(Topic ID: 229718)

Top Ten EM repair techniques


By phil-lee

6 months ago



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  • 54 posts
  • 27 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 months ago by jrpinball
  • Topic is favorited by 17 Pinsiders

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    There are 54 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 6 months ago

    Ten of the best EM repair techniques gleaned from Research and experience.
    1. Tighten screws holding all switch banks, beginning with screw nearest switch contacts.

    #2 6 months ago

    There is a moral to this story: "if you're new to EM games, don't fix or adjust what isn't broken."
    http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index2.htm#clean

    #3 6 months ago
    Quoted from wayout440:

    There is a moral to this story: "if you're new to EM games, don't fix or adjust what isn't broken."
    http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index2.htm#clean

    Agreed, and great link, wayout440. This forum is full of posts from people who tried shotgun cleaning & adjustments, and caused more problems than they were originally trying to solve.
    What to do instead: Slowly and carefully diagnose one problem at a time and then fix only that.

    #4 6 months ago

    Set all score reels to 0 if you are having reset problems. The reels that move need adjustment

    #5 6 months ago

    Use jumpers to simplify circuits and test coils.

    Spend a bunch of time cleaning out stepper units.

    #6 6 months ago
    Quoted from HowardR:

    Agreed, and great link, wayout440. This forum is full of posts from people who tried shotgun cleaning & adjustments, and caused more problems than they were originally trying to solve.
    What to do instead: Slowly and carefully diagnose one problem at a time and then fix only that.

    Why do you keep repeating this same post, over and over and over again? It's like you have this as a macro, if macros still exist. "Oh, someone tried adjusting something. Time to post my macro..."

    It does happen occasionally. But it's simply not true that the forum is "full" of posts from people who have done this.

    #7 6 months ago

    Hi emsinkc,

    Long time no talk to!

    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    Why do you keep repeating this same post ...

    Thanks for asking. The reason I keep repeating that same post is because it's relevant each time.

    Here's one you haven't heard in a while:
    Stop hijacking other peoples' threads, emsinkc, to indulge your sibling rivalry.

    H.

    #8 6 months ago

    Hi,guys,I can tell you from experience,( or lack of) .I need to hear it again.,at least once a day.(he he).hi howard.yes ,the season has started again.glad your here .I have two gottliebs I'm working now. (Gottlieb hot shot forum.).a guy is helping me find my shorts.but would appreciate your imput.again thanks.

    #9 6 months ago

    lol I cant tell if this is a real thread for helping with repairs

    #10 6 months ago

    From Pinrepair.com- "working in the dark"- to find problem switches, turn out the lights and see which switches emit the blue spark. This has saved me lots of time over the years...

    From Pinrepair:
    "There is an old trick that can be used to find problem switch(es) in an EM game. For example, one reader explained this problem: "My Williams Spanish Eyes machine had an interesting problem when I first got it. Just before the first replay value of 50,000 points (at 40,000) the replay knocker would begin to rapidly fire for several seconds...It sounded like a machine gun firing! It did this every time at 40,000 points. It seemed like a switch could be out of adjustment and oscillating, causing the knocker to 'machine gun'."

    At this point, most people would get out the schematics, and hunt down the problem. But wait a minute! Why not turn out the lights and look for the infamous "blue sparks" to find the trouble switch(es). In this example, the reader ran the game up to 39,000 points with the playfield up and the back box opened up, then turned out the lights. Only then was the last 1,000 points scored manually with the playfield glass off. The knocker started to 'machine gun' again, and right in tune with it was a display of blue sparks coming from a switch controlling the thousands scoring. In this example the switch blades were adjusted too close together. Two minutes later the problem was fixed. The schematics weren't even needed."

    #11 6 months ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    Why do you keep repeating this same post, over and over and over again? It's like you have this as a macro, if macros still exist. "Oh, someone tried adjusting something. Time to post my macro..."
    It does happen occasionally. But it's simply not true that the forum is "full" of posts from people who have done this.

    'Cuz what he says is true. Correctly diagnose and fix the problem at hand. Get the game working. Then, do whatever else is needed. The less experience one has, the slower they need to go. Shotgunning leads to multiple issues that tend to snowball out of control. I've seen plenty of posts here that seem to indicate this.

    #12 6 months ago

    Everyone should try this at least once in their lifetime of pinball ownership. Slow and methodical pays off.

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    #14 6 months ago
    Quoted from Playdium:

    Everyone should try this at least once in their lifetime of pinball ownership. Slow and methodical pays off.
    [quoted image]

    Now, we can't be doing something like that. After all, you can't use alligator clip jumper wires on it then.

    #15 6 months ago

    Use the LEAST amount of spring tension on the flipper to return it to stop.
    Use the LEAST amount of spring tension on a stepper gear to return it to stop.

    I know you all have much better, lets get a few more in here, remember, THE BEST techniques.

    #16 6 months ago

    Learn to read a schematic.

    #17 6 months ago

    #1.

    Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

    Learn to read a schematic.

    2. Read https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/em-pinball-circuits-basics-to-not-so-basic
    3. Read http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index.htm
    4. Learn to use a multimeter
    5. learn to use a soldering iron.
    6. Review VID's guide https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guides-a-pinside-compendium-updated-72015
    7. Under favorite topics use "Topics linked to your games". (Someone may have had the same issue).
    8. Before you post, read https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/how-to-efficiently-ask-for-pinball-repair-help-em
    9. Clean the male side of the jones plugs.
    10. Invest in a leaf adjustment tool and Flexstone/Metal contact file.

    #18 6 months ago
    Quoted from ArgosySK:

    2. Read https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/em-pinball-circuits-basics-to-not-so-basic
    3. Read http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index.htm
    4. Learn to use a multimeter
    5. learn to use a soldering iron.
    6. Review VID's guide https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guides-a-pinside-compendium-updated-72015
    7. Under favorite topics use "Topics linked to your games". (Someone may have had the same issue).
    8. Before you post, read https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/how-to-efficiently-ask-for-pinball-repair-help-em
    9. Clean the male side of the jones plugs.
    10. Invest in a leaf adjustment tool and Flexstone/Metal contact file.

    Come on! I hardly ever end up using a meter!
    Nice list.
    To add a tip, there are a lot of adjustments built into the EM mechs, be on the lookout! They can either need adjusting, or have just come loose, causing trouble.
    Bonus tip... on slings, take the simple mech apart, clean and just bend the switch blades straight (they're usually bent wonky),file the points and adjust, enjoy great EM action!

    #19 6 months ago

    For a switch to work 3 things are necessary
    1) When open, there should be a small space between the contact points (duh)
    2) When closing, the long blade's contact point should push the short blade's contact point enough to move the short blade
    3) The contact points should be clean, which they usually will be if #2 is happening

    Alligator clip jumper wires
    http://www.planetimming.com/Pinball/troubleshooting/EM%20Troubleshooting.pdf
    http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index3.htm#features

    #20 6 months ago

    Obtain a schematic if you possibly can and learn to read it
    Buy a decent file, switch cleaning files, and a contact adjuster ( Pbr, Marco, etc sell these)
    Make yourself a decent test lamp
    Buy good quality crocodile clip lead set
    Buy a bright head torch and work in a well-lit situation, not in the shadows
    Don't use Chinese solder
    Don't be ashamed of asking bleedin' obvious questions
    Ignore snide comments from other members
    Enjoy your hobby.

    #21 6 months ago
    Quoted from Classicpinballs:

    Buy good quality crocodile clip lead set

    Are these bigger and meaner than alligator clips?

    #22 6 months ago

    The tip I learned was to use small flashlight ,put on backside of switch contacts.you then can see the gap between switches better than naked eye.switches are adjusted perfect every time.try it.

    #23 6 months ago
    Quoted from jrpinball:

    Are these bigger and meaner than alligator clips?

    Buy the cheap chinese clips, work better than fuses. When the insulation melts off you know you've got a direct short.

    #24 6 months ago
    Quoted from pinballbrian:

    The tip I learned was to use small flashlight ,put on backside of switch contacts.you then can see the gap between switches better than naked eye.switches are adjusted perfect every time.try it.

    You can use a white business card as well. It really makes the switch gaps easy to see.

    #25 6 months ago

    While I understand the suggestion to only adjust and fix what is broken, I think that mainly applies to newbies. It's a good stepping stone to learning how to go completely through a game. Which most 40-60 year old games are going to need in my opinion.

    Generally if one stepper is gummed up and your initial problem, they all could benefit from a disassembly and cleaning. If one score reel is hanging up, they could probably all use some attention. The few games where I have only fixed what was broken usually resulted in chasing other problems later.

    #26 6 months ago
    Quoted from AlexF:

    While I understand the suggestion to only adjust and fix what is broken, I think that mainly applies to newbies. It's a good stepping stone to learning how to go completely through a game. Which most 40-60 year old games are going to need in my opinion.
    Generally if one stepper is gummed up and your initial problem, they all could benefit from a disassembly and cleaning. If one score reel is hanging up, they could probably all use some attention. The few games where I have only fixed what was broken usually resulted in chasing other problems later.

    Completely agree with Alex here...too often on Spinside folks are knee-jerk answering things with "THE" advice on a topic, even when it's not exactly true or pertinent. I used to say the same thing at a certain point in my "career" in the hobby, but have since decided many of those old adages just aren't true all the time...

    I'd also add it's a good idea to search RGP for tech tips, fixes, and resto techniques...way more years of data and experience that most Spinsiders seem to like to pretend doesn't exist...apparently out of some us vs. them mentality left over from the days when we were making the switch to this forum. That's really silly...noobs need all the help they can get - why keep that up? Pinside won for cripes sake...can we move on?

    So my OT entry is search Spinside and RGP for other folks that may have had the same problem, and don't treat Clay's guide(or anyone else's for that matter - VID!), as a bible. It's a great resource, but it's just one guys opinions in the end...best to verify any advice no matter what the source.

    Sean

    #27 6 months ago

    Careful observation is helpful for even the most complex mechanical units. I'm a fix what's broken fan, and fix what's broken, for me, typically extends to shopping every unit in the game (reels, counters, etc), but not disassembling relays. I'll clean and adjust switches that need it, but far more do not require my help than do.

    Every game is a bit different, and that's part of what makes it fun.

    I'm constantly learning from RGP, folks here, and from making dumb mistakes. Another part of what makes it fun.

    No list can be followed with 100% success for every game. EM, SS, whatever. And everyone learns differently anyway.

    A couple of good notes folks have mentioned above - knowing how to read a schematic is probably the single most important thing I tell people when they ask. Saving lots of time by going directly to the source of the issue is important, and prevents other problems. Tightening switch stacks before adjustment is important.

    #28 6 months ago

    Hi,i would like to comment on the idea of knowing how to read schems,how come no one has posted a tutorial,( how to) read schems post.it would be an excellent resource for newbies like myself who do not understand how to read a schem or are confused with certain symbols. ( gottlieb confusing to me).although I understand williams em,s a lot better.somthing to think about.

    #29 6 months ago
    Quoted from pinballbrian:

    Hi,i would like to comment on the idea of knowing how to read schems,how come no one has posted a tutorial,( how to) read schems post.it would be an excellent resource for newbies like myself who do not understand how to read a schem or are confused with certain symbols. ( gottlieb confusing to me).although I understand williams em,s a lot better.somthing to think about.

    #30 6 months ago

    Invest in a miner light and a large magnifying glass. Inspect switches closely!

    #31 6 months ago
    Quoted from AlexF:

    While I understand the suggestion to only adjust and fix what is broken, I think that mainly applies to newbies. It's a good stepping stone to learning how to go completely through a game. Which most 40-60 year old games are going to need in my opinion.
    Generally if one stepper is gummed up and your initial problem, they all could benefit from a disassembly and cleaning. If one score reel is hanging up, they could probably all use some attention. The few games where I have only fixed what was broken usually resulted in chasing other problems later.

    I can understand the idea of only fixing what is broken, but it's just not really a practical thing when you're bringing back to life a game that has been neglected for ages and is barely functioning. Is it working? Sure. Is it working to where it should be? Generally, not even close.

    When I started the idea of taking one of these things apart was pretty daunting. The only way to learn is by diving in and doing it. I don't buy many games that are fully functioning, and even those that are, I generally do a lot of work on because they are not functioning to the level I want them to function at. And that involves taking them apart and cleaning them up.

    If you just fix what is broken and leave the rest alone, on games this old, it won't be long before something else isn't functioning, and you're chasing problems constantly. Better to take them apart and get everything the way it should be than fixing one broken thing and declaring the game fixed, because it really isn't, and it probably won't be until you get in there and get into it much deeper.

    Of course, if it's your first game, then you don't want to do it. And if someone has already done it, it's not necessary. But after you've done a few, it's much less scary and you'll learn a lot more digging in.

    I'll make an exception on that for Grand Prix. That game still scares me after all the other games I've restored.

    #32 6 months ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    I'll make an exception on that for Grand Prix. That game still scares me after all the other games I've restored.

    Grand Prix is a beast to repair!

    #33 6 months ago
    Quoted from Cheddar:

    Grand Prix is a beast to repair!

    You'll find guys who will tell you it's just another EM with an extra bonus unit and I guess that is true, but that game is so loaded with stuff and so packed in, I just don't want to do much more to it than I have to.

    Mine is in pretty good shape, works well, but it could use a repaint. I'll get to it eventually, but I just keep putting it off because I don't really want to deal with taking it completely apart.

    I'll say this for how loaded down with stuff it is. It's the only game that I've ever moved where I had to remove the playfield to take it up and down stairs. That damned thing is heavy.

    #34 6 months ago

    Here's an example of what I am talking about. This is the Drop A Card that I restored. The game was not working. There's really no way to just do a "fix what is broken" on games like this. The motor board was a mess. This is the first game that I've ever completely disassembled the motor board, including the motor itself. Every relay, everything, was disassembled and cleaned and reassembled. After I did all that, the game fired right up after I reassembled it. I never had to adjust anything because everything was done when the game was assembled and I could see everything well.

    It was not a great player and I sold it on after the restoration, but this game was fun to do. 20150418_152609 (resized).jpg20150531_131231 (resized).jpg20150531_131234 (resized).jpg20150619_200052 (resized).jpg20150624_205931 (resized).jpg20150923_224855 (resized).jpg

    #35 6 months ago
    Quoted from Classicpinballs:

    Make yourself a decent test lamp
    Buy good quality crocodile clip lead set

    im not quite sure what you mean by a test lamp? i remember seeing someone had a 9v battery for testing lamps? or do you mean a good light to work by?

    with regards to quality crocodile clip lead sets, i have been buying these packages from sayals and half the time they dont have continuity in them ... i always test before even using them , i should find better

    #36 6 months ago

    First thing I do is remove the playfield, take it and the cabinet outside and blow them out with a shop vac. After I clean and wax the playfield, again I take it outside and blow it off with a shop vac.

    #37 6 months ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    I can understand the idea of only fixing what is broken, but it's just not really a practical thing when you're bringing back to life a game that has been neglected for ages and is barely functioning. Is it working? Sure. Is it working to where it should be? Generally, not even close.

    It really depends on your skill level. If you're learning how to use a meter and read schematics then you sure don't want to go from a barely working game to a dead game by taking everything apart and adjusting without a solid plan of action.

    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    The only way to learn is by diving in and doing it.

    That's ONE way to learn. Other ways are watching videos of similar repairs, reading advice about similar repairs, and discussing similar repairs with experienced pinball people.

    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    If you just fix what is broken and leave the rest alone, on games this old, it won't be long before something else isn't functioning, and you're chasing problems constantly.

    Another way to look at it, you'll always have a working game. Eventually you'll be experienced enough to fix everything 100%.

    Remember fixing your first few cars? You didn't do a frame off restoration and engine rebuild when you put in new wheel bearings. You fixed the bearings and kept using it. Maybe someday you fixed everything, maybe not. But you learned something with every repair.

    #38 6 months ago
    Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

    Another way to look at it, you'll always have a working game. Eventually you'll be experienced enough to fix everything 100%.
    Remember fixing your first few cars? You didn't do a frame off restoration and engine rebuild when you put in new wheel bearings. You fixed the bearings and kept using it. Maybe someday you fixed everything, maybe not. But you learned something with every repair.

    That's a fair analogy. Another consideration is if the game was recently shopped or serviced. If so fixing individual components makes more sense. My typical game comes home with years of neglect so it requires a more thorough approach.

    #39 6 months ago

    A lot of muddy water here. Obviously, no one is suggesting that someone with extensive EM repair experience should not completely tear down and go over every switch and component in a non-working game. Many of us have done this with total success.
    This is not however recommended for someone with limited experience.

    #40 6 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    First thing I do is remove the playfield, take it and the cabinet outside and blow them out with a shop vac. After I clean and wax the playfield, again I take it outside and blow it off with a shop vac.

    Cleaning out the cabinet is one of the first things I do too. First, I run a magnet through the debris to grab any screws and other items. Then I'll sift through the mess with a gloved hand and pick out non magnetic items, and paper tags. Then I vacuum out the remaining crap. The items you find in the cabinet are often clues to the game's service history, and I almost always find where all the screws and hardware came from. I like to reattach all the paper tags in their correct place with a dab of glue.
    After removing the motor board, I blow out the cabinet thoroughly as well.
    I've yet to find a nice wad of bills tucked under a motor board, but the thought is on my mind every time I remove one!

    #41 6 months ago
    Quoted from jrpinball:

    pick out non magnetic items, and paper tags.

    I play that game where they used to put you in a booth and try to catch money as it flies around. I do that with all those paper tags as my shop vac locates them.

    #42 6 months ago
    Quoted from AlexF:

    It's a good stepping stone to learning how to go completely through a game.

    To be truthful, I can't remember a machine (if any) that I plugged in before totally going through. My first machine was a
    1956 United Shuffle. I picked it up pretty much in boxes. Not much choice but go through it. My first pin was a Grand Prix.
    Went through it (the best I could at that time), and eventually had it playing..
    After totally going through a machine, some amount of trouble shooting is almost always needed, but most problems were
    fixed before they knowingly existed by first going through the machine..
    Good lighting is a huge plus. I'm still learning that. Seems like I still work in dim light more than not..

    #43 6 months ago

    Another repair trick when diagnosing a blowing fuse is to get a fuse replacing circuit breaker
    http://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=EM_Repair#Electrical_short_troubleshooting_Fuse_helper

    #44 6 months ago

    Thanks,did not know they made one for small amp circuits ,last trick I seen was the light bulb fuse trick someone on another forum showed.i have not used it yet.but will try.although I like the one you showed better.handy to have.

    1542756907658546013565 (resized).jpg
    #45 6 months ago
    Quoted from pinballbrian:

    Hi,i would like to comment on the idea of knowing how to read schems,how come no one has posted a tutorial,( how to) read schems post.it would be an excellent resource for newbies like myself who do not understand how to read a schem or are confused with certain symbols. ( gottlieb confusing to me).although I understand williams em,s a lot better.somthing to think about.

    Here is one pinned to the EM topic https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/em-pinball-circuits-basics-to-not-so-basic

    #46 6 months ago

    Thanks guys for the schem postings.if anyone has some in depth schem info (diff symbols on switches,ect..).please post.im learning a lot. Again thanks.

    #47 6 months ago
    Quoted from pinballbrian:

    Hi,i would like to comment on the idea of knowing how to read schems,how come no one has posted a tutorial,( how to) read schems post.it would be an excellent resource for newbies like myself who do not understand how to read a schem or are confused with certain symbols. ( gottlieb confusing to me).although I understand williams em,s a lot better.somthing to think about.

    Here’s another from the em topic section.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/em-schematic-fully-described-from-beginning-to-end-bally-bon-voyage

    #48 6 months ago
    Quoted from jrpinball:

    Are these bigger and meaner than alligator clips?

    They certainly are! I take no prisoners with these

    #49 6 months ago

    A tip I received with typical Steve Young disdain: “Put your damn meter away!”

    #50 6 months ago

    Just wanted to show a good brand of replacement wire for newbies,like myself.before someone goes to auto parts store and hooks up 12 volt wiring. ( no I did not make that mistake).ha ha.thought about it ,but did not.its only about 10 bucks a box.6 rolls ,300 volt ,7/30 stranded,and has worked excellent so far. Happy Thanksgiving pinsiders.

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