(Topic ID: 269346)

Basement find EMs Royal Guard and Spanish Eyes - A rebuild log


By FatPanda

49 days ago



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There are 70 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 49 days ago

Picked up a couple of EM projects that were sitting in someone's dank basement for quite some time, then up to someone's shack for an undetermined amount of time. Before going to pick them up, they were pictured set up. Seller said they powered on but nothing works and were moved to "ground" level. Legs were taken off and two were mangled in the process, so they're pretty much trashed. The heads still remained on when I arrived. Turns out they were moved out of the basement and thrown into a shack the guy called his shed.

These are by far the worst conditioned games that I've picked up. The heads are solid, the glass on Spanish Eyes was flaking. The sides of the cabinet were starting to delaminate and the back of the cabinet was crumbling due to the particle board that they used.

Royal Guard is in a bit better shape. The entire bottom board is falling out of the cabinet and will need to be replaced, but the rest of the cabinet and head seem solid. It had a new-ish lock in the coin door but no keys. Taking out the backglass to store in a safe place, someone had cared enough for it at one point to touch up the reds that were flaking off. It was a pleasant surprise.

They're stored in the garage for right now to air out. We are expecting heavy storms tonight so they were set aside so both our vehicles could park in the garage. Not sure which one I'm going to tackle first. I cant say that I'm a skilled woodworker so I will be seeking advice in the best way to deal with the cabinets on these games. My I initial thought was to work on Royal Guard first, since replacing the bottom board with plywood should be pretty straight forward. Both games seem complete and all there. The playfields seem to be in decent shape. More pics to come.

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#2 48 days ago

Royal Guard is a fun game, was my 1st game and still have in my collection.

#3 46 days ago

Let's see what have here. First, starting with Royal Guard, besides the bottom board, it is in surprisingly good shape. In my initial post, I had mentioned that this game between the two, looked like it received more care overall. The first clue was that the backglass reds were touch up. Upon further handling and wipedown, it is overall very clean.

My guess is that the bozos that brought the game up from the basement might have dropped it, or did something to it (there was at least 1 mangled leg, which I wonder if it was involved). In any case, one layer of the bottom board had completely torn away, but other than that, it's in pretty decent shape. The head panel and bottom panel seem relatively clean

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#4 46 days ago

The beat up bottom board and playfield condition. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if it plugged in and started up a game, but I'm expecting that it won't.

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#5 46 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

Let's see what have here. First, starting with Royal Guard, besides the bottom board, it is in surprisingly good shape. In my initial post, I had mentioned that this game between the two, looked like it received more care overall. The first clue was that the backglass reds were touch up. Upon further handling and wipedown, it is overall very clean.
My guess is that the bozos that brought the game up from the basement might have dropped it, or did something to it (there was at least 1 mangled leg, which I wonder if it was involved). In any case, one layer of the bottom board had completely torn away, but other than that, it's in pretty decent shape. The head panel and bottom panel seem relatively clean
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Looks nice, clean and thankfully not butchered up.

#6 46 days ago
Quoted from chad:

Looks nice, clean and thankfully not butchered up.

I agree. On my way home with these games, I was thinking I just paid someone to take his trash, but after closer examination, I think they can be salvaged and made into good players again. I'm not doing a complete restore by any means, even though I did think about having to repaint both games if the cabinets turned out to be trash, but I'm willing to accept any and all imperfections from my games these days

#7 46 days ago

Sometimes these type of games are the most rewarding. Taking something that was obviously forgotten about and/or neglected at some point and bringing it back to a clean playing example is the best. Every little thing you clean or repair is an improvement you can take pride in. I've had a ton of these non-pinhead basement/garage games over the years. They are great bang for the buck and often turn out to be very nice machines. It's a great way to experiment with a variety of titles without spending a ton. The only real downside is the greater amount of time involved shopping them.

#8 45 days ago

Thanks Alex! I appreciate that post.

So first thing I did after setting the game up was to replace the power cord and check the fuses that I could see in the bottom board. Everything check out good with a DMM. Checked the score reels and the stepper units in the head, and they were a little dirty but moved ok-ish. I'll probably have to go over them again.

Seeing that those things were ok, I try to power the game on, but nothing.

After trying another outlet with the same result, I decided to call it a night and play some pinball instead.

Oh and here's the replaced bottom board. I used some wall trim i had lying around. Not stock but it works. Dont laugh

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#9 45 days ago

I will recheck the fuses again. Where are some safe places to check for power? I've read that checking at the transformer can end up really bad for me.

I followed vids guide on replacing the power cord on old EMs, and verified it with the schematic. The black line goes to the fuse, the white line goes to the transformer (attached to where the original cord attached to) and the ground wire to a lug on the transformer bracket.

#10 45 days ago

The first thing I'd do is manually activate the hold coil. You're game won't start with a burnt hold coil and they often burn up. If it is you can cheat and adjust the switches closed on that relay until a new one arrives.

#11 45 days ago
Quoted from AlexF:

The first thing I'd do is manually activate the hold coil. You're game won't start with a burnt hold coil and they often burn up. If it is you can cheat and adjust the switches closed on that relay until a new one arrives.

Good to know. I'll have to study the schematic more to see what conditions are required to power on. I assumed that the game would do something with power running to it. I assume the game is getting voltage of some sort with the power on.

I'm not getting any lights or anything. There are some new bulbs in this game from what I can tell. Wouldn't the backbox lights turn on even if the hold coil is burnt?

#12 45 days ago

Dang- makes me want to finally finish painting my Royal guard & put it back together. Nice pickup!

#13 45 days ago
Quoted from dasvis:

Dang- makes me want to finally finish painting my Royal guard & put it back together. Nice pickup!

I did a quick wipe with some simple green on the plastics and playfied...and its showing it's true colors a bit.

Obviously it's due for a full wipe down; just wanted to see what was under that layer of dust and dirt.

#14 45 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

Wouldn't the backbox lights turn on even if the hold coil is burnt?

Nope, if the hold coil can't pull in the game will be dead as a doornail. Plus it's just one of the first things I always check on a game like this. Hold coil and fuses before moving on to other possibilities. Start with the simple stuff as that's usually where the problem lies.

#15 45 days ago
Quoted from AlexF:

Nope, if the hold coil can't pull in the game will be dead as a doornail. Plus it's just one of the first things I always check on a game like this. Hold coil and fuses before moving on to other possibilities. Start with the simple stuff as that's usually where the problem lies.

ok. Will try this when I get home today. The fuses all beeped out, outside of the fuse clip, as well as in the fuse clip, so i should be good there.

#16 45 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

ok. Will try this when I get home today. The fuses all beeped out, outside of the fuse clip, as well as in the fuse clip, so i should be good there.

Also be sure & check fuses for proper values while you are there. I think I have found maybe ONE fuse ever that was correct on my project pins.....

#17 45 days ago
Quoted from dasvis:

Also be sure & check fuses for proper values while you are there. I think I have found maybe ONE fuse ever that was correct on my project pins.....

I did check the fuse that was connected to the black wire on the power cord, and it was correct. I'll make sure to check the other fuses that I can get my hands on.

#18 45 days ago

Manually pulling the hold relay allowed power on with lights in the back box. Progress!

I had credits on the credit unit, and the score reels were in positions other than zero. When I hit that "start" button, with a ball in the drain, the game clunks momentarily, score reels did reset to zero, but no ball kickout into the shooter lane and no working solenoids.

Will revisit soon to gather more information!

#19 45 days ago

That’s progress

#20 44 days ago

Does anyone have a picture of the labels of the reset bank on a Gottlieb EM of this era?

Mine is missing.

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#21 44 days ago

Some more good news. After manually pressing the hold relay, I can "Start" a game by putting a ball into the drain hole. Sometimes the score reels reset and sometimes they don't. And just before stopping for the day, the tens reel doesn't stop at zero, so I'll have to check the zero switch next.

Flippers, pops, slings, Snap targets all work, and scoring works from what I can tell.

I just need to sort out the conditions to call for the Hold relay to pull, and sometimes the last ball wont end game. So a couple things to address yet.

All-in-all, very happy with its operations so far. I know it's not much exciting technically, but I wasn't expecting this one to give me too much trouble either. Still a great learning experience me!

#22 44 days ago

Glad to see those machines go to a good home.

#23 44 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

Does anyone have a picture of the labels of the reset bank on a Gottlieb EM of this era?
Mine is missing.
[quoted image]

Sorry, my bottom board & playfield is buried in the back of my storage unit

#24 44 days ago
Quoted from dasvis:

Sorry, my bottom board & playfield is buried in the back of my storage unit

No worries. I might open it up to the "rest of the forum" asking for this specifically. I'm going off of one picture from Clay's website. I'm tempted to just take out the bottom board with the shotgun approach and clean all the switches....I know it's not a great idea but that will be my last resort. Going to keep looking!

#25 44 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

No worries. I might open it up to the "rest of the forum" asking for this specifically. I'm going off of one picture from Clay's website. I'm tempted to just take out the bottom board with the shotgun approach and clean all the switches....I know it's not a great idea but that will be my last resort. Going to keep looking!

Any em I have done this. Simply start with the bottom tra, then underside of playfield, finally backbox. Make sure to shine up the jones plugs, and only adjust switches if they are out of range. And the old 40 year old grease..

#26 44 days ago
Quoted from chad:

Any em I have done this. Simply start with the bottom tra, then underside of playfield, finally backbox. Make sure to shine up the jones plugs, and only adjust switches if they are out of range. And the old 40 year old grease..

I've read some people say no, don't do this, you'll make things worse, and I've read others like you where they just go about cleaning everything.

I think it has a lot to do with experience level. I'm still relatively new; a lot to learn yet definitely, but I know enough to be dangerous

I think for now, I'm going to try a more targeted approach. It will help me better understand how to read schematics, and learn the particular way of thinking when it comes to EMs. If I ever get good a diagnosing EM problems, then I might take the shotgun approach so that I'm not left with a too-far-gone non-working machine.

#27 44 days ago

Just read on Clay's site that on Gottblieb games, the start button will energize the hold relay. I'll have to try that later today. He also writes that he likes to rig the hold relay so that it's always closed, for home use. This way the game lights up when the power is turned on and he can disconnect one of the wires to the coil so it doesn't burn during play. I might do this, as it makes the most sense in a home environment.

#28 44 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

Just read on Clay's site that on Gottblieb games, the start button will energize the hold relay. I'll have to try that later today. He also writes that he likes to rig the hold relay so that it's always closed, for home use. This way the game lights up when the power is turned on and he can disconnect one of the wires to the coil so it doesn't burn during play. I might do this, as it makes the most sense in a home environment.

I only like to do that if the coil is no longer functional. And then only until I can get a new one. It's a fine mod but also nice to have them operate the way they left the factory. There is a downside or upside (depending on how you look at it) to Clay's mod. If you turn the machine off mid game, and then restart it will still be in the state of mid-game. With a functioning hold coil you turn the game off and it drops out. Turning it back on will require you to start a new game. I actually like that as guests or kids often like to play two balls and walk away.

Like Chad, I'm also a fan of the shotgun approach. You'd be amazed at all the little things you can find to correct when you go through one top to bottom. Like an old car, sometimes things still function but need attention. The downside is my schematic skills are fairly weak. I use them as a last resort if I have a nagging issue at the end.

#29 44 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

I've read some people say no, don't do this, you'll make things worse, and I've read others like you where they just go about cleaning everything.
I think it has a lot to do with experience level. I'm still relatively new; a lot to learn yet definitely, but I know enough to be dangerous
I think for now, I'm going to try a more targeted approach. It will help me better understand how to read schematics, and learn the particular way of thinking when it comes to EMs. If I ever get good a diagnosing EM problems, then I might take the shotgun approach so that I'm not left with a too-far-gone non-working machine.

I should state to that I generally will write down existing issues . This would work great for going in as a spot check repair, to just get the bugs out. Fingers crossed it will be a easy fix for you!!

#30 44 days ago
Quoted from AlexF:

I only like to do that if the coil is no longer functional. And then only until I can get a new one. It's a fine mod but also nice to have them operate the way they left the factory. There is a downside or upside (depending on how you look at it) to Clay's mod. If you turn the machine off mid game, and then restart it will still be in the state of mid-game. With a functioning hold coil you turn the game off and it drops out. Turning it back on will require you to start a new game. I actually like that as guests or kids often like to play two balls and walk away.
Like Chad, I'm also a fan of the shotgun approach. You'd be amazed at all the little things you can find to correct when you go through one top to bottom. Like an old car, sometimes things still function but need attention. The downside is my schematic skills are fairly weak. I use them as a last resort if I have a nagging issue at the end.

Quoted from chad:

I should state to that I generally will write down existing issues . This would work great for going in as a spot check repair, to just get the bugs out. Fingers crossed it will be a easy fix for you!!

I'll get it going as intended first. I definitely don't want to introduce any new problems. Right now, it seems like it'll "start" a game, but it won't quite end a game. Everything in between seems to work, but I'm sure there will be more going through. I'll first try to get it to behave like it should. That will definitely be my starting point, then go from there!

#31 43 days ago

Can someone tell me if the "control bank" on the schematics is the proper order of the relays on the bottom bank without the label (what I'm referring to as the "reset bank")?

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#32 42 days ago

I thought I had made good progress today. Cleaned some switches, worked out a sticky score reel, got it to start games properly with credits and overall felt pretty good about it. That was before dinner.

Had dinner, spent some time with the kids, put the kids to bed, then went back down to test play again. Still working. Great!

I decided to clean and wax the playfield and plastics, and replaced most of the GI and apron lights with LEDs. Turn the game back on to look at my work and test play with a freshly waxed board, and nothing...

I have no idea what I could have done, short of jiggling a lamp socket and causing a short somewhere? But would that affect startup?

I'm so confused and have no reason to believe that any relay or score motor switches are related, as I was only working on the topside.

#33 42 days ago

You cursed it by putting those awful LED's in there

#34 42 days ago

Check fuses and hold relay again.

#35 42 days ago
Quoted from AlexF:

Check fuses and hold relay again.

Manually pressing the hold relay will get power to the game, but I cant start a game like I could before.

#36 42 days ago
Quoted from dasvis:

You cursed it by putting those awful LED's in there

Sorry, not sorry. LEDs are better than incandescent in almost every way. Brighter, cooler, last 10x longer. I dont rainbow puke my games.

With that said, I'm willing reverse the change to get it working again, to rule it out as a cause.

#37 42 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

Sorry, not sorry. LEDs are better than incandescent in almost every way. Brighter, cooler, last 10x longer. I dont rainbow puke my games.
With that said, I'm willing reverse the change to get it working again, to rule it out as a cause.

Just ribbing you- to each their own. It's just that with the LED's you lose some of the "feel" of a vintage pin. The warmth & the way that the incandescent bulbs fade in & out on the controlled lamps cannot be duplicated with LED's. It's a subtle thing but to me it is part of the magic of these vintage devices.
No harm done though, they can easily be removed.

#38 42 days ago

I manually reset the reset bank and got it working again. The next thing that I'll have to troubleshoot is that sometimes the last ball in play doesnt end a game. Going to take a look at the game over relay.

#39 42 days ago
Quoted from dasvis:

Just ribbing you- to each their own. It's just that with the LED's you lose some of the "feel" of a vintage pin. The warmth & the way that the incandescent bulbs fade in & out on the controlled lamps cannot be duplicated with LED's. It's a subtle thing but to me it is part of the magic of these vintage devices.
No harm done though, they can easily be removed.

I understand. Imo, the pros outweigh the cons. Everytime I see a burnt insert or flaking backglasses or burnt bulbs, I have to think that if they were LEDs, more of that would be still intact.

Also, as I was changing a burnt bulb, I dropped it on my tile floor and the bulb shattered. Yes, you lose some of that vintage feel but I feel the benefits far outweigh the cons.

Anyway, there are plenty of other threads that discuss this. I certainly dont want this thread to turn into one

#40 42 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

I manually reset the reset bank and got it working again. The next thing that I'll have to troubleshoot is that sometimes the last ball in play doesnt end a game. Going to take a look at the game over relay.

Also check the ball count unit.

#41 42 days ago

Yes. I always do it anyway, but a game that has sat for a period of time will generally benefit from the steppers being disassembled and cleaned. As mentioned the ball count unit being serviced is probably going to clear up some problems.

#42 42 days ago

I believe the ball count is in the bottom front of the cabinet? If so, I took 600 grit sandpaper to the contacts, but didn't do more than that. That's on my list though. I did take apart the snap targets and they are snappy again

It's the little things.

#43 39 days ago

I think I've worked through most of the bugs. I can power on, start a game, and most of the time, finish a game. Cleaned and resleeved the plunger, flippers, slings, and snap target mechs. Will go through the pops next. Got new rings on part of the game, in white, but after putting them on, decided I want to try to whiten up the posts with hydrogen peroxide and sunlight, since the contrast between the new white rings and the yellowed posts is quite stark.

I also just put in an order through PB Resource, and surprisingly enough, it wasn't too bad. The bulk of the cost was new legs for both games, which needed to be replaced. But otherwise, a few things here and there. I still have to check the ball count unit, as itmoves from ball to ball, but I don't think it's making good contact on that last ball.

#44 39 days ago

Can't wait to see the final outcome of both games.

#45 39 days ago

If you haven't already done so, remove the bank reset fuse, and clean the ends of the fuse and the fuse holder clips. I had someone once bring me a game which wouldn't start, and that''s all it was.
Yours might be making intermittent contact.

#46 39 days ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

If you haven't already done so, remove the bank reset fuse, and clean the ends of the fuse and the fuse holder clips. I had someone once bring me a game which wouldn't start, and that''s all it was.
Yours might be making intermittent contact.

I did that with all of the fuses. It's been ok for the 20 or more starts from off so far!

1 week later
#47 26 days ago

Royal Guard is running for the most part. Sometimes itll give me a ball or 2 extra, but only when I get a Special, but it does end. I'll consider it done for now and move onto Spanish Eyes this week.
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#48 26 days ago

Looks good!

#49 26 days ago
Quoted from chad:

Looks good!

It's a fun flipper too! There's something about the simplicity of EMs. I don't know what it is. The refresh was pretty straight forward thankfully. Other than the bottom board, it was in really good shape. Really happy with how it turned out.

Spanish Eyes on the other hand; I'm probably going to haul the cabinet back out to the garage to see what I'm dealing with. I'll probably have to replace the back panel. I'm thinking about knocking out the crumbly stuff, and replacing it with 1/2" plywood, then prime and paint it black. Not sure if that's the original color or not, but that's what the remnants of it looks like.

#50 26 days ago

Royal Guard is a great game. Frustratingly fun. Keeps you pressing that start button for one more.

The back of Spanish Eyes was likely the same base coat color as the rest of the cab (yellow). On the backside though so not a big deal. Replacing the particle board with plywood will be a nice upgrade for sure.

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