(Topic ID: 242788)

Mercury tilt switch

By chad

2 years ago


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  • 18 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by chad
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#1 2 years ago

First time running across one of these mercury tilt switches. Were they commonly used? Safe to leave installed?
Thanks!

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#2 2 years ago

I usually leave them. As long as it is in the sealed glass.

#3 2 years ago

We use to play with Mercury when we were kids, it was fun to roll it around, and if you coat a dime with it it gets super shiny.
I know I'm old.

#4 2 years ago
Quoted from 0geist0:

We use to play with Mercury when we were kids, it was fun to roll it around, and if you coat a dime with it it gets super shiny.
I know I'm old.

Lol

#5 2 years ago

The mercury in these sealed glass containers is elemental mercury and is harmless, mostly. It was used in old equipment and thermometers. It’s the newer, industrial stuff called methyl-mercury that will kill you within a few hours.

These switches are safe, and should be left in place. The only dangers from this form of mercury is the vapors. When the glass is broken and exposed to air, mercury has an extremely low surface tension which allows it to vaporize extremely easily. The vapors are absorbed in the blood stream and is what gives you the mercury poisoning.

However, as I mentioned, elemental mercury is much more stable and safer. It has a higher surface tension than methyl-mercury and doesn’t vaporizer as easily.

On top of that, nothing bad will happen if the glass is never tampered with, so essentially don’t worry about it. If you ever feel it may present a danger, just put makeshift plastic cover over it to protect the glass.

Addendum: as far as my research indicates, Gottlieb was the only company to use mercury tilt switches and did so for only 5 years or so.

#6 2 years ago
Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

The mercury in these sealed glass containers is elemental mercury and is harmless, mostly. It was used in old equipment and thermometers. It’s the newer, industrial stuff called methyl-mercury that will kill you within a few hours.
These switches are safe, and should be left in place. The only dangers from this form of mercury is the vapors. When the glass is broken and exposed to air, mercury has an extremely low surface tension which allows it to vaporize extremely easily. The vapors are absorbed in the blood stream and is what gives you the mercury poisoning.
However, as I mentioned, elemental mercury is much more stable and safer. It has a higher surface tension than methyl-mercury and doesn’t vaporizer as easily.
On top of that, nothing bad will happen if the glass is never tampered with, so essentially don’t worry about it. If you ever feel it may present a danger, just put makeshift plastic cover over it to protect the glass.
Addendum: as far as my research indicates, Gottlieb was the only company to use mercury tilt switches and did so for only 5 years or so.

Thank you. Its a game in for repair and I was just curious about it. I will wrap some seran wrap around it.

#7 2 years ago

Keep in mind, thousands upon thousands of homes and businesses all still have mercury in their thermostats. It’s safe.

Just don’t smash the glass, and you’ll be good. If it survived this long in the rough and tumble arcade environment, it’ll be just fine in your home.

#8 2 years ago

I have an old 40's telephone booth with a mercury switch that turns on the light when the door is closed. The mercury switch is on top of the booth. Works perfectly.

Any worries about that?

#9 2 years ago

don't lick it !

Quoted from DennisDodel:

I have an old 40's telephone booth with a mercury switch that turns on the light when the door is closed. The mercury switch is on top of the booth. Works perfectly.
Any worries about that?

#10 2 years ago
Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

Addendum: as far as my research indicates, Gottlieb was the only company to use mercury tilt switches and did so for only 5 years or so.

My 1965 Bally 50/50 had one.

#11 2 years ago

While it is probably safe to leave the mercury switch, if it was my game, I would be replacing/removing it and taking the switch to a proper disposal location. In the remote possibility it breaks, clean up would be difficult and it isn't worth the hassle of keeping it.

#12 2 years ago
Quoted from Eric_S:

While it is probably safe to leave the mercury switch, if it was my game, I would be replacing/removing it and taking the switch to a proper disposal location. In the remote possibility it breaks, clean up would be difficult and it isn't worth the hassle of keeping it.

Send it to me, mercury has many uses and is quite hard to buy when you need it :b

#13 2 years ago
Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

Send it to me, mercury has many uses and is quite hard to buy when you need it :b

Just curious for what uses you have for mercury?

#14 2 years ago
Quoted from Eric_S:

Just curious for what uses you have for mercury?

panning for gold

2 months later
#15 2 years ago

I know this is an older posting, but thought I'd ask.

I have a broken one as well on one of my games, then found a stash of "Magnetrol" liquid level switches... ( 2 of them are marked RP1013 and then one each of RP 1953 thru 1956)

Will these work? It's a long shot I know.

If so, I only need one if anyone else may need one?

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#16 2 years ago
Quoted from Nikrox2:

I know this is an older posting, but thought I'd ask.
I have a broken one as well on one of my games, then found a stash of "Magnetrol" liquid level switches... ( 2 of them are marked RP1013 and then one each of RP 1953 thru 1956)
Will these work? It's a long shot I know.
If so, I only need one if anyone else may need one?[quoted image]

Interesting find! I don’t see why they wouldn’t work.

#17 2 years ago

The directions sheet with each one is dated 1970. I take it once you install one, you just adjust the bulb to make contact on each end, then if the machine is "tilted" enough to move the mercury, it then breaks the signal to actually tilt the game?

Or is that backward, and you adjust the bulb so that it doesn't make contact, so if someone does tilt the machine, it then makes contact and tilts the game?

#18 2 years ago

Nice find!

Hey there! Got a moment?

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