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(Topic ID: 176720)

YCV - Gottlieb Buck Rogers restoration or "the infamous Rockwell System 1"

By Arcane

3 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 76 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 months ago by Arcane
  • Topic is favorited by 10 Pinsiders


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There are 76 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.
#51 3 years ago

Playfield is now almost complete. Top is only missing the apron and the plastics. These will be placed at the very end.
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The pop bumpers lights are connectorized to ease the disassembly in case of maintenance:
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And here is the final product:
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Quite a difference from the old and dirty playfield.


#52 3 years ago

Looking very nice....

#53 3 years ago

I am looking for that specific part (lightbox hinge) located at the bottom of the lightbox and holding the backglass frame:
cabinet_hinge (resized).jpg

If anybody has a spare one, I would love to buy it from you. Please PM me.


#54 3 years ago

In the meantime and while waiting for the good soul who will sell me the part I need, the playfield is almost complete. The top plastic has to be cleaned and flattened a little bit, but since it hides a ball, I will put it at the very end. We do not want that ball to jerk around, during the final setting of the playfield. A transistor to replace on the backside, a few wires to be tied up, the ejector walls to be re-installed and the playfield will be ready for the Apron.
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I am glad I installed two additional bulbs as the playfield is overall rather dark, even though I used #44 bulbs. I wish I could have installed a third bulb at the very top, between the three top posts, but the metal plate of the vari-target is preventing it. I would have to drill the vari-target plate to make room for the bulb socket, which may not be a good thing to do.

The lightbox is stalled, waiting for the bottom hinge and the finishing of the light board. After spraying two cans of white on the light board, I am still not very happy with the result. That particle board used by Gottlieb is pure "shit" and the damages done by the water are hard to hide. The texture remains rough and uneven and to be a perfectionist, that board would have to be cut and entirely re-done. But who is a perfectionist for an old System 1 machine? I will see what I can get out of it, by sanding it and spraying one more can of white.
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The clear coat on the lightbox is very good and so smooth to the touch. I have re-installed the Janin board and the driver board inside as well as the power supply.

I am now working on the insanity of the main cabinet: what a cesspool!! After scrubbing and vacuuming , I realized that the bottom panel was warped by the flow of beers. The stains are disgusting. I have secured the bottom panel with 5 long machine screws and Gorilla glue to the transverse spine. It is now a lot sturdier and I can start painting over that ugliness.
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Most likely, I will do a mix of black and white for the inside of the main cabinet.
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I cannot leave the wood natural as it is deeply stained and I like the white as it brings light to this part of the machine during the maintenance phases.


#55 3 years ago

Did you try using something like Kilz before the white paint?

#56 3 years ago
Quoted from Insane:

Did you try using something like Kilz before the white paint?

No, I did not. I used a light gray primer but that did not seal completely the light board. I am staying away from Kilz (or whatever) as I have had some very bad experience with this product in my home. It does not like dust, and will crack with time.

I am going to sand the light board again, and hit it with some white primer. That may do it.


#57 3 years ago

Finally, after much sanding and spraying, the white primer got a reason of that recalcitrant light board:
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I am using old bulbs to protect the sockets from the paint sprays.

I am also making some progress on the inside of the cabinet
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and on the outside:
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Again, the cabinet is touched up with Liquitex soft body acrylics and then clear coated with two coats of Polycrylic Semi-Gloss. Stars are painted with a tiny brush and a toothpick for the smaller ones.
I hope to be able to place the cabinet on its legs in a few days and start re-assembling the machine.


#58 3 years ago

Are you missing the backglass?

#59 3 years ago

"Again, the cabinet is touched up with Liquitex soft body acrylics and then clear coated with two coats of Polycrylic Semi-Gloss. Stars are painted with a tiny brush and a toothpick for the smaller ones".

Did you find a good color match for the orange and yellow on the cabinet? I have some minor scratches in mine that I am going to touch up but have not found a good match yet.


#60 3 years ago
Quoted from Pinplayer1967:

Are you missing the backglass?

I do not. Interestingly, at first, I was looking for the backglass only. Then someone offered me the backglass with the pin attached to it for $300. I took the whole package. Honestly, I was not looking at rebuilding another pinball machine, especially a System 1 with the horrible reputation they have. I took the plunge and I have spent a lot more since then and figured that a working pin was nicer than a backglass on the wall. So far, I do not regret it although the financial investment has been significant due to the poor quality of the System 1 Electronics.

Quoted from johnnypinball:

Did you find a good color match for the orange and yellow on the cabinet? I have some minor scratches in mine that I am going to touch up but have not found a good match yet.

Yes, I have found a match that is very close:
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You can find these in serious art shops (Michael's may or may not...most of the time will not carry those). Jerry Artrama's or Dick Blick online. Each can is about $5-6. The color is very close and only the shine distinguish them from the original painting. The acrylic is flatter than the cabinet paint but once you clear coat it with Polycrylic, it is very difficult to say where you did the touch-ups. One technique used by great and not so great artist (like myself) is the smearing with the tip of your fingers. Once you apply the paint with a brush, you amy then smear with your finger the periphery of your fix, to blend it with the original artwork. I use that technique quite a lot.

Also, Liquitex offers additives for acrylic paints that will make the paint shinier. You may want to experiment with that.


#61 3 years ago

I have a mint NOS flawless backglass for this game that is in a nice frame

This backglass has now been sold to a member here on pinside. 3-17-17

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#62 3 years ago

Very nice backglass that you have. Mine is far from being flawless but it will do for the time being. I have triple-thicked it, as it was starting to flake, which is not surprising when you see in which condition the pinball was.


#63 3 years ago

Lots of progress but nothing that can be shown yet....

The Lightbox has been put together and each lamp sockets verified and modified (whenever necessary) to work.
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The top lamps are a mix of #47 and 455 to provide some animations behind the Name of the machine on the backglass.

Cabling inside the lightbox is moving along:
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#64 3 years ago

Cabinet is getting close to being finished. I finished painting the inside and I am putting it together.
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Sides and rear have been clear coated after endless touch-ups and repainting:
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The only parts I need to work on, are the front and bottom sides of the cabinet.


#65 3 years ago

Cabinet is almost finished and ready to be set on its new legs:
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Front has been repainted and clear-coated:
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Bottom has been clear-coated to prevent any absorption of humidity:
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Front edge was soaked with epoxy resin, as it suffered from some delamination due to the excess of beers and water:
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At this stage, the cabinet is sound, very sturdy and totally sealed from liquid or humidity attacks.
Playfield is ready:
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and two additional fuse holders have been installed to protect the pop-bumpers and their switches of any fatal occurrence. The cost of two fuses and fuse-holders is actually negligible when compared to the price of one coil or one switch assembly.
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#66 3 years ago

Finally, the cabinet is standing by itself on new chromed legs (as was the original) of the right length:
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Cabinet protectors have been installed on all four corners (Pinball Life):
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It feels good to get to that milestone:
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#67 3 years ago

Looking good! Nice work

#68 3 years ago

I am now re-assembling the inside of the cabinet. Not entirely genuine, but I could not resist lighting up the flipper buttons:
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The feeds are taken from the main power board for the right side and from the coin door for the left.
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It brings a little bit of science-fiction and space technology to that machine.


#69 3 years ago

Slowly (but surely) bringing up the machine.

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This is the System 1 / System 80 Janin sound board. A lot smaller (and capable) than the original board. The reset button allows to listen to all sound effects (there are quite a few) and the attract mode will play a little tune every 6 minutes. Note the knocker on the right.

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Organization of the wires inside the main cabinet. I like it tidy as much as possible....

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Lightbox with all the boards (Rottendog, Janin and NiWumph). Again, organizing the electrical wires as much as possible to limit the moves and vibrations.

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We are almost there. I still need to rework the display boards (replacement of resistors and capacitors) and concentrate on cleaning and embellishing the coin door. It is alive and that soothe my heart.


#70 3 years ago

The coin door has been put together thanks to pictures I had taken before and found on the Web, in Clay's tutorial. This was my first Gottlieb System 1 coin door and I managed to use all the parts I had disassembled. Usually, you always end up with extra parts..... not this time.
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The front of the coin door is not too bad. The back on the other hand, has been stained so deeply by beers and all kinds of liquids that I could not make it very presentable:
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Every thing is working well with one exception: the left coin chute is equipped with a coin acceptor/rejector and when you insert a coin, it triggers the TEST sequence. I suspect that the coin acceptor mechanism creates a short circuit with the switch as the chute works fine with no coin acceptor. I may have to insulate completely the contacts.
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The Tilt and Slam mechanism has been painted the same grey as the power board.
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We are getting close to the completion. I now have to adjust and fine tune everything: flippers, pop bumpers, slingshots.....and make sure that all the switches are set as I want them. I am starting to be able to play the machine.
Pictures will be coming soon.


#71 3 years ago

The machine is now fully operational with the exception of the coin rejector and a weak display (4th player) that I may have to change.
There are still plenty of finishing to be done and mostly the backglass frame that will require some putty, sanding and a fresh coat of paint.

In the meantime, I let you enjoy the look of the machine:
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The Janin attract mode feature is really nice on this otherwise rather still machine:
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Note the extra light on the target island, under the pop-bumper.
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Extra light under the dragon, too.
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Temporary rules and scores cards, as I will print them again on manila papers.
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The guts....
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The this case a French-American joint venture
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Notice the lighted flipper buttons.
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...and the coin door that will not yet accept my quarters without going into TEST mode.


#72 3 years ago

The machine is almost complete. I just finished painting the backglass frame with a satin black spray and I will forfeit the original white stars that were painted (projected) on the backglass frame. I think the deep and uniform black color exacerbates the impact of the backglass artwork.
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The backglass is far from being as nice as that NOS backglass that was presented a few posts before. I just cannot afford financially what that NOS backglass may have cost and mine will do in the meantime. There may come a day when a nicer one will present itself. If nothing shows up, I may one day get one from BG Resto.
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The machine is quite elegant with all its lights and the nice attract mode provided by the Janin MPU board.
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In the back, I reinstalled the cooler/stiffener plates. They provide additional stiffness to the light box and give a little science fiction look to that machine.
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I turned on some of the various options (Switch Dip+) offered by the Janin board. It literally transforms the playfield and some of the playing and brings that machine to the level of the early 80's Bally systems in term of quality and interest. If you have never played a System1 machine with these options, I encourage you to do so: It is like having a new machine and the appeal and pleasure of playing is easily doubled. Some of the features are the "Skill Shot", the light blinking three times every time you hit a target or run over a rollover switch, the replay of the current ball if you loose immediately and many other little features of that kind. It is worth trying them. For instance, when the skill shot is obtained, all the lights on the playfield go on and blink quickly. It is quite a feast to the eyes.
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Overall, I am quite happy how this machine turned out.
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These are the playfield plastic parts that have been replaced and that will find their way to the recycling bin, on Monday night.
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That's it folks. I hope you have enjoyed this restoration thread and that it has given you the desire to salvage and restore these ill loved System 1 machines. After going through all the mess of the original Rockwell System 1 implementation, I realize that these machines are a lot simpler than the Bally/Stern or Williams of the same era and that replacing all the original electronics is the way to go if you are not equipped (or do not have the patience and skills) to revive corroded printed circuit boards and want to make sure that your machine will work reliably for many years to go.


#73 3 years ago

Nice work, looks great! I hope to add a Buck Rogers to the collection some day, have 5 other system 1's all with new brains, fun machines.

#74 3 years ago

very nice BUCK ROGERS Its really a stunning looking game . I did a restore with my son and was happy with the results as well and well worth the effort

4 months later
#75 3 years ago

Very encouraging! Thanks for sharing! Buck looks great!

2 years later
#76 8 months ago

This machine was just sold to a young fellow enthusiast, probably less than 20 years old.

This young man is building for himself and his Dad, a small collection of pinball machines and I am very happy I could contribute to his growing collection. It is such a refreshing sight to see new generations have a genuine interest for something else than video games and their cell phones.

In addition, the machine is only 10 minutes away and I hope I will be able to see it from time to time.

Buck Rogers was a very nice addition to my play room, but I need the space for a Playboy cabinet.


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