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What’s the purpose of this blog?

Not so long ago, I developed “The Fever”.  An obsession with pinball.

It starts out simply enough.  You see someone with a restored pinball machine, and you think, “How in the world do they know how to do that?”  So, you start reading and learning.  And then you start watching auction or classifieds websites, and you find a pinball machine, dirt cheap, that doesn’t work.  So you pick it up, and then you start learning what you need to do.

That’s great, but you continue to view the auction and classifieds websites, and pretty soon, there’s another one!  And it’s a good price too!  So you pick it up!  And you continue to read and learn.

And the cycle continues…  Until you’ve run out of space in your basement, and you realize that there are far more machines out there than you can possibly pick up.  And enough machines in your basement to keep you busy for two years!  And if you are married, your always patient and loving wife is being tested as pinball culture slowly begins to claw it’s way from the dark basement into the main level of the house.  (“But honey, it’s only temporary until I get someone to help me move it downstairs.”)

And then there is the grail.  It starts out like this:  “I really want a Gorgar, from my youth.  I could play that draining monster for free as much as I want.”  You find your grail, and it’s immediately replaced by another:  “Man, I’d really like to have one of those cool woodrail machines.”

If you don’t have The Fever yet:  Stop!  Don’t pick up that first machine.  And then thank me for preventing you from falling into the world of pinball obsession!

If you have The Fever, and you are new to pinball restoration or pinball repair, then join me as I learn the “in’s and out’s” of the art.  I’m sure as a newbie I’ll blow things as I learn.  But maybe I can help you learn from my mistakes, or show you how to do something to save you time.

For you crusty old veterans out there, help us along!  If you see me going down a rabbit hole, let me know!  If you want to save those of us new to The Fever from frustration or wasted time, share your wisdom!

 

Feel free to contact me directly at havepinwilltravel@gmail.com

47 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carl
    Sep 01, 2013 @ 18:41:32

    Im working on a Williams OXO machine…I cant seem to find the problem where Player 2 score reels won’t reset, they just keep spinning… Need some help here…does anyone know what the problem could be.

    Reply

  2. Turd
    Oct 15, 2013 @ 14:48:39

    I also just picked up a William OXO machine. And have similar issues.
    I can only play one player.
    I may be in over my head here…oh boy…

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Oct 15, 2013 @ 20:13:55

      Hey, I think you will do fine! Take your time, research on the web. There are a ton of great sites to help you repair. Look at pinrepair.com or pinballninja.com (pay site from Clay, who runs pinrepair.com). Of course, check out all my previous posts, and there are a ton of other sites as well!

      Reply

  3. Guthrie Boyd
    Aug 01, 2014 @ 18:47:46

    Looking forward to start my first renovation of my 73 High Hand.

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Aug 02, 2014 @ 08:31:41

      Good luck!

      Reply

  4. Myles
    Nov 26, 2014 @ 14:23:43

    Well I am going to give in to my addiction. I have a Williams 1977 Big Deal that at least lights up doesn’t blow fuses and tries to advance credits but doesn’t go any further. I will be trying to use your knowledge as much as possible. 😉

    Myles

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Nov 28, 2014 @ 10:45:27

      Good luck! I actually picked up a 1977 Big Deal, but haven’t had time to even turn it on. I’m actually kicking around the idea of using it as the machine for the second pinball torture test. But that won’t be for a long time (probably next fall/winter), so you will hopefully have success firing it up before I even get there…

      Reply

    • Lonnie
      Jan 07, 2015 @ 09:35:33

      I have a Williams Big Deal that is doing the exact same thing. I turn it on, it will take credits and lights up, but goes no further. Any tips on getting past this point?

      Reply

      • HPWT
        Jan 10, 2015 @ 16:58:50

        Hi,
        I would definitely start with checking all of the stepper units to make sure that they smoothly operate. Just leave power off, and manually move the coils, to ensure that none of the stepper units are bound up. This is one of the biggest problems. Do you have a schematic? If so, look on the section near the start button, and see if there is something in that circuit that is open – maybe an open switch. Is the score motor running constantly?

      • lonnie
        Jan 10, 2015 @ 23:59:51

        Thanks. Finally got it working. Basically I cleaned a bit and put more tension in the spring. It is working well although I do notice that it’s still a little sluggish when decreasing.

      • HPWT
        Jan 11, 2015 @ 08:38:15

        Sounds like it was a stepper unit then? It would be worth putting a very small amount of nonconducting Teflon gel on the rivet plate – could reduce the drag and help when decreasing. Nice job!

  5. Daniel Pallotta
    Feb 10, 2015 @ 12:42:21

    do you have a game over video. Love the 76 series. I have a machine going form ball one to game over

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Feb 10, 2015 @ 16:44:11

      Hey Daniel,
      Yes, there will be some videos coming up around game over. I suspect you’re either having troubles with the Q Relay (which is game over) or the BX relay. What’s the behavior? Does the machine fully start, and does ball 1 play properly? If so, does it drop to “game over” when ball 1 drains? If I were to totally guess, I would look at the BX switch that’s in the circuit for Q. It’s supposed to stay open until the last ball. If it’s shorted, it could cause the game over relay to trigger with the first drained ball? Let me know, or maybe share more symptoms? (Or you can wait for the other videos in the next few weeks too.)

      Reply

  6. Ace Perez
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 23:02:21

    i recently picked up a 1974 gottlieb flying carpet. It seems to be stuck in a start up mode Ant suggestions?

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Mar 06, 2015 @ 10:17:11

      Hi Ace,
      Tough to answer without some specifics on the behavior. Do the score reels reset? Does the score motor run constantly? The next few video’s I’ll be putting up will be about machine startup, so they may help?

      Reply

      • Ace perez
        Mar 12, 2015 @ 22:25:09

        Score reels stay at 0600. Score motor runs constantly

  7. Steve
    Mar 09, 2015 @ 23:14:50

    Hi, Just picked up a 4 player Bronco similar to your spirit of 76 series.
    Ill be looking forward to your start up as my game just has the score motor spinning and won’t reset unless I manually reset the Ax relay. Sound slike I need to check the s relay to see if it is not energizing the Ax relay. What do you think?

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Mar 10, 2015 @ 15:50:42

      Hi Steve,
      I think you’re all over it. I would see if the S relay energizes at all. If not, try manually actuating the S relay coil. The reason for that – there are quite a few switches/contacts required to make the S relay energize – if you can manually actuate the S relay and it locks on and resets the machine, then you know your problem is with the circuit that enables S. If manually actuating the S relay doesn’t make any difference, then I think you’re right, there’s something open in the circuit to the AX relay. Could be the S contact to the AX, but you’d want to check any switches/contacts in that circuit. Hope this helps? Let me know what you find!

      Reply

      • Steve
        Mar 11, 2015 @ 18:39:22

        Well, since i contacted you last, I have gotten the game to start, play 5 ball and then……. problem problem problem, On 5th ball,ball drains, sits in the outhole and score motor continues to run.If I knock the ball out of the outhole,motor stops and I can play again and again as long as i manually push the ball out.
        So it basically won’t go to game over.
        I have looked at at cleaned and adjusted the following:
        O relay, Bx relay Q relay to no avail.
        I don’t have a schematic for this game so Im kinda doing a guestamation on these problems.
        I read that the player unit that controls the amount of players may have something to do with the game over situation.
        You seem to be pretty good at following the schematic, so if you have any insight,please advise. Im pretty much stuck as I have gone over the places that I think I needed to look.

        Thanks, Steve.

      • mousey
        Apr 06, 2015 @ 08:58:55

        I’ve got this exact same problem with my 1977 Gottlieb Jungle Queen, plays 5 balls as per normal then when ball drains motor continues to run while at the same time the player count solenoid fires on each revolution. Sometimes on startup (when coin is dropped in or credit button pressed) it will have player 1 and 4 on the backglass lit simultaneously together, but if the player unit is manually reset to the right position (player 1 / ball 1) it does the same as described.. plays 5 balls then won’t go to game over

      • HPWT
        Apr 07, 2015 @ 16:02:19

        Hmmm…. Wondering if you’ve got two problems here. If it won’t go to game over, maybe you’ve got problems with the game over, BX, or similar relays? Player 1 and Player 4 light at the same time? Do you mean the actual NUMBERS on the backglass, or the SCORE REELS light up? if the numbers, I’m wondering if your coin unit is gummed up/not working right, and needs cleaned/lubed? Just guesses at this point. Interesting issue…

  8. Daniel Pallotta
    Mar 31, 2015 @ 11:32:53

    Loved the Series on 76. Im working on a target alpha and found your explanations the most simplistic. especially the 22 point Player unit. Williams Stardust next I hope

    Reply

  9. Dan D
    Apr 09, 2015 @ 15:14:58

    I own a Gootlieb 1974 Free Fall Pinball Machine. It has been in my family for decades and has brought much enjoyment. I’m looking in restoring the entire machine. It is operational with some flaws. Do you restore them and if you don’t I live in Syracuse,NY and do you know of anyone that does in New York State or even Pennsylvania or New Jersey? Thanks Dan D. My dad purchased it for me when I was young and has passed away and I told him that I would get restored. Thank you Dan D

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Apr 11, 2015 @ 06:46:07

      Hi Dan,
      While I would love to, it would cost you a lot to ship to me – I live in the Midwest. I got lucky and found a spare playfield for my Sky Jump on eBay – you could set up a search to watch for it, and cross your fingers. Another option might be to try the “Mr. Classifieds” (at http://user.xmission.com/~daina/classified/) website for parts. You can even post an ad for wanted parts, so you could post your own ad for the playfield.

      Here’s some good news for you – what you describe as problems really aren’t too bad. Light bulbs are easy to replace, and that extra ball getting kicked out is probably a dirty switch on your ball count unit (on the bottom half of the disk). And you can order replacement drop targets and replace them. I think if you watch various videos and read up, you might be able to repair those things. But I don’t know what the condition is of your playfield. There are people who can really do a good job of re-painting those. As far as finding someone who can restore/repair games, you could try the Pinside forum at (https://pinside.com/pinball/forum) or maybe the Google group on it (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/rec.games.pinball). I’d stick with those, because those are true pinheads. You MIGHT have luck posting an ad on Craigslist, but that comes with risk of ripoff artists – you’d want to be real sure people are who they say they are. Hope this helps?

      Reply

  10. Doug
    May 31, 2015 @ 05:50:46

    Hi, I’m currently working on a Klondike. It had some minor problems,ie gummed up ball index, blow fuses, dirty score reels. Currently at a mind boggling standstill. After cleaning all switch contacts on the relays/coils and the score motor, I seem to have a problem on the eject circuit. The switch that opens the eject circuit, when closed, causes the down post and the ejector to activate with each rotation of the score motor. If I open that switch, it stops, but the eject circuit is non-functional, everything seems to be fine switch-wise on the score motor according to the schematic. I have gone as far as removing the playfield and taken out the bottom board to really confirm switch function. Not sure what to look at now.

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Jun 14, 2015 @ 18:24:36

      Hi Doug,
      Sorry for the delay. Are you still having the problem? I can download the schematic and give a look if you want.

      Reply

      • Doug
        Jun 15, 2015 @ 04:56:57

        Hi, thanks for the reply. The problem is sorted out. Turns out the switch under the ejector had one of those short strips of metal as well. With a good distance between the contacts, just the weight of the switch with the playfield in the prone position was enough to make this small metal strip make contact. There was no fish paper here, so a slight adjustment on this fixed it. Why it was there in the first place I have no idea. I’m currently working on a non-functional Chicago Coin Sound Stage. It has a couple real toasty coils and gummed up score reels. I’m starting in the back box with the score reels cleaning them and replacing a couple burnt coils and work my way to the score motor. I can’t seem to find a schematic or manual for this game though. Would you have? Thanks

      • HPWT
        Jun 25, 2015 @ 16:14:54

        Sorry, I don’t have that schematic – ebay, pinball resource, or Marco Specialties will hopefully have one for you. Good luck!

  11. Chris
    Aug 04, 2015 @ 07:51:18

    Woo Hoo! The pinball torture test series is awesome! I’m starting to work on a Gottlieb Jumping Jack and your explanations on the player unit and score motor switch naming help a lot.

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Aug 06, 2015 @ 16:04:27

      Great news, thanks for the feedback!

      Reply

  12. Fred
    Aug 23, 2015 @ 07:59:13

    Hello,

    I’m very familiar with relays, contacts and general ladder diagram logic. Fall and winter are around the corner and there is an old EM Bally See Saw pin dying or dead in someone garage not to far from me. Its been nagging blast of the past to me for some time now! Getting it to work again would be a awsome but i would not even dream of attempting this without a schematic! I’ve been serching the web for a few evenings now and can’t seem to locate one. Schematics seem to be few and far between and this particular machine does not have a lot of info on.
    Any suggestions as to where I could find these?.

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Aug 29, 2015 @ 07:39:51

      Hi there,
      Ebay is your best bet. I’ve been in a similar situation multiple times. You can search for your specific game, and if there are none available, create a search that will email you when available. You might be able to look for generic schematic sellers, and ask them if they have one available. (Some of those sellers seem to make a business out of selling copies of the schematics.)

      Good luck!

      Reply

  13. Ed Ward
    Sep 22, 2015 @ 19:17:05

    Great site…..nobody is putting repair stuff like this on internet.

    Reply

  14. George
    Nov 07, 2015 @ 20:24:03

    Thanks for a wonderful blog! Recently I’ve been laboring over your torture tests (a great teaching tool) and attempting to make sense of the scoring on my ‘paul bunyan’. my schematic gave no ‘motor timing chart’ and without it scoring techniques are a mystery. With a lot of effort I’ve generated my own, but have some doubts about its accuracy – particularly for dwell times. Do you have a source or technique (short of dismantling the motor) for divining it?

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Nov 14, 2015 @ 17:12:49

      Hi George,
      Wow, that sounds like a real challenge. Sorry, I don’t know any techniques for determining the sequence, except to perhaps see if you can find the manual for the game – maybe the motor timing chart for that game is in the manual instead of the schematic? The other option I would try is to check the Pinside.com forum, or the recs.groups google group for pinball, and ask if anyone’s got the chart? (Or even pictures of a working one.)

      Best of luck!

      Reply

  15. Steve loken
    Nov 08, 2015 @ 10:30:11

    I have a flying carpet and some of the back board lights are out and all the lower lights are out. I have changed a few but still no lights any clue??

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Nov 14, 2015 @ 17:15:01

      Hi Steve,
      Does the game play? If it doesn’t play, then I would suspect you’ve got issues with the relays involved with startup – things like the hold relay, etc. There are typically several relays that have to work to enable the playfield. If the game plays, then you’ve got problems with the general illumination (GI) circuit, which you should be able to see on the schematic – look for something like “playfield lights” to see if there’s a relay contact that’s not being closed to enable the lights.

      Reply

  16. George
    Nov 09, 2015 @ 18:41:03

    Thanks for all the wonderful information & logical maneuverings! I am assuming that the motor in my gottlieb paul bunyan will always turn at least 120 degrees. anything less would be a timing or latch problem. Is that a valid assumption?

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Nov 14, 2015 @ 17:15:55

      Hi George,
      As far as I know, that’s a valid assumption. Seems that all the machine’s I’ve worked on followed that 120 degree pattern. I think that’s what you want to see.

      Reply

  17. Alex
    Dec 31, 2015 @ 21:13:32

    While working on our Sky Jump pinball machine with my dad I stumbled across your videos and was hoping for help with a ball feed issue. The ball won’t attempt to reload ever. Our manual/schematic is out of commission via mouse so we’re attempting to trace the wires and find the issue, however, you’ve seen the inside of these machines and probably realize how ‘tedious’ this can be when the problem is unknown. Any insight you have would be great. Thanks!

    Reply

  18. Sam Govea
    Mar 08, 2016 @ 08:56:22

    I need help with my Williams 1976 Space Odyssey .I repaired a couple of score motor leaf switches and replaced some relays and now it lights up but won’t start .When I manually activate a lock on relay the score reels reset to zero but it still won’t start a game .

    Reply

  19. Doug
    Mar 13, 2016 @ 12:14:13

    Just picked up a Gottlieb 1970 Flip-A-Card. Credit wheel does not work, couple of playfield switches are out, score motor occasionally runs, and a couple of lamps out – for starters. This is my first, so definitely caught the fever. Your site and videos are very helpful – thanks!

    Reply

  20. Doug
    Mar 13, 2016 @ 16:21:15

    Great site! Just bought my first – a Gottlieb Flip-A-Card. Plenty to fix.. I’m looking forward to it.

    Reply

  21. Tim Fortin
    Jul 19, 2016 @ 10:13:58

    I have a Gottlieb Big Indian that I am struggling with the score reels not resetting. I have looked at your videos for you spirit of 76 and the score reels I have are the older versionof the decagon reels (1974). The petson who had the game before had started “messing” with the score reel switches and at this point, I am not sure how the should be set. I think that at the zero poisition only switch one (the one closest to the plate should be closed) and the other 2 switches should be open. At position 1-8 switch one should open and only switch two should close and finally at position zero switch three should close and one and two should open. Unfortunately I don’t have a schematicfor the game (not that I could read it if I had). But am I on the right track? thanks for your time and any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Aug 03, 2016 @ 10:39:46

      Hi Tim,
      I think what you are describing sounds logically sound, but I’m afraid I don’t know the machine, and I don’t have schematics for it either. I think you might want to try searching/submitting a question on either the Google pinball group or the Pinside forum? I bet there are some folks on there who can tell you exactly what you need.

      Best of luck!

      Reply

  22. Bill Chapman
    Jan 08, 2017 @ 20:01:32

    hello.. glad I found your site. Christmas 1977 my father gave me a used pinball machine. Bally Nip-it. I liked that one because it had multiball and was the one shown on Happy Days. I played it a good bit for a few years. I loved pinball and having my own machine was a dream come true. Even at age 12 I studied every thing inside and understood how the electromagnets worked. The machine has been storied away for decades but this winter I have started to restore it.

    Reply

    • HPWT
      Jan 12, 2017 @ 11:09:31

      Awesome! Best of luck with it!

      Reply

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