(Topic ID: 207624)

1974 Gottlieb score wheels. Lubricate or not?


By Robotworkshop

2 years ago



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  • 43 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Mopar
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#1 2 years ago

I am getting ready to rebuild all 8 of the score reels on my 1974 Gottlieb Duotron machine. There are a couple sluggish one on the 1st player and most hang up on the second. I'd like to go through them so I can put the back cover back on and move the machine against the wall without having to worry about the scoring for a while.

I bought 8 spring kits from PB resource and new sleeves. I plan on carefully disassembling each score reel, cleaning all the parts, the install the new sleeves and fresh springs. I've read that some people put a thin coating of super lube grease on the PCB for each reel. Is that the best practice? Also, are there any other parts which should be lubricated? I have both the super lube teflon grease and the lighter super lube oil.

Or, should it all be put back together completely dry with no lubrication?

I'd like to do this right the first time so I won't have to mess around with them again for a while.

Robert

#3 2 years ago

Great information on that site and the pinwiki site. Unless I missed it I didn't read. I have about when/where lubrication should be used.

#4 2 years ago

The answer is basically ALWAYS no.

Lubrication and EM (in fact almost all pinball) basically is a no go And the parts that are the very rare exceptions would work fine for years in a home environment without lubrication anyway.

It just creates gunk and attracts dirt and makes things worse.

If you need lubrication to solve a mechanical problem you have to take the components apart and clean them and then you will not need lubrication again unless you spray it in there and it later siezes up (and it will).

Use google-
search here-
there are probably >40 threads asking the same thing from different perspecrives. The safe bet is NO LUBE.

If you have to ask- the answer is no- thats correct 99.9% of the time.

You can find all sorts of “solutions” and novel ideas and new approaches and operators are allowed to do whatever they need to to keep theor games earning money and know well the consequences of lubing this that or the other. So if you search- basically you will find “support” for or against lubrication of almost anything. The fact is that if you clean it really well (take it apart completely and polish all metal etc) lube will not be needed.

#5 2 years ago

Echoing everyone else, when I fixed up my Duotron I just had to clean the gunk out of the reels that someone thought was a good idea at one point.

Good luck!

#6 2 years ago

Thanks for the responses. I wanted to ask first because of conflicting information online. It wasn't that I didn't look first. I thought it would be better to hear about the current best practices from those who work on EM games a lot. Some of the recommended YouTube videos where someone put a very thin layer of superlube on the score reel PCB before assembly. Some of the other sites I read just didn't mention it so it was an open question as to weather it should be done or not. I know firsthand that too much lubricants is a bad thing since someone had oiled most of the relay contacts on my machine before I got it. It took almost a week of cleaning to get the machine working again. I still have one other issue to track down about no scoring or chimes as it counts down the end of ball bonus. I heard it work briefly and am sure there is still a relay contact or two that needs some more cleaning.

So I am leaning toward no lubricants on the score wheels and will go with that.

#7 2 years ago

The factory put lube on parts, why wouldn’t we do the same. These machines lasted this long WITH lube.
No lube will guarantee wear.
Modern lubes will last even longer without hardening.
The worse thing you will get with lube is- someday it will need cleaning again.
Why risk it?
I want these machines around forever.
Do your homework and see were and how to correctly apply lube.

#8 2 years ago
Quoted from ryan1234:

The factory put lube on parts, why wouldn’t we do the same. These machines lasted this long WITH lube.
No lube will guarantee wear.
Modern lubes will last even longer without hardening.
The worse thing you will get with lube is- someday it will need cleaning again.
Why risk it?
I want these machines around forever.
Do your homework and see were and how to correctly apply lube.

I'm trying to do all my homework. What portions were lubricated from the factory? The only thing I had read may be from the factory would be the pivot point for the kick out into the shooter lane.

Do you have any references that show what was done when these were new?

#9 2 years ago

I agree with ryan1234. I used to be firmly in the no lube camp. What's more annoying than cleaning up solidified grease on a neglected machine? After having so many machines come and go I have changed my tune. After seeing a fair share of worn score reel pcb boards and stepper rivets I definitely am a fan of some superlube in those areas. I limit it to that for lubrication on score reels. I have always heard nylon parts are self lubricating anyway so never on any plastic parts. Recently I have started adding a drop of light oil to stepper shafts. Worst case scenario is I may need to clean and re-lube some years down the road. I can live with that. Probably a good idea to revisit those areas again anyway. Reality is these things will likely need service again in our lifetime.

#10 2 years ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

Thanks for the responses. I wanted to ask first because of conflicting information online. It wasn't that I didn't look first. I thought it would be better to hear about the current best practices from those who work on EM games a lot. Some of the recommended YouTube videos where someone put a very thin layer of superlube on the score reel PCB before assembly. Some of the other sites I read just didn't mention it so it was an open question as to weather it should be done or not. I know firsthand that too much lubricants is a bad thing since someone had oiled most of the relay contacts on my machine before I got it. It took almost a week of cleaning to get the machine working again. I still have one other issue to track down about no scoring or chimes as it counts down the end of ball bonus. I heard it work briefly and am sure there is still a relay contact or two that needs some more cleaning.
So I am leaning toward no lubricants on the score wheels and will go with that.

The issue here is you people are talking about two different areas without being specific.

You are asking about the contact plate and wiper. That, in clay's guides he talks about putting super lube on the contact surface where the wiper travels. It fights oxidation and acts as a lubricant helping the motion avoid hangups. A stepper with no slop and a good spring should advance and reset without hangups.

The area most people are talking about when saying NO to lubrication is the shafts and sleeves. The actual shaft the wheel or plate spins on... or the ratchets and coils that advance the stepper unit. There, clean and fresh nylon sleeves work best. A rub of super lube on the shaft of a stepper where the plate spins itself isn't too bad if things are not smooth, but shouldn't by standard practice unless needed.. and shouldn't be needed on the mechs for the coils/ratchets. Super lube won't gunk up like the greases used in the past.

#11 2 years ago

Ok, this is starting to make more sense. I know that the coil sleeves should always be dry and I bought a fresh set of plastic sleeves. I was concerned about wear for the PCB and that is where I read about using a thin coat of super lube.

So it may be good to just clean everything then assemble it all dry except for perhaps a sparse coating on the PCB to keep those contacts moving smoothly and preventing excessive wear?

I don't expect to never have to future maintenance on these but would like to do this right so I can enjoy the game without having to mess with the reels for a while.

#12 2 years ago

Seems the factory sometime included a small tube of lube with the machine when it was new. Usually where I find factory lube was installed in the first place is where I would tend to use it. I believe somewhere there is a bulletin Williams released saying exactly which parts to lube, but I misplaced it.

#13 2 years ago

These are the areas where I put a small amount of super-lube grease. Where metal meets metal.

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#14 2 years ago

And under this area, where metal meets metal. I base this on, this is where I find old factory grease.

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#15 2 years ago

Thanks for the pictures! Are there any tricks to reassembly to watch out for?

#16 2 years ago

Just do one at a time. You can look at the other ones for reassembling.
Use mild dish soap and a micro cloth on the reel so not to remove paint/numbers
Good luck, they are a pain but its so nice when they are done.

#17 2 years ago

I'll tackle them on the weekend. Probably start with the ones for the 2nd player since those are giving me the most trouble. Will post how it goes.

I've mainly worked on solid state machines and it has been interesting reviving this first EM game. Probably spent more time than usual but have learned a lot working on it. The power cord was partially replaced and failing apart so that was just fixed. Instead of just cutting off and abandoning the original cord I was able to pull the old portion out of the harness and push/pull the correct replacement cord through the same way. Took about 40 minutes but did it without cutting any of the waxed string. Came out great.

#18 2 years ago

I took apart my first score unit from the 2nd player. There was definitely some dried up grease gumming up the works. I'm getting everything cleaned and will with the new coil sleeves and springs should make a huge difference. The contacts on the PCB cleaned up really well.

Now getting the coil out to replace the coil stop is kind of a pain. Other than that it looks pretty straightforward.

Robert

Decagon_PCB (resized).jpg

#19 2 years ago

I'd use a tiny dab of Teflon lube wiped on the circuit board, and a very, very tiny dab on metal to metal areas. I also put a tiny drop of oil on the switch lever pivot point, and even a bit on the spring (not the large spring).
The last version of the Gottlieb score reels were designed to totally avoid metal to metal contact, so lubing them is not necessary, except a small dab in the circuit board after thoroughly cleaning it.
Modern Teflon lubes won't dry out and gum up like the older petroleum based lubricants used previously.

1 week later
#20 2 years ago

So far the rebuild is going well. During the process I found that two reels were missing the contact that opens when the plunger pulls in. They were working without them but I found and ordered replacements which I should have next week. The mechanisms on 7 all move smoothly, quick, and just finally seem right. The 8th one works but still hangs up. Going to tear that one back down this weekend.

During the rebuild I ran into an issue I didn't expect. It looks like the game had the original coil sleeves in the reels so I bought a fresh set. Some definitely needed replacement. Problem was that the new sleeve was about 1/16" longer that original. That may be ok for some projects but not the score reels. When retracting it would hit the top edge of the sleeve before hitting the coil stop. Just filled them down to the original length. Luckily I saw that early on.

#21 2 years ago

You can also cut coil sleeves pretty easily with a very sharp rigid razor or thin knife. It works so well you will be hard pressed to know after polishing up the cut end with a tiny bit of novus 2. I actually bring them into the kitchen and use a nice cutting board to cut them- getting through the first mm or two cleanly is key, once you break through the top layer it cuts like butter.

#22 2 years ago

Those switches you noted as missing are not really needed. They are eos switches, but the nature of the electrical pulses in the circuits that drive the score reels are short enough in duration to not hurt the coils if the eos switches are not used.

#23 2 years ago

I'll invade this post with one question regarding the score reels. You normally cannot move a reel forward or backward. I have seen a couple Gottliebs that will have one or two of them that move freely one place . What can be the cause. Broken gear?

#24 2 years ago
Quoted from D-Gottlieb:

Those switches you noted as missing are not really needed. They are eos switches, but the nature of the electrical pulses in the circuits that drive the score reels are short enough in duration to not hurt the coils if the eos switches are not used.

I've commonly seen these missing or broken with no ill effects. The score reels work a little snappier when they're present and properly adjusted though.

#25 2 years ago
Quoted from chad:

I'll invade this post with one question regarding the score reels. You normally cannot move a reel forward or backward. I have seen a couple Gottliebs that will have one or two of them that move freely one place . What can be the cause. Broken gear?

There's a small leaf spring that's supposed to engage with small anti-reversing sprags which are molded into the reel. Often, the spring is either deformed or misadjusted so that it doesn't engage the sprags properly. When it's correct, the reel should not move backward even slightly.

#26 2 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

There's a small leaf spring that's supposed to engage with small anti-reversing sprags which are molded into the reel. Often, the spring is either deformed or misadjusted so that it doesn't engage the sprags properly. When it's correct, the reel should not move backward even slightly.

5 of those flat leaf springs were somewhat mangled on mine by a previous owner. Replaced all 8 and kept the 3 original good ones as spares.

#27 2 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

There's a small leaf spring that's supposed to engage with small anti-reversing sprags which are molded into the reel. Often, the spring is either deformed or misadjusted so that it doesn't engage the sprags properly. When it's correct, the reel should not move backward even slightly.

Thanks JR I wll check those.

#28 2 years ago

I was able to get new contacts for the EOS switches to replace the two broken ones. Now all the reels have been thoroughly cleaned, lightly lubricated with the super lube on the metal to metal contacts, and all adjusted. That part seems to have gone really well. All of the reels move smoothly from digit to digit and I've never seen them flip so fast. That part is flawless.

However it looks like I have a new/odd scoring issue to track down. I am going to go back over and look at all the wiring to see if I bumped something causing a short.

What happens now is odd. Whenever the 10's scores the 100's reel also moves. When the 100's flips it doesn't carry over and make the 1000's flip. The 1000's also seems to make the 10000's reel move each time. I see this on both players. I don't recall this behavior before (just stuck reels) so that is why I think I may have a shorted connection.

Any suggestions on where to check first? I am going to look over the schematic to see if I can trace that section out. Once the scoring is all working I can finally put the back on it!

#29 2 years ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

However it looks like I have a new/odd scoring issue to track down. I am going to go back over and look at all the wiring to see if I bumped something causing a short.
What happens now is odd. Whenever the 10's scores the 100's reel also moves. When the 100's flips it doesn't carry over and make the 1000's flip. The 1000's also seems to make the 10000's reel move each time. I see this on both players. I don't recall this behavior before (just stuck reels) so that is why I think I may have a shorted connection.
Any suggestions on where to check first? I am going to look over the schematic to see if I can trace that section out. Once the scoring is all working I can finally put the back on it!

After reading up on the scoring I think I need to double check the adjustments on all the contacts for the number 9 positions. If one of those contacts isn't making a connection or not opening then that could be part of the problem. Should have some time tonight to check them out.

#30 2 years ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

After reading up on the scoring I think I need to double check the adjustments on all the contacts for the number 9 positions. If one of those contacts isn't making a connection or not opening then that could be part of the problem. Should have some time tonight to check them out.

Two reels scoring at the same time is almost definitely a 9 position switch. The 100s not carrying over to the 1000 could be a 9 position switch on the 100s or also a switch on the 100 point relay that supplies power to the 1000 reel at that point.

#31 2 years ago
Quoted from rufessor:

You can also cut coil sleeves pretty easily with a very sharp rigid razor or thin knife.

I use one of these with an old plunger inserted into the sleeve.

pipe cutter (resized).jpg

#32 2 years ago
Quoted from SirScott:

I use one of these with an old plunger inserted into the sleeve.

So how often do you have to trim the sleeves? The issue I ran into with the score reels was the first time I came across it. Definitely something I will watch out for going forward.

#33 2 years ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

Two reels scoring at the same time is almost definitely a 9 position switch. The 100s not carrying over to the 1000 could be a 9 position switch on the 100s or also a switch on the 100 point relay that supplies power to the 1000 reel at that point.

Yes! I made progress this evening. No more two reels scoring at the same time. All of the player 1 score reels are working perfect now and carry over as they should. There are still issues with the player two score reels. Those no longer have the problem of two reels going at once. However, those reels don't always reset to 0 and the carry from the 100's to the 1000's doesn't work. I've cleaned the 9 position switch for the 100's and as far as I can tell that is adjusted properly.

Going to check all the associated relays and wiring to see if anything is out of place.

#34 2 years ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

Yes! I made progress this evening. No more two reels scoring at the same time. All of the player 1 score reels are working perfect now and carry over as they should. There are still issues with the player two score reels. Those no longer have the problem of two reels going at once. However, those reels don't always reset to 0 and the carry from the 100's to the 1000's doesn't work. I've cleaned the 9 position switch for the 100's and as far as I can tell that is adjusted properly.
Going to check all the associated relays and wiring to see if anything is out of place.

Check the switch on the 100s relay that sends power to the 1000s when the reel is going from 9 to 0.

The reset problem can be bad zero position switch adjustment.

#35 2 years ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

Check the switch on the 100s relay that sends power to the 1000s when the reel is going from 9 to 0.
The reset problem can be bad zero position switch adjustment.

I checked all the switches on the reels both visually and with a meter. All seem ok. Also checked for any connections that may have shorted or broken wires. The player two reels still aren't working properly. The player one reels are working perfect and the game plays well with just that. However I notices a couple other odd issues with player two. These are all the symptoms.

- Player 2 reels won't reset properly to all 0's but occasionally I've seen one move during the startup.

- Scoring 10 works and will carry to the 100's. The 100's score but don't roll over to the 1000's. The 1000's properly score and roll over ok to the 10k's

- When player 2 is active the light for the ball number is off. It properly displays the current ball number whenever player one is up.

- On the last ball for player 1 is done the game ends. Player two never gets to play the 5th ball.

That seems like all the issues regarding player two. I'm going to see if I can find the relay(s) for player two and check all the contacts and wiring for that.

- The only other remaining issue that occurs on both player 1 and player two is that at the end of ball neither get any bonus. The machine counts down but it doesn't score or chime. I was going to tackle that one after getting the player two working properly.

On a positive note my rebuild of the reel mechanics went well. They all move properly with no lag. No more gummed up reels.

#36 2 years ago

I wish Gottlieb Schematics were available to help... it sounds like you may still have issues with the switches or a switch on the stack that runs from the 100's 9th position over to the 1,000's. I know you have checked but its really only those switches that affect this but I am going on memory from a different Gottlieb game so if you have a schematic consult that to be sure.

As for the reset, is it not trying to fire the coils to move the reels? What happens if you take one of the reels on the player 2 side that are not resetting, and by hand index it two positions and then turn on game and try to reset it? Does it move and then stop at the same position it was "stuck" at before? I am sorta wondering if you may have a reel set up weird such that the reset is working mechanically and electrically, but the numbers are not lined up with the mech. Its been a while since I had a Gottlieb score reel in pieces but I think it may be possible to put it back together a little wrong and get this behavior.... someone who has done this recently will be able to tell.... but look really carefully a the mechs and compare player 1 reels with player 2, are you sure they are identical?

Quoted from Robotworkshop:

So how often do you have to trim the sleeves? The issue I ran into with the score reels was the first time I came across it. Definitely something I will watch out for going forward.

I don't know that I would say you should just order longer coil sleeves and cut everything to size, but I can tell you that I always order a bunch of longer ones because you can do that... so its really a matter of do I want to order the right one and wait or do I just cut it to size and use it. There is absolutely no negative effect to hand cutting. I will say the pipe cutter idea probably is something I will adopt. A razor is easy and probably faster but getting a perfect vertical cut is hard without a jig- the pipe cutter idea should be retained in your brain- thats a good one.

#37 2 years ago

It looks like several contacts on the player unit cam interact with the score reels. I have never checked those or clean them. I may try that next.

#38 2 years ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

It looks like several contacts on the player unit cam interact with the score reels. I have never checked those or clean them. I may try that next.

The more I look at the schematic it appears that the 4th cam may help reset the 2nd player reels. I'll check that and all the contacts on it next. Is that player unit the thing responsible for resetting the reels to zeroes?

#39 2 years ago

Just remember the first rule of pinball repair. If you “fixed” something that was working and now it’s not... the reason it’s not is because you changed something. So if this was fine and now is not- its very unlikely a new problem started up while you were working on the reels.

#40 2 years ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

It looks like several contacts on the player unit cam interact with the score reels.

I can say the problems your having does go through the Player Unit. You'll want to make sure
that the snow shoes (spring loaded wipers) on that unit are free, but if that unit does happen to
be the source of the problem, it'll be mostly in that unit's switches..

#41 2 years ago
Quoted from rufessor:

Just remember the first rule of pinball repair. If you “fixed” something that was working and now it’s not... the reason it’s not is because you changed something. So if this was fine and now is not- its very unlikely a new problem started up while you were working on the reels.

That is excellent advise. However, I think the player 2 reels were always messed up. It was rare that I used the second player because the reels were sticking. I thought the reset issues back then were just because they were stuck but I think I couldn't troubleshoot the reset issue on them until I rebuilt the reels. Now I think it had multiple problems.

#42 2 years ago

Fixed the issue of the carry from the 100s to 1000s on the second player. Ended up being the switch opposite the EOS switch. The stationary contact was bent inward so it would never make contact when the plunger was pulled in. I saw on the schematic that both the 9 position switch and that needed to be active to make it activate the 1000s reel to carryover.

The reset of the 2nd player is hit and miss but I will see what happens after cleaning the player unit.

At least one issue is fixed and I'm getting closer.

#43 2 years ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

I will see what happens after cleaning the player unit.

Yes. Don't forget to first check and make sure that the switch stack screws are tightened
before adjusting (and cleaning) on that Unit..

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