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(Topic ID: 232858)

Need Help Fixing Broken Bally EM Scoring Reel

By BillMar

1 year ago

Topic Stats

  • 11 posts
  • 3 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by MarkG
  • No one calls this topic a favorite


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#1 1 year ago

Hi. I have a 1964 Bally "Happy Tour" (nearly identical to the "Grand Tour") with a broken "tens" scoring reel. I'm fairly handy and am going to try to fix this myself, and I'm comfortable working inside the machine (but I don't know all of the correct terminology, so please correct me).

The symptoms were the "tens" scoring reel wouldn't move and would buzz when activated. Upon removing the scoring reel, i could see that the plastic armature (?) that connects to the coil solenoid was broken off and missing, as was the plunger (?) from the coil. See picture 1 & 2. This was a mystery as I could find neither piece on the floor of the pinball machine or anywhere. Upon removing the coil from the reel and looking inside, however, I could see that both the plunger and the broken off piece were inside the coil and stuck solid. See picture 3.

So it's clear to me that I need to replace the coil and the armature.

Several questions:

1. What is the Armature actually called so I can look for the right part?
2. The coil is too darkened to read any numbers on it. The coils on the "ones" and "tens" reels are much newer and I can read the numbers, but the numbers are different. Is it possible that the different scoring reels would use different coils? or does the number vary? See picture 4 & 5 . What coil should I be buying?
3. It looks like the wire in the working scoring reel with the blue-wrapped coil is loose. Should I be replacing that one while I'm at it?
4. Finally, I'm not sure exactly how to clean and lubricate the whole mechanism. Any advice?

Thanks for indulging all of my questions and correcting any words I've gotten wrong!


Broken Scoring Reel (resized).jpgBroken Scoring reel reverse (resized).jpgInside Solenoid (resized).jpgWorking Scoring Reel 1 (resized).jpgWorking scoring reel 2 (resized).jpg
#2 1 year ago
Quoted from BillMar:

Upon removing the coil from the reel and looking inside, however, I could see that both the plunger and the broken off piece were inside the coil and stuck solid.

What probably happened was that the 10 point relay fired and waited for the 10 point score reel End of Stroke switch to open. The score reel solenoid pulled in the plunger and part of the drive pawl but never managed to open the End of Stroke switch since the drive pawl broke. So both coils stuck on until the score reel coil overheated and someone noticed.

I think you need the drive pawl shown here:

I don't know much about the availability of NOS Bally EM parts, but a used score reel shouldn't be hard to find. I don't think this is a common failure so I wouldn't worry about replacing it with a used part.

The coil list for Grand Tour on calls for E-184-206 coils for all three score reels.
Ordinarily the loose wire wouldn't concern me unless the coil isn't working, but since it's apparently not the right coil I could be convinced to replace it.
Generally if the score reel is clean and the plunger isn't mushroomed it won't need any lubrication.


#3 1 year ago

First I thought you'd be able to knock that plunger out & replace just the coil but I see the drive pawl is broken

Parts catalog is here:

looks like this is the correct part by the numbers: but you'll have to pull that plunger out of there.

... this assembly has a different part # for the plunger but the whole assembly # is correct

you'll need a new coil with a sleeve also check your bell coil & match coil as that may have fried as well

Pinball Resource .com may have these parts as well , coils are a tad less expensive so may be worth a call to Steve

#4 1 year ago

Thanks all! Have ordered the parts and will let you know what happens.

#5 1 year ago

Hi Gang -

Thanks for the help. Good news, bad news. So I received the parts and replaced them and the score reel works...sort of. The fixed "tens" reel scores like normal when playing, but when i go to reset, it's not resetting back to zero, it's just sitting there. If I play again, it will continue to score from whatever position it's in, but it just won't reset. Picture 1 is the three score reels in position. Picture 2 & 3 are the fixed "tens" reel, full shot and closeup on the switches. Pictures 4 & 5 are the working "ones" reel, for comparison. What could be wrong? Are the switches out of place?

Remember, in your response, that I'm a learning novice, so explain to me like I'm stupid. . And of course, thanks for your help.


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#6 1 year ago

The short answer is to have a good look at the three switches and make sure that all three of them open and close (electrically, not just visually) at some point when you manually advance the score reel from 0 through 9. It looks like the two outer switches may be stuck, one always open and one always closed.

The long answer is that there are two different circuits that drive the score reel as you have observed. One circuit adds points during the game and seems to be working fine. The other circuit is used to reset the score reel to 0 and that one isn't working.

Those three switches in your photos are used by different circuits. One switch (the inner one I think) closes when the score reel is showing a 9 so that the next pulse that comes in to fire the score reel gets shared with the next higher score reel an advances it too, going from 09 to 10 for example.

The other two switches are used by the reset circuit. One switch (the middle one I think) opens when the score reel is showing 0 and prevents any more reset pulses from advancing the score reel. The other one (the outer one?) closes when the score reel shows 0 to tell the game that it has reached the reset position. Usually the game keep sending pulses until all score reels show 0 so if one is sticky it'll still get there eventually.

#7 1 year ago

Hi Mark -

Thanks for the explanation. Because (as previously stated) I'm an idiot and trying to figure all of this out, I've attached a picture of the switches, with each blade numbered. If I understand correctly, 1 & 2 constitute one switch, 3 & 4 another, and 5 & 6 another, yes? If so, let's call them A (1 & 2), B (3 & 4) and C (5 & 6)

So, if I've got this all right, you're saying that switch C (the "inner" switch) should normally be open and only closes when a 9 is showing.

And the two "outer switches" (A & B) are used by the reset circuit. Switch B, the middle one, should be closed normally, and opens when the score reel is 0.

What about the A switch? Is that supposed to be normally open or closed?

Also, here's the really stupid question, if I advance the reel manually, while the power is on, am I going to get zapped?

Thanks again for your patience with my lack of knowledge and your expertise.



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#8 1 year ago

You've got the idea. A switch is made up of two (or three) leaves, each leaf with a contact in it. The longer of the switch leaves in each switch is the one that travels, or gets pushed by something else, and meets the shorter of the leaves. The arrangement of the long and short leaves and the activating lever tells you what kind of switch it is.

So looking at your image you can infer that:
- 1 & 2 form one switch where 2 is the traveling leaf so that switch should be open unless the lever from the score reel cam pushes it closed
- 3 & 4 form one switch where 3 is the traveling leaf so that switch should be closed unless opened by the lever
- 5 & 6 form one switch where 5 is the traveling leaf so that switch should be open unless closed by the lever

That's assuming that the lever is in the right place in the photo. Compare against the other score reels to see how each switch works on those.

You probably won't get shocked if you advance the score reel with the power on, but why would you need to? Doing it with the power off lets you move things slowly and observe how they work.

#9 1 year ago

Thanks! the only reason I was thinking I needed to advance the wheel manually with the power on is that you had said in the previous post that I should I needed to make sure that all of them open and close electrically, not just visually. Did I misinterpret?

Thanks again.

#10 1 year ago

Fixed! I had a momentary panic when the score reels worked fine and reset, but the Score Motor kept spinning and spinning, but then on careful inspection I saw that the first switch wasn't exactly positioned right (it was such a small difference...) and, presto, a working machine once again! Thanks for all of your help!

#11 1 year ago

Well done. To clarify, a switch can look closed but it doesn't count unless it closes the circuit electrically. I meant that you should check that the switches open and close electrically with a meter and not just observe that they appear to open and close.

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