Visit #15 – Chuck Dietch in Lansdale, PA (and the Allentown Pinfest - part 2 of 2)
The subjects: Jacks Open, Abra-Ca-Dabra, King of Diamonds, Quick Draw, Solar City, Sing Along, and Jumping Jack
Day two, and we’re off to the races. Chuck is in the process of building out his upstairs floor of the garage for the arcade. Pictured left to right are Hit The Deck, Centigrade 37, Solar City, Surfer, Sing Along, 2001, and Jumping Jack.
I ribbed Chuck about being a confessed “Gottlieb Guy”, but in truth he’s open to the idea of going beyond Big G. Rancho and Grand Prix are two Williams games on his short list; and perhaps an Old Chicago too if the phase of the moon is waxing Bally.
(I will do everything I can to encourage this)
Solar City’s massive 10-drop target row was failing to reset after each ball.
An examination of the drop target relay revealed the issue: One of the switch blades was positioned outside of the ladder. The switch stack was removed, cleaned, and adjusted.
The start relay was also cleaned and adjusted. It resets the drop targets at the beginning of the game.
Lastly, the motor switch controlling the drop target coils was cleaned and adjusted. Lots of happy voltage again… KER-CHUNK! The difference was noticeable.
Uh oh… the match light was stuck between 80 and 90 and wouldn’t change. A sinister, familiar feeling crept up my spine. I followed the winged warriors to the culprit…
...behold the dreaded, gunked-up, maladjusted, mis-tensioned, loose brake, double-clutching, gnarled-tooth, one-of-the-worst-things-in-pinball-ever-made… GOTTLIEB AS RELAY!
Nope. No time for you, bub. We got other fish to fry.
Like this score reel circuit board! Polished with Mother’s Mag Polish.
Do not sand circuit boards. Clean them with this, and buff at least thrice until rag/paper is clean.
Like this flipper pawl! The old shaft must have broken off and a screw drilled in its place. However, as the picture demonstrates, it quickly chewed its way through the bakelite. Luckily, I had spares for both.
Like this horizontal kickout coil! Chuck was cleaning the EOS contacts just as a Jedi trainee burst into the room and attempted to parry him. Luckily no body parts were amputated.
Next, the Pinball Tour confronted one of its Top Ten Nastiest Issues on Jumping Jack. The 2p 1000 and 10,000 reels were working during the game, but not resetting to zero at the start.
Unlike some Gottliebs, Jumping Jack doesn’t have a dedicated score reset relay like a Z1. Instead, it is embedded in the player cam unit. Half of the coils go through motor 4A, and the other half (including our suspect reels) through 1A.
It couldn’t be 1A… because the 1p thousands and ten-thousands reels were resetting normally. Since they also use the 1A switch, it had to be OK and the connection wire too.
Could it be a dirty switch in the player cam? After cleaning and adjusting it, no change.
Could it be an issue with the “runout” (zero-position) switches on the reels themselves? Possibly, but two at the same time? Hmmmmm, not likely. Cleaned and adjusted them both, no change.
And then I found the bugger. Cold solder joint at the red X.
Even though the schematic shows the ground line connecting a working reel (1p thousand) between the non-working 2p reels… THE SCHEMATIC ISN’T CONCERNED WITH THE PHYSICAL WIRING… only the circuit logic. And thus, as you can see, the 2p thousand and ten-thousand switch tabs are to the left of the X… isolated from the rest of the working ground connection by a bad solder joint.
Nasty little bugger, that. Resoldered and good as new again.
Chuck’s lineup looks just as good at night as during the day, if not better!
My visit with Chuck coincided with the Allentown Pinfest, so I made it a priority to attend. I’ve visited a number of national pinball conventions, museums, and private collections but this was my first time at Allentown.
Pinbee and the elusive boilerman were the first to pick me out of the crowd. Always nice to meet Pinsiders in person.
Pinball_Nate was the next Pinsider I encountered. Real nice guy. We joined up with his wife to discuss the show and the tour… luckily my exhaustion wasn’t showing on my face.
Chuck and I stopped for a 2-player game of Williams 8-Ball, the first middle-pop designed by Norm Clark. It is an excellent 2-player and I would say the best overall middle-pop game with 2” flippers. Someday I'll own one!
Otaku and djreddog waved me over for a quick look at Skyrocket… one of the coolest Ballys with the best light show of any EM ever produced. Then I detoured to diagnose DJ’s tournament game, Conquest 200, which had a stuck playfield switch/score relay.
JustageFehler aka George insisted that I take a magnetic retrieval tool as well as a yoga strap from Dolly… she was a witness to our back-crunching work on 4 Roses during my visit. Alas, I have not yet had time to use it, but I HAVE had some back issues lately from NOT using it!
Tomorrow, I shall stretch for the sake of pinball!
Overall, the Allentown show was a good time but not without some issues for an EM-focused guy. On the upside, it was located adjacent to a giant farmer’s market offering all sorts of things to eat and drink. Many affordable pinball projects were available and the deals on spare parts were absolutely outstanding… huge boxes for pennies on the dollar!
On the downside, Allentown was more crowded and had fewer games than TPF. Of the EM’s present, far too many of the ones I played were suffering from basic lack of maintenance issues like janky flippers, pop bumpers, and poor leveling. Modern games seemed to fare a lot better. Also the venue itself was a sort of warehouse/fairground stockyards building which wasn’t quite as cushy or temperature-controlled as some of the other venues I’ve seen… but not a problem overall. It’s all about the pinball and Allentown brought it home.
Time for another EM Home Challenge update! Chuck lent me his digits for my ninth win… now 9-2 after a three-round match on Surfer. He definitely made me work for the win!
Chuck is about two years into the pinball hobby and I predict he’ll take it a good bit further yet. Especially with such an impressive arsenal of automotive restoration tools and techniques at his disposal.
It was a helluva busy trip and my fingers still ache, but we got an epic seven games back on their feet in Lansdale. Any way you slice it, that’s definitely a win.
Speaking of slicing things, Chuck enabled me to figure out what “scrapple” is. I had to ask the waitress at breakfast the following morning, to everyone’s amusement. It was one of those moments when all of the heads turn in your direction at the same time… instantly confirming your status as “not from around here”.
Next stop -> Poughkeepsie, NY (does that city sound familiar?)