(Topic ID: 244487)

Williams Chimes - rebuild or "upgrade"?


By FatPanda

9 months ago



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  • 38 posts
  • 19 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 months ago by DCRand
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 9 months ago

I recently just brought home a Grand Prix and all of the non-metal parts on the chime box have rotted out. I know Williams' chimes sound clanky to begin with, but was wondering what the thoughts were on rebuilding to original vs getting xylophone bars (or other) and replacing the bars, perhaps building a box, etc? I love the sound of GTB chimes, but know they can be a little spendy. Anyone have any experience "upgrading" the Williams' chime units?

#2 9 months ago

They clank no matter what you do. The open box is the main reason.

Swap in a Gottlieb or even Bally box is about the only solution.

#3 8 months ago

Has anyone replaced just the chime bars? I did a "rebuild" using nylon wire insulation, cut up post rubber, and silicon washers, and I can get one really good chime (med bar), slightly worse chime (small bar) and one really bad chime (large bar). I was thinking maybe getting the same bars that GTB machines had or using tuned bars of off a xylophone or glockenspiel, as I now have learned

#4 8 months ago

If you're really industrious, you can tune the bars yourself - basically, you shorten them until you get the tone you desire.

Just a curiosity - since Wms sound clunky anyhow, how would wooden xylophone sound? Clunkier?

#5 8 months ago
Quoted from Billc479:

If you're really industrious, you can tune the bars yourself - basically, you shorten them until you get the tone you desire.
Just a curiosity - since Wms sound clunky anyhow, how would wooden xylophone sound? Clunkier?

I would love to, but I don't have the tools to grind or cut the bars myself. I'm looking for a place to buy individual bars, or just looking to get a used set to take bars off of. If anything, I'd have to drill mounting holes for them.

I was also curious about wooden xylophone bars. Would definitely be much easier to work with and if I can find a cheap set, I wouldn't have any problems experimenting.

#6 8 months ago
Quoted from Billc479:

If you're really industrious, you can tune the bars yourself - basically, you shorten them until you get the tone you desire.
Just a curiosity - since Wms sound clunky anyhow, how would wooden xylophone sound? Clunkier?

Those might sound cool in a game like Jungle Lord or something along that theme...

#7 8 months ago

I'd just rebuild. The clanky William's chimes are all part of the experience for me.

#8 8 months ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

I was thinking maybe getting the same bars that GTB machines had or using tuned bars of off a xylophone or glockenspiel, as I now have learned

What's important in getting good tone out of any chime is to get the right length of chime based on the spacing of the mounting points. Ideally the two mounting points of the chime are near the two nodes where the chime doesn't actually vibrate. Any longer or shorter and the tone will be compromised or muted.

It's the same principle as a guitar string. You can touch a guitar string at the harmonic points and still get it to play, but touching it anywhere else will mute it.

To better illustrate what's happening there's a short video at the bottom of this page to show the nodes in a vibrating chime: https://www.funwithpinball.com/learn/chimes-vibrations-and-pitches

#9 8 months ago

Hi
I remember the arcade rooms back in the 1970ies (here in Switzerland) - jolly atmosphere - quite a few chimes - or from older machines the sound of the bell (bells) - and the Knockers were knocking here and there.
Now I own some pins - but mostly play alone or with one visitor --- odd / strange just one bell or one chime. EMs (for me) are noisy enough without chimes / bells --- usually I have them disconnected - or even have pins without a chime.
An American in Germany - read here https://www.chimeunit.com/about_us . And here https://www.chimeunit.com/chime-units we see the chimes he offers (?). (((Over the years I now and then bought me Williams or Gottlieb chimes in EBay - for 100 to 140 Swiss Francs - roughly the same in Euros (Germany), same in US-Dollars.)))
Disclaimer - or such words: I do not know this man - I do not know if he (still) sells his (new) chimes - I do not know if he ships to USA / outside of Germany - and I also have never heard one of his chimes. Greetings Rolf

#10 8 months ago

I put a Gottlieb unit in my Grand Prix. Experimenting with hook up, basically one way the low is the predominate sound, the other is high. I like it with the high predominate, sounds smooth.
Going to rebuild the Williams unit for another machine that needs the clanky character.

#11 8 months ago
Quoted from mbaumle:

I'd just rebuild. The clanky William's chimes are all part of the experience for me.

I may end up just getting a proper kit and doing that.

Quoted from rolf_martin_062:

Hi
I remember the arcade rooms back in the 1970ies (here in Switzerland) - jolly atmosphere - quite a few chimes - or from older machines the sound of the bell (bells) - and the Knockers were knocking here and there.
Now I own some pins - but mostly play alone or with one visitor --- odd / strange just one bell or one chime. EMs (for me) are noisy enough without chimes / bells --- usually I have them disconnected - or even have pins without a chime.
An American in Germany - read here https://www.chimeunit.com/about_us . And here https://www.chimeunit.com/chime-units we see the chimes he offers (?). (((Over the years I now and then bought me Williams or Gottlieb chimes in EBay - for 100 to 140 Swiss Francs - roughly the same in Euros (Germany), same in US-Dollars.)))
Disclaimer - or such words: I do not know this man - I do not know if he (still) sells his (new) chimes - I do not know if he ships to USA / outside of Germany - and I also have never heard one of his chimes. Greetings Rolf

Thanks for the links. I'll check it out.

#12 8 months ago

I rebuilt my Liberty Bell chimes with the PBR kit, and the end result was much better than expected. I'd agree it's not quite as good as Gottlieb, but not nearly as bad as I expected from what you usually read.

Alternatively, if you have your spinners pretty juiced, consider just unplugging the chime unit. The sound of score reels turning over at lightspeed when you rip a spinner is a great sound in itself, and is unique to these late-70s Williams EMs.

#13 8 months ago
Quoted from mbaumle:

I'd just rebuild. The clanky William's chimes are all part of the experience for me.

Yep. Back in the day when I walked into an arcade with my friends I could tell just by the sounds what kind of the machines the had, and they all sounded sweet because of the variety and it was time to have fun!

The big 4 companies pinball machines all had different sounding chimes which is part of what makes pinball great, variety.

If all the pinball machines back in the day had Gottlieb chimes, at least for me the sounds of arcades would not ring with as much fun. Kinda like going to an amusement park and all you hear is the sound of roller coasters, sure they are fun, but what about the other rides sounds? Most were cool and fun sounding as well.

Bottom line for me anyways: A Williams that sounds like a Gottlieb does not sound right because that is not how it originally came out of the factory.

Just my 2 cents.

#14 8 months ago

You could always put a Chicago coin door bell chime in it

#15 8 months ago
Quoted from dasvis:

You could always put a Chicago coin door bell chime in it

Too bad Chicago Coin got cheap and went to the ding dong doorbells for sound in the mid 70's. The metal chime box they used in the early 70's like on Casino was a pretty sweet setup and sound with the wooden blocks toning the chime bars.

#16 8 months ago
Quoted from CaffeineSlug:

I rebuilt my Liberty Bell chimes with the PBR kit, and the end result was much better than expected. I'd agree it's not quite as good as Gottlieb, but not nearly as bad as I expected from what you usually read.
Alternatively, if you have your spinners pretty juiced, consider just unplugging the chime unit. The sound of score reels turning over at lightspeed when you rip a spinner is a great sound in itself, and is unique to these late-70s Williams EMs.

I have to say, I do enjoy the sound of the score reels spinning. The chime unit (on my diy rebuild) sounds like to can't keep up, so the sound of the score reels spinning are the loudest.

This my only EM at the moment, so there won't be any confusing sounds I'll get a PBR rebuild kit on my next order and not obsess about it not sounding as good as a Gottlieb 2 of the 3 bars sound pretty good. It's the bar that actuates the most that sounds the worst...funny how that works lol

#17 8 months ago
Quoted from MarkG:

What's important in getting good tone out of any chime is to get the right length of chime based on the spacing of the mounting points...

...To better illustrate what's happening there's a short video at the bottom of this page to show the nodes in a vibrating chime: https://www.funwithpinball.com/learn/chimes-vibrations-and-pitches

Has anyone researched/confirmed if Williams chimes were designed properly with respect to this node spacing?

#18 8 months ago
Quoted from jeffc:

Has anyone researched/confirmed if Williams chimes were designed properly with respect to this node spacing?

I really doubt it, and probably why it sounds as bad as it does. The spacing for the mounting points are all the same for each bar in the Williams unit and the result is what I described a few posts back as far as the quality of sound goes. It might seem like they found one bar the worked (middle bar) then added a shorter bar and a longer bar to add variety (at the cost of purity) of the sounds.

Compared to even the most basic of glockenspiels, the mounting points are different from bar to bar, to produce a more tuned and refined tone.
20190602_152158 (resized).jpg
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In which, as you can see, the Gottlieb unit emulates, making for nicer tonal qualities.
GTB_Sys1_Chime_Box (resized).jpg

Also, the striking point of the Williams unit is at the end of the bar, as opposed to the center of the bar. I would think you would get better sound quality by moving the placement of the solenoids. Again, I doubt there was a lot of thought put into the Williams' chime units.

#19 8 months ago

Those are all good points fatpanda. I've only had one Williams EM so I've never done anything other than rehab it's original unit.

Would be nice to see what a homemade tone box, home Depot aluminum bars and maybe repositioning of the mounts and coils could accomplish. I am not a fan of taking Gottlieb assemblies for use in non-Gottlieb games.

#20 8 months ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

In which, as you can see, the Gottlieb unit emulates, making for nicer tonal qualities.

Your photo is an optical illusion. The mount points for Gottlieb chime units are the same spacing for all three bars. Not sure what other design aspect makes them more tonally desirable but it isn't a spread spacing.

Added 9 months ago:

My previous statement was wrong. Gottlieb chimes have gradually increasing dimension between posts from the 10s to 100s to 1000s.

Fatpanda was correct.

#21 8 months ago

Question regarding mounting hardware. Has anyone found a better material for the mounting points to get better sound than with the standard rubber? I have seen a number of odd "hacks" of the mounting, from using play field post rubber, to metal washers, to plastic. Didn't really play with hearing how they sounded, just replaced.

#22 8 months ago

I rebuilt mine with the rebuild kit from Marco. It no longer "clanks" like it did when I received it.

I think the key is the bit of heat-shrink-tubing-like material that hugs the mounting posts. It isolates the sound bars from the post. More importantly it keeps the retaining bar (not the sound bar) and the retaining pin spaced above the sound bar allowing it to ring.

I also think the material of the washer under the sound bar is important to the ring. Too hard or too soft and the ring may change.

#23 8 months ago
Quoted from MikeO:

Your photo is an optical illusion. The mount points for Gottlieb chime units are the same spacing for all three bars. Not sure what other design aspect makes them more tonally desirable but it isn't a spread spacing.

My 74 Bally chime mounts have different spacing for each bar

#24 8 months ago
Quoted from MikeO:

Your photo is an optical illusion. The mount points for Gottlieb chime units are the same spacing for all three bars. Not sure what other design aspect makes them more tonally desirable but it isn't a spread spacing.

I suppose that could be true. I don't have a Gottlieb box in front of me so I can't confirm. Either way, the Williams units are still inferior to the Gottlieb ones. I think we can all agree on that.

#25 8 months ago

HA! Love me some Grand Prix! Rip the Spinners!!!! No feeling quite like it. I have mine sitting next to my Spin Out (love me some F1 as well). Gottlieb's Spin Out chimes are the best - smooth, clear, loud and what I consider to be the universal "sound" of a pinball machine... hell, on Better Call Saul they edited this sound over the true sound of a High Speed 2 last season. Even Spin Out's knocker sounds better than Grand Prix's.

In any event, I used small plumbing washers and door mutes from Home Depot on my Grand Prix chime unit to rebuilt it... and yes, it is clanky for 2 of the 3 bars, but it is literally the sound of every Grand Prix I have heard and how it is supposed to sound (my wife loves the Spin Out chime sound and hates Grand Prix's - insert door slamming closed)... within a month of owning it, I came to love Grand Prix's sound - like someone banging a wrench on a pipe. Besides this is 1976 F1 racing - it should be dirty, loud and clanky!

spinoutgrandprix (resized).jpg
#26 8 months ago
Quoted from spinout:

HA! Love me some Grand Prix! Rip the Spinners!!!! No feeling quite like it. I have mine sitting next to my Spin Out (love me some F1 as well). Gottlieb's Spin Out chimes are the best - smooth, clear, loud and what I consider to be the universal "sound" of a pinball machine... hell, on Better Call Saul they edited this sound over the true sound of a High Speed 2 last season. Even Spin Out's knocker sounds better than Grand Prix's.
In any event, I used small plumbing washers and door mutes from Home Depot on my Grand Prix chime unit to rebuilt it... and yes, it is clanky for 2 of the 3 bars, but it is literally the sound of every Grand Prix I have heard and how it is supposed to sound (my wife loves the Spin Out chime sound and hates Grand Prix's - insert door slamming closed)... within a month of owning it, I came to love Grand Prix's sound - like someone banging a wrench on a pipe. Besides this is 1976 F1 racing - it should be dirty, loud and clanky![quoted image]

Thanks for the post The game is in the middle of a teardown right now and I've only put on maybe 20 games on worn and dirty mechs and dirty playfield. I may grow to love it once I get it back together and get some good games on it. One question I do have is currently the flippers are pretty flat when in the fully plunged position and both coils buzz quite loudly. I'm not sure if I can expect a huge difference after rebuilding the flippers (and new EOS switches , new flipper coils, and new flipper cabinet switches), but I sort of am? Hope this isn't a normal part of the game either.

#27 8 months ago

Totally rebuild them! I rebuilt mine a few months back (I actually broke a bat so now they are new above and below the playfield) and they are snappy and super strong! It is all about the perfect eos switch adjustment. I have a 1979 Williams Flash that uses the same flippers (same rebuild kit) and both are like brand new now! This is key for our Grand Prix since you want to hit those spinners going as fast as you can to get maximum points. If I hit them perfectly, I can get it all the way up to 50,000 and 2-4 thousand more (as spinner revolutions are 100 points until you max it out on that side when it converts to 1000 points per revolution).

#28 8 months ago

Williams DC flippers will give you plenty of power. A rebuild kit makes a difference for sure but half the time I find a clean and properly adjusted EOS switch is what really makes the biggest improvement.

#29 8 months ago

I will say that when the rebound rubber wears out on a Gottlieb chime and you hear the constant metal to metal contact, it sounds worse than any Williams chime unit.

#30 8 months ago
Quoted from MikeO:

I will say that when the rebound rubber wears out on a Gottlieb chime and you hear the constant metal to metal contact, it sounds worse than any Williams chime unit.

100% agree! This solves the problem perfectly like they were meant to be there to begin with... https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-Gray-Door-Silencers-12-Pack-14257/204987756

#31 8 months ago

Back to William's chimes. I am refurb'ing an OXO. Have had problems with previous William's chime boxes sounding bad. So tried something new. Put the chime bar grommets that normally fit tightly inside the holes of the bars, on the posts first. Then put the bar on top of the grommet. Cut the plastic post sleeve in half to shorten it, then put the small metal retainer bar and long pin on top of the cut sleeve. This isolates the chime bar from the retainer bar, and lets the chime bar kind of float on the grommet. Sound was much better on all three lengths of chime. Still not a Gottlieb, or anywhere near the 3 and 4 inch bells in my 1960's Mayfair, but better than normal for Williams.

#32 8 months ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

I really doubt it, and probably why it sounds as bad as it does. The spacing for the mounting points are all the same for each bar in the Williams unit and the result is what I described a few posts back as far as the quality of sound goes. It might seem like they found one bar the worked (middle bar) then added a shorter bar and a longer bar to add variety (at the cost of purity) of the sounds.
Compared to even the most basic of glockenspiels, the mounting points are different from bar to bar, to produce a more tuned and refined tone.
[quoted image]
[quoted image]
In which, as you can see, the Gottlieb unit emulates, making for nicer tonal qualities.
[quoted image]
Also, the striking point of the Williams unit is at the end of the bar, as opposed to the center of the bar. I would think you would get better sound quality by moving the placement of the solenoids. Again, I doubt there was a lot of thought put into the Williams' chime units.

Uh that's not true. Williams chimes hit in the middle. Not the end.

#33 8 months ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

Uh that's not true. Williams chimes hit in the middle. Not the end.

Not true on William's Grand Prix. The solenoids are on one end of the bars.

#34 8 months ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

I suppose that could be true. I don't have a Gottlieb box in front of me so I can't confirm. Either way, the Williams units are still inferior to the Gottlieb ones. I think we can all agree on that.

I am here to correct my mis statement. The Gottlieb chimes have different spacing for each tone. I swore I had reassembled one backwards.

So that explains why the Gottlieb chimes sound so good.

Sorry for the mistake.

#35 8 months ago

I'm in the middle of cleaning up a Grand Prix, and now that the cabinet has been painted I'm starting on repopulating it. This thread has been helpful as I'm looking to rebuild the chime box next week.

Do you recommend a rebuild kit from PBR or marco, or simply go the Home Depot route and use the washers and shrink tubing?
IMG_20190604_132314_01 (resized).jpg
(shameless attachment because I"m happy how it turned out )

-Paul

#36 8 months ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

Uh that's not true. Williams chimes hit in the middle. Not the end.

In the first picture above (this was taken from my machine that I'm currently working on) you can see the solenoids on the right hand side. I've circled it.

Quoted from Pablito350:

I'm in the middle of cleaning up a Grand Prix, and now that the cabinet has been painted I'm starting on repopulating it. This thread has been helpful as I'm looking to rebuild the chime box next week.
Do you recommend a rebuild kit from PBR or marco, or simply go the Home Depot route and use the washers and shrink tubing?
[quoted image]
(shameless attachment because I"m happy how it turned out )
-Paul

The paint job looks great! I ended up using stuff I had lying around in my pinball stuff. Post sleeves, nylon tubing, and silicon washers. I inserted a 1/2 inch piece of nylon tubing into a 1/4 inch piece of post sleeve and placed that over the post on the unit. Put the bar down on top of that and then finally the silicon washer retaining bar, and the retaining "clip". This was so that the bar would have free movement and could vibrate without any damping. I've tried to from pretty tight, to pretty loose, and this ended up sounding the best. Like I mentioned earlier, the middle bar definitely sounds the best (most pure sound), the smaller bar sounds a bit worse, and the large bar sounds like a tin can.
6e54df1d18b121a3e93e77f47b7279228a2b7f03 (resized).jpg20190603_135554 (resized).jpg20190603_135621 (resized).jpg

#37 8 months ago
Quoted from Pablito350:

....
Do you recommend a rebuild kit from PBR ...

Absolutely. No scrounging or improvising needed.

#38 8 months ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

In the first picture above (this was taken from my machine that I'm currently working on) you can see the solenoids on the right hand side.
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Try leaving off the silicone washer between the chime and retaining bars. Use the tube around the post to create a gap between the two bars. Yes they click together when the chime bar is struck, but only for a split second. This helped the sound of mine on OXO.

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