(Topic ID: 240889)

Minimum Steps to Replace Pop Bumper Light Socket

By classic-chevyguy

6 months ago

Topic Stats

  • 19 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 months ago by goldenboy232
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders


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#1 6 months ago

Making great progress on my 1969 Gottlieb Airport machine.

Most of the credit belongs to members of this incredible forum who are willing to provide great technical assistance to a newbie.

My next step is to replace the lamp sockets in the Pop Bumpers.

I have done everything to get the sockets to work but to no avail.

Seems like the bottom plate is too low to provide the spring motion to hold the bulb securely in the socket, and can't seem to get a tool to pull it up.

The Pop Bumpers are working well and in good shape.

All the info I can find focuses on rebuilding the Pop Bumper and, btw, replace the lamp socket.

Is there a way to replace the lamp socket without taking the entire Pop Bumper assembly completely apart?

Thanks to all members who help us.

#2 6 months ago

You should be able to get something like a switch adjusting tool underneath the bottom plate to pull it up.

#3 6 months ago

Depending on the layout, technically all you need to do is desolder the legs, and then pull it out the top. But usually it's hard to access the legs with a soldering iron while the bracket is installed, so you need to remove that. While it's out you might as well rebuild the mech. Once you desolder the legs, clean the solder off and straighten them then pull the socket out through the top.

#4 6 months ago


Not familiar with a switch adjusting tool. Do you know a source for purchase

#5 6 months ago

From Marco Specialties:

#6 6 months ago

A switch adjuster is a must-have for any pinball owners, though I've never had much success bending the pop bumper sockets with them

#7 6 months ago

I’ve had that issue with the bottom plate being too low on a socket and have bent it up using a dental pick. Buy a set at Harbor Freght or on amazon. Also a great set of tools for EM restoration, working with springs, etc.

And separately, the switch adjuster took is a must-have for EM repair (maybe not for the light socket issue though).

#8 6 months ago

I have a switch adjuster but didn’t know what it’s called. Sorry!!

I had tried it but the bent part was too long. Will try a smaller model.


#9 6 months ago

The dental pick will work as well. A set is fairly cheap and they are useful in working on machines.

While you have to carefully negotiate the switch adjuster into place I have been able to do it on my mid 60s Gottlieb machines.

#10 6 months ago

Thinking out of the box.

Is it possible to attach a conductive “spacer” to either the bulb or the bottom of the socket to make contact?

Have some old light socket brackets which will transfer electricity.

#11 6 months ago

Technically you could probably plop a blob of solder on the bottom to make it thicker and better conducting, but I don't really think it's worth trying to 'hack' it

#12 6 months ago

I have a small, long and thin needle nose plyer that does the trick. It also puts springs in tight spaces such as drop targets. It holds wires while I solder them. It was worth the investment.

#13 6 months ago

I've had luck pulling the bottom tab back up using two paint can openers. The hook on the side is small enough to get around but large enough to clip. You may need one on each side.

paint can opener (resized).jpg
#14 6 months ago

There are pluses and minuses with each approach.

To really clean up a pop bumper you should desolder the lamp and pull the complete mechanism apart and clean and polish everything. You can replace the mylar trim ring under the pop bumper skirt also making everything look as good as possible.

p.s. - I'm not looking to open up debate about dry versus adhesive pop bumper mylar. I'm a Gottlieb guy and like to keep them the way the factory did it.

#15 6 months ago

Fuse-pullers are also good for this application...

#16 6 months ago

I took most of your suggestions, cleaned and tightened up the socket. I did notice that when I pressed down on the socket, it gave a little.

So, I went under the playfield and noticed the pop bumper bracket screws were loose AND the solder joint between one of the socket leads and the wire were separated and barely touching. I expect due to the additional vibration on the popup with the bracket screws being loose.

Tightened up the screws and resoldered the joint and she's working like a champ.

Thanks for your help..

#17 6 months ago

Glad you got it working. Please mark as "solved"

#18 6 months ago

How do I mark as Solved

#19 6 months ago
Quoted from classic-chevyguy:

How do I mark as Solved

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