(Topic ID: 240940)

United Bowling Alley Restoration Attempt: Help Gladly Accepted!

By RonSS

7 months ago

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  • 382 posts
  • 25 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 22 days ago by Jaymach1
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    #1 7 months ago

    Disclaimer: This is NOT a pinball. I'm trying to find a ball bowling forum that is as knowledgeable and forthright as this group, but in the meantime, I'm guessing there are plenty of members that could steer me in the right path.

    OK, so I finally got my ball bowler, problem is, it doesn't work. So here is my attempt to bring this thing back to life. I'm going to have several questions and probably move very slowly, but I'm hoping it eventually finds a place in the house.

    For starters, I know close to nothing about EMs, but I've ordered the TOP #8 DVD, and am reading through the PinRepair website to gather useful info.

    Here's my order of operations:
    1) Get this thing to work!
    2) Get it working correctly and flawlessly.
    3) Make it look pretty.
    4) Move it inside.

    So far I've got a few top priorities, at least I think they are, here's another list

    A) Fix the coffin hinge or spring lock. I have the unit in two haves right now. The hinge nearest the pins was off so the whole top was offset when raised. I placed a few screws in the hinge panel and then noticed it wasn't the same as the other two. Hmmmm. Also, the lane won't stay down on it's own. The lock doesn't hold it on it's own unless I hold the key, but the hook looks chewed up, so that could be the issue. Also, as mentioned, the lanes are separated, so there is a lot of weight missing. Maybe it's supposed to spring up?

    Below you can see the worn out lock catch, the hinge in question (which is actually just the small flap on the outside), and then a correct hinge from the middle and lower section to show how these are connected.

    0416191239 (resized).jpg
    0416191152 (resized).jpg
    0416191209_HDR (resized).jpg
    0416191208a_HDR (resized).jpg

    B) Test some coils. Clearly this machine had some issues as is evident from the fried coil that was laying in the coffin, along with several bulb receptors taped up, or missing and the wires taped. I also see several coils with their wires snipped. So, I guess I should start testing some coils next? I'll also order some light sockets while I'm at it.

    0416191223a (resized).jpg
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    C) Clean up the Bakelite pads and contacts. I think that is the name for them. Anyway, the cool looking metal dots on the reddish plate. I see some yellow markings for alignment already, but I'll make certain to mark any others. Scotchbrite/600 grit sandpaper seems to be the order of the day for these.

    0416191209b (resized).jpg
    0416191209f (resized).jpg

    D) Check and replace fuses. While 1 fuse is missing, the other 4 look good. Of course I'll pull them and test them to make certain.

    OK, well, that's my starting point. Any wisdom, direction, or thoughts are welcomed.

    Here are a few more pics, because, well, I like looking at pics!

    0412191310 (resized).jpg
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    #3 7 months ago

    Thanks Jeremy!

    I was going to Simple Green and Scotchbrite pad the contacts, but I'll certainly check out your suggestion.

    I haven't really even looked at the score wheels yet. I'll take a shot of them as well and post. Maybe someone will catch something other than the usual gunk.

    I have adjusted leaf switches, so hey, I've got at least one required skill

    Yeah, I'm fairly certain this machine has its share of alterations.

    Thanks again.

    #8 7 months ago
    Quoted from wayner:

    There are many tips including within this thread. Mopar, in particular, has provided invaluable info and advice on multiple aspects of these machines throughout this thread.
    I suggest you thoroughly research this thread before attempting any work. These are a complex EM machine and in my experience it is really important that changes not be made unless you are confident of what you are doing and why you are doing it. It is so easy on these machines to create more issues or compounding any existing without being conscious. Also Chris of St Louis Ball Bowlers is always available for parts and helpful info-there is not much he has not already conquered.

    Yup, I've started on that thread, and I agree, slow and steady!

    #9 7 months ago
    Quoted from dasvis:

    I'm jealous - wanting a bowler forever. Probably a good thing I have not found one as I have nowhere to put it.
    If you are new to EM's, read this first.. http://www.pinrepair.com/em/
    Tons of important info & repair tips. Go slow & tackle one thing at a time. Don't go ripping it all into a million small parts.
    A SCHEMATIC would be a must if you don't have one. I use a dremel with a wire brush for EM switch contact cleaning, but each have their own methods. Looking forward to this restore blog!
    Check out this guy's website, he might have parts for you https://www.stl-bb.com/
    Oh, & have fun with all of those score reels, you will be able to take one apart & put it back together blindfolded before you are done.

    I'm up to "relays" in the pinrepair thread, but I'm definitely just browsing now, I'll go back and compare and take notes too.
    I've got a goal of Thanksgiving, so we'll see.

    #11 7 months ago
    Quoted from dwizz:

    Congratulations!!! I recently picked up 1961 United Frolics. From what I can tell it has not been cleaned or tinkered with in 60 years. I’m finding that all the issues it has are/were caused by grime. The game is in amazing shape after cleaning it up, just has a cracked lower back glass which will cost $150. Frozen reals and dirty contacts have been my only issues. Guests who might not share our enthusiasm for pinball tend to gravitate towards it.

    Oh man, I'm jealous. I have a feeling half of these problems were caused by owners!

    I'd like to do a complete cleaning before I "hit play", but I could see only player 1 and 2 being good before I "go for it".

    #12 7 months ago
    Quoted from WeirPinball:

    Worth all the work in the end, but I'd never do it again. Good luck!
    [quoted image]

    Gorgeous! If mine turns out 1/2 as well I'll be ecstatic!

    #14 7 months ago

    Very nice Wayner! And thank you, you'll probably be getting PMs if I post questions and don't get any replies in the thread.

    I can totally see where a bowler would trump a pin for party entertainment. Looking forward to this project.

    #16 7 months ago


    Nothing will be common sense to me, so please feel free to talk to me like a novice, because that is exactly where I am. I appreciate the detailed responses as I'll often have to review things to make sense out of them.

    I did reattach the hinge this morning, but I can tell something seems sprung still. I'm wondering if it might just be warped wood, or if it revolves around the large spring bracket?

    So, I'm assuming the low line fuse should be empty then? Good to know. I may do the same snip surgery to prevent future fuse installation if that's the case.

    What does the coil on top of the pin deck do? Should I reattach those wires, or is that the gate you were talking about?

    As to plugging it in,I'm planning on a "complete" refurb before I try that. I use quotes because it won't be a pro job, but I'll try.

    I have read people use piano wire for the roll over trips, I was thinking an old coat hanger. Any thoughts there?

    Going to shoot for at least one unit cleaned per day. After I get going I suppose I can pick up the pace.

    Thanks for the help!

    #20 7 months ago

    So I really got my feet wet today. I attempted not 1, but 2, (2 I tell you!), steppers.

    The first one I found out was the Frame Unit (Thanks Tim). The unit is located on the bottom left in this photo.

    0418191436 (resized).jpg

    This one was a good start. I learned a lot, like try to count the spring revolutions that unwind when you inevitably let it loose! It was also pretty straight forward, 1 sweeper unit. I figured out how the mech worked before I took it apart (bottom right coil steps, top left coil brings back to home).
    Dirty Frame Unit Stepper Coil Side (resized).jpg

    Here's a nice before pic for you, , ,
    Dirty Frame Unit Stepper Sweepside (resized).jpg

    And a few more, , ,

    Dirty Frame Unit Stepper Front (resized).jpg
    Dirty Frame Unit Stepper No Sweep Arm (resized).jpg

    Then the fun started. Removing the two screws that hold the unit to the backbox was of little help. The wires just don't allow much play. This wasn't really a problem until it came to the coils.

    The nut holding the sweeper was pretty tight, and seeing as though this was my first, I was a little dainty with it to start. I figured out that the clip on the coil side was only there to hold the spring. You see, I'm learning already!

    Finally, I broke the nut loose and removed the sweeper arm, here it is, as purchased.

    Dirty Frame Unit Stepper Sweep Arm As Purchased (resized).jpg

    After just a brushing Naptha with a paper towel, we have this,
    Dirty Frame Unit Stepper Sweep Arm After Naptha Alone (resized).jpg

    I then went on to Scotchbrite pad and Simple Green, followed by some IsoProp.

    Same process for the rivets, then on to the other side.

    The unit wasn't spinning freely so I removed the shaft. This is where I lost the spring count, it came out of the clip also.

    Dirty Frame Unit Stepper Cog Unit (resized).jpg

    After cleaning this unit I moved on. I ended up removing the top left coil as that seemed to have some resistance. Those little tiny screws are fun when you can't get a good angle! Just cleaned the coil plunger, sleeve, and no lube. This one actually went back together OK.

    Once I had everything cleaned up (enough for me) I reassembled. After everything was back on I realized I hadn't lightly greased the rivets and arm so I applied a little, then moved the sweep, then applied to those areas. Gave it test, and BOOM! No I didn't blow up, I was just so happy it was clean, and more importantly, working!

    Moving on to stepper #2. I was feeling pretty good by now; the first unit didn't take too much time, and I learned a lot. I jumped right in, took the nut off, then realized, this unit has 2 separate arms!!! Oh crap, time to take some pics before I mess everything up!
    Dirty Stepper Num 2 Close Up (resized).jpg
    Dirty Stepper Num 2 Sweep Arms (resized).jpg

    OK, got through that, figured out the coils again. This sweep arm barely moves! The shaft was super tight in there! I ended up getting a rubber mallet to tap it out. Cleaned that sucker up, and the sleeve, then lubed a little. Oh, and I made certain to count the spring revolutions that let go this time.

    Got to the coil side decided to clean the top coil again as this was a little sluggish. When i went to check the right side, I found only the plunger! No coil, just a nice burn spot on the metal. OK, so this must have been giving some issues. My guess, the shaft wouldn't turn and the coil decided to burn. I also found two wires (for the coil?) taped together. The screw driver tip marks the spot.
    Dirty Stepper Num 2 Wires Taped (resized).jpg

    Put everything back together. This was not fun. The front sweep seemed to be thicker than the shaft tip. I'm wondering if the "washer/spacer" between the Bakelite and the first arm expanded over time. By the time I got to the top arm I could barely make it stick on the tiny pegs. Then I had to place a washer over that, which was supposed to fit over the rectangular end of the shaft. Wasn't happening, so I lined everything up and snugged it tight. It works, for now. I'll have to figure that out though.

    Those little screws to put the coil stop on, well, they caused a few words to escape that I wouldn't want the public to hear! Just putting the top left coil back on took me well over a 1/2 hour! I knew after this it was time to quit for the day.

    Here are my 2 finished steppers, thanks for riding along.
    Two Steppers Cleaned (resized).jpg

    #22 7 months ago

    I did use a screwdriver, that thing wouldn't budge! Do you think the other piece swelled, or did I just reinstall incorrectly?

    I've got check my wood pile from the purchase to see if I have a bottom. Who knew?

    #27 7 months ago
    Quoted from fastford02:

    The bottom board of the head is still bolted to the top of the ball lift box. You can see it in the 10th picture down from the start of this thread.

    I just saw that this morning. Makes me wonder how they got it off!

    #28 7 months ago
    Quoted from cad-kid:

    A good test of the spring tension is not only how well the stepper returns to zero after fully wound but how well it returns after just 1 or two steps up. In the video it's my opinion that stepper is still a bit sluggish.

    Oh, cool. Didn't realize that. I'll give it a check that way too.


    #29 7 months ago

    Here's the proof to your eagle eyes.

    Bottom board of backbox.

    Well, one less thing I need to fabricate.

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    #30 7 months ago


    Damn it, you are correct! I just gave a test run, step one is good, 2 slower, 3 sluggish, 4, ugh.

    So what does this tell me?
    Fingers too tight?
    Nut on too tight?
    Needs a good shaft lubing?

    #31 7 months ago

    Took the ball return motor out tonight. Should I try to hand turn? If so and it moves freely am I good?

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    #33 7 months ago

    So I've made a little progress,

    Found and attached the base to the backbox. Sanded the mated parts, carpenter glue and some nails. Along with "fixing" the sides of the backbox. There were a few cracks that were starting to become dangerous. They're not perfect, but I plan on possibly repainting, so if that time comes I'll fix that up all nice like.

    I am finding I can't really clean the cabinet at all. I tried a little Simple Green today on a dirty yellow area and the paint just came right off. So I may go back with dish soap and try that, but I'm thinking this paint is just barely hanging on.

    Took the motor out, it turns freely. I cleaned the outside and hit what I could near the shaft with a little Naptha/Iso. Cleared out some hairs/fibers there as well. The bottom roller rolls freely. I did not go any further with that roller. Figured I'd be hit that when it came time to dive into the rubber sections for the ball catch.

    Started cleaning the scoring wheels. Player #3 is finished. I had started before but didn't know what I was doing really. After watching TOS #8 I've got it. I'm averaging around 20 - 25 minutes per wheel. Since I'm back to work this week I think I'll just try to do one player per night, that way I'll be almost done with them by the weekend.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Question: What do I do about the spacers behind the brackets holding the scoring wheels? Mine are all dry rotted. Is there a replacement part or do we just fabricate something?

    I also do not have the curved wood piece for the hood. Not even the cracked part, so I'm attempting to bend some wood. Should be a treat. If it turns out OK I'll post my findings. So far, don't hold your breath!

    #35 7 months ago

    Thanks Mopar,

    I did see those in my search for cork washers etc. Glad to know I can source them locally, and cheap. Appreciate the specific size too!

    #37 7 months ago

    That would be great. I'm debating doing something similar with 3/4 inch plywood. Cut and glue 5 pieces together, sand, paint.

    I have the hood, just not the curved piece of wood. Turns out the groove in the hood is the same radius as a can of paint!

    #39 7 months ago

    That looks great. Nice matching of parts.

    I'll see how my luan bending is going otherwise it's on to plan B.

    #40 7 months ago

    Ok, players 2, 4, and 6 are ready to go. Hoping to have all reels finished by Sunday.

    That little pivot arm has been nearly immovable on most reels. LOTS of cleaning needed.

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    #43 7 months ago

    Ooh, had not thought of that. Thanks!

    #44 7 months ago

    That heater trick worked wonders!

    A little behind schedule, but had a large distraction. In the end, all score reels are cleaned and functional.

    Took a look at the backglass, it's falling apart. I'll probably just triple thick it as is and grab a replacement later.

    Ended up using these washers in place of the brittle old ones that were cracking in half. Home Depot doesn't carry the same ones as Lowe's, and my Lowe's is 10 miles further away.

    I'm going to hopefully finish up the top box this week. So clean or fix the steppers, replace the missing coil, and clean all relays and brush the wires so I can see some color. Plus, clean behind the backglass in the bulb area.

    0428191741 (resized).jpg0428191741a (resized).jpg0428191741b (resized).jpg
    1 week later
    #45 7 months ago

    Been a little busy lately, what with mowing the lawn and moving this huge sucker around. Found it one week after I brought home the United. It's been taking up valuable restoration time.

    This weekend I'm hoping to finish the back box.

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    #46 7 months ago

    Found a few minutes,so I'm swapping the backglass.

    Thanks PinBee!

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    #47 7 months ago

    Couple of minutes here, a few minutes there, just trying to keep progressing.

    Got a coil replaced today. Had to extend the wires as they were cut pretty short. Soldered and shrink tubed. Had to use a little larger tube as it was all I had on hand, but it's keeping the joint nice and snug so hopefully mission accomplished.

    0512190904 (resized).jpg
    #49 7 months ago
    Quoted from dasvis:

    Original correct color code cloth covered wire would look a lot better. I have accumulated a ton over the last few years Let me know if you need any.

    I agree, it would. I didn't have any on hand. If this thing gets up and running and I go the whole 9 yards resto I'll hit you up and make it right. Heck, if I find more wiring that needs to be done I'll PM you.


    #51 7 months ago
    Quoted from dasvis:

    Ok, let me know.
    Hey, why did you sell your Taxi? One of my Grail pins!

    Pm sent.

    #52 6 months ago

    Ok gurus, I've cleaned my last back box stepper. Everything moves freely and retracts quickly. Problem is, it won't step up. It resets fine, but when I try to step it doesn't rotate the sprocket.

    Here are the pics, maybe you'll catch what I'm missing. This is the lower right unit in the back box.

    In the pic with my finger, this is the position I can manually move the stepper.


    0516191655 (resized).jpg0516191757 (resized).jpg0516191757a (resized).jpg0516191758 (resized).jpg
    #53 6 months ago

    Aha, spring issue. Had 'em messed up. This configuration is working better.

    0516191843 (resized).jpg
    #54 6 months ago

    Moved on to the ball lift box.

    Going to have fix the bottom, but figured I take a look at things in the open while I have the opportunity.

    0517191641 (resized).jpg0517191643 (resized).jpg0517191649 (resized).jpg
    #55 6 months ago

    So, how do I remove the lower roller? It spins freely, maybe I should just leave it?

    0517191713 (resized).jpg
    #56 6 months ago

    Bought a piece of mat at a big box store for my rubber. 4 × 3 foot piece ran me about$18. Should have a bunch left over.

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    #57 6 months ago

    That was a snap!

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    #58 6 months ago

    A little before and after inside the coffin.

    Got 6 strikes/spares flowing nicely.

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    #62 6 months ago

    Thanks for that explanation Mopar, I had seen this block of wood trick before either from you or Mickey T., but now this makes even more sense! I did notice mine looked pretty warped, so here is my question: Should I just leave it be and see if it runs fine, or go ahead and insert the wood now then correct the wipers if needed?

    #63 6 months ago
    Quoted from pacman11:

    Great progress so far love following these threads.

    I'm just happy I'm actually doing it! So many times I'm watching and wishing, this time I said "screw it" and just jumped in. It's a blast! I'm really hoping the final product turns out nice. Thanks for following!

    #65 6 months ago

    Went outside to cut wood and got distracted! Decided to clean a Pin, just because. Then decided to "fix" the broken pin before it got damaged beyond repair.

    Here's my crazy glue hack job.

    Dirty vs clean, cracked but clean, hacked and clean.

    0522191733_HDR (resized).jpg0522191738_HDR (resized).jpg0522191753_HDR (resized).jpg
    #66 6 months ago

    Ok,back on target. Now I feel better.

    Taking Mopar's advice and adding wood. Steppers moving nicely.

    0522191814 (resized).jpg
    #68 6 months ago
    Quoted from pacman11:

    We love our bowler![quoted image]

    Nice! What manufacturer and model?

    #70 6 months ago

    Well, this is really starting to come together! 0524190920_HDR (resized).jpg
    14591998 (resized).jpg
    But sometimes I feel as though I just can't catch a break.
    0525191752 (resized).jpg

    So close to powering up now.

    #72 6 months ago
    Quoted from dasvis:

    Always replace power cords!

    This was a replacement by previous owner. I wasn't happy with the job done anyway but was really getting anxious to just give her whirl tonight. Turns out two of my own doings - 45 angle brace too large and an anchor strip I made about 3 inches too wide - were the ultimate culprits. I would have hacked this cord together if everything else fit properly.

    I decided it was a good time to quit before I made more mistakes in haste.

    #73 6 months ago

    I'm working on the pin hood on the side. Had a new curved piece made by a friend of mine, but when I mocked up the hood I realized I didn't have the long cylinder spacer that accepts the screw from the top. Any idea on where I can get this part? Or, if somewhere out there has dimensions I could fab it up.


    #75 6 months ago
    Quoted from RedRhyno91:

    SLBB sells them. Not cheap but i figured the time I saved myself from fabricating one was worth it. Plus the one I bought fits perfectly.

    Great, thank you!

    #76 6 months ago

    Ok, tested a power run today. I've got lights, and when I drop a dime the sound/hum changes a little, but nothing else happens.

    I push the red start, nothing.

    Inside the coffin this switch unit was purchased like this, minus the black, that was because there is juice running

    I'm guessing this was "set to free play"?

    Thoughts? Seems as though I should reconnect and adjust.

    0527191204 (resized).jpg
    #77 6 months ago

    Just found 5th/6th player reset relays locked on. Other players ok.

    0527191227 (resized).jpg
    #79 6 months ago

    I had set all to zero when I cleaned them, using the stepper to indicate zero, so I think they are ok.

    Just used dmm, that coil reads around 3-5 while the other two are reading around 20.

    #80 6 months ago

    The plot thickens?

    I removed the coil from the machine, now it's reading around 20 also.

    #81 6 months ago

    Replaced a few missing lamp sockets while I wallowed in sorrow over the machine not just working first try.

    The originals are single terminal which is apparently out of stock everywhere, so I tied the wire to both terminals. Hope that was right. Pay no attention to my master solder skills
    0527191550 (resized).jpg

    #82 6 months ago

    Hmmm, just noticed all the dimes go directly to the coin return. Even when casket open and feeding through inside coin shute.

    #83 6 months ago

    Ok, just found this. Time to solder, , , , , again.

    0528191027 (resized).jpg
    #85 6 months ago

    Ok, so the game still won't start. Tried to avoid it, but had to go to the bank relay. Seeing as though the "start" relay is nearly unreachable I had to "remove" the bank. That basically means I've gained 3 inches of work area, but it did show me this.

    First pic in "up" position, 2nd in "down" position
    Pretty certain this contact wants to touch something!

    0528191716 (resized).jpg0528191716a (resized).jpg
    #87 6 months ago

    Yeah, I fixed it up, but unfortunately it didn't fix the issue.

    #89 6 months ago

    I have advanced some reels through relays, and they reset to zero when I manually rotate the score motor fingers, but no, the motor is not even buzzing.

    I'm wondering if the motor is not getting juice.

    All fuses check out ok after being pulled.

    #91 6 months ago

    Messing around tonight. I've got pretty dim deck lights, but I'm able to simulate parts of a game by turning the score motor by hand. Pins are lifting, reels are turning, strike and spare lights are operational.

    My "lock relay" is engaged, is that normal?

    0530191759 (resized).jpg0530191808_HDR (resized).jpg
    #92 6 months ago

    I'll also assume this jump is supposed to be here.

    0530191825_HDR (resized).jpg
    #94 6 months ago
    Quoted from T2F14:

    Do you have a manual and schematic for your bowler? if not you might want to think about getting one. if you cannot find them online you can check www.pbresource.com or www.stl-bb.com. I know on my chicago coin bowler I have a game reset coil I can manually reset and an end of game switch stack that I would check if I had your issues. But without a schematic and voltage meter I'd only be guessing at what right looks like. Also a schematic will tell you if things like that jumper belongs there.

    I've got a huge tattered schematic. I don't see the bank relay on it though.

    I'll check PBResource though.


    #96 6 months ago
    Quoted from Mopar:

    Ron, once started up, the Lock Relay should remain energized.
    That jumper from one bank relay to the other is suppose to be there.
    I'll get back to you tomorrow..

    Ok, well that's good then, both of those things are correct.

    This sure would be easier with a working model next to it! But I'm learning a ton.

    I'm going to test some voltage in, voltage out later today I think. I feel as though my score motor is just not getting power, maybe I can find a culprit by doing that. The super dim lights have me wondering. Of course I'll continue to check switches and solder joints as well.

    As I start to understand how this thing works I "should" be making better decisions in finding the issue.

    Thanks all.

    #98 6 months ago

    Ahhh, ok. I was looking for a blown up version of the bank but didn't see it.

    Thank you.

    #100 6 months ago

    Tried the jump with lock energized, no go.
    I couldn't really see the tail you were talking about so I'll "remove" it and twist it around a little.

    I used the dmm to test some power ratings. The fuse holder seems ok. Same values in as out for each. Transformer seems ok, highest rating was around 14 or so, but all terminals had at least 3v - 14v.

    Score motor: both lugs read around 2.7v. Is that right? I'll check my schematic, it should be there right?

    My pin deck lights are getting roughly 3v.
    0531191729_HDR (resized).jpg

    #101 6 months ago

    So, I did this, , ,

    0531191902 (resized).jpg0531191907 (resized).jpg
    #102 6 months ago

    Cleaned it up, was careful to watch for parts, but it doesn't seem to have a spring, unless it's crushed or sideways. Tough to see inside.

    I was able to push (hard) the nub inside before cleaning, but after cleaning it still isn't showing outside, hence the spring thing.

    0531191924 (resized).jpg0531192000_HDR (resized).jpg
    #105 6 months ago
    Quoted from cad-kid:

    I'm not sure what voltage you should have but it seems to low to me. Look at the schematic, for my machine it shows the transformer outputs 6v & 50v ac voltage.

    That's what I was thinking too. Only thing I could come up with was nothing was sending that power due to a switch or something.

    Of course, with this armature issue, who knows?

    One step at a time I guess.

    #106 6 months ago
    Quoted from Mopar:

    Yup, that motor is 50V.. Over that tip of the armature is where the funnel type small plastic
    goes over, then a spring behind the plastic.
    If you take that 5/16" (takes a 1/2" wrench) nut off that's on the other side of the motor,
    you should find the plastic type funnel along with the spring..
    When putting back together (after freeing up the armature tail so the it freely slides in its
    sleeve) I would put the nut on last by first placing the small white funnel over the end tip of
    the armature, then the spring, the the nut..
    Lets first make certain the funnel and spring are there..

    Yup, I'm hoping to find that sucker tomorrow.

    If I keep finding impossibilities, the remaining must be the possible culprits.

    #107 6 months ago

    Opened her up, found the spring and plastic tip. Cleaned everything, then while putting back together somehow lost the plastic tip!

    #108 6 months ago

    So, I'm going to cut off the tip of this air attachment and try to substitute.

    0601191311 (resized).jpg0601191311a (resized).jpg
    #109 6 months ago

    Ok, all back together, but still no "spring".

    It doesn't pop in and out.

    0601191329 (resized).jpg
    #111 6 months ago

    Seems to. Doesn't pop out at all if I push on it horizontally. Spins freely. Though if it comes out 1/8 of an inch might have a little trouble getting back sometimes.

    #112 6 months ago

    I should mention that's still apart, I haven't reassembled everything yet.

    #114 6 months ago

    Put it back together, wouldn't turn.

    I'll have to take it apart and try again.

    I understand what you're talking about now though.

    #115 6 months ago

    Ugh, somehow lost my little red nub. Honestly, I don't know where this thing went either.

    Going to try this next. I'll take the fork off.

    Nice snug fit.

    0601191601 (resized).jpg
    #117 6 months ago
    Quoted from fiberdude120:

    You should just donate this to someone close that might appreciate it.

    I need to have a bowling night soon! You bring the beer

    #118 6 months ago

    Scoring motor giving me grief. No progress as of late.

    I'm searching for a #5120 motor if anyone knows of one.

    I'm learning a lot though, so that's cool.

    #120 6 months ago
    Quoted from cad-kid:

    Did you verify your transformer is putting out 50v?

    No, not yet, but I did verify something is as I took a nice jolt yesterday!

    How would I check that with my dmm? Black to a ground, red to an "out" lug?

    Would anything need to be engaged or triggered?

    #122 6 months ago

    If you enlarge this you get a pretty clear pic. Lower left corner.

    0416191209b (resized).jpg
    #124 6 months ago
    Quoted from cad-kid:

    The top 3 wires are the output (low voltage). On mine they are marked 50,6,C. C is common. Carefully put a lead on C & 50 - you should see about 50v. This is a non regulated supply so it can vary a bit. Stay clear of the bottom terminals as this is where the 110v comes in.


    I'm good.
    52 and 6.5 volts.

    #125 6 months ago


    NO IDEA what just happened, but I was taking a few pins off to clean, and decided to plug her in again. The scoring motor started turning! Very slowly, but made it through all the way!

    I'm so confused...

    #126 6 months ago

    Just "bowled" 2 balls with my hand. Registered a strike, then went to 2nd player. Again, really struggling,but got there!

    #127 6 months ago

    Here's the motor in real time after "ball 2"

    #129 6 months ago
    Quoted from dasvis:

    Hmm, just a guess, but the gearbox grease may be solidified. - Or possibly a drop of tri-flow on the shaft bushings might help. Just a drop, a little goes a long way.

    I'm pretty puzzled by this. Seems to turn fine by hand. If the grease was solidified I would think even hand cranking would be an issue.

    When I had it apart, I had the feeling the gear and slotted shaft weren't playing well together. Seemed to turn fine without the armature.

    I'm inclined to say the gears are somewhat stripped perhaps. Having a hard time matching up.

    #131 6 months ago
    Quoted from eyeamred2u:

    Open it back up and take pics so we can see. Please

    I never cracked the case. I've only got these on hand. I can see the gear teeth spin without the armature, but the armature won't spin when I spin the shaft nor will the gear teeth turn the gear shaft when "opened" and trying to spin the armature.

    0531191924 (resized).jpg0531192000_HDR (resized).jpg0601190945_HDR (resized).jpg
    #133 6 months ago

    Sounds like a plan. Any idea if there are any replacement gears available"new"? I couldn't find the motor listed anywhere.

    #138 6 months ago

    I had seen that a long time ago and forgot all about it! Thank you!

    Well, I hope your hunches are correct.

    #140 6 months ago
    Quoted from dasvis:

    Living my ball bowler dreams vicariously thru you -----


    Well,check this out, I found my little white plastic piece! Inside the gear box, along with my other first attempt at a replacement. So I had 2 foreign objects inside.

    Here's what I've got folks.

    0607191626 (resized).jpg0607191629 (resized).jpg0607191635 (resized).jpg0607191640 (resized).jpg0607191640a (resized).jpg
    #141 6 months ago

    Ok, all cleaned, lubed, and back together.

    Didn't have any nuts/bolts that fit but found some pop rivets. Not exactly pro, but seems secure.
    0607191718 (resized).jpg0607191718a (resized).jpg0607191725_HDR (resized).jpg0607191725a_HDR (resized).jpg

    #142 6 months ago

    Huh, back to motor not turning, but does spin freely by hand.

    #144 6 months ago

    Must be an electric thing. Some signal not being sent?

    #147 6 months ago

    Wow! Eagle eyes!

    Well, I think I'll give Steve a call. Heck, I live 30 minutes from him, I could have him inspect it!


    #151 6 months ago

    I've emailed Steve at PBR, hoping he can help.

    #152 6 months ago

    Didn't want anyone to think I'm just waiting for something good to happen. Even though my score motor is funky there is still plenty to do!

    Almost done cleaning all the pins. Sorry Pin Up, you're second fiddle right now. Maybe 3rd.

    0606191754 (resized).jpg
    1 week later
    #153 5 months ago

    OK, it's been a while. Lots of stuff going on this time of year.

    So, I was fortunate enough to have been gifted a "new" motor! Thank you Drain1!!!

    I did what any eager novice would do, and hooked it up with a jumper cable just to see if it would work. It did! Then it started smoking, badly!!! When I took it out I did not find any plastic tip. So maybe that was it?

    I tested the coil - 2.2 resistance. I tested my old coil, now removed from the machine as I knew it was the problem, and it tested at 0.8 resistance. So, that seems like problem solved right?

    After soldering up the new motor, I transferred the tip over to the "new" armature/commutator. Crossed my fingers and started it up. Worked! Motor spins, then I shot a dime in there and got some action. "bowled" a ball, and again the motor spun. Now I'm not certain what is actually supposed to be happening, and keep in mind my "casket" is up the whole time, so I'm physically pushing down on the leaf to run the motor.

    I made it up to frame 4 before things started to seem a little off. In addition, I thought I started smelling something cooking again, so I unplugged the unit and called it a night.

    Overall, I'm happy. Progress is being made. Still not right, but steps in the right direction I think. Video to follow in a day or two.

    #155 5 months ago

    I'm playing around by "bowling" only strikes.

    Good news:
    Score reel shows 300
    Frame lights moved properly up to 10 (I think - seems several bulbs out)
    10th frame behaved correctly
    "Shoot Again" light came on
    Only coil locked on is "lock relay" that I can tell

    Needs work:
    The strike indicator lit the first "X", but then skipped to 3 "X"s after second frame
    Burning smell around 8th frame. No smoke though. I "bowled" very quickly to get it shut off.

    No ball motor action. Could be I've got the casket open, but I'd think it would start when I press the leaf to the pin resetter, no?

    #156 5 months ago

    Here's the new action.

    #161 5 months ago

    I'm a little confused. When I tested my old motor coil the other day it read 0.8. Today, with clips, it reads over 4.

    My other coil, the one currently in the machine that eventually smokes, is reading 2.2 attached.


    #162 5 months ago

    Here's some more,

    Machine plugged in but switched off. I touch the score motor holding plate and feel a definite tingle.

    I'm guessing that's a short or ground issue.

    I'm going to be so much smarter when this is finished if I don't electrocute myself first!

    #163 5 months ago
    Quoted from cad-kid:

    You really gotta listen for the sound of a locked on coil. A burning smell may be too late.

    I turn the machine on and the coin mech coil activates.

    After I drop a coin, that coil releases, score motor turns, lock coil activates,then coin coil activates again.

    Those are the only 2 coils I can find locked on.

    #164 5 months ago

    Motor question:

    I have the casket open, I "drop a coin" and get a pulse of power to the motor wires. Reads possibly up to 120V. After that I get next to nothing.

    If I hand bowl a strike the dmm flashes around 20 something ever so briefly.

    When I use my finger to simulate the switch unit of the casket being closed, the pin resets endlessly, and still I only get a flash of juice. This time however, it's around 50V, which makes sense as the motor is 50V.

    So, I'm thinking the endless pin reset may be the thing to look toward?

    Edit: values seem more sporadic now.

    #165 5 months ago

    Maybe this will help?

    My switch unit was like this from the start, sans my pro solder work.

    0622191029 (resized).jpg0622191029a (resized).jpg0622191030 (resized).jpg0622191030_HDR (resized).jpg0622191030a (resized).jpg0622191031 (resized).jpg0622191032_HDR (resized).jpg
    #168 5 months ago

    I currently have the "good" motor on, but in retrospect, perhaps I just needed the armature/commutator part. I'll mess around a little and switch them up to knock out some possibilities.

    If you (or anyone) can, maybe post a quick photo of your switch stack for reference?

    Yeah, I'm aware of the screw issues. Figured it didn't matter yet since I was open casket, but perhaps that stack screw is causing an issue. I'll try to find one and check that out.

    Thanks for the quick responses!

    #169 5 months ago

    Yeah, I could definitely use a "stock" photo of my stack switch the next time one of you opens yours up.

    I'm seeing two tabs bent together. Maybe that's design? I'm not certain.

    0622191332_HDR (resized).jpg0622191332a_HDR (resized).jpg
    #170 5 months ago

    No sense in wasting a day it's not raining in the northeast.

    Got the coin box gussied up in between other issues.

    Of course, my final coat saw the spray handle move and a few large drips happened. Such is life I guess.

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    #172 5 months ago

    Yes, the pin reset only works when depress the switch, so that much is good.

    I'll go through those wires this weekend.

    I have a screw for back part of the stack, but it's not long enough. I'm guessing the spacers are all swelled up. I'll probably order some new ones and try to rebuild that switch a little.

    Thank you

    #175 5 months ago
    Quoted from fiberdude120:

    RonSS I think I have the screws you may need.

    Cool. I'll pm you my address.

    #176 5 months ago

    Some success today!

    After rereading Mopar's response I came to realize that I'm missing a bottom "tab" on my stack. As such I had the double yellow wires in all sorts of wrong places.

    I detached the touching tabs, and then got stuck. Ended up gerry-rigging the yellows.

    Hey, the reset works on cue! Now, it isn't resetting fully as the mech doesn't make a full turn, but with a little help it resets and goes again after another strike.

    Still no ball lift motor.

    I didn't really check score motor this round. Was so excited I forgot!

    Ok, so now I'll need a new stack. Dasvis, I'm sending you a pm now.

    0623191612a (resized).jpg0623191648 (resized).jpg
    #179 5 months ago
    Quoted from Mopar:

    The bottom two switches in that stack is only for the service light.
    As long as the two thicker gauge yellow wires are together, you should
    be good there for now..
    Of course the two top switches are for the ball lift circuit, and they need to
    be closed for the ball lift to energize. Also, there's a set of switches in the
    Game Over Relay that needs to be closed when the Game Over Relay is
    reset that's in the ball lift circuitry..
    On the Pin Rest motor, a couple drops of light weight oil on its armature tail
    is good to do, and because it's metal on metal, a couple drops on the pin reset's
    arms (where they're wrapped around the metal rods) I always do when restoring..

    Thanks, I'll try to get 'em a little more slippery and juice up that tip.

    #180 5 months ago
    Quoted from rufessor:

    Also- if you need to rebuild switches try Pinballresource. Steve sells individual blades and lifters and spacers and you can likely replace whats missing and use what you have if you ever need to. Just FYI. Parts are available even at the subcomponent level of individual switch blades and spacers etc.

    Yes, I read that thread by Frunch(?) about it. I'll have to revisit it. Thanks!

    #181 5 months ago

    Well, checked the motor out with the "new" wiring. Still getting warm and stinking up the joint. Guess I'll have to switch out some parts and try again. Probably not getting to it until after the first week of July though, getting out of town for a while.

    1 week later
    #182 5 months ago

    Welcome back,

    I just finished replacing the old, crusty dampners for the pins.

    0709191145 (resized).jpg0709191154 (resized).jpg0709191204 (resized).jpg
    #183 5 months ago

    Pins back on, but I forgot to order my 3 bowties! Doh!

    Anyway, how do I remove/attach those suckers? Just spread the metal? Or is it more of a plastic rivet? If so, guidance appreciated.

    0713191709b (resized).jpg0713191720a (resized).jpg
    #184 5 months ago

    And I just switched out the motor coil, no smoke or odor!

    I did have the pin deck off, so once I get that on I'll check again.


    #186 5 months ago

    Thank you. I should be on that by end of the week I hope.

    #187 4 months ago

    Getting ready to order 3 bowties, WOW! $42 plus $20 shipping? My cart came to $62!!!

    Anybody have 3 they want to sell me? Or 3D print me?

    #190 4 months ago
    Quoted from RedRhyno91:

    I did read a post a few months back about someone 3D Printing them. You could try Rich Conti with PinballSalvage too. He might have some used ones sitting around. He does ball bowlers.

    Thanks, I may look into that.

    #191 4 months ago
    Quoted from cad-kid:

    It's a good product, not a large seller, they may have had to purchase a large amount of these that will take them years to move.
    Finish all your other repairs & buy these last. SLBB only works on these type of machines & I feel it's worth supporting them as they went out of their way to have hard to find products made (like bow ties & different sizes of balls that these machines use).

    I think I may not have been clear in my post. I'm not really upset with the cost of the product, it's the $20 to ship 3 small pieces of nylon that is getting me. I'm being cheap, I know, but clearly the standard $6 would be OK.

    I'll give SLBB a call and see if I'm not choosing a correct option or something. It does seem like a great replacement, and I am appreciative of someone keeping the hobby alive.

    #192 4 months ago

    OK, spoke with Chris, all set. Seems for smaller parts the computer may generate some odd numbers for shipping.

    All good. Very helpful.

    #194 4 months ago

    Got a package today.

    0718191615 (resized).jpg0718191711 (resized).jpg
    1 week later
    #196 4 months ago

    Well, , ,

    I acquired 2 "new" pins (1960/70s A-Go-Go and Liberty Bell) and they needed a quick cleaning and minor tinkering.

    I was also away for a week and it's been rough getting back in the groove.

    I'm also selling my Fleetwood bowler, so I've been playing that and just enjoying it while it's still around.

    I feel the United will come together quickly though now that the score motor seems spot on.

    Thanks for the push, and I mean that! Sometimes we need a little motivation.

    #200 4 months ago

    Ok, so started to get back to it.

    Replaced the Pin deck, started her up, and noticed the frame unit isn't resetting. It moves forward fine, so probably just needs a quick adjustment or better lube/spring. Was working fine before of course.

    I'll take a better look soon.

    #204 4 months ago

    Haha! I just ordered some. Friday night I'll rub the lotion on, , ,

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    #206 4 months ago

    #208 4 months ago
    Quoted from Bowlerguy:

    I would NOT recommend this!!!!
    When you got your machine, your machine was not working. 1 big factor why it was not working was because the grease on all the units and reels was dried up and preventing things from turning.( The old saying is that if you dont play these EM games all the time, they wont work. Thats to keep the grease from freezing up the units and reels) You have taken the time to remove and clean everything so that it will work, so why would you put this back on only to know that in the future you will have to do this all over again? Super Lube makes a Teflon Oil that would be best to use.
    I now there is some debate in this area, but we have worked on over a 1000 bowlers over the past 10 years and not one of them have had a problem caused by using this oil.
    Just some food for thought.

    All thought food appreciated.

    I think the root of my current evil is the "other" grease I applied, followed by flying sawdust!

    Mental note, fab the back box cover next!!!

    #210 4 months ago

    Gonna be a good weekend after all!

    0803191631 (resized).jpg
    #212 4 months ago

    Well, I've got a treat for you today. Decided to run a mock up game and see what's what.

    Don't mind my talking, just trying to add insight as I went. Feel free to mute, no offense taken.

    #214 4 months ago

    Yeah, I waited until everything was cleaned and lubed before even turning it on. It was killing me!

    Then, disappointment from my score motor.

    After some tinkering, and solid advice, I've finally made it to this stage.

    #215 4 months ago

    Went through my stepper's bakelite pads and removed my first grease application and applied the super lube. Now player #2 working fine (2 balls instead of 1).

    I also bridged my ball return motor today, still didn't work, but I have a feeling it might have been trying, so I shut it down.

    Tomorrow's job (if I can find some time) is to clean the motor.

    On the lookout for some 10 1/4 inch pins if you have/find them. Need 2 - 3.

    #217 4 months ago

    Nice, thanks!

    #219 4 months ago

    Thanks Mopar,
    I'll try and take a look tomorrow.

    #220 4 months ago

    Decided to tear the ball lift motor apart today.

    Well that's interesting; a loose wire!

    Let's crack this nut open. Is that Nutella? Yuck!

    This part won't budge. Time to reach out. What gives?

    0808191127 (resized).jpg0808191140a (resized).jpg0808191148 (resized).jpg
    #223 4 months ago

    Sooo, been pretty busy today.

    Used a heat gun to remove the stuck gear shaft. Everything all cleaned up nice like.

    Put back together, soldered the wire issue, and reinstalled.

    0808191416 (resized).jpg
    #224 4 months ago

    Here's the end result:

    I'm assuming my fan is scraping something? Or is that just normal noise?

    #226 4 months ago

    Thanks cad.

    #227 4 months ago


    I tested a ball (field hockey) and it got stuck at the top. The ball is just under 3 inches so that's probably the issue.

    Now that I've made it this far I can order some official balls!

    #229 4 months ago

    Oh, I'm certain the cabinet needs adjusting! I didn't even think that would be the cause. Kinda figured the whole unit was together.

    I'll check that out, thank you!

    #231 4 months ago
    Quoted from dasvis:

    Magnalube-G is what the Bingo pin guys recommend for gearbox lube. Does not take much.
    amazon.com link »

    I put a little of that super lube in there. I'm not going back in unless it stops working.

    It was a mess, so this has to be better.

    #233 4 months ago

    I placed 2 drops of 3-1 oil in each tube.

    I also gave each axle a dab of Super Lube, along with washer internals.

    Once I bent the fan blades a little it was purring quite nicely!

    I pushed the ball that was stuck and it rolled very nicely back to the rack, so all good there.

    Guess I'll inspect the outhole area tomorrow.

    Here's the final product today:

    #235 4 months ago
    Quoted from PinDeLaPin:

    Damn fine productive day Ron.

    Thank you. We both found nice success!

    #237 4 months ago

    Okay, tackling the pin reset. As seen in the bowling video, it was rarely completing a full revolution.

    I dismantled the motor and arm/disc. Isopropyled everything, then sparingly lubed moving parts.

    I did not take this motor apart.

    Result was better, but still not working. So I looked around a little more at possible issues. I think I've found it.

    When I remove this spring from under the pin deck to the disc arm I get full function.

    So, do I just leave it off? I assume it has a function...
    0809191151 (resized).jpg

    #240 4 months ago

    Thanks. Thats how it was set up, so I guess it was on correctly to start.

    I wonder why it's now prohibiting the full range of motion?

    I also wonder what it's function is as it "seems" to work fine without it?

    #242 4 months ago

    I did not.

    I sprayed some isopropyl in there to help loosen any gunk, but seems to turn ok, just seems "weak" at end of revolution and doesn't find the notch to stop.

    If I help it by hand it's fine.

    Without the spring, all good.

    #244 4 months ago

    Worth a try.

    On tomorrow's agenda.

    #247 4 months ago
    Quoted from Mopar:

    That spring is to hold the cam back so the motor doesn't over ride..
    Had you put a couple of drops on the armature's tail? That tail that pulls
    in when the motor is energized. It usually makes a good size difference..

    I did put some on the tail.

    #249 4 months ago

    I'm thinking maybe some plasti-dip would do the trick?

    I've got new balls coming, so maybe sooner, rather than later, is the path to take here.


    #251 4 months ago

    Never got to it. Our midday plans got rearranged by traffic. I shifted gears, and now I'm just not very motivated.

    Tomorrow is out too. So maybe Monday.

    Bought some plasti-dip though, so I'll be removing that lift belt at some point soon. Yay, more things to do...

    #253 4 months ago

    Working on some plasti-dip at the moment.

    0812191007_HDR (resized).jpg
    #254 4 months ago

    Gotta say, a larger opening would have been nice.

    #255 4 months ago

    2 coats on 3 units.

    I think I'm high,,,

    0812191054 (resized).jpg
    #257 4 months ago

    That makes sense.

    #260 3 months ago

    I'll be making a back door today. Am I correct to assume there is no padding on this 1956 model?

    #262 3 months ago
    Quoted from mojonitro:

    Your dipped lift arms look fabulous! My 58 United bowler back is not padded.

    Thanks! On both accounts

    #263 3 months ago

    Nice delivery today.

    0813191528 (resized).jpg
    #264 3 months ago

    Ok, so I'm still getting stuck right here. It's within the lift cab, and seems to be the two large wheels on either side.

    It looks as though the belt isn't high enough? How would I adjust that?

    0813191634 (resized).jpg0813191636 (resized).jpg0813191638 (resized).jpg
    #265 3 months ago

    Done for the day.

    Positive take away:
    Both back doors cut, routed, sanded, stained on inside and edges.

    Fixed a previous mistake hindering a wire pass through.

    Got some balls!

    Help still needed with ball return.
    Thinking I may need to lower the guide wheels, but I'll take suggestions first.

    #267 3 months ago

    I'll give it a try.


    #268 3 months ago