(Topic ID: 252695)

Cleaning flithy wiring in 72 Gotlieb EM


By paulears

17 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 11 posts
  • 6 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 16 days ago by paulears
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 17 days ago

Hi - my first post here after joining. I was recommended this forum for the wide knowledge base, so here goes!

I've had pinballs on and off for years, always the electro-mechanical ones from my teens, and am quite comfy with tweaks and repairs, and reading the diagrams. I just found one I remember playing as a teen, so while a bit cosmetically tatty, it plays well and I can do the repairs necessary. As it played fine when I bought it, I didn't even look inside, apart from a quick check to see why one of the reels looked a little odd, and that was also fine.

I lifted the play field to discover the most flithy insides I've ever seen. God knows where it's been but everything is black. You can hardly read the stapled labels and the colour coding on the wiring is really impossible to see. Could be red or brown, and black high be dark blue. I can't think how it got this bad, as the outside is quite clean and the Playfield is close to spotless.

Bearing in mind the insulation on the cabling being the old cloth type, does anyone have any suggestions on how on earth to remove the staining and reveal the colours. I think the damage is old, because rubbing the wiring loom doesn't result in much of a darkening of the cloth - as if the staining happened years ago, then the machine was taken somewhere warmer and it kind of set. I'm sure I could dabble with chemicals but I don't want to eat through the fabric. I'm wondering if maybe dry cleaning chemicals could work? Nasty stuff I'm told - but equally it could make the wiring brittle which would be even worse.

This could even be a common problem, but I've never come across it before. The UK climate is damp, so I suppose maybe being stored somewhere damp at some point might have happened, but there's little rust on the machine. The worst issues are very visible wood grain in the timber, which has resulted in a very poor outer cabinet finish, while the under glass paint is pretty decent, considering the age. It's a Gottlieb Outer Space - if this is in any way important?

It doesn't need any electrical repairs, as everything works bar a few bulbs. The only mods seem to be that it's on permanent freeplay and the coin mechs have been removed.

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#2 17 days ago

I use the brush attachment with my shop vac and it always improves the colors of the cloth wires. I also like the mini vacuum tool kit to get in all the nooks and crannies on the bottom relay panel.

I know there's a video out there with someone essentially spraying water with a hose to clean an EM bingo machine (they are in Australia?). Somewhat satisfying to watch but also equally disturbing.

#3 17 days ago

Also, welcome to pinside.

#4 17 days ago

Ah - so kind of scrub and suck? I think I may have a very small nozzle/brush on an old vac somewhere, maybe I can bodge something. I just wish I knew how it got this black inside - in the picture you can see the state of the label - pretty grim.

Thanks for the welcome - appreciated.

#5 17 days ago
Quoted from paulears:

........I just wish I knew how it got this black inside - in the picture you can see the state of the label - pretty grim.
Thanks for the welcome - appreciated.

Have come across this level of grime before. From your picture it looks like its never had a clean since it left the manufacturer. Also looks like the switches have been 'lubed' liberally at some time probably with a spray (Maybe WD40 or such) that has eventually become a contact glue.

I buy games that i will keep not sell on, so this game condition is fine for me as I totally strip down and clean every surface and remake labels etc. If you are going to sell on in a year or so then ...oh dear you need to take out the bottom board and give it the Aussie treatment with some degreaser and a hose. Save the labels first and remake them. Won't hurt it.

Good luck.
Steve J.

#6 17 days ago

Hate to say it but that's not really that bad inside. I'd say that's more the norm for 40 plus year old em machines.

#7 17 days ago

No idea on how things get so black, but they do.

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#8 17 days ago

For really grimy EMs I pull it off the board, take off motors/counters, spray it all down with Castrol Superclean and run it through the dishwasher, let dry several days. and reassemble on refinished board.

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#9 17 days ago

Dry graphite lubricant is recommended some manuals I've seen, that may account for black grime.

Man that dishwasher treatment could have saved me some time....I know there is concern about water + cloth wires but I guess you've not found any problems?

#10 17 days ago
Quoted from dr_nybble:

Dry graphite lubricant is recommended some manuals I've seen, that may account for black grime.
Man that dishwasher treatment could have saved me some time....I know there is concern about water + cloth wires but I guess you've not found any problems?

None, cloth and water, bakelite, contacts, nylon, really nothing to be harmed except paper that can be replaced or proactively removed, why not?

#11 16 days ago

Great! Time's not an issue, so when I do the strip out and clean - needed because the very bottom panel is not in good shape, although the relay board is surprisingly sound, I'll give the wiring harness a clean without worrying too much.

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