(Topic ID: 309968)

1976 Gottlieb Ship Ahoy Help

By JeffreyK

2 years ago


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  • 27 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by JeffreyK
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 2 years ago

I bought a Gottlieb Ship Ahoy in good overall condition and just starting to learn about diagnosing and repairing EM pinballs watching YouTube videos, mostly about understanding schematics and servicing score motors, steppers and score reels (mine are sticky), reading through text sites like this and buying some general supplies, EM tools and the schematic.

As the machine was mostly working and my confidence tentative, I chose to start by observing the play and documenting all of the faults I could find, not by cleaning all the contacts and Jones plugs. Between following the schematic and some luck, I found and fixed most of the problems until four remained that seemed quite random:

1) #10 rollover lit scores 5k and goes out after the first ball, keeps scoring 5k instead of 500 thereafter, then stops responding at various scores and game states.
2) #7 rollover lit scores 5k and goes out after the first ball, sometimes scores 500 thereafter, then stops responding.
3) #6 rollover lit scores 5k and goes out after the first ball, then stops responding.
4) The #1 Wow lights and works when the sequence completes, but not the #10 or #11 Wow.

With the rollover switches working and the motor wires and switches looking good, I found the sequence relay bank at the rear of the playfield underside, very difficult to see but nothing was obviously wrong. I saw wing nuts at both ends, which I first thought were to allow it to swing down or remove for maintenance, then noticed the nuts were tightened over different spots on the rails, making it a bit askew. As the problems seemed to be more with the higher number relays, I loosened the right wing nut, reposition the right rail downward, saw many rollover switches stop working correctly, repositioned the right rail upward and saw the rollover switches work correctly again, plus correct all of the four above problems on most, but not all, of the plays. I initially assumed the assembly was only for resetting the individual rollover and Wow sequencing relays, but now see that its adjustment affects the working operation of the relays. I can’t find anything about how to properly set this.

Lastly, the ball occasionally does not kick out of the trough after it returns. If I manually operate it, it does decrement the ball count and continues the play. Any thoughts on what that may be?

I hope this was not too lengthy for a first post.

Thanks in advance,
Jeff

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#2 2 years ago

Take some time and read from Clay's site: pinrepair.com/em
You won't regret it.

#3 2 years ago
Quoted from JeffreyK:

which I first thought were to allow it to swing down or remove for maintenance,

Yes loosen the wing nuts but don't remove and it will swing down for easier access. I have found that tightening the 2 screw bolts on each switch stack is the first thing to check as they can come loose and the stacks can shift. The carriage should be seated back fully and solidly with the wing nuts secured, hand tight solidly.

#4 2 years ago

The #10 and #11 WOW lights are on E7 of the schematic. To troubleshoot these, I like to use these steps:

* Remove the bulbs and check to make sure they work, sounds dumb, but this has bit me in the past. Also these bulbs are working off the 25V rail, which is why they have those resistors in series, to dissipate the extra power. Make sure these bulbs are incandescent as LEDs will not work for long because of the higher voltage.

* Those power resistors can break. With the bulb off, you can now check the resistance, it should measure 75-ohms.

* if the bulb works and the resistors check out then your issue could be somewhere in the chain of switches (12B through 1B) that bring 25V to the WOW lights circuit. All those switches are on the reset bar.

Regards

Alberto

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#5 2 years ago

From what you are describing with the issues you are seeing with the rollovers, your problem is probably in your reset bar. This is very common with Ship Ahoy. I’ve worked on two of them and any issues with the rollovers and scoring are usually due to a misaligned switch on the reset bar.

#6 2 years ago

Thanks all, the carriage assembly is not quite fully seated against the underside of the playfield, I will mark its current location, then reposition and test it again.

Any ideas why occasionally a ball does not kick out of the trough after a drain with more balls left to play? The trough switch appears fine, as does the switch under the chute where the ball ejects (don’t know its name or location on the schematic).

Peruman, I saw you recently advertised a Ship Ahoy for sale. I bought mine just over a month ago and there were three available within driving distance, which I thought odd as there were only 1,150 made and I don’t think any of the New England states had laws that mandated Add-A-Ball machines only. I am looking to get a couple more Gottlieb EMs, but don’t think I want two Ship Ahoys.

Jeff

#7 2 years ago
Quoted from JeffreyK:

...and I don’t think any of the New England states had laws that mandated Add-A-Ball machines only....

Connecticut did, as did New York.

Great representation of New England in this thread! I'm planning an add-a-ball seminar for Pintastic New England 2022. I hope you will all be there.
.................David Marston

#8 2 years ago
Quoted from dmarston:

Connecticut did, as did New York.
Great representation of New England in this thread! I'm planning an add-a-ball seminar for Pintastic New England 2022. I hope you will all be there.
.................David Marston

Through the years as a Ct resident, I would often buy machines that happened to be Add a Ball. I later realized why, and why so less were produced. Of course for in home use, AAB is preferable. Davids seminar will be quite interesting and a great subject.

#9 2 years ago

If you have a bulb operating on 25v with a resistor, make sure it is a 44, not a 47. It won’t cause any real issues, but the 47 is less of a load, therefore the voltage will be higher-around 12v instead of 6v. It will burn bright and fail prematurely.

#10 2 years ago

The ball return switch is around 12-E on the schematic, right by the (O) ball return relay.

There’s a number of switches in line with the ball return coil and relay, could be any one of those.

#11 2 years ago

So in the case of a Ship Ahoy, that would be just the three Wow lights and the Spin-A-Target light? Haven't touched those, but good tip.

Just to make sure I understand, the Trough switch at 13H is under the ball hole and Ball Return switch at 12E is the rollover switch under the ball eject chute?

It happens once every 2 or 3 evenings, so roughly once in 60 games or one failure in about 600 ejects. When the ball drains, there are no relay or motor sounds and it is not a tilt event. Intermittent problems can be so hard to find, I am trying to envision a diagnosis process. I am considering for the next time, put masking tape over the ball to hold it in place, open the machine live and tracing the voltages along the switch path to the right of Ball Return relay O to hopefully locate an open switch? It looks like Ball Return relay O will not energize if the 500 point D, 5000 point E or Spin Unit Spotting F relays are energized? I am guessing that’s because the motor is still running and needs to finish awarding 5x points, versus the 10, 100 and 1000 relays that award a single point increment which would be finished before the ball drains? Otherwise, perhaps a very occasional switch miss of 1C or 2B at the motor? I am more of a “if it ain’t broken, don’t try to fix it” type, so have not yet cleaned any relay or motor contacts.

#12 2 years ago

Should have said one failure in about 400 ejects.

#13 2 years ago

So in the case of a Ship Ahoy, that would be just the three Wow lights and the Spin-A-Target light? Haven't touched those, but good tip.
Just to make sure I understand, the Trough switch at 13H is under the ball hole and Ball Return switch at 12E is the rollover switch under the ball eject chute?

** You are correct on both statements above. **

#14 2 years ago

Was rethinking a more sensible approach, perhaps make several alligator clip jumpers a few feet long, clip one end at each junction point between the various relay contacts, motor contacts, switch and O relay, then clip the other ends lined up on an insulator and leave that assembly in the bottom of the backbox until the next time it happens, open the backbox and take voltage readings off the jumpers?

#15 2 years ago

When this happens and the ball is in the hole, the first thing to try is to open the coin door and short the ball return switch with a jumper (to verify it's not the ball return switch contacts or gap).

Regarding your idea of having an array of test leads connected and available for voltage tests at various points sounds good. I'd think the best place to leave them is in the bottom of the cabinet, by the coin door. Up to you though... whatever is more accessible for you.

You could also interconnect those leads to bypass various switches...

#16 2 years ago

Also, how do you recover from this frozen state? Could it be that the motor is not returning to its home position sometimes?

#17 2 years ago

Hi Peruman, this was still not making sense, so went back into the machine to double check the switches. Based on the wire colors in the schematic, I think we had them reversed and DaMoib is right, that the one under the ball hole is the Ball Return Switch (maroon-orange) at 12E and the one under the ball eject chute near the plunger is the Trough Switch (red) at 13H.

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#18 2 years ago

Hi DaMoib, thanks for the confirmation, I am new to all of this and while comfortable working around live power, still prefer asking first in case there a better way. I did check the switch under the ball hole the first couple times it happened and it was fine.

I bought the machine with a nonworking coin mechanism (the owner opened the coin door to hit the switch to start a game) and no coin box, which I would like to find once I figure out what it’s supposed to be. I fixed the coin mechanism and prefer using quarters, which do bounce around some in the area where the coin box would be. I could cover the jumpers if I placed them behind the coin door, but thought it safer to put them in the bottom of the locked backbox, especially if the family wants to play while I’m waiting for the next occurrence.

The reason I preferred voltage testing is that it could hopefully pinpoint the nonworking contact without changing anything, especially helpful if it leads to some upstream testing (perhaps a relay and not the actual contact is causing the problem?). Connecting the leads in sequence should eject the ball once it gets past the nonworking contact, but would also change the state of the machine.

#19 2 years ago

Hi AndrewP, as it has happened so sporadically while playing with the family, I would just open the coin door and flick the arm under the playfield to eject the ball into the chute. When it rolls over the switch under the chute near the plunger, it decrements the ball counter and continues to play as if the machine had ejected the ball.

#20 2 years ago

JeffK

You are spot on reading the schematic and how the O relay works. Downstream of the Ball Return switch are all NC (Normally Closed) switches.

To debug this when the problem happens, you can put a jumper on the two lugs of the Ball Return switch (simulating a ball sitting there) and then use another jumper across each one of the NC switches until you find which one is not shorted.

Once you find it, clean and adjust it.

Hope this helps

Alberto

#21 2 years ago

This is where I struggle some, Angelo. I understand there are 5 NC switches that must all be closed to eject the ball and jumpering the open one should energize the O relay at 12E and activate the Ball Return coil at 12E (assuming the downstream Motor 4C switch is ok). In my mind, they are all dependent switches, in that two are on the motor and three are on relays, so the problem could be that one needs cleaning and adjustment as you mentioned, but could also be something upstream that’s preventing the motor or one of the three relays from activating and nothing wrong with the actual switch, which would be much harder for me to diagnose at that moment. Thanks, Jeff.

#22 2 years ago

JeffK

It is my understanding that if a switch is Normally Closed on the schematic , that means that with the corresponding coil in the non-energized state, the switch is closed. When the corresponding coil energizes, then the switch opens.

Alberto

#23 2 years ago

Though another good idea you gave me is jumpering the Ball Return switch so I can remove the ball before opening it; I was going to use some masking tape to keep the ball seated.

#24 2 years ago

Yes, you are right. Could it ever be the reverse, where a relay stays energized that should have deactivated, or the motor stop prematurely and be out of position?

#25 2 years ago
Quoted from JeffreyK:Yes, you are right. Could it ever be the reverse, where a relay stays energized that should have deactivated, or the motor stop prematurely and be out of position?

All are possible, but in your case I doubt the motor is out of position - you said you can resume the game by kicking the ball over manually. Sure, one of the NC switches could be open because the relay is energized for some reason, but you'll see that the relay is energized and know that is the issue (assuming the error occurs, you jumper the ball return switch, remove the ball and lift the playfield).

Some other things you can do without waiting for the error to occur to help isolate the issue:
- With the power off, you can use a multimeter on each of the 5 NC switches and verify they each read a solid 0.0 to 0.2 ohms.
- Measure the chain of 5 switches at the endpoints - still 0.0 to 0.2ish ohms (below an ohm)?

Once you gain more confidence in cleaning and re-gapping switches (or, maybe this is the way to gain confidence), clean and re-gap *one* of the switches. Play away, and if the problem reoccurs at some point, clean and regap the next switch...

#26 2 years ago
Quoted from Peruman:

JeffK
It is my understanding that if a switch is Normally Closed on the schematic , that means that with the corresponding coil in the non-energized state, the switch is closed. When the corresponding coil energizes, then the switch opens.
Alberto

ALL coils will be non-energized (the schematic is drawn with the machine in the Player 1 Ball 1 state and the machine unplugged). Relays and other components with "memory" (interlock relays, bank relays, steppers) will be in their P1 B1 state and the motor will be parked. The relays without memory are not necessarily in their P1 B1 state.

#27 2 years ago

All good advice, thanks, still getting acclimated. I read somewhere that Gottlieb never made operator manuals for their Add-A-Ball machines, or at least not for the Ship Ahoy. I go back and forth between reading the schematic and playing, with the assumption that my machine is working properly, to better understand the logic. I documented what I think are the steps for how the Wows, Spin Target and Center Wheel activate and function, but there are several other areas I do not get yet. The first problem I had soon after buying the machine was it doing a continuous reset at startup, which I eventually traced to the ball counter stepper and repaired from watching YouTube videos and reading posts here and at pinrepair.com. Somewhere in that process, I came across a couple of posts that verbally walked through how a generic Gottlieb EM machine starts and resets at the component level. I did not understand them very much then, but think my finding and rereading them would be more informative and helpful now. Thanks, Jeff.

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