I repair pinball machines in my spare time and see this simple-to-solve
problem all the time. For some it might be an obvious thing, but you would
be surprised to see how many people ask for help when their general
illumination doesn't work the way it is supposed to.
Assuming the bulbs are okay and no fuse is blown, the following might be
your problem. One or more of the connectors used for the general
illumination might have gone bad. This usually happens after a few years as
the dirt and dust starts to build up on contacts and makes a kind of
resistor in the connection. This results in the connector heating up and
gradually starts to burn up and give you the problems that can be very
You do not have to be an expert to see which one and do not need any
technical background. Just take off the backglass and look for that black
or partially black connector and replace it. Before you put the new
connector back in it's place make sure to clean the pins on the board or
you'll be starting all over very soon.
Replacing a connector is very easy. Make a drawing of all the wires and
mark their position on the connector. Take out the wires and fit them in
their right position on the new connector just by pushing them in with a
small screw driver or something. Use some fine sandpaper to clean the pins
on the board. If you now connect the new connector and turn on the machine
the general illumination should work again.
This is by no means the only thing that could go wrong, but in many cases
this is the solution that's right for you.