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(Topic ID: 108271)

How to repair williams chime unit


By fattdirk

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 27 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Fytr
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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Sugru (resized).JPG

#1 5 years ago

I just picked up a Williams Toledo and the chimes sound horrible. Like a kid clanking on a pot but worse. After doing some research I ordered a chime rebuild kit from Pinball Resource. I pulled the unit apart to clean it to prepare it for the rebuild kit and noticed that the 1000's chime has the holes blown out where the retainer pin clips in. The tab is just bent down now with no retainer pin. I'm pretty sure the chimes will never sound right using that type of configuration.

I'm just curious as to how people repair this? I noticed the bracket that holds the bar is one solid unit for all the chimes. I can't seem to locate one either.

#3 5 years ago

I saw that. I don't get what it is riveted to? Just the old post? I wonder if I could just tack weld the hole closed?

#4 5 years ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

I saw that. I don't get what it is riveted to? Just the old post? I wonder if I could just tack weld the hole closed?

Yessir.

#5 5 years ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

I don't get what it is riveted to?

The main bracket body is what its riveted to directly over the old post,bending or just removing the old one is up to you. Some flat metal washers will space those coil holding brackets [top and bottom] clearing the new metal bracket ear riveted in place keeping them in the same plane.

#6 5 years ago

Don't be surprised when you get it all rebuilt that it still sounds a bit like that. One area where Gottlieb definitely beat Williams was the chimes. Gottlieb chimes are very mellow and melodious, they sound great. Williams chimes, even when rebuilt to the best you can make them, are still clanky. Even Bally's chimes are better. I've rebuilt several Williams chimes units and they are just that way. I never could eliminate the clanky sound they make. They just won't ring like a Gottlieb unit will.

#7 5 years ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

Williams chimes, even when rebuilt to the best you can make them, are still clanky.

Just make new bars, longer for low frequency and shorter for high. Have a play.

#8 5 years ago

So I took the doorbell apart at my house because it is very melodic. I think the secret is the chime bars actually have rubber grommets that fit thru the mounting hole. It looks like a rubber eyelet. I'm thinking I might be able to trim down a rubber bushing and get the same effect from the Williams chimes.

Quoted from Chrisbee:

Just make new bars, longer for low frequency and shorter for high. Have a play.

Have you made new bars with any success? I think the clang sound is because the bar just doesn't have the freedom to ring and reverberate not that it's out of tune.

#9 5 years ago

I'm going to harbor freight tonight and pick up this kit. I feel like the only difference in the Williams and Gottlieb chimes are the Williams uses rubber aquarium tubing instead of grommets. For 6 bucks it's worth a shot.

http://www.harborfreight.com/180-piece-harness-grommet-set-67582.html

#10 5 years ago

Chances are, it won't have a grommet with the larger center spacing like the Gottlieb grommet does. By having a larger space between the top and bottom, it doesn't hug the chime bar as tightly as a normal grommet will. And the normal grommet will deaden the sustain quite a bit.

It is very easy to cut new chime bars out of standard flat aluminum stock. With differences in material, you might have to adjust the length a bit if you are keen enough on hearing if they are slightly off note.

The big difference between a Gottlieb, Bally and a Williams chime is that Gottlieb and Bally used a tuned sounding box that feeds the vibration back to the chime bar and not only increases volume, but also the sustain. Williams just used an open plastic box with bounces the vibration right back on all three bars and it doesn't ring as true. The cost cutting design of the mounting bracket results in the clanky sound you hear unless you use the original soft foam washer on the underside mounts.

But then, since that is what they sounded like new, it is nice for them to be a bit different. As long as they don't klank up against the metal mounts.

#11 5 years ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

Williams just used an open plastic box with bounces the vibration right back on all three bars and it doesn't ring as true. The cost cutting design of the mounting bracket results in the clanky sound you hear unless you use the original soft foam washer on the underside mounts.

Maybe it'll be easier for me just to cherish the clank

#12 5 years ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

Even Bally's chimes are better.

They most certainly are.....

#13 5 years ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

So I took the doorbell apart at my house because it is very melodic.

If you look at Chicago coin's chime units, they WERE actually made by a doorbell company....

#14 5 years ago
Quoted from dasvis:

If you look at Chicago coin's chime units, they WERE actually made by a doorbell company...

NuTONE still makes the 2 tone doorbells which were used on later Chicago Coins. My 1972 CC Casino uses a 3 chime box with wooden blocks to set the tone apart from all the other manufactures, good sound and not clanky.

Ken

#15 5 years ago

Pretty new to the hobby, but having grown up in my younger years playing classical music where I spent a lot of time around xylophones and glockenspiels, I was really excited to try to improve the sound on my 1976 Williams Space Odyssey chimes. I have had a few conversations with friends who are percussionists about this to get feedback on what the supports for different instruments (vibraphones, marimbas, xylophones, etc.) are constructed of.

When I purchased the table last spring, the chime unit was in really bad shape (go figure). The smallest chime did not sound at all because the the plunger was frozen in the bell sleeve. The other two sounded extremely "tinny" as musicians would say and lacked any real resonance. The shock mounts that held the bars off the chime posts were pretty much rotted away and there were little brittle parts of them stuck on the posts and lots down in the chime box itself. The two bars that actually worked just kind of clanked when struck. It was bad.

First I disassembled the unit and cleaned everything that needed it in the ultrasonic. Then I used Mother's Mag and Aluminum polish on the chime bars. They came out great. I purchased a chime rebuild kit from Steve at Pinball Resource and used it to replace all the old battered parts. Swapped out the 3 long bell coil sleeves and re-polished the plungers so they moved freely. Once all this was done, I was much happier with the sound but it was still not there.

The biggest issue is that the longest chime bar (I'd safely assume this is true across the board on Williams 3-bar chimes of the era) is "heavy" to the point that it will not resonate as well as the other two. The weight of the chime bar simply means that it rests heavier on the shock mounts which tend to deaden the resonance. I have purchased a bunch of different washers of different shapes and sizes since I re-built the unit and at some point I'm sure I will find a configuration that best supports the chime bar while giving it the freedom to vibrate for as long as possible, which is what will reduce or remove the clanking. It is not nearly as bad as it was when I bought the table, but it is still not where I want it. If I get a chance this weekend I will swap a few in and out to see if I find what I'm looking for and I'll let you guys know.

To be honest, one of my plungers does not have nylon on its tip. It just has a piece of pencil cut and glued into place. This might anger some purists, but the wooden tipped plunger sounds very good when striking the chime bar. It's simple, really. The wood contributes a less harsh tone to the sound than the usual piece of hard nylon. It's the same reason many percussion mallets use rubber or rubber bands or felt on their strikers. Anyway, I'll keep you all posted on my progress as I work through this. I know it may seem wrong to some to leave the stock parts behind in the search for good chime tone, but I think it's kind of fun trying to get a good tone out of the Williams configuration.

I totally agree with CactusJack about Williams chime units being inferior. All I needed to do was play a few EMs from each manufacturer last spring at the time I was first working on the issue with my Williams table to confirm that there is a much better sound out of Gottlieb and Bally chime units. Bally units I love. They sound really deep and rich.

#16 5 years ago
Quoted from SilverBallKid:

The biggest issue is that the longest chime bar (I'd safely assume this is true across the board on Williams 3-bar chimes of the era) is "heavy" to the point that it will not resonate as well as the other two.

YES!!! This is exactly my experience. The 10's and 100's chimes actually resonate and don't sound too bad. I put some old rubber rings under them while waiting for my rebuild kit to come in and they sound 100% better, but I can't see how the 1000's chime will ever be anything but clank.

4 months later
#17 5 years ago

I have to do this repair.

Do you know what sort of metal to make the new bracket from?

1 year later
#21 4 years ago

I have a Williams 1971. I only saw one chime. The chime box is made out if wood. Do all pins have three chimes?

#22 4 years ago
Quoted from Diamondbed96:

I have a Williams 1971. I only saw one chime. The chime box is made out if wood. Do all pins have three chimes?

Williams Shuffle Alleys and a few Williams pins use that single chime on a wooden box. That is original for your machine!

#23 4 years ago

Sorry, but I have to "chime" in here. I spent half my high school income playing Williams Space Mission and Triple Action in 70's. I own both now. I for one LOVE those clanky chimes. You can hear those suckers a mile away. Ripping the spinner on Space Mission is a blissful cacophony for me. And a 3x10k bonus payout on Triple Action: clankclankclank, clankclankclank... Beautiful baby.

Ducks out of conversation...

1 year later
#24 2 years ago

...for those of you without fond memories of the classic Williams EM chime "clank", I may have a solution.

I rebuilt the chime unit on my recently acquired Argosy on the weekend using old post rubbers and tubing I had around the house (thank-you PinWiki). Having stumbled on this thread I took the opportunity to cover the nylon tops of the chime plungers with a moldable rubber compound I also had lying around called "Sugru". This stuff applies like silly-putty and dries to a hard, durable rubber in 24 hours. I only used about 1/2 a small package to do this.

So now I have rubberized the tips of the plungers and the chimes are a lot less clangy by my ear. Also not as loud in general. I find them very pleasant.
Sugru (resized).JPG

Remember if you do this that the entire plunger, including the Sugru'd tip, needs to fit smoothly through the coil sleeve so make sure you test it with a spare sleeve before it sets. I also "dropped" the soft tips on the chime bars to flatten them nicely, though I wonder what different a rounder shape at the tip might make? After all, mallets used by percusion instruments are usually rounded at the tips, not flat.

The other good thing about Sugru is you can generally remove it completely with a little effort if you decide later it wasn't a good idea, etc. By carefully cutting, then tearing it away.

https://sugru.com/

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