(Topic ID: 303015)

Gottlieb Surfer - Spinner Problem

By jfranci

8 months ago

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Topic Stats

  • 12 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 days ago by lazySUNBATHER
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders


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#1 8 months ago

Hi all,

Hoping all the experts out there can help! I have a '76 Surfer with a spinner feature. I can't seem to set the weighted contact underneath the table to the right setting to have the 'Add Extra Bonus' lights along the top of the playfield cycle (Light 1 turns on, then off, light 2 turns on/off, and so on) when the spinner spins. I either seem to set it too low and the 'Add Extra Bonus' lights do not cycle at all or it gap it so tight that the coil is locked on and I have to quickly turn off the machine. At times, I'm able to get it to cycle intermittently, but I'd love to see the bonus lights fully react to the spinner spinning. As you can see in the photo, I've added a bit of electrical tape - in a failed attempt to add weight to the spinner weight, but this doesn't help. Maybe more weight? A washer? Some other approach?

Thanks very much!

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#2 8 months ago

Have you cleaned up the stepper for that feature so it moves nice and easy?

#3 8 months ago

I doubt the spinner is causing the bonus light from rotating. That is controlled by the AS relay on the bottom of the playfield. They are a bit finicky to work on, but it needs to be clean to work well. There’s a couple of little circuit boards with wiper arms, and a ratchet sandwiched between. I have a four player Surf Champ so the pictures may not your game exactly. But I would take a look for it. Q-tips and isopropyl alcohol at a minimum may work. Taking it apart, cleaning, new dielectric grease, etc., should bring it back to life - unless it has a broken part. Hope this helps.

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#4 8 months ago

If the problem is the AS relay here’s a link to some more detailed info…


Look under section 2D.

#5 8 months ago

20211028_154642 (resized).jpg20211028_154634 (resized).jpg20211028_154308 (resized).jpg20210921_103855 (resized).jpgMy Surfer had the same issue. It was the KS relay attached to the bottom of the playfield left side. It unplugs and unclips easily so you can service it. Mine needed to be disassembled, cleaned and very lightly lubricated with the specific grease sold by Pinball Resource. Dielectric grease I would not use, it is not designed for friction, only as a insulator to protect wires from moisture. 20210921_103633 (resized).jpg

#6 8 months ago

I use PBR new lube... it works great for EM games.

#7 8 months ago

I recently completed an overhaul of a surfer and encountered a similar symptom. In your photo it appears that you show the weight sitting above the switch and holding it down until the spinner rotates allowing it to rise and make contact. That is how mine was assembled as well and it was extremely ineffective at triggering rapid fire action of the spinner. I'm not sure of the original design but no matter how much fine adjusting I did it was not working well.

My solution was to mount the weight below the blade and adjust the blade to rest at the top of the weight so that upon rotation the weight would lift the blade to make contact. Sorry no photos available but I can tell you that the difference was amazing. weight at bottom of rotation holds spinner wireform down naturally with no resistance from blade tension, then when rotating , blade is lifted to make contact and allowed to return to it's level position after. Spinner is now highly responsive and scores properly.

Of course, everything stated here regarding AS relay proper operation is dead accurate, they are finicky little buggers and require a lot of patience and finesse in adjusting for smooth operation (perhaps an additional "S" in the "AS" relay title would be fitting)

Good Luck, Surfer is a great title and deserves to play up to it's potential.

#8 8 months ago

I just refurbished a Gottlieb Surfer pinball.
I used two plastic spacers to lift the spinner bracket up to allow the ball to pass through.
Also, two spinner washer sleeves with glue to keep the wire actuator over to the right side.
Finally, I had to adjust the long leaf blade to the spinner switch actuator.
In all, I had the same finicky adjustments, like all the above posts.

#9 8 months ago

zacaj Dpirhana S_Parker vec-tor Quartermaster - thank you all for the great advice! The wealth of knowledge in this forum is truly amazing...I had not idea what the KS relay was used for (or most others for that matter). Thank you all for the great photos as well - a picture is worth a thousand words. The location on Surfer is the same as on Surf Champ. I'll pull it off and give it a good cleaning and let you know the results!

#10 8 months ago

Dpirhana zacaj S_Parker - you guys nailed it! It was the AS relay after all! Working perfectly now! Thanks again for all your help!

#11 8 months ago

Quartermaster - thanks for your help! Missed you above! It was the AS (AK) relay after all; working great now. Thanks for the nice note on Surfer as well; I totally agree; it truly is a great title. Maybe not one I played in my youth so that nostalgia is not there, however it has all the classic elements of a great pinball machine. Mine was in terrible condition when I got it - it took months of work to clean it up and get it working properly, but totally worth it! I love it.

7 months later
#12 8 days ago

Ref: post #7
I recently took post #7 advice and
Moved the weight to under the leaf switch.
The spinner rips and ALWAYS returns to the correct position.
I also installed A New swinging target switch rod and 2 nylon washers to keep it in place.

30 minute project that everyone noticed immediately!!!

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