(Topic ID: 301038)

Gottlieb Surf Champ - Solid State Sound Conversion

By flb_gulfstream

32 days ago



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  • 10 posts
  • 6 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 31 days ago by flb_gulfstream
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#1 32 days ago

I'm being tempted by a Gottlieb Surf Champ that is for sale in my general area. The condition is decent but the one thing I do not like about it is the fact it has the "New Electronic Solid State Sound" as stated on a sticker/banner on the machine. This is an EM machine and I would prefer that it had the chime unit.

Since some of these machines have chimes and others have a sound board, are there two different schematics that are dependent on the machine? The reason I ask is that if I were to buy this machine, I would want to convert the sound to a chime unit so would I need to purchase another schematic in order to wire in a chime unit?

I also did a quick search for Gottlieb chime units and those appear to be hard to find. There is a company in Europe that makes chime units for Bally, Gottlieb and Williams machines but those look to be pretty expensive.

Maybe taking into account the scarcity of the chime units and the possibility of having to get another schematic, I should just keep looking for another machine.

I'm looking for opinions so whatever you have to say, let me know.

Thanks.

#2 32 days ago

I think you're getting your machines confused. Surf Champ was a Gottlieb machine from 1976 - wouldn't have had SS anything. Just chimes...at least from the factory.

#3 32 days ago

I once bought a Spirit of 76 that had an after-market Wico sound card added. Someone had also installed a Bally chime unit that chimed at the same time. The chimes, intended for 50V, made very soft sounds in a 24V Gottlieb. I assume that chime unit was used so as to avoid drowning out the electronic sounds. I figured the electronic sounds were added so the EM wouldn’t seem so “old” after SS pins came out, similar to the way metal rail covers were put on some woodrails after the newer pins had metal rails. I thought the sounds were ridiculous, so I disconnected the sound card and swapped in a Gottlieb chime unit.

I’m guessing your Surf Champ also had the sound card added after SS pins had come out. Maybe the sticker on the machine also came from the sound card manufacturer, to tout the after-market “upgrade.”

It’s somewhat hard for me to understand how people back then (and I probably did as a teenager) thought the sound card (which I refer to as a “squawk box”) sounded better than beautiful clear Gottlieb chimes.

#4 32 days ago

Yeah, I saw one of those after-market electronic sound boxes on an EM too. It sounded God-awful - but I guess if that's all you had available, then that's what you put in.

I thought the graphics on my Atari 2600 were awesome in 1978!

And, as the OP says, it's getting harder and harder to find a chime box floating around.

#5 32 days ago

Go look at the game, or have them take a photo inside the coin door. The chime unit should be visible on the right, inside. When operators added the sound card and speaker, 'usually' a speaker hole was drilled or cut somewhere. Some of the conversions I have seen, the chime unit was not removed from the game, and just left in place with the wires removed from it.

#6 32 days ago

If you need/want to buy an authentic Gottlieb chime box, PM me, I have a few of them in storage.

#7 32 days ago

I don't have my machines confused. I was just stating what the ad said and what the photos showed. I have done some research and found that these electronic sound cards were added later to some EMs to try to lure kids back to the older EMs after SS machines started to show up. After realizing this, I now know there would only be one schematic for this game.

I will send a note to the seller to see if the chime box is still in place. If not, I will take this into account when making an offer (if I make an offer).

Below is a photo from the listing. The sticker is coming off but it is there. Thanks to all for sharing their thoughts.

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#9 32 days ago

Surf Champ's a fun game! If you can find a chime unit somewhere and replace that sound board, I guarantee you'll like the sounds better. Those boards sound pretty...um...electronic.

#10 31 days ago

When I contacted the seller again to ask about the chime box, there was a sale pending on the machine. The seller did say there was no chime box in the machine so it must have been removed when the operator had the SS card installed.

At least I learned something out of this. If I ever see another EM with SS sound, I will ask the seller if the chime box is still intact.

Thanks to all.

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