. Pinball Repair Tip Archive - a collection of useful tips and tricks.

pinGame journal - a hardcopy magazine for pinheads

Pinball Game Web Index - links to all sorts of pinball information - a newsgroup dedicated to pinball discussions.