(Topic ID: 236262)

dumb newb question - is working on a EM pin dangerous (electrocusion)


By DanDaMan

62 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 32 posts
  • 22 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 60 days ago by jasonspoint28
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    #1 62 days ago

    Bought my 1st pinball earlier this week - it is a 70 gottlieb aquarius. Been doing some reading and see most EM games have 20V AC inside but read that some have 50V and some parts may have the full 120V. I have a few things to figure out and fix on mine but to diagnose I need to power it up and play with the switches - is this dangerous?

    When I first got it I touched the buzzing switch on the coin door (the switch that connects to the start button) and felt a tingle - is that the worst I can expect?

    #2 62 days ago

    You need to respect working with any voltages while not succumbing to fear

    For testing yeah plug it in and work carefully and when some assembly-dissassemly is involved un-plug it

    the moment you start getting to comfortable it'll let you know

    but this is a very rewarding and fun hobby so worth the risks involved

    Your personal safety is NEVER a "dumb" question

    #3 62 days ago

    Yes, it is dangerous if you have no experience. Use a wood stick or non-conductive tool to activate switches/relays until you know what you can touch. I haven't been shocked yet and don't plan to. Plug it into a circuit breaker and use the on/off switch. Or unplug, safest way.

    #4 62 days ago

    On EM pins there are various Voltages through out the game and that might vary for each game. 120V usually a wire with plastic insulation. If you look at a schematic the voltage ratings are written on them near the diagram part for the transformer.

    The usual safety precautions do apply to pinball machines. Un-plug the game to do any service work. When testing anything live, do not stand with bare feet on a concrete floor you will become a route to ground, wear running shoes or a shoe with out a leather sole. Do not lean against another pin while working on another pin, same thing, you could become a route to ground.

    #5 62 days ago
    Quoted from DanDaMan:

    Bought my 1st pinball earlier this week - it is a 70 gottlieb aquarius. Been doing some reading and see most EM games have 20V AC inside but read that some have 50V and some parts may have the full 120V. I have a few things to figure out and fix on mine but to diagnose I need to power it up and play with the switches - is this dangerous?
    When I first got it I touched the buzzing switch on the coin door (the switch that connects to the start button) and felt a tingle - is that the worst I can expect?

    Potentially - yes! As a rule, you should ALWAYS unplug the game (not just turn it off) when working on it. Certain circuits in the game, including the transformer and portions of the coin door, receive line voltage (120 V) and are therefore dangerous while powered on. Even experienced EM techs can easily get shocked by inadvertently touching a hot circuit with their hand or conductive tool.

    #6 62 days ago

    Being safe, extra safe or asking questions is never dumb.

    Here is the portion of the schematic showing the game voltages for Aquarius*. As already stated I would be most concerned with the wires carrying wall voltage which should have plastic insulation rather than the cloth insulation of the 6 & 25 VAC wiring.
    Screen Shot 2019-02-16 at 11.33.06 AM (resized).png
    You will have 110/wall VAC at the line cord, main line fuse, power switch, transformer input, the 2 big control bank reset coils & their 2 fuses, 2 score motor switches and a switch on the SB armature. You probably felt Gottlieb's 24 VAC.

    I like to use a power strip under the game that you can toggle on and off to kill power without needing to plug & unplug all the time when working on a project game.

    *Older Gottliebs also have 110 VAC on some coin door stuff, a slam switch, replay unit, ball release unit, etc. Other manufacturers used different voltages at different times.

    -1
    #7 62 days ago

    Some of us old timers know what we can touch and not touch. I never shut off or power down when I go under the hood. Of course Ive learned not to work in bare feet on a concrete floor. Use the 1 hand rule and avoid the pvc coated wires. And we hates it when somebody wires up a ground to the side rails, that usually gets me shocked!

    #8 62 days ago

    Some em's have 110v wired to the tilt switch inside the metal front door! Very easy to get a hit from that, especially if the fish paper is worn. Learn what is safe and what isn't.

    #9 62 days ago
    Quoted from pinhead52:

    And we hates it when somebody wires up a ground to the side rails, that usually gets me shocked!

    Ok, I know you are an old timer, but a ground MUST be wired to the metal side rails....and any metal a player can touch, (such as the coin door) The grounding of these parts not only save you or your guests from shock, they can save your life. If you are getting shocked from side rails that have a ground wire attached to them, you have a ground fault that must be investigated. Don't work on electrical circuits until you have some knowledge of what you are doing.

    #10 62 days ago

    If you've ever touched a live wire in a home electrical circuit, such as in a wall socket or switch, that's the extent of a shock you can get from a pin. I suppose there are situations where it can be deadly, like if you're standing in water, but in the main, you're just going to get bit a bit. Only rarely deadly. That said, don't go searching it out either. Other than that, the most you're going to get on most circuits of any pin is 50v. As noted above, anything carrying line voltage with have plastic insulation on it.

    #11 62 days ago

    If the cord is missing the ground plug replace it, before going under the hood. Plus follow all instruction posted above.

    #12 62 days ago

    If your in doubt stick your tongue on it like a 9 volt battery.

    Warning: I'm an idiot so please don't go and do anything I say. Unless I'm being serious which in this case I'm not.

    #13 62 days ago
    Quoted from Travish:

    If your in doubt stick your tongue on it like a 9 volt battery.

    Warning: I'm an idiot so please don't go and do anything I say. Unless I'm being serious which in this case I'm not.

    thats how i test them????

    #14 62 days ago
    Quoted from wayout440:

    Ok, I know you are an old timer, but a ground MUST be wired to the metal side rails....and any metal a player can touch, (such as the coin door) The grounding of these parts not only save you or your guests from shock, they can save your life. If you are getting shocked from side rails that have a ground wire attached to them, you have a ground fault that must be investigated. Don't work on electrical circuits until you have some knowledge of what you are doing.

    I get shocked because I have broken my one hand rule, completing the path when In touching circuits. I can touch 120v circuits all day long without getting shocked just so long as I dont complete a path.

    #15 62 days ago
    Quoted from Travish:

    stick your tongue on it like a 9 volt battery.

    or fire up the can of WD 40...the secret is more grease and oil to get it working

    #16 62 days ago

    Honestly, there is no way I would have been able to understand how they work without working with them powered up. Many times I'll need to twist and old lamp socket to get it working and bright. Not sure how that would be done working with the game off. Worst shock I've had while working on pins is when my body hit a flipper button while I was touching a flipper coil. What's strange is that sometimes when I get a jolt, it will causes me to laugh.

    I'd avoid touching the transformer, fuses and larger coil that might get activated.

    #17 62 days ago
    Quoted from pinhead52:

    I get shocked because I have broken my one hand rule, completing the path when In touching circuits. I can touch 120v circuits all day long without getting shocked just so long as I dont complete a path.

    Wait till you try that rule and accidentally touch your forehead to the metal side rail. Whoopie Doopie!

    #18 62 days ago
    Quoted from bonzo71:

    Honestly, there is no way I would have been able to understand how they work without working with them powered up. Many times I'll need to twist and old lamp socket to get it working and bright. Not sure how that would be done working with the game off. Worst shock I've had while working on pins is when my body hit a flipper button while I was touching a flipper coil. What's strange is that sometimes when I get a jolt, it will causes me to laugh.
    I'd avoid touching the transformer, fuses and and larger coil that might get activated.

    Actually there are more reasons to work on any electrical gear with the power on than off. You can't look at signals or take electrical measurements with the power off, for example. Rewiring a transformer, you'll probably want to power off while the work is done. Replacing an IC on a solid state pin, you'll probably want to power off for.

    #19 61 days ago

    I aways heard its best to keep one hand in your pocket while working on ems so you can't ground yourself?

    #20 61 days ago
    Quoted from t2:

    I aways heard its best to keep one hand in your pocket while working on ems so you can't ground yourself?

    You can still get shocked from other parts of your body completing the circuit. The one hand in pocket rule is to help reduce a chance of electrical. current passing from hand to hand through the heart.

    #21 61 days ago
    Quoted from t2:

    I aways heard its best to keep one hand in your pocket while working on ems so you can't ground yourself?

    Only if the pocket will keep your change.

    #22 61 days ago
    Quoted from t2:

    I aways heard its best to keep one hand in your pocket while working on ems so you can't ground yourself?

    Keep your left hand in your pocket. This will avoid current flow near your heart.

    #23 61 days ago
    Quoted from Darcy:

    Keep your left hand in your pocket. This will avoid current flow near your heart.

    Unless ur left handed

    #24 61 days ago
    Quoted from wayout440:

    The one hand in pocket rule is to help reduce a chance of electrical. current passing from hand to hand through the heart.

    Sadly, I've blown two 20-amp circuit breakers hand-to-hand in my life. Happily, neither had anything to do with pinball.

    #25 61 days ago
    Quoted from JWJr:

    Sadly, I've blown two 20-amp circuit breakers hand-to-hand in my life. Happily, neither had anything to do with pinball.

    You were lucky - Anytime you get zapped by household current and walk away without damage you should look at it this way.
    There are still a lot of injuries and fatalities from household current. Have respect for it.

    #26 61 days ago

    What’s dangerous is spelling electrocution wrong! (sorry, couldn’t help myself)

    You have some solid answers here. Welcome to the hobby and enjoy. Here’s a couple of sites w/a wealth of information.

    www.pinrepair.com

    www.pinwiki.com

    #27 61 days ago
    Quoted from wayout440:

    You were lucky - Anytime you get zapped by household current and walk away without damage you should look at it this way.
    There are still a lot of injuries and fatalities from household current. Have respect for it.

    Believe me, I have the _ultimate_ respect, having been knocked on my ass twice. They were both music related: the first was a _bad_ mistake while rewiring a Fender Twin Reverb; the second was a result of letting someone else wire up the flash pods I was controlling on stage. In both cases, the "ground" was a hand laying across the strings of the plugged-in guitar I was wearing.

    Both of those were 40+ years ago, so maybe I'm learning.

    #28 61 days ago
    Quoted from JWJr:

    Believe me, I have the ultimate_ respect, having been knocked on my ass twice. They were both music related: the first was a bad_ mistake while rewiring a Fender Twin Reverb; the second was a result of letting someone else wire up the flash pods I was controlling on stage. In both cases, the "ground" was a hand laying across the strings of the plugged-in guitar I was wearing.
    Both of those were 40+ years ago, so maybe I'm learning.

    Don't play guitar in sweaty socks and touch the ceiling grid of a drop ceiling. Don't ask me how I know this

    #29 60 days ago

    I work alone so its very important to follow all safety procedures. Everyone else can get scraped up by a loved one, electricity is quick.

    #30 60 days ago
    Quoted from JWJr:

    Sadly, I've blown two 20-amp circuit breakers hand-to-hand in my life. Happily, neither had anything to do with pinball.

    ouch!

    My father said here touch this spark plug on the lawn mower, it wont hurt.. I was no fool.

    #31 60 days ago

    I only keep the power on for trouble shooting. Once I work I turn it off. Too easy to bridge circuits of different voltages with a screw driver or whatever tool you're using. Lower voltage circuits just absolutely hate having higher voltage injected into them. On an EM the consequences might not be quite as tragic as on a SS, but still not good.

    #32 60 days ago

    I do electrical service work for a living and have lost track of how many times I’ve gotten a “tickle”. Fortunately just 120v so far, I’m much more cautious with higher voltages. Often times it’s just not possible to troubleshoot with the power off.

    A huge help for me is wearing proper PPE. I always wear these gloves. (See below)

    Though not rated for electrical insulation, they have proven very effective (at least in my experience) against shocks at 120v, even the cloth part; and are cut resistant too. Still need to pay attention to where your elbows and such are at though.

    When working on electrical systems, you should turn the power off whenever possible.

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