(Topic ID: 231805)

Gottlieb Vari-Target issue - delay in scoring and reset

By Beatnik-Filmstar

11 months ago

Topic Stats

  • 6 posts
  • 4 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 11 months ago by Beatnik-Filmstar
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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#1 11 months ago

Finally felt like tackling something that's been bugging for a while, and I'm stuck.

Working on a 1971 Playball. It has two standard Gottlieb vari-targets.

The left target works as expected. The right target though - intermittently - when you hit it so that the blades make contact with the first set of scoring contacts the target will just sit for a while. Sometimes a second. Sometimes more. It will then score and reset as it should. Sometimes it works just fine. If you hit it to where it's making contact with the 2nd through 6th sets of scoring contacts, it scores and resets immediately.


Any ideas on what would cause this?

Things I've done / checked:
-The blades are making contact with the scoring contact points at each step on the vari-target.
-I've cleaned the contacts, and applied a light coating of superlube.
-I've not really messed with the tension of the main spring, but it seems fine. It takes a pretty solid shot to push the target all the way back, but that's the way I want it. And once the target scores, the arm resets without issue.
- The home/reset switch (not sure what it's called) is normally open as it should be and closes by the time the first set of contacts is reached.

I'm just confused. What would cause it to pause like that? The only clue (maybe) that I can offer is that I'm incapable of duplicating it with the playfield raised. If the play field is up, the target scores more or less instantly. The spring sometimes doesn't have the tension to reset the target, but it's working against gravity at this point, so it's not that surprising I don't think.

Gonna go stare at it some more, but if anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

#4 11 months ago
Quoted from MarkG:

The two Vari targets are wired in parallel so the game doesn't know whether you get a single for example from the left or right Vari-target. So that eliminates almost everything from the circuit except for the right Vari-target as a suspect. It looks like you're getting an intermittent or high resistance connection in the first position. That could be between the wiper and the first contact, or at a cold solder joint on either end of the wire attached to the 1st contact, or possibly due to a break in the wire attached to the 1st contact.
The raised playfield detail might point to a bad solder joint or broken wire. The weight of the wire in the up position may hold things together well enough but not in the down position.

Thanks for this suggestion. Would swear I've checked the solder points before, but wasn't really examining closely I guess. Will also examine the wire itself. Will be relieved no matter how dumb I'll feel if it's just a near break in a wire.

Quoted from Cash_Riprock:

Couldn’t find what I was looking for for you, but maybe this adjustment video of some help.

Thanks as well. I've watched Todd's video before. Not really an issue of adjusting though. Everything is lined up fine. Just a strange delay befrore firing in one position.

#6 11 months ago

Well, I'm now I'm a little confused. But also happy, and there's a saying about gift horses.

Checked the solder points for the vari-target and they all look good to me. Clean and smooth. The wires themselves seem fine. Not that you can see a possible break in the wire through the shielding, but the wires making the connections are rather short and pretty rigid. Can't picture them moving much at all if any when the playfield is raised.

Another user had sent me a PM advising to clean the super lube off, clean the contacts and re-try.

So, I swear I hadn't gunked it up with superlube or anything. I'm far from experienced, but I'm not crazy. The right target certainly had no more than the left one that's working fine. But I cleaned all the lube off the first two contact points with some Q-tips and naptha, hit them with some 600 grit sandpaper for good measure and put things back together. 30+ times in a row - right vari-target reacting immediately and scoring correctly. Even went back and re-applied the tiniest amount of superlube that I could and things are working fine.

Not sure if it was the cleaning, the slight sanding, or maybe it was the wires all along but putzing with them closed some micro gap sufficiently. But like I said - gift horse.

Side note - I then played the Big Deal next to it for the first time in weeks and rolled the score for only the third time ever, and first time without collecting any extra balls. This if officially a good pinball day.

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