(Topic ID: 352318)

1971 Gottlieb Playball- need help with ball launch / ball count unit

By pindude80

4 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 10 posts
  • 3 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 months ago by pindude80
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 4 months ago

I have a Gottlieb Playball that I recently brought back to life. I have about everything working correctly on it but there is one intermittent issue I can't get sorted and it's driving me crazy.

Every once in a while the ball will drain into the shooter lane and then automatically launch the ball without me hitting the right flipper button; the right flipper button is supposed to be what launches the ball. When it does this the ball count unit does not step cleanly; the coil is stuck on and acting like it can't advance to the next ball, and the ball trough kicker fires repeatedly. After a second or two it quits this and plays properly. It does not do it after every ball but it seems like it does it more on the first game or two of the day that I try to play.

Does anyone know what could be causing this or what I need to look at?

#2 4 months ago

The ball count unit might have sluggish operation when the machine has been unplayed. The catch pawl might not be engaging the gear tooth consistently or the drive pawl spring strength is too weak to advance the gear far enough consistently.
Once the machine has been played awhile, the sluggish operation goes away.

#3 4 months ago
Quoted from pinballdaveh:

The ball count unit might have sluggish operation when the machine has been unplayed. The catch pawl might not be engaging the gear tooth consistently or the drive pawl spring strength is too weak to advance the gear far enough consistently.
Once the machine has been played awhile, the sluggish operation goes away.

It steps cleanly when I manually activate the step up coil but I have not cleaned and re-greased the catch pawl and gear contact. I will clean, apply Super Lube, and report back.

Thanks for the post and idea!

#4 4 months ago

I cleaned all of the old grease off of the gear and levers. I then applied new super lube grease. Unfortunately this didn't change anything.

I do think the problem is in the ball count unit because I noticed when the ball count unit coil gets stuck on the outer wiper disc is in between contacts and once it makes it to the next contact everything stops and it is advanced to the next ball like it's supposed to be.

The thing that is weird to me is that if I manually activate the step up coil everything seems like it is working properly and smoothly. I moved all of the individual components (levers and arms) by hand and everything moves freely.

Could there be something wrong with my coil or it not getting enough voltage? Are there problematic items I should look at on the ball count unit? I noticed on the bracket that holds the step-up coil to the ball count unit frame there are adjustment slots. Should I try and adjust it? I just don't want to go messing with stuff and making it worse.

I have included a couple pictures of the ball count unit. If anybody sees anything I need to look at please let me know.

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#5 4 months ago

How much dwell time is on the contact that energizes the stepper coil? Could the pulse be too short?

#6 4 months ago
Quoted from Billc479:

How much dwell time is on the contact that energizes the stepper coil? Could the pulse be too short?

I'm not sure how to determine dwell time or what contact in particular energizes the stepper coil. Is there a way to check the dwell and do you know what / where the switch is that energizes the stepper coil?

#7 4 months ago

I just cleaned the step up coil plunger, coil sleeve, didn't have a new sleeve to put in, and lubed where the pivot goes into the plunger. I looked at it when it was hanging and noticed the plunger is sucked in and once it finally drops the ball count unit steps.

Does this tell anyone anything that I need to look for or what would cause this?

#8 4 months ago

How much slop is in the coil holder? I noticed there’s only one screw holding it. So it may be binding up.

For dwell, I was referring to how long whatever contacts close to energize the stepper. I’ve seen where the contacts were so wide apart that when it closed, it barely made contact. Rare, but it has happened.

#9 4 months ago
Quoted from Billc479:

How much slop is in the coil holder? I noticed there’s only one screw holding it. So it may be binding up.
For dwell, I was referring to how long whatever contacts close to energize the stepper. I’ve seen where the contacts were so wide apart that when it closed, it barely made contact. Rare, but it has happened.

I tried to order those screws recently from Pinball Resource but they said they didn't have them; I'll have to source them from a local hardware store. The coils is tight in the holder, no slop.

I kind of figured that is what you referring to when you said dwell. I'm not sure what switch(es) energize the stepper coil, if I knew I could focus on them. There is a "ball count unit" relay on the control board in the cabinet but I'm not sure which switch activates the stepper coil. Tonight I was planning on looking at the wire colors on the stepper coil and see if there is a switch with the same color wires on the ball count unit relay.

#10 4 months ago

I still can't get this figured out

I found out the step up coil has an orange with blue wire on it. There are two switches on the add ball count unit relay with the orange and blue wires also. The switches on the relay seem to be adjusted properly.

When the step up coil is stuck on the add ball count unit relay is pulled in. When the add ball count unit relay releases the coil steps.

Are there wires I can jumper that can help narrow down exactly where the problem is? Could it be a dirty switch somewhere on the score motor?

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