(Topic ID: 236166)

newb - just bought 70 gottlieb aquarius - need advice


By DanDaMan

4 months ago



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  • 32 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 months ago by DaMoib
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 4 months ago

Just bought my 1st pinball - a 1970 Gottlieb Aquarius - got it for $250 CDN in working / playable condition. The positive - 1) everything seems to work and it is playable, 2) previous owner said the rubbers were replaced not long ago, 3) it is a working pinball machine for $250. The bad - 1) missing the top glass, 2) cabinet and backing cosmetically bad with lots of scratches and wear in the wood and paint (I'd rate it a 3 out of 10), 3) playfield not much better cosmetically, 4) the slingshots don't have much punch, 5) one of the pop bumpers is sticking in the closed position, 6) some of the bulbs out, 7) buzzing noise from the coin mech area. So based on my description I have a few questions:

1) did I get a good deal - not really sure what this machine is worth in both rough shape and if I were to restore it
2) how do I get the slingshots to get more punch? Can I spray a lubricant on the relays? BTW - the rubbers look good so I think it has to do with the relay
3) how do I fix the sticking pop bumper - again can I spray some lubricant on it?
4) i'd like to clean up the playfield - what "home products" can I use to clean and shine it up?
5) with the cabinet in rough shape, what is everyone's opinion if I were to paint the cabinet? Would that totally de-value this machine even though it is rough today in stock form?

#2 4 months ago
Quoted from DanDaMan:

Just bought my 1st pinball - a 1970 Gottlieb Aquarius - got it for $250 CDN in working / playable condition. The positive - 1) everything seems to work and it is playable, 2) previous owner said the rubbers were replaced not long ago, 3) it is a working pinball machine for $250. The bad - 1) missing the top glass, 2) cabinet and backing cosmetically bad with lots of scratches and wear in the wood and paint (I'd rate it a 3 out of 10), 3) playfield not much better cosmetically, 4) the slingshots don't have much punch, 5) one of the pop bumpers is sticking in the closed position, 6) some of the bulbs out, 7) buzzing noise from the coin mech area. So based on my description I have a few questions:
1) did I get a good deal - not really sure what this machine is worth in both rough shape and if I were to restore it
2) how do I get the slingshots to get more punch? Can I spray a lubricant on the relays? BTW - the rubbers look good so I think it has to do with the relay
3) how do I fix the sticking pop bumper - again can I spray some lubricant on it?
4) i'd like to clean up the playfield - what "home products" can I use to clean and shine it up?
5) with the cabinet in rough shape, what is everyone's opinion if I were to paint the cabinet? Would that totally de-value this machine even though it is rough today in stock form?

1 - Great deal --- read this, it is your bible to EM pinball restoration - http://www.pinrepair.com/em/
2 - Take them apart & clean rebuild, with new coil sleeves, clean & adjust switches -USE NO LUBRICANT OF ANY KIND!
3 - See #2 - NO SPRAY LUBE!!!
4 - Use no water based cleaners, see Vid's guide https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/cleaning-and-waxing-pinball-machines-vids-guide
5 - If the cab is really bad, I would strip it, fix any loose joints, & repaint to factory specs
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/cabinet-restoration-vids-guide
Pinball pimp makes great stencils for the Aquarius - http://pinballpimpstencils.com/?page_id=1442

#3 4 months ago

FYI the buzzing form the coin door is likely the coin lockout mechanism. That’s fairly common. You can either put up with it or take it apart and clean it and replace the springs which may help some or disconnect the coil since it is home use if you don’t care about using coins in it.

Dave

#4 4 months ago

dasvis above mentions cleaning and adjusting switches. That would be the first thing I would try with the slingshots. The switch contacts need to be cleaned with small file make for that purpose and adjusted so there is a small gap when the rubber ring is around the posts. Takes a bit of trial and error and is much easier to do with the right tool but with sling switches I find a small fine bladed screwdriver can work if gently applied from the top. Not optimal but if you don’t have the tool it will do.

Dave

#5 4 months ago
Quoted from DanDaMan:

Just bought my 1st pinball - a 1970 Gottlieb Aquarius - got it for $250 CDN in working / playable condition. The positive - 1) everything seems to work and it is playable, 2) previous owner said the rubbers were replaced not long ago, 3) it is a working pinball machine for $250. The bad - 1) missing the top glass, 2) cabinet and backing cosmetically bad with lots of scratches and wear in the wood and paint (I'd rate it a 3 out of 10), 3) playfield not much better cosmetically, 4) the slingshots don't have much punch, 5) one of the pop bumpers is sticking in the closed position, 6) some of the bulbs out, 7) buzzing noise from the coin mech area. So based on my description I have a few questions:
1) did I get a good deal - not really sure what this machine is worth in both rough shape and if I were to restore it
2) how do I get the slingshots to get more punch? Can I spray a lubricant on the relays? BTW - the rubbers look good so I think it has to do with the relay
3) how do I fix the sticking pop bumper - again can I spray some lubricant on it?
4) i'd like to clean up the playfield - what "home products" can I use to clean and shine it up?
5) with the cabinet in rough shape, what is everyone's opinion if I were to paint the cabinet? Would that totally de-value this machine even though it is rough today in stock form?

Click on this link below to my you tube page. There I have some general information for a 1st time pinball owner that could help you out.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1KO137wpu6iiZVaMXjH_YQ/videos?view=0&sort=dd&shelf_id=1

#6 4 months ago

For the sticking pop bumper, also check the pop bumper relays and their switches. If two pop bumpers share one relay, all the switches on that pop bumper relay need to be adjusted to the same gap and they all need to open and close at the exact same time. If the gaps aren't the same, then one of the pop bumpers will occasionally or always stick in the down position...

#7 4 months ago

Mu buddy Chris(singlezero) has one and I love it.if you're in Ont and get bored of it lmk.

Ted

#8 4 months ago

...and welcome to the hobby DanDaMan !

#9 4 months ago
Quoted from DanDaMan:

Just bought my 1st pinball - a 1970 Gottlieb Aquarius - got it for $250 CDN in working / playable condition. The positive - 1) everything seems to work and it is playable, 2) previous owner said the rubbers were replaced not long ago, 3) it is a working pinball machine for $250. The bad - 1) missing the top glass, 2) cabinet and backing cosmetically bad with lots of scratches and wear in the wood and paint (I'd rate it a 3 out of 10), 3) playfield not much better cosmetically, 4) the slingshots don't have much punch, 5) one of the pop bumpers is sticking in the closed position, 6) some of the bulbs out, 7) buzzing noise from the coin mech area. So based on my description I have a few questions:
1) did I get a good deal - not really sure what this machine is worth in both rough shape and if I were to restore it
2) how do I get the slingshots to get more punch? Can I spray a lubricant on the relays? BTW - the rubbers look good so I think it has to do with the relay
3) how do I fix the sticking pop bumper - again can I spray some lubricant on it?
4) i'd like to clean up the playfield - what "home products" can I use to clean and shine it up?
5) with the cabinet in rough shape, what is everyone's opinion if I were to paint the cabinet? Would that totally de-value this machine even though it is rough today in stock form?

Fun game, good game to cut your teeth on, not too complicated. Post a couple of pics and we can better comment on whether to repaint or leave original.

#10 4 months ago

Welcome to the addiction DanDaMan! Better make more room....pins tend to multiply!

Repainting wouldn't necessarily 'de value' it. Some people call it 'patina' and like the history the outside of a cab shows...depending on how bad it is and how much $ you want to put into it. Its all about how YOU like it....

#11 4 months ago

Welcome to the hobby. And yes pins multiply. My first turned into 5 in 6 months. My semi nubi advice. Work on the mechanical problems. Then decide if you like it enough to do the cosmetic work. And listen to all the people above this post who really know what they are doing.

#12 4 months ago
Quoted from DCRand:

Welcome to the hobby. And yes pins multiply. My first turned into 5 in 6 months. My semi nubi advice. Work on the mechanical problems. Then decide if you like it enough to do the cosmetic work. And listen to all the people above this post who really know what they are doing.

Yes , get it playing, see if its a near term keeper or a long term keeper. Generally you are not going to recoop all your investment from a full up restore. But if you love the gameplay and want to make it nice, go for it.

#13 4 months ago

dandaman i saw that game for sale last week in saskatchewan if im correct? it was listed for 400 CDN. you probably wouldnt find another pin for that kind of money again. i own the same game and enjoy it. get through the mecahnical issues. that the game starts resets and plays is good because those are the hardest issues to rectify being new to the hobby.

i did see a project aquarius go fro 450CDN about 6 months ago in the toronto area. So that gives you an idea it was a deal . But if you are wanting to do all that work and restoration into it , do it for the love of doing it and that you enjoy the game . it starts adding up ... quickly.

#14 4 months ago

thanks guys for the input - lots of reading for me but looking forward to learning and fixing this game up. Good thing too I checked here to learn cause I was real close yesterday (when I got it) at spraying a shit load of wd40 on the sticking parts - read that is the worst thing I could have done and likely would have cause a fire.

It is a nice addition to my rec room / mancave. I now have this pinball, plus my 2018 Golden Tee Live (connected to my 120" projector), a 2010 dual shooter Buck Hunter, a Boxer punching machine, Chex hockey table, fooseball table, ping pong table, and pool table. Plus a loaded mame machine also connected to my 120" screen (mame has about 15000 roms).

Here are some pics of the unit - would appreciate some feedback on condition and whether I should leave it or repaint. And yes singlezero, sounds like the same ad as it was asking $400 but not sure why he would advertise in saskatchewan being he was in Calgary. Looks like I got a deal being the price included delivery to my house. Also I got a little lucky - the seller said he didn't know much about it as it was his dad's and has been sitting in a garage for years - he said it doesn't power up. When I got it, I plugged it in and sure enough nothing. But the game came with the schematics and original manual where I read it has a power button under the cabinet - I turned on the switch and voila - it fired right up and was playing.

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#15 4 months ago

That lock bracket on the coin door looks like a real knee cracker!

Cabinet looks good... is that electrical tape on the playfield?

All in all, a great deal, and a great first pin!

#16 4 months ago
Quoted from DaMoib:

That lock bracket on the coin door looks like a real knee cracker!
Cabinet looks good... is that electrical tape on the playfield?
All in all, a great deal, and a great first pin!

Yes, it is electrical tape - I'm not sure why the previous owner did that but assume since it is a busy section of the playfield that it likely wore in that area causing the ball to not roll straight? Or maye the wood has a hairline crack under the tape? At least that is my thinking why the previous owner did that. I was thinking of removing it but your comment likely suggests I definately should - right?

#17 4 months ago
Quoted from DanDaMan:

Yes, it is electrical tape - I'm not sure why the previous owner did that but assume since it is a busy section of the playfield that it likely wore in that area causing the ball to not roll straight? Or maye the wood has a hairline crack under the tape? At least that is my thinking why the previous owner did that. I was thinking of removing it but your comment likely suggests I definately should - right?

A classic wear area - under the kick-out holes. Underneath probably looks a little worse than the kick-out on the right. Let's wait for other opinions on what to do about it...

#18 4 months ago

it is going to lift paint. if you attempt, I'd heat it up with a hair dryer.

But yea your cab is a nice original, no serious reason to repaint.

#19 4 months ago

The cabinet does not look too bad. I would give it a clean (I use Krud Kutter) & then ponder whether you really wish to do a full repaint.

As far as operations are concerned be very careful that you do not tackle more than one concern at a time-so easy otherwise to cause additional problems. Based on what you have said concentrate on the slingshots and pops initially. There is a plethora of info available in pinrepair and pinwiki sites to help you on these two areas. Start small and when you gather confidence go bigger.

Overall you got a great deal.

#20 4 months ago

So I've been playing it a bit to figure out what is needed. I have a few questions:

1) first,what is the proper way to get 1 free play - the way I've been doing it is there is a rod running across the 3 coin slots which attaches to a relay - I pull on the rod towards the right which instantly lights up the game and starts the sounds, and allows me to play. Though when I do this it plays forever, ball after ball. Is that because of the way I got the free credit or is the ball count bad and if so where is it and how to diagnose/fix?

2) as for the coin mech the pinball only has 1 coin slot but 3 coin mechs inside - is this weird? So I put in a quarter and it got stuck on top of the coin mech so I pushed the knob as to get the coin back - this allowed it to slide down into mech but it never made it to the coin return area and I couldn't find the quarter. So I got another quarter and tried again - now I've lost 2 quarters and can't seem to see them or how to get them out?

3) the buzzing (in the coin mech) is coming from the switch thing that connects to the push button on the front which I think is the credit/play button (it is shorter than the coin return push buttons) - I find if I fiddle with the switch it stops buzzing but starts up again - what again is the issue and how to fix?

4) the bulbs on the 2 side pop bumpers doesn't seem to work - I assumed the bulbs were bad so I removed a good bulb from the middle pop bumper and put into the side - got no light - I put that bulb back into the middle and it lite up instantly. When it was in the side bumper I fiddled a lot but nothing - same went for the other side bumper - any ideas?

5) I believe these small bulbs are AC 6V bulbs (not traditional dc automotive bulbs) - any suggestions of the stores that sell these - do you guys find them at your automotive stores?

6) the score roller on the backboard is off - it starts/goes to zero on all 4 when you start and it changes normal for a while but eventually the thousands roller will jump 2 or 4 times (ie. score will go from 0750 to 2850 to 3950 to 6950) - that is just an example to illustrate.

7) I've done a little reading on the waxing thread but it is long - I'll keep reading but would love some quick suggestions on the best "over-the counter" cleaner and wax for the playfield.

I think that is all for now - thanks for the input.

Oh - I took off the electrical tape and yes it was worn down a bit - I still think it looks better than the tape so I'll leave it off. Though I do have some wood filler - thinking of filling it, sanding down, and then using touchup paint - opinions?

Thanks

#21 4 months ago

Overload on questions...

one answer
http://www.pbresource.com/ is your 1 stop shop for gottlieb EMs including bulbs

The best way I put games on free play is with an alligator jumper on the credit wheel to keep the start circt closed. You'll see pvc coated wires on the credit wheel contacts...jumper these two

If you dont have a cir diagram you can get one from the place above.

playfield touchups is a real art, sometimes best left to the professionals.

there is a relay on the door that will normally reject coins if the game is off. These get fried and tend to buzz. For folks that dont bother with coin chutes then we disconnect these relays. If you want the chutes to work this coil will need replacing.

Get to know the M N L scoring relays in the head, these drive the reels. They usually need their contacts cleaned up or you'll run into erratic scoring issues (as you have observed). I usually manually close/pulse these relays when i first get a game to see what mait is required on the relays (clean contacts) or the reels such as 9s rollover.

#22 4 months ago

Nice buy! Personally I'd happily leave that cab as original in my collection, just clean it up and polish best I can.

#23 4 months ago
Quoted from astyy:

Nice buy! Personally I'd happily leave that cab as original in my collection, just clean it up and polish best I can.

Have to agree. Looks much nicer in pics than I was originally anticipating...I would be leaving that all original (cabinet and playfield), clean it up/wax nicely and just enjoy it. Looks like a nice machine for the price...and got delivery included!

As for the coindoor noise, if it is the coin rejector coil, I would simply add the coil to my shopping list for when I place an order and fix it right once. If it is not going to be fixed, and just disconnected, be sure to not just leave the wires laying around to short out (tape/nut off at least). Also, don't go ripping it all out as the next person (should you choose to sell it down the road) may be happy to do the repair. I see enough doors hacked apart etc...makes it much harder to put back right later on....

Congrats DanDaMan on first pinball.

Enjoy It!

#24 4 months ago

Had to verify from IPDB:
"Four flipper-shaped plastics at top of playfield are used as stationary ball guides."

I've never seen this before, is it unique? Unique enough for IPDB to call it out specifically as a note...

#25 4 months ago
Quoted from DaMoib:

Had to verify from IPDB:
"Four flipper-shaped plastics at top of playfield are used as stationary ball guides."
I've never seen this before, is it unique? Unique enough for IPDB to call it out specifically as a note...

Check out Universe.

#26 4 months ago
Quoted from novaguy:

Check out Universe.

Central Park and Hurdy Gurdy has fixed flippers at top...

#27 4 months ago
Quoted from pinhead52:

Central Park and Hurdy Gurdy has fixed flippers at top...

Quoted from novaguy:

Check out Universe.

OK, I guess I need to get out more

I'll stop highjacking DanDaMan 's thread and we can get back to admiring his new pin.

#28 4 months ago

First time seeing pop bumper skirts trimmed to fit close to posts, did Gottlieb do this for other machines?

#29 4 months ago
Quoted from phil-lee:

First time seeing pop bumper skirts trimmed to fit close to posts, did Gottlieb do this for other machines?

Gigi

#30 4 months ago
Quoted from phil-lee:

First time seeing pop bumper skirts trimmed to fit close to posts, did Gottlieb do this for other machines?

For some 50's pins, the skirts are trimmed to clear posts too.

#31 4 months ago

fixed a few things already:

1) the score switches on the top of the playfield were not doing anything - found that the wire harness was not plugged into the backboard - plugged in and now they work and may awesome sound when hit

2) the ball counter is now fixed - basically found that the piece that rotates is attached to the shaft via a allen key screw - it was loose so it was not turning. Tightened it up in the right position, and now the ball count works perfect and game ends after 5 balls.

3) figured out why my 2 quarters were not coming out the coin return - removed the metal catch system and found about a buck or two of ancient coins clogging it. Cleaned it out and now works - on the positive the coin mech works now - I drop a quarter and the credit wheel on the backboard gives me 2 credits

4) kind of fixed the start button. After I fixed the coin mech I kept putting in quarters to get 2 credits per quarter - after each drop I'd hit the start button and nothing - but after the machine got 12 credit I hit the button and voila - it started????!!!! After the game ended (with 11 credits now) I hit the start button and voila got another game started. After that game (with 10 credits), I hit the start button and nothing??? So I dropped another quarter (12 total credits now) and hit button and voila it worked again. So it works but for some wierd reason the game needs 11 or more credits - I assume it is a setting I can adjust or a setting switch that needs cleaning??? Any advice.

Things left to do:
1) fix the sticking pop bumper
2) figure out how to get more punch out of the slingshots
3) clean, clean, clean

Thanks

#32 4 months ago

With regard to 4 - the credit unit is located directly behind the credit display in the backbox. While the pin is unplugged, you can manipulate the two solenoids by hand to add and subtract credits. Observe the action of the switches on the side of the credit unit in relation to the credits displayed. You can compare the switch positions to the photos here:

http://pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=EM_Repair#Gottlieb.C2.AE_Credit_Unit_.28Drum_type.29_Switch_States_Explained

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