(Topic ID: 236166)

newb - just bought 70 gottlieb aquarius - need advice

By DanDaMan

5 months ago

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  • 32 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 months ago by DaMoib
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders


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#1 5 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?

#14 5 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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#16 5 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?

#20 5 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?


#31 5 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


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