(Topic ID: 285924)

Flying Circus start up

By beatclub

3 years ago

Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

  • 27 posts
  • 5 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by beatclub
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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#1 3 years ago

Quick read:
Could a mis-wiring (bad start button repair) in coin door cause the score motor to keep running at game start?

Long read:
Have been working on and off for a couple of years on a Gottlieb Flying Circus ... bought it in 2011 and it ran fine for a couple of years ... then had a problem with the start button. The wiring in the coin door was a bit screwy. I fixed that (or so I thought) and then it would start, but the score motor doesn’t stop, until manually reset.

After that, playfield lights work, but flippers and everything else on playfield is dead.

See link to video that shows failed startup below: (watch with sound)


I have a schematic, but am still a damn rookie reading it ... have posted this issue before, and have had some suggestions from Pinside members, (Howard, thank you) and chased down and trouble shot a bunch of things - still having same problem.

Again, wondering if my first repair of start button, in coin door led to a “mis-wiring” is causing the score motor to keep running.

Anyway - any and all advice appreciated.

Thanks -

Greg G

#2 3 years ago

I don't have that schematic but yours will have something similar that shows what switches will cause the SM to run. It is possible that funky wiring added another one.

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#3 3 years ago

After viewing your video, your start button is working, but the startup sequence is not completing.
What happens if you manually advance your score reels and then start a game. Does everything reset?

#4 3 years ago

After the manual reset, the playfield is completely lit, but flippers, bumpers, etc are dead.

#5 3 years ago

Considering that I am not interested in ever using coins to ever operate, wondering what the simplest wiring would be from start button to next contact point?

#6 3 years ago
Quoted from beatclub:

After the manual reset, the playfield is completely lit, but flippers, bumpers, etc are dead.

Again from a different schematic, but you may have something similar that affects the right power rail (on the schematic).

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#7 3 years ago

Lots of good info here: www.pinrepair.com

#8 3 years ago

Yes - good site! The guy that runs that lives just about an hour away from me!

#9 3 years ago

I think I am zeroing in on problem! I searched the archives a bit and found that member cndpinballer had a similar issue with running score motor related to an issue with coin door. Going to simplify wire path and see with that works.

#10 3 years ago

Thanks for the help guys!!!

#11 3 years ago

Ok - possible coin door issue turned out to be a red herring ...
pretty sure I have ruled out a mis-wire in the coin door ... I bypassed the theft switch and disconnected the two coin chute triggers. All that is connected is the start button - machine starts but score motor still spins.

Next - located the series of switches (in the relays) that use the wire connected to the score motor. (See attached bit of schematic.)

All of the relevant switches seem to be adjusted correctly (normally open) and operating correctly.

So does that rule out a “crossed wire” in bottom cabinet circuitry?

So my problem probably is in the head? (Not mine haha)

Thanks again all for the help.


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#12 3 years ago

Did you check the 'SB' armature? It is the switch under the bank.

#13 3 years ago

Yes - did SB armature checked - was/is operating properly.

#14 3 years ago

So next step is checking switches on the reels? That looks tricky for a rookie like me ... is it?

Is there a way to determine that is the problem? (Other than eliminating everything else?)

Thanks in advance -


#15 3 years ago

PS - pin has the “rat trap” style reels.

#16 3 years ago

Since the large Bank Setup solenoid doesn't activate when it should, Inspect and diagnose this circuit with Alligator clip jumper wires
Example of a pinsider actually doing this https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/red-baron-tech-question#post-5858156
Be careful because this circuit runs on 120 volts

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#17 3 years ago

OK - that actually makes sense now. (I think you may have suggested that before, but was beyond my understanding then ... I have been toying with this beast for a few years now)

Question: I have removed entire bottom component board from cab. Will testing accurately work (or work at all) with this unit being isolated from machine? (i.e. not connected to playfield, head and coin doors.)

Thank you!


#18 3 years ago
Quoted from beatclub:

Will testing accurately work (or work at all) with this unit being isolated from machine? (i.e. not connected to playfield, head and coin doors.)

Most machines have the Balls Played Unit in the backbox, and a Shutoff or Anti-Cheat switch in the coin door so Alligator clip Jumper wire testing won't work with the bottom board removed. With that said, you should be able to inspect the SB Armature switch better like that.

For a switch to work 3 things are necessary:
1) When open, there should be a small space between the contact points (duh)
2) When closing, the long blade's contact point should push the short blade's contact point enough to move the short blade
3) The contact points should be clean, which they usually will be if #2 is happening

#19 3 years ago

Will do.

One more question: I can add points manually by engerizing the point relays in the head. The machine is able to reset those added points back to zero upon startup. (Although score reel keeps running)

Does this necessarily rule out a problem with the zero position switches in the reels?

#20 3 years ago
Quoted from beatclub:

... (Although score reel keeps running) ...

If you mean the score motor on the bottom board keeps running, then yes, the zero position switches on the score reels in the head are working correctly.

#21 3 years ago

Yes - meant reels reset to zero, yet score *motor* keeps running.

Would the crossed wire/misadjusted switch that is keeping the score motor running (in sense, the issue that is not activating bank reset solenoid) also cause the playfield bumpers and flippers to be dead after the manual reset of bank that currently stops score motor?

Because now, currently, after a manual re-start to stop motor, game appears ready to play: playfield lights on and “Ball One” lit up on backglass. However, flippers, roll overs and bumpers are dead.

Is there a separate relay that energizes the flippers, etc?

This is frustrating as the game worked fine for two years and suddenly one day, it didn’t.

Will try the alligator clips tomorrow- thank you Howard, et all.


#22 3 years ago

Yes. The Make-Break switch on SB on the schematic at 11-i opens the circuit to the playfield. Until the bank resets.
This is correct operation.

#23 3 years ago

Hey there! I have a Flying Circus machine of my own in my garage and I believe I ran into the issue you are describing around a year ago.

Mine was having trouble firing the large "Reset"/"Bank Setup" solenoid on startup. To resolve the issue I manually pushed the solenoid closed while the power was disconnected, and then attempted booting the machine.

I am happy to check any connections on my machine to help verify if you have any crossed wires, just let me know where you want checked


#24 3 years ago

OstlerDev -

Thank you for your suggestion... unfortunately it did not work. Taking a break for a bit ... I’m sure I have missed a switch someplace ... just need to double check all my work so far.


#25 3 years ago

Finally figured out score motor issue. (I think) A lower switch on the score motor wasn’t being activated, because a metal trigger tab had jumped out of a bracket and it was not making contact with the spoke section of the wheel as it turned. I wiggled the metal tab back in position in bracket, so it was able to activate switch.

After that, upon hitting start button, the score motor has stopped on its own for the first time since machine stopped working.

Not out of the woods yet, as although the score motor is finally stopping on its own, the secondary issue of dead playfield is still remains.
See video below


Home stretch here I hope.

Again any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

Greg G

#26 3 years ago

Wondering if it’s stuck on tilt? (And display bulb is burnt out?)

Will check that out next time I take a look. (My pinball fixing time is limited these days)

#27 3 years ago

Well what do you know - mercury tilt bulb got tilted and disabled playfield. (And tilt light is burned out) Playfield is now on.

Can’t test it fully yet, (pulled the rubbers off for another pin) but I believe it is fixed!

Thank you all with your suggestions - each one led me to this (hopefully) final fix!

Thank you again -

Greg G

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