‘Lil Carolina Run visit #2 -> Chris (@paragon21), Dave (@oldskooldave), Jim (@Dkjimbo), and Matthew Mandarano in Charlotte, NC
The subjects: Pro-Football, Skylab, El Dorado
Yo Chris! If you were hoping to hide your arcade ambitions… too late. The Ataricar reveals all in sunny Charlotte - no geek can hide from its iconic power. And who would want to anyway? Old school is still cool.
Inside, the subject awaits: Pro-Football. Doesn’t reset. Doesn’t start. Doesn’t track runs properly. Too many touchdowns. NO PROBLEM! I’ve got one of my own and fully rebuilt it. AS relay, prepare to be boarded!
Also gracing the room: A ’79 Bally Star Trek and a ’49 K. C. Jones Gottlieb woodrail. Truth be told, I’m not much of a woodrail person, but the layout on KC is like an early Majorettes with reverse-flippers… and I like Majorettes and reverse-flippers.
Interlock relays are often an issue in Gottlieb games. Ah, those fussy Gottliebs… like the Alfa Romeos of 80’s cars. Great looking, stylish, yet always in need of a little extra finessing.
If the start/game over latches won’t trip/lock properly, the game will never work. Sometimes the issue is the angle of the coil bracket. Too much pressure and the latch won’t release. Too little and it will never lock. Beware of any residual WD-40 too… it can gunk up the movement.
Latches were cleaned and adjusted and all were clicking happily once more.
Again, we meet, oh infamous AS relay. For you, the standard one-finger salute will do.
If your Pro-Football is not counting yards correctly or scoring too many touchdowns… the AS relay is your culprit. As always, the only prescription is to totally rebuild it.
I will cover the AS rebuild process in a future episode. If you can rebuild these perfectly, you can do anything in EM-pinballville.
Well well well… as expected, the underside of the AS relay latch has that trademark half-moon indentation. Time to sand it smooth with the Dremel flapwheel to prevent sticking.
And just like that… Football season is on again. Joining us for the photo is fellow Pinsider Dave (@oldskooldave) but we’re not done with Charlotte yet!
On the other side of the city, Jim (@Dkjimbo) stands next to his non-functioning Skylab w/confounding schematic in hand. As a youngster, Jim played Skylab in his uncle’s basement and always thought it was the coolest thing ever. Now that he has procured one himself, it’s time to reconnect with the past.
Let’s not disappoint him, shall we?
First, we need to examine the relay which… um… wait a minute…
Someone repainted the bottom board. Repainted, without replacing any of the relay labels. This should be fun.
Hmmmm… for some reason a pair of Molex connectors were installed here. A time-consuming task which only makes things worse. Did they not realize the jones connectors were removable?
Luckily, nothing functionally amiss here.
Jim’s cat nonchalantly plopped himself in my studio light bag and observed our progress. “Whatever, man… just don’t ask me to move, ‘cause I ain’t!”
When pop bumpers stick, they fry. Not good. Always press down along every edge of the skirt to see if there are any sticky points.
Underneath, we can see the reason why this is happening. Good heavens!
After removing the switch, we can see what is going on. The spoon switch is bent all to hell. Nope… this won’t do at all. Gotta be flat or it ain’t all that.
After flattening the spoon switch with the switch adjuster, it lies flat again. The spoon should have a minimal amount of downward pressure at rest. Just enough to gently snap with a finger flick.
Next step is to gap the smaller switch on top of the spoon so that it doesn’t quite touch. After doing the “swab, polish, swab” routine with the magic brush, of course.
Bag Cat grew increasingly pensive about not being allowed near the machine. He unearthed Bill’s Spirit of ’76 shooter rod in protest. “You wanna see this again, you better let me play!”
The bonus stepper has overstepped its boundaries. As you can see the fingers are straddling two of the rivets at a time. Which won’t do at all. A bit too much Teflon lube was applied as well. It should be smooth, not smeared-on thick like Vaseline jelly.
The bonus stepper, pops, and some suspect relays were rebuilt and adjusted…
…and the telltale perpetually coil-dusted finger reveals good news: Skylab is ready for launch!
Witness our glee which is as universal as it is unselfconscious.
This is my… what is it… fourth Skylab by now? Fifth? I think I’ll own this one someday.
Finally, a stop to see Matt Mandarano. Great guy with lots of terrific solid-state pins in his collection. We spent all of our time talking pinball and reviewing the basics of EM cleaning and adjustment. His El Dorado was already in good shape… it only needed one adjustment to get the game rolling.
One last question persisted however: What were these red arrow markings supposed to indicate? All of these lights are GI lights… they stay lit all the time. Was someone planning to make a… waterfall of lights? A pinball version of “Road To Nowhere” by Talking Heads?
Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Next stop -> The encore visits continue w/Orin Day (@Lobster) in Durham, NC