(Topic ID: 336991)

Gottlieb Playball - First pin, minor issue

By RNCotton

1 year ago


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  • 25 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by poppapin
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 1 year ago

Hey Y'all .. the wife has wanted a pin for a long time, and we stumbled across a Gottlieb Playball from a guy right around the corner from us, functional, and good price. So, we took the plunge. First order of business was to order the manual and schematics, a new ball, all new rubbers and we went with Super Bands for the flippers. After scrubbing off 50 years worth of nicotine, cleaning and waxed the playfield, and worked through a few bugs.

Everything is working except for one minor annoyance that we can't track down. There's *always* a man on 2nd base. The light comes on at game start, and the scoring works like there's a man on 2nd .. meaning the "100 when lit" pop bumper lights up when there's a man on 3rd ... because there's already a man on 2nd. I've cleaned the 2nd base relay and the hit counter. I'm gonna pull and clean the hit counter one more time. Any other suggestions?

The flippers are, in my opinion, a little weak. I'm going to get a rebuild kit. I can get the ball to the top of the playfield easily enough, but I can never score more than a double when hitting the variable targets. I cleaned those up so they are nice and smooth now, I just can't score more than a double. When I do the rebuild of the flippers, what's your thoughts on going to the "yellow dot" coils for a touch more power?

I've been reading here for weeks, and everything has been super helpful.

#2 1 year ago

I dont have anything useful to say about your 2nd base problem, but I have put a number of orange-dot coils in Gottliebs. The yellow-dot coils are probably going to be pretty strong (maybe too strong)...orange-dot is slightly weaker. I've found the orange-dot coils to be perfect for alot of 70's machines.

But the first thing to do is the rebuild the flippers and make sure you've eliminated slop, friction and dirty contacts. Try all that before going for stronger coils.

I guess for that 2nd base problem, it sound like your B relay isn't resetting at game start. Is your BR relay firing at game start? If not, there might be something going on in the hit unit. I think all the AR, BR and CR relays are supposed to fire at the start of a game to clear the bases.

If you can get MarkG to look at your problem, I'm sure he could help you - and he likes these baseball games!

#3 1 year ago

Hi Roger, Welcome to pinside!!

Quoted from RNCotton:

There's *always* a man on 2nd base

Is the reset coil of the Man on Second (BR) relay correctly resetting the Man on Second relay when it should?

#4 1 year ago
Quoted from HowardR:

Hi Roger, Welcome to pinside!!

Is the reset coil of the Man on Second (BR) relay correctly resetting the Man on Second relay when it should?

HowardR to the rescue!

#5 1 year ago

I agree with what Paulace posted. I have a Playball and the stock flipper coils seem fine. Try a flipper rebuild first, make sure the EOS switches are not opening too early, and also clean/polish the contacts on the flipper button switches. Is it possible that the return springs on the vari target plungers are adjusted too strong?

#6 1 year ago
Quoted from RNCotton:

Hey Y'all .. the wife has wanted a pin for a long time, and we stumbled across a Gottlieb Playball from a guy right around the corner from us, functional, and good price. So, we took the plunge. First order of business was to order the manual and schematics, a new ball, all new rubbers and we went with Super Bands for the flippers. After scrubbing off 50 years worth of nicotine, cleaning and waxed the playfield, and worked through a few bugs.
Everything is working except for one minor annoyance that we can't track down. There's *always* a man on 2nd base. The light comes on at game start, and the scoring works like there's a man on 2nd .. meaning the "100 when lit" pop bumper lights up when there's a man on 3rd ... because there's already a man on 2nd. I've cleaned the 2nd base relay and the hit counter. I'm gonna pull and clean the hit counter one more time. Any other suggestions?
The flippers are, in my opinion, a little weak. I'm going to get a rebuild kit. I can get the ball to the top of the playfield easily enough, but I can never score more than a double when hitting the variable targets. I cleaned those up so they are nice and smooth now, I just can't score more than a double. When I do the rebuild of the flippers, what's your thoughts on going to the "yellow dot" coils for a touch more power?
I've been reading here for weeks, and everything has been super helpful.

Is the Vari-target return spring set to tight?

#7 1 year ago

Thanks, everyone. I'll wait on changing the coils for the flippers and just get the rebuild kit and see where we land. I've cleaned contacts and adjusted EOS. Garrett , I'll check the return spring. I don't think it's too tight because it is a nice smooth return when reset.

HowardR , the relay seems to be functioning properly.

Last night I made it worse. I marked the discs on the hit unit so I could align them back, and I marked the metal clip on the front so I could get the screws back in the same positions. I cleaned all the contacts on both discs again, and applied a thin coat of dielectric. Now all the bases are lit, all the time. So it appears my problem is definitely in the hit unit and I just don't have it aligned properly. When I cleaned it before, I didn't remove the front disc, I just cleaned the contacts on the 2nd one by working around the front one. Now that I've removed it, even though my marks line up, I'm guessing something isn't quite in the right spot.

I read a blog from an Aussie who had a similar problem and even 1-2 mm of play was causing all sorts of problems with the base runners.

#8 1 year ago
Quoted from RNCotton:

HowardR , the relay seems to be functioning properly.

If the B relay is functioning 100% properly then you wouldn't be having the problem with the Man on 2nd light coming on.

Help us help you by being specific!!

#9 1 year ago
Quoted from Runbikeskilee:

I agree with what Paulace posted. I have a Playball and the stock flipper coils seem fine. Try a flipper rebuild first, make sure the EOS switches are not opening too early, and also clean/polish the contacts on the flipper button switches. Is it possible that the return springs on the vari target plungers are adjusted too strong?

I’ll second this, my Home Run is well cleaned stock parts and the exact same game, just add a ball, I have no problems getting the ball to the top or cracking Home runs. Hitting a HR takes a little skill, you cannot hold the ball then flip, you will only achieve a double at most. The only way to hit a HR is to flip while the ball has momentum while rolling down the rail. That being said, no one has asked what degree angle the Playfield is set at. If he has this cranked up to 5 or 6 degrees, he wil achieve nothing.

#10 1 year ago
Quoted from HowardR:

Help us help you by being specific!!

I'm a total n00b, so I don't know *how* to be specific. This is my first pin.

I'll tear into it again tonight after work. First thing, figure out what I screwed up when cleaning the hit unit to make all the lights come on.

*heads to YouTube*

Mikala - Honestly, I have not measured the angle. The book says to set it at 3.5 degrees. We simply put the legs back in the same positions as they were before we moved the machine. It "feels" right, in that the initial launch goes to the top of the playfield, but not all the way into the corner for a triple. Hits off the flipper can make it to to the top and don't feel too fast/slow. Hits off the flipper after a hold will only score a single on the vary target. If you get the ball rolling from the top of the playfield and hit a zinger into the vary ... it scores a deep double every time. Thank you for sharing how it should behave. It makes me feel more confident that it's just the worn out bakelite and a rebuild kit should do the trick.

#11 1 year ago

--Update-- I adjusted the hit unit again and am back to the original problem of always having a man on second. That's progress in my book.

I did notice that the hold relay buzzes, like the coil is energized. Touch it and it stops buzzing. I'll be checking the schematic to see if that should be energized or not.

So now I feel like I'm back to the Man on Second relay. I cleaned the contacts. I'll see if I can find a YT video showing how it's supposed to work. Evidently it's not doing something correctly.

#12 1 year ago

Once the game is started, the hold relay should stay on until you turn the game off. Lots of them buzz a little - if it's too loud, you can "futz" with it to try to make it better, but for now, let's see about that Man on Second.

The "Man on Second" relay (B relay) is an interlock relay, which means there are two coils on that relay chassis - one that trips the B relay (which should light the second base light, among other things - it's got 6 switches on it that do various things) and one coil that resets the B relay - that's the BR (B-reset) relay.

Look at how the metal plates move against one another when pulled by the B and BR coils, and see if you can pull the metal plate toward the BR coil. See if the second base light goes out when you do that.

#13 1 year ago

Thank you paulace ... we'll make that Man on Second relay our goal for the weekend.

I've been watching Joe's Classic Video Games channel on YT where he has about 4 or 5 hours of footage of him going through a Home Run version of this same pin, and it's been very educational ... as long as I can stay awake.

#14 1 year ago
Quoted from RNCotton:

Thank you paulace ... we'll make that Man on Second relay our goal for the weekend.
I've been watching Joe's Classic Video Games channel on YT where he has about 4 or 5 hours of footage of him going through a Home Run version of this same pin, and it's been very educational ... as long as I can stay awake.

The learning curve really isn't that bad for EM's. They all tend to be quite similar so once you gain some confidence you'll be on your way.

#15 1 year ago
Quoted from paulace:

Look at how the metal plates move against one another when pulled by the B and BR coils, and see if you can pull the metal plate toward the BR coil. See if the second base light goes out when you do that.

I can move the metal plate by hand, things move, and the light goes out. Move the other plate and the light comes back on. Looking at the schematic, the only thing that can trigger the BR is the Hit Unit.

So now which rabbit hole do I go down? Tear into the Hit Unit? Or start suspecting a bad BR coil? The Hit Unit seems to function properly. Stopping in the right place, moving smoothly. I assume my next step should be to put a meter at the BR and see if the hit unit is sending power to reset it.

#16 1 year ago

I'll also add that I was looking at some video from when we first got it home and playing after getting it cleaned up ... the base runners were working flawlessly.

#17 1 year ago

If you want, you can use a jumper wire and connect it between the 2 red X's - on the non-black BR coil lug (MAR-WH) and somewhere on that BL+RED wire. If the game starts with the B relay reset, then that'll tell you that the Hit Unit is the problem.

You can check the BR coil itself by jumpering between the MAR-WH lug of the coil and the RED-WH vertical wire going up the right side of the schematic (blue X). That should make the BR coil fire, resetting the B relay, if the coil is good.

Jumpers are very useful for troubleshooting EM's.
PB BR relay (resized).JPGPB BR relay (resized).JPG

#18 1 year ago

Is there a man on first?
Just curious because I picked on up a few weeks ago and it’s starts with man on 1 an 2. Kind of been following, I’ve got newborns so haven’t been able to really poke around.

#19 1 year ago

Maybe we should point out to the OP how dangerous it may be to be digging his hands inside a live machine if he is not aware of the dangers. Although there is no record of someone being killed by a pinball machine, you should take caution around the power supply. It can kill you or give you the shock of your life.

#20 1 year ago

Thanks, y'all. I kinda took a little break from it. Did a flipper rebuild, cut new BAT decals, etc. After the flipper rebuild, the right side is awesome, left side is still weak. So I'll be going orange dot coils. I'll get back on the 2nd base thing. I don't think it's the hit unit.

Thanks for the caution about power. I'm very aware of the line voltage and high voltage sides of the transformer, as well as what parts inside are high voltage vs low voltage, and even the low voltage can give a good tingle.

1 month later
#21 1 year ago

Could someone tell me the coil # for the ball launcher?..for Playball.thx

#22 1 year ago
Quoted from karate:

Could someone tell me the coil # for the ball launcher?..for Playball.thx

A4893

#23 1 year ago

Thx Howard.

#24 1 year ago

I’m also looking for the part # for the bracket that holds the coil.thx so much.

1 week later
#25 1 year ago
Quoted from karate:

I’m also looking for the part # for the bracket that holds the coil.thx so much.

I'm sure if you contact pinball resource they would help you.

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